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by ARLnow.com — November 27, 2014 at 11:45 am 0

Thanksgiving place settings

ARLnow.com is taking a day off for the holiday, but we wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks in part to the status of “Black Friday” as the most prominent shopping day of the year, Thanksgiving seems to be getting ever more commercialized. At its heart, however the holiday is about recognizing and giving thanks for the blessings of our lives.

If you’re taking a break between cooking dinner, watching parades and football, and reminiscing with friends and family, tell us what you’re thankful for this year, in the comments.

Just Listed in Arlington

by Ethan Rothstein — November 27, 2014 at 8:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Happy Thanksgiving! Team Cathell wishes all our readers a joyous and bountiful weekend filled with family, friends, food and fun.

It looks like buyers this week did not get the memo that the Arlington real estate market is supposed to slow down at Thanksgiving. For the second week in a row, buyers have ratified 50 contracts, a significant uptick in activity compared to previous weeks. For whatever reason, there is a heightened sense of urgency now among buyers.

Conditions are optimal right now for buying. Prices have been flat, even weak, since mid-summer. Interest rates continue to bounce at near record lows. Nearly all economic indicators have been trending positively for the last 18 months. And deals can be made out there right now.

The only impediment for buyers is the low inventory. This week just 34 new listings came on the market, which is typical and to be expected at the beginning of the holiday season. Perhaps buyers will step up their shopping for new homes after Black Friday, and sellers will get the memo that it’s a great time to sell.

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm 515 0

Turkey Trot 5K logoThe annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K returns tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and motorists hoping for an early Thanksgiving drive should avoid Lyon Park.

The race is organized by, and starts at, Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. The course takes runners west on Pershing Drive, turning around on 5th Street N. before heading back west on Pershing Drive. Runners will then turn left on N. Fillmore Street and right on 9th Street N. before turning on the southbound lanes of Washington Blvd.

The course goes along Washington Blvd until runners turn right at the intersection with Arlington Blvd. They will turn right on N. Bedford Street and continue until it turns into Brookside Drive and intersects again with Washington Blvd. Runners will turn off Washington on 3rd Street, turn right on Fillmore and end at the church on Pershing.

Roads are expected to close all morning in the area. There is no word from the Arlington County Police Department if the northbound lanes of Washington Blvd will be open to either one or both directions of traffic.

Michael Wardian, Arlington’s own champion distance runner, will both officiate and participate in the 5K, according to the race website.

More than 3,000 runners are expected to participate, and registration is full. Proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Doorways for Women and Families and the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm 4,276 0

Police car lightsA man and woman were able to escape an alleged abduction on Saturday after the male suspect fell asleep in the back of their car, according to Arlington County Police.

The suspect, described as a white, Hispanic or Middle Eastern man in his mid- to late-20s, jumped into the woman’s car while she was dropping off the man at the East Falls Church Metro station at about 4:20 p.m., according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm. The victims told police the suspect said “I need a ride” and directed her to drive.

“Just drive and no one will get hurt,” the alleged abductor told the two victims, according to Malcolm. “Don’t do anything stupid, and no one has to get hurt.”

The victims pulled into the Exxon station at 400 W. Broad Street in Falls Church, Malcolm said, and were able to exit the vehicle and call police after the suspect fell asleep in the back. The suspect, described as 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11, 160-170 pounds with black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans, fled the scene and avoided apprehension when he heard police sirens approaching.

From this week’s crime report:

ABDUCTION, 141122061, 1900 block of N Sycamore St, On 11/22/14 at 1620 hours, the male and female victims told police they had exited the highway and had stopped to allow the male victim to exit the vehicle when an unknown male suspect entered the rear of the vehicle demanding they continue to drive and threatening them if they called police or used their cell phones. The victim(s) continued to drive into Falls Church where the pulled into a gas station, exited the vehicle, and called police. The suspect, who was now asleep in the back, was alerted by police sirens and fled the scene. He is described as a white Hispanic or Middle Eastern male with no discernable accent, unshaven, 5’09″ to 5’11″, mid to late 20s, 160-170 lbs, black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — November 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm 796 0

The Iron Yard coding bootcamp (Photo courtesy Crystal City’s Disruption Corporation, on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive, is planning to play host to a 12-week immersive computer coding class in January.

The “coding bootcamp,” is an academy by The Iron Yard and costs $12,000. It offers three courses: rails engineering, which teaches Ruby on Rails for building “fast, production-quality full-stack apps;” mobile engineering for building iPhone apps; and “front-end engineering” for designing websites.

“Every student will leave the app with a portfolio of a functioning app or a functioning tool,” Campus Director Su Kim told ARLnow.com today.

The academy starts Jan. 5 and it’s taking students now. Each class is capped at 15 students to provide for ample teacher-student interaction, she said. The classes are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The morning session is a “lecture,” with teacher-led instruction while students are live-coding at their computers. The afternoons are lab time, where students can work on their assignments and build their portfolio design.

The final two weeks of the course are devoted strictly to the final product students work on. After the academy is over, The Iron Yard has a career placement system set up to get its graduates jobs as developers in the area. During classes, guest lecturers are brought in from local technology companies and The Iron Yard likes to get a sense for what each community wants out of its developer talent pool.

“We really want the students to meet the needs of the existing community,” Kim said. “The Iron Yard started as an accelerator, but we realized there wasn’t enough talent even for the startups to come out of the accelerator. So the academy launched as kind of accessory.”

In tandem with the bootcamp, The Iron Yard also offers free kids coding classes. For an hour a week, children as young as 7 years old can come and take courses, taught by both the academy’s full-time instructors and by the students in boot camp.

Crystal City is the 10th campus for the Iron Yard bootcamp, following cities like Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Texas and Orlando, Fla. It will be located in Phase II of Disruption Corporation’s headquarters.

Photo courtesy The Iron Yard

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm 495 0

Rental Report header

Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Budgeting for a new apartment might seem simple. Many renters know the 30 percent rule, which says that, in general, your rent should be no more than 30 percent of your gross income. So for example, if you make $60,000/year, you can afford $1,500/month for rent. This is a good rule of thumb to start with, but there are several more pieces to the rental budget puzzle than just base rent price.

Parking – It is safe to assume that an apartment in Arlington will charge extra for on-site parking. So if you plan to have a car, you will need to budget anywhere from $50-$150 or more for parking depending on the area.

Transportation – Of course, transportation costs are another big piece of the pie. Whether or not you are driving to work every day or using public transportation, you will need to consider the cost from your new home to work or school. If you are using Metro as your primary transportation, you can determine your daily fare by going to their Stations Page and selecting your starting station, then scroll to your final destination. It will give you Peak and Off Peak fares as well as general transport time. If you are driving to work, don’t forget to factor in fuel, tolls and parking at the office, if necessary.

Utilities – Most likely, your new apartment will not include utilities. Depending on the unit, you will need to pay all or a portion of electric, gas, water, and trash. Some units will charge a flat fee, while others will be individually metered. Ask when looking at an apartment what the general utility cost is for your size unit. Most likely, you can expect to pay around $100-$200 per months for general utilities. And if you are like most people these days, you will need cable and Internet for another $100-$150 per month.

Laundry – Does your apartment have a washer and dryer? If not, don’t forget those quarters (or these days many building have prepaid cards for laundry). At around $3 per load, the laundry expense can add up quickly. Many newer apartments do have in-unit washer and dryers, so depending on the other features and amenities included in the price, a newer place may be worth the extra cash.

Pets – If you are bringing Patches or Fido along, it could cost you anywhere from $25-50 per month or more. Some places charge a flat fee or deposit up front, in lieu of pet rent, but others charge it in addition to pet rent.

Gym – Now, here’s where you might actually get a little savings. If you have a gym in your building, you can probably skip the gym membership. Depending on your preferences, most apartment gyms have a few pieces of cardio equipment like a treadmill, elliptical and bike. They also have free weights and other strength equipment. Some buildings may even offer some on-site Yoga classes for residents. Gym memberships can run from $10-$100/month so that on-site gym could keep a little extra cash in your pocket every month.

Using our $1,500 rent per month example, here is a sample budget:

Parking: $50

Transportation: $100

Utilities and Cable: $250

Laundry: $27

Pet: $25

Total: $452

That brings your total housing budget up to about 39 percent of gross income using the $60,000 example.

Keep in mind, a $1,500 budget for Arlington can be low. While there are definitely deals out for a lower budget, you will likely pay more for something else like transportation. If a $1,500 budget is out of your range, you may need to consider a roommate to take advantage of a great location while keeping costs down.

For more help on budgeting, take a look at Mint.com. It is a free tool to help you set and track your budget. For help with the Arlington rental market, contact a local expert to discuss current pricing, availability, and other expert tips on renting.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.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 ARLnow.com — November 26, 2014 at 11:00 am 387 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Coco Abrams, a rescue cat that’s a champion eater, although she frequent wins eating contests “unopposed.”

Here’s what owner Hannah and mother Tamar had to say about Coco:

Coco is an 8-year-old adopted cat living in the Jamestown Elementary School area. Although she is single, Coco has managed to befriend many of the neighboring cats and is very social. She is often seen rolling around and doing strange poses. Her favorite hobby is eating and begging for more food after she’s done. She is a competitive eater and has won countless food-eating competitions, although she generally goes unopposed.

When not eating or rolling around, Coco can be found sleeping in strange positions or cuddled up with her mother. Her favorite TV channel is the Food Network and she is particularly a big fan of Gordon Ramsey. She’s very protective of her space and family and likes to exert her power over other cats, dogs, and chipmunks. She loves the outdoors and likes to lounge around outside soaking up the sun.

Coco loves to make new friends and is constantly talking to anybody who will listen (even if they aren’t listening, she will loudly talk to them). It’s Coco’s dream to one day own a cat food-based restaurant where she will hire cooks, but be the sole manager and customer.

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 ARLnow.com — November 26, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,059 0

Kids playing on Arlington Ridge Road during a road closure on 11/25/14

New Tot Playground Opens — An upgraded tot playground with “education-themed amenities” has opened at Chestnut Hills Park, at 2807 N. Harrison Street. [InsideNova]

H-B Woodlawn Student Scores School Musical — Calista Garcia, an 8th grade student at H-B Woodlawn, produced the score for the school’s fall musical, “Lizzy Strata.” Garcia is also the lead singer and guitarist for an all-girl rock band, the Diamond Dolls. [Washington Post]

ART Gets Bigger Buses — Arlington Transit has started using its first full-length, 40-foot buses. The service started in 1999 with vehicles similar to airport rental car shuttles. [Greater Greater Washington]

Double Decker Buses on the Pike? — A “taxpayer activist in Arlington” wants the county to consider using double decker buses — like the kind you would see in London — on Columbia Pike, in lieu of the streetcar. [Watchdog.org]

by ARLnow.com — November 26, 2014 at 6:20 am 490 0

Snow 3/3/14 (file photo)VDOT has about 400 trucks staged in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties this morning, in preparation for a storm that’s bringing a combination of rain and snow to much of the the east coast.

The timing of the storm, on one of the busiest travel day of the year, could create major problems on local highways and byways.

VDOT urges drivers to “use extra caution, particularly on bridges, overpasses, curves, hills and ramps, which become slippery first,” as the snow starts falling later today. Crews are not pre-treating roads since the rain would just wash the treatment away.

The snow is expected to start falling in Arlington as the storm begins to taper off, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., according to the Capital Weather Gang. It’s expected to begin snowing this morning in northern and western parts of the region.

AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is warning of the potential for “massive traffic woes and havoc on the treacherous roadways.”

“Wednesday can turn into a chaotic and frightening scene of events on the roadways along the East Coast,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend. “With over one million travelers in Washington, D.C., another 1.1 in Virginia, and nearly 900,000 in Maryland taking to the roads this Thanksgiving, AAA is warning motorists to heed all travel warnings and stay home until road conditions improve.”

Some 24 percent of weather-related crashes happen due to snowy or icy pavement, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

For those who do have to travel today, WJLA meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts is advising that the best time to head north is before 10:00 a.m., while the best time to travel south is after 7:00 p.m. All major area highways are expected to see weather impacts, Ricketts said.

Arlington Public Schools students have a pre-scheduled off day today for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ask Adam: Preparing to Sell

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm 414 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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