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Tense situation defused by officers

A Barron County Sheriff's Deputy performing a late night welfare check on a veteran in Barron opened the door to find a handgun pointed directly at him.

No shots were fired, no one was hurt and no one was arrested.

The Minneapolis Police Department and Veterans Affairs requested the check May 29 and two deputies dispatched at 11:40 p.m.

When the officers arrived, they knocked on the front door and announced their presence multiple times, but no one answered, Captain Ron Baures of the Barron County Sheriff's Department said.

The deputies decided to enter the home for subject's medical safety.

The front door was unlocked,

and a deputy pushed it open and then saw the gun.

The officers retreated while reidentifying themselves. Baures said they unholstered their weapons and kept them at the low-ready position, pointed towards the ground. The resident was told to drop the gun.

The resident recognized the men as law enforcement officers after seeing the squad car. He put the gun down and exited with his hands up.

Though it was dark out, it is not known why the man did not look out the window at any point.

Deputies determined the man meant no ill intent and had just been defending his home.

Wisconsin Castle Doctrine allows a resident to use deadly force to protect themselves in their dwelling if they are threatened without having to retreat.

Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said if the homeowner is acting reasonably, deadly force can be used if someone is trespassing.

Wright investigated a law enforcement shooting in Douglas County last year.

During an investigation that comprised of bodycam videos, statements, distances and physically going to the location, he said he kept in mind what the officers would be thinking at the time of the event.

The three officers were cleared in the shooting of the young man, who was injured and was ascertained to have been attempting suicide by cop through statements he made and searches on his phone.

Sgt. Brian Larson of the Rice Lake Police Department said it is RLPD policy that if a firearm is pointed at an officer, they are justified to use deadly force.

Larson, the department's firearms instructor, said knowing the subject's demeanor before going into a situation plays a big part in response. Officers are always going to look for cover in that situation.

The department trains on the Shoot, Don't Shoot training simulator at WITC in Rice Lake once a year.

Along with six live fire drills, the department spends 4 hours a year conducting training with airsoft pistols. The youth police academy trained in an introduction to this during its second meeting May 2.

RLPD Captain Tracy Hom said any time force is used, including drawing a firearm, a form must be filled out and submitted to him.

On May 29, the situation went from gun to a completed call in 11 minutes, according to a call detail report.

Captain Baures said the good result was due to training and accurate information provided by the Minnesota PD and VA. Knowing the facts is beneficial before going in, he said.


New theater soon to open

Wednesday, June 12, is a day of deadlines for Northern Star Theatre Company.

For one, it's opening night of NSTC's production of "Newsies," a musical about New York City paper boys of 1899.

But not only are NSTC volunteers preparing a performance for the stage, volunteers and contractors are quite literally completing construction of the stage and everything around it at NSTC's new building in downtown Rice Lake.

Renovations have been ongoing for more than a year at 12 W. Marshall St. in a building that is approximately 100 years old. Commonly known as Marshall Twelve, the building was a hardware and home goods store for many years before being converted for office use.

"We're completing this on time and on budget," said Tamara Sharp, NSTC co-director along with Corey Dorrance.

The once-empty center of Marshall Twelve is now an enclosed black box theater with seating on two sides and a flat floor in the middle, plus brand new light and sound equipment. Office spaces have been renovated, and long-vacant rooms have been converted for use as rehearsal space or costume storage for the theater.

But not everything has gone according to plan. The theater has stayed on-budget by pushing some projects to "Phase 2," in favor of making some unexpected repairs to the property. Things like outdoor signage and aesthetics, as well as some interior space improvements will have to wait.

"There are a lot of things to be updated in a 100-year-old building," said Sharp.

The theater assumed ownership of a decrepit parking lot, where rules weren't enforced in the past. Paving was completed in the past week.

The building also had HVAC, electrical and plumbing issues, plus unsecured walls and other unpleasant surprises.

Despite the extra efforts and expenses, Sharp said she is pleased that NSTC was able to stay downtown.

"There weren't a lot of options," she said.

The former theater at the corner of Main and Water streets was razed last year to make way for a new Main Street Bridge section.

"This gives us more of a legacy," said Sharp, adding that she is looking forward to partnering with downtown business in what some are now calling "The Theatre District."

One way that will happen is with downtown bars and restaurants, because NSTC no longer has a beer and wine serving license.

Food at shows remains an option, as Cookin' Up A Storm catering will have offerings for all 10 "Newsies" shows.

Renovations at Marshall Twelve have also brought rewards to the tenants who stayed through the construction.

"They put up with noise and dust and inconvenience, and we're happy they're still here," said Sharp.

She added that the character of small town living shown through in the most stressful

moments of the renovation.

"The most gratifying thing was meeting a whole new group of people in Rice Lake that I hadn't interacted with before, mentioning contractors, downtown business owners and residents.

"It's the beauty of small town living that you have a chance to forge these relationships," said Sharp. "People are honest, they're friendly, they're generous with their time."

Case in point is NSTC's many donors and volunteers, which number more than 200 in any given year.

A few small shows in NSTC's new upstairs rehearsal space helped provide some funding to tide the theater over, but the return of regular shows will be of much more financial help for the organization, which is 100% volunteer.

"We're looking forward to having a normal season, where we can get back into a rhythm with shows," said Sharp.

It all starts with "Newsies," which is staged from June 12-16 and 19-23. Shows are at 7 p.m., except Sunday, which features 2 p.m. matinees. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for children, available at See more information on page C2.

"We've got 60 energetic cast members ages 6 to 66," said Sharp. "People will recognize the music. It's just a fun show."

The first of many at the new downtown stage to be sure.

Aquafest events in full swing

Rice Lake Aquafest continues to pour on the fun through the rest of this week as the food court opens, bands take the stage and floats are readied for Sunday's parade. The remaining schedule is as follows:

Thursday, June 6

• AquaBug: Clues continue.

• Food Court: Open to the public at 11 a.m. Live music featuring Sam Salter and the 4 Some.

• Spectrum Shows Carnival: Held at Cedar Mall from 1-11 p.m. Wristbands $25 from 1-6 p.m. Bands are $20 pre-sale at the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce office until 4 p.m.

• Chris Kroeze: Music starts at 7 p.m., with Radda Raddda and Natalie Murphy before headliner Chris Kroeze. Admission $10 or Season Pass.

Friday, June 7

• AquaBug: Clues continue.

• Food Court: Open to the public at 11 a.m.

• Spectrum Shows Carnival: Held at Cedar Mall from 1-11 p.m. Wristbands $25 from 1-6 p.m. Bands are $20 pre-sale at the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce office until 4 p.m.

• "Dennis De Young and the Music of Styx: Music starts at 7 p.m. with opener Steve Beguhn. $25 or Season Pass.

Saturday, June 8

• AquaBug: Clues continue.

• Aquaquest race: Registration is 7:30-9 a.m. at Lincoln Clubhouse. Entry is $25/person, $30/person at the door, 5 and under free. Awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

• 3-on-3 Basketball tournament: Starts at 9 a.m. Rice Lake High School Gym. Pre-register by June 6 at Chamber of Commerce.

• Men's fastpitch softball tournament: Runs 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Tate Park.

• Food Court: Open to the public at 11 a.m.

• Spectrum Shows Carnival: Held at Cedar Mall from 1-11 p.m. Wristbands $25 from 1-6 p.m. Bands are $20 pre-sale at the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce office until 4 p.m.

• "Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Music starts at 7 p.m. with opener Dawn Marie. $25 or Season Pass.

Sunday, June 9

• AquaBug: Clues continue.

• Pancake breakfast: Served 9-11:30 a.m. under entertainment tent.

• Art in the Park: Featuring food, art and craft vendors 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Veterans City Park.

• Men's fastpitch softball tournament: Runs 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Tate Park.

• Spectrum Shows Carnival: Held at Cedar Mall from 1-11 p.m. Wristbands $25 from 1-6 p.m. Bands are $20 pre-sale at the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce office until 4 p.m.

• Aquafest Grand Parade: Theme is "Living the Dream." Starts at 12:30 p.m. with flyover of 3 war planes.

• Rice Lake Family Car Show: Held at: Advance Auto Parts, with registration at 2 p.m. and display from 3-6 p.m.

• Hydroflites water ski show: Following the parade along the lake in front of the Elk's Club. Admission is free. Parade awards and Aquabug winner are presented during during intermission at water ski show.

• Dry Duck Dash: Held at along the lakefront by Veterans City Park. Grand prize is $10,000 in cash.

• Dusk to Dawn Movies: Showing at Stardust Drive-In Theatre, Cameron, beginning at dusk with three movies for for the price of one. Bring your tent, stay all night.

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