Johnson City’s John Sevier Apartments tenants get new mattresses

by nobugsonme on November 27, 2008 · 1 comment

in bed bugs, tennessee

Residents of the John Sevier Apartments in Johnson City, Tennessee, formerly the John Sevier Hotel, live in a building historically associated with Al Capone. More recently they have had something else in common with people who stayed in the same building during Prohibition, when the town was known as “Little Chicago”: bed bug bites.

Their battle with bed bugs has been going on for a year and a half, according to this article from News Channel 11.

And yesterday, between 40-50 residents whose mattresses had been thrown out have had new ones delivered, bought by the Salvation Army with donations.

Another story six weeks ago from WJHL said Terminex was beginning treatment in the building, with freezing and pesticides.

I assume that the mattresses are being replaced because the bed bugs have completely disappeared.

A few questions spring to mind:

  • Were all tenants educated about detecting and avoiding bed bug infestations in the future?
  • Are the bed bugs 100% gone? (If yes, how do we know this?)
  • Were tenants issued with bed bug proof encasements?  Because it’s probably inevitable in the current climate that someone will reintroduce bed bugs at some point.

And if there are still bed bugs in the building — which is difficult to determine with any certainty, frankly — good encasements, used properly, will at least keep them from harboring on or in the mattresses.


Happy Thanksgiving to our readers in the US, and may all your bites today involve turkey (or Tofurkey)!

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1 nicole September 26, 2009 at 9:24 pm

My best friend lives in this building, and about a week ago he found more bedbugs. The attempt last year didn’t work. He is a performance artist.

Here is some Stand-Up Tragedy spoken word about bedbugs…my friend did this after the infestation described above. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnbrQN4LdQI

This new outbreak kills me, because the biggest thing into pushing the management to get treatment was the efforts of Friends of the John Sevier. Thanks to the two people who started this group to help the living situation of the residents, every single person in the building was transported and settled into a motel, their clothing was washed, they were provided meals… These two people worked way over 70 hours in one week with these folks getting them out, kept fed, and resituated. From what I understand, most of the education and all of the resituation was left up to them. I don’t know about encasements, but the mattresses were delivered in a “Barely Legal” delivery truck (eye-witness account, again by my friend) — so I don’t know who donated them…

You are totally right — they had no follow-up. My friend told me a few days ago that he was throwing out old art supplies and a man was digging through them on a second trip to the trash room. He said, “Don’t mess in that stuff! It might have bedbugs!” The man held up his forearms facing my friend and they were covered in bites and sores — he said, “I’ve got spaihhhders!” There is absolutely no public awareness. I am doing a project on this right now that I’ll probably consult you about later on since you are so knowledgeable about bedbugs and public health. This is getting ridiculous. The new article about the Fire Department getting bedbugs is three times dumber — leaving mattresses out in the sun to get rid of bugs??? Come on!!

Also, and this is an aside: I have looked into the Al Capone thing and wrote a paper on it. I will email it to you if I can dig it up. This is a huge gimmick by someone associated with the Downtown planning people, and is supplemented by regional storyteller Jo Carson who poorly adapted a local story from the paper about a man named Rooster into the 40’s into a 10’s-20’s gangster-era Al Capone story that you read about on that one website. The man who has that website has edited Wikipedia to say that the town is associated with Al Capone — Al Capone did not help the development of this city. No matter how much people look, they have not found anything — and even the man Allen who runs the Johnson Station web site admits that Al Capone MAY HAVE PASSED THROUGH Johnson City… I have no idea why this has to be the catch phrase of this article. If you lived here, you’d be able to see how ignorant people in the Downtown Authority are to people who live in the John Sevier…which leads to them associating the building with mystery and making up stuff about Al Capone living there. As someone who has several generations of family living and working near Downtown, these stories are pretty hilarious and didn’t seem to come up until Jo Carson wrote her play Little Chicago. I’m not saying he couldn’t have been here, but it’s sad that people need to blow the myth out of proportion to justify our town’s importance or worth. Focusing on Capone means neglecting issues such as how we treat our poorer citizens and our veterans who gather here for the VA.

Thank you so much for your informative collection of articles and write-ups. It is so great for people who have the internet. I just wish they’d have provided more info to these people who are not so knowledgeable about bedbugs and how easily they spread in public housing.

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