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Former aquatic center employees concerned about water quality

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Former employees of an aquatic center in Abe Martin Lodge, which is located inside Brown County State Park, contacted Fox59 because they are concerned about the water quality. They claim incidents where feces or diarrhea has made it into the pool are mishandled. It is an accusation that the lodge management and state officials are denying.

“How can you operate or manage a place when you know it’s like that, and you wouldn’t have your own family come?” asked Cheryl Moore, the former aquatic center manager.

She resigned her post at the end of 2012 after three years on the job. Moore said it was time to go as did two of her former employees who left the lodge a month later.

“What my managers were telling me to do wasn’t right,” said Tessa Burton, a former employee.

Among their concerns is how upper management dealt with feces and diarrhea in the pool after hours and on the weekends. They claim the pool was likely safe during most normal business hours.

“We told them there was still fecal matter in the pool, and we walked around and counted at least five pieces, and we told them, and they didn’t care,” said Zeke Bailey, another former employee.

He said there were several occasions where Moore allowed him to clock out early because he did not believe re-opening the pool was the right thing to do.

State law requires that the pool be cleared and closed for a certain amount of time after any incident. The timeline is based on the chlorine levels, and a recommendation is made as to how much chlorine needs to be added to kill the bacteria that is likely present.

In the Center for Disease Control’s ‘Fecal Incident Response recommendations for Pool Staff’ available online, a timetable is offered. At the least, 19 minutes is needed for a fecal matter incident, at least six and a half hours is required to disinfect a pool after there has been a diarrheal incident. The numbers are not exact, and they will also differ depending on how much chlorine is then used to disinfect the pool.

Fox59 asked Moore how often the state laws were violated while she was an employee. Moore said, “at least once every two to three months.”

Moore also claims how the incidents were handle may not be on record. Plus, she said, the staff was told when health department employees would be there to do water testing.

“There was more concern on the monetary part than there was on the safety part,” said Moore.

She also provided Fox59 with several managers’ logs that she had her employees fill out after the incidents. Listed is what happened and how long the pool was closed. She claims, diarrhea was sometimes treated as if it were solid fecal matter.

The general manager of the lodge, Karen Hinton, would not talk specifics about water quality when Fox59 visited the lodge, but she offered a tour of the aquatic center.

Hinton claimed they follow all state guidelines, and she had not heard of any concerns from staff or visitors.

“We have all of our records and documentation. We have no issues or guests complaints.”

32 comments

    • Juli

      Sounds like a former employee with a chip on her shoulder. Probably denied her un-employment because she was fired from her job. .. shouldn't burn her bridges…. she may
      need a job someday .

    • Marie

      I am also a former employee from two years ago and the lodge is a very unorganized buisness. I quit my job at the lodge because it was such an unprofessional environment. Not suprised one bit that something like this would be going on. And they wonder why they cant keep employees and are always hiring.

  • Scott

    Probably was reported while on duty and disregarded by the management of the lodge. The bottom line is money talks to management and the loss of it is a real concern to Corporate. Sounds like a cover-up happening at a State Park to me.

  • John

    Sounds more like an employees that were let go. Therefore the only way than can get even is to make their former employers look bad. Sad really I know people that have worked there and know that there was no cover ups. Just former employees with issues that are unresolved.

    • Marlee

      No. It was a dryer that had a frozen valve. The building never burned down. Three dryers burned. The building was fine. Get your story straight.

  • anonymous

    First off none of their buildings burnt down. And second off, if people really knew why those people no longer work there, their entire credibility would be out the window. Bitter people trying to spread their bitterness.

  • Management

    housekeepers that steal; bed bugs that bite; rooms that are never clean for check-in; food that will make you sick; people running the aquatic center that are not properly trained; STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE!!!

    • happy traveler

      You forgot to mention dragons in the woods, zombies in the streets, metiorites falling from the sky and and people who can't cut it as an employee running to the press. If this is not a terminated employee writing this, its the competitor. I have stayed at Abe many times and found the people, the food, the rooms, and the whole expierence to be top notch. OMG fall and winter is so pretty and summer has so much to offer. Love it, love it, love it.

  • Monica Bays

    My family and I stayed there Dec 29th- Jan 1st. My daughter, son and nephew all had rashes all over their bodies. My mother-in-law took them to the front desk and showed them to whoever was working and all he said was, “It will be noted” . After reading this, Im fairly certain he didn’t “note” anything or intend on telling anyone in upper management.

    • anonymous

      There are plenty of places to stay in this state and many others… go there. Some people are NEVER happy and complain about everythng. Did you ever think that they may be allergic to something? Duh…. maybe a little common sence would be to take some benadryl with you when you travel…. eveidentially you don't have much experience with traveling and staying places besides home.

      • Monica Bays

        I did have benadryl and I did give it to them…they are not allergic to anything and it was chlorine burns….maybe you should think before you speak. Sidenote: it’s sense not sence

      • Monica Bays

        I don't plan on staying there again. The service and hotels rooms were great. They had a New Year's Eve party for the guests, which was nice. I'm not "complaining" about anything, just stating that the water needs to be maintained better so this doesn't happen to other children. The rashes/burns very painful for my 9 yr old daughter, 8 yr old nephew and 2 yr old son. They lasted for about 4 days after we left. I also consider myself very well traveled, besides, that has nothing to do with the issue.

    • realist

      If there were people out side of your family having issues too I would say its the pool. For everyone in the same family to have the same issue it seems like a genetic sinsitivity or combonation of reactions (the soap you use + chlorine exposure). Or lotion, or something. If I use a certain soap in winter and swim at same time I react too. Now how you could read this and find fault in a desk clerk (who probably dosent work with the pool water) is a strech. Let's be honest what would you expect a desk clerk to do? I would expect him to make a note and get it to the person(s) who do.

  • anonymous

    I just happened to be by the "Chemical Storage" where there was an employee in the room smoking. It looked like a pool equipment room. Are these the same people that take care of the water too? There are many more example from our trip to park and specifically the Abe Martin Lodge this past fall. Champions of bad service and examples!

  • anonymous

    I’ve been going to this lovely establishment for years!!! I’ve tried the water, the food, the rooms and the grounds… I have no complaints! stay strong Abe Martin Lodge, people love to jump on bandwagons! Let em, less crabby people to deal with on vacation!

  • marlee778

    It really annoys me that FOX 59 chose to do a ONE SIDED account of this apparent situation. There was no documentation or even any background checks on the obvious disgruntled EX employees with malicious intentions. This story was THROWN together in less than a day. FOX 59 has a deadline to beat to get their breaking story out to the public. Problem was,……there was NO STORY. So they decided to rustle feathers and create alot of chaos for people to clean up. The local water testing facilities have found no violations. Next time FOX 59 you choose to investigate a story, ……do just that. INVESTIGATE it. There is more than one side to a story.

    • The Bear that Shat

      I guess Abe Martin should have released a statement too. Everyone who runs a pools knows when to take a sample to get satisfactory results. Time for everyone to go about their business and realize that this could be ANY public or private facility at anytime. You all sound silly.

  • Andrea

    Looked to me like fox 59 tried to get the other side of the story and the two woman on camera who are supposedly the “managers” looked totally scared to death like they was caught in the act and was trying their hardest to find a way out of the facts being put in their faces. Who knows why these ex employees do not work there anymore possibly tired of dealing with the mess day after day and upper management not caring. I personally would not want to work at a place where the public came with little children to visit seeing them in the water knowing how unsafe it was!!! PERIOD!!!!! If the pool was in perfect working order why was only one single paper handed over to fox 59 instead they should have been able to gladly hand over logs stating everything was in perfect order!! Hmmmm

  • Andrea

    Looked to me like fox 59 tried to get the other side of the story. The two woman they showed on camera the supposedly “managers” of this place said nothing and had no comments and tried their best to just avoid the facts being brought to their attention I watch fox 59 news every morning and night and record the episodes I watched this and immediately thought ( why are you not being open and up front and accommodating to the news crew??) well probably because deep down someone knows something and they are guilty of the accusations! Who really knows why these former employees don’t work there anymore. I personally would not want to work at a place where I see the public with little children swimming in waters I know are not safe to be in, but my hands were tied and I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me. Sometimes it takes a bigger force to come in to open up people’s eyes to the problems and I feel in my opinion fox 59 did just that they got one side tried to get the other and was turned away!! It’s not fox 59’s fault only one side of the story was told! if this place is being ran by great management they should have opened their doors showed them around gave them logs and evidence to put these accusations to rest. Instead they gave one SINGLE paper to dispute these accusations and turned them away! I personally have been to the lodge a couple of times (never to swim) and enjoyed the place but to see the guilty looks on the faces and the disregard for providing evidence I will not be returning in the future. Shame on the person or persons involved if these things are found to be true. Hopefully these things can be changed before a little child or adult for that matter is harmed!

  • Andrea

    Oh silly phone went dead in the middle of posting my first comment. So I posted a second!! Oh well I really feel I got my point across now!

  • eugene

    We believe FOX 59 has a great investigative team and besides unless you were involved how would you know that FOX 59 only had one day to get information for the story. Also how would you Know there was no documentation or background checks? The employees must not have been so disgruntle because if you followed the story it said they resigned. Who knows how many people where informed about the conditions, because of a previous comment from a visitor of childern that had rashes.FOX 59 KEEP UP THE GOOD INVESTIGATING because there are two sides to every story.

  • anonymous

    I stayed at Abe last year when the pool was closed ALL evening due to a child’s poo accident. my children weren’t as understanding as I but the staff seemed to be taking necessary steps and were very apologetic for a situation completely out of their control. see you in April abe staff and thanks for the great job you do!

  • Pat

    Again! I was there just last week. What happened? There was fecal material left in the pool overnight, the pool temperature was at about 72 degrees and no one there cared. I was apprehensive about staying there after reading this article but decided to give them a chance anyway. BIG MISTAKE…this place does not care about public safety. The one manager, I think her name was Missy said "off the record" the guidelines are over catious and it is ridiculous to think we can follow all the rules. It is NOT ridiculous to think you can follow all the rules! Seriously?! Time to change some staff and put in place some people who are responsible. Never Again!

  • Walter Zane

    How did those contaminants get into the water in the first place? Don't they usually filter those out, store it somewhere, then dispose of it properly?

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