Friends Fight for Swimming Area Deemed Unsafe 

A peaceful swim in their favorite swimming hole was interrupted for a group of friends in Dexter Tuesday. Now, because of a question about safety and liability, they might never be going back.”It’s quiet, it’s peaceful. It’s clean. You can see the bottom. You can go out thirty feet and still see the bottom.” Erin O’Brien and her friends say they’ll do whatever it takes to keep swimming at their favorite spot on Lake Wassookeag.”I’ve been swimming here for more than 20 years,” says Lance Marchant. “Nobody bugs you here. Until yesterday.”Tuesday, police asked their group to leave, saying broken glass in the area makes it unsafe to swim there.”Told us we needed to vacate the premises, that this was a ‘No Swimming’ zone. Well, there’s no signs posted,” O’Brien says.Police Chief James Emerson says they’ve always asked anyone who’s swimming here to leave. And, the DOT is putting up new signs soon.”They are making signs now to put up – no swimming, danger, broken glass – just to protect people. And protect the state and the town from any liability that could occur,” Emerson says.These friends say through the years they’ve been cleaning up the glass on their own.”They say it’s because of the glass, but no one else is picking it up. We’re here doing it for free and we enjoy it. We like to swim here and we want to keep it nice,” Marchant says.”We’re not causing trouble, we’re not hurting anybody,” O’Brien says.There is a public beach nearby, but they say that’s not an option. “It’s mucky, you can’t see in the water, kids pee in the water. I’m all set with that,” Marchant says.The town is taking ownership of the area in the coming weeks. O’Brien says they’ll keep pressing the issue.”They’re entitled to do what they want. If they want to go to the town, I can’t see it going very far. They don’t want swimming there and they will not want swimming there in the future,” Emerson says.”We’ve worked too hard for this for too many years, to have it taken away from us,” O’Brien says.