WAUSAU - In the 2012 elections, the campaign for Rep. Sean Duffy's 7th congressional district seat become the most expensive congressional race in Wisconsin history.
Duffy cruised to a win over Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow.
Heading into 2014, Duffy has a new challenger, and she opened her campaign with a punch.
"Too many people feel that Sean Duffy isn't willing to listen to our concerns, to work on our behalf, or to vote in a way that represents our best interests," said Ashland Democrat Kelly Westlund.
Westlund came out swinging on the first day of her bid to unseat Republican Congressman Sean Duffy Tuesday in Wausau.
"Unlike Sean Duffy, I plan to do more than ask for your vote. I plan to earn it," she told supporters.
Westlund slammed Duffy time and time again to open her campaign.
"I need to make sure I can draw the contrasts and show people how I'm different from Sean Duffy. But I think that it's not necessarily anti-Sean Duffy to tell the truth and say that he says one thing in the district and votes another way when he gets back to Washington, D.C.," she told reporters after the event.
If she's elected, Westlund will make a huge political jump.
She currently serves on the Ashland City Council.
By contrast, the sprawling 7th Congressional District covers roughly the northern third of Wisconsin.
While attacking Duffy for his actions in office, she said she will wait until she's heard from more people in northern Wisconsin roundtable events to form her own specific policy ideas.
"Those are going to help me solidify some policy positions, and at that point, I'll be able to present some positive alternatives to what Sean Duffy has to offer," Westlund said.
But she took a strong stand Tuesday on a fairly controversial issue - the Affordable Care Act.
"I'd like to see it expanded. I'd like to see it expanded, I'd like to see negotiation over drug prices, I would like to see a public option, frankly," she said.
Westlund said Tuesday she's most interested in presenting the positive vision for the future of the congressional district during her campaign.
But she started by targeting Duffy, and the Republican Party of Wisconsin labeled her Tuesday as "nothing more than a blank check for Barack Obama and a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi's backward agenda."
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.
Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.
"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."
You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32. Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.
The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond. He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses. He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.
Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.
Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years. Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him. The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.
RHINELANDER - Snow plows can't do their job very well when cars sit in their way. That's why Rhinelander's winter parking ban will return in just a couple of weeks.
Starting December 1st, cars can only park on designated sides of the street during the day. On even-numbered days, cars park on the side of the street with even addresses. On odd numbered days, cars must park on odd-numbered sides of the street.
EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.
The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.
"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.
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