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No fireworks this time

July 5, 2012

I take issue with the lack of editorial review that was made apparent by the June 27 article by Sandy Long titled “An Independence Day dilemma: American icons at issue.” Long leads the reader to believe that at least two eagles have been injured due to the fireworks displays that have been a Narrowsburg tradition for the better part of a century. How can you allow Ms. Long to make the assumption that the injured birds were the victims of the fireworks display? A previous River Reporter article referenced in Ms. Long’s article clearly stated that injuries do occur to the eagles regardless of the annual fireworks display. Is there any evidence that the injuries were actually due to the fireworks display, as Ms. Long stated so confidently? How often are these birds injured when fireworks cannot be blamed? Were private fireworks or other activities conducted by nearby residents to blame for the injuries? I would have asked these questions prior to running such a far-reaching and damaging story.

The annual fireworks display has made Narrowsburg a recurring destination for thousands of people eager to support the various merchants and businesses that comprise the hamlet as well as the entire Upper Delaware region. These tourists, and residents, come year after year expecting the wonderful show that has been provided for them free of charge by the sponsors throughout the years. Ms. Long must be proud that her journalistic activism has brought about the demise of a century-old tradition and boon to the local economy.

Unfortunately, her activism was motivated by a false premise. If the eagles are so greatly impacted by the fireworks display, why are they still here? No, there will not be a fireworks display in Narrowsburg this year, or probably ever. The specter of criminal and civil penalties that would come to bear on the sponsors of the event as threatened by the NYSDEC cannot be overstated. These penalties could ruin the lives of the event sponsors even if federal and state guidelines are followed. Ms. Long’s short-sighted article will clearly have a detrimental effect on the local economy for this year and many years to come. Have a Happy Independence Day.

Gary Amerbach
Narrowsburg, NY