In 1972, Grandpa talks numbers. It’s what he did. He was the city auditor.

Debate Over Fireworks




I just discovered this, a throwback to my maternal grandfather in a historical look back using a clip from his hometown paper, printed in 2012. Grandpa was talking about how the community near Lake Kampeska had been annexed and no law outlawing fireworks there had been grandfathered in,, but not the rest of the city.

Some things never change. Fireworks bans are often draconian and unnecessary. I despise them. Yes, I’ve broken the law, repeatedly.

I’ve set off firecrackers from South Dakota in Oregon, and my mom told us to play dumb when a cop knocked on our front door. Mom threw us a kickball and told us to pretend we’d been playing. Umm, yeah, in the dark? At midnight or whatever?

One year I bought a bunch of mortars from a place near Vancouver, Washington and set them off outside my parents’ place in Oregon, where such fun is illegal. I love the sound of that “Thump!” after you light and drop it into the launcher. It’s like shelling the enemy, minus the war and bloodshed. And the end result is a wonderful explosion of color and beauty. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I don’t know the state of affairs in Watertown, South Dakota today regarding fireworks. I hope they’re legal without much fuss and restriction. But what’s most likely is that the ban is still in effect. I really don’t like government telling me what I can and cannot do.

In 1972, Grandpa Fromke was the city auditor and setting off fireworks was illegal within the city, but not apparently the county.

How can they sell and shoot fireworks at Lake Kampeska now that the lake is part of the city of Watertown? According to Robert Wagner, city attorney, the selling of fireworks at Lake Kampeska is authorized this year because it was permitted by the old laws applicable to the county. The City Council could adopt new laws, but has not had time to do so yet since the annexation of the lake area. What is the population of Watertown now that the lake area has been annexed to the city? City Auditor Oscar Fromke says there is no official information yet to indicate how many persons actually live at Lake Kampeska. However, using the official property ownership figure of 547 and figuring approximately two persons for each home, we estimate a population of roughly 1,000 residents at the lake, Fromke said. Using the official city population of 13,338, this would give is a figure of close to 14,338.

Grandpa had a cousin with the same name who also worked with numbers, as an accountant. He lived in Indiana.



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