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Beach: How I Reported the Story

To report "Bacteria Levels Under Control at Bloomington Beach," I began by searching for city council meetings.

Once I found one at an appropriate time in Bloomington, I researched the names and backgrounds of the current city council members.

I went to the city council meeting on a Monday night. I arrived about 15 minutes early.

There was a meeting going on in the council chambers, but I was allowed to sit down anyway.

There were copies of the evening's agenda set out, so I took one and read through it, noting issues that seemed interesting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Karen Zeleznak, the staff liaison for the Bloomington Advisory Board of Health, presented a long list of findings and summaries about issues the council had assigned the board to look into beforehand.

Zeleznak mentioned that a beach nearby--Bush Lake Beach--was being closely monitored and seemed to be at healthy levels again after a rise in E. coli last summer.

The mayor interrupted Zeleznak to ask her to clarify some points. The issue was already interesting to me because it dealt with public health, but when the mayor chimed in it became more so because he was obviously concerned with making sure residents knew that the beach was safe and the treatment worked.

There was not a lot of talk about what the treatment had been, so later that night I researched the city's Web page to find out what had happened.

The next morning I called Zeleznak and the city's Environmental Health Program Coordinator, Jeff Luedeman, to make sure I understood what the treatment had been and to verify that the beach would be open this summer.