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Fireworks Continues to Spark Debate

Made more concerning by the recent hot and dry weather, residents protest permits for anyone in the city.

Tom Templin, a retired firefighter and Muskego resident, told the city's finance committee Tuesday that its current fireworks ordinance is "foolhardy" and that the city needed a "wakeup call" because he believes no fireworks should be allowed in the city.

Initially, Templin appeared to ask the committee to rescind the fireworks application of neighbors Randall Bruch and Jason Geiger. The area where they live, which is situated off of Hillendale and Field Drive, is fairly wooded, with a wetland area that has been dry given the lack of rain, and that had Templin concerned.

"Did you see the brush fire in Burlington, which burned about 80 acres? They had great difficulty getting to it. They had to get on ATVs just to find the area," he said. "This is the type of area we're talking about — it's not an area you sould be playing with fire at all — it's a tinderbox there."

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said the decision had not been made yet as to whether the city would initiate a burning or fireworks ban, but was "considering it along with the assistance of the fire chief."

However, the committee stressed that once a permit was approved, unless there were any violations or complaints existing, it could not legally be revoked. That's not the response Templin was looking for.

"The city of Muskego should take a long, hard look at its ordinance because it makes no common sense. I don't know why there are any fireworks allowed in this city, as many others don't allow it," he argued.

Alderman Dan Soltysiak explained the current ordinance already does address issues of wind speed and direction, the need for firefighting equipment and supervision, and that "there's nothing that allows us to be proactive in preventing a violation. We can't refuse a permit based on something that might happen."

He added: "it's important as well for everyone taking out a permit to know they are responsible for anything that can happen."

Templin was told that going forward further amendments to the ordinance could help to tighten up the restrictions in the ordinance, but no immediate change could be made.

It may have been a small consolation, as Templin's wife Linda explained that she "was on edge and nervous the last Fourth of July, hearing the fireworks go off and knew that there would be no way the (Fire Department) could get to it in time."

Templin told the committee that he would take the opportunity to address the ordinance for the coming year, but in the meantime he "would not be going to any fireworks on the 3rd or 4th of July. I'll be staying home with a garden hose."

TOM June 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM
ALL FIREWORKS SHOULD BE BANNED THIS YEAR BECAUSE IT IS TO DRY. WAITING UNTIL THE OBAMA'S ARE BOOTED OUT OF THE CAPITOL JUST MAKES SENSE' IT SHOULD'NT BE AS DRY THEN AND IT WILL BE A BIGGER REASON TO CELEBRATE THAN THE 4TH OF JULY!
Brandon Karpowitz June 27, 2012 at 12:57 PM
What is with people having to make every single post some political statement? Anyways.... I'm a huge fan of fireworks. And Muskego allowing this permit is perhaps the only thing this city has done in the last 25 years I've lived here that I agree wholeheartedly with. I wish my yard allowed me to use the permit, but my neighbors are too close. That being said, it's been a ridiculously dry summer so far and 90% of the public is too stupid to know that lighting fireworks when it's dry out is a bad idea. So they should do some sort of ban/delay to protect people from themselves unfortunately. Delay it a couple weeks, and extend the permit by a couple weeks to give people time to plan a new party.
Denise Konkol (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Ald. Soltysiak made a good point that the class C fireworks that launch are generally safer because they fizzle out (or are designed to) by the time they land. Sparklers and groundworks because they're in direct contact with grass are worse. Comparatively, I'm being told Muskego looks in far better shape because of the rain we had about 10 days ago, which was heavy. Mine is still mostly green, but it can't take much more.
Daniel Fifield June 27, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Personally I enjoy the relaxed ordinance around fireworks in the City of Muskego, but that being said. There needs to be some common sense when we have dry conditions like this year. We should consider modify the ordinance to allow revoking of permits if the conditions warrant it.
Steven Klinko June 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM
what What?
Muskegotom June 28, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I agree with Templin. Fireworks should be banned in the city.

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