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Letter to the editor: Mayor responds to fireworks issue

11:53 AM, Jul. 18, 2013  |  Comments

Clarification needs to be made in response to Barb Ludlow's column and an editorial by Lou Orr regarding fireworks within the city of Kewaunee.

Approximately 2 months before the Fourth of July, Mr. Brown phoned my residence requesting a permit to do a fireworks display at his farm on County C. I stated that I would need to consult with both the police chief and fire chief.

Mr. Brown stated he had already contacted the police chief. Chief Salentine then recommended he contact the fire chief. The fire chief informed Mr. Brown that he was not in favor of him having it at that location, and recommended he contact the mayor. I consulted with the fire chief and police chief, who both recommended that a permit not be issued due to fire, public safety and traffic concerns.

I asked Chief Hlinak to address the situation (a responsibility of the fire chief), and he did. At no time was the police chief, fire chief, administrator or I ever made aware that the location was to be on the pier or in the harbor area. Chief Salentine, Chief Hlinak, and I concur that had they been made aware that the fireworks were to be held in the harbor area, there would have been no reason to deny Mr. Brown a permit given the licensing he possesses and the professionalism he uses. I stood by Chief Hlinak's recommendation then, and I stand by it now.

Fireworks permits are not approved, and have never been approved, by the City Council. Fireworks permits are issued by the fire chief, just as building permits are issued by the building inspector. City records show that the fire chief has always approved and signed fireworks permits.

The article also states that city officials contacted the Browns to do the fireworks display at Trout Festival. City officials did not contact the Browns concerning this issue. Since 2012 the fireworks became the responsibility of the Chamber of Commerce to organize, contract for and pay. The city had no involvement.

Thank you.

Mayor John Blaha

Kewaunee

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