ROTHSCHILD - Wisconsin GOP leaders and a headliner from Washington rallied party members at today's convention.
Legislators say they're taking stock of the party, learning from a disappointing 2012 election cycle, and strategizing for upcoming mid-terms.
Governor Scott Walker echoed optimism heard from other speakers today. They said Wisconsin is the model the national GOP should follow.
"So I think going forward in 2014 the choice is pretty clear. We don't want to go back to the days of double digit tax increases, of billion dollar budget deficits and record job loss. Do you want to go back?" says Gov. Walker.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the party has the right leaders and the right message. But he says Wisconsin has a disconnect when it comes to getting that message to voters when it matters most.
"And we're winning just about everywhere, almost everything. Except we get into this presidential election cycle. And if we're being honest, we haven't won a decisive presidential race in 24 years. So what's going on? I want to talk to you about that," says Priebus.
Tomorrow night we'll have more from Priebus on his bold challenge to the GOP to soften its image.
I also sat down with 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. He told us how he thinks Republicans can connect with disenchanted voters.
MERRILL - Most people enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with family. But the Merrill firefighters spend their Thanksgiving at the station with their second family, their coworkers. Community members stepped in to make sure the firefighters still had a special Thanksgiving while they were working.
It might be Thanksgiving, but for the Merrill Fire Department, it's just another day
But it is a day with more turkey, stuffing, and pies.
"We had a couple of community organizations that dropped off meals for us which we're definitely grateful for," said firefighter and paramedic Bryson Cruise.
The job doesn't stop for firefighters and Thanksgiving is no exception.
So Park City Credit Union and Hands of Hope wanted to thank the firefighters for their service with a home cooked Thanksgiving meal.
PARK FALLS - Many families began their Thanksgiving Day with a run this morning. Topping off the holiday with a "trot" around town may not appeal to everyone, but for these families it was a way to spend time with one another.
"Trot now so we can pie later," said Steph Schultz, a runner in the Park Falls Turkey Trot.
Families used the Turkey Trot 5K in Park Falls as a way to bond.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - You might be planning on waiting in line on Black Friday or sitting behind a computer on Cyber Monday. But in Rhinelander and other Northwoods cities, Small Business Saturday is another day to mark on the calendar.
Dawn Allen sold her goods at craft shows for years, but had always wanted to try something different.
"It was my dream to open up a shop one day," said Allen, the owner of Briar House on Keenen Street. So she opened Briar House in Rhinelander 21 years ago.
Allen sells women's clothes, shoes, accessories and has a full espresso bar.
But one of her favorite parts of the job is the community support.
"It's like a family here, it's more of a destination coming here I believe," said Allen.
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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