Northwest Wisconsin News Center

Barron County Community Coalition and Barron County Sheriff's Department Reminds Parents and Party Hosts Who Loses The Most

posted May 26, 2017, 5:53 AM by Ryan Quinn

BARRON COUNTY, Wis. -- During this season of social gatherings, a reminder from the Barron County Community Coalition and Barron County Sheriff’s Department to parents who may want to host a party and serve alcohol:  Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking. 

Now through June, coalition members and the Barron County Sheriff’s Department are raising awareness about the risks of serving and providing alcohol to minors at parties. “Parents Who Host Lose the Most,” is a community effort to alert parents of the legal and health related consequences of purchasing, providing, or pouring alcohol for anyone under age 21, other than their own child. 

Coalition members are providing information about the dangers of underage drinking, the legal consequences of hosting underage drinking in your home, and how adults can host safe and fun alcohol free events for youth.  

Here are some tips for adults (especially parents) on how to avoid being a party to teenage drinking: Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy. 

Taking a tough stand on alcohol use can help youth say no when they are pressured to drink by their friends. 

Talk with other adults about hosting alcohol-free youth events. 

Unity creates a tough, enforceable message. Set a positive example. 

If you host a party, always serve alternative non-alcoholic beverages and do not let anyone drink and drive.
Stay home if a teen is hosting a party in your home.

Observe the activities and confiscate any alcohol that may brought by party goers. 

Report underage drinking to the police promptly.

Body of One Canoeist Found

posted May 26, 2017, 5:48 AM by Ryan Quinn

The Ladysmith Police Department says the body of one of two missing canoeists was found Wednesday. 

35-year-old Jacob E. Fye of Ladysmith was located through a continuous effort by the Ladysmith Police Department, Ladysmith Fire Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  

Last Thursday, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a capsized canoe by the Clearwater Paper Company Dam, in Ladysmith. 

Efforts to find the other canoeist, 36-year old Matthew C. Kenny of Ladysmith, will resume today.  

Law enforcement is urging local residents to use extreme caution when out in rain swollen streams and rivers.

Tornado Upgraded To EF3

posted May 26, 2017, 5:47 AM by Ryan Quinn

The tornado that moved across several counties, including Polk Barron and Rusk Counties last week has been reclassified upward from an EF2 to an EF3.  

The National Weather service also says the tornado was on the ground for 83 miles, setting a new record in Wisconsin for the longest ground path for a tornado since record keeping began in the 1950s.

Tree Removal Reminders

posted May 26, 2017, 5:46 AM by Ryan Quinn

The loss of trees has been devastating with the recent storm damage in the Cameron/Chetek area. 

This loss of trees has resulted in severe damage to shoreland vegetation which may lead to potential erosion of the shoreline. 

Please keep in mind when removing trees along the shoreline that it is important to minimize disturbance that may result in further damage due to erosion. 

It is recommended that stumps be cut at ground level and left in place to minimize disturbance. 

Trees that have been uprooted and require stump removal must be filled and properly stabilized immediately upon removal of the stump. 

Please contact the Department of Land Services for further information and assistance at 715-537-6375.   

For information regarding repairing and/or replacing damaged structures, please contact the Barron County Department of Land Services. 

Many structures may be non-conforming and require county staff to evaluate the damaged structure before repair or removal of the structure. 

Land Services staff will make every effort to process permit applications as soon as possible. 

Please contact the Department of Land Services at 715-537-6375 for assistance in determining if a Land Use Permit is required.

Plane Crash Victims Names Released

posted May 26, 2017, 5:45 AM by Ryan Quinn

Authorities have released the names of the teens involved in the plance crash Wednesday night southeast of Chetek. 

According to Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, the teen killed is 17-year old Owen Knutson, of Chetek, who was piloting the Piper airplane and pronounced dead at the scene. 

Fitzgerald said the injured passenger in the aircraft was 18 year old Hunter Gillett who was transported to Mayo Hospital in Rochester in serious condition. 

Sheriff Fitzgerald said the rescue and recovery of the plane crash victims was difficult for first responders. 

Initial reports indicate the single-engine plane crashed in the Red Cedar River southeast of Chetek around 630pm Wednesday night. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were at the scene yesterday to do a crash investigation, and the plane wreckage is being kept at the Rice Lake airport.  

A celebration of life for Owen Knutson will be held at the Chetek Weyerhaeuser High School in Chetek tomorrow at 1pm, with a visitation beginning at 11am at the school.

BHS Dedicates New Sign Commemorating Soo Line

posted May 26, 2017, 5:43 AM by Ryan Quinn

The Birchwood Historical Society will be unveiling and doing a dedication of a railroad crossing sign commemorating the Soo Line Railroad that ran through Birchwood from 1901 to 1936.  

The event will take place this Friday, May 26th at 4pm on Main Street in Birchwood, adjacent to Greener's Lumber.  

Known as the "Blueberry Line", the Soo Line beat the competition to be the first railroad into Birchwood by three weeks.  

The Birchwood Area Chamber of Commerce, the Birchwood Lion's Club and the Birchwood Bemis-Hunter American Legion Post each contributed $400 dollars towards the creation of the commemorative sign.

WisDot Opens Temporary DMV Service Center for Storm Victims

posted May 26, 2017, 5:41 AM by Ryan Quinn

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is opening a temporary DMV service center for those in the Barron County area affected by recent storms. 

The temporary DMV Service Center will be located at Mosaic Telecom Offices in Cameron. T

he center will be open today from 9am to 2pm; and next Friday June 2nd at Mosaic from 9am to 4pm.  

While replacing a driver license, ID and vehicle title can be completed at with a receipt available for immediate printing, this temporary DMV Service Center will provide these services free of charge for persons impacted by this recent emergency. 

Change of address, checking license or plate status and more can also be done online without a visit to a DMV. 

Friess Donates $1 Million

posted May 24, 2017, 5:00 AM by Ryan Quinn

Rice Lake native Foster Friess has donated $1 million for a "Challenge Grant" with Red Cedar Church in Rice Lake for a relief fund in the wake of last week's tornadoes and severe weather which claimed one life, injured multiple people, and caused over $10 million in damage in Northwestern Wisconsin. 

Mr. Friess says his family will double every amount sent to Red Cedar Church.  Tax-deductible donations to those affected by the disaster can be made online at

DNR Ready To Assist Storm Victims

posted May 24, 2017, 4:59 AM by Ryan Quinn

Foresters from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are ready to assist Northwest Wisconsin landowners who experienced storm damage to their woodlands last week. 

On May 16, a severe storm started in Polk County, left a path of destruction in Barron and Rusk counties, and ended in Price County. Governor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency for Barron, Jackson and Rusk counties following the tornadoes and damaging storms.

The DNR aeronautics program will be assessing the damage from the air this week so foresters can better map the impacted woodlands.

Landowners with woodlands damaged by the storm are encouraged to contact their local DNR forester. The name and contact information is available at, and search by "forestry assistance locator."

Recommendations To Prevent Contaminating Well Waters

posted May 23, 2017, 7:03 AM by Ryan Quinn

Heavy rains in many Wisconsin counties last week have affected private property owners and state properties as well. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging homeowners to check for damage to wells and septic systems and remove storm related debris. 

In particular, the DNR says heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. 

Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.  

Even without obvious signs of flooding, a well can become contaminated. 

More recommendations for private well owners whose wells have been inundated are available on the DNR’s website.

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