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Wausau considers eliminating anti-snowball ordinance

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By Shereen Siewert

City officials are considering eliminating a decades-old anti-snowball ordinance after a story that originated in a Minnesota news outlet went viral and led at least one publication to call Wausau the “worst city in America.”

After the story emerged, Wausau Pilot and Review asked City Attorney Anne Jacobson to clear up a few misconceptions about the rule. The original story in Minnesota and some national outlets claimed the ordinance was newly enacted — but that claim turned out to be false.

“I searched the hard copy ordinance books I could find in our office and found it in its exact form today, at least as far back as 1962,” Jacobson told Wausau Pilot and Review. “But we could not definitely determine when it was first enacted.”

The ordinance was also the subject of a humorous video posted by the Wausau Police Department on its Facebook page.

“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,” the municipal code in Wausau reads.

The ordinance, under the section for “weapons,” also says snowballs cannot be thrown “at, in or into any building, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, park, playground or other public place within the city.”

WCCO in Minnesota reported on the ordinance on Dec. 2.

In the WCCO story, Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke was quoted as saying the ordinance is “really in the interest of public safety.”

But now, officials appear poised to eliminate the “snowball” mention in the ordinance, according to city documents.

Wausau’s Public Health and Safety Committee will review the rule during its meeting at 5:15 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau.

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