Today’s news:

July 4th without fireworks

Local cops have already kicked off their anti−fireworks efforts for 2009.

With the Fourth of July just a couple of weeks away, the 68th Precinct is taking a “zero tolerance” approach to the use of sparklers, cherry bombs, Roman candles and the like, said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez during the June meeting of the 68th Precinct Community Council.

The chief reason is danger, Rodriguez stressed, as he addressed the group gathered at the precinct house, 333 65th Street.

“We do have a push going on right now,” Rodriguez noted, telling his listeners that the NYPD is offering as much as $1,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals selling fireworks.

“If you’re out on the Fourth of July lighting fireworks,” Rodriguez warned, “we will be out there, we will confiscate your fireworks and we will probably lock you up.

“A lot of people say this is petty, this is nonsense, ” Rodriguez went on. “But, they kill people. We get kids every single year with their fingers blown off.”

Indeed, Rodriguez reminded his listeners, Bay Ridge had been the scene of a fireworks−sparked disaster a few years back, when three people died in a blaze that had been started by fireworks.

“So we take it very seriously here, and we will continue to take it very seriously,” he emphasized.

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