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Fireworks will return to New Kensington on June 28

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How to help

Donations toward the New Kensington Fireworks Festival can be made at First National Bank branches or city hall at 301 11th St. Checks should be written to City of New Kensington Fireworks.

Raffle tickets for a 42-inch television are available at city hall. The $5 tickets offer four chances to win based on the July 4 Pennsylvania Lottery Daily Number. Proceeds support the fireworks fund.

If you go

What: New Kensington Fireworks Festival

When: Block party begins at 4 p.m.; fireworks begin after 9 p.m.

Where: Block party at Barnes Street parking lot near Peoples Library; fireworks are shot off from the city parking garage at Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue.


Crackdown on illegal fireworks

With the return of an official fireworks display, Mayor Tom Guzzo and police Chief Tom Klawinski said police will be cracking down on anyone setting off illegal firecrackers in the city.

Several residents this month complained to council about bottle rockets, M-80s and other similar fireworks being set off. Residents said they fear property damage; fireworks caused a minor fire to a Taylor Avenue house last summer and sparked a more serious fire at a Harrison house over the July 4 holiday in 2010.

“I'm concerned these fireworks are going to land on one of the roofs,” said Alan Ruckert of Victoria Avenue. “This has to stop.”

Others said the fireworks are a nuisance, especially when they are set off during days that aren't holidays traditionally associated with fireworks.

Pat Condelli of Edgewood Road, who said the fireworks alarm her dog, suggested the city consider raising the fine and use the money to fund the official city display.

Anyone witnessing an illegal display should immediately report it to police by calling 911.

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Independence Day will be celebrated in New Kensington this summer, complete with a Zambelli fireworks display.

After a one-year hiatus, the annual fireworks display and block party will return on the Saturday before July 4, which falls on June 28 this year.

The festivities were cancelled last summer because of serious illnesses of the two volunteers who spearheaded the event.

A group of volunteers stepped up to make sure the Fourth of July celebration returned this year.

Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. and former Redevelopment Authority Director Kim McAfoose began organizing raffles and other fundraisers late last summer.

Early this year, Emil Hanulik got his American Legion post involved in the fundraising effort.

“I thought it was disappointing that the city didn't have fireworks last year,” he said.

Hanulik, owner of New Kensington-based Signalgraph Security Inc., noted the festival brings in people from neighboring towns and is a good promotion for the community.

Including money that had been raised toward last summer's cancelled display plus funds collected through the efforts of Saliba, McAfoose, Hanulik and others, slightly more than $10,000 is available for this year's display.

Organizers still are collecting donations — whatever isn't used this year will be put toward the 2015 display.

In addition to asking city residents and businesses to contribute, Hanulik said he hopes people from surrounding communities who attend the display will consider making a donation.

Andre Carter is working to bring in vendors, activities and entertainment for the block party that will be moved to the Barnes Street parking lot this year. The block party previously was held along Fourth Avenue near Central City Plaza.

Carter, whose Sponsors United business arranges concerts, said he's drawing on his entertainment background to support the party. At least 16 vendors are on board.

“We've really been pounding the pavement to make this happen,” said Carter. “The event will be a success.”

“I'm appreciative of what they've done,” said Mayor Tom Guzzo.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or

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