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Governor Walker visits World Championship Snowmobile Derby Submitted: 01/18/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas


EAGLE RIVER - Over 30 thousand people will attend the 50th Anniversary World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River this weekend.

One of them was Governor Scott Walker, who stopped by tonight to deliver opening remarks.

He talked about the grand tradition of the derby and how important the snowmobiling industry is to Wisconsin.


With over 25 thousand miles of trails, snowmobiling brings in about 1 billion dollars.

The Governor emphasized how important the industry is to our state.

"When we think of the winter, coming out in this part of the state and around the state, snowmobiling is a key part of tourism, a key part of our states economy. We want to make sure people keep coming back for that over and over again," said Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Walker declared this week Snowmoblie Safety Week

He says safety is the number one priority out on the trails.

"We want to make sure that when people are out on the trails, theyre having a lot of fun but they're doing it safely so they keep coming back over and over again. Because we've got some of the best trails in the world not only at this track, but Eagle River is the snowmobile capitol of the world and we want to keep people coming back," said Gov. Walker.

Gov. Walker adds the snowmoblie derby is a jewel for the state and the entire country.

He said he even remembers hearing about the derby when he was a child.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The tree killing Emerald Ash Borer spreads to another northern Wisconsin community.

The DNR confirmed yesterday the invasive pest has now been found in Wisconsin Rapids.

It's the first time Emerald Ash Borer has turned up in Wood County.

A test was done on a sample collected near the intersection of Lincoln Street and East Riverview Expressway on April 27th.

Evidence of the infestation has also been found in other nearby trees.

Wood County was already in the process of being quarantined as a result of the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Stevens Point.

That means businesses handing wood products that COULD carry the Emerald Ash Borer must work to ensure their products are pest free.

Moving firewood from place to place is one way the pest gets to new areas.

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MADISON - Democrat Russ Feingold has launched an attack ad against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson related to problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah.

The spot released Thursday comes after a conservative outside group began a $2 million ad buy targeting Feingold on the same issue.

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KEWAUNEE - State officials say 11 of 30 wells tested in northeastern Wisconsin are contaminated with salmonella or rotavirus.

The Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Service released the results. There have been no reported illnesses linked to the wells tested in Kewaunee County.

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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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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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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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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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