City hears fireworks concerns ahead Independence Day


When the Ulysses City Council approved a new fireworks ordinance in June, effectively expanding the number of days fireworks could be sold and allowing for later discharge of fireworks on the 4th of July, it encountered no opposition from the general public. The council considered the item at two separate meetings before approving the new ordinance.

Some residents, however, didn’t get the memo and raised concerns during public forum at the June 26 council meeting.

Jamilin Lorenson said that there are people in the community who can be affected by the discharge of fireworks. Lorenson spoke for nearly 20 minutes and said she is not opposed to the sale of fireworks, but sales being extended to nine days.

“While I understand that the decision is up to our local government, I would like to present how nine days of discharging fireworks could be negative to many people in your community,” Lorenson told the council. “I ask that maybe you consider a couple of the solutions that I have.”

Lorenson mentioned Veterans who may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder triggered by fireworks.

“There are people who have trauma that isn’t caused by the battlefield, but could be caused by many different things,” she added. “A loud, sudden noise could trigger somebody, cause an episode that isn’t in a good mental state. So, that’s kind of not fair to them, at all, either.”

Pets and pet owners can also be affected by the noise from fireworks, and another lady who spoke, identified as Ginger, said she would be spending the 4th of July in the closet with her pet because of the trauma the noise causes to them. Lorenson also said that she might have been able to handle three days with her pet, but didn’t know if her pet would be safe over nine days.

Lorenson also alluded to the chicken ordinance, which the council discussed that night. She said chickens are also adversely affected by loud noises, that could cause them to attack other chickens and lay deformed eggs.

Individuals with health conditions such as diabetes and health ailments are also harmed by loud, sudden noises.

“Who else in your community has issues that are health-related that are affected by sleep?” Lorenson asked. “That’s not fair to them.”

She acknowledged that the ordinance was set and it was too late to change it before the 4th, but asked about enforcement, as well as picking up fireworks trash or cleaning up damage. She suggested changing the discharge time and dates back to what it originally was, and/or give police “A little more bite to actually do something.”

Violation of the ordinance comes with up to a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail, amount or time is at the discretion of a judge.

Councilman Terry Maas said the ordinance was discussed in May, was put off for two weeks to give people time to voice any opposition, and was not only published in the Ulysses News but the Garden City Telegram.

“Maybe nine days is excessive, I don’t know, but at the time, no one showed up,” Maas said. “So that’s why we voted the way we did.”

Maas said there wasn’t anything that could be done about it then, but wouldn’t be opposed to revisiting it next year.

“I wish you guys had come sooner,” Maas said. “We made the decision based on people that showed up. I’m glad that you showed up tonight to voice your concerns, all of you, and we will take it under advisement.”

Mayor Tim McCauley said he understood the concerns, but talked to veterans to said “It is what it is,” and had a message from a kid who was “Stoked” to be able to shoot fireworks sooner.

“We were locked down two years ago where you couldn’t even go out of the house, to me this is something that kind of gets us back into the real world again, I guess,” McCauley said. “I think we need to go through and see how it goes this year.”


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