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Board OKs fireworks hours


Early morning booms banned at ten holidays



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September 18, 2013 - By David Fleet

Editor

Atlas Twp.- Getting a good night's sleep may be a little easier around holidays for residents following the board of trustees meeting on Monday night.

The township board voted 5-0 to OK an ordinance which regulates the usage of consumer fireworks between the overnight hours of 1-8 a.m. to the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, as well as the day before and the day after each of these holidays. The township will also include the weekend before Independence Day.

"I see the fireworks law as evolving," said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. "I'd like to see the ban start at 11 p.m. rather than 1 a.m., but we can't. There's been much discussion regarding the noise late at night with fireworks."

The decision comes after Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed legislation in July that allows any city, township or village to prohibit the use of fireworks between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.on the national holidays and one day on either side.

In 2011, the local fireworks issue became louder after state lawmakers opened up sales and usage in Michigan. The lawmakers' intent was to snag a few tax dollars from then going to border states who sold such fireworks. The legislation expanded the types of fireworks that could be ignited legally in the state including bottle rockets, aerial cakes, Roman candles, and firecrackers. All are sold legally after lawmakers and Snyder erased the ban.

Violation is a misdemeanor and punished by a $500 fine plus the costs of prosecution and/or 90 days in jail. If the police officer determined that a violation of the ordinance occurred the officer may seize the control of the fireworks as evidence of the violation.

"I don't want to make a common practice illegal," said Patrick Major, township trustee and Lake Shinanguag resident.

"To allow the fireworks on the weekend prior to the Fourth of July since that seems to be when people are off work and take that time to celebrate. The ordinance did not address the issue, so it was added. We've had the police come out to the lake for fireworks late at night—there's disturbing the peace and it's illegal. I wanted an ordinance that's reasonable."

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