Letters to the Editor

More burn ordinance


Following the June 22 meeting of Bellevue Council the mayor and I had a chance to chat. Mr. [George] Doscher wanted to clarify some things with me. The mayor made it clear that he is not in favor of new recreational burning restrictions in Bellevue. He told me he is satisfied with the way things are now. Mr. Doscher previously stated before council that he enjoys burning in his own yard and that “just a few” can spoil things for everybody else in the community.

You’ll recall that I recently wrote about Mr. Doscher and council member Mark Panichella voicing objections to the Bellevue fire marshal’s proposed recreational burning permit - on grounds that the permit contained no enforcement provision. As a result of their objections the council’s public safety committee is supposed to reconsider this burning issue -- some more.

I regret my young neighbor’s, Krystal Waldschmidt’s, perception (published here last week) that I have been continuously calling authorities about her and her friends burning. On the contrary, I have noted before council and to public safely responders multiple times now, I am aware and very grateful that she has not been having fires in her yard of late. The police officers who responded one night several weeks ago let me know that her fire bowl was, in fact, cold that night. I have more recently been reporting that I honestly don’t know the source of the wood smoke emissions. I’ve complained when I’ve encountered these conditions at home but have driven through them on Brighton Road, Lincoln Avenue and Washington Avenue, to name a few. (The fire marshal’s proposed burning permit would help locate legal fires.) I have never smelled the beguiling aroma of food cooking with the wood smoke so prevalent this summer, and it must have been another grey-haired fat lady that Krystal invited to share food as it was never me.

Mayor Doscher and I chuckled over a few things during our chat and I acknowledged that most other people are not having the painful reactions to this smoke that I get to “enjoy.”

Now that my hair is grey and I’m fat and frequently feeling ill, I will continue to report my air quality complaints to the Allegheny County Health Department’s 24-hour-line...as one of their inspectors told me I should do. I will also continue to use the 9-1-1 service to request that local public safety officers simply come out and document when bad air quality conditions occur on my street. I encourage other community members who suffer ill effects from outdoor wood burning to do the same. And I hope that neither Ms. Waldschmidt nor anyone else takes this as a personal affront.

Carol A. Wivell

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