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Family's Vacation Home Wasn't Just Vandalized-- it Was Torn to PiecesSubmitted: 01/24/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ANTIGO - A group of tractor enthusiasts showed off their work Monday morning at Antigo's Memorial Day parade.

The Northwoods Tractor Club prides itself on refurbishing old tractors to like new condition.

The not for profit group started with just 20 members and has steadily grown to more than 100.

"Northwoods Tractor Club started in 2011 and it's a group of tractor enthusiasts that kinda thought well maybe we should get together and have an organization, maybe help out the community a little bit. So, we got together with 20 guys back then and now we're well over 100 members," says club President Mike McDougal.

Many of the tractors are hand me downs or ones that are too old to be used in the field.

That's why finding replacement parts can be tricky.

"A lot of times it's the family tractor that had been on their parents or grandparents farm. We reworked it and use it for parades such as today. Our whole general purpose of the organization is to raise money and establish an agriculture tractor museum up just north of Antigo is where we're looking at some land right now," says McDougal.

Many of the tractors date back to the 1930s.

Meeting are held on the last Monday of every month at Quinn's Bar in Neva Corners.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/30/2016

- We will take you across the Northwoods to show you Memorial Day celebrations that took place today.

- Plus, while the rain this weekend stopped some Memorial Day activities, businesses in the Northwoods saw sales boom.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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ST. GERMAIN - Thousands of visitors come to the Northwoods each year in search of treasures old and new.

That's because one of the largest flea markets happens right in St. Germain.

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SHARON, WI - Authorities say four people were killed and four others were injured when a fully loaded semi-truck hit a pickup truck and SUV in Walworth County.

The Walworth County Sheriff's Office says a preliminary investigation finds that the semi-truck was headed north on Highway K about 11:45 a.m. Saturday when the pickup truck failed to yield at a stop sign.

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SAULT STE. MARIE, MI - The U.S. Coast Guard is working on plans on how it will try to free a freighter that ran aground in Whitefish Bay off Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw says the Coast Guard on Sunday was continuing to monitor the safety of the crew of the Roger Blough and to monitor for any environmental problems.

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CONOVER - The rain fortunately stayed away in Conover for a part of Sunday afternoon just in time for the grand opening of the Conover-Phelps bike trail.

The project has been years in the making, and now it's ready to ride. A couple hundred people and local leaders came out in support of it.

"There's a real feel for people being enthusiastic about this," said Jeff Currie, the President of Great Headwaters Trails, which helped lead the bike trail project.

It's supposed to connect Conover to Phelps through nearly 11 miles of paved trail. The first part is open and goes from Conover Community Park to Muskrat Creek Road.

"3.2 miles on the ground and ready to be ridden on biked or hiked," said Brian Blank, the chairman of the Conover-Phelps Trail Capital Campaign.

"When people hear about a town and then when people say, have you seen their bike trail, it's just, right away it's like there's more to that town than I thought there was," Currie said.

While not yet complete, project leaders are hopeful the trail will be finished soon. Project leaders say the second part of the trail, about five miles long, is fully engineered but about 60 percent funded.

"We're about $200,000 away from completing the remaining five miles," Blank said.

"You know that funding could come, and when it does, five miles of trail in two or three months will be on the ground," Currie said.

"I have no doubt in the next couple years this trail will be completed all the way to Phelps," said Gary Meister, the vice president of Great Headwaters Trails.

The trail is non-motorized so, no ATVs allowed, but it will be a snowmobile trail in the winter.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Firefighters call a Town of Berlin house a total loss after a fire destroyed it early Sunday morning.

According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, crews got a call around 1:40 a.m. to the 11,000 block of Naugart Drive. When they got there, the house was totally up in flames.Several surrounding fire departments were called in to help.

No one was hurt. The house is valued at more than $100,000. 

Investigators don't think the cause of the fire was anything suspicious, but they are still investigating. 

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