The U.S. fireworks usage map printed in the July 3 Democrat-Herald was in black ink ... no one could tell which states had what laws regarding fireworks. I hope next year you can print the map in color in the "paper" newspaper, but probably there won't be any money to pay for that. Newspapers are in trouble; the Bend newspaper has been sold and all employees will be laid off. Some might be rehired by the new owner, but telling your landlord that won't make him feel that your rent check is in the mail.

The state of this country and the world is very depressing. I started writing this at 12:30 a.m., July 5, as "World War III" noises in my end of town quieted. Fireworks are a business, so Albany will never ban them. I hope the outdoor cats in my neighborhood are OK.

When I was a kid, a few sparklers were set off on the Fourth, and that was it, except for professional fireworks at the Albany Timber Carnival. Kids had lost fingers and eyes in the 1940s from fireworks, and purchases, except for professional displays, were banned almost everywhere, I think, by the 1950s. But, now the United States is run by hooligans and greedy corporatists more than ever, so fireworks are here to stay (in more ways than one!).

Mary Brock

Albany (July 5)

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