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Terrytown council hears fireworks complaint
August 08, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Now that the Fourth of July fireworks celebration is finished, local residents are voicing their complaints to their town councils.
Terrytown resident Ray Steyer was at the council’s August meeting to complain how some of his neighbors were disregarding city ordinances during the celebration.

“Up until this year, the fireworks situation hasn’t been too bad,” Steyer told council members. “This year it sounded like bombs going off. And my backyard looks like it’s been through a war.”

He admitted that one of the neighbors is new to the area, but the two neighbors were trying to top each other at a fireworks show that lasted far past midnight on the night of July 4, the cutoff time for discharging fireworks.

Steyer also said he had his roof shingled prior to the Fourth. Afterwards, he found numerous fireworks scorch marks on the roof. He also found them on his pickup.

“I would like to see you do away with fireworks in Terrytown because our two neighboring towns are also considering it,” he said. “If not, you should enforce the midnight deadline.”

Council member Brad Van Pelt said fireworks were being discharged in his neighborhood for several days after the Fourth.

Terrytown City Attorney Kent Hadenfeldt said the city has a noise ordinance that isn’t time specific to handle complaints. However, ordinance enforcement for the city is handled by the Scottsbluff Police Department. That can be a challenge to enforcement when officers use Scottsbluff ordinance numbers in Terrytown, which has a different numbering system.

No action was taken, but the city council will continue to monitor how potential fireworks ordinances are modified in Gering and Scottsbluff.

Gering might take another look at its fireworks ordinance after residents Loretta Roth and Judy Hoxworth voiced their complaints to the council.

Both women said fireworks weren’t cleaned up in a timely manner in their neighborhoods and embers from the fireworks had the potential to start fires.

It’s been two years since Gering last addressed its fireworks ordinance and no action was taken. But after hearing the most recent complaints, council member Don Christensen asked whether the Administrative Committee should revisit the ordinance.

Council member Jill McFarland, who chairs the Admin Committee, said they might consider implementing changes to lessen the fireworks impact on neighboring properties. One change would be to prohibit shooting fireworks from the street. Another would require people to clean up their fireworks debris within 24 hours.
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