Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

'There's nothing. Everything's gone': Rusk County cleans up tornado mess as rivers rise from heavy rainsSubmitted: 05/18/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

'There's nothing.  Everything's gone':  Rusk County cleans up tornado mess as rivers rise from heavy rains
RUSK COUNTY - At least four government teams assessed damage on the ground in Barron and Rusk counties on Wednesday.

Those teams saw destruction which will reach into the millions of dollars in damage. Tuesday night's tornadoes killed one person and injured 25 more.

In Conrath in Rusk County, John Polak had to pause every few minutes while recounting his story of surviving the tornado. Freight trains rumbled behind his home, making it hard to hear.


But Polak said the tornado was at least four times as loud as any train.

"A noise like you've never, ever heard before," he said. "It was a horrific sound of stuff getting [broken]."

Polak and family members rode out the tornado in their basement.

"We were just stuck in the basement, because everything from our upstairs fell down in the entryway to get out of the basement," he said. "I just started throwing [stuff] out of the way until I got out."

Polak's home by the train tracks, near the constant rumbling, has been in the family since 1923. On Thursday, sounds of cleanup help from family and friends were the loudest.

"There's so much to do, and you just don't know where to start," he said.

The home was the only one completely destroyed in Rusk County, which suffered almost $400,000 of residential damage.

"There's nothing. Everything's gone," Polak said.

While heavy winds led to home damage, heavy rains led to overflowing rivers.

Main Creek closed roads near Conrath and sunk bridges in Tony. The riverbed couldn't hold Pokegama Creek near Cameron in Barron County. Barron and Rusk counties remain under an official state of emergency.

Gov. Scott Walker toured storm damage on Wednesday in Chetek. He was back in northern Wisconsin Thursday.

"This is, I think in terms of outright damage, both physical, in terms of what it did to the landscape, but also, in terms of the damage of destroying people's homes," Walker said. "I think it's the worst I've seen as governor."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINEALNDER - The warm temperatures last winter stopped some families from learning how to ski at a clinic in Rhinelander. However, this year a coach and his family couldn't have asked for a better weekend for the programs return.
Michael Bellile was all smiles this weekend. However, that wasn't the case this time last year with his ski class.
"We signed up for it last year too, so we were all disappointed when it got cancelled for the weather," said Bellile's sister Heather.
Low temperatures stopped dozens of families from learning, bonding and skiing together.
"We have perfect conditions this year we just had a fresh snowfall it's was freshly groomed last night," said Bellile. 

+ Read More

RHINELANDER -
A man fell through the ice while on his snowmobile Saturday in Rhinelander according to the Pine Lake Fire department.

The fire department responded to a report of a man laying on the ice near open water around 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The department says the man fell through the ice near the bridge on Cty W near Birchwood Dr. 

+ Read More

MADISON (AP) - Northern Wisconsin businesses that are having trouble finding employees are hoping to lure retirees to work or keep people nearing retirement on the job longer.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that economic development experts say low unemployment rates, a lack of new workers and a growing number of people on the cusp of retirement have created a major demand for workers.

+ Read More

WISCONSIN - A 46-year-old Manitowoc man that was reported missing Thursday evening was found in northern Wisconsin on Saturday.

Manitowoc Police said David L. Mellstrom had not been seen in Manitowoc since Feb. 22 around 10 p.m. Police said they had information he was in the Eagle River area yesterday.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander students got to see their former prom dresses sparkle for a second time.
Rhinelander High School's FBLA/DECA hosted its second Prom Expo at the Lund and Taylor Bridal Gallerie.
The expo held a fashion show of new prom dresses available this season.

However, used dresses made their way down the runway too.
"I knew that I wasn't going to wear it again. I'd rather have someone else get to wear it this year rather than it just sitting in my closet," said Rhinelander High School senior Carly Seidl
The store started collecting resale dresses at the beginning of February.
The $5 fee to submit a used dress went to the FBLA/DECA group.
The owner of the dress keeps the profit when it's sold.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - A clothing drive in Rhinelander helped nearly 1,000 families stay warm this season.
Warm for Winter gave families the chance to shop every last Saturday of the month since September.
This was the first time Samantha Coleman stopped by Warm for Winter.
She said she's heard about it for the last five years, but went this weekend because her kids are growing out of their clothes too quickly.

"It's really awesome that they do think of other people and their communities, because that's what makes a family. [It's] the community at the end of the day," said Coleman.
The clothing drive had clothes and toys for all ages.

+ Read More

Play Video

WOODRUFF - People came together in Woodruff on Saturday to raise money for a good cause. This was the fifth year for the Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament.

In total about 175 people entered into the tournament. People could win prizes and could help themselves to some food throughout the day.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here