Fireworks discharge may be restricted in the City of Neligh next year, pending a new ordinance.
Neligh resident Michaela Potter, who is a combat veteran and served as a medic while deployed in Afghanistan, asked the Neligh City Council to consider changing the times fireworks can be discharged. Currently, they can be discharged until 11 p.m., prior to the Fourth of July.
Police Chief Mike Wright said the City currently goes by guidelines of 11 p.m., not an actual ordinance.
Potter explained that to combat vets, the fireworks can easily be mistaken for mortar shells and bombs, especially when unexpected.
She told the Antelope County News, "It's the unexpected loud bangs. Especially on the Fourth of July, we expect it. But on the days and weeks before and after, we kind of get caught off guard. And there's an instant anxiety, and you have to kind of check your surroundings and remember where you are and that it's not a bomb because for an entire year, you spent fearing that noise the most."
At last week's meeting, Potter told council members people have been understanding, but she would like the City to legally change the time of firework discharge.
Leonard Miller suggest an ordinance until 10 p.m., but Stephanie Wanek said residents need time to light off fireworks that require darkness. The council then discussed an ordinance to 10:30 p.m.
The City Council approved City Attorney James McNally to draft an ordinance to be reviewed at an upcoming council meeting.
The change would be for Neligh to allow fireworks from 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. on weeknights from June 25 until July 3 and from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekends. On July 4, fireworks would be legal to discharge until midnight.
Miller made the motion to draft an ordinance with Wanek seconding. It was approved 3-0 with Dale Wilkinson absent.