CHIPPEWA FALLS — A rural Bloomer woman who hosted a party where underage drinking occurred was ordered to pay two fines, but a charge of violating a public health order for allowing too many people in one location was dropped.
Jennifer A. Schindler, 44, 6952 158th Ave., was charged in April in Chippewa County Court with one count of violating health rules/orders/ordinance, which is a misdemeanor. Schindler had been slated to appear in court Wednesday.
However, Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell dropped the misdemeanor charge, ending the case. Instead, Schindler paid a $752.50 fine after pleading no contest to a citation for being an adult who permitted underage drinking.
According to the criminal complaint, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office received a call March 22 about a possible underage drinking party at a home in the town of Cooks Valley.
Officers arrived at the home, and Schindler gave them permission to enter the residence. Officers noted they made contact with nine underage individuals who had all consumed alcohol; some were hiding in the house. There also were two individuals in the house who had not consumed alcohol.
The criminal complaint notes the state has a mass gathering ban, signed by the Department of Health Services, which went into effect March 17. That ban stated that 10 or more people could not be in a single room or confined space, whether inside or outside. A person who violated the ban is facing a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
An officer noted that Schindler was warned March 20 about allowing minors to consume alcohol at her residence.
Newell said this is the first case his office has handled related to violating rules stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.