Weekend shaping up to be one big special celebration

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This weekend is shaping up to be a "whole 'nother" Fourth of July celebration, with the all-class Bison reunion Friday through Monday keeping McCook hopping in addition to Independence Day on Sunday.

Highlighting the weekend will be the dedication honoring Sen. Ben Nelson, his parents and the Boy Scouts. That event takes place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Nelson house on Norris Avenue.

More information on the reunion is available at http://www.mccook2010.com/

McCook and Southwest Nebraska are looking good, thanks to abundant rainfall this spring. But let's do what we can to put our best foot forward for all of this weekend's visitors, including flying our American flags.

Numerous Fourth of July celebrations are planned for area communities, with fireworks Saturday in Indianola, Sunday in Stratton and parade, race and many other activities Sunday in Culbertson, just to name a few.

The McCook Optimists Club is investing in celebrating our freedom in a big way, spending about $6,800 to bring fireworks to the Red Willow County Fairgrounds Sunday evening. Local musical group Tres Sostre will perform patriotic songs in the grandstands beginning at 8 p.m., and the fireworks will begin about 10 p.m.

We hope you can attend. And, when the McCook High School dance team passes around the donation buckets, we hope you will be generous. Although the Optimists are involved in many worthy community projects, the club keeps the fireworks funding separate to make sure the tradition keeps going.

Contributing a few dollars to a professional community fireworks display is one of the greatest bargains we can think of when it comes to celebrating the holiday.

If you do buy your own fireworks display, however, remember that dozens of fireworks-related injuries occur in Nebraska each year.

Keep the following safety tips in mind:

* Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision. Never allow young children to handle fireworks, especially sparklers.

* Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area, on a smooth, flat surface, away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.

* Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.

* Never ignite devices in a metal or glass container.

* Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them with water and discard them safely.

* Have a garden hose and bucket filled with water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire.

* Stay away from illegal or homemade fireworks, which can often be deadly.

"Fireworks can be the best part of the celebration, but they can cause serious injuries if used improperly," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the Nebraska's Chief Medical Officer. "Have a safe and happy Fourth."

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