Top 3 Headlines on WHSV.com July 3

These are the most viewed headlines on WHSV.com for July 3. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

Fireworks in Harrisonburg are Illegal

Reporter: David Coy

HARRISONBURG -- There are many different rules and laws for the various fireworks in the Valley but in the City of Harrisonburg, nothing is legal. Its been that way since 1973.

Captain Arthur Miller is the Deputy Fire Marshal for the City of Harrisonburg. He said people need to be aware of their location.

"It's important for people to know where they're at. That's the law that governs them, laws vary from county to city and different places. In the city of Harrisonburg, all fireworks are illegal for sale and use," said Miller.

Miller said police and fire marshals will be out to enforce the law.

"It's very easy to spot fireworks obviously, many times you see them rise into the air and explode and you can interact with the people once you've seen that. And the interaction goes from there. Whether it's confiscation of the fireworks or potentially receiving a summance to appear in court because it is a violation in the local ordinance," said Miller.

Melissa Hottinger has managed a fireworks tent in Dayton for 13 years. She said she was told to set up right outside the city limits.

She isn't sure if people from Harrisonburg have bought from her.

"We probably do but if anyone asks we do tell them it's illegal in the city of Harrisonburg. Some people don't buy them but some people still do," said Hottinger.

If you have fireworks and are caught there isn't a flat fee with a ticket. You may have to go to court and see a judge and they will decide the best judgement. 

 

Invasive Pear Tree Worries Local Farmer

Reporter: Amelia Nahmias

AUGUSTA COUNTY -- An invasive type of tree is causing concern for farmers. The tree originally from Asia, is posing a treat to farm land.

The Bradford Pear, originally brought to the Valley as a decorative ornament in towns, has become quite the nuisance to farmer Gary Meeks.

"I realized at the neighboring houses and housing developments near me they also planted them. This year in particular, i'm seeing hundreds and hundreds of them coming up in the fields in this area," says Meeks.

Adam Downing with the Vrginia Cooperative Extension deals with invasive plant species. He says the tree grows easily and quickly and getting rid of it is not easy.

"It's time consuming, and of course those costs that the farmer incurs will be passed on the the consumer," Downing says.

The costs of treating the tree stumps with chemicals can be expensive, especially when there are a lot of stumps.

Meeks says this is because "the birds scatter the little pear berries and the shoots come up all over the field."

The main problem is the weak limbs and the sharp thorns.

"In storms whole limbs will break down, and if the limbs break down in your field of course you're going to run over them with your tires," Meeks explains.

Meeks says the thorns have become such a problem, he has to carry around a kit in the back of his truck just to repair tires while he's in the field.

Meeks says he "first became aware when i started getting three, four, five flats a day trying to make hay."

Downing is trying to control the species.

"The biggest thing is early detection and rapid response. Knowing what to look for and treat that readily is going to be the most cost effective," says Downing.

Meeks knows to look for the dark green shiny leaves, but their presence worries him.

 

"I honestly feel like we're going to lose a whole lot of land," says Meeks.

Fourth of July in the Valley 

Click the link for a full listing of events celebrating the Fourth.

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