Christmas trees cause fires, too
As a Herald-Leader subscriber, I was extremely disappointed at the readiness with which the editorial board endorsed Mayor Jim Gray's fireworks ban and the manner in which it did so.
No one wants, nor is this letter advocating, wildfires. The editorial cited "135 brush, grass or mulch fires in Lexington since June 15." But it failed to identify the source of those 135 fires and underscores the problem with the ban.
In 2007, there were 140,700 smoking-material fires in the United States. Discarded cigarettes cause more brush and forest fires than fireworks, but no ban on cigarettes or the Herald-Leader labeling smokers as persons with "pyromaniacal tendencies."
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Gray did not ban the use of those smoking materials, especially cigarettes. Why? Surely not because smoking prevalence for adults is the highest in Kentucky, and the mayor didn't want to incur the wrath of the tobacco industry. It's a lot easier to threaten Lexington residents with fines.
Facing similar drought like-conditions, Indiana instead elected to treat its citizens as responsible adults, reminding Hoosiers of proper disposal of cigarettes and safe handling of fireworks.
Rather than banning fireworks, the state permitted them only if discharged from private property with the owner's permission.
Fires patterns are seasonal. What's next? A ban on Christmas trees in December to prevent house fires?
James F. Wisniewski
Few freedoms on the Fourth
It was the Fourth of July and I wanted to celebrate my freedom.
I tried to get fireworks, but they were illegal. I tried to drive to the lake and saw six cars pulled over by police and being given tickets.
I tried to launch a boat and was questioned by the park ranger. After I launched the boat, I was checked by the water patrol. And when I started fishing I was again checked by a game warden.
On the way home, I was stopped by a police roadblock and forced to show my papers, before being "allowed" to go home.
Yes, I wanted to celebrate my freedom, but there was none left. Not in the Police States of America.
No so festive for hot animals
This was the hottest Fourth of July on record. The official temperature was 99 degrees, although it was probably well over 100 degrees downtown when you consider the radiating heat from the streets, sidewalks and surrounding buildings.
Yet despite the heat, five horses, complete with blankets and saddles, were tied to the CentrePointe fence with no shade for the entire day. My suggestion to one of the workers that the horses be moved to shade fell on deaf ears.
The treatment of animals has long been a problem at festivals; the city needs to either establish and enforce guidelines for the humane treatment of animals at city-sponsored events or ban animal activities entirely.
At a minimum, the city should require all vendors who use animals to provide the animals with shade and free access to water at all times. Someone from animal control needs to be present to ensure compliance.
If Lexington is going to allow people to use animals at city-sponsored events, then the city becomes responsible for their treatment. The situation with the horses was unacceptable.
Strike a more patriotic note
I wish that our new orchestra director, Scott Terrell, would realize that his audience wants only patriotic music in the Fourth of July concert. I looked around at the people in our area, and they were not listening to the other music.
There are lots of marches and other songs that fit the holiday. I'm sure if he did a little research he would find enough patriotic songs to fill the evening.
I watched the concerts from Washington, D.C. and Boston. There were many patriotic songs that Terrell may not have thought of.
I have talked to my friends who attended with us, and they agree.