Also in News Briefs: Palm Coast Utility Department wins championship
Palm Coast plans festivities July 3-4; city government offices to to close July Fourth
The city of Palm Coast will hold an Independence Day fireworks event at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 3 (yes — July 3, not July 4), at Central Park in Town Center at 975 Central Ave., according to a Palm Coast city government news release. A pre-fireworks family fun event will begin at 5 p.m. July 3.
An Independence Day ceremony will be held the next morning at 8 a.m. Monday, July 4 at Heroes Memorial Park at 2860 Palm Coast Parkway NW, just west of the county library branch, according to the news release.
City of Palm Coast offices will close Monday, July 4, for Independence Day, and will re-open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5. Recycling and garbage collection will continue on their usual schedule.
Reminder: Flagler Beach does not allow fireworks
The Flagler Beach Police Department is reminding residents and visitors that the city does not allow fireworks.
Fireworks pose a safety and fire hazard, and it is illegal to possess store, use or explode them within city limits under city ordinance, according to a Flagler Beach Police Department news release.
Fireworks have the potential for “serious personal injury to users and/or observers should an explosive device detonate, misfire or unexpectedly explode," Flagler Beach Police Captain Matt Doughney said in the news release.
Flagler Beach uses the state's definition of fireworks: "Any combustible or explosive composition or substance or combination of substances or ... any article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation."
That definition includes firecrackers, roman candles, skyrockets, dago bombs, blank cartridges, toy cannons that use explosives, balloons propelled by fire, and any fireworks containing explosives or flammable compounds, and any tablets or other devices that use explosives.
Statistics from a 2014 study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that:
- On average, 230 people go to the Emergency Room daily with fireworks-related injuries in the month around Independence Day, and;
- Nine people have died due to eight fireworks-related incidents; in two cases, the victims weren't the users, according to the news release.
For more information, call Doughney at 517-2022 or Fire Captain Pace at 517-2010.
Flagler Beach asks public to ground aerial drones, sky lanterns on July Fourth
The Flagler Beach Police Department is asking the public to keep aerial drones and floating sky lanterns safely on the ground during this year's July Fourth festivities.
“One of the most efficient methods used by law enforcement to address the egress of traffic associated with large events like the Fourth of July, is a helicopter serving as our ‘eye in the sky,’” Flagler Beach Police Captain Matt Doughney said in a news release. “The helicopter allows us to identify traffic problems in real time and create solutions that are not easily recognizable at ground level.”
Aerial drones and sky lanterns can interfere with emergency response helicopter FireFlight's ability to maneuver and land in public areas, and drones can endanger the pilot. Increased use of both last year prompted the city's request, according to the release.
“While the floating sky lanterns may look beautiful, they create a serious conflict with airspace,” Doughney said in the release. “The last thing we need is a pilot dodging flaming lanterns!”
Drones are also illegal to operate in Flagler Beach for people without a permit because of the city's proximity to Flagler County Executive Airport, according to the news release.
For more information, call Doughney at 517-2022.
Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to look out for underage drinking, smoking on July Fourth
Law enforcement officers from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco will help Flagler Beach police officers patrol for underage drinking and smoking this July Fourth.
The Flagler Beach Police Department asked for the assistance of a contingent of agents from the state ABT's Jacksonville Field Office, according to a Flagler Beach Police Department news release.
“This announcement is being sent in advance in an effort to prevent underage drinking during this year’s event,” Flagler Beach Police Captain Matt Doughney said in the news release. “If you’re under 21 years of age and your plan on July 4 is to come to Flagler Beach and drink alcohol, then you need to come up with Plan B. ... Law enforcement officers will be here to address your behavior.”
Palm Coast Utility Department team wins national championship
The city of Palm Coast's Utility Department's “Water Buoys” team has won the American Water Works Association's Tops Ops National Championship for the sixth time since 2006.
Top Ops is a brain-bowl-style competition in which water treatment teams answer questions in a speedy question-and-answer format, according to a Palm Coast city government news release.
The Palm Coast team — made up of Fred Greiner, Tom Martens and Peter Roussell — defeated 18 other teams from the U.S. and Canada to win the national championship at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago, and will be honored by the Palm Coast City Council on July 19, according to the news release.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the Water Buoys!” team coach and city Utility Systems Manager Jim Hogan said in the news release. “We came in second place last year and won the state competition this spring. ... They exemplify our entire Utility Department’s efforts to provide excellence in water and wastewater services to the City of Palm Coast.”
The city team's win in April was its tenth in the past 12 years, according to the news release, and the team has placed in every single national-level competition it has entered since it was formed in 2005, earning six first-place wins, four second-places, and one third-place.
The Florida Section of the American Water Works Association pays for state competition winners' travel, so no city of Palm Coast money is used for the competition.