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Obituaries and death notices for Sept. 4, 2019

Jennie Carla Eddingsaas

Gladwyn “Jumbo” Helmeid

Mary Howe

Dawn Marie (Smith) Kohn

Barbara A. Lawrence

John W. Long

Eleanor “Lora” Rek

Elaine C. Scott

Ronald D. Sommervold

Richard Max Wienke

Carla J. Witte


Angela Major 

Clara Hazeltine runs to her mom, Jenna Hazeltine, on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, after her first day of kindergarten at at Washington Elementary in Janesville.


Angela Major 

Kayvon Shaw-Davis, 10, and his sister, Luna, walk on the sidewalk after their first day back at school Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at Washington Elementary in Janesville.


Local
top story
Janesville committee recommends city council allow movie theaters to apply for liquor licenses

JANESVILLE

Janesville’s Alcohol License Advisory Committee recommends the city council allow movie theaters to apply for liquor licenses.

The recommendation moves forward an effort by Sarah Lehr, general manager of Wildwood Theatres Movies 16, to sell alcoholic beverages in the city’s sole movie theater.

The committee Tuesday did not discuss specifics of how alcohol would be served at Wildwood. Those details would be hashed out when the theater applies for a liquor license, which it can’t do under the current ordinance.

City council members Sue Conley and Doug Marklein co-sponsored an amended ordinance that would allow movie theaters to apply for the city’s $10,000 Class B Reserve liquor license. The city council sent the issue to the committee for discussion.

Janesville Clerk-Treasurer Dave Godek on Tuesday said eight of Janesville’s peer cities allow movie theaters to apply for liquor licenses. Beloit is the only peer city with a movie theater that does not allow such businesses to have liquor licenses, he said.

Committee Chairman Barry Badertscher said changing the ordinance might make a difference if another movie theater wanted to come to Janesville.

Badertscher said he thinks serving alcohol can be a good revenue-generator for theaters.

The committee would be as “tough” on a movie theater applicant as it is on any other establishment applying for a liquor license, he said.

The alcohol committee would vet the movie theater’s application thoroughly and impose restrictions, Badertscher said.

Local theater staff has worked on plans to regulate alcohol in the theater if a liquor license is granted.

Lehr said she has discussed safety with Police Chief Dave Moore, who has given the theater verbal support to pursue the license.

Erin Davis, director of Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change, said the organization is concerned alcohol could be easily passed around and consumed by youths in dark theaters.

Davis suggested restrictions for the committee to consider if the movie theater applies for a liquor license. They include limiting alcohol sales to the lobby area, serving alcohol only in PG-13 or R-rated movies, allowing patrons to buy only one drink at a time, and subjecting the theater to regular alcohol compliance checks.

Davis said a representative from a Milwaukee health coalition told her the coalition has not had any trouble with movie theater compliance with alcohol laws.


Crime
top story
Woman's attitude leads to jail time in child-neglect case

JANESVILLE

Heather R. McCoy was displeased with what was happening in court Tuesday. Judge Karl Hanson could see it on her face.

When Hanson said things the Beloit woman didn’t like, she shook her head or extended the fingers of both hands in apparent frustration and glanced to her left at her husband and co-defendant, Lakeidric J. McCoy.

Heather, 42, and Lakeidric, 40, of 1629 Dewey Ave., Beloit, each pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of child neglect causing bodily harm, a felony, and five misdemeanor counts of child neglect.

As part of a plea agreement, the McCoys got a chance to have the felonies dismissed if they can successfully complete probation. If not, they would be found guilty and sentenced on the felonies, which could include a prison sentence.

Tuesday’s hearing determined how long they would spend on probation. Hanson rejected defense attorneys’ arguments for 18 months and agreed with prosecutor Scott Dirks, who called for three years.

But Hanson said Heather’s behavior since the previous hearing—rolling her eyes whenever she disagreed with what he said—deserved jail time.

Hanson said Heather’s actions led him to believe she did not appreciate the risk into which she had placed her and others’ children.

Hanson said Heather had tried to “explain away” the facts of the case in her statement to the court and said he fears she was refusing to take responsibility.

So Hanson ordered her to spend 60 days in jail, although he allowed the sheriff to decide whether she could serve that time at home on a monitoring bracelet, and he gave her 60 days to get her affairs in order before she begins her jail time.

“Ma’am, I don’t take this lightly. I don’t take pleasure in doing this,” Hanson said. “I, unfortunately, base this on what I’ve seen here in the courtroom today, that this is necessary for you to understand that what you’ve done is wrong, and the community demands you do better in the future.”

Hanson said the McCoys’ neglect of their six children and two others they were caring for shocked the community.

One child, almost 1 year old, apparently had spent his life in a playpen and had consumed only formula, never learning how to chew, Hanson said.

The criminal complaint describes garbage bags and rat feces on the kitchen table. The place smelled of mold, garbage, their five dogs and dirty diapers, officials reported after entering the house in March 2018.

One of the children told officials he hadn’t had breakfast or lunch that day and said marks on his neck were from another child choking him. A woman who had known the boy said she didn’t recognize him that day because he had become so thin.

Another child had been bitten and beaten with a belt by other children.

Two children taken to foster care were up vomiting that night because their stomachs were not used to so much food. One was found at the refrigerator at night trying to hide food in his pajamas so he would have something to eat the next day, according to the complaint.

No toothbrushes were found in the house.

Dirks said Heather had no previous criminal record, and Lakeidric’s was “minimal” and “dated.”

But there is no excuse for the “appalling” conditions that no child should have to grow up in, Dirks said.

Heather’s attorney, Michael Murphy, said the couple’s poverty and the fact that they were moving led to the conditions in the house, and he said they had changed their ways.

Lakeidric’s attorney, Josh Klaff, suggested the McCoys were “overwhelmed” when they took on the task of raising two additional children whose mother was in a drug treatment program, and the McCoys likely suffered from depression.

Hanson said he understood the McCoys were poor, but he told them, “Your being overwhelmed is no excuse for neglect.”

Hanson, noting the 12 bottles of liquor found on a kitchen counter of the home—although Heather said they were making lamps from the bottles—ordered she and Lakeidric must maintain absolute sobriety during probation.

Unlike Heather, Lakeidric stayed calm through the hearing.

Hanson also noted letters of support from volunteers who had helped and monitored the McCoys over the past year as they had their children returned to them and changed their ways.

Hanson noted the couple are now running an acceptable household and said the community needs to see three more years of such behavior as they are supervised by the state Department of Corrections.


Local
top story
State finds deficiencies in Rock County's handling of suicidal teen

JANESVILLE

The state Department of Health Services identified four deficiencies in services by Rock County’s Crisis Intervention Unit following an investigation into how the county handled a suicidal teen.

The county has to provide a plan of correction to the state as a result of the July 31 investigation, according to records obtained by The Gazette.

Family members of Cole Fuller, who died by suicide April 4, believe Rock County officials failed to help Cole during the 45 days he was under county supervision for a Chapter 51 mental health commitment.

Cole’s father, Jeff, filed a complaint with the state, hoping the county would be held accountable for failing his son.

The investigation found Rock County:

  • Failed to coordinate for or link Cole and his family with services while Cole was at risk of a crisis.
  • Did not complete an adequate crisis plan for Cole in accordance with state statutes and county policies.
  • Did not give Cole’s family the option to use formal or informal procedures for resolving complaints and disagreements.
  • Failed to provide prompt and adequate treatment, supports and community services.

Cole had been seeing mental health professionals in Walworth County before being transferred to Rock County early this year. Mental health services halted after Cole landed in Rock County.

State statutes require providers offer “linkage and coordination services” to clients at risk of crisis.

Rock County officials, according to the report, took Cole’s health insurance information and told the family they would find a provider that accepted his insurance, but Cole never received treatment.

A crisis intervention worker involved with Cole’s case noted in his reports he had six months to find Cole a psychiatrist. The state investigator determined a six-month timeline did not meet Cole’s needs, according to the report.

Rock County adapted a crisis plan for Cole based on the plan he had in Walworth County. Investigators found Rock County’s crisis plan “was not completed ... in a manner that would thoroughly inform crisis staff and family with information found to be helpful in a time of crisis.”

The crisis plan:

  • Did not include Cole’s history of suicidal ideation or new patterns of risk.
  • Stated “unknown at this time” under categories of trauma history and medical problems.
  • Did not include information on Cole’s previous crisis provider.
  • Gave incomplete history of Cole’s hospitalizations.
  • Failed to include a specific plan for crisis response as required by county policy.

Investigators found prompt and adequate services were not provided to Cole “as evidenced by delayed case management appointments, a lack of referrals, and under-assigned risk potential.”

The most recent examination of Cole before his death determined Cole was at “high-risk of crisis, including suicidal and violent behavior” and had a history of losing progress when not receiving constant treatment, according to the report.

Cole’s family feels crisis workers did not take the result of Cole’s examination seriously, according to the report.

A crisis worker rescheduled meetings with Cole twice because of health problems, delaying Cole’s access to treatment.

Crisis workers told investigators it is the responsibility of individual crisis workers to reschedule and make appointments with clients and that there is no policy for monitoring of canceled or rescheduled appointments with clients receiving crisis services.

A crisis case manager told investigators the manager conducted a Columbia Suicide Scale screening with Cole. When asked if the worker inquired on access to weapons in the home, the crisis manager told the investigator it was assumed Cole was educated on weapons access because of Cole’s commitment, according to the report.

The crisis manager said Cole reported having “future thinking” and “plans for the weekend” at the end of the assessment meeting, which took place hours before Cole’s death, according to the report.

Cole’s family July 18 met with representatives from the county to discuss concerns they had about Cole’s care and were not given the opportunity to file a complaint or grievance with the county, according to the investigation.

“You know, I never really thought of it that way,” a crisis worker told an investigator about why a complaint with the county was not filed.

“We were trying to listen to and be there for the family but as it progressed I didn’t think to determine whether or not this had escalated to a formal complaint. I didn’t have that procedure in mind.”


Angela Major 

Levi Rotzoll receives a hug after his first day of first grade Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at Washington Elementary in Janesville.