Minneapolis- With 25 drownings this summer in area pools, ponds and lakes, a newly formed task force is spreading the word about water safety. The squad is doing it at the site of a drowning last year.

Last August, two people drowned at the Lancaster Village Apartments in Plymouth, when a 26-year-old man tried to save a 9-year-old girl.

A dozen apartment managers gathered on Thursday at the same pool for a safety demonstration, hoping to prevent similar tragedies.

The seminar was sponsored by the Hennepin County Water Safety Task Force which created a video, pool signs and is working with the Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation to promote its Water Watchdog program.


Foss Swim School's Jon Foss demonstrated how to throw a life preserver to a struggling swimmer and how to use a shepherd's hook if you see someone at the bottom of the pool. And he let some managers give it a try.

"Before I came here, I thought I would jump in to save someone," said Jovon Batchelder of Vicksburg Village. "But not anymore."

And the girl in the pool has an emotional connection to swim safety. Her sister is Abbey Taylor, who did in a pool tragedy. Her mother is part of this task force.

Grace Taylor is now a state champion swimmer. When they needed a volunteer for the rescue demo, she stepped up to help out.

"I think it gave her a way she could be a part of Abbey's Hope," said Katey Taylor. "More than stuffing envelopes and putting together Water Watchdog tags."

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The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.

More water safety tips