Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Fireworks at Medical Lake council


November 30, 2017

Fireworks are usually the topic of discussion closer to summer than winter in Medical Lake.

But they were both on the agenda, and visible within the City Council chambers at the Nov. 21 meeting.

An agenda item asking for a permit to have a public fireworks display on Dec. 9 in conjunction with Re*Imagine Medical Lake’s Christmas Winter Festival drew testimony from resident Lahnie Henderson, long a critic of their legal nature in the city around Independence Day.

There are a lot of people in the community who have expressed their displeasure in the past she said. “I think we can have a wonderful celebration and not have the fireworks,” Henderson added.

The matter was addressed in the regular portion of the meeting with Fire Chief Jason Mayfield saying the applicants met all requirements for the display planned for Coney Island Park.

City Administrator Doug Ross told the meeting that for commercial fireworks there are no legal restrictions for use.

He suggested this might be a good test and that it might pave the way for a larger community display over the Independence Day holiday, which in turn could ease the way to the legal banning of private fireworks in the city.

The council voted unanimously, minus the absent AJ Burton, to approve the permit.

The meeting served as the second reading of the ordinance approving the 2018 city budget and Henderson returned to offer some thoughts and concerns.

She outlined a series of items for the council to consider, among them fixing a fire truck but not hiring a fulltime chief. Henderson also cautioned against approving any water intertie with Spokane, fearing not only an increase in rates but potential annexation strings for Medical Lake.

She also brought up the possible lowering of sewer rates, but things can go wrong and fixes are costly.

Ross later addressed that, saying any time a truck comes to the plant with new or replacement equipment the bill is generally always over $1 million.

“The rates are pretty good here, the lowest on the West Plains as far as sewer and water,” Ross said, and there were no plans to lower them. “I wish our general fund was as healthy as our water and sewer fund,” he added.

Resident Barb Reis took future council member Ted Olson to task for a post she said he made to an area social media site, claiming that the city would be reducing the hours of the sheriff. She also expressed concerns over discussion on cuts to the fire department.

Council member John Paikuli took a moment to hopefully quench the fire department sparks, saying there were no plans for creation of a fulltime fire chief, nor are there any staff cuts in the works.

Another council member, Laura Parsons, added that whatever was taken from that budget meeting was “just discussion,” at which time Reis interrupted Parsons from the audience.

Reis had to be cautioned by Mayor John Higgins to take a seat and remain quiet while Parsons finished her point.

“I understood it as just different options,” Parsons said. “It doesn’t mean it would ever happen,” and the council quickly unanimously approved the second reading that will deliver $5.85 million in spending power to the city in 2018.

Council member Elizabeth Rosenbeck served in her final meeting, having been selected earlier to fill the unexpired term of the late Howard Jorgenson.

The next council meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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