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Wausau police clarify misconceptions about 'snowball ban' in lighthearted Facebook video Submitted: 12/06/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin
Reporter/Anchor
sgoin@wjfw.com

Wausau police clarify misconceptions about 'snowball ban' in lighthearted Facebook video
Photos By Wausau Police Department

WAUSAU - As nearly eight inches of snow fell in Wausau last week, a local media outlet reported on a nearly 60-year-old law banning snowballs in public places around the city.

In part, Wausau Municipal Code 9.08.020 reads, "no person shall throw or shoot any object, arrow, stone, snowball or other missile or projectile, by hand or by any other means, at any other person or at, in or into any building, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, park, playground or other public place within the city."

The story of that ordinance was picked up nationally by the New York Post, Newsweek, New York Daily News, Fox News, Today.com and other media outlets.

Barstool Sports went as far as calling Wausau "the worst town in America" because of the ordinance.

Friday, the Wausau Police Department took to Facebook to clarify any misconceptions in a lighthearted video. In the video, police can be seen throwing several snowballs.

Police took issue with the fact that national reports made it sound like the law was new.

"The ordinance that I just read was enacted by our Wausau common council in 1962, long before I was even born," said Dep. Chief Matt Barnes.

In the video, Barnes stressed that the ordinance was in the interest of public safety and included other projectiles, not just snowballs. He also reported that people were not often cited for the offence.

"The Wausau Police Department has used this ordinance and issued citations about 10 times in the last 15 years," said Barnes. "Over that time only on two occasions has it been used to address people throwing snowballs."

Wausau's Mayor Robert Mielke made an appearance in the video to let people know that Wausau is still a "fun" city, despite the ordinance.

"We do like to have a great time here in the city of Wausau, there's a lot of great things in our city, great people, great employees and a wonderful place to live," said Mielke.

In 2018, a town in Colorado repealed a similar snowball ban that also made national headlines. Such bans appear to be common in municipalities across the United States. 


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