July 5, 2012 —
When the Narrowsburg Fire Department and the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce no longer wished to sponsor the annual July 4th fireworks, the Lava Fire Department didn’t miss a beat and volunteered. Expense was a concern, but they believed they would be able to cover the cost with donations as the other two organizations had done in the past. Their first concern was to continue a tradition that has been part of Narrowsburg July 4th celebrations for as long as anyone could remember. The men and women of the Lava Fire Department were proud to be doing, yet another something special for the community.
When they received a call from the National Fish and Wildlife Service warning of a possible $200,000 fine if any eagle on the river was harmed, the members were surprised and angry at the same time. Why had this not been the case in past years? How could they be expected to bear a fine of that magnitude? How could the Town of Tusten be expected to bear this fine? The members of the Lava Fire Department did the right thing and cancelled the fireworks, but the sting of that “slap in the face” feeling was palpable. A good deed had turned bad.
I believe this was a result of a strange American policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Someone asked and someone told which now put the National Fish and Wildlife Service into action. It is difficult for me to believe the National Fish and Wildlife Service was not aware of previous years of fireworks, but “don’t ask and don’t tell.” No wonder the Lava Fire Department felt betrayed.
The buzz around town has been loud and clear. Disappointment, resentment and anger. Many a gathering has lost the main event. Many merchants will lack the foot traffic of the crowds of people flocking to Narrowsburg for the fireworks.
The worst part is the Lava Fire Department is now responsible for a $3,250 bill to cover contractual agreements with the fireworks company. How can such a good deed result in so much negativity? I believe we should do our part to support the Lava Fire Department’s efforts for wishing to continue our tradition and mail a check to help defray the financial burden imposed upon them. Checks may be mailed to: Lava Fire Department, Attention: President, PO Box 456, Narrowsburg, NY 12764.
[Jane Luchsinger is a resident of Lava, NY just outside the hamlet of Narrowsburg.]