Janesville41.4°

Large item pickup gets a mascot

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 4, 2009
— The kiln will become scrap metal.

The tires will go to a special landfill.


And the monkey will get a new home.


On Saturday, city staff and volunteers from Janesville’s Neighborhood Action Teams, the Westgate Corridor Group, the Young Professionals and a variety of local businesses joined together for a large item pickup in the Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhoods.


It’s the fifth year for the event, which is designed to help clean up these two neighborhoods, and it has been a success.


“The neighborhoods do look cleaners and neater,” said Margaret Delaney, member of the Neighborhood Action Team. “People are beginning to take pride in their surroundings.”


Its success also means “scrappers”—people who collect and sell scrap metal—have horned in on the action. Items such as appliances disappeared into the back of pickup trucks before crews could get to them.


“We were going to use that money to offset some of the costs for the program,” said Kelly Lee, neighborhood development specialist. “But the point is to get things cleaned up.”


The two neighborhoods were divided up into six zones, and item-specific teams were sent out into each of the zones. Some teams were responsible for tires, others for electronics, and still others for items such as scrap metal or furniture.


It was the Marling Lumber flatbed that brought back the monkey.


Actually, to be scientifically correct, it’s an orangutan—but that’s not the point.


The Marling Lumber team was in charge of scrap metal, and it did find some. The guys loaded up a several-hundred-pound pottery kiln the scrappers missed—or found too heavy to lift.


Carey Stuckey, a Marling salesman, said “Jerry” made him stop the truck for the monkey.


Jerry who?


“I don’t know. Jerry the monkey grabber,” Stuckey replied.


The “monkey grabber” turned out to be Jere Johnson, director of radiology and oncology services at Mercy Hospital.


“I thought I saw some scrap metal on him,” Johnson said.


On the next run, the Marling team, which included Stuckey, Johnson, dentist Kevin O’Leary and Marling’s Jake Weissbuch, extended their kindness to the human species.


Along with picking up assigned items, the guys helped a resident in the 300 block of High Street with a sofa and a chair that were disintegrating on her back porch.


As a couple of barefoot kids watched, the team heaved the damp furniture onto the flatbed.


“It’s a pretty neat thing they do,” Stuckey said of the large item pickup. “It’s good for people who are stuck without a truck, or for older people who don’t know what to do with some of these things.”


As for the monkey, he’ll be washed and brushed and then promoted to large item pickup mascot.


Look for him at next year’s event.



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