BARSTOW The city chose 10 nonprofit organizations in a lottery drawing Tuesday evening, giving those groups the opportunity to apply to sell fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday period this summer.

The permits could be a boon for the organizations, some of which have faced fundraising difficulties in Barstow. A total of 25 groups had qualified for the drawing. After the first 10 were chosen, the rest of the organizations were drawn as well, to establish a list of all 25.

If any of the top 10 groups do not meet the city's deadlines for completing the formal application, their spot would be given away to the next organization in line.

Shawn Wessel, of High Desert Charities, said she struggled to contain her excitement at being picked ninth as the drawing continued through the rest of the groups.

The prospect of raising money through fireworks sales means that her organization will be able to provide more services to special needs children, she said, including events using horses.

"This is going to do massive good for our programs and the community as a whole," Wessel said.

New Hope Village Executive Director Angela Pasco said proceeds from fireworks sales would help her organization offset the $20,000 per year in funding it lost when Barstow's Redevelopment Agency closed earlier this year.

Pasco said the organization was doing the best it could in tough times and may still face cutbacks, but selling fireworks was a step in the right direction.

"It's going to help our organization earn some much-needed money," Pasco said.

Marcia Zableckis, principal of St. Paul's Academy, said the school's small size made fundraising imperative.

"We're a very small school and unfortunately need this money," Zableckis said, "so this is a really big thing for us."

The 10 organizations must now complete formal applications, which they must submit to the city by May 23. They must also pay a $75 fee.

Representatives from the city's two approved fireworks wholesalers, TNT Fireworks and Phantom Fireworks, said they would be completing the necessary documents on behalf of their customers.

LOTTERY WINNERS
The following 10 Barstow nonprofits won the right to complete a formal application for fireworks sales permits. They are, in the order chosen:
1. West Barstow Little League
2. Barstow Senior Center
3. Rotary Club of Barstow
4. U.S. Veterans Support Group
5. New Hope Village
6. Barstow Riffians Wrestling Club
7. Barstow College Foundation
8. Barstow Little League Softball
9. High Desert Charities
10. St. Paul's Academy

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com