Hometown: No politics news here

This piece originally appeared in Hometown, my weekly local journalism newsletter. Subscribe here; read more about Hometown here.

1) Employees have a stake (The Newport Daily News)
“Like any proud business owners, those at Custom House Coffee will tell you they serve the best coffee around. But unlike many coffee shops, some of the owners are the same people who will take your order, pour and serve your cup of joe and clear the table when you leave.

Robert Mastin, the company’s founder, recently made shares of stock in his coffee shop on Aquidneck Avenue available to his employees as he transitions toward retirement.”

2) Planned house fire set ablaze to train volunteer firefighters (Williamson Herald)
“‘We teach our new firefighters what they can do when a fire emergency really does occur,’ Homrich said.

Wood pallets and straw were used to set the fires in a ‘controlled fashion’ in fire corners that were constructed for structural reinforcement, said Homrich.

The home was stripped of all its furnishings, windows, doors, and petroleum-based materials for safety and environmental regulations.”

3) Middletown police issue ‘Nerf wars’ warning (Journal-News)
“‘Since foam-firing guns are relatively safe and cheap, the games are meant to be safe and fun,’ MPD said. ‘Each team has another team as it’s target and have to shoot them all with Nerf guns to get them out to advance.’

However, police said that each year they get called for a report of suspicious person, vehicle or incident involving a burglary, thief, or something criminal, when in fact it was ‘merely young people playing the Nerf War game.’”

4) Spokane’s urban explorers look for the humanity in abandoned places, but there are risks (The Spokesman-Review)
“He’s been to dozens of other places: an old mining mill in Idaho, a small ghost town in rural Washington, an abandoned church a few miles outside of Reardan, and a ‘dead motel’ in Idaho, to name a few. On each trip, he brings a GoPro mounted to a stabilizer and records the whole thing, which he edits and uploads to his YouTube channel, Jeff Explores.

But for him, this one has all the pickings of a good exploration: a lived-in feeling with years of history, leftover furniture with compelling evidence it was once loved, and the three 1950s-style refrigerators in the dark, damp and creepy basement.”

5) Breckenridge teen with rare muscle cancer signs one-day contract with Wild (Brainerd Dispatch)
“In the hours before Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Minnesota Wild got some reinforcements, signing 16-year-old Carter Casey of Breckenridge, Minn., to a one-day contract.

That move from the Wild came as a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as Casey’s wish was the meet the Wild. It just so happens that also marked a landmark milestone in Make-A-Wish Minnesota’s 35-year history, as Carter will become the 5,000th wish recipient in Minnesota.”