Sunday -- August 1, 1999
The substitute caretaker arrived to find the ferry locked up and did not know the combination to the lock. Fortunately, they knew Bill Eichbaum's number and were able to get it from him.
Monday -- August 2, 1999
The captain and the caretaker, under the direction of the Captain, 1) replaced the re-inforcing wedges on the handrail on the ferry, 2) repaired the two wobbly picnic tables, and 3) fixed the leaks in two of the aluminum canoes. One of the canoes was the rescue canoe which can now be put back into general service and will itself be replaced by the leakiest of the aluminum canoes.
Tuesday -- August 3, 1999
Last night 4 to 8 people came down to party at the rope swing at 10 minutes after midnight and stayed until the early morning hours.
The rats are now chewing on things in the walls, so rat poison has been put in the appropriate places.
Wednesday -- August 4, 1999
Was called in the morning by Dave Winer and asked if everything was OK on the Island and asked to check to see if everything was in order. It seems he was just called by our printer of the Island newsletter who happened to be driving by the parking lot last night around 11 PM and noticed several suspicious looking persons coming up from the river to drive away. They looked suspicious enough that the printer took down the license plate numbers of several cars. All is in order on the Island, but this time corresponds to the time a group left the rope swing area.
Jeffrey Jay and Molly Peters arrived with their children and reported that they would not let their children in the water following a conversation Jeffrey had with the MD Dept. of Resources in which he was told by a fish management officer that the fecal coliform bacteria count was "in the hundreds to thousands" but that the safe level was only 200 ppm. His inquiry was prompted by reports in the media.
The Beverly Meeker party sponsoring a baptism on the Island was held. There were 52 guests. Mrs. Meeker insisted on doing all ferrying for her guests because she wished to be especially conscientious about getting every guest to sign in. She had three clipboards... one for the Club liability release, one for the church liability release, and one form to sign for anyone intending to swim. She definitely gets the award so far for this year's most responsible party host.
Thursday -- August 5, 1999
Called Officer Griffith at Park Police Dispatch at 2:49 AM to report loud carrying on by a group of youths at the rope swing and was informed that unit 213 would be dispatched. In fact two units arrived shortly after 3 AM and stopped at the ferry landing at the towpath where the Caretaker and his Wife thanked them for responding and directed them to continue 200 yards to find the rope swing. Unfamiliar with the area, they passed it and the group. After some talking that could be heard at the rope swing flashlights could be seen leaving and dispatch was called again to suggest the cruisers had gone too far and should return. The cruisers were well lighted and the group hid as they passed. The Officers again spoke to the Caretaker from the ferry landing and upon being informed they had again passed the group suggested that they would return to the several cars they had seen at the parking lot and await the youths. The youths are undoubtedly aware from these conversations at the ferry landing that the police response was initiated from the Island.
Friday -- August 6, 1999
Following the Jeffrey Jay report of 4 August I pulled out the July 1997 Islander to get the number of Pete Peterson, the Corps of Engineers technician who tests the water at the Dale Carlia facility. Told that he retired last December, I was referred to the director of Plant Operations Branch, Lloyd Stowe (202-764-2702). According to Mr. Stowe a fecal coliform count is no longer taken, but rather a "total" coliform bacteria count, encompassing many other kinds of coliform bacteria. He volunteered that the last reading he had was for 2 August and that the total coliform bacteria count was 1872 ppm and the e coli count was 20 ppm. He apologized that he did not know and therefore was not qualified to comment on what a safe level for swimmers would be, but confirmed that Mr. Peterson had been correct that the river was cleaner than it has been for twenty years and was getting better each year. Although he refused to be drawn out regarding some official opinion he seemed to think the river was safe.
Monday -- August 9, 1999
Approximately 25 12-13 year olds went to use the rope swing accompanied by 5 adults. It appeared to be some sort of school sponsored activity as the kids were all wearing life vests and helmets. It would seem there was no recognition that this activity might be illegal.