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Radcliff man advocates fireworks limitations

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Says excessive use a public nuisance

By Marty Finley

From Rick Skoog’s perspective, Independence Day is a one-day affair, and enough is enough concerning fireworks.

Skoog, a military veteran and civilian employee at Fort Knox, asked Radcliff City Council to consider enacting an ordinance limiting the number of days residents can use fireworks during its Tuesday night voting meeting. He also challenged the council to enforce its own noise ordinance and state restrictions governing fireworks use.

Skoog has an autistic daughter who is deeply affected by the noise and disruption heavy duty fireworks can cause. He said the noise creates an emotional toll, causing her to scream and keeping her up through the night because she is scared.

Completely nonverbal, Skoog’s daughter has no way to express herself and struggles to calm down once the fireworks have agitated her. He said it can take hours to convince her to go to sleep or return to her own bed, which is physically draining for Skoog and his wife.

He said large-grade fireworks were being fired in his neighborhood from June 27 to July 12, and the noise soon became overwhelming. He filed several complaints with the Radcliff Police Department and said the commotion would usually stop within 15 minutes after a call, indicating police took his complaint seriously.

However, if the city armed its officers with more control, he said, they could better clamp down on the noise.

Police Chief Jeff Cross said his department is limited in certain aspects because officers have to witness a violation take place and may also be dealing with other runs at the same time.

Cross told Skoog it is difficult for his officers to field every call and effectively take action on every complaint. In a matter of days around the Fourth of July holiday, the police department received nearly three dozen complaints about fireworks, Cross said.

“Hopefully people will exercise some common sense when you meet and talk to them,” Cross said.

Skoog said he is not advocating for a ban on fireworks and believes people have the right to celebrate America’s independence. However, he said other events, such as trick or treating, have set limitations and the same should be said for fireworks.

“It’s the only holiday I know that lasts that long,” he said of July 4.

Mayor J.J. Duvall said he knows larger fireworks routinely have been used this summer within the city.

“I know, in my neighborhood, it was a concussion,” Duvall said of the noise.

Councilwoman Barbara Baker agreed with Skoog and said the noise can also have adverse effects on pets. Skoog told Baker he had not even addressed the impact on animals and the elderly, saying excessive use is disrespectful to one’s neighbors.

The council took no action on Skoog’s request Tuesday night, but he asked them to take it under consideration for a future discussion.

In other business:

  • The council heard the first reading of an ordinance repealing its old license table for alcohol sales, moving toward adoption of a newly streamlined version reflecting changes in state law.
    City Clerk Ashley Russo said the new table reduces around 90 licenses down to about 44. City Attorney Michael Pike said the main change to the table is the separation of the malt beverage license into a package license for the sale of malt beverages by the package and a malt beverage drink license for consumption on the premises. Pike said the city also should consider reinstating a clause allowing the city to issue temporary suspensions to licensees during emergencies, such as fights or mini-riots in which the business has lost control. As it is, the city must hold hearings before it can suspend a license, he said. Additionally, the state has removed its prohibitions on alcohol sales during Election Day but has installed a provision allowing cities to prohibit or place restrictions on the sale of alcohol during primaries and general elections, Pike said. The city will need to determine if it wants to enact a prohibition or restrictions.  

 

  • The council approved the 2013 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant at just more than $24,000. Russo said the city received around $14,000 while another $10,000 or so benefits the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of office supplies.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com