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Postal service added to grocery store Submitted: 09/16/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

NEVA - You normally write out a list of items so you can pick them up at the grocery store.

Now, Neva residents can drop things off.

The Neva Grocery and Gas station opened a Village Post Office.

That means you can drop off flat rate boxes at the grocery store.

Neva is just North of Antigo.

This is the 16th village post office to open in the state of Wisconsin.

The owner of the grocery store says she's gotten a lot of questions.

People want to know if they will take over the post office.

She wants to make it clear they're not doing that.

"No we are not taking over the post office. We are adding to the post office," said Neva Grocery and Gas Station owner, Pamela Becerra.

"We are just providing a service that the post office already provides, but at extended hours."

The new postal center officially opened last week.

The owner says they opened the village post office so they can serve the local community.

"My feeling is that all of the smaller village post offices, like mine are looking at the same thing," Becerra said.

"We are part of our community and we want to provide for our community. They in term are providing for us. So it's a win win situation anyway you look at it."

The grocery store is open seven days a week.

The store is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to noon.

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ANTIGO - For the last week and a half many people shared stories of shock, sadness, fear and hope out of Antigo.

Police, students and clergy all spoke out, struggling to figure out why the prom night shooting happened.

For the first time on Wednesday, one shooting victim told his story.

Collin Cooper, 18, said he's doing ok. He spent nearly seven days in the hospital, undergoing three surgeries to get the leg just below the knee on the right track to heal properly. He wraps an ace bandage around his left calf, which covers the wound. He also has stitches from where doctors made incisions during surgery. He also has a vacuum-assisted closure, or V.A.C., for the wound.

"I can't walk yet," Cooper said. "But they said I can put pressure on it in about three to four weeks, I think they said. But I wont be back to walking on it fully for three to four months."
He said doctors told him the bullet shattered 10 percent of his tibia, a major bone in the calf.

"They said the lucky part is it didn't hit any major arteries and it only nicked one vein," Cooper added.

Now Cooper has to sit at home and rest up. His blood levels are still low, and it hurts to hold his leg vertically. Several times a day he has to do ankle and knee exercises to strengthen the muscles around them. Otherwise he has to keep his leg elevated, even while he sleeps, which is in a hospital bed the family already had. He said it's hard sometimes to take it so easy because he's been on several sports teams throughout high school and is used to being very active.

He says when family and friends aren't visiting him at home, he plays video games and watches TV. He can't yet return to school, so he his doing some work from home.

But when you ask Cooper about how he's processing the shooting at prom, he just shrugs.

"I'm kind of bummed to be down right now but I'm thankful and lucky that it was just this and it could have been a lot worse," Cooper said.

He's been bombarded on social media, flooded with questions and friend requests. He's only posted several times since the shooting, with the #AntigoStrong hashtag that's been trending on social media since the prom.

The oldest of five has leaned on his faith, his family and his friends.

"I'm fine I just want people to worry about Collin," said Cooper's friend Spencer Fittante, 17, who was walking out of prom with Cooper when he was shot. Fittante helped tie a his tie around Cooper's leg as a tourniquet.

"I never thought anything like that would ever happen to us, ever," Fittante said.

Still, Cooper won't let the injury keep him from working this summer or walking across the stage at graduation. He joked about practicing walking up stairs with his crutches. He said he thinks his humor helps him cope.

He's proud of and humbled by the Antigo community. He said there are days when it gets hard, but he's got the support of his family and friends. He wants to move on, but he also thinks sharing his experience might be able to help others.

"It's cool to see how the town has rallied around me and the all the other victims," Cooper said. "I think it's kind of a cool opportunity to have to share with people what happened. And I can kind of help them through things too. So I mean I want to put some of it in the past but some of it I want to hold onto so I can be able to help people in the future."

Cooper said his date who was grazed by a bullet is also doing well. He said she is back at school in Illinois. Cooper still plans to work this summer and attend college in the fall. 

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RHINELANDER - Not riding the bus to school, as a kid, usually meant you overslept.

But on Wednesday morning, some students got up a little early just to miss the bus.

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MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources is starting to build a plan for moving the Division of Forestry's headquarters out of Madison.

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THREE LAKES - Texting makes communication easier and more efficient than ever.

But students at Three Lakes Junior and Senior High School learned Wednesday that, when you're driving, texting can wait. Students gathered in the gym to learn the dangers of distracted driving as part of AT&T's It Can Wait campaign.

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MADISON - Wisconsin prosecutors have charged a man accused of killing an Illinois woman in a random drive-by shooting along an interstate.

Twenty-year-old Zachary Hays was charged Wednesday with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety.

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MERRILL - Affordable housing continues to be a need for many people. With an aging infrastructure, the Merrill Housing Authority announced a $13.3 million project for a new housing complex and upgrades to its existing buildings.

The project has been in the works for over two year, and thanks to a tax credit approval from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, the project has become a reality.

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EAGLE RIVER - With her hands folded and head bowed, Northland Pines Senior Class President Sam Hytry stood humbled and empowered Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm praying for Antigo and everyone else that's involved," Hytry said.

Hytry shared those prayers during the school day through a smartphone.

"We sent out an email yesterday and we also used social media like Twitter and Facebook to kind of get the word out too," Hytry said.

The word was actually two, combined in a hashtag: "#AntigoStrong."

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