fireworks

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Business is looking up for people selling fireworks in Michigan.

Since state lawmakers expanded the kinds of fireworks that can be sold in Michigan, fireworks are a growing business in the state.

Bill Weimer is a vice president with Phantom, one of the nation’s largest fireworks retailers. He says Michigan is a ‘developing’ market since the state loosened the rules on ‘consumer” fireworks starting in 2012.

As I am sure you’ve noticed, Friday is the Fourth of July, which means that for several nights before and afterwards, many of our neighborhoods will sound after dark like a free-fire zone.

In other words, kids, some of them long past voting age, will be setting off fireworks. A few will hurt themselves, mainly burning their hands or losing a finger. Some may lose an eye.

If the grass is dry enough or a bottle rocket goes out of control, we may have some serious fires. Six years ago, a bottle rocket landed on the roof of a rather nice apartment complex in Toledo, starting a blaze that completely destroyed the buildings.

Nobody died, but a hundred people were left homeless. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the staunchest advocates for gun control haven’t been so-called Ann Arbor liberals, but the police.

Cops are not always known to be liberal on social issues, but they see on a firsthand basis what guns in the wrong hands can do. By the same token, firefighters tend to be the most anti-firecracker.

Firemen, and city officials. When I was young, Ohio had far more liberal fireworks policies than Michigan. But that has changed. Ohio has outlawed almost all consumer fireworks.

But three years ago, our Legislature made them far easier to get and blow up for three days around any national holiday. 

It was dangerous! Explosions, injuries! No, not the war for Independence, but how we used to celebrate it. On today’s show, we went back a hundred years to see how Michiganders used to mark the 4th of July.

And, we spoke with Mardi Jo Link, author of the new book, "Bootstrapper: A Memoir. From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm."

And, we looked into what’s behind the increase in backyard chicken farming here in Michigan.

Also, Andy Webb, owner of Captain Boom Fireworks in Otsego, joined us to talk about the new adjustment to the fireworks law.

And, we continued our week-long series of stories from immigrants about what America means to them. Today we talked to Koffi Itito. He fled the small West African nation of Togo in 2004. Now, he helps other refugees through his work at Freedom House in Detroit.

First on the show, to anyone who endured the dark days of the Great Recession with the near-death ordeals of General Motors and Chrysler, it seems nearly impossible to believe the "Help Wanted" sign is out at the car makers and their parts suppliers.

The Center for Automotive Research predicts the auto industry will add 35,000 jobs this year.  One auto supply executive calls it "an employee's market."

We wondered if this is a true hiring spree and if this can been seen as a return to the "glory days" of the car industry, or should we keep our collective guard up for fear of easily sliding back into the dark days of soft sales and layoffs?

David Cole, the Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, joined us today to discuss what’s behind these new jobs.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

You don't have to look at the calendar to know the 4th of July is at hand. Just open your window and chances are you'll hear folks all over Michigan take advantage of the 2012 fireworks law, the one that allowed larger and louder fireworks to be sold and launched.

But the second year of the new state law may find things a little quieter. A raft of complaints prompted lawmakers to tweak the fireworks law, allowing local governments to ban overnight use of consumer grade fireworks on and around holidays.

Andy Webb, owner of Captain Boom Fireworks in Otsego, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Fourth of July holiday is fast approaching. 

Many Michigan cities and towns are looking for ways to quiet home-made fireworks shows.

Last year, a new state law opened the door to sales of bigger and louder fireworks in Michigan.   That led to some sleepless nights in many parts of Michigan last summer, as the whirl and bang of newly legal fireworks often sounded into the wee hours of the morning.

The Parade Company / via theparade.org

A bill to fix Michigan’s fireworks law is headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. The state Legislature passed the legislation almost unanimously.

Last year, state lawmakers legalized high powered fireworks for consumer use. That sparked thousands of complaints from across the state about loud blasts into the early morning hours.

Harold Haugh (D-Roseville) is the bill’s sponsor. He says he’s received thousands of complaints about loud blasts into the early morning hours.

"So we tried to take all of the inputs that we could and put it into a common sense approach," explained Haugh. "And obviously with the votes, my colleagues in both the House and Senate – both Democrat and Republican alike – agreed with what we had put together."

The bill would allow local governments to prohibit overnight fireworks use on and around national holidays. Municipalities are already able to restrict fireworks the rest of the year.

Haugh says he expects Governor Snyder to sign the bill in time for July Fourth.

morguefile.com

It could be a long, hot, NOISY summer in Warren, Michigan, along with many other communities.

The city's mayor, Jim Fouts, is one of the most vocal critics of the state's one-year-old fireworks law, which permits individuals to purchase commercial-grade fireworks, and set them off the day before, the day of, and the day after ten major holidays.

He says a modification to the law being considered by the state legislature will do no good.

Lansing has joined other Michigan cities in clamping down on the use of exploding fireworks.

Last Summer, neighborhoods in Lansing and many other  Michigan cities sounded like mini- war zones, as many residents took advantage of a new state law allowing larger, consumer grade fireworks to be bought in the state.

But while the fireworks were very popular among those setting them off, many other residents were upset that their summer nights were disturbed by constant bangs, whizzing and explosions, long after the Fourth of July.   

user hanabi / MorgueFile.com

A state House panel will look at how Michigan’s new fireworks law is working, and could recommend changes.

There have been complaints about loud explosions late into the night since the law was passed earlier this year.

State Representative Harold Haugh wrote the law, which allows retailers who buy a license to sell more-powerful fireworks. It also preempts any local fireworks bans on the day before, the day of, and the day after 10 national holidays.

Haugh says the law is a success, and it does not stop local governments from enforcing noise ordinances.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s newly-loosened fireworks law has meant an extra boon for some local businesses and landowners this summer.

It’s hard to tell just how much that law has really boosted fireworks sales. But its impact is visible along Woodward Avenue just north of Detroit, where outdoor fireworks stands have popped up alongside the road.

At one site in Royal Oak, a bright-yellow container shell advertises things like Roman candles and artillery in huge letters.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The hot weather is not stopping most Michiganders from getting out and enjoying Independence Day.  

But organizers of many of today’s events are concerned.

Fireworks
user Miguelwhee / MorgueFile.com

A confluence of Heat Advisories in 34 Michigan counties, drought-like conditions in the southern half of the state, and relaxed consumer firework legislation could make this year's Independence Day celebrations more dangerous than usual. 

The AP reports that two Lansing-area communities have postponed tomorrow's annual firework shows because of warm and dry weather that's settled in across the state.

Michigan officials are urging people to use caution with fireworks and outdoor fires as some areas face what's described as dangerously dry conditions.

Here are some tips from The National Council on Fireworks Safety about how you can stay safe this holiday.

Flickr/jcarter

Michigan could soon expand the lineup of legal fireworks that consumers can buy without special permits.

The state Legislature has approved measures that would allow some consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles to legally be sold in the state. Governor Snyder likely will sign the bill in time for it to become law in 2012.

user adam j.w.c. / wikimedia commons

Next July 4th, you might find more than just your garden variety sparklers and smoke snakes at Michigan fireworks stands.

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act passed the Michigan House yesterday and moves onto the Michigan Senate.

The law will allow people to buy fireworks in a category "that includes aerial devices and other more spectacular devices" without a permit, according to a legislative analysis.

More from the Associated Press:

The legislation could change the summer routine for state residents who now drive into border states to buy fireworks that aren't legal in Michigan. Some types of bottle rockets and Roman candles are among the fireworks that would become legal if the measure becomes law.

"We've come up with a reasonable solution to prevent our residents from going to Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and purchasing these consumer-grade fireworks," said Rep. Harold Haugh, a Democrat from Roseville and the bill's sponsor.

The state could bring in around $5.5 million annually in sales taxes and fees, according to the legislative analysis of the bill. The potential revenue numbers were derived from similar legislation passed in Indiana in 2006.

(photo by Beverly & Pack) / Flickr

State insurance officials are urging Michiganders to keep their financial liability in mind when they host Independence Day festivities this weekend.   

The Fourth of July weekend, a time to fire up the barbecue, take friends on the pontoon boat and toss the kids in the back yard pool.   But are you covered just in case something goes wrong? 

user m-gem / Flickr

Large fireworks might be sold in Michigan before Independence Day next year.

That’s if  Democratic state Representative Harold Haugh has his way.

Haugh has been working on legislation for a couple years that would allow the sale of large, consumer-grade fireworks that are already sold in surrounding states.

Consumer-grade fireworks are more powerful than the low-grade fireworks currently available in Michigan, but are less explosive than large pyrotechnic displays.

Haugh says selling large fireworks in the state would fit Governor Rick Snyder’s call to make Michigan more friendly to small businesses.

He says the potential increased revenue comes from both stores and roadside tents.

"The speculation was there could be as many as 200 buildings statewide go up that are going to sell consumer-grade fireworks," said Haugh. "Now with the tent issue, it could be as many as another 400 tents that sell consumer-grade fireworks."

Haugh says the additional sales of fireworks could bring in as much as $12 million to the state, and he says the decision to sell large fireworks would be up to local governments.

"I mean they own it. It’s not the people of the state of Michigan. It’s not the people up here," said Haugh. "It's the local community that will own the issue of selling consumer-grade fireworks."

Opponents say the larger fireworks are not safe and are too noisy. But Haugh says he thinks his proposal is gaining support in the Legislature.

He hopes to get the measure approved before the end of the year.