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With Trades Center Parking Dwindling, APS Plans to Send Employees to Barcroft Park Garage

Arlington Public Schools could soon free up some space in one of its parking lots by shifting employees to a garage next to Barcroft Park.

The County Board is set to approve a deal with APS this weekend to let school bus drivers park their personal vehicles on the top floor of the Barcroft garage at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive.

The school system is looking to make the change because space at the Arlington County Trades Center lot in Shirlington (2770 S. Taylor Street) is rapidly becoming limited, according to a report prepared by county staff. Rising enrollment in APS has led not only to overcrowded classrooms, but a persistent push by the county to add more buses, which has squeezed its transportation facilities.

So long as the Board signs off on the deal, APS employees would be able to park in the 50 spaces on the top floor of the garage from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday starting on July 1, and the arrangement would last for at least the next five years.

APS buses will no be moving from the Trades Center lot, so the school system also plans to run a shuttle out to the Barcroft garage, which sits roughly a mile away from the center.

County staff don’t expect this change will have any impact on demand for spaces in the garage, which also serves the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, as they believe the space is currently “underutilized by the public for parking for recreational activities” during the day on weekdays. The full garage will still be open to the public past 5 p.m. each day.

The Board will vote on the deal at its meeting Saturday (May 19). The matter is slated for the Board’s consent agenda, so it’s likely to pass without debate.

Photo via Google Maps

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Arlington Encourages Participation in This Weekend’s Nature Challenge

Arlington County is encouraging residents to get outside this weekend and help spot plant and animal species as part of the global City Nature Challenge.

The contest pits communities around the world against each other to identify as many plant and animal species as possible within their borders from April 27-30. Those participating are encouraged to use the iNaturalist app, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for the rest of the community to help identify.

For this contest, Arlington is classified within the greater D.C. area, and any species identification made within the county will count toward that group. Last year, the region placed seventh out of more than 75 global cities in the City Nature Challenge.

As a part of the challenge, county naturalists held a free guided walk this morning, and they’ll hold another one this afternoon from 2-2:30 at Gulf Branch Nature Center. Tomorrow (April 21) participants can learn how to use the iNaturalist app from 10-11:30 a.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center. The free training is recommended for any nature enthusiasts at least eight years of age.

File photo

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Work Complete to Expand Barcroft Gymnastics Facility

A project to expand the gymnastics facilities at the Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) is largely complete, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for next week.

The work doubled the space for gymnastics into a second room by converting the center’s gym, while adding new equipment to both rooms. Girls teams now have more space in which to practice, while county parks staff said it could help spur more registrations for boys teams.

Staff said the project was carried out due to “overwhelming demand from Arlington residents” for more space for gymnastics.

The existing gymnastics area also received a revamp, as well as the existing women’s locker room. Staff lockers were installed nearby, while the building got a new roof and had three HVAC systems replaced.

County staff and other officials will celebrate the completion of the project on Wednesday, September 13 from 5-6 p.m. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The project had a total budget of $3.54 million, paid for by Pay As You Go Capital funds and bonds approved in the 2016 referendum. The County Board approved a construction contract last December worth just over $1.7 million.

Nearby Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is also set for upgrades in the coming years after the Arlington County Board approved a 10-year extension to its partnership with George Washington University, which hosts baseball games at the field.

GW will fully fund the construction of a new clubhouse as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages, which are also available for community use. Earlier this year, the university received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the new clubhouse. GW also contributes funding each year for the field’s ongoing maintenance and repairs.

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Upgrades Coming to Barcroft Park With Renewed GW Partnership

More improvements are coming to Tucker Field at Barcroft Park after the Arlington County Board approved a 10-year extension to its partnership with George Washington University.

Under the agreement, unanimously approved by the Board at its meeting Tuesday, GW will fully fund the construction of a new clubhouse as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages, which are also available for community use. Earlier this year, the university received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the new clubhouse.

GW’s baseball team has played home games at Tucker Field in the park at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive since 1992. It also contributes funding each year for the field’s ongoing maintenance and repairs.

“This public-private partnership with GW is a good deal for county taxpayers, for baseball and softball in Arlington, and for GW,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “The university’s home field has been vastly improved, and the community has access to a top-quality field. These new amenities will make Tucker Field even more useful — and fun — for all who play there.”

The two parties last signed an agreement in 2011, with GW upgrading the field and nearby facilities in time for the following year. It has invested more than $3 million in upgrades, including the county’s first synthetic turf diamond field, expanded seating, covered dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, expanded parking and more.

The field also hosts five camps in five weeks each summer, as well as tournaments for the county’s All-Star Babe Ruth League and the 2015 Atlantic-10 Conference baseball tournament.

“Our partnership with Arlington County has been mutually beneficial, and we are excited to extend our agreement with the county,” GW athletic director Patrick Nero said in a statement. “It has allowed us to provide an excellent home ballpark for our student-athletes, a ballpark that will be even better with the new clubhouse and enclosed batting cages. We look forward to hosting the Atlantic-10 Championship at Tucker Field in 2018. At the same time, Arlington county youth have the opportunity to play at a premier venue as they learn and grow through sports.”

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Morning Notes

Two Arrested After Fleeing Traffic Stop — Two suspects were arrested by Arlington County Police earlier this morning after they took off on foot following a traffic stop in Pentagon City. Army Navy Drive was closed between Fern and Eads streets while officers on the ground and the U.S. Park Police helicopter searched for the suspects. [NBC Washington, Twitter]

Barcroft Fitness Room Closing — The fitness room in the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center is scheduled to be closed between May 15 and this fall due to planned renovations.

PreCheck RV Coming to Crystal City — A TSA PreCheck mobile enrollment station will be parked at two different locations in Crystal City during the last two full weeks in May. The RV will be open weekdays; walk-ins are welcome but reservations can be made online. [WTOP]

Closing the Achievement Gap — The head of the Civic Coalition for Minority Children says lagging standardized test scores among African-American and Latino students in Arlington Public Schools can “be traced to disparities in teaching literacy to young children.” [InsideNova]

Dog Takes ‘Snuggle Tours’ of AWLA Offices — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Friday posted a video of Irma, a cuddly pup who takes “snuggle tours” of the AWLA offices, seeking extra belly rubs. [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Birds and the Rosslyn skyline (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

First Board Meeting With New Rule — Saturday will be the Arlington County Board’s first meeting with a new public participation rule. Whereas members of the public could previously request that any “consent agenda” item be pulled and discussed individually at the next Board meeting, the new rule requires at least one Board member to concur with the action. [InsideNova]

A Note on InsideNova Links — The desktop version of InsideNova’s website features popup ads and multiple autoplay videos with the audio on. It is not recommended for users in quiet environments or with older computers that may slow down or crash as a result of the videos and ads.

GW Gets Donation for Baseball Clubhouse — George Washington University has received an anonymous $2 million gift that will fund a new proposed clubhouse at Tucker Field in Arlington’s Barcroft Park. The clubhouse will feature “on-site locker facilities, indoor practice space with batting cages and pitching tunnels, meeting rooms and a sports medicine area.” [GW Sports]

Teen’s Hair Lit on Fire at Inauguration — A 17-year-old Arlington girl’s hair was lit on fire at an inauguration protest in D.C. It happened on Inauguration Day, near the National Archives, as the girl posed in front of protesters while wearing pro-Trump apparel. [Buzzfeed]

Video of Ballston Common Mall Demolition — Want to relive the demolition of the old Macy’s furniture store at Ballston Common Mall? Now there’s a video for that. [YouTube]

Clement, Roosevelt to Run for Office — Independent Audrey Clement has filed to run again for Arlington County Board this year. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Army veteran Adam Roosevelt, a Republican, is challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). [InsideNova, InsideNova]

D.C. Area Snow Drought — Will we see any significant snowfall this winter? It’s looking increasingly bleak for snow lovers, with only a few flurries in the forecast during what should be our peak snow period. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Rainy night (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

High School Boundary Change Petition — Matthew Herrity, the Washington-Lee student who penned a widely-shared open letter to the School Board regarding its recent high school boundary change decision, has now started an online petition. The petition, which calls for increasing diversity at Arlington’s high schools, has more than 1,000 signatures. [Change.org]

Community Center, Gymnastics Contracts Approved — At its meeting on Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a $3.9 million contract to plan and design a new four-story Lubber Run Community Center, with a gymnasium, playgrounds, offices and underground parking. In response to heavy program demand, the Board also approved a $1.7 million addition of a second gymnastics area at the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center. [Arlington County]

Ebbin on Trump and Other Topics — “Trump is making me nostalgic for Reagan,” said state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) during a wide-ranging interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show Friday. Ebbin also discussed casino gambling, with the opening of the new MGM casino in National Harbor, and Confederate monuments in Alexandria, among other topics. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

D.C. Police Misconduct Story Has Arlington Connection — There’s an Arlington connection to one of the misconduct allegations against Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, the head of the D.C. police Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Liaison unit. Hawkins reportedly took two underage summer interns to Freddie’s, the LGBT bar in Crystal City, and laughed about one using a fake ID. She’s now facing possible disciplinary action for that and for allegedly showing the interns a homemade sex tape on her phone. [Fox 5, Fox 5]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Volunteers Needed to Help Clean Up Four Mile Run Next Month

Barcroft Park/Four Mile Run clean-upA local organization is looking for Arlington residents to help remove litter from Four Mile Run next month.

Volunteers with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) will help pick up trash from the stream during the organization’s annual cleanup at Barcroft Park on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Those who sign up for the event will be tasked with removing debris from Barcroft Park and along the banks of Four Mile Run.

The cleanup is being held in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways Day and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. As part of its collaborative efforts, ACE will collect data on the garbage its volunteers remove from the stream.

“We will submit the data to both groups to contribute to an understanding of how litter is impacting our waterways and the wildlife that depends on our waterways,” said Elenor Hodges, executive director at ACE.

Those interested in helping out should bring along sturdy shoes they don’t mind getting wet, work gloves and a water bottle and wear long pants and sleeves to protect against poison ivy, Hodges said.

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Crime Report: Bike Thieves Arrested Near Barcroft Park

Police car lightsThree kids were arrested Sunday afternoon along Four Mile Run Drive and charged with stealing bikes.

Police say the juvenile suspects were stealing bike from a bike rack in the area of Barcroft Park.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

At approximately 2:37 p.m. on July 17, officers responded to the report of a larceny in progress. Three juvenile suspects were arrested for allegedly stealing bikes from a bike rack. All three suspects were arrested and charged with grand larceny and released to their parents.

Also Sunday afternoon, police say a couple caught two people burglarizing their home in the Glebewood neighborhood.

BURGLARY, 160717025, 2100 block of N. Brandywine Street. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on July 17, two homeowners returned from a vacation to find a known individual and an accomplice in their residence. After the individuals left, the female victim discovered several items of value to be stolen. Officers located and apprehended the suspects a short time later. Margarita Denison, 34, of Alexandria VA, was arrested and charged with burglary, breaking and entering, and grand larceny. Matthew Pair, 30, of Waldorf MD, was arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny(x2), and possession of methamphetamine.

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Morning Notes

Rainy February commute (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Cheesetique to Open in Ballston — Cheese-and-wine shop Cheesetique has signed a lease for the former Pizza Vinoteca space at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It’s Alexandria-based Cheesetique’s third location and its second in Arlington. Cheesetique opened in Shirlington in 2011. [Washington Business Journal]

Snow Forum Tonight — Amid a driving rainstorm, Arlington County will hold a public forum to gather feedback on its post-blizzard snow removal efforts. The forum is taking place starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Key Elementary (2300 Key Blvd). Arlington received more than 3,000 responses to an online questionnaire about snow removal, most from the 22207 ZIP code and 46 percent saying they were dissatisfied. [Arlington County]

More on Snow Feedback — At the County Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, County Manager Mark Schwartz said many residents expected to see a plow on their neighborhood street within a day or two of the historic storm. “There seems to be a disconnect between people’s expectations and our resources,” he said. “We simply don’t have the resources to do that.”

Palette 22 Up and Running in Shirlington — Art-themed street food restaurant Palette 22 opened its doors on Monday. Defying those dubious about its theme and small plate offerings, Palette 22 was busy when ARLnow.com walked by Monday night. (The other two busy Shirlington restaurants Monday: Busboys and Poets and Guapo’s.) At 6,000 square feet, Palette 22 will have to keep packing them in even after the opening hype dies down. [Washington Post]

Hillary Clinton Event in Courthouse Tonight — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will be holding an event in Courthouse tonight with women’s health advocate Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Richards will talk about what’s at stake for women in this election and highlight Hillary Clinton’s proven record of standing up for women’s access to affordable reproductive health care regardless of income, race, or ZIP code,” said a press release. The event is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) starting at 7 p.m.

Changes to Library Fines Proposed — Under a proposed change, Arlington Public Library’s daily fine structure for overdue materials would change — from 20 cents for children’s materials, 30 cents for adult written books and $1 for DVDs — to a flat 30 cents per day for everything. The flat rate structure would be similar to that of Fairfax County’s libraries and is expected to be a wash financially. [InsideNova]

Baseball Teams Joust at Barcroft Field — During a rain delay yesterday at Barcroft Field, the George Washington University baseball team and their opponents from Delaware State had a bit of a jousting duel, video of which was posted online. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

"Grilling canceled today" (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Peter Chang Fast Casual Restaurant in Arlington — Chef Peter Chang, who has a large following in Northern Virginia, is in lease negotiations for the Oriental Gourmet space at 2503 N. Harrison Street. Chang hopes to open Peter Chang Wok, envisioned as a fast casual Chinese restaurant. Chang only plans to make “a few cosmetic changes” to Oriental Gourmet, which is still open, after taking over the lease. [Washington Post]

Cherrydale Plan Passes — Cherrydale has a new Neighborhood Conservation plan. The plan, approved by the County Board on Tuesday, calls for protecting trees, ensuring sidewalks are wide enough for strollers and those with disabilities, timely utility maintenance, more daycare opportunities and infrastructure for residents to age in place. [Arlington County]

Top County Staff Gets Raise — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday voted to give a 3.4 percent raise to the three county employees it’s permitted by law to hire directly: County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and Clerk to the County Board Hope Halleck. The annual salary for Donnellan — who’s in charge of the county government and its more than 3,800 employees — will increase to $269,742. [InsideNova]

Abundance of Busted Pipes — This week Arlington County firefighters have responded to a steady stream of calls for busted water pipes in buildings around the county. “Please make sure you know where your water shut off is in case it happens to you,” the fire department tweeted. [Twitter]

Abingdon Street House Fire — Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home on the 100 block of N. Abingdon Street on Wednesday morning. One person had to flee the home, reportedly while only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but no injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Court Ruling May Cost Arlington Millions — A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court on a tax dispute in Arlington County may cost Arlington and other Virginia localities millions of dollars in lost business license tax revenue. The court ruled that companies with offices in multiple states may deduct certain out-of-state earnings from their license tax. [Washington Post]

GW Baseball Blanks Georgetown — In a chilly game at Arlington’s Barcroft Park that we previewed Wednesday, the George Washington University baseball team defeated Georgetown in a 3-0 shutout. [GW Sports]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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GW Baseball Plays Ball Despite Icy Conditions

Through multiple snowstorms and historic cold, the George Washington University baseball team has endured, practicing and playing on its home turf in Arlington’s Barcroft Park.

Because Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is artificial turf, with the exception of the pitching mound, batter’s box and bullpen, the team has been able to practice outdoors most days, and has already played two home games; a win and a loss against the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Many youth baseball players remember especially cold days as especially painful, with balls hit off the end of the bat resulting in hands stinging with pain for several minutes. But for serious college athletes, the cold is roundly ignored.

“It’s all a mental thing,” graduate student and fifth-year pitcher Craig LeJeune said in a phone interview today. “We’ve just got to wear a lot more shirts and undershirts. Once you get out there and warm up, you just go out there and play like it’s any other day.”

The Colonials’ third game is today at 2:30 p.m. against Georgetown University, at Barcroft Park. In between their two season-opening games against NJIT, the Colonials have had three games cancelled and two, against Georgetown and the University of Virginia, postponed.

The cancelled games have not meant that the Colonials have gotten a break. They have had some indoor practices, but most of their work has been outdoors, including when the field is still covered in snow.

“The biggest thing we like to do is keep it high-energy and high-tempo so the cold doesn’t really affect us,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Dave Lorber said. “If you’re doing the right things and running an efficient practice, the cold is not something you’re even thinking about.”

After hosting Georgetown tomorrow, Tucker Field will be the site of a three-game series against Niagara University this weekend. The Colonials start play against Atlantic 10 opponents March 20 with a trio of games against St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

LeJeune said this year’s goal is to qualify for the A-10 tournament, played at Barcroft Park for the first time May 20-24.

“We want to make that [tournament] and defend the Tuck,” he said.

By the time that tournament rolls around, the arctic temperatures of this month will be a distant memory. Right now, though, LeJeune and his teammates are more concerned with beating Georgetown — and keeping warm.

“When it’s this cold,” LeJeune said, “your fingertips are frozen the whole game.”

It doesn’t hurt that the players have a bit more insulation on their face during this year’s polar vortex. Last year, according to the Washington Post, the head coach had a rule dictating players must be clean-shaven. This year, no one on the team has been allowed to shave since the offseason.

Lorber said it’s important the team stay loose, but no one needs an extra push to practice during a polar vortex.

“I think our guys come with the right mentality — that they want to be at practice whether it’s indoors, outside, on top of a skyscraper, wherever we are,” he said. “We only control what we can control, and that’s our attitude and the effort for the day.”

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Morning Notes

Sky over S. Walter Reed Drive near Shirlington (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Wardian Featured in Runners World — Prolific ultramarathon runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian was the subject of a full-page spread in the latest Runners World magazine. Wardian, 40, holds the record for fastest marathon dressed as a superhero, fastest marathon with a stroller and fastest marathon on a treadmill. He was photographed on the Potomac Heritage Trail, where he regularly goes on morning runs with his puppy, Rosie. [PDF]

Arlington Wine Bars Make Top 100 — Arlington wine bars The Curious Grape and Grand Cru have been named to OpenTable’s list of the top 100 wine-centric restaurants in America. [OpenTable]

Candidates Question School Costs — School Board candidates Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement both said that there are ways to contain costs at Arlington Public Schools. Clement said the school system should consider increasing class sizes, while Kanninen said she was concerned about the cost of technology initiatives. [InsideNova]

GW’s Barcroft Park Field to Be Named — George Washington University will name the field its baseball team plays at Barcroft Park after a major donor. The field recently underwent a $3 million renovation. It will be named after Avram “Ave” Tucker, a former GW baseball player and the owner of a financial firm, who is making a $2 million donation to the school. The newly-christened “Tucker Field” will be dedicated in a ceremony Saturday morning. [George Washington University]

Orthopaedic Center to Open in Clarendon — The Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center of Falls Church has announced that it has opened a second office, at 1307 N. Highland Street in Clarendon.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Dawn over Barrett Elementary School (photo courtesy Larry Bowring)

County Seeks Fraud Hotline Vendor — Arlington County has issued a request for proposals for a new fraud hotline. The hotline is intended to provide “a safe and confidential process for employees to report ethical issues anonymously through a third-party vendor and to be assured that their concerns are heard and dealt with.” [InsideNova]

Eden Center Tenants Sue Landlord — Tenants at the Eden Center in Falls Church are suing the shopping center’s landlord, saying that the building is crumbling due to poor maintenance and nothing is being done about it. [Washington Post]

Kudos for Barcroft — The $3 million ballpark at Barcroft Park, which was paid for and is used by George Washington University, has been named the top college baseball facility in the A-10 conference and the 68th-best college ballpark in the nation. [GW Sports]

1812 Overture Concert Tomorrow — The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will be performing the famed 1812 Overture Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The concert will be held at Summerall Field and will feature cannon fire to accompany the classic Tchaikovsky composition. [Ode Street Tribune, U.S. Army Band]

JBMHH Firefighters Battle Arlington Blaze — Firefighters from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, who often are dispatched on calls in Arlington County as part of a mutual aid agreement, helped to extinguish a fire at a Columbia Pike apartment complex last week. [DVIDS]

Photo courtesy Larry Bowring

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Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship Planned for Arlington

GW baseball game at the newly renovated Barcroft ParkThe Atlantic 10 baseball championship will be held at Arlington’s Barcroft Park next year.

The park, at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive, is the home field for the baseball team of George Washington University, an A-10 school. The university announced the news earlier this week.

Barcroft Park underwent a $3 million renovation two years ago that upgraded it to a Division I-caliber field. The renovation included expanding the field’s dugouts and adding bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf. Barcroft Park is now “one of the top collegiate facilities in the region,” according to a GW press release.

Next year will be the first time the Colonials host an A-10 championship, although the team won four past championships and competed at the event in 2013 in Charlotte, N.C. GW has played at Barcroft Park since 1993, and has compiled a 331-230-1 record over 23 seasons, the press release said.

The tournament will be held from May 20 to May 23, 2015.

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