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Task Force Spreading Word On Water Safety

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  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 from 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 died 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 part of Abbey’s Hope,” said Katey Taylor. “More than stuffing envelopes and putting together Water Watchdog tags.”

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