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by Nick Anderson — October 31, 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).

Don’t let the title fool you, I’m basically passing along some tasting notes this week, but there is a bit of a theme in that all of these have been working for me as we veer between unseasonably warm and full-on winter. The good news is there are a lot of great new options out there, along with some returning seasonal favorites. Here are some standouts:

Abita Bourbon St. Imperial Stout: I had only read about this limited release from Abita over the past few weeks, and was under the impression it was going to be draft-only until their distributor offered me some bottles last week. This one clocks in at 10 percent ABV, with eight weeks spent in now-unnamed Bourbon barrels (rhymes with “Scrappy Dan Tinkle”). Unexpectedly bold chocolate flavors rule the day here, with the barrel influence increasing as you work your way through the bottle. A decadent, delicious Imperial Stout that I’d put up against many of the hard-to-get examples of the style. Word’s getting out, so it won’t last long — try it if you get the chance.

Brooklyn Brewing Blast! IPA: I know, I know – another new IPA. But the lengthy list of hops used in Brooklyn Blast! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name) intrigued me, as did Brooklyn’s statements about Blast! being heavily influenced by English Ales. Believe the press, in this case; Blast! is a big beer at 8.4 percent ABV, but is all about a wonderful balance between its sweet malts and the tea-like aromas and flavors from its hops. A big IPA that is interesting without being overwrought.

Hardywood Forbidden: Here’s a bit of an odd bird. Hardywood bottled this 6.5 percent ABV Belgian-style Wit made with dragonfruit in honor of “Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing”, an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Rather than go for 22-ounce bombers or the 750mL bottles their special releases usually come in, Hardywood bottled Forbidden to be sold as individual 12-ounce beers. The format is neat; it’s just the right amount of the beer (you can always pop another if you want), and the small size means you can try one out without dropping a lot of money. As for the beer itself, it’s refreshing and lightly spicy as a Wit should be, with the dragonfruit adding floral aromas, the slightest bit of citrus sweetness, and a gorgeous pink/reddish color.

Founders Breakfast Stout: The cold isn’t allowed to arrive until Breakfast Stout does. In my personal Pantheon of American beers, Founders works oatmeal and two kinds of chocolate along with Kona and Sumatra coffees into this magical beverage. If you haven’t, you really should; love for Breakfast Stout transcends aversions to strong, dark, coffee- and/or chocolate-infused beers. A benchmark.

If you feel like jumping into winter a little early, you can find Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome, Troeg’s Mad Elf, and Schlafly Christmas Ale on retailer shelves in the area right now. All are delicious and will get you through the holiday season in one piece (maybe). 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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm 588 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 weather is cooling off, and it won’t be long before winter brings wind, snow and cold temperatures to our area. Now is the time to get your rental ready so your place is a warm, cozy retreat after a long day. We have a few tips to help you keep the chilly winter air out of your place, and stay warm this winter.

Curtains – One of the easiest, most inexpensive fixes for drafty windows is to buy curtains. Keep your curtains open during the day to let in the light and help heat the rooms in your home. At night, shut the drapes to keep out the bitter cold air. As an extra bonus, curtains can add some style to your place. Just be sure to fill in the holes from the curtain rods before you move out to keep from being charged for damage.

Foam Sealant – Another simple fix for a nasty draft is to use some foam sealant around the windows. A quick trip to the home improvement store can save up to 20 percent on your energy costs this winter. The foam sealant is not the most attractive solution, but it gets the job done. If you choose to use a clear caulk instead, be sure it is removable, so you can easily open the windows in the spring.

Weather Stripping – Sealing the area around any outside doors is one of the efficient ways to insulate, as doors tend to let in the most outside air. Install a door sweep at the bottom and weather stripping around the doors to seal out cold air. You can also use temporary weather stripping around your windows for another window sealant option.

Window Film – Although a pricier solution, window film not only retains up to 55 percent of your home’s heat in the winter, but it also helps reflect the light in the summer to keep your place cool.

Space Heaters – For small spaces, space heaters can help you save on energy costs while heating up a room to a nice, toasty temperature. Space heaters allow you to keep your thermostat down at 68, while using a little extra energy to heat up a small room while you are home. If you have pets or kids, be sure to buy heaters that are cool to the touch, and have an automatic shutoff if the heater is tipped over. Don’t forget to unplug it when you leave your home!

The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder than usual winter for the Metro D.C. area. Use these tips to stay warm, and help you save a few dollars on your heating costs this winter.

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 Ethan Rothstein — October 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm 609 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Hudson, a rescue dog. He enjoys riding in the car with his owners, particularly if they’re heading to an outdoor festival. But sometimes he just wants to chill out at home in a big pile of pillows.

Here’s a little more from Hudson’s point of view, as translated by his owner, Dayna:

My name is Hudson and I’m a new resident to the Shirlington area in Virginia. I knew a little bit about Arlington before we moved here a couple of months ago, since I was quite fond of the Shirlington dog park visits I would get to take with my parents. Now that we live so close to the Shirlington dog park I try to convince my parents to take me there all the time!

I am like any other ladies man. I love long walks all over the place, dates in the park, meals out with my family, road trips (even all the way to Florida!) and experiencing new things. I am told that I’m very cute, funny, smart and inquisitive.

I really love living in Arlington and am so glad my parents adopted me from Operation Paws almost three years ago now! They even made the move from our condo in Chinatown, D.C. to Shirlington so I could have a backyard to play in all the time. They are the best, and I know I’ll make them proud as the Arlington pet of the week!

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: Timing Our Purchase

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm 670 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. My fiancé and I are in the market to buy our first home. We currently rent in Arlington and are wondering how we should go about looking for a home from a timing perspective. Is it better to shop a few months before your lease is up so there is a clean break? If we buy a house and have six months left on our lease, what is the best way  to get out of it? What are the best times of year to buy? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A. I highly recommend getting the process started well in advance of when you actually want to move in to your new home. If for no other reason, it will create a more relaxed environment for you and your fiancé. It also gives you time to work out any surprises you may learn about during the mortgage pre-approval process.

Step 1 is to find the right Realtor for you. The Realtor you select should be able to provide you with some lender recommendations if you don’t already have someone in mind. The Realtor can also begin educating you about the homebuying process, current market conditions and what is available in your price range.

The lender will be able to help you understand how much you are approved to borrow. They will also break down how much it will cost you up front and on a monthly basis to purchase a home.  If there is anything you need to address regarding your application, that can be taken care of now while you have time.

It usually takes about 30-45 days from the time you ratify a contract until you close and get the keys to your new home. It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months to find the right home. Therefore, I suggest getting started with the process at least three months before you would like to move.

Dealing with lease agreements can be tricky. They obviously vary from one situation to the next. In my opinion, the ideal situation is a landlord who will let you go month-to-month at the end of your lease. This will provide you with plenty of flexibility. In this situation, you don’t necessarily need to be out looking at homes quite as early, but it doesn’t hurt to begin preparing.

If you have a hard end date to your lease, then I suggest having a conversation with your landlord ahead of time. Despite the penalties outlined in the lease, they may be willing to let you out early, especially if you are willing to help find a new tenant to replace you.

The condo and townhouse markets tend to be pretty steady throughout the year so there is not as much seasonal fluctuation to account for. The exception is November through January when there tends to be fewer homes on the market and fewer buyers to compete with. The single family home market usually has the most homes to choose from and the most buyer activity from early spring through mid-summer. Sometimes we see an uptick in the fall as well.

You can either pick a time of year when there will be a greater supply of housing options and more competition, or you can pick a slower time of year when you have fewer homes to chose from, but fewer buyers to compete with. I’ve worked with happy home buyers every month of the year. I could say that it is a matter of preference, but usually it is more a matter of timing other events in your life, like the lease you mentioned.

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 — October 28, 2014 at 5:00 am 1,750 0

For sale: a charming Colonial in the heart of Lyon Park, convenient to Clarendon, Metro and much more.

This is a great opportunity to own a classic Colonial in the heart of Arlington’s lovely Lyon Park neighborhood. Listed at $830,000, this home is in move-in condition and in a location you will value every day.

This gem, located at 120 N. Fillmore Street in Arlington, is close to parks, playgrounds, bike trails, jogging paths, coffee shops, retail stores, restaurants and nightlife. It is around the corner from Long Branch Elementary School and down the street from the Clarendon Metro and the lively Orange Line corridor, which includes Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Market Common. Two blocks away is Lyon Park’s historic community center building and beautiful park and playground.

The home offers a gracious living room and an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances. The kitchen opens to the contemporary dining area with lovely hardwood floors. The main floor includes a cozy carpeted den/third bedroom with lots of windows and natural light. The lower level includes an office area, full bathroom and a recreation room with separate laundry.

Upstairs the home features an elegant master bedroom and a second good-sized bedroom, both with original hardwood floors. A bright full bathroom and a bonus room, a finished loft in the attic on the top level, complete the upstairs area. Closets are plentiful throughout.

The exterior of the home is delightful. It is on a corner lot that features mature trees, lovely landscaping, and a charming wrought iron fence. The backyard also features a spacious stone patio, perfect for grilling and entertaining. There is a wide driveway and an attached garage that can handle a car and work area. A shed is also located in the back, ideal for storing yard and other work supplies.

120 N. Fillmore Street is convenient to everything, with plenty of room to expand. It sits on a street with million-dollar homes, both newly constructed and completely renovated. The home is located within the Long Branch Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Washington-Lee High School districts.

Natalie RoyFor more information or a virtual tour, click here.

This home is listed by Natalie U. Roy, Neighborhood Real Estate Specialist at Keller Williams Realty (2101 Wilson Boulevard #100).

Natalie can be reached at 703-819-4915 or homes@bicyclingrealty.com. Her website is www.bicyclingrealty.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,461 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.

This is the dog article for people who don’t like dogs, or are afraid of dogs, or just don’t want to be bothered by a dog at the moment. If you live in greater Arlington, which is very dog-friendly, navigating a walk to the Metro without coming into contact with a dog can be a challenge.

The most important thing to know if you do not want to interact with a dog is: do not make eye contact with the dog. Eye contact to a well-socialized dog is an invitation to say “Hi.” Looking up and away or past the dog, is your best bet, since that tells the dog, you are not interested in an interaction.  It doesn’t guarantee the dog won’t be interested in you but it sends a clear signal that you are not interested in them.

Another effective way to deal with unwanted interaction is to stand still. This can be especially hard if you are afraid of dogs since yelling and running away are genetically pre-programmed responses to fear.

Unfortunately, yelling and running away is also a great way to get a dog to show extra interest in you. If you are in a situation where a dog is very close, standing still and looking up and away can encourage the dog to move on. Slowly moving away is also a great option.

I would also encourage people who are afraid of dogs to be a strong advocate for themselves. If a dog is approaching, clearly state to the owner of the dog that you are not interested in interacting. This can be a simple as saying, “Excuse, me, I’m afraid of dogs,” or “excuse me, please pull your dog back.” Most dog owners do not want to subject non-dog people to their pups affections either.

It is very easy for dog owners to forget that not everyone loves dogs. Dog owners need to remember that not everyone wants to say hello to your gorgeous pup and to try and remember to respect everyone’s space. Common courtesy and communication can go a long way in making sure that dog and non-dog people can all get along.

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

by Ethan Rothstein — October 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm 676 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.

YOPP screenshotWhat do Arlington businesses Lyon Hall, Casual Adventure, Trade Roots and One More Page Books have in common?

They’re all on the small business social network app, YOPP, created and developed in Arlington as a way to help small businesses reach customers in the mobile-dominated technology landscape.

“We’re enabling small businesses to compete in a world that’s heavily in the mobile commerce space,” YOPP founder Shana Lawlor told ARLnow.com last week. “We feel we can give the businesses on our platform the ability to compete and stay relevant.”

YOPP fully launched in September. In January, ARLnow.com discussed the app — which was then called MainST — with Lawlor, who was preparing to launch the beta in the spring. Since launching last month, Lawlor said the user base has quadrupled over the last few weeks with customers finding deals for small businesses in Arlington and D.C.

The app allows its users to search for items they want and notifies small businesses when customers nearby are looking for something they sell. If an Arlington resident plugged in they were looking for leather bracelets, Covet at 5140 Wilson Blvd would be able to message the customer and tell him or her to come by, even offering a discount.

The message apparently is resonating with the app’s early users. Lawlor said she was projecting 500 users by the end of the year, but the app has already been downloaded more times than that, she said.

“In D.C. and Arlington, there are so many cool areas to shop that people don’t know about,” Lawlor said. “There’s a shift in people’s thinking about where they want to shop when they find these really cool places… The majority of users are looking for very unique things, and they’re really passionate about what they’re trying to find. Finding an alternative to the search engine is very exciting for them. it’d be increasingly cool if we can help people find these things all the time.”

YOPP screenshotYOPP will be powering Arlington Small Business Day, which Lawlor founded, this year on Nov. 29. The deals will be offered through the app, the participating businesses will be highlighted in the app’s map function, and those looking for the perfect Christmas gift will be able to ask their fellow users where to go.

The app “works everywhere,” but YOPP is focused on Arlington and its surrounding area at the moment. By the end of the year, Lawlor hopes to launch the app fully in New York City and 10 other markets.

“People love to go shopping in certain cities,” Lawlor said, “but there’s no resource telling them where to go once they get there.”

Lawlor has five part-time employees and expects to bring three of them full-time next year. The former exporting business owner has found herself in the heart of D.C.’s tech scene since launching YOPP, with an office in 1776 in D.C. and being named one of Bisnow’s Top 40 women in D.C. tech.

“I was very flattered to be among the women there,” she said. “When you’re a young startup and when you’re put in a group of successful women, it’s a compliment.”

ASBD and the Halloween and Christmas shopping seasons should be a boon to YOPP and, Lawlor hopes, Arlington businesses. She’s been working for years to create more of a community among the business owners in Arlington, and her company appears on the verge of doing just that.

by Nick Anderson — October 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm 353 0

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

I picked a hell of a day to get food poisoning this week — right before my birthday. Not that I’m a big birthday guy, mind you: I try to avoid people finding out about it, keep things low-key. Still, I was determined to open a couple special beers in my “cellar” (aka my basement fridge) and as your intrepid Beermonger felt a responsibility to do so. At least that’s what I told myself.

Anyway, the two beers I brought up were interesting both in how they’d changed, and how they made me consider cellaring in the future.

Evil Twin Christmas Eve At A NYC Hotel Room Imperial Stout: Absurdly long name for a tasty beer. This bottle was from the first run we got in Virginia (received during November of 2012), back when it was being brewed at De Molen Brewery in the Netherlands and retailed aroun $11 per 11.2-ounce bottle. Today, we see Xmas Eve every few months or so; now brewed at Two Roads Brewing Company in Connecticut, it comes in four-packs selling around $15 each — a marked improvement though still not cheap.

That price is well-earned: Evil Twin’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso has a special touch with Imperial Stouts, and it shows in this beer. Fresh, Xmas Eve is a robust take on Imperial Stout; 10 percent ABV, with bold cocoa and raisin flavors along with a touch of heat. Xmas Eve it full-bodied without being rich. With a couple years on it, a lot of the cocoa has blown off, but Xmas Eve retains the boozy kick and dark, “stewed fruit” notes of its youth. It’s still a great beer, but I think I missed some of its more robust qualities; I can’t say I’d cellar it again for this length of time. Perhaps a year or so would strike a nice balance, but today I’d say snag some and drink it as you see fit.

Founders Backwoods Bastard (2012 Bottling): In fairness to the 2012 bottle of Evil Twin, it’s a big beer but not one made for long-term aging. In contrast, the bottle of 2012 Founders Backwoods Bastard I opened is built from the ground-up for the cellar. A Scotch-style Ale aged in Bourbon barrels, Backwoods Bastard is one of those rare beer that geeks like me like to talk about, but don’t want to talk about too much. It doesn’t get the over-the-top hype and publicity that Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout does, and that makes it easier to snag some of the supply that the Michigan brewery sends out every November.

I’ve shown remarkable restraint with this 2012 four-pack of mine — this is only the second of the four I’ve opened so far. While, like wine, the vast majority of beers are made for immediate consumption, Backwoods Bastard shows the potential in the rare beer that can benefit from some time put away. Where the smoky, boozy, and sweet mix of the malts and barrel influence would have felt a bit disjointed and cloying when released, today every element is integrated, working in harmony. Often unspoken in discussion of aging beers is how they can mellow, making something as strong as Backwoods Bastard (10.2 percent), with the heat of the Bourbon barrel, feel approachable and even elegant. I’m going to need another four-pack to replace this one, as I don’t think those last two bottles are going to survive the winter in my home. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 23, 2014 at 5:00 am 1,253 0

The ultimate in urban living is found in this two-level condominium townhouse at 1418 N. Rhodes Street, Unit B107.

Conveniently located between the Rosslyn and Courthouse Metro Stations, this property features the following:

  • Over 1,830 square feet of well appointed, loft-like space in 4 year old Rhodes Hill Square
  • High ceilings, tall windows, gleaming wood floors on the main level
  • Open, airy living room flows into the dining room and kitchen for entertaining and daily living
  • Upscale kitchen features ample maple cabinets, generous granite countertops, pantry cupboards, breakfast bar, JennAir stainless appliances, including gas range
  • Main level powder room, two closets and entry to 2 garage spaces
  • High ceilings and windows continue into the upstairs which provides two bedrooms and a private den
  • The large master bedroom provides a walk-in closet, second closet and an en-suite bathroom with separate soaking tub, oversized shower and double bowl vanity
  • The second bedroom is served by the hall bathroom with a large vanity for additional storage
  • Also on this level is a private den for an office, playroom or private space for a guest
  • A full size washer and dryer, linen closet and utility/storage room complete this level
  • Walk to park across the street, shops, restaurants, nightlife, farmer’s market, movies, and bikepath
  • Dream commute to Washington, Crystal City, Rosslyn-Ballston Business Corridor, Fort Myer and Foreign Service Institute
  • Excellent reverse commute to Tyson’s Corner and Dulles Tech Corridor
  • Schools: Key or Science Focus Elementary School, Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School

An open house will be held Sunday, Oct. 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Listed at $845,000, additional details about 1418 N. Rhodes Street are available at betsytwigg.com.

Betsey can be reached at 703-967-4391 or btwigg@mcenearney.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm 346 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 job requires me to do much driving between multiple offices. Should I get paid overtime for this work-related travel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm 578 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm 593 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 saw one of those real estate TV shows the other day where the buyers were allowed to live in the house for several days before they completed the purchase. It was a great way to test drive the house if you will. Is it possible to arrange this on a purchase in the Arlington area?

A. Technically, it is possible to occupy a property before closing in Northern Virginia. In fact, there is even a standard form for such an event, called the Purchaser’s Pre-Settlement Occupancy Agreement. I can understand why a “test drive” sounds like a good idea to a purchaser, but pre-settlement occupancy is not for that purpose and it is rarely agreed to by sellers.

Sellers and listing agents recognize that it is standard practice for purchasers to request various inspections as part of the buying process. They have gotten used to the risk of pulling their listing from the active real estate market so purchasers can proceed with processing of their loan and inspections. But, it’s unlikely that they are going to agree to someone moving in before the sale is complete to make sure they still want the home.

Less than 1 percent of home purchase contracts in Northern Virginia include a pre-settlement occupancy agreement. The ones that do, usually entail a purchaser who was going to be homeless due to a delayed closing. It was not in place to further test the home. When I’ve represented a seller in these situations, we made sure that all contingencies had been removed and that we were holding a substantial deposit. We also had a level of comfort from the professional manner that the purchaser and her agent had conducted themselves throughout the transaction up to this point.

I truly don’t believe that most sellers are trying to hide anything. Many have been living happily in their respective homes for years without noticing any imperfections. I think the fear more stems from not knowing the buyer and what may trigger their nerves. Maybe there is a creak when the wind blows that makes the buyer afraid that the house is haunted. Next thing you know, they are lawyering up to get out of the contract instead of investigating what the actual issue is.

There are also a number of scams out there where a “purchaser” will occupy a property and then use legal roadblocks to stay in the property without paying for it. Obviously, this is a mess that every seller wants to avoid.

A few minor notes about the standard pre occupancy agreement:

  1. An “occupancy deposit” is often required in addition to the earnest money deposit.
  2. It does not provide the occupant with the ability to alter the property before closing. In other words, this is not your opportunity to get a jump start on painting or renovations.
  3. The purchaser usually pays a per-day rate to the seller for the time the property is occupied prior to closing.
  4. The purchaser is required to maintain adequate insurance covering personal property and liability during the occupancy period.
  5. The purchaser is required to transfer and pay for utilities during the occupancy period.

In summary… although pre settlement occupancy is possible, it will have to be a pretty special situation for most sellers to agree to it. I recommend that you take all the time you need deciding whether the home is right for you before entering a contract. Don’t be afraid to schedule multiple visits. You’ll also want to talk to your Realtor about the various inspections you should consider in lieu of a test drive.

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 — October 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm 321 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.

Don’t we all love Halloween? It is so much fun, but we need to be careful for our cats.

Some candy can be toxic to cats. How can something so wonderful be dangerous? Chocolate, especially the darker types, is toxic to cats. Chocolate has caffeine and theobromine. When ingested, these two ingredients can lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal for your cat.

The artificial sweetener xylitol, which is used in gums and several candies, is also toxic to cats. The ingestion of xylitol primarily affects insulin release throughout the body. Xylitol causes the release of insulin from the pancreas into circulation leading to a rapid decrease of blood glucose levels. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of xylitol ingestion. This hypoglycemia can lead to liver toxicity, liver damage, and ultimately liver failure. Xylitol is perfectly safe for people, but because of different metabolisms, it can be fatal for dogs and cats.

So be careful to not let candy be lying around or fall out of your trick or treat bag. Click here for a link to the ASPCA hotline.

Some cats love to play with and then eat dangling decorations.  Just make sure the decorations are out of reach. Vomiting is the most common symptom of the ingestion of foreign bodies.  We want to be sure you do not spend the holiday in the emergency room. Although we are more likely to think of this during the winter holidays, there are those of us who go all out for Halloween too. Come by our office if you’d like to see our feline friendly decorations.

If you have outdoor cats, you may want to consider limiting their outdoor time during this period. This is especially true for black cats. Unfortunately, not everyone loves cats as much as we do.

You may want to consider a Feliway plug-in during the holidays. Lots of strange people coming to your door may frighten your cat and put them in seclusion.  Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that can help calm kitties nerves. There are other anti-anxiety options including over the counter products such as anxitane.  There are also a couple of prescription diets that can reduce anxiety. Royal Canin has a diet called Calm, and Hill’s has c/d stress.

Finally, if you dress your cat up for Halloween, please send us your photos to office@novacatclinic.com. We would love to put them on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

You may want to ask your cat about their costume, though. Not all of them are very excited about dressing up.

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

by Ethan Rothstein — October 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm 959 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, founders and funders. The Ground Floor is Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn. 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.

Cards from the Cards Against Urbanity party gameIf there’s a game that seems tailor-made for Arlington, it’s a take on a boozy card game that encourages thinking about smart growth and urban planning.

That’s the premise behind “Cards Against Urbanity,” a spinoff of the popular Cards Against Humanity party game that replaces the original’s mix of raunchy and offensive questions and answers with tongue-in-cheek  cards about living in a city. Cards include questions like “My city’s latest economic plan is _____” with answers like “Sexy firefighter fundraisers.”

Cards Against Urbanity is a Kickstarter idea, with a deadline: the only time people can buy the game is by donating to the Kickstarter, which closes at 10:19 p.m. A $30 pledge gets the funder the 234-card game, and a pledge of $65 also includes a Cards Against Urbanity T-shirt.

Cards Against Urbanity’s cards are the same size and materials as the original to allow for crossover and mixing and matching with the original game and its expansion packs. According to the game’s creators, there won’t be any chances to buy the game after 10:19 tonight.

The game’s creators are all planners, architects and economic development professionals with D.C. ties. The idea was started by Lisa Nisenson, an urban planner and co-founder of crowdsourced urban design solutions startup GreaterPlaces, and Sarah Lewis, of the urban planning think tank DoTank DC. The two and a group of urban planners and architects were at a planning conference, Nisenson said, playing Cards Against Humanity when someone suggested “it’d be fun to have a city version” of the game.

A month later, neither Lewis nor Nisenson could get the idea out of their head, so they decided to make the game. They asked permission from Cards Against Humanity, which allowed the team to develop the idea, as long as they agreed “not to make any money off of it,” Nisenson said.

“What we’re asking for is just to cover the cost of the game and the Kickstarter,” Nisenson said.

She, Lewis and their five co-creators guessed how many of their friends would buy the game and priced the Kickstarter goal accordingly. They figured 250 people would buy it, so they set the goal at $7,500. With a little more than 10 hours to go, the campaign has 753 backers and has raised $26,393.

Initially, the game creators thought only other planners, architects and economic development workers would have interest in the game, but the response — which has been across the spectrum and global — has changed her tune.

Cards Against Urbanity co-creator Lisa Nisenson“Our big takeaway from this is that if you make planning fun,” Nisenson said, “there is an audience that is really hungry for it.”

As they were developing the game, Nisenson and Lewis were giving some cards a test drive at “a rooftop happy hour” in Arlington when other customers approached them, asked to play, and offered their own suggestions for cards, like an answer card that says simply “Lead Paint. YOLO.”

“Everyone was immediately into it,” Lewis said. “They asked to join us and play a couple rounds. It validated our initial thoughts that this was something people would want to play and enjoy.”

Nisenson said that even though Arlington is viewed nationally as a model for inclusive city planning and urban design, there is still a huge opportunity to engage people who are invested in the community but, for whatever reason, haven’t previously been involved in the process.

“Cities are hot,” Nisenson said. “People want to know how to get involved and they don’t know where to start.”

by Nick Anderson — October 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 449 0

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

Before we get into it today, some notes:

Homebrew Update: My Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA has been in bottles carbonating for just over a week now. Bottling wasn’t so bad, but I don’t know how much I’d enjoy doing it on a regular basis with larger batches of beer. They’ll be going into my fridge next Thursday night for consumption starting Friday — if I stay patient. If not, well, you’ll be getting a report on the results sooner than anticipated. Either way, I’m already plotting a Porter or Stout brew next.

Articles of note: The increasingly must-read Craft Brewing Business has a great piece up about distribution contracts. CBB’s Candace Moon lays out the intricacies, fine print, and pitfalls of the legalese involved in the alcohol industry in a way that is accessible without being dumbed-down.

Also, check out Esquire picking up on Dann Paquette of Pretty Things going H.A.M. (look it up, kids) on “pay to play” practices in Boston. Paquette started calling out breweries, distributors, and bars/restaurants for engaging in illegal payments/gifting in exchange for securing tap lines, and revived an ages-old, extremely contentious running argument in the process. If you’re a Beer Advocate member, there’s a refreshingly reasonable and open forum thread on the topic that makes for great reading.

Onto the topic this week: The truth is, this is my second pass at this week’s column. Earlier in the week I’d been reading everything from the stuff I linked above, along with a great piece by Craig Gravina at DrinkDrank that addressed some of the concerns being raised about quality control in new breweries; whether drinking “local” would actually harm the growing beer industry.

I’ve been seeing some of the planned releases and strategies from so-called Big Craft breweries for 2015; taken as a whole, I just rambled about reconciling the business aspect of beer with the very passion we have for it as fans. What came out was, frankly, depressing; no one here wants to read about me being a sad panda.

I wanted to get to the heart of what I was trying to say — get to the point. Then a couple funny things happened: I tried a couple standout beers, and a lot of media outlets started talking about beer. First up was the New York Times Editorial Board itself, weighing in with concerns over the potential AB/InBev and SABMiller merger that’s been on again/off again for years now. Then chef David Chang took an oddly emphatic swing at what he derisively terms “fancy beer” in GQ, and something in my brain went “pop.”

I stopped being able to be “outraged” or whatever it is I’m supposed to feel when my hobby (and my profession) is being “attacked.” Looking at it one way, Chang pulls off an impressive troll job, judging by the online reaction to the column. Beyond that, however, is the fact that this is simply one man’s opinion: Chang isn’t limiting the beer options in his restaurants; you’ll find offerings like Stillwater Stateside Saison, Left Hand Good Juju, Fritz Briem Berlinerweisse, and Rodenbach — he’s even done a collaboration beer with Evil Twin. The guy’s just expressing a preference; the only issue I’d take is with the “neckbeard” and “hipster” cracks, which just strike me as unnecessarily antagonistic, but then again, it gets the clicks. (more…)

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