Waterfront: November 2005

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Moir Does More

California dealer organizes major relief effort for Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Hurricane Katrina's path of devastation was so vast that many survivors in rural communities did not initially get the help they needed, especially with aid organizations focusing on bigger cities. According to a Sept. 5 Associated Press article, many rural survivors in Mississippi were simply not getting any aid, or aid was miles away, and thus difficult or impossible to get to with little or no fuel.

In an effort to help these survivors, Don Moir, owner of Moir's Pool, Spa & Patio in Ukiah, Calif., organized a significant relief effort in September. Since Mendocino County, Calif., has no Red Cross office, Moir set up his business as the supply depot for local citizens who wanted to donate everything from bottled water and canned food to diapers, baby wipes, clothes and money.

Moir said these items would be distributed through Bethel Baptist Church in Mississippi County, Miss., which set up three shelters and three "stores" to give out free supplies to those in need. Moir chose this area, which is about 50 miles inland from the Gulf Coast, because he heard it had not gotten any assistance from the Red Cross or FEMA. Instead, local churches were spreading the word and getting help from individuals like Moir, who was prompted to organize the effort not only to help those in need, but also because his wife has family in the Gulf Coast area. Moir said the relatives survived, though their homes were damaged or destroyed. In spite of their own hardship, during the days just after the storm they were busy clearing roads and rescuing survivors in flooded areas.

Pool Provides Safe Harbor

Gulfport dolphins ride out Katrina in hotel pools.

As the toll taken by Hurricane Katrina mounts in the Gulf Coast, a few rays of light have appeared. As the storm neared, Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the Marine Life Oceanarium, in Gulfport, Miss., rushed to evacuate as many of his 14 dolphins as time allowed. The aquarium, which was destroyed in the storm, sat right on the beach, necessitating the animals' move to higher ground. Three of the dolphins were moved to the Best Western pool in Gulfport while another three weathered the storm in a Holiday Inn pool.

When the storm had passed, the staff discovered that the aquarium had been demolished and that the eight remaining dolphins and 19 sea lions were missing. Although it survived Hurricane Katrina, the dolphins' tank was submerged by the immense tidal surge. Biologists believed correctly that the two dolphin families inside the tank swam into the Mississippi Sound, though one baby dolphin was rescued from a muddy pool in a golf course. In a stroke of good luck, the dolphins that were swept away by the tidal surge reappeared close to the ruins of the Oceanarium 10 days after the storm, and all were rescued successfully.

Bad Naked, Good Exposure

The Fab Five include a ThermoSpas tub in an unusual makeover.

It's not uncommon for a hot tub to make a guest appearance on a reality TV show, but the recipient of a ThermoSpas tub on a recent episode of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy is, well, not exactly an average Joe. Straight guy James Boyd from New Jersey is a 39-year-old truck mechanic who lives with his mother. He's also a very hairy nudist who spends as much time au naturel as possible (mom insists that he's clothed when she's at home).

As part of Boyd's makeover, the show's makeover team, Carson, Kyan, Thom, Jai and Ted, aka the Fab Five, not only transformed the interior of his home by adding frosted-glass doors and new blinds, they also had a Trex deck and a tall privacy fence built around a new ThermoSpas hot tub in his backyard. After all, showing some skin is fashion statement β€” but showing it all is not.

"We were really excited when Queer Eye called and said they wanted a ThermoSpa for their next makeover," says Andrew Tournas, president of ThermoSpas.

Tournas says ThermoSpas got a lot of good exposure on the show, and because the episode is quite popular, it will likely play in reruns. In addition, the show's audience reaches a wide demographic, says Tournas, "and the age group is very much in line with our market in the 30s, 40s and 50s."

The show must be reaching prospective hot tub buyers, too, because Tournas says, "We definitely see a nice little spike in our Internet hits every time that show runs. That's a true indicator that a show has a benefit to you."

Tournas says a ThermoSpas tub has also appeared on Home Savvy and Bob Villa's Home Again , which both covered the hot tub category well. "They didn't just say: here's a hot tub," adds Tournas. "They really talked about the benefits of a hot tub, the benefits of owning any hot tub. And they gave great name recognition."

Healing Water

Second edition of aquatic therapy text published.

The revised and updated second edition of Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy by Andrew J. Cole, M.D., and Bruce E. Becker, M.D., includes new chapters on wound management, pediatric aquatic therapy and the use of aquatic therapy for common orthopedic problems. Written for health professionals, most of the chapters assume the reader has a health sciences educational background.

Publishing company Butterworth Heinemann says, "This multidisciplinary reference reviews the biologic, medical and rehabilitative research that underlies aquatic therapy and applies these scientific findings to current evaluation and treatment techniques for a broad range of problems and disorders. Contributors from the fields of physiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy and sports medicine take a practical, evidence-based approach to therapy, discussing the effects of the aquatic environment on human physiology, as well as goal setting and functional outcomes. They also address related issues such as facility design, management and staffing to senior wellness programs and associated legal considerations."

Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy Andrew J. Cole, M.D., and Bruce E. Becker, M.D.

Stepping Outside The Beige Box

Creative tile designs could add pizazz to your next pool.

Colorful, distinctive tile in a pool, even if it's a simple waterline tile, can transform a mundane pool into something marvelous. Builders with clients willing to pay for marvelous need to know where to find distinctive tile. Enter Michelle Griffoul, a ceramic tile artist who holds a BA and an MFA in ceramics and has spent a year at the International School of Ceramics in Florence, Italy.

In addition to her education and 35 years of experience as an artist, Griffoul offers a different perspective. "Working with color is really one of my specialties β€” bringing together all kinds of colors that might not normally be put together but create a wonderful palette," she says. "People are so comfortable with beige, and what I bring to the table is experience with color and textures that can make people comfortable to go to another level with their design."

Michelle Griffoul Studios has a whole selection of sea creatures for clients to choose from. "In our standard line, we have over 400 tiles. We have tropical fish, lake fish, large turtles and dolphins and we can do them 3 feet, 6 feet or 9 feet.

Whatever size people want, we can custom make them for their pools," says Griffoul. "Larger pieces are made in sections and they're cut so that they look exactly like the shell of the turtle, not in squares that interrupt the design. We try to keep all of our cut lines in accordance with the design of the piece. We like to glaze things in pretty much the most natural color they would be found in in nature, but if people want something really whimsical and fun, we can do that."

And there's no need to worry about these tiles withstanding the pool environment. The tiles, which are all made in Griffoul's studio factory in Buellton, Calif., are all highfired stonewear and they've all been tested by the Tile Council of America and have passed all tests necessary for pools, says Griffoul. "We keep notes of every firing we do, so if someone needs to match something three years later, we can find the kiln it was fired in and know how it was handled.", she says.

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