Photos: Bombs Bursting in Air

Fireworks explode above Chehalis as residents celebrate Independence Day 2019.

Fireworks and fairgrounds are the topics that dominated the Centralia city council meeting this Tuesday. Centralia citizens, Sharon Beckman and Deanna Morris vehemently voiced their concerns about the current firework laws. Centralia is currently following state law which allow fireworks to be set off June 28 to July 5 from noon to midnight and on New Year’s Eve (January 31), 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The council voted on and approved the reading of the first ordinance amending the dates of sale and discharge of fireworks in Centralia.

The amended dates allow sale on July 1 to 4 from noon to 11 p.m., discharge July 1 to 3 from noon to 11 p.m. and July 4 from noon to 12 a.m. New Year’s Eve will continue to reflect state law.

All amendments to the current firework laws will not take effect until one year after they voted into law. The amended firework laws will not take effect until 2021 if they are approved upon the second reading. 

Beckman addressed the council with concerns about the eight days fireworks are permitted in June and July.

“I wish all of you could come and live with me for those eight days becasue you would ban fireworks in Centralia forever.” she said, “I live around Rite Aid and it is a war zone — an absolute war zone.”

Beckman voiced her concern for people with PTSD, mental illness, the elderly, and pets. 

“I want it (fireworks) banned entirely,” she said. 

Beckman suggested that penalties for illegal fireworks and misuse be widely advertised hoping that it will deter some of the safety, litter, and disruption issues. 

Morris addressed the council and pushed for more people to go out to the Lewis County Fairgrounds to see firework displays instead of setting them off in town. 

Councilor Susan Luond responded by saying that after the last city council meeting she decided to canvas the Fords Prairie area to get the opinions of some of the public.

“Out of 30 poeple that I spoke with, two of them wanted a full ban, 28 of them did not,” Luond said. “They preferred to go with the shorter hours. … They didn’t feel that leaping right in with a full ban was unnecessary at this point,” she said.

Councilor Rebecca Staebler voiced that she would like to gather more information from the public. All citizens who have concerns or would like to voice their opinion on the firework regulations in Centralia are encouraged to come to the next city council meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Centralia City Hall.

In other news, a second reading of the ordinance annexing the Lewis County Fairgrounds to the City of Centralia was accepted and approved. 

Southwest Washington Fairgrounds events manager Tamara Hayes thanked the council for annexing the fairgrounds into the city.

“We’re really excited to work with the city more and see how we can grow that relationship,” she said.

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