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The beginning of summer also tribute to veterans

At Memorial Courthouse Park on Monday, local veterans groups will honor the brave women and men who have died in the service of freedom. See our veterans’ tribute for Memorial Day service information and details.

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The Northern Hemisphere summer equinox on June 21 is still 26 days away. That is our official beginning of summer known as the summer solstice. On this day the sun is farthest north and the length of time between sunrise and sunset is the longest of the year. At least that is how science explains it.

Madera Unified School District has selected June 7 as the last day of the 2017-2018 school year so that makes June 8 the first day of summer.

While those are a couple of ways to define the beginning of summertime a great many people feel that Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of summer just as Labor Day weekend signifies the end of it. Two three-day weekends which serve as the bookends for the stories of summer.

Independence Day will be pretty drab this year without a public fireworks show. Our distinguished City Council has decided that the cost of the annual July 4th fireworks show is too expensive for its tightly strained budget. I have an idea this decision will return to bite it where it sits and I do not mean in the council chambers.

Parks and Community Services Director Mary Anne Seay said that gathering donations for this year’s celebration had been unsuccessful.

“We’re seeing some financial dips in funding this year,” Seay said, “and we’re getting some hard no’s,” according to the story written by our publisher Chuck Doud.

Exactly what was done to raise money for the event and how many people were tasked to work the project?

I had not seen any public requests for donations. When our good friend the late Leon Emo worked for the parks department water jugs were placed in various businesses to collect spare change in a grassroots campaign to help pay for the show. Were written requests sent to businesses and service clubs asking for help?

The City is making a big mistake that may very well prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Since the residents of this fair city no longer have a place to watch a professional pyrotechnic display it stands to reason more people will invest in fireworks of their own. Additionally, I will opine that since the safe and sane fireworks are expensive and not as exciting as the illegal ones easily smuggled in from Mexico or Nevada, the use of these will increase.

What the city saves in canceling the public fireworks show may be minimal compared to the cost of fighting fires with accompanying loss of property and human misery.

Don’t they realize that amateurs playing with fireworks, especially those who have been enjoying adult beverages, are a recipe for disaster? I have a sneaky suspicion this Independence Day has the potential to be the most dangerous in the history of Madera.

Last year the nightly television newscasts showed massive amounts of video footage of the wildfires that decimated so much of our Golden State. Every day watching those terrifying scenes I found myself thanking God it wasn’t Madera ablaze, followed by feelings of guilt at our good fortune.

So many of the older sections of Madera are populated with wooden structures built in the early to mid-20th century. I fear it would take very little to turn these elder structures into bonfires. Even the newer buildings in Madera are not immune to the threat of fire.

Any time I have invested in fireworks, I had Fred set them off. Our system called for both a large bucket of water and a hose that is turned on but with a nozzle in the off position. After each device burns out it is dumped into the bucket of water to make sure it is extinguished. The water hose is on standby just in case a gust of wind sends a stray spark to land on dry grass or something equally flammable.

The first weekend of the summer season will undoubtedly result in heavy traffic on California’s state routes and the Interstate Highways as well.

Select a designated driver if you intend to enjoy those adult beverages I mentioned earlier. An arrest for driving under the influence is a lousy and expensive way to embark on summertime.

Have a great holiday weekend.

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Readers, may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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