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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Your #1 health risk the next 30 days: Sparklers


Most people value public safety.

Then along come fireworks.

Green Bay alderman Amy Kocha is the latest to overreact when it comes to a popular summer activity. In a guest column in the Green Bay Press Gazette, Kocha writes:

Whether rationalized for political purposes or done strictly out of ignorance, officials have turned a blind eye (and apparently a deaf ear) to the illegal sale of fireworks. Wisconsin residents have been allowed to believe that it is legal to sell dangerous fireworks to average citizens. As a result, our communities endure needless risk of injury and unacceptable noise levels in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July.

Fireworks that contain enough explosives to leave the ground are so dangerous they are not intended to be put into the hands of amateurs and certainly not those of teens and children.

Naturally, the great risk of bodily injury and property damage is my primary concern. But also as a public servant, I am held accountable for ensuring that our police and fire resources are put to good use and for guarding against potential taxpayer liability.

And the Green Bay chiefs of fire and police agree with me. It is time to set the record straight in Wisconsin. It is time we all insist that the law be enforced, whatever the political pressure or reluctance has been.”

In other words, the rather silly belief that rules are rules that totally ignores personal responsibility. and common sense.

Here’s a major chunk of a blog about fireworks I wrote one year ago today…


Tucked inside my Sunday church bulletin this past weekend was a flyer produced and printed by the Milwaukee Police Department titled, "THE DANGERS OF FIREWORKS."

One of the bullet points in the flyer states that the majority of fireworks injuries in America occur during a 30 day period (June 23rd - July 23rd). The MPD’s source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Fire Administration, National Fire Data Center, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Aren’t they supposed to be issuing Orange Alerts when the threat of terrorism is high?

GASP!

Do you know what this means?

We have officially entered FIREWORKS CAN KILL YOU…TONIGHT ON THE 10:00 NEWS territory.

You have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out Wisconsin’s fireworks law. Try to follow along. The Wisconsin Attorney General’s office writes, “State law allows the sale, possession and use, without a permit, of sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than ¼ grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. There is no age restriction on sale, possession or use of these devices and the statute does not classify them as fireworks”

OK. I get that. State law says among the fireworks that are legal are sparklers.

But wait. Back to the AG:

“Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state statutes and may prohibit any of these items or limit their sale or use.”

Hmmmm.

Let’s return to the MPD flyer placed strategically in my church bulletin Sunday:

“Remember all fireworks are illegal in the City of Milwaukee, even if they were purchased outside of the City limits. Any item that emits smoke, a bang, or sparkle is considered illegal.”

All fireworks?

Every single one of them?

Verboten?


Even those tiny sparklers?

You bet your bottle rockets.

Because, after all, someone could die. Or have an eye poked out.

The flyer goes on to produce more stats from Homeland Security about fireworks injuries and accidents.


Do these injuries and accidents occur? Of course they do. But I submit only if you are a complete numbskull. Or your parents are clueless. Most fun-loving Americans are fully capable of using the brains the good Lord gave them and celebrate with pyrotechnics safely.

In the city of Milwaukee, the penalties are pretty stiff if you dare light up a sparkler in honor of Independence Day.

“Any item that emits smoke, a bang, or sparkle is considered illegal and is upon conviction subject to a fine of not less than $500.00 or more than $1,000.00 for an adult who uses or consents to the use of fireworks by a minor.”


Here is the MPD flyer.

Shouldn’t the MPD be concerned about more serious matters than sparklers?

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