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Noisy but legal hobby disturbs some Palo residents

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PALO — A Linn County resident living just outside the city limits of Palo is apparently having a “blast” with a compound that creates explosive targets for shooters. But some neighbors in that Linn County community have raised concerns about the loud booming noises that some claim rattle windows in town.

The blast comes from a product with the brand name of “Tannerite.” It’s available on sporting good shelves and is even carried by an outdoor shop in Palo. When the two substances are mixed together, and then struck with a high speed rifle bullet, the resulting explosion destroys the target and creates a considerable noise. And some in Palo have begun complaining about that noise to the city.

The property where the explosive targets are being used is located at 2723 Linn Drive. That’s next door to the town cemetery but just outside the city limits.

One neighbor, Patty Price, began hearing the gunfire and then a blast a little more than a month ago. At first, she was confused about what was involved and thought it was just someone setting off fireworks.

“It’s pretty loud. It’s enough to go oh, what the heck is that,” Price said.

Another neighbor, JoEllen Marconi said she was gone a lot recently. But she too has heard infrequent explosions on the southeast side of Palo.

“Oh, it’s loud — very loud,” Marconi said.

A few residents who heard the explosions and saw rising smoking began asking the city if what was going on was legal. The short answer is yes.

Palo Mayor Tom Yock said the city talked to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office about the explosions. Deputies visited the property several times and concluded the owner was using the target practice explosives at least 600 feet from any building and 600 feet from any livestock. Because the property is located in the county, and not the city of Palo, it was all perfectly legal.

“Most of it (questions) were just an observation from residents. What is going on. We’ve told them what they’re doing is legal. We’ve checked it out and can’t do anything about it,” Yock said.

Kurt Odekirk is the owner of the property in question. He declined an extensive interview but did say only one neighbor has spoken to him about using the Tannerite substance to create targets that explode when struck by a high speed bullet.

One Linn County Sheriff’s Office commander said this is the first time in his memory that noise questions about someone using exploding targets has come to the department’s attention. Officers concluded state law does not prohibit that kind of activity in the county. However, deputies did informally tell the owner not to blow up targets later in the evening to avoid any disturbing the peace complaints.

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