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.
RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.
They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.
"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.
This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.
Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.
"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."
Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.
In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.
"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."
12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.
The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.
The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.
RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.
And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.
They swore in the new officer Friday morning.
Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.
Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.
"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.
Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.
"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.
Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.
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