In the News: July 2008

Swimming (Pool) Scholarships

Fifteen students received the Florida Swimming Pool Association Merit Scholarship for the 2008-2009 academic year and will share in $15,900, with awards ranging from $700 to $2,500.

The recipients are Kathryn Acord, Cape Coral; Edward Bertinelli, Punta Gorda; Traci Bludsworth, Orlando; Eduard Bogel, Palm Harbor; Candace Braun, Palm Habor; Jessica Marie Hackl, Lake Worth; Tristan Hensley, Melbourne; Amy Losciale, Orlando; Kayla Losciale, Inverness; Cheryl Mahaffey, Port St. Lucie; Ashley Malagian, Orlando; Krista Reed, Brandon; Scott Segro, Englewood; Courtney Simpson, Orlando; and Bron Volney, Port Charlotte.

The FSPA considers academic accomplishment, extracurricular activities, contributions to the community and a research paper on a pool-industry-related topic in awarding the funds. To qualify, applicants must be dependents of owners or employees of FSPA-member companies.

New Distribution Yards For Viking

Viking Pools, Jane Lew, W.V., has opened two new distribution yards in response to increasing demand for its top-selling models. The manufacturer of one-piece ceramic composite pools opened facilities in Effingham, Ill., and Morongo Valley, Calif.

"The two new locations will enable us to offer exceptional service to Southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona and the upper Midwestern markets. These locations also offer us the platform for our existing dealers to continue to grow while offering expansion opportunities for our new and future dealers," says Todd Stahl, president of Viking Pools.

ThermoSpas Makes Quick Recovery

A fire in May at ThermoSpas' Wallingford, Conn., manufacturing facility was quickly controlled and resulted in minimal damage and no serious injuries, according to a press release from the company. The fire is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure in the fiberglassing operation that allowed flammable chemicals to mix.

Police, fire and medical personnel responded quickly to the early evening blaze, which broke out when few employees were at the plant.

Andrew Tournas, president of ThermoSpas, says many hourly employees arrived the next day, on their day off, to help get ThermoSpas back on its feet.  "Of course they will be paid for their hard work, but their kindness and decency will forever stay with me," he says. "I have never been prouder to be a ThermoSpas employee."

Crypto Quick-Response Plan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Swimming Pool Foundation have established a Cryptosporidium Outbreak Alert System to help aquatic facilities protect their patrons from recreational water illness.

The system focuses on awareness and prevention strategies. When CDC and NSPF learn of an outbreak, NSPF will broadcast a regional e-mail. NSPF will also send alerts to national and regional organizations that request they be notified of any outbreak.

To sign up to receive Outbreak Alert notifications, to find more information on the alert system or to download a crypto-prevention tool kit, visit

For more information about healthy swimming visit the CDC's Healthy Swimming Web site:

Twister Hits Medallion

Medallion Pools' manufacturing and distributing plant is open after being damaged by a tornado that struck the Colonial Heights, Va., area April 28.

"The lights flickered and I heard a loud bang," said a sales associate in a press release from the company. "Then the roof came down and we all just ran for our lives. I could feel it pulling my shirt when I was trying to get away, I looked up and it was right there. Man, I could have died!"

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, the storm cut a 75-yard-wide swath about one mile long as it "lifted across an area of homes and touched down again just west of the interstate, tearing a path through the roof of the Medallion Pools building. Twisted metal was strewn across the parking lot with cars damaged from the flying debris. The tornado lifted again across I-95 scattering debris including a half-ton air conditioning unit blown approximately 300 yards and deposited in front of the Helzberg Diamonds business."

Marquis Adds Fourth Store

Marquis Spas, headquartered in Independence, Ore., opened its fourth retail store on May 16. The new Camarillo, Calif., store joins retail operations in Clackamas, Tigard and Salem, Oregon.

The Camarillo store will have a slightly different focus from the spa manufacturer's Marquis Casual Living (MCL) stores in Oregon. The new store, called Marquis Spas, will focus on spas and saunas only, rather than a full array of backyard and casual living products.

And The Winner Is . . .

The APSP's Builders Council is now accepting nominations for the 2008 Certified Building Professional of the Year award. Nominees are judged in nine categories, including years of service to the industry, years as a CBP and activities within their communities.

Any current CBP may nominate a candidate for the award by completing the nomination form available at Nominations are accepted by e-mail only and must be received by committee chairman Joe Vassallo at jvassallo@paragonpools .net before Aug. 1.

Research Grant Money Approved

The board of directors of the National Swimming Pool Foundation has allocated $812,500 for research grants in the upcoming year. This budget will include the first $200,000 installment of a $1 million grant to Washington State University to help establish the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute.

Grant recipients and other scientists will present their findings at the annual World Aquatic Health Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 15-17. NSPF has pledged over $4 million to research since 2004.

Removable Fencing Gets U.S. Patent

BABY-LOC Deluxe, manufactured by LOOP-LOC, Ltd., of Hauppauge, N.Y., was recently awarded U.S. patent #11-158859.

BABY-LOC Deluxe is made with high-quality aluminum frames and black powder coating. Installation is easy and requires fewer, smaller anchor holes than other removable fencing, according to the manufacturer. It can use the same anchors used for LOOP-LOC safety covers.

"The best way to prevent pool-related child injuries and drownings is to have multiple layers of protection," said LOOP-LOC president and CEO LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta. "In addition to a safety pool cover, high-quality mesh fencing around a pool is one layer we recommend."

Both original BABY-LOC and BABY-LOC Deluxe meet ASTM standards and exceed U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, with a standard height of 4½ feet, according to the company.

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