Resident asks for fireworks ban
The July 16 meeting of the Quincy City Council started off with a bang, as a resident asked the city to ban fireworks. LeeAnnette Fortier was horrified by the events of July 4 and let city officials know, backing up her request with a signed petition.
Council member David Durfee Jr. was absent from the July 16 meeting.
Fortier used the public comment period to read from prepared remarks. Mayor Paul Worley stated speakers area allowed three minutes each. Fortier went about a minute beyond.
“July 4, 2019, will be remembered as a complete war zone in the city of Quincy,” Fortier said.
Firecrackers were thrown into her yard and exploded. She said she listened from 7 p.m. until well after midnight to “a non-stop barrage of bombs.” Fortier lives in southwest Quincy.
Around 9:30 p.m., she heard neighbors yelling about a fire. Firetrucks came down the street, and people shooting fireworks did not move out of the way until the firetrucks hit their sirens. “Again, I thought, are you kidding me?” she stated. An arborvitae hedge in a yard caught fire and was put out.
Fortier recounted for the council stories she heard the next day. One person told her his friend’s dog had “died of a heart attack during the bombings.” Another story she heard was of a woman who would not take her son, who uses a wheelchair, outside because of “firecrackers and bombs pelting her house.”
“Did you know a significant number of people letting off these bombs in our city were from other towns where fireworks are banned?” Fortier continued.
“Why are our city leaders willing to put our properties, cherished seniors, children, pets, disabled, veterans, and others with mental issues at risk and in peril just for the pleasure of a few who can easily go to organized shows to safely watch fireworks? I actually like fireworks shows, but what the citizens of Quincy witnessed on July 4, 2019, was not a firework show. It was a war zone.”
She said some people who did not sign her petition did not want fireworks banned but want the police to enforce the rules on hours and types of fireworks that can be used.
The petition had 49 signatures.
Another resident, Jeff Spence, also stood and spoke to the council. He is a supporter of fireworks and had been part of group that sold legal fireworks in the city. He said he wondered whether Fortier has been in the military and seen a real bomb go off.
“Those fireworks are nothing compared to a bomb,” Spence said.
He also defended the city’s actions with closure of the roundabout intersection. He said the city attempted to close an illegal access someone opened from an alley to the commercial area around the former Shopko building, but people moved the city’s cones out of the way. Spence wanted to know whether anyone would be held accountable.
Next on the agenda, Grant PUD’s general manager and CEO, Kevin Nordt, gave a presentation with slides for the council covering significant points of the history of the public utility and how its history affects the utility today.
For decades, the PUD was able to produce much more power than needed in Grant County. Then starting in 2004, industrial customers provided great growth in demand, Nordt said. Grant PUD is not running out of power, but the utility expects to purchase power in peak seasons by 2024 when the demand in the county rises.
Moving on with the council’s agenda, there were only two engineering items presented. The council also discussed a date to hold the fall workshop for council members, and it authorized spending up to $2,000 for the city’s annual employee appreciation barbecue. The council also OK’d moving the Aug. 6 council meeting to Aug. 7 to avoid National Night Out, which is Aug. 5 and 6.
In the Mayor’s Report, Worley read a prepared statement expressing the city’s appreciation for people inconvenienced by the roundabout project.
“We hope the community will help restore some of the business that was lost by retailers affected by the road closure,” Worley said. “They and their employees were impacted probably the most by this.”
Calling it part of the city’s growing pains, he said, “On behalf of the City Council and staff, thank you for your patience.”
Council member Tom Harris thanked police and fire personnel for their attention and work on July 4.
Council member Josey Ferguson thanked citizens for bringing their concerns to the council and reminded them that council seats come up for elections every two years, and he encouraged them to run for the office.
By Dave Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org