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Cities discuss following county on fireworks decision
Hoisington calls special meeting, Pawnee Rock already in agreement
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Hoisington’s City Council agreed to call a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss altering the city’s ordinance to allow fireworks to be discharged on both July 3 and 4, following suit with the Barton County Commission’s Monday decision. The county commission’s decision applies only to unincorporated areas. Some, but not all, cities have been following suit. In order to allow the extra day, the council would need to approve the change, and it would need to be printed once in the official city newspaper, The Hoisington Dispatch, two weeks prior to the date. With the Dispatch going to print Wednesday morning, that left very little lead time to pull together a quorum. Still, after hearing some reasons to consider the change by fireworks entrepreneur Linda Barnes of T & L Fireworks, council members Monday night gave City Manager Jonathan Mitchell the go-ahead to give it a try. The members assembled and after the meeting was called to order, City Manager Jonathan MItchell informed the board that while he and the City Attorney John Horner were preparing an ordinance for the meeting, upon rereading the existing ordinance, they realized provisions had already been made. “The council has the power to expand or restrict the times and dates at its discretion,” Mitchell read. “This could have been done with a simple majority vote.” After a brief discussion, Councilperson Karen VanBrimmer spoke. “As much as I don’t want it two days in a row, I will make a motion to have fireworks on July 3 and 4, for just this year, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., not midnight like the county,” she said. The motion was seconded and approved, and the meeting adjourned.

Great Bend interest

The City of Great Bend typically allows fireworks only on the Fourth of July, and a special city council meeting will be needed to add an extra day this year. City Administrator Howard Partington said that as of Tuesday morning, he had received requests from three city council members to have a special meeting to discuss the option. “Mayor Allison and I discussed dates and times,” Partington said. Those were sent to council members. “If we come up with five members available at any of those times, we will have a special meeting.”

Pawnee Rock on board

Pawnee Rock Mayor Linda McCowan said her city is in agreement with the county’s decision to allow fireworks on July 3 and 4, and Pawnee Rock Ordinance 279 already allows for this and more. “We only ask that those who set off fireworks clean up after themselves,” she said. Pawnee Rock, in fact, allows fireworks within the city from June 28 to July 4, which allows for celebrations to proceed even when the July 4 holiday falls in the middle of the week. “Pawnee Rock has always been fond of fireworks,” she said. She admits, her small dogs are terrified of the explosive sounds.

For pet owners who are concerned about how the annual tradition affects their four-legged friends, there are some things you can do to help calm their nerves, according to the blogsite of Cesar Millan, dog-training expert. First, bring pets to a friend’s house away from the commotion if possible, or provide a safe place like a travel crate inside your home where the pet can feel safe. Calming and soothing words can help. When pets need to be taken outdoors to relieve themselves, make sure they have identification on and are on a lead, so they do not run off if an unexpected firework should go off. Runaways are very common on the holiday.

Both the cities of Claflin and Ellinwood were in agreement, the fireworks discharge would not be allowed an extra day within their city limits. Fireworks within the county go on sale Saturday, June 27.