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28 June 2007

Despite Drought, Fireworks Will Go On

By Matt Kasper
Star Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Expect the skies to burst with fireworks after all this Fourth of July in most parts of Calhoun and Cleburne counties.

Despite a temporary ban on personal and commercial fireworks shows in 33 counties, issued June 9 by the state fire marshal, only Anniston will skip its annual fireworks show this year.

Jacksonville and Heflin were unsure after the ban was issued as to whether their fireworks displays could go on. Both have received state permission to go ahead, city officials said.

Jacksonville Fire Chief Mike Daugherty said the city has received approval from the Alabama Forestry Commission and the state fire marshal’s office.

“They said what they were after was to stop so many of the mom-and-pop fireworks shows and try to, hopefully, get to the point where people would attend professional shows,” Daugherty said.

Jacksonville’s show will begin close to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, just north of Pete Mathews Coliseum on the Jacksonville State University campus, he said.

Like Daugherty, Heflin Fire Chief Rudy Rooks said he received a permit from the fire marshal’s office after getting an exemption from the Department of Forestry.

“We got the permit yesterday. It’s on,” Rooks said Wednesday.

He said the fact that the fire department is handling the fireworks show helped them get approval. “We will have fire-prevention measures in place,” said Rooks.

The Heflin show will be Saturday at 9 p.m.

Others were not so lucky.

Faced with a tight deadline from the fireworks vendor and only scant signs of rain, Anniston officials decided earlier this month to cancel the city’s traditional show.

The traditional location at the Woodland Park softball complex was considered hazardous, City Manager George Monk said at the time.

Oxford never wavered on its plans to shoot fireworks. Mayor Leon Smith cited the Oxford Lake Park venue as an ideal location because of the availability of water. Oxford’s show is set for 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Oxford Lake Park.

Fireworks shows

Anniston: Show cancelled.
Heflin: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at City Park.
Jacksonville: 9 p.m., Tuesday, July 3 at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the Jacksonville State University campus.
Oxford: 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Oxford Lake Park.

About Matthew Kasper

Matthew Kasper covers Jacksonville, Piedmont, Ohatchee and Alexandria for the Star.

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