Photos: One day at Janesville’s Monterey Dam

Janesville firemen just out of the water: (from right, back row) Shawn Harris, Tim Duddeck; (from right, second row) Pete Mory, Justin Nolte, Justin Sullivan, Chad Hopkins; (from right, front row) Luke Creed, Andy Skarda, Seth Bennington, Ryan Huenerberg, Ron Bomkamp and Lt. Christopher Lloyd. (Photo by Frank Schier)
Yes, folks, it’s a Chrysemys picta marginata or Midland Painted Turtle (Iron oxide stained plastron), really. This little hard case was about 5 inches across and 7 inches in length. This colorful soul took in all the excitement of the water rescue team’s exercises very quietly from shore; and while patient at first as long as the camera did not get too near, close-ups were deemed invasive. Damn newspaper-azzi! Turtles move faster than you think they can, and hardly make a splash. A three-foot snake, very golden in color, swam by earlier in the day, and Lt. Lloyd said he had also seen a box turtle. Quite a few red-winged blackbirds enjoyed the day nearby, as did various ducks, geese, goslings, herons and hawks. The parks around Janesville’s Monterey Dam provide many lovely sights, good fishing, and quality parks, just off Route 51 as it crosses the Rock River. Bring your cushions, blankets, picnic basket, fishing gear, bird books, binoculars and a camera. You never know what unusual experiences the Rock River will show you. (Photo by Frank Schier)
Just ask Bob Gackstatter’s rottweiler, who enjoyed fetching softball-sized rocks and the cool river water beneath the Monterey Dam. Swimming in the Rock River here is dangerous. Do not attempt it, unless you are a member of the Janesville Fire Department Rescue Team, or a big dog on a leash in the shallows, with a strong owner on the other end of the leash. Turtles can do what they want. (Photo by Frank Schier)
A rescue zodiac practices idling in the pocket current behind a piling of the railroad bridge just below Janesville’s Monterery Dam. (Photo by Frank Schier)

Traversing the swift river current; one fireman of the Janesville Fire Department Water Rescue Team floats downstream feet first below the Monterey Dam, crossing from one side of the river to the other by angling his body and strong arm strokes. He kept his knees bent to act as shock absorbers should he run into rocks or even a bridge piling. The entire team performed this exercise. (Photo by Frank Schier)

By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher

The City of Janesville extended an invitation to join the Health Monitoring Committee, one of two committees being formed as part of the Janesville Comprehensive Brownfields Program, last Friday, May 18, as a river afficionado and Rock River Trail Initiative founder. After a very good meeting, a little research was in order for the Rock River Trail’s comprehensive plan and website on Janesville’s two dams, the Centerway Dam in downtown Janesville and the Monterey Dam on the south side of Janesville. Of particular interest was the Monterey Dam because of recent modifications that closed off a side pool in danger of breaking through to the mainstream because of the current. During the course of meandering around, a few new friends were made.

Pictured below left: Members of the Janesville Fire Department practice water rescues and self-water rescues, out practicing rescue drills in the Rock River below the Monterey Dam. Fire Department Lt. Christopher Lloyd explained about 10-15 river rescue calls occur each summer. In fact, two have already happened, with the last involving a car going into the Rock River. Lt. Lloyd said given the uncertainty of boating and a fast-moving river, rescue firemen had to be able to handle “self-rescue” in the river if they fell in or were swept away by the current. Janesville should be proud — these firemen were a professional, friendly, good group of men. Each one of them handled the drills very well, and with good, low-key humor.

From the May 23-29, 2012, issue

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