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Morning Notes

Rain showers and thunderstorms at the Marine Corps War Memorial (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cruel Summer in the Pool — “Arlington’s four summer swimming teams in the Northern Virginia Swimming League had a combined losing record of 9-11 this season. It was the first summer since the 2012 campaign that the four had a cumulative losing mark… This summer Overlee also was the only one of the four with a winning mark, at 3-2.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington = Jersey City? — A TikTok creator, talking about her viral map comparing parts of the D.C. area with New York City area locales: “I completely understand that people are going to disagree with this, but it was Arlington and Jersey City — you know, being literally across the river from a big economic center that people commute into. I think the way people in DC talk about Arlington — it just sounded very familiar to some of the things that I’ve heard people in Manhattan saying about people who live just across the water in New Jersey.” [Washingtonian]

Another Gun Caught at DCA Checkpoint — “A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented an Alexandria, Va., resident from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight this morning, July 25. It was the 16th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.” [Press Release]

Brittany O’Grady’s Latest Project — From actress and Arlington native Brittany O’Grady: “I’m filming an Amazon show called The Consultant, with Nat Wolff and Christoph Waltz. It’s about a man who takes over a company, and my character and others are challenged on their morality. I’m also excited to finally play women [rather than teenagers]. The storylines get deeper.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

A Spring and Arlington’s Oldest Home — “This land was originally patented by Thomas Owsley in 1696 with the caveat that he had to build a house on the land within a year or forfeit rights to the land. It’s believed that Owsley built the stone house that sits at Dawson Terrace Recreation Center, one street west of the Spring Site. If true, it is the oldest house in Arlington County…  The spring is located inside a spring house at the bottom of a stone stairway at the end of North Scott Street.” [Atlas Obscura]

It’s Tuesday — Cloudy, then rain starting in the afternoon. High of 80 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Ballston at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s Officially Summer — “The 2022 summer solstice arrives at 5:14 a.m. Eastern time. At this precise moment the sun appears directly over the Tropic of Cancer — as far north as it appears in the sky all year. Around the solstice, the sun’s northward movement in the sky appears to pause briefly before reversing direction for the next six months.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Gulf Branch Project Meeting TomorrowUpdated at 9:00 a.m. — “Gulf Branch project engagement resumes with a June 2022 community meeting. The design phase for the Gulf Branch Stream Project began in 2019. It was put on hold in March 2020 due to budgetary uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is moving forward again. We have some project updates to share and will hold a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 PM.” [Arlington County]

I-395 Drivers Still Not Taking the Hint — From Dave Statter: “The 8C barrels are much like Rodney Dangerfield — just not as funny. [Video taken] today just after 9:30 a.m.” [Twitter]

Local Swim League Update — “With a lopsided 270-150 victory over the visiting Langley Wildthings, the Overlee Flying Fish of Division 1 were the lone winning team from Arlington in the opening week of the Northern Virginia Swimming League’s 2022 outdoor summer season in June 18 action.” [Sun Gazette]

Amazon HQ2 Leader Retires — “Ardine Williams, the Amazon.com Inc. executive overseeing hiring for the company’s HQ2 operations, has retired. According to Virginia Business, Williams retired sometime in the past few weeks and a replacement has not been named.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Leader for Local Homeless Org — ‘Fraser Murdoch, who brings extensive social-safety-net and non-profit experience with him, has been tapped as new CEO of Arlington-based Bridges to Independence.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A boat in the Potomac as clouds move in over Rosslyn (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

A group is seeking to make it legal to swim in the Potomac again.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network is working to get D.C. to lift its decades-old swimming ban, saying that the Potomac is now clean enough for safe swimming in certain parts of the river. From the group’s website:

Swimming has been illegal in the Potomac in DC since 1971, when the river was plagued with sewage and toxic chemicals.  Passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 led to gradually improving water quality, and our community science monitoring shows that the Potomac in DC is often clean enough to swim at public access points such as the Tidal Basin, Hains Point and Fletcher’s Cove. PRKN will mark the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act in 2022 by seeking a formal commitment by Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to lift the ban on swimming in the Potomac and to work with the National Park Service to identify safe places for people to swim.

As the Potomac is under the jurisdiction of D.C. from shoreline to shoreline, the swimming ban applies to waters adjacent to Arlington and Alexandria as well.

Boat traffic, dangerous currents, and other hazards mean that not everywhere on the river is suitable for swimming. But the idea of a public beach with lifeguards on the river could be appealing, especially during the hottest summer days.

(For the record, the group advocating for an Arlington boathouse says a public beach adjacent to the facility — which will be near Roosevelt Island and Rosslyn — has not been under consideration. “That has never come up before in our discussions as a group,” George Kirschbaum of the Arlington Boathouse Foundation tells ARLnow.)

Given the ongoing swimming discussion, we’re wondering what percentage of readers would actually go for a dip in the river, if given a chance.

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Morning Notes

A jet takes off from Reagan National Airport at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Whiskey Bar Coming to Clarendon — “Chicken + Whiskey is branching out into Northern Virginia. The Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant and whiskey bar, which got its start from a smaller location in Logan Circle in 2017, has inked a deal for a new location near the Clarendon Metro in Arlington County. The 5,708-square-foot restaurant is slated to open late this year or early next at 3033 Wilson Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Flood Awareness Week — “Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States and it is becoming more frequent with climate change. As we head into the typical rainy season, Arlington County and Fairfax County are teaming up for Virginia Flood Awareness Week to get out key messages of being informed and prepared.” [Arlington County]

Bill to Limit Gov. Powers — “Five of Arlington’s seven-member General Assembly delegation voted in support of a measure that will limit the power of governors to act unilaterally for an indeterminate period in a crisis. Legislation sponsored by state Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) on March 9 cleared the House of Delegates on a 91-8 vote, following earlier passage in the state Senate by a margin of 29-11. Gov. Youngkin is expected to sign the bill.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Kids Hold Ukraine Bake Sale — “Our boys and friends wanted to do something to help the people of #Ukraine – they decided on a bake sale. They raised $900+ today and it’s now headed to medical staff that are getting supplies to the Ukraine/Poland border. Nice job kiddos.” [Twitter]

Bishop O’Connell Swimmer Stands Out — “For Kate Bailey, her time to receive deserved recognition as a standout high-school swimmer in Arlington came this season in her final senior campaign. During past winter years, Bailey and other top local swimmers performed in the shadow of 2022 Yorktown High School graduate and Summer Olympian Torri Huske. With Huske now swimming in college at Stanford University, Bailey’s accomplishments this winter drew more attention.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 31. Sunrise at 7:22 am and sunset at 7:16 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The 25-yard lanes, which can be turned into a 50-meter pool, in the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center (staff photo)

This year saw major changes to how Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools run community swim classes, to the surprise of some locals.

In July, Arlington Public Schools launched the APS Aquatics School for students and residents, while the county opened the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center in August.

APS’s new program prompted the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation to relocate most of its classes from local public high schools to the new facility near Crystal City. Since September, Long Bridge has been home to all county classes — save youth swim team practices — which officials say centralizes the county’s program and serves more people.

“Arlington County has long known the community demand for aquatics programs far exceeded the pool capacity in Arlington Public Schools,” said parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “Opening a long-awaited community treasure is hard enough, opening it amidst a pandemic has been amazing. We are happy as to how the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center has been received. And with the opening, there are now more opportunities than ever.”

Until this fall, DPR scheduled all classes, competitive swim team training and public swim time in the pools at Wakefield, Washington-Liberty and Yorktown high schools. With Long Bridge and the new school program up and running, APS and DPR are hammering out a new policy for sharing facilities. In the meantime, folks are still learning about and adjusting to the changes, per social media and emails to ARLnow.

“This is huge,” one tipster tells us. “The neighborhood school pools are one of the silent gems of Arlington… I don’t think anyone thought the aquatic center would take neighborhood pool classes.”

The school system started its swim class program on July 14 to recover more of the costs to maintain the pools and offer affordable classes, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.

Initially, Kalish says the school system asked DPR to move all programs to Long Bridge, including practice for the youngest members of Arlington Aquatic Club — the county-run competitive swim program that helped train Olympic medalist Torri Huske.

“It became apparent that youth swim teams are more successful when their training base is close to home,” she said. “This school year, per [a School Board policy], APS is allowing five practice groups to train about 15 hours a week at Wakefield and W-L pools.”

DPR decides which groups to schedule at the high school pools and pays APS to use them, Bellavia said.

Today, APS offers drowning prevention and learn-to-swim classes for babies, toddlers, children and adults, and fitness classes for adults and seniors.

Classes are staffed and filling up, Bellavia says, despite difficulties recruiting lifeguards and swimming instructors — another impact of nationwide workforce shortages.

“[The] APS Aquatics School implementation plan is on schedule and both the Summer and Fall term have been fully staffed and the courses, especially PreK School and Swim School, have been fully subscribed with a few experiencing small waitlist,” Bellavia said.

Classes generally fill up within the first week of registration, which opens 30 days before the session starts, he added.

“We have a new teacher who is very good,” said one Facebook user of her experience in W-L’s water aerobics class. “I get a true workout.”

Likewise, Kalish says the Long Bridge aquatics programs are “very popular.”

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Morning Notes

Blue and Orange Line Changes Today — “There will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations. Blue Line service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square stations only… Orange Line service will operate between Vienna and New Carrollton stations and Silver Line service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations, with single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom.” [WMATA]

Suspicious Object in Pentagon Parking Lot — From the Pentagon Force Protection Agency yesterday afternoon: “At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) Police unit on routine patrol in South parking when they observed a suspicious object. The area was immediately cordoned off, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked from the area. PFPA Hazardous Device Unit responded and the object was rendered safely at about 6:50 a.m. The all clear was given at 7:35 a.m… There is no threat to the Pentagon and surrounding area. The incident is under further investigation.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlingtonian Swims Around Manhattan — “What’s that popular phrase often given as the reason climbers attempt to scale Mount Everest: ‘Because it is there.’ That’s pretty much the same explanation Andie Nelson gave, in addition to being a new challenge, for successfully completing the 28.5-mile 20 Bridges Manhattan Swim around the famous New York City island-borough on Aug. 24. It was the first time the Arlington resident attempted the swim.” [Sun Gazette]

Pair Face Drug, Robbery Charges — “800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 5:43 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Based upon information provided by dispatch and witnesses in the area, a lookout was broadcast and two of the three suspects were located and taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the three known suspects allegedly forced entry into the victim’s apartment and physically assaulted her before stealing two cell phones and fleeing the scene on foot. During a search of the two suspects incident to arrest, items consistent with drug paraphernalia were recovered.” [ACPD]

Clarendon Road Closure Today — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday 9am – 1pm: Temporary closure of EB Washington Blvd between N Kirkwood and Wilson Blvd for roadway infrastructure. Expect detour at Kirkwood to 10th St North, then to Wilson. WB Washington Blvd open but expect delays.” [Twitter]

Volunteer to Remove Trail Bumps — From Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail: “Tired of those bumps on the trail? Volunteer to help us fix them. Volunteer to fix the bumps near Memorial Bridge on 10/16.” [Twitter, Eventbrite]

Video Tour of Local Fire Station — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Since COVID prevented us from opening up our fire stations to tours during fire prevention week, we hope our community enjoys this video tour of Fire Station 5 given by the members assigned there on C Shift.” [Twitter, YouTube]

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Fitness buffs, lap swimmers, curious residents and families with kids could be seen trickling into the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center this morning (Monday), on the opening day of the new facility.

A 12-year-old girl from Dorothy Hamm Middle School was the first to jump into the water, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish.

Later, when an ARLnow reporter visited the facility, a five-year-old boy could be heard wondering how tall the diving boards were, while a handful of adults worked out upstairs in an 8,000-square-foot fitness center. More families showed up later in the morning.

The county put $2 million in donations from Boeing toward opening the center at 475 Long Bridge Drive this summer. At one point, a July opening seemed possible, but delays pushed the date back to August.

Four years after the project was approved, the 92,000-square-foot swimming and recreation facility — the second of four phases to redevelop Long Bridge Park — is officially open. It boasts a pool for serious swimmers and one for recreational swimmers, with numerous community amenities, from spas to community rooms.

“We have a full certificate of occupancy, but there is still a punch list” of tasks to complete before the center is fully done, said Peter Lusk, the athletic and facilities services division chief for the county.

Kalish said the parks department will transfer many of its swimming programs to the center, which “will help the community a lot,” as pre-pandemic, swimming classes hosted at pools in Arlington Public Schools filled up quickly.

Parks department classes are due to restart in mid-September, “the first time in 17 months,” Lusk said.

Competitive swimmers, water polo players and synchronized swimmers can use a 79-degree pool that can be configured for either 25-yard laps or 50-meter ones, using moveable starting platforms. There’s also an area for spectators upstairs.

Some younger recreational swimmers will remain at local school pools, as parents expressed concerns about travel times to Long Bridge Park.

The Aquatics Center “will be the home of the Arlington Aquatic Club,” Kalish said, referencing the county-run competitive swim program that helped to train Olympic medalist Torri Huske. “Younger ones will swim in school pool closer to home.”

Recreational swimmers can use a family pool with a splash pad, a water slide, four 25-yard lap lanes, a lazy river and a spa. The pool is 83-84 degrees for tots, seniors, and those doing therapeutic water activities. The lap lanes can be used for water volleyball and basketball, which Kalish said the department is “hoping this will be a draw for millenials.”

Nearby, “wet” meeting rooms can be used classes and for birthday parties.

Kalish shared grand visions for bringing out the community, from hosting big swim meets and using a large screen for movie nights, renting out open spaces and turning part of the facility’s new parking lot into farmer’s markets and wine tastings.

Prices for passes range by age group, and reductions are available to income-eligible residents. Daily admission ranges from $5-9 per person or $25 for families, and an annual pass ranges from $350-630 per person or $1,750 for families.

Boeing, for whom one pool is named, is making about 5,000 daily passes available to active duty military families in the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s service area for free through a lottery system.

The project has been in the works for nearly a decade, attracting some controversy along the way.

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Last night Olympic swimmer and Arlingtonian Torri Huske was greeted at Dulles International Airport by 40 friends and family members.

The 18-year-old Yorktown High School grad flew back from Tokyo Olympics after competing in three swimming contests, earning a silver medal in one event, as part of the U.S. women’s 4×100 medley relay team, and narrowly missing the podium in the individual 100-meter butterfly race.

From Dulles, her friends drove her almost all the way home — but just before reaching their destination, feigned a wrong turn and ended up in the parking lot of Glebe Elementary School.

There, she was surprised by the flashing lights of Arlington police and fire trucks — the latter of which had hoisted a 50-foot American flag in the air. Below were somewhere between 200 and 300 family members, friends, teammates from Arlington Aquatics Club and Yorktown High School, as well as younger AAC swimmers, her second-grade teacher and other Arlington Public Schools staff who helped the Huskes through the years.

“It was a magical night,” her father, Jim Huske, tells ARLnow.

The event was organized by the Arlington Aquatics Club, offered by Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and the club with which Torri has swam since she was five years old. Although the Huskes knew the surprise event was coming, they didn’t know how many people to expect. And news of the surprise greeting spread quickly.

“I think I knew 80% of the people there,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Cheering fans held glow sticks and signs, and Torri took photos with young swimmers who look up to her, Parks Department spokeswoman Susan Kalish said. The fire department gave her an honorary shirt and patch.

“Everyone was so excited for her and there was so much joy in the air,” she said. “Torri made a beeline for Evan Stiles, her coach, to give him a big hug when she got out of the car.”

Stiles has been her coach for the last four years, Huske said. He credited him, and all of Torri’s coaches, as well as the local connections who helped Torri find suitable pools to practice in, and APS staff for getting his daughter to the Olympics.

“Everybody has a little piece of that medal, whether they realize it or not, and she knows,” Huske said.

He added that his family is “so proud of her of her swimming. She always wants to do better. She gave it her best at that time, she’s looking forward to the opportunity to represent America again. We’re so proud of how she handled it. At 18, all those young kids, they all banded together, and all helped each other. They did a phenomenal job to support each other, from soup to nuts.”

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After heartbreak in a race last weekend, Arlington swimming phenom Torri Huske will be coming home with some Olympic hardware after all.

Huske was part of the U.S. women’s 4×100 medley relay team that won silver in a race that was televised nationally Saturday night.

The team was bolstered by a strong 56.16 second performance by Huske, who swam the butterfly leg of the medley, but came up just short of gold. The U.S. finished 0.13 seconds behind the Australian team, which set an Olympic record with a time of 3:51.60.

A week ago, Huske finished 0.01 seconds away from the bronze medal and 0.14 seconds from gold in the individual 100-meter butterfly race. The 18-year-old Yorktown High School grad, who will attend Stanford in the fall, was also on a mixed medley team that missed the medal podium this past week.

Reaction to the medal-winning relay performance via social media, below.

https://twitter.com/USASwimming/status/1421658186210185219

https://twitter.com/stanfordwswim/status/1421661277189906436

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Morning Notes

Beyer Lauds Vaccine Mandate for Feds — “Requiring vaccinations for the full federal workforce is the right thing to do for the health of the workforce and the nation they serve. Including all civilian federal employees and contractors in this mandate is huge, it will mean this covers a very large number of workers. This policy rightly prioritizes federal workers’ health.” [Press Release]

No Mask Mandate in Va. So Far — “Virginia recommends that even vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in certain circumstances, but with different locations experiencing different levels of COVID-19 transmission, the state has stopped short of issuing a mandate.” [Tysons Reporter]

Mask Mandates for Pentagon and D.C. — “Effective immediately, the Department of Defense has ordered that masks must be worn at all Pentagon facilities, regardless of vaccination status.” “Masks will again be required indoors in D.C. beginning Saturday, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser ordered, in a reversal of recent policy driven by new federal guidelines that recommend indoor masking in areas where coronavirus transmission is high.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]

Reports of Sick Birds Decreasing — “After Virginia and other states began receiving reports of a mysterious illness sickening or killing birds in late May, reports are starting to go down. However, the cause of the birds’ illness and deaths remains unknown.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources provided the update on the bird mortality event Wednesday.” [Patch]

Bus Bay Closures Start Sunday — “To make way for the Ballston-MU Multimodal Improvements Project, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) will be temporarily closing several Metrobus bays near the Metrorail station. Starting Sunday, bus bays A,B,C,D, and J will be closed, which will impact a number of Metrobus routes. The changes will also cause many detours as the buses alter their routes to access the new bays.” [Patch]

Local Diver Wins Another Title — “A triple-crown high-school diving champion from the winter season has added another title to her 2021 resume. Dominion Hills diver Ellie Joyce won the oldest-age senior girls age group with a 227.75 point total at the Divisional 4 championships of the Northern Virginia Swimming League. During the high-school campaign as a sophomore for Washington-Liberty, Joyce won Liberty District, 6D North Region and Class 6 state championships for the Generals.” [Sun Gazette]

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Yorktown High School grad Torri Huske appeared poised for victory in the 100-meter butterfly last night in Tokyo, but ended up just off the Olympic podium by a tiny fraction of a second.

The 18-year-old was out in front by a head down the stretch, but ended up finishing at 55.73 seconds, 0.01 seconds away from the bronze medal and just 0.14 seconds after the gold medal time.

Arlington Aquatic Club teammates and other supporters cheered Huske on from Dudley’s Sport and Ale in Shirlington, as seen on NBC’s Olympics Twitter account, below.

Despite the disappointment, Huske is still early in her competitive swimming career. She will attend Stanford in the fall, swimming on the school’s elite women’s team, and will be a favorite to return to the Olympics in three years in Paris.

More from social media:

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1419480533617283074

https://twitter.com/stanfordwswim/status/1419472245039063043

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