Personal fireworks still available

Thumbs-up to fireworks and fun as we approach the Fourth of July.

We hasten to add the word “safe.” That’s crucial to ensuring Iowans enjoy the relatively newfound ability to legally celebrate the nation’s birthday with the red glare of rockets and snap and boom of firecrackers and other explosives.

Fireworks can be used on private property 9 a.m.-10 p.m. June 1-July 8, with the deadline extended until 11 p.m. on July 4 and the Saturday and Sunday before and after the holiday.

That extra time starts this weekend, so prepare for some late-night window-rattling. Some communities have continued to prohibit fireworks or devised their own rules; check with your local government if you are uncertain.

We strongly encourage users to respect their neighbors and obey those limits. You aren’t impressing them with a private midnight show and you could risk a citation and fine of $250-$625.

It was May 9, 2017, when Gov. Terry Branstad signed a law to end an 80-year ban on fireworks. This will be the four year with legal fireworks and so far, it has worked out pretty well.

“Let the fireworks begin,” Branstad said when he placed his signature on the bill.

That sentence will echo across the state in the coming days. If you plan to light some off, do so in a safe and considerate manner.

Thumbs-down to the foolish Facebook post by Sioux Rapids police chief Tim Porter.

In a caption to an image of a truck driving into protesters in Des Moines, Porter posted, in all capital letters no less, “HIT THE GAS AND HANG ON OVER THE ROAD BUMPS.”

To think someone in law enforcement, in a leadership role, would publicly “joke” about running down American citizens standing up for what they believe in is appalling.

It reinforces the image many people have that members of the law enforcement community are prone to violence and unwilling to allow people to express their views, as is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The backlash was swift, and once he saw that, Porter offered a less-than-convincing explanation.

“I have a huge apology to all that saw my Facebook page yesterday of myself making a comment about running over a person in the street holding a USA sign. Someone called me last night and asked me about it, I was just surprised myself. I was on another post working and somehow it accidentally was posted on the wrong post. I just want to publicly apologize for my horrible mistake, my posting was a total accident. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m all for peaceful protest, bad cops getting removed. People that know me, know I would never encourage anyone to run over any protester or anyone. I’m for change like everyone. I feel horrible for my mistake. I’m sorry for all the confusion.”

We don’t think for a minute this comment was mistakenly posted there.

To suggest that is absurd.

We are glad the chief apologized but it might be too little, too late.

Thankfully, Sioux Rapids officials were as surprised and disappointed as everyone else. In a statement issued Tuesday, the city said the matter was being investigated, and “any and all disciplinary action deemed necessary will be taken. . . . We are committed to running a police department that respects the rights of every officer and every citizen and guest of our community.”

The city took down its website, which was likely being flooded with comments, and calls to city offices went straight to voicemail and were not returned.

This once again proves the dangers that await everyone who uses social media.

A few words can have a lasting impact on a life or career.

In the case of chief Porter, that could be an extremely costly lesson to learn.

Thumbs-up to the 2020 Sioux County Relay For Life for adapting to the current conditions.

The annual event was held Thursday evening in Rock Valley, but instead of a public gathering and walk to show support for cancer victims and survivors, a car cruise took place.

People decorated their vehicles, many in purple, the color that symbolizes courage and unity against cancer.

We applaud organizers for finding a way to continue this important event and doing so in a smart, safe way.

You can’t keep a good group down, and the Relay of Life organizers have proved that.

Cruise on, folks!