Semper Fly

Gone Fishin’Pennsylvania builder teams up with local charity

Aq 605 15pg 0001 Mike Hodak, owner of Pools & Waterfalls by Mike Hodak in Canonsburg, Pa., makes a huge mess of his pool every year — on purpose. “Three years ago I just decided I’m going to put 100 trout in my pool after the chemicals dissipate and have all the little neighbor kids come over fishing. I figured it would be a nice thing to sit by my fireplace, which is out by the pool, and just fish,” says Hodak, who got the idea from his father, who used to toss trout into his pool so his kids could do a little fishing. “The kids just had an absolute ball.”

So the following year Hodak joined up with a charity drive for the Watchful Shepard, a program to help abused children administered through the local district attorney’s office. “ We put 250 trout in my pool and you can barely move around my pool the day we do it,” says Hodak. “We’ll have 300 or 400 kids there fishing, and we sell a fishing license.

What we do then is take the proceeds from the fishing licenses and donate those to the charity. And it’s really a great charity because 100 percent of the funds go to the kids [in the program].” Hodak estimates the event has raised $10,000 each of the first two years it’s been held. Kids fishing at the event love it not only because it’s fun, but also because they have a chance to win a big prize. “We put 249 rainbow trout in the pool and one golden trout. This year, a lawyer donated $500 for the kid who catches the golden trout.”

Hodak holds the event primarily to help the Watchful Shepherd program, but admits it helps his company’s reputation, as well. “It’s unbelievable,” he says. “I go anywhere and people say, ‘Oh, you’re the guy that does the fishing tournament in the pool.’ It gives you recognition, it really does. A lot of times the pool industry needs that.”

Digging The LimelightFor the über-rich, what’s in the yard is as important as what’s in the garage

For the tycoon who has everything, a million-dollar landscape design may be just the ticket. According to an article in the April 15 Wall Street Journal, you can add celebrity landscape architects to the list — celebrity interior designers, celebrity hairdressers, celebrity chefs — of professionals and tradespeople who are making careers of their recognizable styles.

The article profiles a handful of landscape architects from New York to California who have achieved bankable recognition. According to the W S J, in circles where homes can easily sell with eight-digit price tags, a brand-name landscape architect is as important as the Scalamandre drapery and the Tiffany silver.

While all the featured landscape architects include pools and hot tubs in their repertoires (how could you spend a million dollars on landscaping and not have a pool?), Mia Lehrer of Los Angeles has a special connection to the pool industry; she will speak at the AQUA Show during its Nov. 15-18 run in Las Vegas.

Semper Fly

When you think of U. S. Marines staying fi t, yo u might instantly picture long rows of uniformed men and women running in perfect unison. In the future, you may picture them swimming laps in a pool.

“It’s a break from the monoto ny of running and lifting - styles of exercise,” says 2nd Lt. Thomas V. Schwabenbauer.

Schwabenbauer swims laps at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., three times a week fo r about an hour each day. During his swim, he says he uses a variety of strokes to work different muscles. “I usually swim alone for about an hour and try different strokes to keep it interesting. I think that swimming really reduces my st ress, too,” he says.

Aquatic exercises, and general fi t n ess activities, are a big part of the Marine’s “rea d i n ess” mission, says Donna Seabrease, recreational program analyst with the Marine Corps headquarters. The low-impact, full-body exercise can also be therapeutic for injured Marines.

“It’s a fun way of doing cardio and it’s good for my medical rehabilitation after an injury I had,” says Sc hwabenbauer, who also says that running long distances can make him sore, but that swimming long distances doesn’t impact his joints the same way. “It seems to be just as effective swimming laps as running distances.”

The Marine Corps says fitness is pivotal to its mission, and although swimming is not the “end-all of fitness, it is a big part,” says Seabrease.

Delivering The Goods

Aq 605 15pg 0003 A crane being used to deliver a hot tub? Ho-hum. Happens every day. That’s what the guys at AquaLand Pool, Spa & Patio were thinking as they loaded up a HotSpring Vanguard and drove to a delivery site. The crane was there to meet them, as they expected, to maneuver the tub up to a deck 20 feet off the ground and into a cutout where another tub used to be. One problem. Between the deal and the delivery the homeowner had built a roof over the deck, thus complicating what should have been a rather routine undertaking.

“How were we going to get a spa into that hole 20 feet in the air, when it’s covered as well?’ asks Darri Pinerola, president of the Bowling Green, Ky., retailer. “With a little ingenuity from our service crew, we were able to lift the spa, on its side, between two buildings. It slipped right under the roof and flopped right down into the hole.”

Another difficult delivery involved getting a hot tub across the Rhode Island Sound to Block Island, a beautiful vacation spot between the tip of Long Island and mainland Rhode Island. Coventry-based Pool & Patio Center sold a spa to a woman at a home show only to find out they’d have to deliver the tub by ferry. “This challenging delivery required us to be extremely precise in our preparations,” says Annette Stockley, vice president.

In addition to making special reservations on the ferry to take the spa, Spa Dolly, crew and delivery van to the island, they had to make sure there’d be room on the return trip or they’d have to wait until the first ferry left the next morning.

“Having all this equipment on the dock caused quite a commotion,” she adds. “Spectators wanted to know what we were doing, where the spa was being delivered and if we could deliver the spa to their house instead.”

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