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

Family's Vacation Home Wasn't Just Vandalized-- it Was Torn to Pieces
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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/19/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

A Crandon mother reports her sixth-grade son had a knife and gun pulled on him by another student at a high school football game. Now, she's saying she wants justice for her son. We'll bring you the details.

Merrill Police are looking into several acts of vandalism that happened earlier this week. We talk to the police captain and a man whose garage was vandalized.

And we introduce you to a woman in the Rhinelander area who keeps an eye on homes of people who are gone for the winter to make sure they're safe.

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

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MERRILL - Tucked away in the southwest corner of Merrill you can find one of only 19 World War One memorials in Wisconsin. 

People from Lincoln County who died during the war are honored there. 
 
Wednesday, a group of volunteers paid their respects to those service men with some soap, water, and hard work. 

"It's a good opportunity to pay back that service," said Church Mutual employee Sheila Severt. 

Church Mutual employees get one day a year to volunteer in the community, Severt wanted to do something to help veterans.

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RHINELANDER - One Rhinelander man's love for drumming started in 6th grade.

That passion led him to start making his own drums.

Northland Music Center owner Will Roffers recently started hand-building custom snare drums.

Some of the shells he works with are pre-made, but his "stave" shells are shaped and sanded.

He used to build and race stock cars, so he knew how to weld and mold, but drum making was a bit more challenging.

"Working with wood is tough for me. You cut something wrong and there's not putting it back together ," says Will.

Will eventually wants to hand-build snare drums to sell to the public.

In the meantime, he restores and customizes sets for customers.

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MADISON - The Senate judiciary committee is set to vote on four bills that would impose tougher drunken driving penalties.

The Republican proposals would create a five-year minimum prison sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and raise the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.

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MADISON - It would be a felony to have sex with an animal in Wisconsin under a bill circulating in the Legislature.

Under current law, having sex with an animal is a misdemeanor.

Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, circulated a bill Thursday to increase the penalty. He referenced a case from the Town of Eaton involving a man who faces misdemeanor charges of animal abuse after an incident in February involving a horse.

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APPLETON - At about 100 feet when fully extended, climbing to the top of the Merrill Fire Department's new ladder truck isn't for the faint of heart.

"It's a pretty cool feeling," firefighter Rick Sparks said.

But both standing 100 feet in the air and flat on the ground, Sparks was happy to look at his new truck from all sides.

"From the first ideas of a new ladder to seeing it here today and being able to go up on that platform was pretty neat," Sparks said.

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RHINELANDER - Tammy Walters works to fight for veterans' rights and benefits every day.

The Oneida County Veterans Service Officer will now do that on an even bigger scale.

Walters was elected as the president of the County Veterans Service Officers Association of Wisconsin.

"I'm a retired Senior Chief from the Navy, so I'm used to being a leader," she said. "It was just an opportunity for me to kind of do what I did in the military and take a leadership position."

The state association closely monitors the state legislature on veterans issues. It gives input on bills and brings concerns to the attention of lawmakers.

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