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Bellingham Bells - Stop The Fireworks

Several years ago the Bellingham City Council banned the possession or use of consumer fireworks within the city limits (BMC 10.24.130). The ban was the result of a citizen push led by the late Clay Butler who pointed out the dangers of consumer fireworks, not only to individuals but to the environment and wildlife. Unfortunately, the city exempted certain firework displays that are deemed “authorized” under an application to and approval by the city, although the negative effects of fireworks are present whether the display is authorized or not.

That is the reason I call on the Bellingham Bells to cease their fireworks displays. The negative effects of these displays are not erased because of an approval by the city. Wildlife is traumatized by the explosions and flashes of light. Pet owners will speak of dogs and cats that cringe in fright under beds or run off crazed into the streets, wildly seeking refuge from the noise. Lastly, the very combat veterans (many suffering from post-traumatic stress) whom the Bells seek to honor at their game on July 19th - “Salute to Service - honoring past and current members of the US military” - can be severely affected by what is effectively a reproduction of the sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield.

Celebratory fireworks of any kind are unnecessary, dangerous (even professionals are killed and injured) and counter-productive. They are used at the expense of the well-being of others be they animals or humans.

About Dick Conoboy

Writer • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]

Comments by Readers

Nancy Grayum

Jun 16, 2017

I soooo agree, Dick. My letter written May 22 appears below. I can post the Bells’ reply in another comment.

Greetings Stephanie, and best wishes on a successful season. 


We were blindsided last year when the Bells fireworks display took place at Civic Field, which is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. If there was notification in our local newspapers, it was missed by many people. Who reads those on a regular basis any more?

Our dog gets so sick when the booms are going on that we try to leave town if we know it’s coming.

Bellingham residents have overwhelmingly voted “No Fireworks” in the city limits. In that spirit I hope you are not planning fireworks this year, whether the city officials would permit or not. Please let us all be at peace in our community. “Bombs bursting in air” is not what we are about.

Fireworks create fearsome noise that disrupts birds, raccoons, deer and other wild critters, to say nothing of dogs and cats and horses, domestics that we are obligated to protect. Fireworks pollute not only with horrible noise, but also with the chemicals and trash, they pollute the air, the water and the land. Do you really want the Bells to be represented by such a celebration?  How about a massive array of balloons instead? OK that’s not perfect either, there would be trash. What can be done?

Please lead the way to a more sane celebration.

 

 

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Nancy Grayum

Jun 16, 2017

My reply from the Bells below:

Hi Nancy,

Thank you for reaching out to us! We really appreciate feedback from our neighbors and fellow community members.

 It is never our intention to blindside our neighbors with our fireworks displays, and I apologize that last year’s shows caught you by surprise. We do the best we can getting the word out via local media, our own website and social media channels and word of mouth. That said, I know we don’t always get to everyone who may be affected by the displays through this outreach.

 We do plan to carry on with our fireworks displays in 2017, as they are one of the most requested promotions we do. Many in the community have asked us to continue doing these shows as they are an outlet of safe, responsible, professional fireworks. It is our hope that by providing the displays, individuals will attend our shows instead of engaging in illegal firework activity at their own residence.

 The dates for our 2017 shows are June 2, July 1 & August 5. All displays take place immediately after the conclusion of our games, which begin at 6:35 PM and usually conclude around 9 PM.  Most fireworks displays will take place between 9-9:30 PM.

 In a continued effort to be a good neighbor, we plan to reach out to nearby neighborhood associations to alert them of our display dates and times, as well as continued promotion through social media and traditional media sources. If there are any other ideas you have for how we might be able to reach out and inform neighbors, please let me know.

 Each year, we go back to the drawing board as we plan for a new season, and closely examine all the ideas and input we receive throughout the year as we make our decisions. We will certainly consider your ideas and feedback about our fireworks displays as we re-evaluate in 2018.

 Again, thank you for reaching out to us with your thoughts—it is appreciated.

 Sincerely,

Stephanie

 

Stephanie Morrell General Manager

Bellingham Bells | 1221 Potter St Bellingham, WA 98229

O: 360 746-0409 C: 360 201-1548

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Dick Conoboy

Jun 16, 2017

Nancy,

Thank you for providing us your letter and the response from the Bells’ general manager.  I have also written to her using an edited version of my article.  Suffice it to say, the measure of us as human beings is how we treat those who cannot speak for themselves such as animals and those who are somehow fragile, physically or psychologically.  Unfortunately, none of that appears to be present in the letter from Ms Morrell who seems to focus on the pleasure of the fans rather than the humanity of your letter. 

Efforts on her part to minimize the effect of these fireworks by emphasizing they take place early in the evening or offering notification to neighborhoods painfully misses the points you have made.  For her it is about entitlement and, not far behind, money inherent in the draw of the fireworks display.  

Shame on her.

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