Duffy challenger kicks off campaign, wants to see Affordable Care Act expandedSubmitted: 12/10/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

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."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/26/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We talked to a Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce board member about what the future holds as they search for a new executive director almost a month after Bill Clow was let go from the position.

We'll tell you when snowmobile trails are set to open in Vilas County and what's being done to prepare for the season.

And as the World Series is taking place between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, we'll introduce you to the grandson of legendary baseball player and former Three Lakes resident Cy Williams. Hear what William's grandson has to say about his grandfather's baseball career.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill choir teacher will be sentenced today for sexual assault.

Last month, 26 year old Chase Tonar plead no contest to sexual assault of a student by school staff in Lincoln County Court.

Tonar is accused of having sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

Police arrested Tonar in July.

The Lincoln County District Attorney says he will ask for jail time, as well as sex offender reporting and counseling.

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MADISON - A University of Wisconsin student charged with sexually assaulting and choking a woman is expected to face additional charges after investigators say they were contacted by dozens of other women.

Police say officers searching Alec Cook's Madison apartment found a black book with names of women he had met and what he wanted to do with them, including his sexual desires.

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MADISON - Even with higher fees, plenty of people want to camp in state parks.

Wisconsin state park use this year is on track to be higher than average, despite fee increases that were imposed to offset the withdrawal of tax support.

The number of camping registrations and nights camped in 2016 through Friday was greater than in any year since 2008 except for last year's record.

This year, there have been nearly 160,000 camping registrations and more than 386,000 nights camped for state parks, recreation areas and southern forests.

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MADISON - The state Natural Resources' board will soon vote on selling another 3,500 acres of public land.

A measure included in the state budget ordered the DNR to sell 10,000 acres by the middle of next year.

Money raised will help pay down debt in the agency's land stewardship program.

The Natural Resources board approved putting about 1,400 acres up for sale in 2014.

Another 5,700 acres went up for sale this past February.

The board should vote Wednesday in Madison on whether to put a final 93 parcels totaling just over 3,500 acres up for sale.

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RHINELANDER - The finishing touches of Rhinelander's Downtown Streetscape project will include painting crosswalks, removing traffic gates, and completing sidewalks. Planting dozens of trees downtown will also help the city finish the major project.

Nationwide, "Arbor Day" falls in late April. But the city proclaimed Tuesday Arbor Day in Rhinelander.

It's a recognition of the importance trees play in finishing the streetscape project and in Rhinelander as a whole.

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