CRANDON - Terri Burl wanted to ask more questions than make comments during Congressman Sean Duffy's town hall in Crandon on Thursday.
"Everybody's in the state of the unknown right now," Burl said.
Burl, a Republican, was thinking of her 26-year-old son in Oshkosh as she asked Duffy (R-Wausau) about health care concerns. She worries about tax penalties for her uninsured son and the GOP's lack of solid ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act.
"They kept saying, 'We have a plan, we have a plan, all we need is a president who will sign,'" Burl said. "Well, so we have a president who will sign a bill and suddenly they don't have a plan."
Burl's anger seems to have hit the White House, too. This month, President Trump announced he would end the approximately $7 billion payments the government makes to exchanges to keep premiums down. Duffy says Trump -- like Barack Obama -- doesn't have the authority to spend the money in the first place, noting it's Congress that should deal with finances.
"That frustration, I think is boiling right now," Duffy told Newswatch 12 after the Crandon town hall.
Duffy says a bi-partisan deal from Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Patty Murray (D-Washington) to extend those payments another two years could work, but there needs to be a trade-off. Duffy wants to get rid of the ACA's insurance requirement for individuals and businesses. He'd also like to send money directly to states in the form of block grants.
"We're different in Wisconsin than people in California or New York or Mississippi, so let us do our own thing," Duffy said. "If you do that, I think we'll be pretty close to a deal."
That kind of deal is one the left-leaning group Citizen Action of Wisconsin would at least listen to.
"Obviously we differ on the block grant idea, I'm not a big fan of that and neither are the members of Citizen Action of Wisconsin," organizer Joel Lewis said. "However, I do agree that the state has the ability to stop the pain from the federal government and Trump's recent executive orders."
Lewis says premiums for people in Rhinelander on exchanges will jump 55-percent in 2018. Lewis points to numbers on the Citizen Action of Wisconsin website that show BadgerCare public-option premiums would cost people 6-percent less than exchanges. He thinks allowing that public option in Wisconsin would save people hundreds of dollars.
"This isn't the working poor that's going to be affected," Lewis said. "This is the upper-middle class and in many cases the folks that voted for Trump."
As the president continues to bounce back and forth between supporting the bi-partisan deal, (Trump went from supporting the deal this week to saying, "I am not going to do anything to enrich the insurance companies.") Duffy is hopeful, but not necessarily confident a deal can be reached.
"If this is a very skinny deal on reform, but large payments to the Obamacare exchanges, I don't think that's going to fly," Duffy said.
Duffy also talked about tax reform on Thursday. He says it's a much simpler fix than Obamacare and doesn't expect any action on health care until after January 1, 2018, despite Alexander saying he expects the bill to become law before year's end.
Duffy held town halls in Eagle River, Crandon, and Florence on Thursday. He'll be in Ladysmith and Grantsburg on Friday.
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.
ROSENDALE, WI - An explosion and fire at a cheese plant in Fond du Lac County sent one person to the hospital.
The sheriff's office says 36-year-old Travis Klotzbach, of Brandon, was using a cutting torch on an empty 55-gallon barrel in the auto shop at Knaus Cheese near Rosendale when the explosion happened just after 7 a.m. Friday.
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.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.