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July 4th fireworks will be launched from the top of Jackson Hill, no organized activities planned this year

On Independence Day the sky will be alight with Rome’s 2020 Fireworks Extravaganza presented by Redmond Regional Medical Center.

The show will begin right after dark at approximately 9:50 p.m. on the evening of July 4. This year, the fireworks will be launched from the top of Jackson Hill, allowing more people to enjoy the display from places around town.

“The Fourth of July is a special time to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Although our community cannot gather together for an event in Ridge Ferry Park this year, we can still celebrate with an incredible fireworks show,” said John Quinlivan, Redmond’s CEO, in a press release.

“July Fourth is also a special date for Redmond as we celebrate our anniversary and 48 years of serving the residents of Rome and Floyd County and our region,” he continued. “Redmond is proud to be a part of this community, and we are honored to present this year’s fireworks celebration for our neighbors.”

Zambelli Fireworks, a company that boasts more than 100 years of experience of shooting fireworks displays all over the country and the world, has crafted a special show that will last approximately 20 minutes.

Todd Wofford, executive director of Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation, said the Zambelli display will “amp the show up a few notches” from previous years.

“We also want to thank Redmond Regional Medical Center for sponsoring this great event,” Wofford said. “Moving the firework launch area to a higher altitude than in previous years means the show will be even more visible throughout the Rome area.”

The show will feature more than 2,000 firework shells across a broad range of sizes and colors — including multiple chrysanthemum, peony, crossette, willow, dahlia, pattern displays and more. It will end with an approximately 90-second finale.

Local radio station Q102 will serve as the soundtrack to the fireworks display. The station will broadcast patriotic music to go along with the fireworks show.

Prior to the music, several Rome dignitaries will say some words on the broadcast.

There will be no organized Fourth of July activities in Ridge Ferry Park this year. The park will be closed to vehicular traffic but open to foot traffic.

Teagan Hogencamp a student at Armuchee Elementary School

Artist Xaivier Ringer said she feels that her voice often comes more organically through her art. She hopes bringing attention to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in this way will get the community’s attention toward social change.

Measure to curb surprise billing in Georgia clears General Assembly

Legislation to curb the practice of handing patients in Georgia unexpectedly high medical bills passed out of the General Assembly Wednesday.

It’s now in the hands of Gov. Brian Kemp.

The measure, House Bill 888, requires insurers to cover emergency services a patient receives, whether or not the provider is a participant in the patient’s insurance coverage network.

That arrangement removes hospital patients from the billing equation — leaving it to medical providers and insurance companies to settle their differences in a “baseball-style” arbitration process, said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, who sponsored an identical measure in the Senate.

“This will let the health care providers and insurers take the patient out of the middle and take care of them,” said Hufstetler, R-Rome.

The House bill, brought by Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, passed unanimously out of the Senate Wednesday.

The governor’s office worked with Hawkins and Hufstetler on their measures and he is widely expected to sign it into law.

Dubbed “surprise” or “balance” billing, the extra hospital charges result from specialty procedures like anesthesiology or emergency-room surgery completed by out-of-network specialists. They can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to a patient’s final bill without their knowing in advance.

State lawmakers had tried for the past five years to tamp down surprise billing before Wednesday’s passage. Lawmakers involved in negotiations traced prior hold-ups to disagreements over how insurers and medical specialists should settle out-of-network costs, particularly if disputes arise that need formal arbitration.

Representatives of the Georgia Hospital Association and the Medical Association of Georgia testified, during a committee hearing Sunday, in support of the legislation as a good compromise.

Several lawmakers praised the bill Wednesday from the Senate floor, noting its protection provisions were a long time in coming as Georgians continued straining under big surprise hospital charges.

“This is the one piece of the health-care issue that must be dealt with,” said Sen. Zahra Karinshak, D-Duluth.

Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, said she had received surprise bills for medical procedures in the past and was pleased to see the practice get an overhaul.

“No one wants to get a surprise bill,” Butler said. “You want to know what you owe.”