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Instead of grease, this squeaky wheel wants a little peace and quiet. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Some Michigan communities heartily agree.

Grand Rapids and Kentwood just this week adopted ordinances that ban the kinds of fireworks made legal by the wrong-headed legislation that went into effect Jan. 1. The bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder makes it legal for Michigan folks over 18 to buy and shoot off assorted fireworks, including bottle rockets and Roman candles.

These municipalities moved quickly and decisively to protect the peace and quiet of their citizens.

Where are Livingston County communities on this issue?

And, selfishly, where is the Howell City Council?

After a weekend of sustained booms that made me think I had taken up residence in a war zone, I took to the Internet to complain to anyone with an email address.

I got a nice reply from Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell asking me to call 911 whenever the sound annoyed me. Campbell responded by posting some information about the city’s sound ordinance on his website:

The state law does not say that anyone can set off any firework any time; it only says that with regards to the day before and after a federal holiday (30 days per year). The rest of the year, they can be governed by the noise ordinance. But, bottom line, if someone is using noise to disturb your “comfort, repose, health, peace or safety” then you have grounds to make a complaint. Call 911 just as you would have before the new law. The nearest holiday to today is the 4th of July, so there should be no loud fireworks displays in the City before July 3rd.

And to those of you who are shooting fireworks off every night: Please, knock it off. Be considerate. Thirty days during the year is plenty of time to blast off fireworks all night long. You don’t need to start doing it prematurely.

While I appreciate the answer, I don’t want to depend on the kindness of yahoos for my peace and quiet. I want my local officials to adopt an ordinance that bans these loud and annoying fireworks that are annoying me and my neighbors and terrifying our dogs.

Such an ordinance would ban the use of fireworks except for the 30 days state lawmakers consider sacred for big noise: the 10 federal holidays and the days before and after.

If these past couple weeks are any indication, even if our local units of government ban these big boomers on all but the three days surrounding federal holidays, we are in for 72 hours of hell over the Fourth of July.

The law needs to be changed, and for that we need to motivate our state lawmakers.

Perhaps those of us annoyed by the fireworks should do what the Grand Rapids’ mayor is recommending: Call their state lawmakers at 2 a.m. to complain about the noise.

Ever since school let out, I feel like I live in a war zone, with boomers going off mostly in the evening. But there was that one Sunday morning when the peacefulness of my first cup of coffee on my screen porch was shattered by a bottle rocket at 7:30 a.m.

Why would our legislators pass a bill that shatters the peace and quiet of everyone who doesn’t live on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere? Follow the money: Under the new law, those who sell the high-powered stuff have to pay an annual “certificate fee” of $1,000 for a permanent location and $600 for a non-permanent location, and they have to purchase additional insurance. So far, there are over 500 retailers who bought certificates this year; you do the math. It’s a good deal for the state or insurance companies.

On top of that, there’s a “fireworks safety fee” of 6 percent added to the retail price of the fireworks, on top of the usual 6 percent Michigan sales tax.

While this is one way to increase revenue without raising taxes, I wish it didn’t come at the expense of my peace and quiet.

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.

2 Comments

  1. You people need to relax there is nothing wrong with lighting off fireworks around the 4th of July, I mean if its 1 or 2 in the morning I understand and I would be a little upset. Yes there is some people that misuse fireworks….that will happen. People misuse alcohol (point is, it happens). Your little dogs and such will be OK with a boom now and then. I’m not saying this because I’m lighting off fireworks , because I’m not. But its part of a tradition. Plus the taxes from fireworks help out our state! Cmon, fireworks have been legal for 1 month and your really making it a big deal already. Let people have there fun, its the 4th. Relax at least the big ones aren’t legal yet 4″-8″ that will make your house shake. So beyou thankful for that! ITS A PAST TIME AND WILL BE FOR A LONG TIME! do NOT ban the fireworks maybe between the hours of 11pm and 11am for the noise . Other than that… let it be. Its once a year!

  2. Gee, I don’t know. If it went into effect in January it means that the Republicans are all for it. It must have created thousands of good paying jobs with benefits and generated millions in tax revenue.

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