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.
- If you've ever voted before, you've likely seen the Eagle voter machine take your ballot. But those machines need to be tested before every election to make sure they're working properly. We'll show you how that's done tonight at 5, 6 and 10.
- Plus, an Antigo High School graduate is now a student manager for the Wisconsin Badger Basketball team. We'll tell you his story.
We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
MILWAUKEE - Democratic Party leaders say Milwaukee was chosen to host the presidential debate because of the state's battleground status in the Midwest.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she expects Democrats to do well this fall in Wisconsin considering the position of the Republican field, which she says is far to the right.
MINOCQUA - Channeling your child's energy can be quite a task. The Family Resource Connection from Children's Hospitals of Wisconsin has found a way to combine music and movement to stimulate your child's development.
The Music Garden program is designed to awaken your child's imagination while celebrating the remarkable bond shared between you.
IRON COUNTY - Humans aren't equipped for single-digit and sub-zero temperatures, but huskies definitely are.
During cold snaps like this week, dog sled drivers can't pass up an opportunity to take the dogs out running—dog sledding or skijoring.
MJ Slone and Chad McGrath in Springstead have 11 huskies at their home. All the dogs are from shelters or families that can't take care of them anymore.
"It was often a sled driver with a team who had maybe 30, 40, 50 dogs and one dog wouldn't fit the team anymore or teams so we would get it," said McGrath.
For Slone and McGrath, taking in dogs started more than 20 years ago.
"Well, I brought home a pup from Alaska because I had worked up there doing some consulting work," said Slone. "My idea was to skijor, which was a fairly new thing in 1990 in the U.S….And then I realized dogs don't like to run alone, so I got another dog….and then I got another dog."
These dogs aren't competitive —they're mostly for recreational racing. Slone and McGrath host outdoor groups and school kids for sled dog racing throughout the winter. They encourage people to get out and try these sports during the winter, even if it's bitterly cold.
"It's the partnership with the dogs," Slone said. "They bring an enthusiasm to your life that you just can't get….They are always happy to see you."
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