Hats off to Laurel, Montana for showing some common sense. I ran into our friend Mark Wilson from the country station in Billings while we were at the capitol in Helena. He joined us on the radio for a few minutes and we got to talking about the hot weather and fireworks.

Why do they ban fireworks in town, where there is less chance of a fire danger, but then force people out into the countryside to light off fireworks? That seems pretty, you know what, backwards.

Check this out. In Laurel, Montana they used to ban fireworks inside city limits. Even with a ban on fireworks, firefighters were still running ragged. So, Laurel allowed fireworks inside city limits, and guess what? That's right, the calls to the fire department went down.

Check out this quote from Laurel Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brent Peters in an interesting story by Chaquille Cozart at KTVQ.com:

In previous years we ran up to 25 calls on the day of the Fourth. Since we legalized fireworks in the city limits, we run three to four calls on the day of the Fourth.

Great job Laurel, in allowing people to celebrate the 4th of July, while also coming up with a safer, more common-sense approach than simply outright banning things. Doesn't it seem absurd that we ban fireworks in town where all the pavement, green grass, and hoses are at? What we end up doing is forcing people out into the countryside and causing more fire danger.

I chatted with Lance Lanning from Provision International. They operate a couple of area fire stands to raise money for their Christian missions helping people all over the world. He says sales are down 90% this year.

Luckily for folks in Laurel, they can enjoy fireworks in town. As for everyone else, please get out and support these fireworks stands, even if it means waiting to set them off later in the year, like on New Year's Eve.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.


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