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Overzealous celebrations unwelcome

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:46 PM

“I just feel that the fireworks are a bit out of control — they go on for three days,” local resident Sue Swiatek said. “Due to the new laws, they are bigger and louder than ever.”

Swiatek feels bad for parents of young children who try to get their kids to sleep. She said she thought changing time limits for residential fireworks would be a good idea.

“Maybe have a reasonable time curfew for them to be over — possibly 11 p.m.,” she said.

Michigan law states local governments can restrict fireworks use to days before, during and after 10 specified national holidays. There are also time constraints for their use: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., and 8 a.m. to midnight in more populated counties.

Many local communities follow the regulations allowed by the state, with Grand Haven even allowing consumer fireworks to be launched on the second Saturday of the Coast Guard Festival.

Local resident Natalie Treat thought more can be done to make the situation better for everyone.

“I am all for celebrating and having a great holiday,” she said. “However, I have small children — and even if they sleep through the noise, I can't. I need every bit of sleep I can get.”

Treat said she prefers fireworks stop at 11 p.m. instead of midnight or 1 a.m.

“I miss the days when personal fireworks were small and safe, when everyone had to go to the big fireworks show to see real fireworks,” she said. “Now, people setting off their own huge displays sort of takes away from the camaraderie and community of the big shows. That's the part I love — tons of people coming together to celebrate our great nation, freedom and the people who protect it.”

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Even some members of Grand Haven City Council say things have become a bit excessive.

“The (city’s) fireworks show was one of the best — it was really, really good,” Councilman Bob Monetza said. “The fireworks elsewhere around town I can do without. When it goes on the next day and the next day and the next day, it is a bit much.”

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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