I read, with interest, the extremely well-written letter to the editor from Taky Tzimeas and I could not agree more with the sentiments regarding the outrageous fireworks that were forced upon us for days prior to New Year’s Eve and for over six and a half hours on New Year’s Eve. This blasting has continued on the last three nights as well but for shorter duration. No one in our county should have to endure this abuse! And it is abuse!
It is time that the citizens of this county take charge and instead of enduring this behavior, make it impossible for this to happen in the future. Taky is correct in stating that it seems to be a handful of individuals who are subjecting the rest of us to this trauma hour after hour.
Despite having our animals tranquilized, they were still completely terrified. The neighbor’s horses were going crazy in the pastures and I was extremely worried for their safety. Dogs and cats run away from their homes every year in our neighborhood and then the next week, we are all trying to find their owners. It has gotten worse every year and the perpetrators are shooting off illegal aerials and not sticking to the time frame allowed by Hawaii state laws. The police cannot address all of the calls and they shouldn’t have to do so. Year after year, our firefighters are on alert for days putting out fires that are caused by aerials that are illegal.
The law governing fireworks in Hawaii states that, “Only sparklers, glow worms, and fountains which emit sparks no higher than 12 feet into the air are permitted. General consumers without a permit may not possess any rockets or firecrackers that propel themselves through the air.”
How is it that this is not enforced through sales? The allowance for the fireworks to go on from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., even if it was adhered to, is also ridiculous. Fifteen minutes is more than enough time to shoot off fireworks to meet the Chinese tradition of scaring off evil spirits. This could be done at a safe place such as the pier where we used to have firework displays that everyone could enjoy. Those shooting off their fireworks would also be responsible for cleaning up their debris.
Allowing fireworks in residential areas is just a bad idea on so many levels. Do members of our community who own livestock or have pets have fewer rights than the individuals who wish to shoot off fireworks right next door to their cattle, horses, sheep, dogs and cats? Not everyone can afford to tranquilize all of their animals for these events and they shouldn’t have to do so. As taxpayers in this county, we all have a right to peace and quiet in our own homes.
If I sound outraged, it is because I am, and I am hoping that everyone else is as well.
This situation has gotten worse every year and it shows no sign of slowing down. I encourage every citizen in this county to contact their council representative, their state representatives and their state senators and make their voices heard that they are tired of this situation.
Let’s get a resolution to change the current regulations! As a community activist who has worked for decades to support our community, our county and our state, I feel that now is the time to stand up for all of our citizens, animals and birds who did not appreciate the trauma of the New Year’s celebrations. I love fireworks too, but enough is enough!
Laura Mallery-Sayre is a resident of Kona.