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Ripon fireworks get boost

Volunteers step up to help raise money

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POSTED August 26, 2014 1:55 a.m.

For some time, elected leaders have been in search of new blood to help spark the Fourth of July Committee.

A few folks did step up, including Harrison Gibbs of the Ripon Rotary Club and local businessman John Heida, who also serves on the Ripon Planning Commission.

“In addition to finding new committee members, we would like to see new city organizations and businesses join the committee,” Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt said at last Tuesday’s Ripon City Council session.

The dwindling numbers of donors in the past two years have been a big concern among the likes of Councilman Dean Uecker and Nutt.

Thankfully, Bethany Homes in 2013 and local businessman and philanthropist Tony Mistlin – this past year – have donated generously to defray enough of the over $20,000 needed to put on the firework pyrotechnics.

Changes in the fire safety ordinance forced the city to move the Fourth of July event from Stouffer Park back to the Mistlin Sports Park this past year.

Chief Dennis Bitters of the Ripon Consolidated Fire District noted that the Ripon High location was considered too small of an area to launch the aerials and, thus, was too much of a liability.

Uecker noted that some folks weren’t too thrilled about the fireworks show being moved back to the Mistlin.

Yet attendance wasn’t too bad once folks accepted the change. Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde estimated attendance at 1,200 based on the capacity-filled parking spaces at the sports park. Others viewed the fireworks from nearby Park View Elementary School.

New members are still being sought and Nutt plans to approach the civic groups to step up and help out with the committee.

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