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Image 2 of Lexington Herald-Leader, August 22, 2012

Part of Lexington Herald-Leader

A2 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2012 FROM THE FRONT PAGE FIREWORKS GOP From Page A1 From Page A1 nately with a heavy fist this time, to put a stop to this,” Stinnett said. The sale and use of the explosives has been a contentious issue in Lexington since 2011, when the state’s General Assembly passed a law allowing local governments to regulate the sale and use of high-powered fireworks. Council members said hundreds of constituents contacted them, asking for restrictions. Beard said he recently heard from a woman who was almost in tears because of a lack of sleep that stemmed from fireworks within the last two weeks. “It’s going on in the middle of the week, when there’s nothing going on except somebody’s bored,” Lawless said. Public safety officials said Tuesday that the police and fire departments have been overwhelmed with complaints about noisy fireworks keeping residents awake and scaring children and pets. Fireworks also have sparked grass fires and “one or two” structure fires this year, Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason said. Mason told the council there had been a drastic increase in complaints received by the city’s Division of Enhanced 911 since the state law took effect. To date, Mason said, there have been 2,187 complaints about fireworks — more than double the amount of complaints for all of last year, and more than six times the amount of complaints in 2010, when aerial fireworks were illegal. “Call takers were really swamped at various times,” he said. Police have issued 30 citations for those complaints, leading council members to express concerns about the police department’s ability to enforce the ordinance. Lexington police Lt. Clayton Roberts said police have to see the person setting off fireworks to be able to write a citation. Often, they have stopped shooting the fireworks by the time an officer responds. Council members said they hoped the threat of bigger fines would be enough to keep people from driving out of county to buy fireworks and set them off in Lexington. The current minimum fine for illegal fireworks is $100 for the first offense, increasing to $250 for the second offense and $500 for subsequent offenses. Under the new ordinance, the fines would rise to $250 for the first offense, to $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third offense or greater. Stinnett said he would like to see bigger fines because people don’t seem to mind paying $100 to be able to set off fireworks. “I’ve heard more than one person say ‘I’ll pay a $100 fine. I paid $1,000 to get these fireworks. That’s nothing,’” he said. He noted that increasing fines was not a money grab. “It’s not a money thing for the city,” he said. “We don’t get the money. The state gets the money.” For months, Romney has struggled to stay focused on the economy while trying to narrow a deficit that polls show he has with women in the presidential race. But the week’s events have set back that effort and ensured a media spotlight for Akin and his ardent supporters in the social conservative movement. The Akin showdown has raised fears among Republicans that they could fall short of winning control of the Senate and has magnified the schism within the party between activists nationwide still driven by core conservative values and party leaders in Washington, who are wooing independents and Democrats concerned Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLPublicSafety. $ 189 about the struggling economy. While virtually the entire party apparatus in Washington and a lineup of former Republican senators from Missouri turned on him, Akin rallied support among grass-roots voters, and he said that would propel him to victory. Party leaders remained just as resolute in their demands for Akin to leave the race. Romney ramped up his appeal, saying, “Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement Tuesday that “Congressman Akin made a deeply offensive error at a time when his candidacy carries great consequence for the future of our country. “In his heart of hearts, I’m certain that he is sincerely sorry for what he said but in this instance, when the future of our country is at stake, sorry is not sufficient. To continue serving his country in the honorable way he has served throughout his career, it is time for Congressman Akin to step aside.” The political repercussions of Akin’s decision are still unclear, but a race that Republicans need to win and thought they had sewn up had clearly shifted. The non-partisan Cook Political Report on Tuesday flatly declared Akin “unelectable.” But the Rothenberg Political Report, also non-partisan, was more cautious, moving its evaluation of the race from tilting Republican to a pure tossup. Akin found support among antiabortion activists and Christian conservatives in Missouri and around the country. “Missouri Right to Life sup- (0-101 sn’t “It doeything n cost aLOOK” To Other options and fees may apply ports Congressman Akin’s defense of the life of an innocent unborn child conceived by rape,” declared Pam Fichter, president of the group’s political action committee. In the radio interview with Huckabee, Akin cast himself as “Braveheart,” pilloried for “one word and one sentence on one day” by a cowardly establishment. The candidate can still take his name off the ballot up to Sept. 25, but the withdrawal could be contested by Missouri’s secretary of state, a Democrat, or any election authority in the state, even one at the city or county level. That is a fight Republicans want to avoid. Herald-Leader staff writer Jack Brammer contributed to this article. “I don’t necessarily agree with all his big spending, but he’s on board with us against Obamacare. I’ll take him today.” Carol Ferriell, vice chairman of the Spencer County Tea Party on Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell PHOTOS BY PABLO ALCALÁ | The audience applauded an address by Andy Barr, who is again challenging incumbent Ben Chandler for the seat in Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. TEA PARTY From Page A1 state to criticize the health plan he calls “Obamacare,” said his first job would be to repeal the plan if he is elected Senate majority leader next year. Paul and McConnell were greeted enthusiastically by the crowd at the rally, and spoke highly of each other. But some Tea Party activists expressed reservations about McConnell. Lexington Tea Party activist Mica Sims said McConnell’s relationship with the movement that advocates limited government has “always been rocky.” But she quickly said that she was pleased that McConnell “was sticking to the issues today that the Tea Party embraces.” “To the extent that Sen. McConnell speaks the right way and does the right thing, his relationship to the Tea Party can be very good,” said party activist David Adams of Lexington. “We don’t really care about personalities. We care about principles.” Carol Ferriell, vice chairman of Paul Johnson of Walton dressed as George Washington at the Tea Party rally at the Capitol in Frankfort. the Spencer County Tea Party, said she has “mixed feelings” about McConnell. “I don’t necessarily agree with all his big spending, but he’s on board with us against Obamacare. I’ll take him today,” she said. Frank Harris of Lexington, who is aligned with the Tea Party movement and with a group called Campaign for Liberty, did not look kindly on McConnell. “I’m saying Mitch is late to the Tea Party,” Harris said. “He supported the bailout of the banks. He is big government. I think he’s feeling the heat from the people who want to rein in government.” Paul and McConnell left the rally immediately after they spoke to attend a fund-raiser at Republican Party headquarters and did not take questions from reporters. During his speech, Paul praised McConnell for being more vocal against Obama than anyone in Washington. McConnell returned the favor, calling Paul “bright, capable, effective, an extraordinary new senator from Kentucky and my teammate.” Other speakers at the rally included Andy Barr, a Lexington attorney who is in a rematch this year against Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler of Woodford County for Central Ken- Financing Available Replacement Windows Size Any led l Insta U.I.) LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER | KENTUCKY.COM White Double-Hung Premium Grade Double Pane Easy Clean True Lifetime Warranty Standard Installation *See store for details. 511 E. New Circle Rd., Lexington, KY (859) 293-2725 Now accepting new dogs for grooming! $5 OFF a FULL GROOM Offer expires 8/31/12 2096 Union Mill Rd., Nicholasville, KY 40356 859.885.DOGS (3647) Vaccinations are required (Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, & Bordetella) tucky’s 6th Congressional District seat; state House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown; and state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown. Thayer told the crowd that Obama should be sent back to Chicago or Hawaii, “wherever he wants to go.” Someone shouted out that the president should be sent to Kenya. Thayer replied, “I’m not going to say that, but I appreciate your sentiments.” The rally also drew dozens of counter-protesters who favor Obama and the health care act. Debra Harper of Louisville said she suffered a mild stroke last February because of a heart problem she had at birth. “Our president finally gave this nation a blueprint for health care,” she said. “It’s like a blueprint for a house. There may be some changes you want in it, but it’s a sound structure, and people who want to discard all of it are being cruel.” Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @ BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky. com.

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