Case in Point

Prediction: More backyard fireworks shows July Fourth


If I were in the gambling or predicting business, I'd probably lose my shirt most of the time. Yet here's another prediction that may go wrong.

With most of the area Fourth of July fireworks shows being canceled, including those in Durant, Muscatine and Davenport, I predict we're going to see local residents buying more legal fireworks than usual for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

During these COVID-19 times, I'm not surprised that large-scale events like those were canceled, yet I expect area citizens to take matters in their owns hands to deliver the "booms" that come along with the Fourth.

So for those who have elderly parents or family members at home, and those with pets that have a hard time dealing with the noise and commotion, don't say I didn't warn you.

The good news, for those who don't like the fact that fireworks are now legal statewide, is that both Durant and Wilton have abbreviated times in which to discharge. In both towns, residents are allowed to discharge fireworks on July 3-5. The only difference is the times allowed.

In Durant it's noon until 11 p.m. each day. In Wilton, it's 5-10 p.m. on July 3 and 5, and 5-11 p.m. on July Fourth.

I feel the sonic booms often heard throughout neighborhoods in our communities are coming. Being someone without children, pets or elderly family members in the home, the legality of fireworks hasn't been much of an issue from my perspective.

Yet it has been a bit of a hot-button issue in our hometowns. Let's be safe and cognizant of our neighbors while celebrating and having fun.

Oh and don't forget about COVID-19. Practice social distancing!

I know in Wilton there will be quite a large local show planned, in the back yard of Mike Schmidt, who lives on Fourth Street west of Community Bank & Trust. He'll be discharging a large amount of fireworks from his backyard again this year, for the third year in a row, with the help and coordination of downtown bar owner Brian Froehlich.

Schmidt is a second shift Sargent for the Muscatine County Sheriff's Office and has been a part-time officer on the Wilton Police Department for 29 years. He knows the laws and I expect him to obey them when he hosts what he expects to be a 45-minute show on the Fourth.

Froehlich is helping with getting the fireworks, all of which will be purchased legally, and they will be discharged via an electronic board. Schmidt said that should help ensure everything is ignited on time and efficiently, allowing him to perhaps relax a bit more this year. They, and I, expect several more folks to gather in Wilton's downtown to see them.

They say they'll have around $3,000 worth of product for the evening's show, which will begin at dusk. Froehlich plans to have a portion of Third Street closed near his bar for those who want to view from outside. There are plenty more areas where I expect people to gather as well.


Remembering Aunt Mary—Last week we ran the obituary of my Aunt Mary Sawvell. She was married for 63 years to my father Stan's oldest brother, Dean Sawvell. Dean lived in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee all of my life so I only saw Mary a few times a year.

A woman with a bigger heart or brighter smile you won't find. Her quiet, subtle southern accent will be etched into my memory forever.

The Sawvell side of our family is quite large, as my dad was one of seven brothers and sisters — all of which have kids who have kids, etc.

My favorite memories of Mary will be when we'd get into large, family card games. No matter the game, she was always a silent assassin, who you couldn't help but feel good for even when she was beating you. RIP