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by Nick Anderson — December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

At this point in the season, we’ve all been inundated with “What to Get the __ Fan in Your Life” articles. There’s nothing wrong with that; I enjoy them — hell, I wrote one for this site last year (for Black Friday).

But I’m not what you would call a “holiday” person; by this point in December, I’m a little burnt out and ready for New Year’s to come around already. So rather than focus on the best gifts for the resident beer geeks in your life, this year I’m going to recommend the best beers to help you get through the holiday season.

Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra or WorldWide Stout (15 percent+ ABV): Returning to Dogfish Head’s lineup after a nearly seven year absence, Raison D’Extra is in short supply but if you’re lucky you can snag a bottle or two at retail (or visit one of the Dogfish Alehouse restaurants, who may have bottles/draft). WorldWide Stout will be harder to find; the Delaware brewery didn’t brew any this year, and what I have at Arrowine is from last year’s release, which I’ve been storing in our cellar.

Both beers clock in above the 15 percent ABV mark, so they pack a punch. D’Extra is a supercharged version of Dogfish Head’s Raison D’Etre, a Belgian-inspired Amber Ale that uses brown sugar and golden raisins in it. D’Extra turns the dials up to 11, showcasing a Brandy-like quality in its youth that only mellows and becomes more elegant with time.

WorldWide is a bruiser of an Imperial Stout, with intense roasted malt notes of chocolate and ripe dark fruits. At its extreme ABV level, the combination of those fruity flavors with boozy heat give WorldWide Stout a Port-like feel. It’s structure also gives WorldWide a lifespan like a fine Vintage Port; back in 2011, I drank a 2002 bottle that shocked me by how “young” it seemed.

Devils Backbone Wood-Aged Kilt Flasher (8 percent ABV): The winter-only Kilt Flasher Wee Heavy from Devils Backbone is already one of the better seasonal offerings among Virginia’s breweries. The Wood-Aged version accentuates all of the great characteristics of Kilt Flasher — the balanced sweetness of the malt, the “just right” level of heat that keeps such a big, malt-driven beer from feeling too rich. A limited run, but one I hope is expanded next year. If you can find it, it’s definitely worth trying.

Mikkeller Red/White Christmas (8 percent ABV): One of Mikkel’s many Christmas Ales, Red/White is a blend of a Belgian-style Witbier with a hoppy Imperial Red Ale. The two styles should clash, but instead they find an unexpected harmony: The Wit takes some of the bite out of the Imperial Red’s intense hops, while the malt in the Red Ale balances the Wit’s spicy character. The best part? Red/White Christmas comes in 1.5-liter magnum bottles. Quality and quantity!

Lagunitas Brown Shugga (9.99 percent ABV): What was a batch of Barleywine gone wrong thanks to an overly exuberant addition of brown sugar is now one of the most beloved seasonal offerings of the beer world. Brown Shugga shouldn’t work — but somehow, it does in its own unabashedly sweet, hoppy, punchy way. For it’s strength, Brown Shugga is all-too easy to throw back, but that may be exactly what you’re looking for right now.

Whatever you’re enjoying this holiday season, I hope you enjoy it among the company of good friends and family. Until next time.

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money-saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

 

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 401 0

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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 employer refuses to pay me overtime, claiming I’m an independent contractor. But I’m not. I’ve been working for this company for years. What can I do?

A. Employers often try to dodge responsibility for paying workers overtime by classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees overtime for hours worked exceeding 40 hours per week.

Independent contractors can provide services to a business, just as employees do. But independent contractors are self-employed rather than employed by the business they serve. Of course, differentiating an independent contractor from an employee can be quite difficult. It is even possible for some independent contractors to become employees over time if their relationship with the contracting business changes.

“In determining whether a worker is an employee covered by the FLSA, a court considers the ‘economic realities’ of the relationship between the worker and the putative employer,” the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in Schultz v. Capital Integration Security (2006).

To determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor, courts will conduct what is known as a Silk test, which is named after a 1947 U.S. Supreme Court case. As the 4th Circuit explained in Schultz, this test consists of six factors:

  1. the company’s ability to control how work was performed;
  2. opportunities to reap profits or incur losses, depending on the worker’s managerial skill;
  3. the worker’s investment in equipment or hiring of other workers;
  4. skill requirements;
  5. whether the working relationship was temporal or long lasting; and
  6. “the degree to which the services rendered are an integral part of the putative employer’s business.”

After weighing these Silk factors, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Kennedy v. A Touch of Patience Shared Housing (2011) concluded the plaintiff, who had sued for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, was not an independent contractor as the defendant had claimed.

She actually qualified as an employee under the FLSA. The plaintiff performed a variety of services for a housing facility operator, including, cooking, serving meals, cleaning, and helping residents with household tasks, such as laundry and taking medication.

The court in Kennedy noted that the plaintiff claimed she had not exerted supervisory or managerial control “and exercised no control, discretion, or independent judgment with respect to her own duties.” She was paid in fixed cash amounts “at generally regular intervals” rather than reaping or incurring managerial skill-dependent profits and losses.

Further, over four and a half months she worked at two facilities and performed tasks that did not require special skills. Lastly, the plaintiff had claimed her services “were integral to defendant’s business.”

Workers who believe they have been misclassified as independent contractors should consult with an experienced employment law attorney, who could prepare an FLSA lawsuit. Employers, too, should consult with an attorney to determine whether certain workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors.

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 — December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm 959 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Duncan, a squirrel-chasing Westie with an Instagram following of thousands.

Here’s what owner Rick had to say about his hunting hound:

Duncan is a West Highland Terrier with a mission to chase every single squirrel out of Arlington County.

Duncan entered our life in November 2011 as a 5 month old. He is almost entirely white, with some streaks of beige along his back. He is a fit and energetic dog that loves long walks with lots of sniffing. He is always happy to say hi to other dogs and he is very gentle with children. He also just loves to be chased — by humans and (especially) other dogs.

Duncan’s favorite place to go is the Glencarlyn Dog Park. Nothing makes him happier than to be running off-leash in the woods. Woe be it to the squirrels in his field of vision for they will be chased (although never actually caught). He also loves to walk in the stream and run around with the big dogs, because he is a huge dog in a little dog’s body.

Of course, there are things Duncan does not love. He doesn’t like Arlington’s hot and humid July and August — it never gets that hot in the West Highlands! He also has a bitter history with the foxes in Lubber Run Park.

A lot of Duncan’s time is taken up with his Instagram community commitments. @duncan_the_westie has (literally) thousands of followers around the globe. It can be taxing being fabulous on a daily basis, but he seems to be handling the pressure well. He is trying to stay grounded and avoid the traps of fame.

We didn’t really know what to expect when this little guy entered our lives, but now we can’t imagine life without him.

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 — December 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm 1,390 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.

Two North Arlington teenagers want to help Arlington residents with the hardest part of the holidays: setting up the Christmas tree.

Duncan MacBride and Sam Gonson are sophomores at Gonzaga College High School in D.C. and they are first-time entrepreneurs. Duncan got the idea to start their fledgling business the day after Thanksgiving, setting up his family’s tree with his father.

“My dad and I were setting it up and saying ‘this is not fun. This is difficult,’” Duncan said. “I texted Sam to say I have this idea about setting up people’s trees for them. I figured, I don’t enjoy doing it. It’s hard to set up a tree, I figure most people probably go through the same thing.”

Sam and Duncan have been friends for a year and a half, and Sam said he was immediately on board with the idea. The spent the following week coming up with a business plan, price points and making marketing materials. A week later, they installed their first tree.

Duncan MacBride and Sam Gonson set up a Christmas treeThe duo charges $20 to take a tree from someone’s car into their home, set it up in the stand and hang lights over it. They also hang lights around the house for $15, and charge $10 per hour if their work takes more than one hour.

“We tried to figure out something that was reasonable but not over the top,” Duncan said. “We’re trying to help people, not rob them.”

So far, the pair has set up a handful of trees in North Arlington, but they acknowledge they got a late start this year. With at least two winters left in Arlington before they go to college, this is, for them, more of a testing season.

“This year we’re trying to lay a base,” Duncan said. “Hopefully next year it will turn into a real thing.”

Next year, Sam says they plan to donate 20 percent of their proceeds to the Father McKenna Center, a food shelter affiliated with Gonzaga.

Most people with trees only set up their seasonal decorations once a year, but Sam and Duncan have already learned tips to make their jobs easier.

“Always check the lights before they’re up,” Sam said. “Put them closer to the inside of the tree so you can’t see the cord. Make sure the tree is properly balanced in the stand, and leave enough room at the top for the star.”

The two are also learning how to deal with clients and handle transactions. While they’re expecting business to pick up next year, they’re also prepared for a potential boom in the week leading up to Christmas, when many families buy and decorate their trees at the last minute.

Those interested in Sam and Duncan’s services can email them at duncan.macbride@gmail.com and samwgo@gmail.com.

Scratching Post: Cat Bites

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm 490 0

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Editor’s Note: The Scratching Post is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff at NOVA Cat Clinic.

Many people think that because cats are so small compared to humans that they can’t do us any real harm. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cats have so many weapons for their size — they come equipped with 18 claws and 30 teeth. Today, we are going to focus on cat bites and how they can impact us.

Any bite from a carnivore, like housecats, can be dangerous. Due to their diets, a lot of bacteria is present in their mouths which can lead to a widespread infection quickly in a person if their skin is punctured.

A cat’s teeth are shaped to kill and rip flesh from bones. As a result, when they bite and release the punctures they produce can close up and seal bacteria within the prey’s body. It’s almost as if they can inject bacteria, leading to infections which require medical treatment.

I’ve seen many people who’ve been bitten by cats think it’s no big deal. Then a couple of days later, the hand swells, throbs with pain and one may even be admitted to a hospital.

Years before I was in the veterinary field, I was bitten on the hand by a friend’s cat. I didn’t think too much of it, just washed it and went about my business. Two days later my hand swelled up like a balloon and I was admitted to the hospital for 3 days of IV antibiotic therapy. I also needed a surgical consult because of the location of the bite. Luckily there was no need for surgery, but this can often be a concern because cats tend to bite hands and wrists.

There are so many tendons, ligaments and important structures in the hand that it is not uncommon for a cat bite to need to be surgically debrided. Here at NOVA Cat Clinic, we always recommend that anyone who’s been bitten by a cat receive immediate medical attention and antibiotics.

In addition to the risk of infection and the need for antibiotics, anytime someone is bitten by a cat we must investigate the cat’s rabies status. If kitty is up to date on their rabies vaccine then medical attention is all that’s needed.  If the kitty is not up to date, then by law the clinic must contact Animal Control.

Rabies is prevalent in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. Animal Control must be made aware of any potential transmission form any mammal bites. In Arlington County, the typical protocol for an owned cat that has bitten someone is to follow a 10-day quarantine period. This involves keeping the kitty at home and indoors for a full 10 days for observation of any unusual symptoms.

Depending on the situation, a rabies booster may be given either before or after the quarantine process. If neither the kitty nor the person that was bitten show any symptoms after 10 days, the quarantine is considered complete and the risk of rabies transmission negligible. If there are any unusual symptoms, the kitty may need to be confiscated and the person may need intense medical intervention.

The moral of the story? Anything with teeth CAN bite. If it’s a cat, take precautions and be aware of the potential risks involved.  If a cat bite occurs, please seek immediate medical attention.

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

by Nick Anderson — December 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm 594 0

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

This week I did something I had never done before over my near-20 years of beer geekery: I signed up for a membership in a brewery’s reserve society. The idea of these ‘societies’ or ‘clubs’ is becoming more popular every year, but they aren’t without their detractors. As always, only you can determine what is worth spending your consumer dollar on, but here’s a fairly short rundown of what these memberships have to offer, why some folks don’t like them, and why I decided to finally take the plunge with one.

The most famous brewery societies are those of The Bruery. The Bruery offers three ‘tiers’ of society memberships: Preservation Society members receive three special-release beers per quarter; Reserve Society members are also offered first rights to purchase small-batch production beers (along with discounts at The Bruery’s tasting room and on all Bruery merchandise); and the ‘you have been chosen’ Hoarder’s Society gives its members deeper discounts, more bottles of limited releases, and exclusive beers.

Locally, D.C.’s Three Stars Brewing Company has its Illuminati Reserve Society. Members are guaranteed bottles of the five limited release beers Three Stars plans on putting out over the course of 2015, along with a discount on purchases at the D.C. Homebrew Shop, special growler fills, and invites to special brewery events. Adroit Theory in Purcellville has the Black Heart Society, with each of its three tiers offering greater discounts at the brewery along with more of its special release beers.

For smaller, more experimentally-minded breweries with dedicated fanbases, clubs like these have multiple benefits. Bypassing overcrowded rare beer release events that inevitably leave more people angry than satisfied is an attractive prospect; establishing limited release for society members guarantees that a brewery’s most sought-after brews go to dedicated fans. Also, societies essentially give brewers a focus group to test new beers with; an especially enthusiastic response to a society-only beer can give breweries an idea of how a recipe might perform in a wider release. For beer geeks like me, societies not only give us a peek behind the curtain at the direction a brewery might be headed in, but they give us the chance to ensure we get access to some of our favorite beers. Also, there’s the “I got this and you didn’t because I’m a Society Member” factor.

For those concerned that beer is becoming “too much like wine”, Societies are a disturbing sign of the times. The concept of societies is adapted from the hundreds of winery Reserve Clubs out there, and their mere existence is an act of exclusion–anathema to the ethos of beer as a social beverage. Some believe the ultra-rare releases for society members encourage ‘Whalers’, who always seek out harder to find beers and look down on anything available at retail. The ‘focus group’ aspect of societies can alternately be looked at as ‘preaching to the choir’, or pandering to a small selection of palates that can’t possibly speak on behalf of a wider audience and are more inclined to demand different, not necessarily better beers.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,176 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 season of giving is upon us, and we have some great gift ideas to spruce up any new home, especially if they are tight on space. Here is our list of 10 great gifts under $50.

The Practical Gift – A Crock Pot is an excellent idea for everyone, whether you are a busy student, or a family on the go. You can make simple, healthy meals in a pinch, without needing a microwave, oven or stove. Available at Amazon for $39.99.

If you are feeling a little generous, throw in a cookbook like Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight!

For the Cook – An eight-piece Nesting Bowl set is a great gift for the person who loves to cook but is tight on space. With two mixing bowls, a colander, a sieve, and 4 measuring cups, they could have what they need to make you something tasty as a thank you! Available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $34.99.

Keep Warm – Soft, cozy Sherpa throw blankets are a great gift for someone who loves to snuggle up on the couch with a good book in the winter. Multiple colors are available to match any décor, and at a price of $22.77 at Amazon, you might even want to pick one up for yourself.

For the Host – Keep that new furniture looking sharp while entertaining with stylish Antique Silver Coasters from Pottery Barn. At $29, these coasters are a great gift that will work with just about any home style.

For the Beer Enthusiast – Hopefully the recipient of Pilsner Glasses can make room in the freezer because beer just tastes better in a chilled glass. These attractive glasses are perfect for entertaining or settling in on the couch after a long day’s work. A set of four is $39.80 (sold individually for $9.95) from Crate & Barrel.

Keep It Simple – When you just don’t know what to do, a wood cutting board is a great idea. This works great to chop up fresh fruits and veggies or to serve appetizers like a charcuterie spread. Either way, you can’t go wrong. This one is from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s for $29.99.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza – Who doesn’t love pizza? Use a simple homemade pizza crust recipe, and throw on fresh ingredients, and this pizza stone will be a go to item to make a quick, easy dinner. Pizza Stone available at Target for $26.99.

Grilling Without the Grill – Since most apartments and condos do not allow grills, the next best thing for a healthy grilled dinner is to use a grill pan. With easy clean up and storage, a grill pan is also great when cooking for one. This Calphalon Grill Pan is available at Kohl’s for $49.99.

Just for Fun – If you know someone who loves frozen treats and has a little extra counter space, this might be the perfect gift. The Magic Bullet Dessert Bullet makes delicious, fruity treats in just a few seconds, making it the perfect choice to calm that post workout sweet craving. Available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $39.99.

When All Else Fails – When in doubt, grab a nice basket ($14.99 at Michaels) and fill it up with coffee, fresh fruit and maybe a gift card to the nearest grocery store. The basket can be used later for much needed storage, and the items you throw in will be much appreciated while they settle in to their new place.

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 — December 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm 647 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Halley, a corgi-spaniel mix spoiled with belly rubs.

Here’s what owner Laura had to say:

Halley is a friendly, fun loving 1-and-a-half-year-old corgi-spaniel mix. In her free time she loves chasing squirrels, napping and lots of belly rubs.

Halley met her current owners at an adoption day event with Homeward Trails in Alexandria in January 2014. She was very friendly and outgoing and had the longest torso of any dog that day. It was love and belly rubs at first sight!

Halley is an avid collector of chew toys, whether they be ropes, stuffed squirrels with squeakers or even balls. Since moving to Arlington earlier this year, she has begun to build quite the collection. Halley looks forward to meeting other friendly dogs around the Arlington dog parks this summer.

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.

Ask Adam: Being a Good Client

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm 524 0

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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.

Q. I work in the consulting field and know firsthand that you can have good and bad clients. We are in the process of hiring a real estate agent and I would like to know how I can be a good client in hopes of getting everything I can out of the relationship.  

A. I have not thought about things from this perspective before, but it certainly has validity. Below are four suggestions that I think will help you build a productive relationship with your real estate agent.

Commitment — If someone is committed to working with me then I am going to give them 100 percent of my effort regardless of how much money they are spending or how long they may take to accomplish their real estate goals. Although I expect their up front commitment, I feel they should hold me accountable for delivering everything I promise. I include language in all of my buyer and listing agreements that allows clients to cancel the agreement at any time.

Communication — It helps me help my clients when there is a productive flow of two-way communication. For example, let’s say you are buying a house with me and I am sending you homes I have picked out that I think will be a good fit. It helps tremendously to hear what you like or don’t like about them. If you despise split-level homes and would really prefer a cul-de-sac … these are things I will be looking out for in the future.

Set Expectations Early — I find it is easier to cater to someone’s expectations when I know exactly what they are. Let your agent know what you expect from him or her. Describe your goals and find out how he or she can help. Put anything and everything on the table. This way everyone is on the same page from day one.

Commission — If you negotiate a compromise on the commission rate, just be sure that you have not negotiated out the incentive for your agent to go above and beyond on your behalf. It’s not always about the dollars and cents, and I assume that most agents are savvy enough to not get themselves into this situation. I am just putting it out there as an item to consider, as I have seen that beaten look in another agent’s face before where the demand on their time compared to their potential compensation, stopped making sense a long time ago.

The fact that you are considerate enough to ask the above question tells me that you are likely to have a great relationship with your agent. Best of luck with your home sale or purchase.

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: Boarding Your Dog

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm 449 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.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the busiest travel times in the United States, and inevitably people with dogs need to find someone to take care of Fido while they are out of town.

If you can’t take your dog with you, the next best option is to have a family member or friend either take your dog to their house, or come and stay at your house. Being in their own environment, or with someone familiar, is definitely the best option for your dog. But sometimes that isn’t possible and you need to find a boarding facility.

The best boarding option is somewhere that your dog is familiar and comfortable. Most daycare and boarding facilities work well because the dogs who are comfortable coming to daycare usually board without incident. These dogs are already familiar with the staff and often the other dogs that attend regularly. For them it’s like a home away from home. Dogs who attend daycare regularly at WOOFS! are happy and healthy during boarding as well.

What can be very difficult is when a dog needs to be boarded but has never been away from his owners or in a boarding or daycare facility before. In this situation, dogs can be very stressed, and prolonged stress often leads to associated illnesses including gastrointestinal problems, weight loss and upper respiratory infections.

So how can you help your dog survive a week away from home? First, be sure to plan ahead. Take the time to get your dog used to staying at a particular facility. This might mean paying for three or four days of daycare before you eventually drop off for an overnight stay. Trust me, your dog will be so much happier than if you just drop them at a facility and don’t come back for days. The experience of being dropped off and picked up several times can be very helpful in reducing anxiety.

Find the right facility. Daycare is not for all dogs. If your dog is stressed in the presence of other dogs they might do better in a traditional boarding environment where they do not interact with other dogs all day. Every dog is different, and luckily there are many options available in the area. In-home petsitting is a great option for dogs who don’t board well.

Start when your dog is a puppy. Send your puppy to a friend’s for an occasional weekend even if you don’t need to travel. This is an important part of their socialization experiences and should happen two or three times before your pup is 6 months old. Don’t wait for your dog to be 6 years old before you introduce them to spending time away from you.

Happy Holidays!

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 — December 8, 2014 at 11:00 am 453 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.

Culdesac founder Spencer JohnsonFor as long as he can remember, Spencer Johnson and his friends haven’t played the same games as a lot of folks their age.

Instead of football, Johnson and five of his friends played “end zone,” a game in which there’s one quarterback, one pass rusher, two receivers and two pass defenders. There are points for touchdowns, sacks, completed passes and everything. The game is fun, easy and totally made up, Johnson says.

“We played made up games more than actual sports,” Johnson told ARLnow.com. “I had a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of all the games we’ve invented.”

Those games are the foundation for the Culdesac app, which Johnson founded and is just weeks away from launching for the iPhone. The app allows users to search for games — both indoor and outdoor — that other users have invented. It also allows them to create their own games, with simple inputs for number of players, teams, scoring and positions.

Culdesac game creation pageThe app links directly to Facebook, so the feed — once the user base grows — will filter itself to games being played and submitted by one’s peers. For preteens, that means other preteens and fun outdoor games. For college students, it could be drinking games.

“There are so many games out there that are spread only through word-of-mouth,” Johnson said. “There’s really no place you can go to reliably find original games like this.”

Johnson is 24 and works for a family friend at Trusted.com. Johnson said that friend has served as a mentor, and encouraged him to try to start something on his own. The Courthouse resident had already had a pitch deck for an app with the games he and his childhood friends played together.

“I had put money aside to do something weird with it,” Johnson said. Six months ago, that began to take shape, as he did market research to validate his idea and hired developers from MessApps to help refine his prototype into a user-friendly, social app, with tabs, a feed and photo and video sharing tools.

Culdesac profile pageThe app is soon undergoing iTunes App Store review, after which it will become available to download. That’s when Johnson plans to make his big marketing push to grow the users on the site. It will start with friends and family, and he plans on targeting parents.

“Twelve million kids are quitting rec sports because they’re not fun,” Johnson said. While he views everyone as a target audience, he feels the strongest chance he has to find a foothold is in the youth demographic.

Johnson isn’t shy about admitting what he doesn’t know. Although he knows how he and his network would use Culdesac — he’s hounded his game-inventor friends considerably in the last six months for feedback — he doesn’t pretend to know how the larger population will use his product.

“We’re going to have to change as it grows,” he said. “Right now we’re just going to see how people use it and build up content. It’s going to take work. I’ve just got to figure out where and why they’re using it.”

Johnson said he and his friends will play the games others submit, shoot video of themselves and upload it, to help increase exposure for each game. YouTube will be a “big platform” for the app’s marketing.

Johnson is funding the app and company himself, and isn’t seeking investment. The Virginia Tech alumnus hasn’t always wanted to be an entrepreneur — he was a biology major in college — and isn’t of the idea that his technology will change the world, but there is a deeper mission near the core of his business.

“There’s a need to use technology to get people away from technology,” he said. “But, for now, we’re just trying to give people ideas to do something fun together.”

by Nick Anderson — December 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm 352 0

Your Beermonger logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

The past few weeks have been great for Virginia Sour Ale fans: not only were Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru re-introduced to our state, but variants we’d never seen before became available to us as well.

Now this week the Lambic and Gueuze beers of Brouwerij Boon are finally back after an absence of many years. The last time Boon beers were available here regularly, “Geuze” was more likely to turn up in your daily crossword puzzle than on your local retailer’s shelf, so let’s get a little background so you know why nerds like me are so excited to get these beers again.

In 1680 (OK, deep background), a man named J.B. Claes bought a farm in the Belgian village of Lambeek, located on the banks of the Senne. Claes converted the farm into a distillery and brewery. In 1860 the brewery was sold to Louis Paul and renamed Brasserie de Saint Roche, which brewed Faro and Lambic beers exclusively until it bottled its first Gueuze in 1875. Pierre Troch bought Saint Roche in 1898, but it sold again after the economic crisis of 1927 to Joseph de Vits. Joseph’s son Rene became a well-known producer of Lambic and Gueuze beers, but with no one to pass the brewery on to, a new owner became inevitable. Enter Frank Boon.

Frank Boon (pronounced “Bone”) was a commercial blender of Gueuze with the highest respect for the tradition of spontaneously fermented brewing in Belgium. In 1978, Boon bought the brewery from Rene de Vits, rechristening it Brouwerij Boon. Boon has been a unique (he insists on labeling his beers as “Geuze” rather than “Gueuze”) and fierce advocate of Lambic/Gueuze beers, teaming with three other Lambic producers for a near decade-long struggle to earn them special consumer protection status. This resulted in the establishment of the GTS (“Guaranteed Traditional Specialty) certification, which not only establish production and composition standards for Lambic-style beers, but also created the requirement that beers label “Oude” (‘old-style’) Gueuze or Kriek be 100% spontaneously fermented.

By the time he moved Brouwerij Boon to a new facility in the center of Lambeek in 1986, Frank Boon’s beers had already gained worldwide attention. Legendary beer writer Michael Jackson was an outspoken fan of Boon; in the first episode of his “Beer Hunter” television series, Jackson sits down with Boon at a café in Lambeek to discuss Lambic, Gueuze, and the finer things in life. A 1999 Jackson article on Lambic-style beers held Boon up as an example of one of the most traditional producers, along with the highly sought-after Cantillon (more on them in the near future, hopefully).

Unlike other modern Sour Ale producers whose beers showcase a more intensely acidic style (which many of us enjoy, it should be said), Boon’s beers stand out for their dedication to a classically balanced feel. Next to many American takes on Sour Ale, Boon Oude Geuze can come across as almost sweet, with a focus on the fruity, floral, and funky aromas/flavors imparted by the brewery’s wild yeasts.

The Mariage Parfait (“perfect marriage”) beers are Boon’s highest expressions of Gueuze and Lambic; Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait is almost exclusively three-year old Lambic (five percent young Lambic is blended in to provide fermentable sugars and wild yeasts) with a concentrated fruit character and acidity that aims to match white wine at the dinner table. Boon Oude Kriek Mariage Parfait adds overripe cherries to 1-year old Lambic at 400 grams per liter, with extended aging in small oak barrels (smaller oak exerts a heavier influence on the final beer–as it does in wine–taking some of the tart and acidic ‘edge’ off the beer). Boon claims the aging potential for both Mariage Parfait beers is “at least” 20 years; I’ve not tried any that old myself, but I’d love to.  (more…)

by ARLnow.com — December 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm 560 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. If a supervisor does something appalling to a subordinate, but only just once, can he still create a hostile work environment?

A. By and large, courts have found that hostile work environments are not spontaneous. In most cases, they are many days, weeks, months, or years in the making. That is because anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees with respect to their “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.”

Rarely will a supervisor’s or co-worker’s single action or utterance be “sufficiently severe and pervasive” enough to have such an effect.

“Hostile work environments generally result only after an accumulation of discrete instances of harassment,” the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp. (2014). “Their very nature involves repeated conduct.” Due to this nature, the court in this case found one of the employer’s employees did not create a hostile work environment when she allegedly called the appellant, a hotel hostess, a racial slur.

The employer terminated the appellant over poor performance issues a little more than a month after it hired her, prompting her to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The court said “a coworker’s use of that term twice in a period of two days in discussions about a single incident was not, as a matter of law, so severe or pervasive as to change the terms and conditions” of the appellant’s employment.

In contrast, Okoli v. City of Baltimore (2011) involved an African American executive assistant who had suffered from a dozen incidents over a four-month period during which her supervisor, among other things, said he wanted to have sex with her in a Jacuzzi, inquired about her underwear, talked about his sex life with other women, fondled her leg under a table, and forcibly kissed her. The 4th Circuit in Okoli (2011) said the appellant presented a “strong claim for hostile work environment” and added that “some of the incidents may have been severe enough to be actionable in and of themselves.”

The court in Okoli explained further, that “a single incident [of sexual harassment that] was extraordinarily severe can be actionable.” The important question is: What type of incident qualifies as “extraordinarily severe?” In Whitten v. Fred’s, Inc. (2010), the 4th Circuit provided some guidance when it noted, “[E]ven a single incident of sexual assault sufficiently alters the conditions of the victim’s employment and clearly creates an abusive work environment for purposes of Title VII liability.” But even in cases involving sexual assault, the victim would need to prove the employer was liable for the attacker’s actions.

Employees should not tolerate a hostile work environment, and it is crucial for them to put employers on notice of any discriminatory conduct immediately. Consult with an experienced employment law attorney who could assess when the employer’s conduct was severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment.

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.

by ARLnow.com — December 3, 2014 at 11:00 am 871 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Trouble, a Labrador/foxhound mix with “not insignificant ADHD” and a reputation as a “vicious snack-hound.”

Here’s what owner Clayton had to say about his pooch:

Yes — his name truly is Trouble. Honestly.

Trouble Dean was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2013. He is mostly black, with some white chest markings, and some not insignificant ADHD. He is incapable of walking a straight line without pouncing on something or stopping to pull over. Although it is rumored that he is a foxhound/Lab combination, our family secretly suspects Trouble was, in fact, born to a jackal/wolverine combination.

Verily, your readers should be warned that beneath those seemingly soft puppy eyes lurks the heart of a vicious snack-hound.  Over the course of the past year he has “saved” our family from such dangers as: socks, soccer balls, shin guards, panties, scarves, and in one particularly valorous feat: a pair of extra puffy ear muffs. If you are wondering where your missing sock is, chances are it’s in Trouble’s crate.

Over his 18 months on this Earth, Trouble has continued to distinguish himself with ever more impressive acts of out-and-out cowardice. He is scared of the water, scared of wrapped presents, scared of balloons and random boxes, and once had an unfortunate accident running from a bumblebee (though we suspect it was on purpose). As such, Trouble ensures that no one in our family is alone. Ever.

He is an excellent jumper — he probably won the Epsom Derby in a previous life. Trouble also is bilingual: he ignores commands in English as well as Spanish. We suspect he probably knows how to ignore more commands in other languages but don’t wish to shame or otherwise intimidate other ARLnow submitters.

In spite of all of this, and in spite of ourselves, we do truly love Trouble.

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 Sponsor — December 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm 536 0

Ask Adam header

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.

Q. One of the criteria we have been using in evaluating homes on the market is the number of days they have been listed. What’s puzzling is that we are finding that the numbers vary from one resource to the next. Zillow, Redfin and the listing updates our realtor provides are all different.

A. The primary source of this data is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). When your Realtor sends you updates, you may notice that days-on-market is provided in two different formats within the MLS listings. There is “DOM-MLS” and “DOM-Prop.”

DOM-MLS is the amount of time the current listing has been active. DOM-Prop is the amount of time the current property has been actively listed. It takes 90 days for a property’s DOM-Prop to reset back to zero. With that in mind here is an example:

Agent 1 has a home listed for 50 days. The sellers decide to take it off the market for a couple of weeks and re-list it with Agent 2. Agent 2 is able to find a buyer and it goes under contract in 25 days. In this example, the DOM-Prop is 75 and the DOM-MLS is 25 days.

It usually matters more to me how long the property has been listed (DOM-Prop) than how long it has been listed most recently (DOM-MLS).

The discrepancy I have found with some of the real estate websites is that they count days-on-market even if the property is not actively listed. Sometimes I will have a property in an alternative status like “temp off.” The MLS does not count days-on-market while in temp off, but some of the real estate sites do.

Our local MLS just created a new status called “coming soon.” It will be interesting to see which real estate websites count the days in “coming soon” as days-on-market.

In summary, the count of DOM-Prop in the MLS is the most accurate and valuable indication of how long a home has actually been on the market.

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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