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Making Schools SaferSubmitted: 02/04/2013
Story By Lex Gray


MOSINEE - When you think back to Sandy Hook, you probably think of the name Adam Lanza.

He's the man who gunned down 20 children and six adults at the elementary school in December.

That tragedy has led to a tense gun control debate…and talks about how to deal with mental illness.

It's also made us talk more about school security – but Lanza didn't just walk through those front doors.

They were locked, but he easily shot through a window and got in.

When Dick Peterson of Mosinee heard that part of the story, he thought he could help.

Peterson's daughter and three granchildren live in Newtown.

"The day of the shooting, my daughter called in the morning, and she said 'Dad turn the TV on, there's something that's happened here,'" Peterson said. "It wasn't quite so bad the first day, but then she found out some of her friends lost their children and kids, when she picked them up. It was tough."

Peterson makes his living putting energy-saving film on glass windows and doors.

But he also installs bomb-blast security film.

"I've done 8 ml bomb blast film to protect people like senators, FBI officers, and big credit card companies," Peterson said.

So why not schools? Peterson decided to experiment.

He put bomb blast film on a glass frame, then fit the border with a retention system.

Bullets could still go through, but Peterson's idea is that if the glass doesn't shatter like it did at Sandy Hook, students and teachers would have enough time to evacuate or call police before an attacker broker through.

And unlike bulletproof glass, Peterson can easily retrofit current windows and glass doors with his design.

"It's just like any of the tinting that I do – it's the most efficient way of saving energy," he said. "The security film is the most efficient way of protecting yourself."

Peterson went through two rounds of tests, shooting at the glass prototype and beating it with a bat and gun.

His second prototype worked out well enough that he's ready to show it to school officials and law enforcement Wednesday.

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ST. GERMAIN - Last year, every member of the Vilas County Board voted to send a pointed message on shoreland zoning to Wisconsin's state legislature.

Every member--except one.

Eighteen board members voted for a resolution saying the new, relaxed state shoreland zoning rules were no good. Those board members believed the county's own, stricter shoreline zoning rules served its lakes well.

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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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CHICAGO - A former vice president at MillerCoors has pleaded guilty to defrauding the beer-maker of more than $8 million.

Fifty-nine-year-old Dave Colletti of Chicago pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of wire fraud in federal court. A sentencing date was not set.

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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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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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MANITOWISH WATERS - The teachers and staff at the North Lakeland School in Manitowish Waters can get coffee for free in the teachers' lounge. But on Wednesdays, they choose to pay for their orders.

On those days, 50 cents will get them a hot cup of gourmet coffee brewed and delivered by Hannah Semmerling and Nattie Schellinger.

The eighth-graders opened up H & N's Coffee Shop this school year. Their teachers help out, but the girls do most of the work themselves.

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PRESQUE ISLE - We told you last year about a possible water bottling plant in Minocqua, that didn't end up happening. 

Instead, project leaders tried to open the bottling facility in Presque Isle, but that might not happen either.

The Presque Isle Zoning Committee voted Wednesday against changing zoning rules for the plant.

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