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A lifeguard at The Water Mine in Reston (via Fairfax County Park Authority/YouTube)

While school doesn’t officially start until Aug. 22, The Water Mine at Lake Fairfax will wind its summer operations down a week early this year, beginning Monday (Aug. 18).

The Fairfax County Park Authority is temporarily closing the popular Water Mine Family Swimming’ Hole due to lifeguard and other operational staff shortages at the location. The closure will last from Aug. 15-20.

After that, for the last three weeks of summer, tthe park will only be open on weekends, with Sunday on Labor Day weekend (Sept. 4) as its final day of the year.

The issue is part an industry-wide labor shortage faced by FCPA and other county agencies. The park authority typically recruits more than 600 summertime hires to staff summer camps, pools, and other park sites.

The decision was made due to safety concerns.

“We understand this decision is disappointing. However, it’s safety, safety, safety first,” FCPA Park Services Division Director Cindy Walsh said.

Walsh said many lifeguards are going back to school earlier or going on vacation, leaving the Water Mine with fewer guards than it has had in previous years.

The Water Mine is located at 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive in Reston. It typically operates from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Earlier this summer, the American Lifeguard Association estimated that staffing shortages would affect a third of the pools in the country. Reston Association closed two pools for multiple days last month.

Screenshot via Fairfax County Park Authority/YouTube

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Sun glare with clouds (via Ritam Baishya/Unsplash)

With the D.C. area’s summer heat in full swing, local organizers worry that there are too few options for unhoused residents in the county to cool down.

Last month, the Fairfax County NAACP approved a resolution calling on Fairfax County to improve heat relief services for low-income residents and those experiencing homelessness in the county.

“Summer temperatures and storm frequencies are increasing due to climate change, thus homeless people are at greater risk of health impacts and even death,” says the resolution approved by the civil rights organization’s executive committee on July 28.

Potential solutions proposed by the resolution include a pilot program like D.C.’s heat emergency plan, better communication of hours and locations for the county’s cooling centers, vouchers to families for motel rooms, and distributions of water bottles, personal fans, and sunscreen at government centers.

In response to the resolution, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Health and Human Services Committee directed the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide the county’s current heat emergency plan.

In a memo dated July 29, DHHS listed a number of options available for cooling down. It also agreed to “enhance our efforts” and enact more “immediate action” for the county’s unhoused residents in need of relief from the August heat and humidity:

This work includes addressing transportation access gaps, evaluating both the variety and coordination of supply disbursements (both direct provision and at our cooling sites), considering the use of hotel vouchers in the event overflow shelters are at capacity, and providing a more robust communications plan as well as additional opportunities to provide direct communication outreach to individuals in need.

Additionally, NAACP officials tell FFXnow that a committee will meet tomorrow (Aug. 12) to discuss more solutions and ways to better help those in need.

Mary Paden, who chairs the NAACP’s Fair and Affordable Housing Committee, says she’s encouraged by the county’s willingness to listen and work with the group. But action needs to happen now, considering there are likely plenty of very hot days still left in the summer.

“Many [unhoused residents] are older and sick and are more affected by the heat than a younger, healthier person,” Paden said. “It took deaths for the hypothermia program to get set up in the winter…and you wonder if we have to wait for a death to get really serious about taking care of people in the heat.” Read More

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A giant inflatable duck looking cool in a pool (via john labelette/Unsplash)

It’s August, and we have fully arrived at the hell’s front porch portion of the D.C. area’s seasonal cycle.

Over the past week or so, thermometers have been clocking in the upper 80s and 90s, but with the humidity adding an extra 10 degrees to every day, the summer heat offers an almost tangible reminder that, despite all the concrete, asphalt and landscaped lawns, Fairfax County is still a wetland at heart.

Like other kinds of extreme weather, heat can be dangerous, contributing to hundreds of deaths per year in the U.S., and climate change will likely push that toll higher.

To take your mind off the prospect of hot, muggy days becoming even more of a norm in the future, what’s your go-to method of handling this summer weather? Do you try to escape with a vacation, or are you more apt to seek relief at the nearest swimming pool or ice cream shop?

If you have other tips and secrets for cooling off, feel free to share them below.

Photo via john labelette/Unsplash

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The Nottoway Nights summer concert series will return to Vienna in July, along with a new Global Dance & Music program in West Falls Church (courtesy Office of Supervisor Dalia Palchik)

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s annual Summer Entertainment Series is back, and this time, West Falls Church has been invited to the party.

The inaugural Global Music & Dance program will launch at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday (July 6) in the parking lot of the Graham Road Community Building (3036 Graham Road), Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik announced on Tuesday (June 28).

“This new program will highlight local international arts groups, with a focus on dancing,” Palchik said in a board matter, directing county staff to start advertising the scheduled concerts.

The festivities will kick off with swing dancing from the Silver Tones Swing Band before showcasing a different style of music, from polka to klezmers and mariachi dancing, every Wednesday in July and August.

Global Music & Dance joins the long-running Nottoway Nights concerts in Vienna to form the newly named Providence Presents series:

Nottoway Nights — Thursday evenings, 7:30-8:30 p.m, Nottoway Park (9601 Courthouse Road)

  • July 7: Voices of Classic Soul (R&B, Motown)
  • July 14: Project Locrea (world music)
  • July 21: King Soul (Southern soul)
  • July 28: Seth Kibel & The Kleztet (jazz, swing)
  • Aug. 4: The Seldom Scene (bluegrass)
  • Aug. 11: Cathy Ponton King (roots, blues)
  • Aug. 18: Yellow Dubmarine (Beatles tribute band)
  • Aug. 25: Billy Coulter (roots rock, pop)

Global Music & Dance — Wednesday evenings, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Graham Road Community Building (3036 Graham Road)

  • July 6: Silver Tones Swing Band (swing dance)
  • July 13: Fraternidad Folklorica Cultural Morenada Bolivia (Bolivian dance)
  • July 20: Violin Dreams (klezmer music)
  • July 27: Mariachi Los Amigos (mariachi dance)
  • Aug. 3: The Continentals (polka music)
  • Aug. 10: El Tayrona (Colombian dance)
  • Aug. 17: Centro Cultural Peru (Peruvian dance)
  • Aug. 24: Caiso Steel Drum Band (Caribbean music)

The park authority partners with the district supervisors’ offices, the Fairfax County Park Foundation, and sponsors every summer to provide free entertainment across Fairfax County.

Underway since June 3, this year’s programming has been broken up into 11 series at 18 different venues and includes 180 live performances, along with drive-in movies at the Trinity Centre in Centreville. A full roster of events can be found on the park authority’s website.

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The Mosaic Skateland rink from summer 2021 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Lace up the skates and practice popping those wheelies, because the Mosaic District’s popular outdoor roller skating rink is returning later this month.

Mosaic Skateland is set to open on June 25 on Merrifield Center Town Drive, between the Barnes & Noble and Mexican restaurant Urbano and across from Bloomie’s. It will run through the entire summer, until September 25.

The “80’s retro style roller rink” will be open seven days a week and at least 11 hours a day. On Friday and Saturday nights, the rink will be open for more than 12 hours, from 11 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended, and attendees can bring their own skates, though pairs will be available for rent.

Opening night will also be accompanied by a “Pride Celebration” with musical performances.

Additionally, all roller rink ticket sales during the Pride Celebration will be donated to the advocacy group FCPS Pride to help “ensure that all students, including trans and gender-expansive students are welcome, safe and respected in schools,” according to the event page.

A spokesperson from EDENS, the owner and developer of the Mosaic District, told FFXnow by email that it sees the partnership with FCPS Pride as “a terrific way” to support LGBT youth and “educate our community.”

“The Gay-Straight Alliance student groups have moved more to a Gender and Sexuality Alliance as being more inclusive of the whole community of LGBTQI+ and allies,” the spokesperson wrote. “Skateland brings the community together as one to celebrate Pride month representing the importance of total inclusion.”

EDENS is partnering with operator Rink Management Services Corporation (RMS), which claims it is the largest operator of ice skating facilities in the country.

RMS applied for a special permit to construct the rink on an annual basis back in April, as FFXnow reported. The zoning hearing isn’t scheduled until July, but it appears the rink will be allowed to operate earlier than that.

The Board of Supervisors agreed in March to grant RMS a 75% reduction in zoning fees as part of last summer’s emergency measure that lowered or waived some fees to help the hospitality industry during the pandemic. RMS paid a $4,093.75 fee paid back in March, rather than the $16,375 fee that the permit typically would’ve carried.

EDENS is asking that the permit be approved “for future years as well,” turning the roller skating rink — as well as an ice skating rink in the winter months — into a permanent fixture at the Mosaic District.

If approved, the roller rink will run for about three months each year, starting in the spring as opposed to summer, according to an April statement from RMS. The operator also hopes to run an ice rink during the winter, starting in early November and closing in late February.

The Mosaic District has seen plenty of activity in recent weeks, with the opening of Shake Shack and last week’s launch of its summer movie series “Films in the Park,” which has screenings every Thursday through the end of August.

Still to come this summer is the Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle, which will move into the former Jinya space as the ramen bar relocates to a bigger suite.

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Morning Notes

The former Crate and Barrel building on International Drive in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Truck Fire Shuts Down I-95 South — “Saturday around 4:30 p.m., units were dispatched for a Truck Fire on I-95 South at Mile Marker 161. Multiple Vehicles on fire being transported by 18-Wheeler Vehicle Carrier, located in local lanes. Multiple Lanes were shutdown in southbound lanes. No reported injuries.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

BB Gun Drawn in Reston Over Smoking Confrontation — A security guard was surrounded by 10 juveniles outside a business in the 11900 block of Market Street on May 31 after telling them that smoking was not allowed there. One of the juveniles displayed a handgun that police later determined was “a replica style Glock BB gun.” No injuries were reported, but police intend to seek petitions for charges. [FCPD]

Idylwood Section of W&OD Trail Opens — A new, realigned section of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail by Idylwood Park has opened. Work on the new trail segment began in January to accommodate new ramps constructed as part of the project to add express lanes on I-66 outside the Capital Beltway. [W&OD Trail/Twitter]

Vienna Police Busy During Memorial Day Weekend — According to the most recent weekly report, the Vienna Police Department responded to a variety of incidents during last week’s ViVa Vienna festival. Issues included a juvenile attempting to enter a locked trailer, a driver backing into a police vehicle, and thefts of $20, a beverage, and 100 wristbands. [Sun Gazette]

Firefighters Rescue Kitten in Woodlawn — “On Saturday, May 28, a crew from Woodlawn Fire Station (Tower 424) responded to a non-emergency call from the Mount Vernon area about a whimpering kitten that had been stuck in a tree for over an hour. The team of first responders, led by Lt. Dave Bender, used the bucket to access the kitten and bring it to safety.” [On the MoVe]

See Photos from Reston Pride — The 2022 Reston Pride Festival was held at Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday (June 4). The festival’s fifth iteration featured more than 65 vendors, drag and spoken word performances, the acapella quartet Kinsey Sicks, and more. [Washington Blade]

Things to Do in Fairfax County This Summer — Fairfax County’s guide to the season highlights outdoor concerts, swimming pools and water parks, a “family adventure pass” to county rec centers, the Fairfax County Public Library’s summer reading program, and the recently launched “Potomac Banks” tourism campaign. [Fairfax County Government]

It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

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