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by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm 0

The trail connecting Doctor’s Run Park and S. George Mason Drive to Randolph Elementary School is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The project, funded with Neighborhood Conservation money, will realign the trail that runs between the park and the school, widening it and decreasing its slopes in several areas, according to its county project page. The trail will be lit until 6:00 p.m. to coincide with Randolph’s after school programs.

The new trail will also connect with the 12th Street S. bike boulevard that goes from street to trail at S. Quincy Street. When complete, county Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager David Goodman told ARLnow.com a HAWK signal will be installed at the intersection of George Mason Drive and 13th Street, where the trail connector meets the road. The improvements will also include a pedestrian

“There are some improvements we’re doing on either end of this connector that are going to tie this all together,” Goodman told ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm 358 0

An apartment building that bills its units as “boutique luxury” apartments says it’s a month away from leasing,

The Hyde, at 3119 9th Road N., is an 18-unit “exquisite rental residence,” according to developer Clark Realty Capital, that is still under construction but is expected to begin taking tenants next month. The apartments range from one to three bedrooms averaging 1,400 square feet each. When construction began, the project was referred to as 9th Road Residences when construction began a year ago.

The apartment building includes 33 parking spaces and ” a dog wash facility, automated package delivery, on-site electric vehicle charging stations, and wifi-enabled Nest temperature programs” as amenities, according to a Clark spokesman.

The rents have not yet been determined, but Clark developer Michael Jiang said they will be comparable to “similar new product in the area,” by square foot. For comparison, a 1,003-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom in the new Beacon Clarendon building cost almost $3,500 a month, according to that building’s website.

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm 699 0

A man who got drunk, sped down the wrong way of a one-way street in Clarendon and caused a crash that seriously injured a pedestrian earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Pentagon City resident Benjamin Andruss, 37, pleaed guilty yesterday to felony DUI maiming. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.

Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.

Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.

From a statement of facts entered by prosecutors as part of the plea:

He was taken by ambulance to GW Hospital, where he was treated for numerous injuries to his head and left elbow. Both required serious treatment. His head required more than a dozen staples. His broken elbow required surgery, the insertion of a metal plate, and screws to ensure regained functionality. The elbow now has a permanent visible scar. And [the victim], despite weeks of physical therapy, has yet to regain – and may never regain – a full range of motion.

After the crash, the Defendant exited the vehicle and appeared to try to walk away. He was prevented from doing so by onlookers. The Defendant was described as unsteady on his feet, with slurred speech and bloodshot/glassy eyes. He repeatedly “fell” into an officer’s arms as they spoke. The Defendant admitted to drinking and refused to perform all field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest at 9:20pm.

“Mr. Andruss made a series of poor decisions that evening,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher told ARLnow.com. “He drank too much, he didn’t take a cab, he drove recklessly from Ballston to Clarendon, and then he drove the wrong way, down the wrong street, at the wrong time.”

“Try to imagine this from the victim’s perspective: he’s minding his own business, walking down a sidewalk, when he hears an engine revving, sees a set of headlights speeding towards him, and has no more than a second to try to dive out of the way,” Katcher continued. “Next thing he knows he is on his back in the middle of the street with people looking down at him telling him not to move. This is the type of mayhem that happens when people drink and drive. There is no defense, no reason, and no excuse for this type of behavior.”

Andruss is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2015. He’s expected to receive a sentence of 1-5 years in prison.

This is not the only legal trouble Andruss is facing. Three days after the crash he was fired, and a week after that he was sued by his former employer, accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improper purchases on his company credit card and withdraws from the company checking account, all while deliberately concealing evidence of his actions.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm 0

NOVA Legal Beat logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Arlington firm that specializes in federal employment and labor law, security clearance proceedings, and military law.

Q. My job requires me to do much driving between multiple offices. Should I get paid overtime for this work-related travel?

A. Some employers have this notion in their heads that anything done away from a desk or a work station is not work, and certainly not compensable work. But when employees must be away from their desks or work stations so they can drive between job sites, that travel time under certain circumstances can be compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees not exempted from the law overtime at a rate of time and a half for any hours exceeding 40 hours per work week. When taking travel time into account, on top of any work performed at locations traveled to and from, employees can exceed this 40-hour threshold.

Federal regulation states that “[t]ime spent by an employee in travel as part of his principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, must be counted as hours worked.”

The emphasis here is on the phrase “part of his principal activity.” A “principal activity,” the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia noted in Epps v. Arise Scaffolding and Equipment, Inc. (2011), “embraces not just the predominant or principal function of an employee but also ‘all activities which are an integral and indispensable part of the principal activities.’” Hence, time spent traveling is compensable if the employee is “required to report at a meeting place to receive instructions or to perform other work there, or to pick up and to carry tools, the travel from the designated place to the work place is part of the day’s work,” according to the regulation.

Generally, the time an employee spends travelling from home to a work site or vice-versa is not compensable. You’ll note that the regulation does limit the definition of travel time to “travel from job site to job site.” Further, under an exemption to the FLSA’s travel time requirement created under the Portal-to-Portal Pay Act, “an employer need not compensate an employee for time spent traveling to the place of performance of the principal activity or for activities which are preliminary or postliminary to the principal activity,” the Eastern District noted in Harder v. ARCO Welding, Inc. (2013).

Examples of travel not covered by the FLSA identified by the court in Epps include “bridge workers’ boat ride to job site” and “well drilling crews’ mandatory ride to well site.” In these situations, the travel precedes the start of the principal activity. But any travel that occurs “after the beginning of the employee’s first principal activity and before the end of the employee’s last principal activity is…covered by the FLSA,” the court added.

Employees who believe they have been wrongly denied overtime for work-related travel should consult with an experienced employment law attorney, who can prepare for them an FLSA lawsuit. Employers, too, should consult with an experienced employment law attorney, who could help them determine whether an employee’s travel time is compensable.

Mathew B. Tully is the founding partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice federal employment law, military law, and security clearance representation. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit fedattorney.com. 

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Moe, a rescue dog who’s been treated to a posh life of bow ties and posing for paintings, if his photos are any indication.

Here’s what Moe’s owner, Kearsley, had to say about her shaggy, swaggy pooch:

Moe is a shaggy 6-year-old rescue. We think he is part terrier but aren’t really sure. He was one of three puppies; Larry, Curly and Moe. He is a super friendly guy and likes the view of Fairlington from our front door. When he isn’t watching the world go by, he likes to snuggle next to people on the couch. He hasn’t mastered fetch but he is really good at shaking hands.

He has long hair that grows very fast and gets it cut with the same dog clippers used on his human brother’s hair (don’t tell his brother). Because he has so much hair, we are looking into spinning his hair into wool and starting a line of “Moe” hair sweaters.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email office@arlnow.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 11:30 am 472 0

The site of the future STEM Preschool in Fairlington (photo via Google Maps)A new, 55-seat preschool with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math education appears on its way a stone’s throw from Shirlington.

STEM Preschool was approved by the Arlington County Board last night for a use permit at 3120 S. Abingdon Street, in the 74-year-old building once occupied by Frosty’s Heating and Cooling, next to Fire Station 7.

“We have a need in our community for daycare, for childcare,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said before the Board unanimously approved the application. “As we get more families, day care is a really important service to provide. I think this is going to be a great addition to the Fairlington community.”

The preschool is owned by Portia Moore, who owns P&E Babysitting, a service that caters largely to North Arlington families and has a five-star rating on Yelp. Moore started the babysitting business while she was a teacher for Arlington Public Schools. She taught for three yeas at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, one at Swanson Middle School and one at Patrick Henry Elementary School, in the preschool program.

Moore said she wanted to start a preschool focused on STEM education ever since she was getting her master’s degree from Marymount University and visited the elementary school programs at Ft. Belvoir.

“They have an amazing program there, with interactive labs with kindergarteners,” Moore told ARLnow.com this morning. “It was hands on, not just reading off the board. The children would learn through touching things and labs. It was interesting to me, and I thought younger kids could learn just like that.”

Moore said that there will be about 11 staff members trained in early STEM education, including a director with a master’s degree in early childhood education. She won’t be closing the babysitting business — “I think my clients would kill me,” she said — and she had hoped to be closer to her clientele, but said she fell in love with the space.

“There’s an outdoor play area in the back, and a lot of places in Arlington don’t have any land for that,” she said. As a requirement of her use permit, county staff mandated that the playground Moore plans to build is fenced in for the children’s safety.

Inside the school, there will be hands on activities to get the children to engage in STEM education, like plants, a butterfly garden to observe an insect’s life cycle and a “water table” to observe the phases of water. “Everything will be integrated,” Moore said, “the kids won’t just be doing science during science time, there will be math components, too.”

Now that the permit is approved, Moore said only building permits are left before construction can begin. She estimates the school will open on Jan. 20, the day after Martin Luther King Day. The center plans to operate 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. There are 15 parking spaces in the lot, but staff approved the site, pointing out nearby street parking is readily available for staff to use.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 10:30 am 0

Becketts Stache Dash logo Global Strides 5K logo

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Runners participating in 5K races next weekend will weave their way through opposite ends of the county.

The Global Strides 5K sends runners into the streets surrounding Tuckahoe Elementary School next Saturday, November 1. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m. and the 1 mile fun run begins at 9:00 a.m.

Proceeds from the Global Strides 5K will benefit Arlington Academy of Hope School in Uganda. AAH is a nonprofit organization founded by an Arlington family, aimed at improving the lives of children in rural Uganda through education and health care.

Registration is $25 and can be done online or at the race. Those who register online by next week’s deadline will receive a race t-shirt.

Also on Nov. 1, the inaugural Paws2Care 5K Family Fun Run/Walk will be held in Bluemont Park, at 9:00 a.m. The event will include free activities and giveaways like yoga, massages, face painting, music, dog treats, raffles and prizes.

The next day, on November 2, things will get a little hairy in Shirlington for the Beckett’s Irish Pub Stache Dash. Proceeds from that race go to The Movember Foundation, an organization that raises funds for men’s health programs.

The 5K begins at Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) at 8:00 a.m. There will be a post-race party at Samuel Beckett’s, where attendees will be provided with a mustache if they don’t already have one.

Registration is $40 and can be done online. Participants will receive a tech tee and light snacks after the race.

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 9:20 am 549 0

Sub-three-dollar gas in Arlington on 10/22/14

County Board Race is Anyone’s Guess – The outcome of the Arlington County Board race between incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze is far from certain. While Vihstadt is winning the fundraising battle, Howze is expected to benefit from far greater turnout than the 16 percent who voted in the special election this year. The last general election with a Senate race on the ballot saw a 55 percent turnout in Arlington. [Washington Post]

Vihstadt Peeved at ‘Pro-Streetcar Narrative’ — At yesterday’s County Board meeting, John Vihstadt complained about the county government’s pro-streetcar PR efforts. He suggested that he and fellow streetcar critic Libby Garvey, who make up 40 percent of the Board, should have their views heard through county government channels. Board Chair Jay Fisette slammed that idea, saying “it doesn’t make sense” for the county government to expend resources arguing against its own official policy. [InsideNova]

Cyclist Struck on Lynn Street — A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N., just before 9:00 this morning. The cyclist was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with an apparent dislocated collarbone.

Bank Robbery in Falls Church — The FBI is looking for a man who robbed a BB&T Bank on West Broad Street in Falls Church yesterday morning. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]

Zac Hanson’s Birthday — On this day 29 years ago, “MMMBop” singer Zac Hanson was born in Arlington. [Hello!]

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm 2,639 0

Virginia Hospital Center logoVirginia Hospital Center has issued a statement regarding its handling of a possible Ebola case.

On Friday, the hospital refused to admit a patient who was thought to possibly be infected with the Ebola virus, despite the fact that she was initially transported there. Instead, the Arlington paramedic crew was directed to take the patient to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she was treated.

It was later learned that the woman did not have Ebola.

VHC says it took proper action on Friday, because construction was taking place in the hospital’s biocontainment area. That construction is reportedly now complete, and the hospital says it is ready to treat a suspected Ebola patient.

From Virginia Hospital Center:

When the Ebola crisis initially unfolded and early guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were released, Virginia Hospital Center put in place processes and protocols that allowed us to safely screen suspected Ebola patients. As suspected Ebola cases surfaced at other hospitals and the CDC continued to change their recommended care guidelines, Virginia Hospital Center believed it was imperative that we have dedicated connecting rooms in the biocontainment area that would allow for the use of an anteroom by staff to safely enter and leave a patient’s room and safely remove and decontaminate Personal Protective Equipment. We needed to construct this anteroom to help mitigate the risk of transmission to patients, staff and our community.

On Friday, October 17, Arlington EMS alerted us that a patient with suspected Ebola symptoms and a reported, recent travel history to a CDC high-risk area was in transport to Virginia Hospital Center. Given the clinical symptoms, travel history, possible need for admission and the Hospital’s ongoing construction in this biocontainment area, we immediately contacted Inova Fairfax Hospital to inquire about their readiness to accept a suspected Ebola patient. Concurrent with their agreement to accept the patient, Arlington EMS arrived. The patient was then transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The safety and well-being of the patient, as well as all of our patients, staff and community, was paramount in our decision to transport the patient to a hospital equipped to care for the patient at that time. The construction in our biocontainment area is now complete and the Hospital is prepared to isolate, test and treat a suspected Ebola patient.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm 458 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email….

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