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Greenfield couple compromise with city, fire cannons in Alcott Park

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GREENFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A neighborhood Fourth of July tradition more than 40 years old came to an abrupt end Thursday.

Frank and Carla Markel didn't fire their four original Civil War cannons outside their home for the first time since 1974.

Since moving to Greenfield a few years ago, keeping up the practice has meant violating city ordinance.

Frank says they were always able to get a permit when they lived in Milwaukee.

Nothing's actually shot from the cannons. It's just smoke and loud noises.

But police say there have been complaints, in addition to the ordinance violation.

"I don't want it to be, 'Oh, there's the cannon guy breaking the law again,'" Frank said. "I want it to be, 'Oh, there's the cannon guy who's respecting our independence and our freedom.'"

The Greenfield Police Department is proactively working with the Markels on a solution, because citations in the past haven't slowed the couple down.

Capt. Ray Radakovich says the department will help try to pass an amendment to the ordinance that would allow for a permit to be granted for ceremonial firings.

The cannons still got to flex their muscles for the holiday though.

Earlier in the day, four shots were fired at Alcott Park, outside the Greenfield city limits.

Terry Ignatowski, the daughter of a World War II veteran and annual attendee to the Markels' July 4th party, got emotional talking about how much the cannon shots mean to her.

"This just helps you remember what our country went through," she said. "That's why I come back every year. I want to hear that noise. It's so important."

Last year the Markels got a $1,000 fine for firing the cannons.

Friends and neighbors pooled their money to help pay it, but the matter's still being appealed in court.

Greenfield couple compromise with city, fire cannons in Milwaukee

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