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Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 22, 2015 at 5:00 am 603 0

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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.”

For buyers of homes in Arlington, there is good news this week… and bad news.

Buyers should be thrilled to see 94 new listings this week at all price points providing lots of fresh choices. But buyers this week also saw their purchasing power drop as mortgage interest rates took a sharp turn upward.

The 30-yr fixed rate mortgage is now averaging over 4% at about 4.125%. And for now, it appears rates may continue to inch upward in the coming weeks. That may have influenced buyers to ratify 77 contracts this week and lock in rates before they climb further.

The average list price for ratified contracts this week mover higher at $679,457. The average days on market for homes ratified stands at 37.

The listing of the week: the $4 million contemporary townhouse perched on the bluffs above the Potomac River on Chain Bridge Rd.

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

It’s not quite summer… but it sure feels like it!! This week we’ve got some summertime tips and advice to keep you and your fur-kids happy and healthy.

The Weekend Warrior — Just like most people, intermittent and inconsistent exercise can lead to overexertion in our pets! If being active isn’t part of your pet’s regular routine, going for that 6.5 mile hike up Old Rag can lead to overexertion, overheating and injury. Be cognizant of your pet’s limits and if you’re planning a big hike or a long run, doing a bit of training ahead of time will go a long way in preventing injury.

High-Rise Syndrome — As it gets nicer outside, apartment cats are more likely to be let out on the balcony and windows are left open. While we always tease that cats have nine lives and are deft when falling… creating a safe balcony and making sure windows are securely screened is paramount to reducing the risk of injury or death related to a fall.

Heat Stroke and Other Heat-Induced Maladies — The hottest part of the day tends to be from 10am – 4pm and is the worst time of the day to be doing outdoor activities with your pet. Long walks, jogging, and hiking should be done early in the morning or in the evening. Certain breeds of dogs (and cats!) are more sensitive to the heat than others – breeds with “smooshed faces” (i.e. Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Himalayan and American Shorthair cats) are already predisposed to respiratory problems/difficulty… and when it gets hot those problems can be far more apparent. Additionally, you should NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car. Even with the windows open that vehicle can become furnace-like, and quickly!

Sun & Contact Burns — Pets can get sunburn too! Dogs and cats that have thin hair or light skin are at increased risk for developing sun-induced skin cancer. The ears and nose tend to be the most susceptible. Talk to your veterinarian about using sunscreen/sunblock on your pet. Additionally, our dogs and cats can develop painful burns on their feet from walking on hot pavement. Minimizing exposure to hot pavement, walking in the morning and evening and using booties can reduce that risk.

Swimming — Swimming can be a great way to cool off for both you and your dog…however not all dogs know how to swim well! Be sure to stay within the comfort level of your dog and to use a life vest if needed. Additionally, be aware that not all bodies of water are ideal to be swimming in. Certain gastrointestinal parasites, such as Giardia, flourish in streams and small bodies of water. Bathing & ear cleaning after swimming, especially if the water source is not ideal, can also help prevent skin and ear infections.

Fleas, Ticks and Other Bugs — Fleas and ticks start to come out in full force as it gets warmer. Be sure to keep up regular use of your flea and tick preventive as that is their primary defense against many diseases, including Lyme. Additionally, other bugs (flies, mosquitoes, etc..) can bite and cause allergic reactions. If you have a pet that seems sensitive to bug bites, be sure to chat with your veterinarian about a Benadryl dose you can safely use in your pet.

Grooming — Shaving can seem like a quick/convenient way to cool your pet down – but remember that fur helps protect your fur-kid from sunburn! Cats should generally only be shaved if they’re matted or not grooming adequately – not for the heat.  And certain breeds of dogs with “double coats” (e.g. Huskies, Akitas) should NOT be shaved as their coat actually helps keep them cool in the heat!

Hydration — Finally, just as with us, hydration for our pets is paramount in the warm weather. Be sure to have clean water available and accessible at all times for both you and your pet!

We hope you and your fur-babies have a safe and enjoyable summer!

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 — May 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm 1,055 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Ahri, a feisty but adorable Shiba Inu puppy who resides in Pentagon City.

Here’s what Ahri’s owner, Jane, had to say about her:

Ahri is a 13 week old Shiba Inu, although we’re pretty sure she’s actually just a fox. She was born in Salisbury, NC, the hometown of Cheerwine. She brought with her a lot of cheer and even more whine. Since moving into the apartment, Ahri has taken claim of the living room, forcing her cat brother, Abner, to slink around the room to his food.  There have been a few close encounters, but Abner has picked up some stealth moves.

What we love most about Ahri is her outgoing personality and how she dives head first into everything, literally. Ahri loves peanut butter and meeting new people, preferably both at the same time. Her absolute favorite spot is a shelf on the coffee table. The day she grows too big to fit there will probably be the worst day of her life.

Ahri enjoys an active Arlington lifestyle including long walks on the RiverHouse trail, attending a local running group (although it’s hard to call what she does running), and playing with her two best friends, London and Hazel. One of her many accolades includes being featured in a local political campaign where she did her best to live up to her doge predecessors. In her spare time she tweets @WhatDoesAhriSay.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] 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 Sponsor — May 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,179 0

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

Q. I’m looking to purchase my next property and am debating about the age of the property and its value. Aside from standard replacement of regular items (roof, appliances, HVAC), how does the year built affect the value of a townhouse or condo? If I buy a townhouse built in the 1980s, it’s fine right now, but when I go to sell it in 30 years, will it be ready to be demolished and rebuilt?

Most of the condos in Arlington are built with cement and steel. I don’t expect them to be ready for demolition in 30 years. The only residential building in Arlington that concerns me is River Place. It has a land lease and is sitting in one of the most prime locations in Arlington. I’m just not sure it has a very long future ahead of it.

There are two things that tend to negatively affect the value of older condos.

  1. The maintenance costs on older buildings is often higher and can push condo fees way above average. If the building has a good long term plan for keeping condo fees low, that is a very good thing.
  2. When finishes of buildings are not kept up-to-date they tend to become less attractive to a large pool of homebuyers. We have all walked into dank smelling condo buildings with gold trim and worn-out carpet. It certainly doesn’t make you want to pay top dollar.

With townhomes you are not subject to all of the shared maintenance costs that go along with condos. It is your responsibility to keep the home in good condition and up-to-date. If you take good care of it, your home should last much longer than 30 years.

D.C. is a great example of an area with plenty of older homes that continue to attract strong interest from home buyers.

As always, you should pay close attention to location. If it is a desirable location for reasons that will last (i.e. walkability or metro), then I expect it will continue to be a desirable home well into the future.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2015 at 2:30 pm 482 0

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This is a biweekly sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

Depending on your particular profession, your employer may require you to sign a stand-alone non-competition agreement, non-solicitation agreement, or other similar restrictive covenant or your employer may include a non-competition and non-solicitation clause in your employment or severance agreement.

Non-competition agreements or clauses typically stipulate that the employee agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession that competes with the employer’s business within a geographic area after he or she terminates employment. Non-solicitation agreements or clauses typically restrict the employee’s ability to solicit, encourage, or assist other employees with leaving or seeking employment with the employee at a competitive employer. These types of restrictive covenants are usually in effect for a specific period of time and within a limited geographic area after the employment ends.

It is important to note that restrictive covenants narrowly tailored in geographic scope, duration, and type of activities are more likely to be enforced than more broadly drafted restrictive covenants. In particular, the scope of restricted activities and geographic area involved should be related to the employee’s job duties as well as the employer’s business.

Restrictive covenants that were created several years ago may no longer be considered enforceable based on changes in the law. Therefore, it is a good idea for employers to review and consider revising restrictive covenants that were written more than five years ago.

Employers should also note that non-competition and other important employment agreements usually are not enforceable against an employee unless a fully executed copy exists. As such, employers should make sure to sign and carefully maintain their agreements.

Virginia courts will not “blue pencil” or attempt to revise or enforce a narrower restriction in the covenant. As a result, a drafting error or otherwise unenforceable restriction in a larger restrictive covenant or agreement will typically render the entire agreement unenforceable in Virginia.

Furthermore, the Virginia Supreme Court clearly disfavors non-compete covenants. In fact, the Court has not rendered a decision that clearly favors the employer in a restrictive covenant case since the 1990s.

We represent employees and employers in employment law matters. If you need assistance with an employment law issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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

by Ethan Rothstein — May 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm 1,451 0

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

AthlightsArlington is one of the healthiest and safest urban municipalities in the country, and one Ballston-based company is trying to help make it healthier and safer.

AthLights, founded by Daniel Staples, sells compact, lightweight LED lights that, paired with a rare earth magnets, give runners, walkers and cyclists a way to warn drivers of their presence when they’re out in the dark.

“This is for somebody who’s maybe on the fence about buying a light and they don’t want a big stupid headlamp,” Staples told ARLnow.com last week. The LED lights flash and alternate red and blue colors, creating a dazzle effect visible from 600 feet. “It’s designed to wake up you at a relatively close range. By not going for that mile-long visibility, we can reduce the package size. If it’s too big, it’s not safe because people don’t want to wear it.”

Athlights sells their product online for $9.99 in sets of two lights, with batteries included. Staples is a mechanical engineer who works for the Department of Defense in Alexandria, and he came up with the idea in 2012 while having a conversation with a friend who ran ultramarathons.

“He was complaining about some of the equipment designed for runners tends to rub and chafe and bother you after long distances,” Staples said. “One of them was lighting; all the lights were big, bulky clip-ons. Took a trip to RadioShack and put together a little prototype in my garage and realized it might work.”

In April 2013, he and cofounder Anthony Del Porto incorporated, designed a marketable prototype and found a manufacturer in China. They set up a website with an option to purchase directly that October, and they were off and running.

Athlights founder Daniel StaplesThe two former Virginia Tech classmates brought in a third partner, who put some of his own money into the company and, after having founded a few companies of his own, some entrepreneurial experience. They went to a running trade show and sold out of all their materials.

In 2014, they increased their sales tenfold over their first year, and Staples said there’s no reason to believe they can’t repeat that in 2015.

“We got that type of initial growth with essentially no outside support. We showed up at a trade show, made a few phone calls,” he said. “Now we’ve got people in two different countries, a distributor, sales teams in Texas and California, so with those guys on our team, I would not be surprised if it sold 10 times more.”

Athlights have partners lined up in the United Kingdom and Australia, and just signed a deal with Summit Distributors, which counts 8,000 independent sporting goods store among its clients. Staples also just signed a deal for a retailer with about 400 stores nationwide, although he can’t disclose the partner yet.

For an engineer with no business experience, the entrepreneur path didn’t come naturally to him, and he didn’t fully know what he was doing when he started, he admits. But, despite a few hiccups last year, he said he’s reaffirmed by everyone he talks to who says Athlights is a great idea, and they wish they had thought of it themselves.

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WWBG: Rosé Time

by Ethan Rothstein — May 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm 491 0

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This column is written by Dominion owner Arash Tafakor.

Rosé wine sales in the U.S are increasing year after year. Why this change? Simply put: quality and affordability.

After decades of Americans categorizing any pink colored wine with the sweet White Zinfandel variety, the U.S wine consumer has discovered the light, dry, crisp, and perfectly fruity rosé wine. Winemakers, instead of using excess red wine grapes to make Rose, they are now growing those quality grapes specifically for rosé wines. As winemakers start off with the intention of making rosé from the beginning, the quality of these wines has improved dramatically.

What makes rosés pink? A true rosé is not a blend of white and red wine. Instead, like red wine, rosé wine is made from red wine grapes. But instead of leaving the wine in contact with the pressed grape skin to ferment with the juice for an extensive period, rosé producers keep the skins in contact with the juice for only a brief period of time.

Then the pinkish juice is drained from the skins, resulting in a color ranging from a pale pink to a deep salmon or coral. Winemakers make rosé from the red grape varieties traditionally grown in their particular region, grapes best suited to the local soil and climate.

Rosés from the entire world typically display a range of colors, textures, and flavors. Yet all rosés have some common characteristics: they tend to be bright with great acidity, fresh, crisp and dry.

The most popular rosé producing region in the world is Provence, France. There, rosé is a part of everyday life, widely embraced as the best lunchtime, seaside, and all-occasion wine. This spirit of Provence lifestyle has started to catch on.

Wine makers from around the world are making more rosés than ever before as part of their wineries. Amazing dry style rosés are also being made from California to Virginia, and all at a great affordable price. With the spring and summer here, this is a great time to come in and try a fresh 2014 vintage dry rosé for any occasion. Here are a few we are carrying right now.

Rosé food pairings: Rosé’s versatility really comes out when it comes to food pairings. You can almost drink a dry rosé with any meal. For international cuisines, rosé pairs well with spicy Asian dishes, Mexican, Italian pizza, sushi and even Indian curries.

American fare, rosé’s go well with burgers, salads and even soups and stews. With meat you can pair a rosé with any BBQ as well as ham, steak, turkey and veal. Fish and seafood, grilled fish goes extremely well with rosé as well as steamed fish and lobster. 

Megali roséSignature Magali Rose 2014 Provence, France

Magali is a classic example of a Provence Rosé with a blend of 25 percent Cinsault, 25 percent Cabernet, 25 percent Syrah and 25 percent Grenache. This wine is complex and has a delicious layering of fresh watermelon, citrus, pears and basil. A great wine as an aperitif while sharing with friends.

Belle GlosBelle Glos Oeil De Perdrix 2014 Sonoma County, California

From the same family of winemakers as Caymus, Belle Glos is known for their superb Pinot Noirs. A few years back they decided to jump on trend and started to produce a high quality rosé with the same grapes as their delicious Pinot Noirs. This rosé uses 100 percent high-quality Pinot Noir grapes and is a great example of California style winemaking. Belle Glos Rosé contains a vibrant salmon color and has rich flavors for strawberry, cranberry and green apple. A fuller bodied style rosé, which produces a lush mouth feel that is balanced with acidity. Pairs perfectly by itself or with a variety of summer foods.

Rose3DMZ Cabernet Rose 2014, South Africa

One of my favorite value rosés, DMZ retails for $10 and is the perfect summer BBQ wine. Using 100 percent Cabernet grapes, this rose is more full-bodied than your average rosé. Drinks fresh with tastes of juicy fruit, watermelon strawberry and a touch of sweetness and minerality. Perfect companion to take to a friend or family’s BBQ.

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 Sponsor — May 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm 1,514 0

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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.

The D.C. area has hundreds of neighborhoods, each with their own character and charm. Arlington is no exception. Arlington offers something for everyone, making it one of the top neighborhoods in the D.C. Metro area. What makes it so great? While this list could be very long, we narrowed down what we think are the best of the best reasons to live in Arlington.

Food

For Happy Hour, or anything in between, check out Whitlow’s on Wilson. Voted Virginia’s Most Popular Bar by Buzzfeed in 2013, Whitlow’s offers a casual fun atmosphere. In the warmer month’s diners enjoy the Rooftop Tiki Bar, and don’t forget to hit up the Bloody Mary bar while enjoying brunch.

For traditional American food try the Silver Diner. While the Silver Diner may look like the old school diners of the past, don’t let that fool you. They offer local, farm fresh foods, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes and healthy options for the kids. The Silver Diner is open 7 days a week, and is open late in case you get a craving for a midnight snack.

For something a little more ethnic, head over to Jaleo for spectacular tapas and wine. Jaleo was created by renowned chef José Andrés and it has won several “Best of” awards. Jaleo has three locations in the area including Crystal City, Bethesda, and Penn Quarter in DC.

There is no shortage of excellent food in Arlington. Head out anywhere on Wilson/Clarendon Blvds in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor or over to Pentagon Row and Crystal City and you shouldn’t have a problem finding something to suit all your cravings. Not to be forgotten, check out Shirlington where you can get great food from all around the world.

Fitness

After sampling some of the delicious food in Arlington you may want to head over to one of the local area fitness centers. Check out Revolve, SuperNova, or LA Fitness to work off those extra calories. Arlington County Recreation also offers several fitness classes for the whole family at facilities all over the county.

If you prefer outdoor activities try Four Mile Run, Mount Vernon Trail or the Custis Trail for biking, running or walking.

Sightseeing and Activities

Arlington is home to several historical sites and monuments including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the Marine Corps War Memorial, and the Air Force Memorial just to name a few.

Mondays in the summer check out Crystal Screen, the outdoor movies in Crystal City. Just a few blocks from the Crystal City Metro, bring a picnic and enjoy a movie with friends.

No winter season in Arlington would be complete without taking at least one trip to the Pentagon Row ice rink.

Additionally, Arlington practically has a farmer’s market for every day of the week. In peak season, you may barely need to head to the grocery store.

Work

Arlington has the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 3.4 percent according to the county profile. Arlington has several large employers including Deloitte, SAIC and Marriott International. But you don’t have to work in Arlington to enjoy living there, as Arlington has easy access to D.C. and other Virginia suburbs via the Metro, Bus or the VRE. Access to I-395, I-66, Route 50 and GW Parkway make it a great choice to live no matter where you work in the Metro D.C. area.

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by ARLnow.com — May 13, 2015 at 11:30 am 728 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Riley the Rogue, who has mastered the art of stealing food from his owner’s counters.

Here’s what his owner had to say about him:

Hey ARLnow, I’m Riley the Rogue! I was adopted one year ago this very month from Homeward Trails. My folks didn’t realize that the phrase “shepherd/collie” was not a Rin Tin Tin and Lassie combo. I’m half-Australian Shepherd and half-Border Collie. Hah! I’m a one-and-a-half-year-old teenager living with two older girl dogs, Dakota (12) and Katie (9). Thanks to my incredibly exuberant nature, I’ve put them both into their second puppyhoods now. No need to thank me.

While I showed how smart I am by taking first place in obedience training last August, my best talent is mastering the art of counter-surfing. I have long legs so I can reach all of that counter, babe! Yessirree … I share my prizes with my girls too. They adore me. My parents, however, seem a little put out about it.

My best theft yet was a full third of the uncooked stuffing in the pan this past Thanksgiving Day! I consider it my best as I had just figured out silence in thieving is golden. But they love me. How could they not? I’m a handsome cream puff of a dude! And when I roll over and give you those big baby brown eyes, you’ll melt. Trust me. Just trust me!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week?[email protected] 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.

Ask Adam: Noisy Neighbors

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm 2,604 0

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

Q. I recently bought a property, and just discovered I live near renters who are there through the Section 8 program. It is a problem: loud music, late-night drinking and partying, open drug use. But they take good care of the property, so the absentee landlord doesn’t care. Is there any recourse for homeowners who are impacted by Section 8 tenants?

A. Dealing with noisy neighbors is not something that really requires my expertise as a real estate broker, but this is the third time I have gotten a question like this so I’ll do my best to answer it.

I don’t think that the tenants being Section 8 is an important detail. Noisy neighbors are noisy neighbors and should be dealt with in a similar manner regardless of whether they are renters or owners. Said differently, there isn’t an additional governing body that is going to be able to assist with this situation because they are Section 8 renters.

Whenever I have had a situation with any of my neighbors, I’ve found that reaching out to them directly was the best path. Most people are reasonable, and, as long as you approach them in a tactful and non-threatening manner, they are usually willing to work with you. Maybe you can get them to share a phone number with you that you can call or text when they start to get too loud.

If that doesn’t work then I would contact your condo association. They likely have rules in place to protect the residents against loud noise after a certain time of day. As a landlord myself, I have received complaints from the condo association before about my tenants. I brought it up to the tenants and it was never a problem again.

If all else fails, you can always report your issue to the police. Nobody likes to go this route, but if it is bad enough then you may have to.

I’m hoping some readers can share any additional advice they have in comments.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected] This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

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

Local Woof: Trick Dog Titles

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

Teaching tricks is great for dogs. It provides them with both mental and physical stimulation and helps create a stronger working relationship between the dog and the handler.

One of the best ways to help your dog perform basic obedience skills better is to spend some time teaching trick behaviors. We know that the more things we teach a dog, the better they get at learning. And the more often we ask for behaviors, the better they get at offering them.

One of the reasons tricks are more fun and easier to teach is because we place less pressure on ourselves and the dogs to learn them. It seems critical that the dog learn to stay, but just fun if the dog learns to roll over. The lack of pressure makes us laugh and amused when teaching tricks.

But the extra pressure of “obedience commands” stresses us out and can make us angry when the dog doesn’t get it right away. The reality is that to the dog, they are all just tricks.

There are now some trick dog titles that you can work on with your dog without having to go to class or perform them at an event. The titles are granted on an honor role system, but it is also a lot of fun to post them on line and share them with others. One interesting website is: Do More With Your Dog at http://domorewithyourdog.com/pages/trickdogtitle.html

There are four levels of trick dog titles and lots of suggested tricks to get you started! We would also love to see your dogs tricks on the WOOFS! Facebook page. The most important thing is to have fun.

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 — May 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm 431 0

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

The Stone Security Engineering team(Updated Tuesday, 9:45 p.m.) Twenty years ago, Hollice Stone watched the Oklahoma City bombing unfold on television, emergency workers crawling through blocks of wreckage, picking out survivors or victims, and she felt an urge to do something.

She later volunteered with the same company that helped with the search and rescue missions in Oklahoma. That experience led her to what she feels is her true calling: preventing a tragedy like the bombing — which killed 168 people and wounded 680 others — from happening again.

Now, Stone is founder and CEO of Stone Security Engineering, which helps design explosion-proofing for buildings, coordinates security for existing buildings and consults with governments to ensure buildings affected by terrorist attacks are as safe as possible.

“It was something that was really needed, and I could make a difference,” Stone told ARLnow.com last week. “I really feel like we have made a difference. That’s why we do what we do.”

Stone Security contracts with the U.S. government, foreign governments, non-governmental organizations and private companies to design protections for buildings, military bases and chemical plants. Stone personally has been on dozens of trips to the Middle East, including Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. She founded her company in 2008 because her previous blast-protection engineering firm wasn’t going where the need was greatest.

Stone Security Engingeering Associate Principal/Vice President and Director of DC Operations Khaled El-Domiaty“I wanted to do more in high-risk and high-threat environments,” she said. “The need is so much greater there, and the budgets are tighter.”

For some buildings, that could mean creating barriers far from the structure to prevent ground attacks. For others, it could be hardening of the structure itself. Each case is unique, and for a company that does so much of its work in the most dangerous areas in the world, there are innumerable challenges.

That’s why Stone herself goes to many of the foreign countries, preferring to keep her six full-time employees — four of whom are in Crystal City’s Eastern Foundry — out of harm’s way. But there are more than just security concerns when protecting buildings in war-torn countries.

“There you don’t have access to all the materials you do here,” Arturo Montalva, an associate principal and vice president with Stone, said. “You need creative alternatives. Sometimes you’re working with cables and clips.”

Domestically, Stone has contracts with the Government Services Administration to coordinate the design of government buildings, and has worked with private companies to ensure security of their headquarters. While the market has long been around for protecting buildings from attack, Stone said her company is still well-positioned as more and more entities acknowledge the need to make their buildings safer.

“The number of agencies, organizations and governments looking to provide protection is growing,” Stone said.

“There’s more awareness of safety and security requirements and more awareness of providing safer environments,” added Khaled El-Domiaty, associate principal/vice president and director of D.C. operations.

Stone Security Engingeering Associate Principal/Vice President and Director of DC Operations Khaled El-Domiaty gives a training seminarStone also provides training seminars to educate about building safety, is investing in research into new techniques and materials. The market for blast-proofing is only growing in both the government sector and, particularly, with high-rise buildings in urban environments.

If one of the buildings that Stone has worked on is attacked, it’s more likely to withstand and explosion and stay upright, limiting the damage and casualties. With those protections in place in dozens of buildings around the world, it’s not a stretch to say the company has made thousands of people safer.

“Sometimes my husband makes me take a step back and realize what we’re doing here,” Stone said with a smile. “We’ve made a difference, and it’s been very satisfying.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm 326 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Spring allergy season is already in full-force, with many of us experiencing the runny eyes, stuffy noses, and congestion typical of seasonal environmental allergies. Our pets, too, can experience environmental allergies, though in addition to the runny eyes and sneezing that we experience, they typically manifest their seasonal allergies through itchy skin and/or ears. Itchiness may manifest itself through scratching, biting, chewing, licking, and/or rubbing.

Allergies themselves cause itching and redness but in our pets, it is often the secondary infections that make matters even worse. Bacteria and yeast are part of the normal healthy flora of the skin of both dogs and cats. With an underlying allergy, the skin’s barrier function is affected, and these organisms are able to “set up shop,” leading to further itchiness and inflammation of the skin. As such, chronic/recurrent yeast infections are often a hallmark of allergic skin disease in our pets.

Unfortunately, diagnosing an environmental allergy is not always cut-and-dry. Many other things can cause similar symptoms — other types of allergies (fleas, food, contact), metabolic or autoimmune conditions, and other skin diseases can sometimes mimic the symptoms of environmental allergies. Your veterinarian will likely ask a number of questions related to the history involving your pet’s symptoms.

One of the strongest support factors for an environmental allergy is a seasonal component to the symptoms — most dogs with environmental allergies will be significantly less symptomatic during the late fall and winter months. Additionally, environmental allergies can often get worse with age, or may be worse in certain environments (unfortunately, the D.C./Northern Virginia area is one of the worst for allergies).

Intradermal skin testing is the gold standard for diagnosing environmental allergies. This is typically done by a veterinary dermatologist. However, in recent years some of the available blood testings for environmental allergies have become more reliable and provide another means of more definitive diagnosis that can be done with your regular veterinarian.

When it comes to “treating” environmental allergies, the most important thing to realize is that allergies are never cured, but are instead managed. A multimodal approach is most often the most successful. Potential therapeutic options include: medications, supplements, bathing and allergy “shots.”

Medications that we often reach for include antihistamines (though their action is not nearly as reliable in cats and dogs as we’d like), corticosteroids (to help decrease the inflammatory/allergic responses), immunomodulatory drugs such as cyclosporine/Atopica or Apoquel, and often antibiotics or antifungals to address the secondary infections. Fish oil supplements are often recommended to patients with allergies as higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and they can improve the overall health of the skin and fur.

Frequent bathing with a medicated shampoo to cut down on the number of allergens, yeast, and bacteria on the skin often allows us to use less drugs to keep a pet comfortable (though is often more feasible in dogs than cats!). And, finally, non-pharmacologic methods with immunotherapy (allergy “shots”/vaccinations) can be very helpful with chronic management of environmental allergies, to reduce the haywire response of the immune system to a normal stimulus.

We recommend talking with your veterinarian at the first sign of excessive itching/scratching in your pet.  Fortunately, the options for managing environmental allergies are improving all the time, but it still remains a very frustrating condition since it can never be cured.  Some patience and understanding of the underlying condition can go a long way in making the condition more approachable and manageable.

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 — May 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm 933 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Nico, a “spunky” boxer mix who weighs 70 pounds and goes by “Little Man.”

Here’s what owners Kelly and Ian had to say about their precocious pup:

Meet Nico, a spunky bundle of love that isn’t quite aware of his size or strength. He still likes to think of himself as a lap dog, much to the dismay of our laps. He loves his new little sister, Avery, who giggles every time he licks her toes. He also loves shoes, fleece blankets, and pacifiers! Some combination is probably in his stomach at this very moment. He hates trash trucks, our mailman, and most men with beards (except for David, his beloved dog walker).

Nico, or “Little Man,” as we often call him, was adopted from A Forever Home last April. He turned 1 in January. His mom was a boxer and dad is a mystery, although we are pretty sure there is some kind of hound in there (on account of the spots on his nose and the howl he makes when we leave him). He just recently weighed in at almost 70 pounds, and we’re thinking — OK hoping — he’s about done growing.

Nico is very talented. He sits, shakes, high fives, and retreats to his crate at the shake of a treat bag. He can also hide all of his toys under the couch, make the contents of a trash can disappear, and create a work of art with his dirty paws. His sad old man eyes always tell us that he is very very sorry. He will always be our first baby, and we love him!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? [email protected] 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 — May 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm 936 0

Ask Adam Real Living header

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

Q. My husband and I are just beginning a search for a single-family house in Arlington and our first steps are to designate the neighborhoods and areas we are interested in (and those we are not). Since we don’t plan on purchasing anything in the next 6-9 months, we aren’t yet working with a Realtor.

We recently visited a nicely updated home in Maywood, which we knew was in a designated historic community. The real estate agent at the open house was helpful in explaining some of the restrictions (mostly exterior limitations). We then heard from another agent from a different open house that Penrose also has restrictions.

I’ve tried to find a list of neighborhoods with restrictions due to historical status and have come up empty. Do you know of a resource that lists the neighborhoods and describes what types of restrictions are in place for each or have you created anything like this you could share?

A. I think it is always a good idea to consider whether your plans for a home are consistent with the neighborhood. Even if there is not a homeowners association or restrictive covenants in place, we can all think of examples where a certain home is very out of place in a neighborhood.

I recall a recent conversation with a neighbor that wanted to make sure my clients weren’t planning to tear down and rebuild the house we were looking at. There technically wasn’t anything to stop them from doing so, but you are usually better off trying to find a location where new homes fit in a little better.

For the purpose of identifying historic neighborhoods, Arlington has a very good website that lists all the historic districts within the county. You can drill down for a wealth of information about the specific designations you are interested in.

The Arlington County list does not include Penrose and I have never heard of any restrictions within that neighborhood. Hopefully, we have some Penrose residents who will provide insight within the comments section of this article. You can also call the county for questions about any neighborhoods you would like more information about: 703-228-3000.

There is a field that listing agents can use within the multiple listing service (MLS) to inform buyers whether or not a property has a historic designation. It is subject to human error so I wouldn’t rely completely on this, but it is an additional tool at your disposal.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected] This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

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

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