While some residents opt to mulch or compost their leaves, many Sikeston residents will again take advantage of the city's annual Leaf Collection Program which is scheduled to begin Oct. 31.
Steve Lee, street superintendent, said in addition to being a convenience for residents, the leaf collection program makes a significant difference in reducing clogged storm drains.
"This is an important program for us," Lee said. "If we get these leaves before they get in the storm gutters, it helps during big rains. We don't have to spend weeks sucking leaves out of drains. It has made our drainage system a whole lot easier to maintain."
If residents prefer to just mulch their own leaves or burn them, "that's great - it gets rid of them," Lee said.
As the machine can only reach about four feet from the curb, participating residents are asked to place leaves at the edge of the street so they may be picked up in as timely a manner as possible, weather permitting.
"In any project we do, we always have 'weather permitting.' At this time of the year, weather can make the difference," Lee said. "If we get a rain for three or four days it can throw us off. It certainly puts our schedule behind that many days."
Days missed will just bump the schedule back so each area still gets five full days, he said.
The city is divided into eight districts for leaf collection: four north of Malone and four south of Malone.
District 1 is south of Malone Avenue and west of the Burlington-Northern Railroad tracks.
District 2 is east of the Burlington-Northern Railroad tracks, west of South Main and south of Malone.
District 3 is east of South Main, west of South Ingram and south of Malone.
District 4 is east of South Ingram to Marian and Ashley and south of Malone.
District 5 is north of Malone and west of the Burlington-Northern Railroad tracks.
District 6 is east of Burlington-Northern Railroad tracks to and including Kingshighway and north of Malone to Calvary Drive.
District 7 is east of North Kingshighway, west of North Main and north of Malone to Salcedo.
District 8 is east of North Main and north of Malone.
For those who are still unsure about which district they are in, a color map of the districts is available online at www.sikeston.org. "They've also got copies of those maps at City Hall," Lee said. "Or they can call here and get any information they need."
While it is important to place the leaves at the point closest to the street without pushing them into the street - preferably the area between the curb and gutter and the sidewalks, if available - Lee asked residents to not push them all the way into the street where they can wash into storm drains and clog them.
As always, limbs are not to be placed with the leaves.
"A lot of people may not understand why we don't want limbs mixed in with these leaves," Lee said.
He explained the leaf collection machines have fan blades which mulch the leaves as they go into the hopper. "If we pick up a limb by accident, it can break our mulching fan," Lee said.
Small limbs can also get caught in the bend of the collection tubing and clog it up. When this happens, valuable time is lost as crews must then break down the machine and remove the clog.
Other junk like tin cans can also clog the machine or damage the fan, so residents are asked to place leaves away from anything else in the yard that might interfere with picking the leaves up.
This year's leaf collection schedule is:
* District 1: Oct. 31-Nov. 4 and Nov. 28-Dec. 2
* District 2: Nov. 7-Nov. 11 and Dec. 5-9
* District 3: Nov. 14-18 and Dec. 12-16
* District 4: Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 19-22
* District 5: Oct. 31-Nov. 4 and Nov. 28-Dec. 2
* District 6: Nov. 7-Nov. 11 and Dec. 5-9
* District 7: Nov. 14-18 and Dec. 12-16
* District 8: Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 19-22
For more information on the leaf collection program, visit www.sikeston.org, contact City Hall at 471-2512, or call Steve Lee, street superintendent, at 471-5100. TDD users can call 471-2174 to relay messages.