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DNR urges caution when using fireworks 


To help prevent wildfires, the Department of Natural Resources urges people to place used fireworks, including sparklers, in a bucket of water after they’ve gone out. When thrown on the ground while they’re still hot, fireworks can cause grass fires that can spread to become wildfires. 

To help prevent wildfires, the Department of Natural Resources urges people to place used fireworks, including sparklers, in a bucket of water after they’ve gone out. When thrown on the ground while they’re still hot, fireworks can cause grass fires that can spread to become wildfires.

Warm weather and family gatherings can make the Fourth of July a fun time with great memories. But before you celebrate, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking residents and visitors to make sure they understand the importance of fireworks and campfire safety.

“With folks filling state parks, campgrounds and backyards to celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s vital that precautions are taken prior to lighting campfires and setting off fireworks,” said Dan Laux, DNR fire prevention specialist. “You can have fun while celebrating with friends and family, even if you’re being safe and making sure your property and our natural resources are protected. The best way to avoid the risk of starting a wildfire this holiday weekend is to attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.”
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to an average of 19,700 fires caused by fireworks each year. For those planning to use fireworks, the DNR suggests keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt gold. Always place sparklers in a bucket of water when they have gone out; when thrown on the ground, they can cause grass fires.
  • Point fireworks away from homes and keep them away from brush, grass and leaves.
  • Chinese lanterns can stay airborne for 20 minutes and reach heights up to 1 mile high before coming down in unplanned locations. The open flame has the potential to start fires.
  • Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.
  • Laux said that in addition to fireworks safety, people should keep the following things in mind when enjoying their campfires:
  • Use fire rings in nonflammable areas when possible.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep a water source and shovel nearby.
  • Place roasting sticks in a bucket of water when not in use.
  • Completely extinguish fires before turning in for the night. Douse with water, stir and douse again to make sure no embers are left.

“Fireworks and campfires are a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more knowing that your family and your property are safe,” Laux said. “Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”
For more fire prevention information and safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.

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Are fireworks allowed in Cedar Springs?


The Cedar Springs City Council passed the second reading earlier this month of ordinances that regulate when residents are allowed to use fireworks in the city.

People may only use consumer fireworks in the city if it’s on the day before, the day of, or the day after a national holiday, but not between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. The national holidays include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day or Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

If residents want to use fireworks any other day of the year, they will need to purchase a permit, but must do so 15 days prior to the event. In order to receive a permit, the applicant needs to show proof of financial responsibility by a bond or insurance for possible damages to property or personal injuries resulting from the fireworks. They also must not be within 15 feet of another person’s property except with permission.

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that residents should call if there are fireworks going off in their neighborhood. “We’ll take a look around and educate people about the ordinance,” he said.

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Sand Lake celebrates Fourth of July


It was a grand party in Sand Lake last week, for the town’s 144th annual Fourth of July Celebration. The celebration ran from Wednesday, July 3, through Sunday July 7. A Parade of Lights, honoring area firefighters and law enforcement officials kicked off the festivities Tuesday evening, July 2. People traveled from all over to attend the annual event, which included a midway with carnival rides and games, food, parades, music, fireworks and much more during the 5-day event.

 

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Discount Fireworks


BUS-Fireworks-storeNow that certain fireworks are legal in Michigan that were previously only available out of state, you don’t have to cross the border to get them.

Discount Fireworks, located at 13903 White Creek, south of 17 Mile Road, is owned by Mike Pease, who has been in the fireworks business for 33  years. They sell fireworks for home users and small shows for associations. They are direct importers and wholesalers, and offer fireworks at a competitive price, including their own brand, Mega Ton. They hope to eventually expand their business to new stores throughout the state.

Stop by and see what they have to offer. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be open later closer to July 4th.

 

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New fireworks law causing confusion


With the July 4th holiday approaching, residents should be prepared for neighbors to be celebrating with more of a bang than usual.

It used to be that most any firework that made a loud noise or shot into the air was illegal in Michigan. That all changed on January 1, when the new Michigan Fireworks Safety Act went into effect. The Act allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks such as Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and other items that leave the ground.

Those fireworks are legal to use any day of the year, unless a city or township ordinance prohibits it. To make it even more confusing, however, is that there are 10 holidays out of the year where local ordinances cannot prohibit their use for three days—the day before a holiday, the day of, or the day after. That means fireworks could be shot off at 3 a.m. July 3, 4, or 5, and police cannot stop it unless the users are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or under 18. They also cannot be used on public, school or private property of another person without permission.

While some local governments have addressed the ordinance, the city of Cedar Springs has not yet done that. For example, Rockford enacted an ordinance that does not allow fireworks between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m., excluding those 10 holiday time frames. The cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming have banned them completely except for those holiday times. A fire in Grand Rapids causing $32,000 in damage was blamed on bottle rockets that set the dry ground on fire.

According to Cedar Springs City Police Chief Roger Parent, many law enforcement agencies are getting so many calls about fireworks they have trouble getting to them all. However, he said that here in Cedar Springs, if they get complaints, he has an officer check them out to make sure they are using the correct fireworks and not professional grade, and that the residents are not intoxicated. Parent said the fireworks should be labeled as consumer fireworks, or Division 1.4, which were the old Class C fireworks. “They can be pretty big and can go higher than the tree line,” said Parent.

He added that if he receives a lot of complaints about fireworks on days of the year other than holidays, and the city has not addressed the ordinance, he would then ask the city attorney to clarify whether they fall under the noise ordinance.

 

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Keep your fingers while playing with fireworks


Enjoying fireworks displays at dusk is synonymous with Fourth of July celebrations; however, Kent County Sheriff Lawrence Stelma wants to remind area residents fireworks can be deadly.
Last year more than 10,000 people were injured by fireworks, with children under the age of 15 accounting for one-third of those injuries. In Michigan, a Melvindale mother of three was killed on July 4, 2007 after being struck by a commercially made firework.
There are two classes of fireworks. Class B fireworks are manufactured for use in professional displays like the one put on by your city or township. These fireworks are illegal in the state of Michigan without a permit. Class C fireworks, however, are the kind commonly sold in stores for consumer use. Examples of Class C fireworks include paper caps, toy trick noise makers, sparklers, fountains, toy snakes, and toy smoke devices.  These fireworks are legal for the public to purchase without a permit.
“If you are unsure whether your fireworks are Class B or Class C, follow this one simple guideline: If it makes a loud bang or leaves the ground, then it is illegal!” said Sheriff Stelma.  “The most important thing you can do is to properly educate your family about fireworks and set a good example.”
Sheriff Stelma provides the following guidelines for the safe use of fireworks for at-home displays:
*Stay away from illegal explosives.
*Obey the local laws and USE COMMON SENSE.
*Read the fireworks instructions and follow them. If an item looks damaged, do not attempt to use it.
*Purchase fireworks only from reputable established dealers. Legal fireworks are tested as to quality and safety. Never attempt to build your own fireworks or use illegal explosives such as M-80s or “Cherry bombs.”
*A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks usage.  Children should watch, but not handle fireworks. When used properly, all fireworks can be safe.
Fireworks are meant to be used one at a time. Do not attempt to combine or mix fireworks at the same time. Fuses have different burn rates. Actions like this invite accidents.
*Use fireworks outdoors only.
*Fireworks should never be pointed or thrown at anyone. Make sure people and animals maintain a safe distance from the fireworks that are being set off. Use them only outdoors, and away from houses and vehicles.
*Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
*Caution is important. Use protective eye wear and keep a water hose nearby. *Don’t try to re-light a dud, but soak it in water for 15 minutes and dispose of properly.
Let’s make this Fourth of July a safe holiday! For more information visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety online at www.fireworksafety.com.

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GR Symphony Picnic Pops


Take some time out this summer to enjoy the Grand Rapids Symphony and their popular Picnic Pops program! Classical Fireworks July 14 & 15, 8pm, Cannonsbug Ski Area- Spectacular fireworks and classics you know and love, including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Generations of Rock with Michael Cavanaugh July 21 & 22, 7:30pm, Cannonsbug Ski Area-The greatest hits of Elton John and Rock songs of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Beach Boys Tribute with Papa Doo Run Run July 28 & 29, 7:30pm, Cannonsbug Ski Area- Hear all your Beach Boys favorites… Fun, Fun, Fun, Good Vibrations, California Girls, Surfin’ U.S.A. The Music of Michael Jackson August 4 & 5, 7:30pm, Cannonsburg Ski Area- Singer/dancer James Delisco takes you through each era of the King of Pop’s storied career: from ABC and I’ll Be There to Beat It, Thriller, Rock With You, The Way You Make Me Feel. Call 616/454-9451 ext. 4 for ticket information. Complete information at http://grsymphony.org/concerts/dw-fresh-market-picnic-pops

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