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. Daniel Parmenter and Lauren Debrauwere had been dating for only two months when they sat side-by-side in the front row of an ocean science class at Northern Illinois University on Valentine's Day.
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HEROES OF THE WEEK
'He was trying to protect her'
In NIU lecture hall, Daniel Parmenter sacrificed his life to save girlfriend
By Russell Working
CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORTER
February 20, 2008
On their first date, he had brought her a rose, and Thursday he was planning to give her a silver necklace.
But he never got the chance. When Steven Kazmierczak entered the hall and began emptying a shotgun and three pistols into the crowd, the couple dropped to the floor, and Dan began praying aloud. Parmenter tried to protect Debrauwere, both families said.
"He covered her up," said Mark Debrauwere, Lauren's father.
"This kid was enormous, he's like 6-foot-5. He was like a refrigerator."
Debrauwere suffered serious injuries but survived the attack. Parmenter did not: He was shot twice in the head, twice in the back and once in the side and was pronounced dead at Kishwaukee Community Hospital later that day, said his stepfather, Bob Greer. Debrauwere, a 19-year-old sophomore from Hoffman Estates, suffered gunshot wounds to the hip and abdomen, but she was out of intensive care Tuesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, her father said. One bullet lodged in her upper chest, and it will stay there.
As his daughter struggled with her injuries those first hours after the shooting, her first concern was for her boyfriend. She was unable to talk at first because of a tube in her throat, her family said, but she would write, "Dan?"
The family didn't know how to answer. Mark Debrauwere and his ex-wife, Mary, didn't want to upset their daughter and set back her recovery.
"For a day or so, we told her, 'He's all right,'" her father said.
Finally, after consulting with a hospital social worker, the parents decided it was better to hear it from them than on TV. They broke the terrible news Saturday.
It didn't come as a surprise. "She said she knew he was dead," her father said.
On Monday, Brittany Debrauwere told her sister she was going to a visitation for Parmenter.
"She got very emotional," Brittany said. "She said he was trying to protect her."
Though they lived only about 15 miles apart as high school students -- he at York Community High in Elmhurst, she at Barrington High -- the two met at the DeKalb school. They had known each other for about a year before dating.
A miracle baby
Parmenter, 20, was raised in Elmhurst, the son of Gary Parmenter and Linda Greer. He was born with a heart defect and underwent surgery when he was a toddler. The family considered him their miracle baby, friends said.
As a youth, he helped rescue a smaller child from a tree and later stuck up for the boy when he was being bullied, said Diana Smith, his former principal at York, where he was an honors student.
On the football team, Parmenter started at defensive end his junior year, said head coach Bill Lech. He was injured the summer before his senior year, and his doctor didn't clear him to play until the Monday after the first game. By then, someone else had won Parmenter's position, but a spot opened up on offense.
Parmenter offered to switch, telling his coach, "If it's what's best for the team, that's what I'll do," Lech said.
His high school football career came to an end his senior year.
"He acquired a fracture somewhere in the back, and the doctor said, 'You can no longer play football, otherwise you risk damaging your back permanently,'" said his stepfather.
So Parmenter picked up rugby, a sport he played at NIU. At first, his mother admitted, she didn't know what rugby was.
Greer cleared it up: "'Linda, rugby is football without the padding,'" he told her.
Parmenter was a finance major and a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha; Lauren Debrauwere, a communications major, was a member of the next-door sorority Sigma Kappa.
But when they met, she was involved with someone else. Then he was.
Only in December did they begin dating each other.
"He was feeling special, excited about the relationship," Mark Debrauwere said. "Lauren was excited too. She'd liked him for some time."
Parmenter had a way of making the women in his life feel cherished. He called both his mother and his sister on Valentine's Day to say he loved them.
Parmenter's funeral Tuesday at Christ Church of Oak Brook was the third of five for students who died in the shooting.
2 funerals Wednesday
On Wednesday, a memorial service will be held for Gayle Dubowski, a 20-year-old from Carol Stream, at 7:30 p.m. at Glenbard North High School, 990 Kuhn Rd., Carol Stream. Funeral services will be private.
Also Wednesday, services will be held for Julianna Gehant, a 32-year-old from Mendota, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Church, Mendota. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery in Mendota, with full military honors.
Of the 16 people injured in the shooting, at least four remain hospitalized Tuesday, including Debrauwere. At Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Maria Ruiz Santana, 20, remained in serious condition and Sherman Yau, 20, remained in fair condition. The condition of an unidentified victim at Rockford Memorial Hospital could not be updated. The victim was listed in fair condition on Monday.
Teaching assistant Brian Karpes was discharged from St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford on Tuesday.
At Parmenter's funeral, a cross was draped in lenten purple and photos of his life were shown on a screen. His sister Kristen recalled that she and her brother talked for about 10 minutes on Valentine's Day, and he asked about her plans. He told her he had bought a special necklace for his girlfriend.
"I told him I loved him," Kristen Parmenter said Tuesday, choking back tears. "And I said goodbye. I never thought it would be the last time I got to hear his voice. It'll be a long time before I get to see Dan again."
The story of Daniel Parmenter's last minutes inspired those who knew him, fraternity brother Josh Boldt told a congregation of several hundred.
"In his final act, Dan completed what he was ultimately meant to do: save the life of another," Boldt said.
The couple's parents didn't meet until after the tragedy.
But when Parmenter's family visited Lauren Debrauwere, "they gave her the Valentine's Day present he had planned to give to her but never got around to wrapping," Mark Debrauwere said.
Dan's sister had picked it up at his fraternity house. It was the silver necklace.
Tribune staffer John Bisognano contributed to this story.Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune
PETA’S worst-dressed list….heroes in my book
VILLAINS OF THE WEEK
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain unveiling a new line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., following his Tuesday win in Wisconsin's Republican primary.
"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country . . . not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
Michelle Obama, speaking Monday in Milwaukee.
“I am proud of my country. I don’t know about you. If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country."
While introducing her husband at a rally in Brookfield, Cindy McCain spoke about her two sons serving in the military and her husband’s presidential credentials as she always does. But then she unveiled a new line – she boasted about her American pride.
"I have never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I haven’t been proud of the privilege" of being an American. "Don't tell me what we can't do. Don't tell me we can’t make our country stronger and the world safer. We can. We must. And when I'm President we will."
“I ask that you carefully consider who you sentence to work release.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, calling on judges to back off granting work-release privileges unless they're sure an inmate poses no public-safety risk. “I am disappointed in both sides of the debate on the smoking ban bill. Both sides are creating reasons not to compromise. I put forth a reasonable compromise that could actually pass the Senate and gives everyone about 85% of what they want. Unfortunately, neither side is willing to compromise enough to get this done.”
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker.
"There has not been any kind of hue and cry from customers and consumers that they want change. You're finding more and more grocery stores providing receptacles for their customers to bring the bags back. And there is a market for those bags."
Brandon Scholz of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, responding to a proposed ban on plastic bags in Wisconsin. He said the technology needed to manufacture biodegradable bags is very expensive and those costs would be passed on to consumers.
"What the governor is really saying is 'I want you to lock down virtual charter schools ... and if you don't do that I am going to burn the schools down'." "This is a special interest group getting its way."
State Senator Luther Olson (R-Ripon), after state Senate Democrats introduced an amendment that would kill virtual schools. The amendment was offered after Governor Doyle threatened to veto any bill to save virtual schools that did not contain an enrollment cap for virtual schools for the next two years.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore wrongly said on the radio recently that some 17-year-olds can vote in today's presidential primary.The Milwaukee Democrat said on WMCS-AM (1290) that 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the Nov. 4 general election are eligible to vote in the primary. But that is inaccurate - all voters must be 18 to cast a ballot today, according to the Government Accountability Board, the state agency that runs elections.
The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel
"You've got respected members of Congress spouting out complete inaccuracies, which will encourage underage voters to go out and vote, and that is illegal."
Reince Priebus, chairman of the state Republican Party, called the comments by Moore irresponsible.
“Another one would be a younger congressman, (the) ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and a tax cutter, Paul Ryan. Somebody like that who would, who would be younger than McCain, which isn’t hard to find, and, and somebody who would be much more regular on taxes than McCain has been.”
Conservative television commentator and syndicated columnist Robert Novak named (Wisconsin Congressman Paul) Ryan as a possible vice presidential candidate Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”When asked by host Tim Russert for McCain’s possible choice, Novak offered two names, both of which he admitted were not on the “A-list.”The first was Rob Portman, a former congressman and U.S. trade representative from Ohio. Then, Ryan.
OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK
The NY Times sits on a story alleging an improper relationship John McCain had with a lobbyist. The newspaper releases the story after McCain sews up the GOP Presidential nomination, and is now getting a heap of critcism, rightfully so.
MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK
State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) changes his vote on a virtual school bill. As a result, the future of virtual schools in Wisconsin is in jeopardy.
MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK
The Oscars are this Sunday. It could be a somber occasion. Viewership might be at an all-time low.
STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK
Those nasty apostrophe’s
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.