MADISON - "I, Scott Walker..."
Those words on January 3rd marked a landmark change in Wisconsin government and politics. A shift to Republican control as Scott Walker replaced Democrat Jim Doyle as governor and offered a new vision of the state's future.
"Wisconsin is open for business," Walker said.
Walker renewed his campaign pledge to create 250,000 new jobs and hinted at the dramatic changes he would propose to revitalize the state's economy.
"Creating a more vibrant economy, however, will not happen without a return to frugality in government," said Walker.
His idea of frugality was to remove most collective bargaining rights for most public workers. That did not sit well with most public workers. Thousands of protesters were drawn to the Capitol where for weeks in February they loudly opposed the changes.
"What's disgusting? Union busting," shouted protesters.
"I'm here to fight for civil rights, to fight for workers' rights," said Peter Rickman of Neenah.
Rickman was among hundreds of protesters who risked being arrested by refusing police orders to leave the Capitol. Some of the counter-protesters outside, however, came to support Walker's plan.
"Behind the governor 100 percent. It's got to stop sooner than later. Can't keep paying. Just can't," said Kevin Schutte of Pound.
The protests didn't die when the Legislature approved the changes and the budget. In late June, they spread to places like Ashwaubenon where the governor came to sign the budget bill... supporters and opponents blaming each other.
"I don't think they necessarily care much for the children. It's run by a bunch of union thugs," said Walker supporter Thomas German.
"It's unfortunate that we are characterized as union thugs when we're just actually teachers and mothers and parents who care about what's happening in the state of Wisconsin," said Kim Plaunt, a Walker opponent.
Again with the budget signing, the protests didn't die... like when the governor visited the Lakeshore in November.
"He-he-ho-ho. Scott Walker has got to go," chanted protesters.
Walker opponents have now turned their attention to trying to reverse the 2010 election by recalling Walker which can be done after he's been in office a year. That date will come Tuesday, January 3rd. And as 2011 comes to an end, the gathering of more than half a million recall petitions continues with the success or failure of that effort not known until early next year.
Single-digit temperatures and light snow are greeting Green Bay Packers fans at Lambeau Field.
A celebration at the nation's first school forest is sending Laona students back to their roots.
Several fire departments battling a shed fire in Abrams.
An armed robbery suspect sustained life-threatening injuries after being shot in Fond du Lac County.
First responders helped ring in the holidays at the 45th annual Howard-Suamico Christmas Parade.
Christmas is just two and half weeks away, and kids and families are getting into the holiday spirit.