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Date of Issue: June 25, 2008

Warning: Fireworks illegal on AMI

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BeachHouse fireworks 2007. Islander Photo: Dara Caudill

The Anna Maria Island Fireworks Task Force will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 26, at Anna Maria City Hall to discuss preventing the use of illegal fireworks during the July 4 holiday weekend.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Dave Bristow will lead the news conference, which will include representatives of all four barrier island law enforcement agencies, in addition to West Manatee Fire Rescue District representatives.

 Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, who has headed up the task force since its inception, said the news conference will highlight public education on Manatee County’s new ordinance against illegal fireworks and the enforcement procedures that will be used on the Island over the July 4 weekend. While the policy that weekend is for confiscation, offenders can be issued a citation and face a fine of up to $500, she added.

The task force plan for the holiday weekend also calls for the MCSO’s bomb disposal unit to have a truck at Holmes Beach City Hall, where all confiscated fireworks will be deposited and later destroyed.

Extra officers will be patrol the length of the Island beaches looking for violations.

Further information on illegal fireworks can be found on the Internet at www.cityofannamaria.com, where a link to “What’s Happening” will take the viewer to fireworks.

At that location, the city says, “Play it Safe - Leave Fireworks to the Professionals” and notes that the only permitted fireworks display on the Island for that weekend will be the evening of July 3 at the BeachHouse Restaurant in Bradenton Beach.

Barford said that several public service announcements on the confiscation policy have been on local television stations and will continue to air leading up to the weekend.

MCSO Sgt. John Kenney, supervisor of the MCSO Anna Maria substation, said he and other law enforcement officers and agencies on the Island will be out “in force.”