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News-Ledger
June 22, 2011

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  For the first time in the city’s 24-year history, it will be legal this year to use at least some kinds of fireworks during the Independence Day holiday.

  A new city law makes “safe and sane” fireworks (those bearing the seal of approval from the California Fire Marshal) legal for use from noon on June 28 through noon on July 6. The city also held a lottery to issue permits to schools, churches and nonprofit groups that wished to sell fireworks.

  About 40 groups applied for one of the permits. The River City Apostolic Church on Merkley Avenue was one of the eight winners.

  Reports the church’s Paula Robbins:

  “I had our application anointed with oil! We took it to the church and had the minister pray over it. And we won!”

  Another winner was a support group for the International Gymnastics Centre, a school for kids.

  “This is a very big deal for us,” said Vanessa Perez, a member of the gymnastics center’s booster club. “It’s going to help offset the costs for boy and girl gymnasts. They go to nationals, and they have to travel a lot.”

  The fireworks booth permit allows the booths to open at noon on June 28, and remain open through Independence Day, July 4.

  City officials said they believed that legalizing “safe and sane” fireworks would not be dangerous – and in fact, might allow public safety officials to concentrate on cracking down on the illegal types of fireworks.

  Missing from the fireworks ordinance is a restriction on the times of day that fireworks can be set off in local neighborhoods.

  “We tried to mirror state law,” reported Fire Marshal Jason Rizzi,” and “basically, we didn’t want to put anything into (the local ordinance) that can’t be enforced.”

  City Councilmember Oscar Villegas, a proponent of allowing “safe and sane” fireworks to be legalized in the city, said the council will review how the new ordinance goes over this year and consider revising it how necessary.

  “This is a trial event kind of thing, and we’ll have an after-action report and make any adjustments necessary for next year,” said Villegas.

  Following is a list of the eight West Sacramento organizations permitted to open a fireworks booth. The News-Ledger contacted each of them to ask where their booth would be, and included that information when available. Most or all of the booths will open around noon on June 28:

  The booster club for the International Gymnastics Centre will open its booth in the parking lot of Wicked West Pizza, 3170 Jefferson Boulevard in Southport.

  The Bryte and Broderick Community Action Committee will partner with other organizations at a booth near Nugget and Target.

  The River City Apostolic Christian School will open a booth near Walmart and Ikea.

  The River City High School Booster Club will have a fireworks stand in the parking lot of Whitey’s Jolly Kone, Jefferson Blvd. at 15th Street.

  The West Sacramento Soccer Club will set up its stand near Arteaga’s Market, Sacramento Avenue at Kegle Drive.

  “Out of the Box” food pantry ministry will be in the Safeway parking lot.

  Our Lady of Grace School will benefit from a booth operating near Papa Murphy's, 2455 Jefferson Blvd. in Southport.

  Lighthouse Covenant Church didn't respond to a request for information by press time, but also has a permit to operate a fireworks booth.

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