• WQTC 102.3

Merry Christmas! Throw a snowball! Don't go to jail!

The city of Wasau, Wisconsin wants you to know that no, you won't be arrested there for throwing a snowball.

In a video posted earlier this month to YouTube, Wausau Deputy Chief of Police Matt Barnes, and Mayor Robert Mielke [milky], both insist that not only won't you be arrested for throwing a snowball in their city, you never really were in danger of it.

So how'd the rumor get started?  As Barnes notes, there's an ordinance that's been on the books in Wausau since 1962 -- ordinance #9.08.020, if you're interested -- titled "Throwing or Shooting of Arrows, Stones and Other Missiles Prohibited."  The ordinance goes on to specify that it's illegal in the city to throw or shoot things at one another, on account of how someone might be, you know, injured or killed.

But as Barnes notes, that ordinance not only doesn't mention snowballs, it never did.  Then Mayor Mielke steps into the frame and explains how recently, some national media picked up on the 57-year-old ordinance and began reporting it as if it were a recently enacted, and included snowballs.

Which not only makes Wausau officials seem like party poopers, it's also downright wacky, on account of how Wisconsin is covered in snow for a good part of the year.  In fact, the video's shot on a snow-covered public square, with police officers throwing snowballs at one another -- and at Barnes and Mielke -- throughout the whole thing.

But just to make sure there's no future confusion, officials have since amended the ordinance to make it clear that throwing snowballs is still ok.

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