The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Fireworks, A Dilemma In Oquawka
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher
Two newly appointed trustees, Jeff Robbins and Cindy Henry, were seated alongside trustees Jason Howard, Troy Jern, Todd Shinberger, and Nancy Bundy and Mayor Harold Henshaw and Clerk Sandy Huff Monday evening for a lively meeting that lasted until 9:04 p.m.
Mayor Henshaw had been handed a letter stating the law for firework compliance which showed the radius needed in the village was over 450 feet.
The board had approved moving the fireworks from the old elementary school to the riverfront last month after residents in that area complained about debri in their yards and on their houses after last year's fireworks.
Now, Charles Melburg, who lives along the levee by the riverfront spoke at the meeting of his concern that someone would be hurt and that he didn't want all the activity that goes with the fireworks, back in his yard. He suggested keeping it where it was last year.
Mayor Henshaw and others said there was no place in Oquawka that had that amount of space and their concern was that someone would sue.
Ron Bigger suggested shooting them off the rock that the Corp of Engineers had poured into the river to shift the water down the river back into its proper channel.
Bigger volunteered to talk to the Corp on Tuesday to see if they would add sand to the rock for a firework display and promptly get back to the board.
After discussion between a couple of trustees, Troy Jern made a motion due to cancel the fireworks for this year due to the fact he felt there was not enough time to find a safe place and because of the liability to the village due to the NFPA standards 1123.
Jeff Robbins seconded the motion but the other trustees voted "no."
Then a second motion was made to set a special meeting in 10 day on June 16th 15 7:00 p.m. to make a decision on the fireworks and to order the fireworks and to have it published for two weeks in the newspaper. The motion passed.
Mayor Henshaw said it had concerned him how people sue at a drop of a hat so felt it was important to be in compliant since someone dropped off this regulation at the office to make a point.
The fireworks will cost approximatetly $5,500
The event has been an annual attraction for years in Oquawka and is always on the 4th and surrounds several events throughout the weekend. This year several streets are marked off for various events on Scuyler Street and on 6th street..