By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 17, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Leaves, leaves everywhere. Drive down most any Milwaukee street today and they're either in huge piles in the street, still on lawns or in both places.

The city's program to pick up leaves in Milwaukee neighborhood officially ended on Saturday. But what does that mean for the leaves that are still piled up around town?

Residents were allowed to begin raking leaves into the street on Oct. 13 and the city began pickup a week later. The problem, at least in my neighborhood, is that most trees were still holding tight to their leaves at that point.

By a week or more ago all the ash trees had dropped, but even today, the maples are still holding on to leaves on the lowermost branches. They really started losing their leaves en masse last week, which is why there is a 15-ft. long and three-foot high pile of leaves on my small street.

Cecilia Gilbert of the Dept. of Public Works tells me this morning that, "The Department stated that it would continue to collect as long as weather permits. I believe we are at about 85 to 90."

Maybe so, but drive around any residential street in the city and you're likely to find a lot of leaves still around.

This late leaf-drop happened last year, too, and the result was felt all winter long -- and into next spring. That's because not all leaf piles were picked up before the first big snow hit. When plows came, they plowed away the piles, and many of those leaves were left deposited at the lowest points of the street -- the sewer grates.

So, when there were heavy rains in autumn or spring -- or big snow melts in winter (of which there were more than a couple) -- there were lakes in the street.

What to do with leaves now that the collecting is done? There's no way for the four houses that have collaborated on the pile on our street to otherwise dispose of the detritus.

My compost pile is overflowing and the neighbors don't even have them. We can't throw leaves in the garbage carts; anyway, there are too many of them. And there are still a few maples on the block that will drop more leaves.

Luckily, the Dept. of Public Works' Web site says, "After Nov. 15, sanitation crews will still pick up remaining leaf piles as long as weather permits."

Barring that, the DPW suggests bringing leaves to one of the city's self-help centers. Sure, I'll pile them into the back seat of the Civic.

Actually, what I did instead was contact my alderman and he responded quickly offering to get an order put in for removal of the piles on my block. Now that's service!

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.