Several Council members and Mayor Mike Hanson expressed dissatisfaction with the current ordinance last night. “We’ve had a lot of folks who have obeyed the law and the ordinance that you’ve passed, but we have those who have no respect for their neighbors. Either their piece of mind or their property,” Hanson says. “And that is extremely frustrating to me, and I know it is frustrating to you.”
Fireworks in Newton can be used legally from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on the 4th of July and from 9 A.M. December 31st through 12:30 a-m. New Year’s Day. Evelyn George asked her fellow council members to reconsider an all-out ban.
“The citizens that I heard from, their concern is that this is happening right next to their property. Some had property damage. And when you chose to live in a city….you do have to respect each other’s rights,” George says.
Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik supports an in-town ban of fireworks, as he says people are not using them properly. “The standard that they use for fireworks that are shot off as part of a commercial display or the people that we hire to come in — for every inch of shell that is shot off, it takes 70 feet of clearance,” Wellik says. “Some of these shells that people are shooting in town are three inches. At three inches, that’s a 210 foot radius that should be around that shell.”
Police Chief Rob Burdess says calls to the police department concerning fireworks are down from last year, which was the first year firework sales and use were legal in Iowa. He says they had 43 calls last year on July 4th. This year they had 19 calls about fireworks and 17 of them were during times when the fireworks were not allowed.
(By Randy Van, KCOB, Newton)