Archive for Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Letter: Fireworks menace

July 9, 2013


To the editor:

My husband and I have lived in North Lawrence for seven years. This year was by far the worst Fourth of July experience. Last night was the first night we were able to get a full night’s sleep and that was July 6. The fireworks have been ongoing for a week and, for three days around the actual holiday, the noise was unbelievable!

I didn’t bother to call the police because I didn’t think it would do any good. You have only to look at the streets where the debris is strewn on the pavement and left untouched to see where all the activity took place. What is going on here with all the illegal activity that goes unnoticed and allowed year after year? This goes beyond breaking the law and disturbing the peace; this sets neighbor against neighbor in a way that is unhealthy and volatile! If only one ticket was issued for the illegal use of fireworks, why can’t the issue of unruly conduct, littering or disturbing the peace be addressed?

If we were to leave every year to get away from all the noise and misconduct we would leave our property at risk to vandalism and possible damage by fire. You most likely wonder why we don’t just move to another part of town? It isn’t fair that we should have to disrupt our lives and our finances to escape a poorly run city and its excuses for not providing better law enforcement. Leaving our neighborhood is not the answer. Leaving a city that cannot provide a safe, secure environment for its citizens is!


John Yocum 4 years, 11 months ago

Funny thing Is, we leave town so we CAN enjoy shooting fireworks. This Fourth, when we got back home, some folks near us were shooting things off until about 1:30. Both my dogs and I had a little trouble sleeping, but I just smiled and thought about the joys I had as a kid being able to shoot off fireworks with family and neighbors. It's once a year.

Catalano 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't consider veterans who suffer from PTSD "snobs".

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 11 months ago

^^Vet with PTSD. I handle myself on the 4th, just because it's not my right to take away others opportunities to make memories. I am aware that it's coming, and I prepare accordingly. Dogs and I usually go somewhere else if it becomes "too much". That being said, I don't think it needs to last a full week, either. Everybody needs to give a little. That's what makes a "neighborhood".

Pr0digy 4 years, 11 months ago

Thank you for your service! I live with PTSD myself (although non-service related) and commend you on your adaptability. That's when individuals with trauma truly begin to handle the situation.

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 11 months ago

It was an honor. As I look back on my life, though, I'm pretty sure PTSD was part of me LONG before the Military. Maybe, subconsciously, one of the reasons I wanted to be part of it was because of PTSD, not the other way around. "Needing the rush", as it's described. It's not the "Bangetty Boom" that gets to me, anymore, but the feeling of being overstimulated, the chaos, and huge crowds. Two years ago, I was able to enjoy a "normal" Fourth, but last year, I found myself "scanning my sector downrange", and getting "that feeling". Not something a law or a ban is going to stop for ANY of us, and taking away someone else's fun isn't the way to go about it either, ya know?

Stephanie Hull 4 years, 11 months ago

How did you explain to the children involved that it was ok to ignore this law, but not others?

defensehawk 4 years, 11 months ago

11:00pm sounds really early unless you are one of the people that have to get up at 3:00am to go to work. I will admit I detest fireworks, always have and always will but the thing about the discussion in Lawrence is, it's BANNED!!! So either get rid of the Ban or write tickets.

racerx 4 years, 11 months ago

Jan: So, let me get this straight. You want the city and law enforcement to do something about the illegal fireworks, but you admit you didn't bother to call the Police to report the illegal use of fireworks in your neighborhood. Classic.

Ginny Hedges 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree with racerx. You shouldn't complain if you aren't going to report it. That is the big problem in North Lawrence right now. They are having problems with vandalism and burglaries, yet a lot of the residents don't report it. The police can't help if they don't know about the problems. Just saying.

Sue McDaniel 4 years, 11 months ago

ILLEGAL just does not seem to have any meaning in language at all. If there is no effort to do anything about it, the fireworks will continues to get worse and it has. This year was the WORST ever. I love the Fourth and enjoy a few hours of fireworks but non-stop 4 or 5 days is far too much since it is ILLEGAL especially!!!!!!

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

If you are annoyed by freedom, you are getting what you deserve.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

If your exercise of "freedom" violates my rights, then it ought to be curtailed.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

What right do you have that is curtailed? Do you think you have the right to not hear things? Jafs, come on bud, you can do better.

parrothead8 4 years, 11 months ago

According to the laws of the city of Lawrence, I have a right to peace. I like fireworks, but every night for a week? C'mon, man.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, maintain or cause to be made or continue any excessive, unreasonable or unusually loud noise which disturbs, injures, endangers the repose, health, peace or safety of other people or ordinary sensitivity within the vicinity of the noise."

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

That law is so subjective there is no wonder it can't be prosecuted. Just exactly what is an "unusually loud noise"?

Also, the city isn't the arbiter of rights. Name one thing you can legally do in Lawrence that you cannot do in Baldwin. Rights are protected by the constitution. Lesser law is always at odds with rights.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Everybody has the legal right to the "quiet enjoyment" of their homes.

In addition, we have at least two laws that are broken by those who set off fireworks - the "noise ordinance" and the fireworks ban. On other threads, you've been very consistent about saying we should do "what the law says". In this case, two laws say you shouldn't shoot off fireworks in Lawrence.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

"Everybody has the legal right to the "quiet enjoyment" of their homes."

No, I don't think you are right.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

What law do you think protects your "right to quiet enjoyment" of your home?

You need to think this through a little better.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Please look it up, you'll find many sites to read.

It's a very common legal right - it may exist in all states, as far as I know.

I've seen judges use that language in deciding lawsuits, and they didn't specify that the right only existed in certain jurisdictions.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

You made the claim, you post a link to the law that protects your "right to quiet enjoyment'.

What you saw on Judge Judy isn't really relevant.

Catalano 4 years, 11 months ago

Hey, Liberty...guess who got you that "freedom" and keeps it in tact? The ones still alive are called veterans. Many of whom suffer from PTSD. And fireworks don't help them at all. Get a clue. YOU annoy ME.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm a veteran and it really isn't my business what annoys you. However, since it is me, I'm glad. You will make lots of friends that way.

Fellow vets, if fireworks or anything makes you hurt, talk to a doctor. You paid the price for our freedom, the least we can do is make what is left of your life as normal as possible. Help is out there.

Pr0digy 4 years, 11 months ago

In response to Liberties comment to you also thank you for your service

There are some good resources here for veterans

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 11 months ago

Went... Looked... Made my face leak all over the place. Gross. Sharing with other Vets, or even just sitting there not saying anything, is the best. Thanks for the resource.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

And you'd be okay if I blared a stereo outside your home all night? No different than those lighting fireworks late at night causing my house to shake and my dogs to cower.

I suppose I shouldn't get upset when fireworks land on my roof, backyard and driveway.

You're way off base on this one.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

What will you be playing? Get a live band, I'll bring some beer.

Our dogs went into their little safe places and hung out. They do the same thing when a thunderstorm goes by.

As for my roof, that's a legit concern and I gave that some thought the night of the fourth. When a low level (40 feet) projectile goes off, the sparks last about half a second. Big ones last about 2 seconds. Unless we are in a seriously severe drought, I can't picture anything short of gasoline or alcohol igniting in 2 seconds.

That said, I kept the garden hose handy while enjoying the show.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

So freedom means it is okay if your actions force people to stand guard with a hose to protect their home?

Where do you draw the line? I can speed down a residential street because you have no right to interfere with my freedom to joy ride. Laws have no meaning because you are free to to do what you want?

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

You don't have to stand guard. I tend to be cautious, but that's just me. I came back inside after about an hour and wasn't concerned about my house catching on fire based on actually watching the fireworks and how fast they burn out.

You might also be interested to know I took out a flashlight in case the revelers needed one and a pocket knife because you never know when you'll need a pocket knife. I probably had a pen too.

As for speeding, it isn't my business how fast you drive. You're a grown man, you drive as fast as you want.

"Laws have no meaning"

That's the problem. Unpopular law undermines all law.

friendlyjhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

If you didn't call the police to register your complaint why are you putting this letter in the newspaper. Police do not drive down every street just to look for piles of firework debris. There really are other things more important then the after affects of what bother you. If you are already set against your neighbor then a call to the police won't be a surprise to your neighbor. Use the law correctly and you might win. Don't use it and you get nothing.

Sam Crow 4 years, 11 months ago

If you define freedom as having the ability to shoot fireworks, you have a lot to learn.

Michelle Reynolds 4 years, 11 months ago

What Jan didn't mention is the fireworks being shot off in north Lawrence for over a week happen from 7pm until 1am. You hear everything from regular firecrackers to 1/4 sticks of dynamite. The dynamite usual happens late in the evening. So, as you drift off to sleep you wake up to dynamite shacking your house. I don't mind the 3 days of freedom to legally shoot of fireworks. But it has been now longer than a week. I did call the police. They told me it was hard to catch the people setting off fireworks but they would try. Jan I agree with you. But you have to call the police not write the paper. The more that call the police will help them get the message we want results.

Drfingo 4 years, 11 months ago

Seems to me that the 'ban' is just to relieve certain entities from liability. Similar to how it is illegal to leave your car running and unattended, in your own driveway, on a cold winter morning. No one recieves a citation for this, but just try and get your insurance to cover the theft... Just an opinion, I could be way off!

Sam Crow 4 years, 11 months ago

Fireworks are illegal, bikes are not.

Sam Crow 4 years, 11 months ago

How about the people that line up at the fireworks stands and spend a couple hundred dollars? They probably like them, you think?

gr 4 years, 11 months ago

"It isn’t fair that we should have to disrupt our lives and our finances to escape a poorly run city"

One question Jan, did you come to Lawrence before the ban or after it?

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

When I lived in Lawrence, and it wasn't north Lawrence, the noise often went on for two weeks and until the 4:00 in the morning.

I did leave Lawrence, not for that reason particularly, but I certainly enjoy the 4th a lot more where the noise is limited mostly to one day and then not throughout the night. Generally I stay away from commenting on things that pertain only to Lawrence, but sometimes the disrespect of people for each other in your fair town seems remarkable.

People wonder why I left Lawrence for a smaller and quieter town. Lawrence has a reputation in other areas of Kansas for being an exciting city to live in and there are a few things I do miss. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy a lot of it for various reasons---high costs, safety, inconvenience, noise. If people were considerate, a ban on fireworks wouldn't be needed, as well as any number of other laws that are complained about on these boards.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 11 months ago

Like my mom used to say..."It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt."

greywolf85203 4 years, 11 months ago

Okay there currently is a ban and does it help? No because there are so many people shooting fireworks for the police to stop. Also if your going to ban them shouldn't you ban the firework stands from the area?? I agree that there is a time and place. That 2-4 and 5th in the case of rain on the 4th is okay from 8-12 is respectable. After that however is not and those should be punished. Also if you do not like the sound wear ear plugs to bed. I do so on those days and sleep very well. Just as you have the right to complain others have the right to support it. Personally Fireworks have been apart of the 4th of July since that first year it was celebrated and they should not be banned just have rules that need to be heeded.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

All the fireworks stands are in the county. Lawrence can't do much about them.

foggy 4 years, 11 months ago

it's not pleasant to have 4 plus days of fireworks if you have nervous cats or dogs. let alone people with PTSD. the point is it's banned in Lawrence. end of story. it's also a major fire hazard. even if you are careful, in this current drought, it's unsafe. what bugs me is that when i lived in E Lawrence, the cops were practically circling the streets for 3 days. now in W Lawrence, I call and call and report and report. nothing happens. god forbid, they should ticket some muckety muck in West Lawrence. hugely infuriating. and all the dispatchers just get pissed off and snotty and you wonder how often they are really reporting calls. don't think my neighborhood got ANY tickets and the fireworks were going for 4 hrs straight in all directions.

foggy 4 years, 11 months ago

i say add 20 hours of enforced community service AND a fine, possibly there wouldn't be nearly as many infractions. they should be required to go into neighborhoods and pick up all the resulting litter after 4 days of shooting fireworks--for 20 hrs in 98 degree heat. and yes, CLOSE or ban those fireworks stands IN Lawrence.

what really bugs me is that all these so-called responsible (lawbreaking) families need to do is drive 10 min out of town to do all the d---- fireworks. solution for everyone. go out of town to do your fireworks!

Eugehne Normandin 4 years, 11 months ago

fireworks were landing on my neighbors roofs. LPD said it was not an emergency then my neighbors stopped lighting fireworks because they heard the cops were on the way I love fireworks but hate the people that do not play by the rules and the lack of police when it is needed

Erin Graham 4 years, 11 months ago

Two Years ago, we had "neighbors" in a nearby large apartment complex on the NW side of town, in an otherwise quiet neighborhood, shoot fireworks off until mid August. Oh, and their mortars tipped and hit homes very close by. Not to mention the drought conditions..... It left burn marks on our windows, but fortunately that was all. Called LPD at that point...bc it'd gone from a major annoyance (many of us had jobs, kids, pets...and some also dealt with anxiety or ptsd.. one of which was a veteran) to a fire hazard. LPD responded, but the twits ran back in their apartment...the officer said he could see the idiot standing by the glass door, laughing his butt off, refusing to answer his door. Despite calls from many neighbors, contact from LPD (who had physical proof), the management company (which owned the apartments and townhouses in reference) essentially gave them a slap on the wrist (a note on their door basically saying "that's bad, mmmmkay?"). You'd think maybe they'd care that they had tenants that pose a liability risk to them and their property..........buuuuut that was par for the course with that company. Great thing is, they're one of the companies building a new megaplex! They can't handle the tenants they have now, so how are they going to handle a few hundred more?? Yeah, we got the he..ll..out of there.

Armored_One 4 years, 11 months ago

Would have been a shame if the air was let out of their tires for some odd reason...

bevy 4 years, 11 months ago

How about this crazy idea? Repeal the ban, and replace it with some stricter rules on when fireworks can be shot off? For instance, only the 3rd through the 5th, and must be done before midnight?

I remember when the ban went into effect, and the signs were posted at the city limits. Within 24 hours, every sign had been vandalized. To me that made it obvious that most people in town didn't want this ban. I would wager that most of the folks who flout it probably don't leave messes or shoot fireworks irresponsibly. Is it too much of a stretch to believe that those who are behaving really badly are doing so because it is exciting to flout the law and get away with it? It's a stupid law. Change it, and then you can save police resources to deal with those who continue to behave unsafely or break the more reasonable law.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

"How about this crazy idea? Repeal the ban, and replace it with some stricter rules on when fireworks can be shot off? For instance, only the 3rd through the 5th, and must be done before midnight?"

That's just crazy talk. If you go and pass sensible laws people will generally follow them. Is that what you want? People following the law?

bevy 4 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, Liberty. I have this really bad habit called "common sense." :-)

dougbe50 4 years, 11 months ago

Just like in grade school when everyone is punished for the actions of a few . This law was passed because a few people were not acting responsibly and considering others feelings. People now have to sneak around to not get caught doing fireworks doing some here and there at odd hours which is more dangerous and disturbing to people . Lift the ban and concentrate on the abusers.

kernal 4 years, 11 months ago

First offense minimum fine $500.00, 2nd offense minimum fine $700.00 fine plus minimum one day in jail. Set another person's property on fire: arson charge. That should take care of it. Other possible measure is county wide sales ban of fireworks. That would include mail order fireworks.

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