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‘Young blood’ sought for Ripon’s effort for fireworks

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POSTED July 16, 2014 1:23 a.m.

Young blood may be needed to infuse a spark in the Fireworks Committee.

That was sentiment of Councilman Dean Uecker and Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.

“We’d really like to see some young blood – and more organizations – step up and commit to the Fourth of July,” said Uecker, who expressed disappointment on citizen donations over the past two years.

He added: “If not for Tony Mistlin this year and Bethany Homes (in 2013) this would not have happened.”

By that, Mistlin and Bethany Homes made big chucks of monetary contributions to the Fourth of July pyrotechnics.

Donations coupled with the efforts of volunteers had Uecker feeling blessed.

 About $20,000 in donations is needed each year to make possible the aerial fireworks display.

Uecker indicated that some folks weren’t too thrilled of the fireworks being moved back to the Mistlin Sports Complex after a brief return to downtown, specifically, Ripon High’s Stouffer Field, in previous years.

“It’s not about the place but what the event is all about,” he said.

Nutt, meanwhile, was initially concerned about attendance at Mistlin. But that quickly changed once show time neared.

“Suddenly, there was a floodgate of cars,” he said. “I was pleased with the turnout.”

Around the park, Police Chief Ed Ormonde noted that the available parking spaces in Mistlin – about 1,200 – were filled to capacity. Ditto that for the surrounding areas, most notably, Park View Elementary School, where people gathered in droves to enjoy fireworks.

He and Mayor Chuck Winn noticed that folks continued arriving at Mistlin during the middle of the fireworks show.

Meanwhile, Uecker – he did acknowledge the efforts of the police, firefighters, public works, and other volunteers for stepping it up on this day – pointed out that a non-profit organization could use a big event such as this as a fundraising opportunity.

“We would look for someone to partner with us and put together a VIP (parking) area,” he said.

Like Uecker, Nutt would also like to see new faces become involved in the City of Ripon fireworks efforts.

“I don’t mind (yielding to) young blood,” he said. “But this old blood is getting tired.

“We need more people to step up to the plate (for the cause).”

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