You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
Anthony Wahl 

Skylar Jester scores a basket while playing basketball with Cedric Williams, left, Haven Trickie and Gabriel Swenson, far right, during their spring break on Wednesday afternoon in Janesville.

top story
Janesville City Council decides process to replace Jorgensen


The Janesville City Council’s fifth-place vote-getter from the spring election won’t be selected to fill the seat left vacant by Jens Jorgensen.

The council held a special meeting Tuesday to determine a replacement process for Jorgensen and reorganize its leadership positions for 2019-20.

Jorgensen announced late last month that he was resigning with one year left on his term to take a job in Fond du Lac. His decision came about a week before the spring election, which featured five candidates running for four spots.

Before the election, Doug Marklein told The Gazette it was possible the fifth-place finisher could be appointed if that person’s vote total was close enough to the four winning candidates.

Incumbents Marklein, Sue Conley, Jim Farrell and Tom Wolfe earned re-election. Jan Chesmore was fifth with 4,384 votes, about 1,300 votes behind fourth-place Farrell.

Chesmore wrote a letter to the editor last week expressing her dismay that she was not selected.

“It’s a shame that the city council has decided that your vote doesn’t count when filling the vacancy created when Jens Jorgenson left Janesville for new opportunities,” she wrote.

Chesmore’s name was not mentioned during Tuesday’s meeting.

Rich Gruber, who was selected as the new council president Tuesday, said the council had not discussed appointing Chesmore and instead decided to follow the same replacement process as four years ago.

In 2015, Gruber applied and was chosen after being interviewed for the position. Matt Kealy had resigned after moving outside the city.

The council quickly settled on those guidelines Tuesday rather than an alternative.

Interested applicants must submit applications by noon Friday, April 26. Eligible candidates must live in the city, be at least 18 years old and cannot be unpardoned felons.

Applicants then will visit the council chambers at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, and give four-minute pitches to the other council members. At the end of the meeting, the council will narrow the pool to an unspecified number of finalists.

Finalists will return to City Hall at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, for interviews. The public will have a chance to comment during this meeting, and the council will select its seventh member after the interviews.

Besides outlining the process to replace Jorgensen, the council also selected its new leaders for the next year. Picking a president became unexpectedly complicated, as it took seven rounds of voting before the council chose Gruber.

Gruber and Conley were the two initial nominees for president, and their votes ended in a 3-3 tie. The council voted three more times, but that did nothing to change the numbers.

Marklein, the outgoing council president, made a motion for a coin flip but did not get a second. The council voted a fifth time, and Gruber and Conley remained tied.

The council reopened nominations and added Tom Wolfe to the mix. The nominees tied again, this time a three-way deadlock at 2-2-2.

Finally, in the seventh round, Gruber broke through with three votes to Wolfe’s two and Conley’s one.

Gruber said his first priority will be filling Jorgensen’s seat. He hopes to build on the progress the city has made and said he envisions another exciting year ahead.

Voting for council vice president was less convoluted. Wolfe, who was vice president before this month’s election, will stay in the role after he was the lone nominee for the position.

Anthony Wahl 

Logan Fields tries a 360-turn going up the ramp while at the skatepark in Bond Park on Janesville's west side on Wednesday, April 17.

Obituaries and death notices for April 18, 2019

Mary M. Boston

Bret W. Brecklin

Marjorie Ella Lemke

Robert E. Pendell

Colleen M. Rick

Gerald L. Rowland

Gary A. Sorenson

Amy G. Vogel

top story
Horrible acts lead to horrible acts, and mental-health commitment in Beloit case


What happened to Precious L. Bailey as a child was so horrible the attorneys and judge at her hearing Wednesday said almost nothing about it.

And what the 30-year-old Beloit woman did to her 63-year-old companion last fall also was so horrible the attorneys did not discuss the details.

The first set of horrible events led to the second set many years later, in the opinion of a psychologist, and that’s why the defense, prosecution and judge agreed the right thing for Bailey is long-term, in-custody mental treatment, not prison.

Bailey pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault by use of a weapon, aggravated battery of an elderly person and false imprisonment, all as acts of domestic abuse.

Then, with both attorneys agreeing, Judge Barbara McCrory found Bailey not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Wisconsin law requires the two-step, seemingly contradictory procedure, in such cases.

McCrory committed Bailey to the care of the state Department of Health Services for a maximum 40 years, although Bailey could petition the court to be released earlier if she is found to have recovered sufficiently.

On Oct. 23, Bailey confronted the man, whom she had lived with for 10 years, and threatened to kill him if he did not admit he had molested her young child, according to the criminal complaint.

Bailey beat him with her fists and a piece of weather stripping, burned him with a cigarette lighter and sodomized him with a screwdriver, according to the complaint. Bailey admitted she hit him until she blacked out.

Bailey kept the man from leaving throughout the night. Then she allowed him to go buy cigarettes for her the next morning, according to the complaint.

Bailey told an investigator she had received visions through tarot cards, and because of that, she was convinced the man had molested her child.

The victim has suffered strokes that left him without the ability to control parts of his body, so he was not able to defend himself, Assistant District Attorney Richard Sullivan said.

The victim had no malice toward Bailey and understands she needs mental treatment, “but he wanted the court to know just how brutalizing this was,” Sullivan said.

Defense attorney Jason Sanders said Bailey suffers from “neuro-chemical imbalances” but also from a fixation that something is happening to her child because of what happened to her as a child.

Because of her low income, Bailey went from provider to provider and never got treated adequately, Sanders said, but she has improved markedly while in the Rock County Jail—not the best place for mental-health treatment—because she is seeing the same counselor and consistently receiving the same medication.

Bailey answered McCrory’s questions calmly and in a soft voice throughout the hearing. She apologized briefly for what she did.

McCrory alluded to “tragic things” that happened to Bailey at a time when she should have been protected as a child and developed “sort of an alter ego” that told her what to do.

Those things made Bailey very vigilant about her own child, McCrory said, referring to a psychologist’s report.

“Also, in terms of what you were forced to do to support yourself at a very young age, it can leave very lasting scars. And that’s the tragedy, I mean, this is a dual tragedy here,” McCrory said.