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If Janesville's leaf pickup hasn't started yet, why is the city already out picking up leaves?


Don’t panic.

Your trees’ leaves might not have fallen yet, but they probably will. One way or another, basic earth science finds a way to knock them loose, year in and year out.

Meanwhile, if you’re seeing city of Janesville leaf trucks vacuuming leaves along the curbs in your neighborhood, it’s not a sign that you and your stubborn-leafed oak trees are late to the autumn party. There’s still time.

The city’s annual residential leaf pickup, as reported earlier in The Gazette, doesn’t officially roll out until next week—Monday through Nov. 19.

Ethan Lee, the city’s public works operations superintendent, said the city has been sending out three leaf vacuum trucks to various neighborhoods during late October and early November for the last couple of years in the weeks leading up to regular leaf collection.

The city’s goal, Lee said, it to try to stem leaf litter on the streets a few weeks before the major barrage of leaf fall.

In Janesville, where leaves are still in their peak autumn blaze, the main barrage hasn’t quite happened yet. Lee’s aware of that.

Lee said the city uses modeling data from years past to plan its annual leaf pickup schedule and to gauge which areas of the city might see leaves fall first depending on tree variety and the age of the trees in various neighborhoods.

On average, Lee said, the major leaf fall should have started happening by now—but if it’s delayed, it’s likely not far off.

Overnight frost and wind gusts are in the forecast this week, Lee said, so some neighborhoods could have yards chock full of leaves by this weekend—if not by the end of this week.

“It seems like most years we’ll get some calls from residents that most of their leaves are still on the trees,” Lee said. “This year, I anticipate it (the leaf fall) may be a little bit behind, but I don’t think we’re that far off. It happens pretty quick.”

In recent years, Mother Nature has thrown freezing rain at the area, welding leaves to curbs for months. But more often than not, the timing of the leaf fall and the city’s scheduled leaf pickup have synced up well.

“It’s an anxious moment when people see the leaf trucks out and their trees are still hanging on,” Lee said. “But I tell people that it always seems to come together. It may come together on the Sunday afternoon before (their scheduled leaf pickup).”

In some neighborhoods on the city’s east side, leaf trucks already have been out this week slurping up what leaves have landed or were raked to the curb. Unlike the scheduled pickups that start next week, there’s no set schedule for the early stops the city is making now.

Instead, leaf trucks now are being dispatched to neighborhoods with trees that ditched their leaves early for one reason or another. Lee said that some of those neighborhoods have more mature trees and a diversity of species, such as Walnut trees, that tend to lose their leaves earlier than others.

The city typically gets tipped on early cleanup jobs when city garbage collectors report leaves down along curbs in certain neighborhoods.

The city’s early vacuuming detail is aimed at neighborhoods with thicker tree canopies that tend to bring a deluge of leaves heavy enough to overwhelm and slow the city’s progress during regular leaf pickup.

Lee said residents can begin piling any leaves they’ve got on the ground along the edge of the terrace, but they should wait until a few days prior to push the leaves just past the gutter into the street. Whether or not vacuum crews make an early stop in a given neighborhood, they’ll be back for regular pickup on the date scheduled.

Lee said if some neighborhoods see the main leaf drop come after their scheduled leaf pickup day, they can always bag up their leaves, sticks and other autumn yard debris and set them along the curb on the city’s designated, bagged pickup days, which are Nov. 29 through Dec. 3.

Obituaries and death notices for Nov. 3, 2021

Roger A. Behm

Judy L. Coats

Jason D. Collins

Barbara Jo (Robinson) Cunningham

Derrick Curtis Fiegel

Sandra M. “Sandy” Draeving

Elaine Hebel

Larry Henderson

Nora C. (Cardenas) Jimenez

Anita (Krohn) Miller

Arthur R. Romani

Darlene E. Sterken

Andrew J. Valnick

Police report shows differing accounts of mask taping incident


A police report lists differing accounts of a report of a child having a mask taped to his face Oct. 26 at McNeel Intermediate School.

Adams Publishing Group obtained the police report of the incident by way of a request for documents under the Wisconsin open records law.

The police report appears to show differing accounts given by the student and his parents and that of the teachers and students in the classroom at the time of the incident.

As previously reported by Adams Publishing Group, Beloit police did not make any arrests in the case and the officer tasked with investigating the incident said there was no evidence of a crime being committed.

According to the report, the student told the officer he removed his mask because he could not breathe while wearing it. The student claiming the teacher said she was “sick of the matter” and “done with the matter” before wrapping the tape around his head approximately five times.

He also stated that the teacher prevented him from leaving the classroom and was told to sit at his desk before being sent to the front office where he said he sat in the office of the assistant principal.

The investigating officer spoke with a parent of the student who reported that a teacher had “duct-taped his mask” to the child’s face and that the student was “not allowed to call home” after the incident.

The student’s father also told police that another teacher in the room at the time of the incident said “you can’t do that” to the teacher taping the mask to the student’s face.

The officer also reviewed a photo of the back of the student’s neck that appeared to show redness from tape having adhered to the student’s skin.

The teacher, whom Adams Publishing Group is not identifying because no arrest was made, told the police officer she initially asked all students in the class to wear their masks properly before addressing an individual student. The teacher said the student said he hated wearing masks and that he could not breathe when wearing one.

The teacher told the officer she told the student to pull his mask up or “she would tape it to him.” She made the statement as a joke, she told the officer.

The teacher confirmed she walked toward the student after ripping off a piece of tape and putting it on the front of the student’s mask. The teacher said the student was laughing at that moment and before the teacher then removed the tape from the student’s mask.

“(The teacher) stated (the student) laughed about the incident and proceeded to put his mask on properly while continuing with class,” the report states. “(The teacher) stated (the student) did not get mad or angry and everyone in the class was laughing along with him.”

The teacher also said she did not send the student to the office after the incident and that the school’s administration was not involved in the matter.

The other teacher in the room said she was focused on trying to get students to do their school work at the time of the incident and did not observe the teacher placing tape on the student. The other teacher said she did observe “something shiny” on the top portion of the student’s mask. The other teacher also said the student was not sent out of the room.

The officer then reviewed security camera footage inside the school to verify aspects of the statements given. From a review of the video, the officer said “at no point in time did (he) observe (the student) walk into or out of the (assistant principal’s) office.”

The officer also stated that he talked with administrators and office staff who stated the issue was not brought to the attention of staff and that the student was not seen in the assistant principal’s office while allegedly being denied the ability to call his parents.

Students interviewed by the officer gave multiple accounts of how and where the tape was placed on the student.

One student claimed the tape was put around the student’s face. Another said tape was wrapped around the student’s head and upper neck. The tape was placed around his head like a crown, according to a different student. Yet another claimed a 10-foot piece of tape was placed around the students’ face. But there was also a student who recalled a single piece of tape put on the student’s head and top part of his mask.

One of the students interviewed said the teacher “appeared to be playing around” when placing the tape on the student and stated that “everyone was laughing about this incident and (the student) looked like he knew it was a joke.”

After interviewing both the teachers and the family, the officer informed “all parties that information obtained ... did not coincide” with information being given by other involved parties.

A police department spokesperson confirmed that the investigation into the incident was closed. However, the spokesperson said an investigation into threats made against school district staff, in reaction to the alleged mask-taping incident, remained open and ongoing.

The department also confirmed that it was not pursuing allegations of false statements to police by anyone involved.

Parents of the student could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.

A protest of the teacher’s alleged mask taping is planned for 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Kolak Education Center, 1500 Fourth St., in support of the family and the student.