MONICO - Vacation homes should be an escape from reality; a place to be stress free.
But a family with one near Rhinelander got a strong dose of both stress and reality this week.
"The Sheriff's Department said the house had been burglarized and extensively damaged," says Brian Wierzbicki.
Brian and his wife Lynn have shared this vacation home on Venus Lake with their family since the 1970's. When they came to see the damage from a burglary this week, they found a lot more devastation than broken glass.
"Virtually every single room was destroyed. There isn't anything that isn't damaged," says Wierzbicki.
"Through that door there, they came through the screen porch and kicked that door open, or smashed it with some heavy object. Once inside they used the axes on the ceilings, the walls, all of the paintings, the prints, the front of the stove and the microwave. They used the axes on all of the cupboard doors and the counter top."
That wasn't all. The vandals chopped up the furniture, tore light fixtures from the ceiling, smashed the TVs, and shattered doors, and windows.
"My wife is an oil paint artist. They tore all of the art in the house, just like this one," says Wierzbicki while holding one of his wife's paintings that's now torn to shreds.
The Wierzbicki's don't even know where to start with the cleanup. But Brian did all the original remodeling, and guess there's at least $50,000 worth of damage.
"We're thinking the entire house has to be gutted. Floor, walls, ceiling in every room have to be removed and redone," says Wierzbicki.
It's a devastating loss of family history and memories. And the Wierzbicki's think these vandals might have serious issues.
"Our friends and others that came through said it was like an axe murder did this. That it was the mentality of an axe murderer," says Wierzbicki.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the break-in. We'll keep you updated as details become available.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
RHINELANDER - People deposited more than just money at a Rhinelander bank Friday morning. A blood drive at People's State Bank allowed donors to double down on what they gave.
Nurses from the Community Blood Center took donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the "Give a Pint, Give a Pound" blood drive. For every pint donated, the Blood Center will give a pound of food to the Lakeland Food Pantry.
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