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Archive for Friday, June 28, 2013

25 years ago: Fireworks banned due to dry weather

June 28, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for June 28, 1988:

  • It was official -- Independence Day was to celebrated without a bang in Lawrence. City officials at a meeting yesterday had decided to ban the use of fireworks to reduce the fire hazards caused by the extremely dry weather. Specifically, all use of fireworks except for supervised public displays were prohibited within city limits, according to Fire Chief Jim McSwain. Violators were to be subject to a fine of up to $200 or a jail term of up to 180 days -- or both. A similar ban was expected to extend into the unincorporated ares of Douglas County.
  • Not many people were thinking about Christmas at this time of year, but Eric Walther, owner of the Strawberry Hill Christmas tree farm, was certainly an exception. The youngest trees at the farm west of Lawrence were dying by the hundreds -- the latest victims of the widespread drought. Walther today showed a Journal-World reporter and photographer the withered remains of 1,500 pine trees he had planted this spring. "It looks like we'll have a lot of big trees and a lot of small trees in a few years. We won't have too many medium trees," Walther explained.
  • Lew Tilford, director of fine arts for USD 497, approached school board members this week to inform them that a Steinway concert grand piano was available at a bargain price and could be a valuable acquisition for Lawrence High School. The piano's history included several years' service at Carnegie Hall, followed by a move to Kansas City where it was used as a rental for concerts, including those by Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, and Willie Nelson. A new seven-foot Steinway would have cost $30,000 to $35,000 in 1988, and a used one would have typically been about $25,000, but this one was available for only $18,000. Several local organizations were interested in raising the money for the purchase, and this year's LHS senior class was hoping to contribute $4,000 to $5,000.

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