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Published October 17, 2013, 09:35 AM

Loud ‘nays’ for New Year’s Day fireworks in Devils Lake

The Devils Lake City Council is considering whether to allow a second fireworks season in the days before New Year’s Eve, but Mayor Dick Johnson said the feedback from the public has been a unanimous thumbs-down.

By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald

The Devils Lake City Council is considering whether to allow a second fireworks season in the days before New Year’s Eve, but Mayor Dick Johnson said the feedback from the public has been a unanimous thumbs-down.

Fireworks may now be sold around the Fourth of July. The second fireworks season would be Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

At the end of this year’s session, the Legislature gave cities the option of allowing the second sales period. Rolla is the only city to approve the second fireworks season, according to Connie Sprynczynatyk, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities.

“I haven’t received any constituent support for it,” Johnson said. “Of the 20-some phone calls and e-mails I’ve received, all have been against it. No one has told me that this is a good idea.”

City Administrator Terry Johnston said he has experienced a similar response.

“Á few people have said it would be OK if an organization is shooting off fireworks as a celebration of a New Year,” Johnston said. “But no one has been in favor of selling fireworks to the public.”

Mark Olson, owner of Mark’s Fireworks in Devils Lake, requested the second fireworks season, which will be voted on at Monday’s council meeting.

“It was approved by the Legislature,” Olson said, “so if you want to buy fireworks, you should have the opportunity.”

Olson said that the state allowed fireworks to celebrate the turn of the millennium at the end of 1999 “and it wasn’t crazy.” He said the shooting of fireworks would likely be limited to a day or two.

Johnson said the widespread disapproval of fireworks was surprising to him because Devils Lake — unlike Fargo, Grand Forks and most of the bigger cities — allows the buying and shooting of fireworks inside the city limits to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“What I’m hearing from people is that fireworks have a place on the Fourth of July because they’re celebratory of our independence,” Johnson said. “I’ve also heard that once is enough and that the holiday season is a time of serenity and peace.

“And it’s a pretty good cross section of the community saying that.”

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