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Sunday, July 02, 2017 1:00 am

City's hands tied by state fireworks law

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

As Independence Day approaches, Fort Wayne City Council President Tom Didier had advice Tuesday for residents who disapprove of Indiana's laws regarding the use of fireworks.

Didier said the city's rules are already as strict as they can be, per state law. In Fort Wayne, residents are allowed to light fireworks between 5 p.m. and two hours after dusk on select days, including from June 29 through July 9. Residents may also light fireworks on Memorial Day, Labor Day and the day before each of those holidays. Fireworks are also allowed from 10 a.m. Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

Each fireworks season generates a batch of complaint calls to City Council members, Didier said. If neighbors are illegally lighting fireworks, Didier encouraged residents to contact their council representative or the police, who will issue a ticket if the situation calls for it.

However, if concerned residents would like to see a ban on fireworks altogether, their path forward is clear.

“If they don't want fireworks in the state of Indiana, then the state lawmakers need to change the law and not us,” Didier said. “Get ahold of your state legislator if you would like to change it.”

Kruse announces re-election bid

Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn is wasting no time in announcing he will seek re-election in 2018.

The filing deadline isn't until February, but Kruse is getting ahead of the game.

“I am grateful to represent Northeast Indiana in the State Senate and look forward to serving for another term,” Kruse announced in an email. “I am blessed to represent the best people in Indiana, and grateful to be a part of the economic development and job growth in our region, where we have more people working than ever before. Some challenges remain and I am excited to continue working with my colleagues in the legislature and with the citizens of District 14 so we can continue to ensure Indiana is the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

He has represented District 14, which includes portions of Allen and DeKalb counties, since 2004.

Kruse is chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development and a member of several other Senate committees: Elections, Family & Children Services, Pensions & Labor, and Rules & Legislative Procedure.

He is the owner and operator of Dennis Kruse & Associates, an auctioneering and real estate firm in Auburn. He and his wife have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Messer aligning self with Trump

Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th, has yet to announce his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat, but his early campaign strategy is clear: Messer is courting Donald Trump voters in Indiana.

“Team Messer” sent a fundraising email Wednesday that stated, “Across the state … everywhere we go … folks keep asking the same question: What can we do to help President Trump? A lot has been done in the first six months of the Trump presidency, but there is so much left to do.”

Messer, whose congressional district includes east-central and southeast Indiana, is among several Hoosiers contemplating seeking the Republican nomination to oppose Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the 2018 general election.

The prospective field grew last week as state Sen. Mike Delph of Carmel told Howey Politics Indiana that he has talked with three prominent conservative organizations and sees “a definite opening” for a possible candidacy.

Democrats prep for new leader

The 3rd Congressional District Democratic Party has scheduled a July 9 caucus to elect a new leader.

Party officials from each of the 12 counties in the northeast Indiana district will gather at noon at Wells County Democratic Party Headquarters in Bluffton to choose a replacement for Madalyn Sade-Bartl, who resigned as party chairwoman on June 20.

Nominations to fill the vacancy are due with the party Wednesday. The term will expire in March 2021.

Sade-Bartl said she gave up the unpaid position because of the time demands of her job as Churubusco Clerk-Treasurer.

Evansville to host GOP state meet

Indiana Republican Party leaders have decided to hold next year's state convention in Evansville.

State GOP chairman Kyle Hupfer announced Friday that the June 2018 convention will be at the downtown Ford Center arena.

It will be the second time that Indiana Republicans have held their state convention outside Indianapolis as the 2014 session was in Fort Wayne.

Republican Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says the city will roll out the red carpet for the expected 1,700 convention delegates.

Journal Gazette staff writer Dave Gong contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.