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GOP Leaders Prepare to Reform Image for Next Round of ElectionsSubmitted: 05/04/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

GOP Leaders Prepare to Reform Image for Next Round of Elections
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.

That's tomorrow night on Newswatch 12 Weekend.



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EAGLE RIVER - A Snow Show in Eagle River reminded visitors of all that snowmobiling clubs do for Wisconsin.
About 300 people stopped by the Eagle River Derby Track Sunday for the event.
The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs invited 15 vendors to help educate people about the economics and basics of snowmobiling.

"We just want everybody to be aware of all the work that goes into maintaining and upkeep of the snowmobile trails," said Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs President Dave Newman.
It was the 5th annual Snow Show.

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STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - A 32-year-old woman had to be airlifted to a hospital after a snowmobile crash.

Oneida County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tyler Young said emergency crews responded to the accident around 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It happened in an area off Highway 47 near Fawn Lake Rd in McNaughton.

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TOMAHAWK - This weekend people in Tomahawk could try out several different soups from local restaurants, all in support of a good cause. Our Sisters House held the Super Soup Supper Soup Competition.

Six different restaurants participated in the competition, the winner got a Golden Ladle and bragging rights.

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MINOCQUA - A major 'safety net' resource used by nearly 800,000 people in Wisconsin could get cut in half.
The Trump Administration wants to radically change SNAP.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formally known as food stamps.
" It's a fundamental lifeline," said St. Germain Sentury Foods owner David Weber.
Last Monday Weber found out a lifeline for some of his customers was at risk.

" In its current form it's a very vital necessity for the families," said Weber.
Weber's store has supported the current debit card style SNAP or food stamp program since it started in the 60s. However, the Trump administration wants to radically change SNAP to a food box delivery styled program in its 2019 budget.
" The boxes people would receive, would contain mostly shelve stable food it doesn't [provide] fresh vegetables," said Weber.
With the change low- income Americans receiving at least $90 a month would get half their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package."

" There may be a need for change for the SNAP program, but I'm not sure the proposed changes are the way to go," said Weber.
The box would include shelf stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, and beans, but no fruits or vegetables.
" [It's a] disservice to the community and the people who receive that benefit," said Weber.
Weber said right now the current SNAP program allows people to get the food their families need when they need it.
Instead of the nearly 800,000 SNAP users in Wisconsin needing to wait for a pre-arranged box delivery.
" If there is going to be changes they need to be realistic changes that won't hurt people," said Weber.

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CONOVER - Hundreds of people gathered in Conover to celebrate all things winter. On Saturday the fifth annual Northwoods Blizzard Blast was held. 

There were horse drawn sleigh rides, sledding, giant ski races, and plenty of other winter activities.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - People from as far as Iowa and New York travelled to the Northwoods on Saturday to take on a unique challenge. Boulder Junction held a new winter sports event that proved to be quite a success.

"I'm just really happy to see this all come together," said Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.

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