Northwest Wisconsin News Center

One Dead, Three Hospitalized, in Barron County Crash

posted by News Room

Monday May 10th, 2021 - One person is dead, three hospitalized, following a crash in Barron County this weekend. 

On Saturday, at approximately 12:30pm, the Barron County 911 Center received a call of a two vehicle crash on SS between Cameron and Chetek. 

The initial investigation shows that a vehicle driven by 24 year old Nathaniel Bull of Rice Lake crossed the centerline and struck another vehicle. Bull was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle, 45 year old Kenneth Smith of Spooner, was extricated from the vehicle and flown to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His wife and 10 year old daughter, who were also in the car, were transported via ambulance to an area hospital with minor injuries. 

The crash remains under investigation.

Domestic Abuse Suspect in Custody After Standoff with Police

posted May 7, 2021, 4:48 AM by News Room

Friday May 7th, 2021 - A domestic abuse suspect is in custody after a standoff with police.

On Thursday, at approximately 7:10am, Rice Lake Officers were dispatched to a residence in the city for an active domestic violence incident.

The victim and children were able to get away from the residence and it was reported that the suspect had a firearm inside. 

RLPD and Barron County Sheriff's Deputies established a perimeter. Authorities were able to make contact with the suspect via cell phone and attempted to negotiate with him. During the negations the Barron/Rusk Emergency Response Team was called to the scene. Eventually, the suspect did exit the residence but he did not immediately surrender. Pepper spray was used by officers to subdue the suspect.

The suspect, Xavier Torres, was taken into custody on charges of Battery Domestic related, Threats to Law Enforcement, Felony Bail Jumping, and Child Abuse. 

Six Hour Standoff in Chetek Ends with Subject Behind Bars

posted May 4, 2021, 4:06 AM by News Room

Tuesday May 4th, 2021 - A six hour standoff in Chetek ends with the subject behind bars.

On Sunday, at approximately 4pm, the Chetek Police Department responded to a 911 call for a subject acting strange and paranoid at a residence on Banks Street. When law enforcement arrived the male subject, identified as 35 year old Kevin Swartz, said he had a gun, would shoot them, and he also had an explosive device inside the house. After a half hour of negotiations, Swartz went into the house and came back out with what he claimed was an explosive device stating he would set it off if law enforcement got any closer. 

The Barron/Rusk County Emergency Response team was called to the scene and, with the help of area law enforcement, evacuated nearby residences and set up a perimeter.

Negotiations continued for several hours with law enforcement utilizing gas and other distraction devices to unsuccessfully attempt to force the subject from the residence. The Barron/Rusk Team breached the door and made contact with the subject as he climbed into the ceiling. Negotiations continued until the subject fell through the ceiling and was taken into custody just before 10pm.

No explosive device was found in the house. The subject had an empty painted cylinder.

Swartz will be charged later this week by the Barron County District Attorney's Office.  

Spraying for Gypsy Moths Begins This Month

posted May 3, 2021, 4:07 AM by News Room

Monday May 3rd, 2021 - May marks the start of gypsy moth aerial spraying throughout several Wisconsin counties. Beginning in early to mid-May, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection will be treating counties for invasive gypsy moth caterpillars. These pests are non-native and can cause defoliation to many plants and trees during their caterpillar stage. Among the counties the DATCP will be treating are Barron, Dunn, Rusk, Washburn, Chippewa, and Douglas counties. When treatment begins, residents can expect to see and hear low-flying planes spraying as early as 5am. Maps of treatment areas are available at

Free COVID Tests in Polk County

posted Apr 30, 2021, 5:01 AM by News Room

Friday April 30th, 2021 - The Polk County Health Department is hosting free COVID-19 testing. These are the less invasive saliva test and not the nasal swab. Testing is done every Monday and Wednesday from 8:30am to 1:30pm at the Polk County Plaza in Balsam Lake. Attendees can pre-register at or register when they arrive. For more information go to

Social Security Scam in Spooner

posted Apr 28, 2021, 4:17 AM by News Room

Wednesday April 28th, 2021 - The Spooner Police Department has received numerous calls about a Social Security scam. Chief Jerry Christman said in a social media post that the scammers call and tell the potential victim that their Social Security card has been compromised. This is a scam. If you receive one of these calls hang up and do not give any information.  If Social Security needs to make contact with you they would do so by US mail. 

COVID-19 Numbers Dropping Since Vaccines Became Available

posted Apr 28, 2021, 4:16 AM by News Room

Wednesday April 28th, 2021 - The infection and death rates associated with COVID-19 have drastically dropped since the vaccines became available in Wisconsin at the start of the year. 

Looking back to November 4th, at the beginning of the deadliest surge of cases in the state, Barron County had 1,320 total confirmed cases and nine deaths. By January 4th the total number of cases had jumped to 4,549 with deaths increasing to 57. That’s an average of 51 new cases per day and .76 deaths per day in that time span.

From January 4th to April 27th, Barron County had an increase of 1,136 cases and 20 deaths. That’s an average of 10 new cases per day and .32 deaths per day. 

Barron County Public Health encourages everyone to get vaccinated. To schedule an appointment go to vaccinate dot W I dot GOV or call the Wisconsin Department of Health Vaccine Hotline at 844-684-1064. No appointment, walk-in vaccinations are available at the UWEC-Barron County community vaccine site Tuesday-Saturday from 11am-7pm. 

As of Tuesday, 37.5% of Barron County residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine with 30.4% completing the vaccine series.

GED Boot Camp in Chetek

posted Apr 27, 2021, 4:23 AM by News Room

Tuesday April 27th, 2021 - WITC, Parker Hannifin Corporation, and Workforce Resource Inc are partnering to present a GED Boot Camp at Parker’s Chetek plant. Executive Director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation, Dave Armstrong, says that partnership has been highly innovative and effective in meeting both the educational needs of area residents and employment needs of businesses. For more information about the GED boot camp call Dave Armstrong at 715-637-6871.

RLPD Investigated a Suspicious Package

posted Apr 23, 2021, 7:38 AM by News Room   [ updated Apr 23, 2021, 8:39 AM ]

Friday April 23rd, 2021 - The Rice Lake Police Department did not find a bomb on Thursday. 

At approximately 3:40pm officers were dispatched to the Cedar Side Walking Trail near West South Street in the City of Rice Lake for a suspicious package placed on the trail. Officers observed a cylindrical package, wrapped in electrical tape, and capped on both ends. Authorities closed off the trail until the Marathon County Bomb Squad arrived, X-rayed the package, and determined it was not an explosive device.

Woman That Led Authorities on an 11 Mile Chase is in Custody

posted Apr 22, 2021, 7:51 AM by News Room

Thursday April 22nd, 2021 - A woman that led authorities on an 11 mile chase in Barron County is in custody.  

On Wednesday, at approximately 5pm, a Barron County Deputy observed a van passing a car on Hwy 25, just north of Barron, in a no passing zone. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle but it sped up and led authorities on an 11 mile chase before stopping on 13 ½ Street and 20 ½ Avenue. 

38 year old Jayme Odash of Barron was taken into custody without further incident. Odash is being held in the Barron County jail on charges of Felony Fleeing and OWI 4th offense. 

No injuries or damage to any property or vehicles occurred during the chase.

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