By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – City Council will look at further restrictions on some personal fireworks that some people contend have become excessively robust this year.
One day after the end of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, numerous city leaders expressed a willingness to consider restrictions.
Council appears focused on devices that create large aerial display and bring with it loud booms that can rattle windows, scare animals and greatly affect those suffering from PTSD.
During the 25-minute discussion, nobody expressed opposition to looking at changes.
Mayor Joe Thallemer said he would be receptive to proposals supported by the council.
Councilman Jerry Frush was quick to support a review.
“My wife has bugged me to death about this,” Frush said, adding that part of the problem is that fireworks often start after10 p.m.
“Young children should be in bed by that time and it could be waking them up,” Frush said.
“I think it’s been worse this year than in some years past,” said city council member Cindy Dobbins, who lives in the downtown.
Council President Jack Wilhite added, “That’s something that could be looked at,” but made no promises.
The topic came up when a city resident, Cori Hoffhien, addressed the council Monday night and called on the city to consider changes.
She and her husband, Eric, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and has PTSD, both spoke on the issue.
“There has to be a way to have that fun responsibly and safely and with so much less anxiety,” she said.
“It’s the responsibility on the community’s part to take care of the veterans. That’s what I’m looking at. I understand what the state law says,” said Eric Hoffhien. “If we need to take this suggestion to the state level, then that’s what we’ll do.”
In addition to new restrictions, Thallemer said knowing if some of the devices are for consumer or commercial use could make a difference in enforcement. Users might also be in violation if they are firing them somewhere other than their own property, such as in city streets.
“I know there’s a lot of people who have that same feel. I’ve gotten the calls and I certainly understand the concerns.” Thallemer said. “It gets to be a nuisance at some point.”
State law permits the use of fireworks from June 29 to July 9 and for a short period around New Years Day with some restrictions.
City attorney Scott Reust pointed out that municipalities can not further restrict limits within that timeframe, but could seeks changes before and after.
Frush asked Reust to look into the matter.