The block of Main Street in front of the Sawyer County courthouse as well as the block of Fourth Street on the east side of the courthouse in Hayward were temporarily blocked off by concrete barriers early Monday morning as a precautionary measure in anticipation of an earlier scheduled court hearing for Sawyer County Tavern League vs. Andrea Palm concerning the state’s orders limiting public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fifth Street and Kansas Avenue around the courthouse were open to traffic for normal business this morning.
As widely announced late last week, this case has been re-assigned to Barron County Judge James Babler and a hearing was held this morning via Zoom in Barron. The meeting was live-streamed on YouTube.
Hayward Police Chief Joel Clapero said “We were taking precautions because of all the craziness that has happened. We just wanted to be prepared in case anything bad happens.”
Sawyer County Sheriff Doug Mrotek said that the barriers “were for precautionary reasons due to the hearing” scheduled earlier before Judge Yackel in the courthouse, At the request of the state’s attorneys, the case was re-assigned to the Barron County judge and moved to Barron.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble in the last three-four days with people on social media taking a little information and exaggerating it, which has really put a lot of fear into a lot of people,” Mrotek said. “We’ve taken some precautionary measures and not said too much. But boy, people on both sides have just taken it to extremes.”