By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFROIt’s time to dust off your goggles, pull out that snorkel and gather those fins, as D.C. gets ready for pool season. This past week, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District rolled out the official pool season during a press event at Langdon Pool and Spray Park, 2680 Miles Avenue, N.E. In 2018, Langdon went through a $3 million renovation which made it the only place in D.C. with a combination of pool and spray park. Other features of Langdon include: a new pool and all new equipment, six lap lanes, ADA ramp and handrail into the pool, drinking fountain for people and their pets, and a splash pad area, with multiple spray features, according to the mayor’s office.Public pools are now open in the District on weekends and will be open on weekdays beginning June 17.(Courtesy Photo: dpr.dc.gov)“In D.C., we view our parks and pools and playgrounds and senior wellness centers not as a luxury, but as must haves – in every neighborhood, in every corner of the District,” said Mayor Bowser. Washington, D.C. celebrated being ranked the #1 park system in the country by The Trust for Public Land. The Trust’s survey found that 98 percent of District residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park.“The investments we’ve made have helped us achieve the #1 ranked park system in the nation, including a world-class system of indoor and outdoor pools for D.C, families to enjoy throughout the summer,” Bowser said.“We achieve this honor by investing more than $200 million to ensure that all residents have this great access. Coming into office we made another pledge that all of our fitness and recreational centers would be absolutely free for D.C. residents.”“So we recognize how important it is, especially in a growing city to have better access to places where they can have fun for free.”The mayor spoke of adding 1,000 new slots to eight sites around the city for kids, as well as other investments in the district’s summer camp programs. “When we’re talking about giving people a fair shot we want to make sure we have free things, as [often] as we can, including this pool,” Bowser said. “…we have affordable and [many] activities for families. When we do that we know that everybody has equal access to opportunity around our city.”The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is expanding swim hours for 10 pool locations including: Anacostia, Francis, Langdon, Kenilworth, Oxon Run, Lincoln Capper, Happy Hollow, Harry Thomas, Upshur, and Banneker. those locations will open at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.Pools will be open on a weekend-only schedule (Saturday and Sunday) through June 16. Starting Monday, June 17, all outdoor pools will operate on individual summer schedule. Spray Parks open Saturday, May 25 and operate daily, from 10 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., according to the mayor’s office.The DPR aquatic inventory includes 19 outdoor pools, 11 indoor pools, 23 spray parks and three children’s pools.For more information on the summer outdoor pool schedule, visit: dpr.dc.gov/page/outdoor-pools.
Kolkata: Several animal lovers were allegedly beaten up by the Bidhannagar Police on Tuesday night in front of Swasthaya Bhavan. Actor Debolina Dutta and Tathagata Mukherjee stated that the police had beaten them without any provocation. However, Bidhannagar Police have denied the allegation of beating them up and alleged that the group of pet lovers were creating a nuisance and hurled abusive languages at the cops and also at the lady police personnel. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to Dutta, a group of animal lovers were protesting against the decision of allowing the two nursing students to attend class who were allegedly accused of murdering 16 puppies recently. Police personnel were also there since morning. It is alleged that late on Tuesday night, all of a sudden, police personnel started using abusive languages at them. They even assaulted a protester. Seeing him getting harassed, others present there protested. It is alleged that the cops then started beating up the demonstrators. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”We were peacefully sitting on the road and sloganeering. All of a sudden, police personnel started abusing us verbally and even beat us up despite our protest being a peaceful one. Even male police personnel heckled female protesters. Actually, they wanted to end their duty and go home and thus, they did this,” said Dutta. Though the actor and others claimed that police had beaten them without any provocation, Bidhannagar Police have denied the allegations. According to senior police officials, the protesters were creating nuisance in the area. They were repeatedly asked to leave the place but they did not bother to listen. On the contrary, protesters used abusive languages targeting the cops. Deputy Commissioner of Police (headquarters) Amit Javalgi gave a written statement which read: “They marched towards the Swasthaya Bhavan and were stopped at the gates as 144 CrPC is promulgated around the building. The animal lovers continued their protest. The protest continued till midnight. The police did not impede them from doing so. However, after midnight, few protestors started beating drums causing nuisance in the area. Matters became serious when few of them started passing lewd remarks on lady police officers. When the officers went to attend and resolve the issue amicably they were pushed by few agitated protestors. Police tried to confine those who attacked them but they fled. The rest of the crowd left peacefully after that. If the police had any intention to take action against the protestors, they would have done it much earlier and wouldn’t have waited till 1 am. No matter what the cause creating public nuisance by beating drums in the dead of the night and abusing policemen and lady police officers on duty is an offence. Police are duty-bound to ensure peaceful assembly but are equally responsible to ensure order.”
It turned into a fan-moment for many wide eyed patrons, when the humble AR Rahman stepped onto the dais and thanked everyone for their presence and being patient. The internationally acclaimed artiste was in the Capital to officially announce his upcoming concert in November, The Sufi Route.Organised by Friday Filmworks, INvision Entertainment, and Invloed Matrix, The Sufi Route has been established to encourage and nurture a holistic alternate music experience, is hosting its first ever concert on November 18 at Qutub Minar in Delhi. The concert will bring to the fore, Sufi artists like Nooran sisters, Mukhtiar Ali, Hans Raj Hans, Konya Turkish Music Ensemble, Dhruv Sangari and Dervish dancers. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe Oscar winning music maestro said, “For me, Sufi means destroying the evil in your heart. I am grateful to the organisers for this concert. This is something I cherish very closely. The need of the hour is to share the spirituality and love, which Sufi gives, with humanity.”Rahman expressed his gratitute to the organisers for bringing up the idea, and giving a platform to Sufi. He believes that the youth as well will love to listen to the songs in the upcoming concert. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWhat are the maestro’s views on spirituality? Says Rahman, “Spirituality is not about bhajans or kawwalis, it’s about love and actions. For me that is very important.”About his musical compositions he said, “When we take up any job, we take up a responsibility, and we must do it honestly. It’s the same with music. What we give to the people has to be right, and filtered even with all the limitations, and one must try his best to do so.”When enquired about his thoughts regarding the audience’s reaction upon singing Tamil or Hindi songs at certain concerts, in context to some recent events, AR Rahman said, “I’ve been receiving complaints since my first gig in 2000. In some places they complain about the Tamil songs, while in some place there are complains about the Hindi songs. But they’ve (audience) been coming back for the concerts anyway, so I don’t mind.” Sufi music is universally accepted as an expression of peace, freedom, and diversity. The unusual concert, The Sufi Route, is the first Sufi festival in India aimed as an ode to the origins of the genre. It is also the only time in recent memory that two ancient and culturally rich roots of Sufi music – Turkish Tasawuf and Indian Sufism – are blending together on this scale. The festival at large aims to achieve peace at such a time of unrest across the globe.This ‘music led peace festival’ has been designed to be age agnostic, and it welcomes anyone with an ear for alternative music and poetry. The organisers have also created The Sufi Route to be a traveling, global platform, with plans for Indian artistes to have an encore in Turkey in the next edition, followed by concerts in UK and UAE. Gagan Takyar of INvision Entertainment, Event Organiser and Co-Owner said, “The idea of The Sufi Route came about because this genre of music deserves its share of limelight. Not many music lovers have heard the undiluted rhythms of Sufism that are truly soul-stirring. We are honoured and excited to bring about this congregation of amazing artists. It’s a dream in the making!”