McKinleyville fireworks show could reduce illegal displays

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – In an effort the reduce the use of illegal fireworks, McKinleyville may put on its own fireworks show next year for Independence Day.

The idea was discussed at the July 28 meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC), which has often discussed the ongoing problem of fireworks, explosions and gun fire in the unincorporated community.

“This year it was, anecdotally, the worst it’s ever been,” said McKMAC Chair Maya Conrad about the use of illegal fireworks. “I’ve heard feedback from many residents that it was untenable.”

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Miller told the committee that his department has received 37 complaints about illegal fireworks so far this month.

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Miller said that in past years, complaints regarding fireworks were forwarded to CalFire. But this year, Sheriff William Honsal ordered deputies to respond directly to firework complaints.

The problem, Miller explained, is that by the time deputies arrive, the people lighting the fireworks are often either gone or  there is a group standing around and claiming they don’t know anything about the illegal fireworks.

Despite the difficulties of enforcing fireworks laws, Miller said that deputies did issue some citations and confiscated seven large boxes of illegal fireworks.

Miller encouraged people to call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line and report problems. Just the presence of deputies in a neighborhood can act as a deterrent, Miller said.

Conrad suggested that the community get creative and find other solutions, such as putting on a community fireworks show.

Arcata Fire District Battalion Chief Sean Campbell said that the use of illegal fireworks tends to go up when community firework shows are canceled, so having a local show may help reduce the problem.

McKMAC member Kevin Jenkins said he strongly encourages having a McKinleyville fireworks show, which could also be a major fundraiser for the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce.

McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jesse Miles said the chamber board would discuss the idea.

Walking tours

Mary Burke updated the committee on the preparation of a pedestrian safety improvement plan.

As part of an effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in McKinleyville, three different walking tours will be held on Monday, Aug. 16 at 3 p.m. 

Community members are encouraged to meet at one of three locations that day:

• South end of the Hiller Park parking lot to observe conditions on Hiller Road.

• McKinleyville Middle School parking lot to observe the Central Avenue and Pierson Park areas.

• North end of Wymore Road in Arcata (adjacent to the bike path) to observe the U.S. Highway 101/Central Avenue/North Bank Road interchange and discuss the Bella Vista area.

After the walks, participants will reconvene at Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Rd., to share their thoughts and observations.

The input will be used to create what’s being called the “McKinleyville Multimodal Connections Project Plan,” which will identify options for enhanced safety and connectivity for walking and biking between McKinleyville and north Arcata and to the McKinleyville Town Center. 

The  effort is funded by a $200,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Life Care Humboldt

Also at the July 28 meeting, the McKMAC heard a presentation from Ann Lindsay of Life Care Humboldt, an organization which wants to build 80 independent living units for seniors. 

The organization is looking at property in the McKinleyville Town Center behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center and a Creekside Homes parcel in Arcata.

Seniors would live in a campus-like setting and would have services that would allow them to age without moving. 

There would be assisted living services and 24 care places for people with memory problems and those in need of advanced nursing care.

Entry fees to join the community would start at $250,000 and average about $490,000, with a $10,000 fee for an additional person. 

As much as 80 percent of the entry fee would be refundable to the person or their estate depending on when and how they leave.

In addition, residents would pay a monthly fee starting at $3,000 and averaging $4,300. 

A second family member would increase the fee by $1,000.



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