Fireworks users ‘on probation’ in Howell

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I feel the pain of young Don Michael Corleone.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

While I’d love to write about something other than fireworks, it seems I can’t these days.

The July 1 blog post of Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell contains a wag of the finger at those who are making life in our downtown neighborhoods unbearable with their bottle rockets and high-powered explosives at various and often weird times of the day and night (like 7:30 on a Sunday morning).

It’s gotten so bad that we have to tag-team our dog to get him outside for a bio-break after the sun goes down. Now, I’ll admit that Ted the labradoodle is quirky and high-strung, but I wonder how many of us wouldn’t relive over and over again the terror of having our business interrupted by a bottle rocket mid-stream.

But I digress.

As Campbell issued a warning to those who disturb our peace and terrorize our pets, he set out guidelines for what needs to happen to keep the Howell City Council from maybe adopting a ban on the higher-ordnance explosives signed into law on Jan. 1 by Gov. Rick Snyder:

Blow up as much stuff as you like from 12:01 a.m. today to 11:59 p.m. Thursday.  (“Go nuts,” is what the mayor wrote in his blog.)

Then, (I paraphrase) knock it off, or else the city council may — may — adopt an ordinance on July 9 like braver communities have already done. (You can read about the recent ordinances adopted in Grand Rapids and Kentwood by clicking here. These ordinances ban the newly legal kinds of fireworks and restrict the days firework can be used.)

This “get it out of your system” approach may satisfy those who take pleasure in blowing stuff up, but there’s nothing there for those of us who want our peace and quiet back.

It’s not that I am anti-fireworks, because I’m not. But these aren’t the beautiful fireworks we see in professional shows. The only purpose for these fireworks is making noise — lots and lots and lots of loud, booming, obnoxious, sleep-disturbing, window-rattling, pet-terrorizing noise.

Wait, I am wrong. These peace-disturbers also make money for the state government; I guess that’s what happens when we need money but refuse to raises taxes even a smidge — firework tents in every parking lot and casinos on every corner, kind of like Michigan’s equivalent of turning tricks to pay the rent.

If you sense my frustration, you’d be on the mark.

You can read all my rants here, here and here; I’ve been in contact with city officials; I started an online petition that you can sign by clicking here. I spoke at the last meeting of the Howell City Council; the council said it wanted resident feedback on the fireworks, so I’ve been collecting opinions — if you’d like yours included, fill out the form below.

I know that the mayor is trying to give the noisemakers a chance to show they’re mature enough to handle blowing up stuff within certain boundaries, but c’mon. If being considerate, careful, mature and fair were hard-wired into the human DNA, we’d have no need for laws or ordinances of any sort, would we?

If you’d like to make your opinion known to the Howell City Council, fill out the short form here:

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About Maria Stuart 211 Articles

Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse. You can check out her website by clicking here.