Firecrackers have a very limited time and place
Being that July 4th is just around the bend, and all the firecracker aficionados are busy busy busy stocking up for the big night, I'd like to take the opportunity to share a little firecracker story and my thoughts on the controversial pastime of firecrackin'.
I'm a stay home mom and part-time dog walker. I walk dogs and take care of pets while people are at work or on vacation. Last Thursday night, I was walking two gorgeous, playful bearded collies in Boardman, when halfway through our evening stroll, someone thought it would be a swell idea to let off some firecrackers for no good reason. No party. No holiday. Just 'cuz. Firecrackers on Fourth of July? Midnight New Years Eve maybe? Fine. I'll keep my trap shut. Unnecessary firecrackin' on a random Thursday evening in June? Not cool, man.
Needless to say, the dogs went nuts. They yelped, darted hither and yon, ran circles around me and succeeded in tangling all three of us into a rope burned, hog tied mess on someone's front lawn. After about five minutes of unwinding legs and feet, paws and tails, I managed to free us and the dogs started kickin' it for home. Then another firecracker went off and one of them darted under a parked car. All the coaxing in the world was not getting that dog out from under that car. The other dog, despite his best efforts, was too big to fit under the low-riding compact car so he was forced to just pace, whimper and hyperventilate in the street while I scrabbled on my hands and knees around and around the car, chasing his sister. Thankfully, a nice man saw my predicament and stopped to help. He held onto the brother, while I army-crawled under the compact car and pulled her out ... draaaagged her out, dead weight, limbs splayed flat out like a bear rug. I finally got her on her feet and the dogs made a sprinting beeline for home ... the shortest distance being through other people's yards. After being dragged through various hedgerows, hurtling baby pools and lawn chairs, we arrived at their backyard and safely inside the house.
So, needless to say, I am not a fan of firecrackin'. I mean, I just don't get it. I think I speak for the majority of sane people in the world when I say that most people hate firecrackers. And to all you firecrackin' enthusiasts out there, young or old, we have this to say ... STOP IT! If entertainment is what you seek then read a book, make something, have a conversation, watch repeats of "Desperate Housewives" if you must, but leave the firecrackers alone until Independence Day from 6 p.m. till midnight. Firecrackin' the other 364 days of the year is not only illegal in most places, it's just plain stupid in all places. All it does is create a loud popping sound that annoys your neighbors and turns every dog, cat and bird in a two mile radius into a quivering, terrified basket case.
Now sparklers? That's a different story. There's nothing better than air-writing your name in the dark with a good sparkler.
Sports fans should decide which teams play at arena
I speak as a Youngstown resident, taxpayer and sports fan, as well as always a great supporter (going back to former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr.) of the need for an arena to be built in downtown Youngstown. It is finally becoming a reality.
I believe that the sports tenants in the Youngstown arena should be ruled by supply and demand. What is being offered to the sports fans, taxpayers and future customers of the arena should not be dictated by Global Entertainment, Mr. Washington or the Youngstown SteelHounds.
WILLIE JAMES RICHARDS