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Aldermen approve fireworks in city on Fourth of July

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm

By Ethan Colbert
bgted@lcs.net
On Monday evening the Bowling Green Board of Aldermen heard from Sherry Comer, of Bowling Green, who spoke about the impact the proposed amendments to the city’s decades- old fireworks ban could have on her family. “We put this sign out in our yard every year and it  has not succeeded in stopping people from using fireworks,” Comer said. She then presented  the city’s governing body with a yard sign that identifies that her home is the residence of a  U.S. military veteran who has post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. “Even with the  ordinance in place, people still use fireworks the week before or the week after the Fourth of July,” Comer said. “No one pays attention to (the ban). I can’t pickup the phone and call the  police each time a firework goes off. I can’t expect them to come running to my neighborhood  to try and find these people, because they disappear every single time.” According to a previous Bowling Green Times article, the city’s board of aldermen were to take up a proposal on

Monday night that would temporarily suspend the city’s ban on the discharge or use of fireworks within the city limits. The suspension of the ban would begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 11 p.m.

The use of fireworks outside of the allotted time could result in the homeowner or individuals responsible for the discharge to be ticketed by city police, according to City of Bowling Green Police Chief Don Nacke.

Comer’s husband, Ron, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Ron is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Comer said the explosion of fireworks can cause individuals with PTSD to experience flashbacks.

“PTSD involves flashbacks, nightmares, scream- ing and yelling, being startled and can be caused by certain smells and sounds,” Comer said. “All of these are things that experiences in war have caused.”

In her remarks, Comer said she supported parts of the proposed changes.

“I am not against all fireworks being shot off in the city limits,” Comer said. “I believe that the kids should have the sparklers, the fountains, and any other non-noisemakers. The children love fire- works. I understand that. However, Black Cat fireworks and bottle rockets and other loud noise- makers can be too much.”

Ward II Alderman Mark Bair said he felt the city should honor its local veterans by upholding the fireworks ban, including on the Fourth of July. “I think we do need to realize that there are a good number of veterans still living in Bowling Green and in other towns,” Bair said. “I think we need to take them into consideration.”
Bair’s fellow Ward II Aldermen, Terry Burris, agreed with the sentiment, but said he felt
that city needed to weigh the number of individuals wanting to be able to legally discharge
fireworks in the city against those wishing to uphold the ban.
“There are 3,000 people in town,” Burris said. “Why do we penalize an entire town for a few
others?”
He then continued saying that those who violate the proposal should be reported to the city’s
police. “If they don’t stop at 11 p.m., then it is against the law,” Burris said. “Call the police,
but I think we should give the people one day to shoot fireworks.” The majority of the
city’s governing board agreed with Burris and the proposed ordinance changes were
approved by a 4-2 vote. Ward I Alderman Mike Pugh joined Bair in voting against
the proposal.
After the meeting, Pugh said he had concerns about the city’s ability to effectively
enforce the time constraints.
“If we are having trouble now with people obey- ing the ordinance, then I don’t know what changing the ordinance is going to do,” Pugh said after the meeting.
Voting in favor of the changed ordinance were: Ward I Alderman Tonya Huber, Ward II Alderman Terry Burris, Ward III Alderman Kim Luebrecht, and Ward III Alderman Craig Burnett.
To help educate local citizens about the new rules, the city’s board said they will place
advertisements in the Bowling Green Times prior to the Fourth of July holiday discussing the changes.

THE NEW
ORDINANCE

The City of Bowling Green passed an ordinance Monday evening allowing for fireworks to be discharged beginning at noon on the Fourth of July and continuing until 11p.m. that evening. Also, the Board of Aldermen noted that should the Missouri Department of Public Safety and  the State Fire Marshal order a burn ban in Pike County, then no fireworks are to be discharged under any circumstances.
Fireworks are only to be discharged from private property or from property where the
individuals using the fireworks have explicit permission to do so.
Fireworks are not to be discharged from city property, which includes, but is not
limited to: the City Park on Court Street, the 15th Street Park, the Community
Center, the City Lakes, and city streets.
Those found to be in violation of these parameters may be ticketed by the City
Police Department and summoned to municipal court.

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