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

Play Video

THREE LAKES - More than 1,500 people packed the Don Burnside park in Three Lakes this weekend.

30 teams from all over Wisconsin and the Upper Penninsula of Michigan traveled to compete at the second annual Northwoods Baseball Classic.

The turnout doubled from last year's tournament.

This year another age division was added and people could see the new renovations at the park.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A weekend-long fishing tournament in Rhinelander wrapped up Sunday. It was the 30th annual Charlie Baker Memorial Muskie Tournament. 

The tournament was held on Moen Lake. Charlie Baker worked at the mill and was an area fisherman. A group of people close to Baker named the tournament in his honor after he passed away. 

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Some Wisconsin schools will be using gunshot-detection sensors when classes resume this fall to try to get police to respond more quickly to a mass shooting.

The sensors are among various security upgrades schools are rolling out with grant money state lawmakers approved this year after the shootings in Parkland, Florida.

The Kenosha Unified School District plans to use $384,000 of its nearly $900,000 award to install sensors from New Mexico-based EAGL Technology at its 43 schools. The system is designed to alert police within seconds of shots being fired and activate surveillance cameras near their location to livestream the scene to authorities. The sensors can also lock doors after gunshots.

EAGL Technology says the number of schools across the country expressing interest in the sensors has increased since Parkland.

+ Read More

SHAWANO COUNTY - One person died in a one vehicle moped crash Sunday according to the Shawano County Sheriff's Office.

The crash happened around 4:23 p.m. The driver, and lone person on the moped, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office will not release the driver's name at this time. The crash is under investigation. 

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Republican congressman Sean Duffy won Wisconsin's seventh district by 23 points in 2016, but that hasn't stopped Democrat Margaret Engebretson from running to challenge him in the 2018 election.

Engebretson was at Blend Coffee House in Eagle River Sunday hosting a "Coffee With the Candidate" event.

She spoke about her military background and support for universal Medicaid.

Despite Duffy's advantages as an incumbent, Engebretson believes she can win by offering an inclusive message.

"There are a lot of people not sharing in the bounty of this country," Engebretson said. "They're not thriving and we must do something about it."

Brian Ewert is the only other Democrat running to challenge Duffy. The primary between Engebretson and Ewert is on Aug. 14.

+ Read More

Play Video

ARBOR VITAE - Last summer the Northwoods LBGT community and allies came together to celebrate love, diversity and acceptance.

After last year's successful festival, the Rainbow Hodags planned an even bigger one for this year.

More than 75 people celebrated gay pride at the second annual Pride Fest in Arbor Vitae.

Lots of laughter, live music, and dancing filled the park. 

+ Read More

FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.

The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.


+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here