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Boom! Council OKs fireworks ordinance changes

Fireworks fill the night sky over Lake Mitchell on Wednesday night in celebration of the 4th of July. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Community members will have more freedom to enjoy the Fourth of July tradition of shooting fireworks, as several restrictions have been lifted and modified from the city's fireworks and explosives ordinance.

The Mitchell City Council adopted the modified changes in the city's fireworks ordinance during Monday's meeting at City Hall with unanimous approval. Absent from the meeting was Council member Dan Sabers.

City Attorney Justin Johnson outlined some of the details regarding the firework modifications, and said no further changes discussed by the council would be able to be included in the ordinance before July 4 due to a deadline.

A significant change in the fireworks and explosives ordinance allows the use of novelty fireworks—which include party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, wire sparklers and toy caps—throughout the city at any time as long as they aren't being recklessly used or violating a noise ordinance.

According to Johnson, several of the items considered novelty fireworks were previously exempt from the city's ordinance.

In addition, new language has been included to a subsection of the ordinance which allows the use of ground and handheld fireworks on private property in the city limits. Ground and handheld fireworks include fountains, torches, wheels, ground spinners, sparklers and toy smoke devices.

Council member Marty Barington applauded city officials for educating the public on some of the changes being made to the fireworks ordinance. Barington said he's communicated with several firework retail outlets and is in the midst of potentially coordinating an educational firework session with the Mitchell Department of Public Safety and the Mitchell Fire Division prior to Independence Day.

"We may have some firework operators put a session together with Marius Laursen of the Mitchell Fire Department to educate the public on how to safely light fireworks," Barington said. "It's been a very positive discussion."

According to Barington, several local entities have volunteered to assist the city in clean up efforts following the July 4 holiday.

"Some groups of people gave donations for helping cleaning up around Lake Mitchell as well. Miedema Sanitation has promised to place dumpsters around the lake after the Fourth of July to help with firework clean up efforts around the lake," Barington said.

Everson emphasized a subsection in the firework ordinance will remain the same, which prohibits the sale of fireworks within city limits. However, the use and sale of novelty fireworks will be permitted inside city limits under the modified ordinance.

"We're not changing the ordinance to where retailers can sell fireworks within city limits, and they still have to be sold outside of city limits," Everson said.

Council member Jeff Smith said there may be a possibility to bring the ordinance back on the council agenda after the July 4 celebration.

According to City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein, there will be further information about the firework ordinance modifications listed on the city's website.

The ordinance change was also intended to modify definitions to be more easily understood for manufacturers and retailers, in conjunction with the American Pyrotechnics Association standards.

Exceptions for Independence Day will allow general fireworks in most public areas around Lake Mitchell between noon and 11:59 p.m. on July 3 and 4, as long as individuals douse potential fireworks and properly dispose of all waste. Ground and handheld fireworks are allowed throughout the city limits during the same hours on July 3 and 4, provided those activities take place on private property with "express knowledge and permission of the property owner."

Permits will still be required for a public display, as well. The city may also have the option to ban fireworks when there's a burn ban in effect for Davison County.

DWU track star Lamer receives civic honor

Fresh off a national championship, Dakota Wesleyan University women's track and field star Kamberlyn Lamer received a civic honor during Monday's City Council meeting.

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson began the council meeting at City Hall by proclaiming June 3 as Kamberlyn Lamer Day in honor of her decorated career and recent heptathlon championship. Prior to calling Lamer forward to the podium, Everson congratulated the 2019 NAIA women's field athlete of the year and chronicled Lamer's long list of achievements on and off the track and field.

"This proclamation is in honor of DWU women's track and field national champion Kamberlyn Lamer, and the city of Mitchell views DWU and its athletics as a valuable asset to the community of Mitchell," Everson said. "Kamberlyn broke several Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) records in the 100 meter hurdles and the long jump, and her hard work and determination have led to these outstanding accomplishments."

Lamer's first place finish made the two-time All American the first woman to claim a national heptathlon championship in school history.

"I just want to thank everyone for this honor, and it means a lot to me," Lamer said to the Council.

Lamer was accompanied by her family and DWU track coaches, who thanked the city for the high honor and gathered for a photo with the city council.

Consent agenda

The following items were considered as part of the consent agenda:

• Approved minutes of the May 20 council meeting.

• Approved minutes from the May 13 city planning commission meeting.

• Approved department reports.

• Set the date for the following raffle permits: Mitchell Optimist Club with a drawing to be held on September 6.

• Set the date for the following hearings: On the application to transfer retail (on-sale) RL-19079 liquor license from Anisa Deinert, doing business as Potter's Plus Studio at 100 N. Main Street to Jades doing business as Jades at 107 N. Main Street on June 17; On the application of Exchange Club for a special event malt beverage license to be located at Cadwell Park from August 7 to August 18 for the State Ameteur Baseball Tournament.

• Set the date for the following bid openings: James Valley Community Center roofing project No. 2019-36 to be held at 1:30 p.m. on June 24; D&D Long's infrastructure and utility improvements project No. 2019-31 to be held at 1:30 on June 18.

• Approved a special event application for the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party to be held on Aug. 1. The Corn Palace is requesting the closure of Main Street from Fourth to Seventh avenues, and a half block east and west of the 100 blocks of Fifth and Sixth avenues from noon to 11 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1. The closure of the Fifth and Main parking lot is also requested for the event, and alcohol will be served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

• Approved taxi license application of Russell Hanson for Lyft.

• Approved authorization of $25,000 in contingency funds for replacing the Corn Palace Scissor Lift.

• Approved modified substantial completion for East Havens water main loop located next to Performance Pet.

• Approved appointment of Jean Koehler to the Corn Palace Board for a term to run from January 2019 to December 2021.

• Approved June 3 pay estimates.

• Approved bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

• Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Grace Baptist, roll call, heard citizens' input.

• Approved consent agenda.

• Held the following hearings: On the application of Palace City Lions Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Horseman's Sports Arena for the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo on July 18 to 21; On the application of Palace City Lions Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Horseman's Sports Arena for Mustang Seeds Xtreme Bulls on Aug. 21; On the application of Palace City Lions Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Horseman's Sports Arena for the Cornstalk Music Jam on July 6; On the application to transfer retail (off sale) package liquor license PL-4691 from Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Big Dummy's/Longhorn Bar at 108-112 N. Main St., to Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Big Dummy's/Longhorn Bar at 108-112 N. Main St. due to configuration of liquor license; On the application to transfer retail (on sale) package liquor license RL-5761 from Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Big Dummy's/Longhorn Bar at 108-112 N. Main St., to Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Big Dummy's/Longhorn Bar at 108-112 N. Main St. due to configuration of liquor license; On the application to transfer retail (on sale) liquor license RL-5764 from Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Brew Parlor at 108 N. Main St. to Bates Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Brew Parlor at 610 E. Hanson Ave. (liquor license will be inactive).

• Met as Board of Adjustment.

• Held hearings on the following: Kimberly Kluth's application for a conditional use permit (home occupation) to operate a massage business at her residence located at 1106 W. 6th Ave., legally described as W 1/2 of lot 6, block 3, Bracy's addition, city of Mitchell, Davison County, South Dakota; the property is zoned R2 single family residential district. And Carlos and Alayna Reyes' application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care center to be located at 412 E. 12th Ave., legally described as lot 11, block 1, city of Mitchell; the property is zoned R2 single family residential district.

• Reconvened as City Council.

• Approved and awarded bids to Rexwinkel Concrete and Top Grade Concrete for the city sidewalk project.

• Approved Resolution No. R2018-42, a plat of lot 3, block 5 of the Woods first addition, a subdivision of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 23, of the fifth P.M., city of Mitchell.

• Held second reading on Ordinance No. O2019-07, repealing and replacing Mitchell City Code Chapter 5-6: Fireworks and Explosives.

• Held first reading of Ordinance No. O2019-08, adding a new section to chapter 4-7: Pawnbrokers. The state legislature passed House Bill 1056 this year, which further restricted local governments from regulating firearms and ammunition. The city of Mitchell's chapter regulating pawnbrokers has reporting requirements for items they receive. Due to the state law, these reporting requirements can no longer apply to firearms, ammunition and their components.

• Entered into an executive session, and no action was taken.