Summerís in full swing and everyoneís making plans to celebrate the Fourth of July. Whether itís a backyard cookout or going to a Rangers game, the day that marks our nationís independence is one to enjoy.

Ellis County typically has several cities hosting fireworks shows where people can go and watch. This year is no different. The city of Midlothian will have a show at the multi-purpose stadium parking lot on July 3. Waxahachie hosts an event at the sports complex on July 3. The city of Ennis and the Texas Motorplex host their fireworks show July 4.

Itís not the Fourth of July without fireworks and thereíll be more than a few people who will also want to shoot off their own fireworks. What weíre asking is that you do so in a safe, responsible and courteous manner. If you live in a city, know what the ordinances are and abide by them. If you go out into the county, be aware that you canít just shoot off fireworks from anywhere you want Ė and there are a lot more places where you canít than you can.

Donít shoot off fireworks from a roadway or go onto state right-of-way. You also canít just pick out a farmerís field to go out in and shoot off fireworks. The bottom line is, if youíre on private property, you need the ownerís permission to be there.

Weíve had enough rain that weíre not under a burn ban, but that doesnít mean you donít need to still exercise caution when using fireworks. Be mindful of where you are and your surroundings. Please donít do anything that could damage other peopleís property or, worse, endanger their lives. We want everyone to enjoy a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Yíall have a Blessed Week.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriffís Institute. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years and holds a Masterís Peace Officerís Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.