How about a cease-fire for Michigan pyrotechnics?

I didn’t get to sleep until 3 a.m. on the Fourth of July.

I knew the Fourth was going to irritate my dogs. It’s always the Fourth (fireworks) and New Year’s Eve (gunshots) we know how to prepare for: Locking our three dogs up in a separate room and turning up the TV loud enough to drown out the scary sounds from outside.

For anyone who doesn’t know, even the toughest dogs can be intimidated by loud shocks. But this year, the loud-TV trick didn’t work.

Usually fireworks end around midnight, maybe even 1 a.m. This year in my neighborhood, they just kept going, and far more intense than years past.

It wasn’t just me. I checked Twitter and Facebook, and people across Michigan were grumpy. “Still awake from the fireworks.” “My neighborhood sounds like a war zone.” Stuff like that.

It didn’t begin or end on the Fourth. I started hearing late-night fireworks around the end of May. To this day, people still shoot them off late into the night.

Lots of us – and our dogs – are suffering from fireworks fatigue, a casualty of the Michigan Fireworks Act passed in 2011. And I don’t know if it’s true for anyone else, but it seems to get worse every year.

Legislators have heard complaints about late-night blasts and have proposed fines, but the law remains largely unchanged, save for an amendment that allows communities to restrict fireworks usage between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m., after three years.

The reporting on the complaints is nothing new; we see beleaguered neighbors and lawmakers airing out their concerns alongside the reminder that even though it all sucks, it earns the state millions that would have been spent in neighboring states.

But in Detroit, where I live, patrolling fireworks usage is not a high priority. And for anyone, I’d assume if you want to see fireworks, you’d go to a fireworks show. The practice is and should always be a community-minded entertainment option, not a boon for one neighbor and a headache for the rest.

If not the noise, then lawmakers should at least consider the consequences. We’ve seen two notable instances of the harm fireworks can do this year: A Detroit man killed after one of his rockets shot into his chest, and WXYZ meteorologist Dave Rexroth losing an eye while setting off fireworks in Iowa.

You can’t blame a Michigan legislator for what a weatherman does in Iowa, and you could write the man’s death off as a tragic accident. We could possibly point to residents having too much zeal for suddenly available fireworks, and the government’s duty to step in and curb that.

Yes, I’m calling for government to step in and interfere. Set more curfews. Reduce the time period to Independence Day weekend, not more holidays and the days before and after. And limit the range of fireworks people can buy.

What good is all the money Michigan rakes in if neighbors begin to hate each other? Or more importantly, what good is it if injury costs begin to skyrocket as long as the law remains in place? Let us and our dogs sleep peacefully for the next holiday, please.

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Comments

Mike R
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:40am
Thank you, Mr. Foley, for giving voice to the thousands of us suffering from the actions of the inconsiderate idiots who believe it their God- and Legislature-given right to turn otherwise quiet neighborhoods into virtual war zones at any time of year. I now hear explosions year-round, nearly every weekend. Police are effectively powerless to enforce curfews since they must actually see the offense or have hard evidence of it to issue a ticket. The legalization of fireworks in Michigan has granted open-season not only to the marginal types whose actions never surprise me; it has encouraged normally conscientious neighbors to turn into self-aggrandizing, peace-shattering boors, and me to become the kind of curmudgeon I despise. I had to swear at a neighbor down the street and threaten him with police intervention to get him to stop exploding shells on a Sunday night at 11:00! It's bad enough that my sleep is disrupted, but it's inexcusable that my poor little dog is terrorized to the point she shudders uncontrollably, cries, and runs around looking for a hiding place that doesn't exist. If revenue is driving this, I will gladly pay higher taxes in exchange for the return of peace, quiet, and civility.
Mike R
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:41am
BTW, that is NOT my photo associated with my post. Bridge, I don't know where it came from, but please correct the error.
sue
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 11:54am
Got the same photo Mike R! Are we twins? Hello webmaster......
sue
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 11:52am
And a Catholic church in the Kentwood/Grand Rapids area burnt to the ground. The argument from the legislature regards more money for Michigan? Like your mama used to say" will you do everything your friends do?" How much benefit is coming to mi residents
Wed, 10/29/2014 - 2:34pm
First, people need to get over themselves,second, they FIRST said it was an air conditioner with faulty wiring, but because of people like you (complainers)lets blame it on fireworks! Hey,why don't we just blame it all on fireworks,uh oh, my car quit running, it is though darn fireworks again, wait a minute, did gas just go up, lets blame it on fireworks,cmon,i am SOOOO SICK of people WHINING about fireworks,
Seth
Sat, 06/13/2015 - 9:49am
Amen brother.
Anthony
Mon, 06/22/2015 - 12:12am
Well sue this is my reply,me being a catholic ,& also raised a catholic,also i'm a red blooded American as well. and as well proud of it and there is only one day out of the year to celebrate our independence in a fun way .and yes i agree some of it should be regulated and like where i used to live (Chicago) alot of people went to baseball fields to light off and celebrate ,n that i think is a good compromise its an open area with no residential or commercial buildings or religious structures anywhere in sight and by the time they come down the fireworks are semi cooled to the point of no destruction.and also i think 1am is probably the latest anything should be going off as well i do respect my neighbors,and know people do have work the following day ,as do i,i have a dog that is scared of fireworks i learned that if Ur garage is uncluttered and you have a good radio the hollow structure creates a better area for the sound well for the animals hearing anyways and its outta the house so you don't have to hear a loud TV all night and the dogs don't know the wiser .anyways i hope you don't take this as any dis respect,because that was not my goal at all, i was just voicing my pinion and knowledge based on my experience .
Ross
Wed, 07/08/2015 - 7:28am
12% tax per dollar spent is going to the state. They are making a lot on fireworks
Hal
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 6:30pm
One of the first things the Republican monopoly took care of. Talk about lack of foresight. Impact on Michigan economy what? A couple million dollars? How does that compare with police budgets?
Sun, 07/27/2014 - 8:45pm
I live in Westland and even before it was legal people would be in fireworks he'll from June till August. Now, war zone doesn't even come close to describing it. The ONLY time it's quiet is 8-5 pm or if it's raining. I've been told that, due to budget cuts, the police will not respond to these situations. It's just not a priority. The law needs revision. You can't expect people to adhere to the rules if the product is available months before and after it is legal to use them. And it just isn't for the July fourth holiday. Technically all holidays can have fireworks. Change the law!!!
Vince
Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:38pm
I feel for you folks in the city, but it is up to your city, not the state to control this! But the typical answer is make a law that pertains to the whole state NOT! I live in the north, the cities and villages control it well up here! Our animals are used to gun shots, fire works, and artillery fire! Why should you folks push a law for your own good and force it on all of us?????? We are a resort area and fireworks are a year around thing. So talk to your cities, townships, villages etc, don't force it down our throats!!!
David
Sun, 07/17/2016 - 10:22am
I agree
Anne
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:53am
We actually stayed overnight in a hotel far from a residential neighborhood to escape the war-zone noise level of fireworks in our lovely neighborhood on the 4th. It worked, except the same unthoughtful folks continued the celebration until 2am the NEXT night, too. I'm irritated with a legislature that deliberately ADDED more sanctioned noise to our already noise-saturated world. It's exhausting. And too many of those setting off fire works have no common sense in determining WHEN TO STOP. Here's a hint: in between shooting off bottle rockets, or whatever, if it's really late at night and quiet in the area around your house, no traffic sounds about, and no lights on in your neighbors' nearby homes maybe that's because they're TRYING TO SLEEP and you should be considerate of those around you and STOP already. Go to bed!
Ross
Wed, 07/08/2015 - 7:24am
Here's a tip. Stop mowing your lawns during the day, your waking up 3rd shifters!
RAY
Sat, 08/02/2014 - 2:41am
Just remember there are two sides to every point of view... and abusers are always the ones that ruin it for everyone ! With That being said, This One is for the dog lovers... And the light sleepers... I am in my 50's, Every place I have ever lived their has always been a dog loving neighbor with a Barking dog that annoys everyone in the neighbor hood... Now of course "you" are the one with a quite dogs that never barks or bites any one.. But dogs can scared kids as much as fireworks scared your dogs ... except you don't have to pay for therapy for you dogs... But I'm sure some crazy dog nut has... LOL Before the law changed everyone including myself and maybe you as well ...Ran down to Ohio and Indiana and got a payload to shoot off for the 4th or new years... Or maybe just to scare the neighbors pit bull that mauled a few kids that, by the way, are noisy and annoying all in there own. But hey we cant pass a law for everything... Am I going off on everything now ? Sorry its so easy to bitch about everything... is it not ? So here is a Great Idea ... People with dogs should try to keep them quite as possible and not running the neighborhood... And people with kids should ask them to try and be quite and keep them running the neighborhood.... And people with fireworks should respect the local noise curfew and there neighbors.... Because, Even if we pass a law people will still do them...THEY DID BEFORE... But I don't think you know why or care... To some like myself not only do I love love America and believe the 4th of July is the Greatest holiday... but also believe the rockets red glair and the bombs bursting in mid-air has an important message about our freedom and is a beautiful tribute to America the home of the free and the brave.. .“Thomas Jefferson once said he’d rather celebrate the Fourth of July than his own birthday.... without this celebration of freedom, you very well may be having many more sleepless nights... So respect your neighbors when shooting fireworks and hope they can try to have patience for such an important holiday... LEAVE FIREWORKS LEGAL !!! GOD BLESS AMERICA
Jo Green
Fri, 08/08/2014 - 3:10pm
THANK YOU! What has happened here...last night approx. 8:30 PM 8/7/2014 there are still some individuals who think it's OK to continue the Fourth of July fireworks...didn't they get the memo. I've called Washtenaw County Sheriff twice already...the first time...the dispatcher didn't know where my subdivision was...second time I called...I was place on hold...forever...after stating the call was not an emergency...funny how we didn't seem to have the problem when our city officials held community firework displays...been over 4-5 years now...however, that would NOT explain the other holidays and firework days allowed...what were our elected officials thinking...or were they thinking...I'll be thinking at the next election!
Ken Operhall
Sun, 08/17/2014 - 11:53am
Lets blame god next for the thunder and lighting that scares your dogs. Maybe we can pass a bill that will prohibit that. You get a couple of days a year to do this and just because you don't like it, lets pass a law so everyone else can't. Lets pick something you like and get it banned and see how it goes over with you. Even if you get it banned it will still come from other states and no matter what you do you can't pass a law to prevent stupidity. If you light a motor and stick your head over it and it gets your head blown off who's fault is it? Lets blame it on the fireworks.
Wed, 10/29/2014 - 2:51pm
Hey ken, two thumbs up, I agree, the problem isn't fireworks,its the whiners and grumpy people who have nothing better to do but pick on something they don't like, these are the same people who have kids but want every one else to pay higher taxes to city and pay for their kids ,EVEN if we don't have any, but that's okay, like for instance, the free lunch and dinner programs for supposedly underprivileged kids, like my former neighbor who had a fight every night with a ( including me) neighbor because he thought everybody owes him something, but at the same time he and his girlfriend are living in section 8 housing ,getting welfare, kids up all night running and terrorizing the neighborhood, and disability, plus they are both receiving it so they are getting twice the revenue, but these are the first people who complain when the first firecracker goes off ,oh but unless we do it then its okay, PEOPLE GET OVER IT, If anything, think they outta open up more dates for fireworks!!!!!!!
Hal cobb
Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:46pm
What about all the cars with the boom boom stereo systems how complaining about them.They are more annoying that fireworks going off at certain of the day and year.Im all for letting us everyday people have some fun when comes to celebrating the 4th.Like as previously mentioned if they don't sell the fireworks here in Michigan people are just going to cross state lines and bring them back.the people bitching and whining about people setting off firewroks day and night and how loud is ,well heres one for you,you say it scares your dogs then why do I see so many people bring their dogs to the professional fireworks events?I would think that people would have common sense and leave their pets at home.So build fido a sound proof dog house like a basement while the fireworks that people are shooting off don't scare them.the only thing that realy bothers me about this is all the trash left behind,people are pigs,clean up your dam mess afterwards.
Hal Cobb
Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:51pm
while were at about a noise ordinance on loud motorcyles and cars,nobody seems to care about them.They are so loud I often wonder how these riders don't go deaf but more of a priority needs to be focused on this instead of the fireworks issue.
Fri, 12/12/2014 - 8:51am
I know I am late to this party, and i admit I did not take the time to read all the post. My issue with this article is how it started, with saying how a professional grade display is now available for anyone....If you meant literally professional grade, then your wrong. They ALWAY have been available to anyone willing to hire a professional to get the state issued permit. Now if you are just using puffery when stating that what is bought at a store by you or me is professional then you would also be wrong. Stop villainIzing fireworks. Focus on law enforcement enforcing current laws, NOT making new ones
Brad
Sun, 05/17/2015 - 7:35pm
I like fireworks. I don't care about the noise and never will for a few days of heavy firework activity and a couple months or so of occasional firework noise before / after the fourth. Our founding fathers wanted us to celebrate our freedom. Put in some earplugs and stop crying. Go complain about the loud harley's or incessant dog barking in you neighborhood instead.
Hal Cobb
Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:57pm
Amen to you brother Im going to start stock piling and hording up on as many fireworks that I can afford to buy.
carl
Sat, 07/04/2015 - 12:19pm
Get used to it and go ahead an ban them again lots of us are already registered explosives permit holders. And are able to legally purchase and use class B fireworks and let me tell you what a class B 6" shell will shake the Windows in your home. God bless America!
Ross
Wed, 07/08/2015 - 7:17am
Those are not professional fireworks that are legal. 1.4G is consumer grade. Professional fireworks use 1.3G. Much stronger shells. I am PGI trained.
g
Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:19am
They should be limited to the holiday- I've been on vacation this week and cannot believe the "explosions" during the daytime hours. My dog is attached to my side she is so scared. We humans at least know what the noises are and we still get scared when the noise comes out of the blue. I'm ready to sign any petition that comes around banning this!
Brooks
Sun, 07/12/2015 - 3:46pm
Seriously it is one time a year that people celebrate get over yourself... you're not the center of the universe and neither is your dog. Other people have the right to celebrate regardless of what time you need to be up for work.
Andre
Tue, 06/21/2016 - 6:08am
Any veterinarian can help you with your dog's problem. For a small fee they can put this dogs to "sleep" and nothing will bother them. So for some stupid dogs , you propose that thousands of us sould give out the entertainment. I'll say send them to Korea, they'll make a great meal.