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Late fireworks show angers some in city

May 14, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Some residents living near Municipal Stadium were awakened after midnight Saturday by what resident John McCune on Tuesday said sounded like "booming aerial bombs" but actually were fireworks shot off after a Hagerstown Suns game.

On Saturday morning, resident Mildred Dieterich called the Suns to say she had trouble sleeping because of the noise.

"I just thought it was a little inconsiderate," she said Tuesday.

In response to a complaint from McCune, of Radcliff Avenue, the City of Hagerstown will explore whether an ordinance is needed to prevent such noise from the stadium after a certain time, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said Tuesday.

The team will abide by whatever rules the city suggests, Suns General Manager Kurt Landes said.

When the Suns scheduled a fireworks display to follow Friday's game, the team did not expect the game's 7:05 p.m. start time to be delayed for an hour due to rain or for the game to go 13 innings, Landes said.

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On nights when the team has fireworks, the games normally start at 7:05 p.m. and end between 9:30 and 10 p.m., Landes said. The 20- to 25-minute fireworks show starts about 5 or 10 minutes after the game ends, he said.

The team knew the timing of the fireworks "was not ideal. We hope it doesn't happen again," Landes said.

The team felt an obligation to give fans the fireworks display they had been promised, he said.

The minor league baseball team has fireworks scheduled at about 12 games this season,

McCune said he thinks going ahead with the fireworks display when the game ended later than expected was the wrong call. He said five other families he talked to said they were awakened and upset by the noise at the early-morning hour.

"We thought that was unreasonable, poor judgment and it did not exercise any common sense whatsoever," he said.

Some of the residents living near the stadium are in their 80s, he said.

"They were startled and shaken out of their sleep by this terrific noise," he said.

Zimmerman, who talked to McCune and Landes Monday, said the city will research whether there are existing laws that would cover such noise problems.

If there is no such ordinance, it will be up to the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council to decide whether one should be passed and, possibly, the latest the team can shoot off fireworks, Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said McCune is the only person he knows of who called the city to complain about the noise. Landes said the team received calls from two people.

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