Two teens arrested in blowtorch ATM cases

William Weatherford, 17, (top) and Kendell Mahon, 18, of Moncks Corner, were arrested by the Summerville Police Department on Wednesday in connection with two attempts to break into ATMs with a blowtorch.

SUMMERVILLE -- Fireworks might light up the sky on the Fourth of July after all.

Town Council appears ready to reconsider whether to end the popular holiday tradition because of the cost after several council members heard from residents who want it to continue. But council's Finance Committee on Monday again put off a decision until it could determine if the Woodlands Inn or other businesses might help pay for it.

Council members said they expect to make a decision Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Woodlands has preliminary plans for a Fourth of July festival of its own -- a day of jump castles and clowns, bands and food -- on its old plantation grounds in Summerville. The plan calls for culminating the event at sunset with fireworks on the grounds while the Summerville Community Orchestra plays patriotic music.

The event, co-sponsored by Summerville Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management and other organizations, would benefit local nonprofit groups. There would be a minimal admission fee, said Casey Lavin, Woodlands general manager.

Town officials, however, are unsure if the Woodlands' tree-lined grounds can handle the display, parking and 30,000 to 40,000 people who watched the town's fireworks show last summer.

Council members also are concerned about paying for a fireworks show not held on public property. The display has been held at Gahagan Park in recent years.

Fireworks or not, "we're going to do everything possible to make it happen," Lavin said.

In March, council put off a vote on whether to spend $10,000 in tourism revenue for the annual fireworks show while council members asked what their constituents thought of the move. A majority of the members said they were unsure if it was the best use of the money while the town struggles with a tight budget.

A year earlier, council saved the fireworks display by moving $2,000 in tourism tax revenue from another recipient's grant to shore up a funding shortfall. Twice as many people -- an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 -- turned out for the 20-minute display at Gahagan Park than in 2008.

But with the town scraping for dollars in a recession, some council members said the expenditure this year was a waste. Not too many in town seemed to agree.

"The families I talked to, families with small children, looked forward to it and enjoy it," Councilwoman Kima Garten-Schmidt said.

Other council members echoed her sentiment. Councilman Ricky Waring agreed that blasting away $10,000 sounded wasteful, but "with the number of people who showed up, I think there's enough people who enjoy it, and it's their money."

Councilman Bob Jackson, who asked for the vote to be put off in March so he could talk with residents, said most of them seemed to favor saving the money. But, he said, the people who wanted the show made a compelling argument that the exhibition of patriotism is valuable and the people who attend spend money in local restaurants.

"I'm very divided on what to do," he said.

He suggested council seek contributions that some businesses and individuals said they would be willing to provide.