Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...
HEROES OF THE WEEK
We have several this week, beginning with Chris Cook of Mukwonago who receives the Bronze Medal Star today in Elkhorn.
Cook is a retired Wisconsin National Guard member who was injured in Iraq in 2004. Chris will be receiving the Bronze Star Medal with V device (for valor) for his actions the day he was injured, which saved the lives of the other service members from Bravo Company, 118th Medical Battalion in his convoy.
Wisconsin Public Television did a documentary that featured Cook and the events from 2004. It aired last week. You can see Parts 1 and 4 of War Story: An In Wisconsin Special. This page will allow you to link to those segments. Producer Frederica Freyberg tells the story of two Wisconsin National Guardsmen who served in Iraq.
• Part 1 - The Battle (7:58)
• Part 4 - Insult to Injury (5:43)
Also making the list of heroes this week, Amy Gray.
Brookfield grad found man being mauled by grizzly
By JODY L. MAYERS Waukesha Freeman Staff
BROOKFIELD – Armed with a stuffed grizzly bear in one hand and a package of Teddy Grahams cookies in another, 19-year-old Amy Gray made her way to St. Johns’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyo., Thursday to visit the man she helped save after he was mauled by a grizzly bear.
“He was really in good spirits and the happiest bear attack victim I’ve ever met,” Gray said during a telephone interview Thursday.
Gray, a 2006 Brookfield Central High School graduate, encountered a mother grizzly bear and three of her nearly adult young while driving a chuck wagon with a fellow coworker Wednesday morning at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
“I noticed the bears all standing on their hind legs so I slammed on my brakes which scared them away and I tried to grab my camera,” she said. “At first I thought I was lucky to see them so close until I saw a man running down a cliff.”
That man, who saw the victim being attacked, helped Gray and her co-worker get him into the truck and drive back for help.
“He was bleeding pretty bad and had chunks of flesh missing from his behind and thigh and his back was chewed up,” she said. “He is lucky to be alive. I was told one of the bites was an inch from puncturing his lungs but his injuries were all external.”
Steven Gray talked to his daughter after the attack Wednesday morning and was stunned by the event his daughter unfolded to him over the phone.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I was scared for her, but at the same time happy about what she had the guts to do.”
Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said the victim of the bear attack, 54-year old Dennis Van-Denbos of Wyoming, was on his way back from a hike when he noticed an elk in distress.
“As he got closer he noticed the bear and her cubs feeding on the carcass,” she said. “That is when she responded in a defensive matter.”
Skaggs said elk are seen regularly throughout the park, especially this time of year when they birth their calves.
“The mother bear can become defensive if she feels threatened or is surprised,” she said. “We do know of this particular bear, and she has never caused problems in the past. (VanDenbos) just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The area of the attack as well as the service trail will be closed until further notice, Skaggs said.
Amy Gray, who will be a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point studying to be a dietitian, said she will never forget what happened during her 2007 summer job.
“I was just running on adrenaline,” she said. “It was the scariest moment in my life.”
Steven Gray said his daughter demonstrates the type of qualities that would propel her in the direction of her most recent deed and said it is no surprise.
“For her senior trip while all her classmates decided to go to Florida, Amy asked my wife (Caron) and I if she could go to Tanzania to help orphans whose parents have died from AIDS,” he said. “That’s just the type of person she has always been.”
Caron Gray who said her daughter has a passion for the outdoors said she and her husband will think twice when they take a highly anticipated bear tour to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park to visit Amy in August.
“The funny thing is, she was nervous about bears before she took this job and I told her it was nothing to worry about,” she said. “Of course when she called to tell us what had happened I felt awful. I felt like I was setting her up to be bait. You never think something like this will happen. I’m so proud of her.”
Amy Gray said the memory alone is not enough for her.
“It’s my first summer away from home and this happened,” she said. “I think I’m going to get a grizzly bear tattoo to remember it by.”
And, Michael Schultz of New Berlin
VILLAINS OF THE WEEK
Murder and child abuse suspects in Portage.
Those who ignored a woman who bled to death in a California hospital’s emergency room.
The West Bend School Board
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"I guarantee you that Wisconsin will not fall into the sea if we end up with no budget. Prisoners will not be let out of prison."
State Representative Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin), on what would happen if state legislators can’t agree on a state budget. He said he's willing to do whatever it takes to stop tax increases proposed by Governor Doyle.
”When you've already proposed tax hikes of $3 billion, what's a few million more? This is the cavalier philosophy of legislative Democrats who expect Wisconsin's families to foot the bill for their $3 billion wish list.
Undeterred by criticism from Republicans and taxpayers alike about a tax-and-spend agenda that costs every man, woman and child in Wisconsin another $536, Democrats pushed to add $75 million in new tax dollars to their proposed slush fund. Democrats now want Wisconsin companies to pay state income taxes for subsidiaries that are not located in Wisconsin and are not doing business here.
In their state budget proposal, Governor Jim Doyle and the Democrats already are pushing to raise your taxes when you get sick, drive a car, sell a house, get a post-high school degree, download a song, or even throw out the garbage. They even want to raise taxes on small businesses that file their taxes on paper rather than electronically. A tax on filing your taxes!”
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem)
” Doyle is the Barry Bonds of the league. He's got a powerful swing, but that doesn't make him universally popular. His steroid-enhanced veto pen allows him to control the game in the bottom of the ninth if he wishes. Doyle's ability to delete individual words and numbers in the final budget - decried by critics as the "Frankenstein veto" - give him enormous power to shape state spending no matter what the Legislature intends.”
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram in an editorial
” We complain about paying $3.50 per gallon of gas to oil companies reporting record profits and paying exorbitant salaries to executives. But we think nothing of paying $150 to the Packers for a seat at Lambeau Field to watch overpaid athletes. Where is the price gouging?
Governor Doyle has claimed: "Big oil companies have been reaping huge profits on the backs of middle-class families for years." (evidently it does not affect low or high class families). In fact, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that oil companies earned a profit of about ten cents a gallon the last time prices jumped above $3. There is no reason to believe that number has increased dramatically recently.
The state of Wisconsin gas tax is 38 cents per gallon, nearly four times what oil companies make. Who is doing the gouging?”
Oshkosh Northwestern community columnist David Hayford
"I think it shows the vulnerability of a stand alone Midwest. The whole purpose of our actions from the get-go is to try to build a stronger airline for both us and them."
AirTran CEO and Chairman Joe Leonard after Midwest showed lower earnings in the second quarter. Leonard says the report reinforces the belief that the Midwest board should consider AirTran’s offer of cash and stock in a deal worth about $389 million
”A liberal is a person who is so broad-minded that he won’t take his own side in an argument.”
Seen on a bumper sticker around town this week. The author is Robert Frost.
OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK
A woman lies on the floor of a Los Angeles hospital emergency room. She’s ignored as she bleeds to death. The 9-1-1 tapes cause an uproar.
MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK
Wisconsin has the largest budget deficit in the country. See paragraph three.
Gee, I guess the Journal/Sentinel missed that front page story.
MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK
The last episode of the Sopranos.
STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK
Can you be arrested for “embracing while driving?” Apparently you can.
REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.