Waterfront: March 2008

Rebuilding In Baghdad

U.S. Military helps open horse stables and pool at the Baghdad Zoo

0308 15aLike so many things in the Middle East, the Baghdad Zoo has been hit hard by the war. But since relationships between park officials and military support teams began in early 2007, more exhibits have been opened to the public. The 15th Brigade Support Battalion soldiers and park officials opened an indoor horse stable and children's swimming pool at the zoo on Dec. 1, 2007. According to Sgt. 1st Class Herb Mowery, the horse stables and swimming pool were some of the most damaged areas in the park. Baghdad officials hope the newest additions will bring more traffic to the zoo in the coming months. The pool will open to the public as soon as weather permits.

Steppin' Up

Cardinal manufactures its biggest custom step

0308 15bCardinal Systems, the Schuylkill Haven, Pa., manufacturer of custom steel pool panels, sun shelves, steel spas and drop-in steps, recently completed manufacturing its largest custom step ever. The 45 foot long and 25- foot wide step section was designed for a 45-by-65-foot residential pool being built by Capitol Pools in Garner, N.C. The employees were so proud of the step that they lined themselves on and behind the step, allowing 72 of them to access the step at once. "We love a challenge and enjoy pushing the limits at Cardinal," said David Bradley, marketing director for the company. "This pool is sure to be a winner." The finished project will be completed mid-Spring. Stay tuned!

A Hole In One

Annual golf tournament raises $25,000 for specialneeds children

0308 15cArnold's Pools, Myrtle Beach, S.C., recently raised $25,000 for the Grand Stand Miracle League during its 7th annual customer appreciation golf tournament. Since the company began raising money for the league in 2003, it has raised more than $65,000.

"Arnold [Johnson, owner] wanted to do something for the community," says Deb Bailey, controller and tournament coordinator. "He wanted everyone to be aware that we should give back to the community."

Arnold's raised the money through green and tee sponsors, raffling off more than 400 community- donated prizes, and other events that included the appearance of local college cheerleaders and mascots.

The Miracle League is a national group that organizes baseball games for children with special needs or disabilities. The fields are customized to meet the unique needs of the Miracle League players. For more information about The Miracle League, visit miracleleague.com.

Noodle Novelty

Japanese spa offers tub of warm ramen

If you can't get enough ramen noodles at dinnertime, the Yunessan Spa in Hakone, Japan, has a treatment in store for you. Yunessan specializes in amusement baths, including dips in chocolate, wine, sake, and a dish that's as popular in Japan as it is in the United States - ramen noodles. According to Reuters, due to health regulations, the spa does not use edible noodles. Instead, noodle-shaped spa treatments are placed in bath water that contains elements of pork broth supplied by a nearby noodle shop.

The spa's claim is that soaking in the brown-colored hot broth, which contains pepper collagen, can improve a bather's metabolism and cleanse the skin. Hmmm. Make mine a sake.

Great Expectations

Former Bay State booksellers open hot tub spa

0308 15eOnce upon a time, Jeff and Diana Krauth opened a bookstore focused on the healing arts. For 26 years, Beyond Words Bookshop provided clients an outlet to all things personal-growth- and healing-oriented. But when the bookstore became more and more difficult to keep open, the Krauths decided to say "The End" and moved on to another phase in their lives.

"We asked ourselves, 'What do people need and what do we love?'" says Diana. "And we love hot tubs! So we looked into the business aspects, as well as the therapeutic aspects and decided that Amherst was a good market."

Inspired by frequent trips to Santa Fe, N.M., Elements Hot Tub Spa features five Southwest-styled hot tub rooms, three indoor and two outdoor. All tubs are ThermoSpas with what Diana describes as "all luxury, lots of jets, bells, whistles, the whole deal."

The three indoor rooms also feature infrared saunas and a steam room. The outdoor spa rooms are set up more like back patio hot tubs, says Diana. Stucco, stone, pebbles and slate adorn the walls and walkways, giving the themed rooms a spiritual and healing aura.

Diana says the spa is her way to bridge relaxation and healing and acknowledges the irony of the evolution of Beyond Words to Essentials.

"I think that alternative and complementary healing has become something that hospitals are integrating now," says Diana. "And with our hot tubs and infrared saunas and steam and therapeutic massages and reiki (a Japanese-originated healing technique based on the principle of channeling energy into a patient by touch), we're actually providing it, not just telling people about it anymore."

Swimming Against The Tide

Seniors stay in synch with aquatic exercise

0308 15fThere's nothing unusual about a synchronized swimming team putting in hours each week to perfect its routines. But the Honeys and Bears synchronized swimming group is far fromusual.

Started in 1979 with just a handful of participants, the group now numbers over 300 men and women aged 55 to 94. They practice five days a week at the Hansborough Recreation Center on 134th Street in New York City, preparing their synchronized routines for competition in the New York State Senior Games and for four performances each year. Barbara Solomon, the club's president, says that fitness and health benefits are the major attraction for teammembers, "We feel that swimming is the best lifelong sport you can do," she told The New York Times. "Once you're over the age of 50, it all starts to break down. But by swimming, you can delay the process."

The group also works to raise the profile of swimming in its Harlem neighborhood. Solomon, says, "Traditionally, there are two things that black people don't do: We don't swim and we don't play ice hockey."

Apparently, no one told Lettice Graham. Graham, 85, didn't learn to swim until she was 64, but at the most recent Senior Games she won gold medals in the 50 freestyle and the 50 backstroke.

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