Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

FAIR HAVEN: NEIGHBOR WANTS SHOW SNUFFED

fh-day-4-061612-500x375-3181234They sure looked pretty, but last year’s fireworks showered Mary Ylangan’s yard and others with debris, some of which she brought to a council meeting last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh-fireworks-050714-1-220x165-1163537Mary Ylangan knows she’s on a quest that, at first blush, may sound a bit like she’s against motherhood and apple pie.

She wants Fair Haven to scrap its annual fireworks show.

But having had her home enveloped in smoke and showered with hot fireworks debris, Ylangan – a mom – is lobbying the town to replace the show with something more environmentally friendly.

Ylangan’s campaign is unlikely to affect this year’s show, scheduled for Saturday, June 14. Arrangements have been made, and a $15,000 contract has been signed with Garden State Fireworks to again put on the pyrotechnics display that became an annual event following the borough centennial celebration in 2012.

Ylangan, who declined to be photographed for this article lest she be recognized while out shopping as “the woman who hates fireworks,” says she’s researched fireworks and has found ample evidence to be worried. Still, she tells redbankgreen she’s relieved that, a year after bringing her concerns to the attention of borough officials via email, she finally worked up the nerve to make her case to the council last week.

Her case, in a nutshell, is that the fireworks, which are launched from a ballfield at the north end of Fair Haven Fields, cast clouds of dangerous smoke across residential neighborhoods, leave toxic chemicals at the launch site, and litter nearby yards and roofs with countless scraps of paper, some of which are still hot and may actually contain embers when they land.

Last year’s show dropped long strips and curls of heavy cardboard shell casings in her yard, as well as a few pieces the size of coconuts, she said. But there were also tiny scraps, too numerous and small to be collected.

“It’s literally like a shower,” she said, “like someone threw grass seed up in the air.”

Moreover, she contends, metals and chemicals in the fireworks get into the grass in an around the launch area, potentially exposing children to carcinogenic chemicals.

“The actual metals sit on the ground. They don’t disappear. They last for months,” she said.  The presence of the chemicals “heightens the toxicity of our playing fields,” which she said the town had recently spent $500,000 to expand and upgrade. “What are we doing?”

Moreover, if the wind were in another direction, the impact might be the same on other neighborhoods – or on the crowd gathered to watch them at Fair Haven Fields.

Ylangan isn’t entirely alone in her unease about the show. A neighbor who asked not to be identified said debris from the fireworks “definitely came down hot” on his backyard full of kids last year.

“Someone easily could have gotten burned,” he said. Afterward, cardboard debris lay on his roof and filled the raingutters for months, he said.

The neighbor said he wants the fireworks to continue, but thinks the launch area needs to be moved, and that the borough should dispatch a cleanup crew to affected homes the following day.

That, in fact, is what the borough is offering in response to Ylangan’s campaign. Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande told her by email that the borough “would be more than happy to add your property to our post event cleanup area.”

The fact that her house, at the eastern end of McCarter Avenue, is the closest to the launch area might  give listeners the idea that she’s touchy about the issue because she’s closest to it, Ylangan acknowledges. “But I think if most had read what I’ve been reading for the last year, they would be alarmed, too,” she said.

What she’s found is that scientists are concerned about the effects of metallic particles, particularly on people with asthma. The island of Oahu has banned fireworks shows since 2011.

Ylangan said her research has also led her to promising alternatives and growing calls for use of compressed air to launch fireworks. In 2004, the Disney Corporation switched to compressed air for fireworks shows as Disneyland in southern California, but complaints about noise and health impacts continued.

Ylangan would prefer the town find a “greener alternative. I just want to make sure people are educated as to what we’re doing here.” she said.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli told redbankgreen that his own son was at a pool party during last year’s show and reported that the debris “really came down.” Still, Ylangan’s concerns were the first he’d ever heard voiced about the environmental impact of fireworks, which he assumed that the state Department of Environmental Protection would ban or limit “if they were that toxic.”

But he said he would “reserve judgment. It’s a legitimate concern, and we’ll address it.”

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.
CORNED BEEF AND DISCO FRIES?
It’s Friday, and smart Lent-observing Leprechauns know the pot of gold at the end of Red Bank’s rainbow is actually the deliciou ...
SURFBOARD DITCHED
It’s a violation of etiquette in surfing to ditch your board.  (it could hit another surfer and hurt them). But someone appears to ha ...
ELSIE, TAKE ME WITH YOU!
Soaked by pouring rain with the temperature hovering in the low 40’s, this sign in the window of Elsie’s Subs on Monmouth Street ...
WALK THIS WAY
PARTYLINE: Before-and-afters of a sidewalk cleanup on West Street.
SOGGY NOTION
RED BANK: Breezeway sculpture captured the mood downtown as heavy rains fell Saturday morning.
HOME DELIVERY
RED BANK: After a subdivision, an instant house rises on a new Catherine Street lot.