Be party smart

There are some rules to follow when it comes to noise, fire and other situations

When it comes to college parties, it’s a good idea to know what to do if law enforcement shows up and to be aware of the rules.

One thing to keep in mind: When there is a house party going on, there is a chance the police may come knocking on the door to break up the party, investigate because of a noise complaint or for a variety of reasons. It’s also crucial to keep the city ordinances in mind when it comes to parties and alcohol use.

In accordance with the City of Big Rapids Ordinance No. 483-8-01, it is written as “An ordinance establishing the procedure and standards by which specified illegal incidents involving the illegal use of drugs or alcohol, or holding or sponsoring a nuisance party, three or more times in any nine-month period at a particular location constitute a public nuisance, which may be subject to abatement and padlocking of the premises by order of the City Commission, being an addition to Title 9, Chapter 90, Sections 90.80-90.90, of the Big Rapids City Code.”

If the police show up at a party, it’s not always the best idea to lock the doors and run and hide in closets and bathtubs. If they knock on the door, answer it and say hello. Ask them what the problem is. If they say it’s for a noise complaint, then turn down the music. If they heard there was a problem with underage drinking, tell the police to do what they need to do if you were not aware of any underage drinking. It’s never a good idea to buy alcohol for minors or allow underage drinking if it is, in fact, your party.

If you were aware of any underage drinking or allowed it, then you will face the consequences. In the state of Michigan, someone furnishing alcohol to a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of (not more than) $1,000 and imprisonment for (not more than) 60 days for a first offense, a fine of (not more than) $2,500 and imprisonment for (not more than) 90 days for a subsequent second offense along with the completion of community service.

If the furnishing of alcohol to a minor results in death or serious injury causing death, the individual who furnished the alcohol is guilty of a felony, according to MCL 436.1701. In other words, it’s best to not furnish any alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 and always cooperate with local law enforcement.

When it comes to holding open fires in the city of Big Rapids, a permit is required. It is stated in a document titled “Big Rapids–General Offenses” that “A person shall not kindle or maintain any open fire or authorize any such fire to be kindled or maintained on any premises without having obtained a permit or other authorization from the Department of Public Safety.”

In the case of having a bonfire, it is stated as, “Bonfires shall be limited to ceremonial occasions or recognized community organizations. Fuel for open bonfires shall consist of seasoned dry wood and a small quantity of paper to ignite the fire. Bonfires shall not contain rubbish, garbage, trash, rubber, plastic, leather, petroleum-based materials, flammable liquids, combustible liquids or any other materials that produce noxious fumes or odors when burned.”

Additionally, there is a “no burn zone” in the area one-block west of State Street to one-half block east of Warren Avenue from Linden Street, north to the river. The burning of leaves is also prohibited

It’s always a good idea to have fun and enjoy college, but be conscientious and smart when doing so.