OK, I was wrong. (There's a first time for everything.)
In last week's column about an unkempt pool behind a VA foreclosure house in the Fox Chapel subdivision, I made a snarky remark (or two) concerning the chances of the Veterans Administration actually doing something about it.
Well, someone sent a link to the column to VA headquarters in Washington, and they responded immediately. The pool was drained, cleaned and was being refilled when I went by to check on it Thursday morning. The reason I went to check on it was that I received an email from Terry Jemison with the VA's public affairs office informing me that they were on top of the matter. "A copy of the June 15 column 'Neighbors tired of mosquito factory' reached us here in Washington at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the next day. I wanted to let you know that we quickly engaged our contractor managing this vacant property to correct the situation," Jemison wrote. "I hope the correspondent who you called Frustrated Reader will be satisfied with the VA response the day we read your article that brought the mosquito situation to public attention and that 'Doc' will find the subsequent pool draining satisfactory."
Doc certainly was pleased, and still is.
"Yes, they drained it, cleaned it and I don't know what else they did," Doc said. "We're really proud of what you did, and the neighbors are, too." Glad to help.
In his email, Jemison also told me that the situation on Fox Chapel will have national ramifications.
"We pledge to continue our vigilance in ensuring for-sale properties in Columbus or elsewhere are maintained appropriately. As a result of this incident, our contractor is adopting a nationwide policy to instruct all listing brokers to order swimming pool treatment at initial inspection. During months of April through October, brokers will be pre-authorized up to $200 for initial mosquito treatment. "It is VA's desire to be a good neighbor, a responsive one, while serving those who have served our country with the important benefit of home ownership. We are disappointed we dropped the ball on Fox Chapel Drive, where neighbors felt the mosquito problem and smell was interfering with their enjoyment of the summer in their own back yards. "Thank you for being their advocate."
Any time, and my apologies for the snarky comments last week. This is one time I'm pleased to be proven wrong.
I got another email, this one from the real estate agent handling the property saying that the pool never was the source of the mosquito problem, and he included a report from a city inspector backing up his contention. "Attached is a report from the inspection division of the city government, which shows no mosquitoes coming from this pool, so they must be coming from somewhere else in the neighborhood," he wrote. Well, they're sure not coming from it now, nor is the funky aroma of stagnant water. I also got a voice mail from a guy who suggested trying an old farmer's trick, putting goldfish in the pool. They supposedly eat algae and mosquito larvae. Apparently farmer's put them in livestock tanks to hold down the mosquito population. Anyone familiar with that approach?
I can't call the guy back and ask because he didn't leave his name. Maybe he was just being koi.