Archive for Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Fireworks enthusiasm difficult to extinguish

July 4, 2006


Maurice Lafleur had no idea the gunpowder-laced stash in his basket was illegal in Lawrence.

"I really didn't hear anything about a ban," the 34-year-old Lawrence resident said Monday, as he stocked up on Roman candles, Saturn Missiles and a Friendship Pagoda at the Pine family's fireworks stand north of town.

"In our neighborhood, everybody's out there shooting (fireworks)," he said. "We even shot some off last night, and nobody said anything about it."

Just because the city banned most kinds of fireworks in 2003 doesn't mean the punks have been extinguished.

Some Lawrence fireworks shoppers are defiant - willing to flout the city ordinance in exchange for the thrill that comes with setting the fuse on Dr. Pyro's Chaos Machine or some other artillery-like device.

Shooting off fireworks inside the city limits is illegal, but that didn't stop this group on Monday evening. The three set off their fireworks in eastern Lawrence.

Shooting off fireworks inside the city limits is illegal, but that didn't stop this group on Monday evening. The three set off their fireworks in eastern Lawrence.

"I think many of them are city people, to be quite honest with you," stand co-owner Jim Pine said Monday as he leaned across the counter wearing an American flag T-shirt. "The main advice that I give them is 'Just don't cause any trouble with them.' You've got to use your head."

Citing concerns about safety and trash left in streets, the City Commission in 2003 banned most types of fireworks, with the exception of items such as confetti poppers, sparklers and magic snakes.

The county allows fireworks between July 2 and July 4, as long as they're set off on private property with the owner's permission. Locations also will be provided in the county at Lone Star Lake and Wells Overlook, according to Fire Marshal Rich Barr.

Lawrence Police will be out today enforcing the ban, along with two or three firefighters from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

Between Friday and early Monday, Lawrence Police had responded to 54 fireworks-related complaints.

Send us your photos

The Journal-World wants your Independence Day celebration photos to run on today. Simply shoot moments from your picnics, backyard volleyball games and barbecues, then go to to upload your photos by 5 p.m. today. A selection of reader photos will be published in the Journal-World on Wednesday.

"Generally, it was people reporting that they were hearing fireworks or people reporting seeing fireworks," Lawrence Police spokeswoman Kim Murphree said.

The penalty for a fireworks violation can range from $100 to $200. Officers might not always issue a citation at the scene, but they do confiscate the fireworks, which are then given to the fire department to be destroyed.

"I just think it's important that the public become aware of what the city ordinance is," Murphree said.

The fire department destroys the fireworks in a logical way: by dunking them in trash bins filled with water.

Tonight's Fireworks displays

Here is a list of today's Independence Day fireworks displays, which begin at dusk or shortly after. ¢ Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza put on by the Lawrence Jaycees, Burcham Park, 200 Ind. Bands will perform before the display. There is no admission for the event. The Journal-World is sponsoring the buses that will transport people to the park. As in previous years, the buses will make a loop of downtown parking lots to take people to and from the park. If you can't attend, you can watch the display on Sunflower Broadband Channel 99 through the Coldwell Banker McGrew Towercam. There will be two free concerts Tuesday evening at Burcham Park before the fireworks display. The Heebie Jeebies will play from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Stephen Hunnicutt and The Dreamwalkers will play from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ¢ Eudora Parks and Recreation Department will put on a fireworks display for people gathered in the parking lots at Eudora Middle School, 2635 Church St., and High School, 2203 Church St. ¢ Baldwin High School, 415 Eisenhower Road, near the ballfields. ¢ McLouth Sports Complex. Residents are encouraged to park and view the display from Bulldog Lane. ¢ Basehor-Linwood High School, 2108 N 155th St., Basehor. A parade will precede the event at 6 p.m. ¢ Fourth of July at Fort Leavenworth with fireworks on Grant Avenue at Merritt Lake. ¢ Fourth of July Celebration, City Lake, 14824 246th Road, Holton. ¢ Fire in the Sky, Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee.

Open or closed?

¢ State and local government offices and public services in Lawrence and Douglas County are closed today. ¢ Banks are closed. ¢ Liquor stores are open. ¢ Lawrence Bus Co. buses are not running. ¢ Lawrence Transit System fixed routes and paratransit buses are not running. Parking at meters in downtown Lawrence is free today. ¢ The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department offices and clinic are closed. The Lawrence Workforce Center is closed. ¢ No residential or solid waste will be collected today, and regular residential routes will be delayed one day for the rest of the week. For example, today's pickup will be Wednesday. ¢ To report a water or sewer emergency during the holiday, call 843-2685. ¢ Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Eagle Bend Golf Course is open. ¢ Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., will be open from 1 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and the Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive, will be open from 5:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. South Park Wading Pool will be closed, and there also will be no Summer Playground, Mini Munchkin Camp, Unified Day Camp or Nature Summer Camps. ¢ The Lawrence Public Library is closed. ¢ There will be no regular mail delivery Tuesday. ¢ Home delivery and Bus 62 senior service meals have been canceled today. All activities at the Lawrence Senior Center are canceled. Meals also are not being served at Babcock Place, Edgewood Place, Lecompton, Eudora and Baldwin senior centers. ¢ Lawrence Meals on Wheels will deliver.


Lonestar1 11 years, 11 months ago

I want to read about all the arrests made for illegally using fireworks on the 4th of July on the front page tomorrow! I want to see the police hit the streets in force and bust all of those law breakers! The city could use the money. Maybe a city TEA tax would be a good idea?

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh, get over it already. Ottawa has had a ban on fireworks in the city limits for as long as I can remember. We used to go out in the country to shoot off fireworks, and it was still fun. You don't have to be standing in your own yard for it to be fun.

And I don't see that a ban hurts the economy at all. People still buy fireworks by the bucketsful. They still shoot them off in their yards, even though there's a ban.

As far as a fireworks ban being IS, but it seems the police usually don't bother to enforce it. Not here, anyway. On Sun., I watched as they shot off fireworks at a house two doors down, within the city limits.

Who was shooting them off? Well, the man who lives there is a deputy sheriff. It was him and his family who was doing it.

If the officers of the law don't even obey the ban, then what makes them think anyone else will?

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

Lonestar: the police probably won't arrest anybody. But as the article stated they would get a ticket and their fireworks confiscated. But here is the problem. The officer has to SEE the subjects using the fireworks. Just cause somebody hears it, can't ticket the noise. Gotta SEE the person. Unfor, thats harder said than done. Do you know how many calls come in for fireworks at the police station? I think last year they quoted something like almost 300 calls in a 4 days weekend, most of them on the 4th. Now with all the other type of police calls that they get, how are they to enforce it like it should be? You would have to have a force of several dozen officers just responding to fireworks calls. That just isn't feasible. Some will get caught and ticketed and have their fireworks distroyed others will get away with it. Just the way it is.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Why would you leave town to buy fireworks? They can still be sold right outside the city limits.

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

You spend $500 on fireworks? Wow, if I had that kind of money to blow on fireworks I would move to another city let me light them.

Nikki May 11 years, 11 months ago

they mean, they leave town and spend money in another town on things that aren't fireworks. That's alot of money to spend in one weekend though. We spent all our money here. We could have spent it in Eudora though.

We went to a barbque yesterday, then when it started getting dark, we went to Eudora to shoot stuff off. Still, you have to be on private property and all, but luckily the people we were with had that covered.

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago

The fireworks sold locally are crappy and overpriced. I buy mine in Missouri where my $500+ goes a lot further and I have a greater variety of better stuff to choose from.

Not to mention that I get to do my shopping in an air conditioned building instead of in an overbearingly hot and stuffy tent set up in the middle of chigger infested grass.

As for the ban, it doesn't affect me personally as I've always gone somewhere else to shoot them off with family and friends and put on one hell of a show. I don't think there should be a ban though. Not everyone has a place they can go or perhaps the means to get there. So let them have their fun.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

I would like to see a boundry line of the city so we know where we can go to shoot off our own fireworks. We always go to the Tee Pee parking lot and shoot them off wach year, but it would be nice to know where the other boundry lines are.

Anyone have any clue here?

justsomewench 11 years, 11 months ago

as i posted on another thread:

if it's not a professional show, it's someone's wasted of money. i'd be surprised if any of the fanatics' children even know what fireworks are supposed to be (poorly) simulating. can you imagine folks grabbing a blanket and a picnic lunch to 'ooh' and 'aah' roadside in iraq?

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago

If it's not your money being wasted, why should you care? Do you think their money should go to the city coffers as taxes along with yours so that it can be properly wasted?

Then we can grab a blanket and picnic lunch to ooh and aah a $70,000,000 million dollar library or $90,000 dollar flowers. Or the roundabouts. I'm getting my blanket right now!

justsomewench 11 years, 11 months ago

where in my post did you see me advocate any of the other endeavors you listed? did you see anywhere in my post where i said 'i care'? a bit defensive, you are.

if you want a realistic show, why not throw some body parts around the yard, and scream bloody murder, too?

please point me in the direction where it the Terms of Service say you may only post popular opinions.

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

Princess: the borders are so jagged that you really need to find a map of the city and county and see where it separates. Or you can call DGCO dispatch, they would know.

awoc: sorry for the misunderstanding, but unless you are traveling out of state for 1 day, $500 still seems like a lot to travel. You can understand how we were confused because you just said leave Lawrence, that implies to me you are going to the county limits or somewhere nearby which should not cost $500 to travel too. Sorry I didn't read your mind. But thanks for being so sweet about it.

good_kitty 11 years, 11 months ago

If I wanted to reside in a warzone I would move to Iraq. Fireworks sound like machine gun fire and explosions. Our country terrorizes thousands with these very sounds. Fireworks are a reflection of the ignorance of Amerika. Let's just call it Ignorance Day. We can celebrate our "freedom" without blowing sh#t up. Not to mention all the injuries that are incurred by said fireworks.
"Happy Ignorance Day!!!!"

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't have a problem with fireworks per say. Just that most that use them leave the mess for everyone else to clean up. And it is usually right in front of my driveway. I have even had some people who I don't know, set them off IN MY driveway, now thats nervy! Please people if you make a mess, please clean it up, even if you don't live in the area, be responsible.

those fireworks also make most animal bananas!! Thats always fun!

justsomewench 11 years, 11 months ago

well, that's a bit radical, kitty. there IS cause to celebrate our independence, but feigning war doesn't seem to me to be a logical gesture, is all.

what has happened is that every possible, meaningful holiday has turned into a commercial endeavor. holidays such as christmas, easter, independence day, etc. are mindlessly celebrated by spending money that has nothing to do with the true meaning of the day or consideration if those holiday ideals align with our own. spend, spend, spend.

Jay_Z 11 years, 11 months ago

"Fireworks are a reflection of the ignorance of Amerika."

You sure do sound like a pleasant, rational person.

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago

How soon till we can get permits for concealed fireworks? :D

good_kitty 11 years, 11 months ago

justsomewench- "well, that's a bit radical, kitty" In the twenty-first century, empathy for others trapped in a warzone is a radical notion. God forbid we put ourselves in the place of others experiencing war first-hand.

A challenge to the board: Tonight while you enjoy blowing up things and burning your money, close your eyes, imagine your city under siege. Imagine that m-80 is a real bomb as you hold your children close. Imagine how you might feel if you knew your life was in immediate danger. Round after round of gunfire go off around you. Imagine, your children screaming and crying at the bloodshed of their neighbours lying on the ground. Welcome to Iraq where we use the real thing to terrorize thousands.

This is why I don't like fireworks. I don't want to celebrate the state of this country. I am ashamed of the united states.

classclown- as rational as you. I've thought long and hard about how deep asleep this country is.

Being a radical is not a bad thing. We need more of them.

Jay_Z 11 years, 11 months ago

If you are so ashamed of the U.S., you'll be boarding the next flight out of here and won't be returning, right?

good_kitty 11 years, 11 months ago

I would expect as much Jay_Z. I'm sure others will attack what I say as well. I'm used to it. For the time being I possess the right to write without censure.

Hopefully my words will creep into your mind as you blow things up this evening and maybe for a split-second you might experience- OH MY GOD- empathy!!!!!! Just try it Jay- i dare ya

justsomewench 11 years, 11 months ago

...ah, i remember being young and idealistic once...

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

I hang body parts from the tress in the front yard every year for our annual Halloween party.

Was going to be heading out of Lawrence today but plans have changed at the last minute.

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone.......going to the Tee Pee again this year to light and watch.

Jay_Z 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey I agree with you, there are bad, horrible things happening around the world. However, using your line of thinking, one could basically never really enjoy anything because, according to you, we should always be thinking of someone else's pain/suffering happening somewhere out there. Do what you can to help others, but try to enjoy life a little bit.

Jamesaust 11 years, 11 months ago

We all know that the "answer" to "illegals" is to deport them!

Liberty 11 years, 11 months ago

"I just think it's important that the public become aware of what the city ordinance is," Murphree said.

Rather, I just think it is important that the city become aware of what the people want and are telling them about the unlawful city fireworks ban.

good_kitty 11 years, 11 months ago

Jay- that's not true, I enjoy life but not days that remind me of attrocities our country does unto others. Whether I like it or not I am an amerikan and I would be doing "the founding fathers" a true disservice if I didn't express my views. Your ridiculous patriotism-ie. get with the program or get out- is poisonous to the very fabric of the constitution. Get over it. There are plenty of amerikans who are ashamed of the state of our country. We're not going away, Jay. Sorry, this isn't a nation that has just one viewpoint on things. It doesn't take a brainless holiday to have a good time. It does take a thoughtful person to understand this country is a skeleton of what the founding fathers wanted for a land of free-thinking individuals.

happyone 11 years, 11 months ago

good_kitty is right. Fireworks are supposed to be imitation artillary. You know the whole "rockets red glare" At this time in our history, Iraqi war and all, I think we should consider what we (the USA) have done over there and what we are causing by being there. I think g_k has a very good idea tonight when you are setting off your fake bombs close your eyes for a minute and think about living with the real thing day after day.

I like the fact that Lawrence has the ban on fireworks, between the noise, trash and fire hazard that they cause. I do wish however that the officers would be out in full force issuing tickets so that people would get the message that it is illegal to shoot them off in the city limits. If you really have the urge to be a pyromaniac find some place out in the country where you don't put the entire neighborhood at risk.

Rationalanimal 11 years, 11 months ago

The 5 Grinches that Stole Independence Day.

This day, all over America, stands for America: liberty, opportunity, self-destiny, virtue, christian idealism, patriotism, and, yes, even capitalism. Its a day when at one time or another a knot swells within your throat, you choke back some tears and are proud as hell of the country you live in and the great people that sacrificed something so we can have what we have. Its a day we thank God for boys who became men by plunging themselves into the gapping jaws of hell's battle. Its a day we honor men who lived true to honor, obedience and commitment, and placed such virtues above rational contemplation or criticism of our institutions.

However, this day in Lawrence, is a day representing 5 City Communishers wielding their power, their public trust, to supress the celebration of the greatest country in the history of the world.

Show me a city in the whole United States of America the size of Lawrence that does not sponsor and encourage the celebration of this wonderful country. Show me a city the size of Lawrence that uses its powers to outlaw the very activities synonymous with celebrating Independence Day. Show me a city that does this, and I'll show you Lawrence, Kansas; I'll show you 5 city communishers that at the depths of their souls, have a black hatred for the very thing that gives them the right to harbor such hatred.

The shame of it all is they have abused their power and trust by going beyond expressing their views. They have imposed their view upon the rest of Lawrence by passing baseless laws that prohibit us from celebrating what most of us love, appreciate and respect.

The one thing that must be the most intolerable for liberals that hate America, is to see the rest of us enjoying ourselves celebrating America. That is why no fireworks will light the sky over Lawrence, Kansas, tonight. Because 5 people who collectively hate America to the depths of their black liberal hearts can't stand to see the rest of us celebrate the GREATEST NATION in the history of the world. That is why those who love America must persist in celebrating America, because facism is only 5 city communishers away.

juliopac 11 years, 11 months ago

Nothing like setting off fire-starting explosives during a draught. Yeah, let's hand these things over to drunks and kids...and burn down a city block while we're at it.

Setting off explosives="celebrating America..."

Utterly stupid!

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

For all those still whining about the ban -- do the fireworks look even more spectacular through your crocodile tears? Do the tears give an added chandelier effect? Just asking. Enjoy.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Quite the extended whine -- again -- about liberals there macon. If it ain't your basement, why do you care?

OutKast 11 years, 11 months ago

Does'nt the holiday have a little something to do with freedom? Lawrence's city commision seems to twist absurd fear into a strangle hold over the townfolk in the form of these silly ordinaces. Sounds familar, uhhm, "Patriot Act". Like an over protective parent, banning firework makes them feel like they are actually protecting and saving lives, well, we see how seriously the ordinace is taken. Yes, fireworks are dangerous, they are explosives, the people who complain about the safety issues seem to be the same kind of people who complain about anything their child is exposed to that they seem to have no time to edit. Spend sometime with them, maybe even supervise, what a novel approach. The people who complain about the noise and the mess, all fall into the catigory of grumpy "over the hillers" or at least approaching the apex. God forbid some body have some fun inside city limits. This type usually is upset about a lot more then pyrotechnic's. Relax, you were a kid once too, back in 38 or something. Maybe the Counsil is concerned with the Beautification of Lawrence, if that's the case, be concerned with fixing some f##king streets. Thank Lawrence City Commission, instead of hearing fireworks bang and pop, it will be the sounds of you steering column snapping or rear axel colapsing as you are haplessly stalled in 100+ degree heat. And if you really want to ban fireworks, go to the source, I feel like I'm visiting a "Barnum and Bailey's" museum, driving down 31st. There are tents every where selling illegal firework's, is'nt that the logical place to start. Gosh freakin idiots... Happy 4th, eat, drink and waste money blowing crap up for shear entertainment that's your American right.

Divine presence bless America.....

Sigmund 11 years, 11 months ago

With freedom comes responsibility, but I do feel real sympathy for Marion's position because so many people are idiots with fireworks. In any case it is obvious to me that the "fireworks ban" is being LARGELY ignored, which begs the question why do we allow a group of neo-facist progressive Kommissioners dictate all these ridiculous bans?

If all the bans were as widely disregarded as this one, the Kommission would be put in the uncomfortable position of fining a very large number of citizens generating a very motivated coalition voters working against them come election time; Or simply ignoring all the violations which gives the impression that they are not respected or to be taken seriously, also not good come election time.

Here is hoping the Fourth of July is the begining of general civil disobedience of all of the Kommissions bans and a return to independence and freedom for Lawrence.

KsTwister 11 years, 11 months ago

Civil disobedience is right, I grew up with questioning authority. This whole valley in the center of town looks much like Independence Days of Old. You have to enjoy it. We thought it would be a quiet boring day,and having not lit any ourselves, for the most part the percentage of people who don't have problems reading directions know how to do it right. Protectionism will eventually lead to stupid people who don't know how to do anything. Only the kids in the country will develope any kind of ingenuity and safety smarts. It is a wonder most of us survived our childhood with all the things banned today, we would be stupid.......kind of like Lawrence's city commission.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

Well we headed over to the Tee Pee like we have for the last few years since the ban was set. Shortly after arriving there, here come two LPD flying into the parking lot. A young girl got shot in the eye with a bottle rocket that was shot from somewhere. I do hope she is okay and I really don't like those bottle rockets anyway.

We continued shooting off our bag of fireworks until one of them came over and said we couldn't shoot them where we were. Apparently we were still to close to the stand. Its strange how after these years we have gone there and no one said anything to us about the 500 ft away thing. We asked where we could go and he said to go to Wells Park off of Hwy 59. Since it was already 11pm ( we waited to light ours off because we watched the river show. ) I have no idea where Wells is and it would have taken us more time to get there. We could only light them off until 12 mid.

We then drove over to another stand near the Tee Pee and asked the guys working there where we could do these. They said they were doing them in the parking lot next door. Clearly more then 500 ft away from any stand which was good.

So I want to thank whatever trucking company that is where we were tonight for loaning our kids their parking lot. We had a great 4th, the kids are happy, tired and tucked in bed. We cleaned up our mess and left your parking lot the way it looked when we arrived. Thanks again.........

Hope everyone had a safe 4th.

Calliope877 11 years, 11 months ago


Where in Missouri do you buy your fireworks? It's a specific store? Just curious.:)

Becca 11 years, 11 months ago

"This day, all over America, stands for America: liberty, opportunity, self-destiny, virtue, christian idealism, patriotism, and, yes, even capitalism."

Since when has it been about Christians? Are you forgetting that the Founding Fathers left England for freedom to worship however they wanted, not the way Church of England told them to? I do believe that includes more than just christians.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

fireworks= evil?? no not so people be stupid and dumb when shotting them off. that is all and some people just like to be kill joys so no fireworks.

mom_of_three 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey princess, Wells Overlook was supposed to close at 10, according to the sign, so a good thing you didn't go there. By the time we left at 9:15, some of the crazies and stupids had started to arrive. One woman let her teenagers shoot fireworks about 5 feet away from someone's SUV, when my kids and everyone else was shooting in the road. (far away from vehicles). There was plenty of room at the time.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

lonestar was the place to be was very cool lots of fun.

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