Some businesses say lake concerns washed out business - Quad-Cities Online: Iowa

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Some businesses say lake concerns washed out business

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 1998 1:00 am

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) -- Some businesses that draw on Clear Lake tourism say much of their summer business was frightened away by beach closings and reports of bacteria in the water.

``People just didn't come to town,'' said Bill Orcutt, owner of Lakeside Gas and Groceries. He estimated a loss of about $24,000 in July and August compared to last year.

The questions about water quality started after 250,000 gallons of raw sewage was dumped into the lake on June 20. A Clear Lake woman then said her son contracted a strain of E. coli bacteria after swimming in the lake.

Health officials said that it is unlikely the boy's disease came from swimming in the lake.

``It caught us off guard because of an accusation which may or may not be true and all of a sudden we are behind the eightball,'' David Collins, the executive director of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, said. ``The bottom line is we've got to get answers. So far nobody has proven that the E. coli strains (in the lake) are those that are harmful.''

The periodic closings of three public beaches were a results of tests conducted after the boy's illness.

But not every business said things had been bad. Mark Kemmerer, owner of Kemmerer Marine Inc., said he's never seen a good year like this one.

``I don't know how much better we could have done,'' he said. ``How do we judge what we missed? We sold everything we had.''

And Tim Veach, manager of the Super 8 Motel, said business had been normal.

``I think that people come for more than the lake when they stay here,'' he said.

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