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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,015 0

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

Several states have recently passed laws legalizing the use of certain drugs, such as marijuana, for either recreational or medical use.

Officials in the District of Columbia recently passed a law that legalized the limited possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

Virginia has been less accepting of any change to its existing drug laws as a number of similar drug legalization bills have met significant opposition. Maryland has proposed a bill that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over, which remains in a state house committee.

In light of recent changes to state laws legalizing certain drug use, employees and employers alike are questioning how these changes will affect the employer’s ability to continue to require drug testing in the workplace and potentially terminate or discipline an employee for positive drug test results. However, many employers still continue to test employees for illegal drug use.

While some jurisdictions have legalized the use of certain drugs, they have not yet updated their laws to prohibit testing for legalized drugs. For instance, a D.C. employer can still test its employees for marijuana use despite laws that now legalize marijuana use in the District.

Although D.C. has proposed new laws to place some limits on drug screening for marijuana use in the workplace, such proposals are still in progress. As a result, employers in D.C. are essentially permitted to continue their existing drug testing requirements without making exceptions for the recent legalization of marijuana use in the District.

The federal government has taken the position that the use of illegal drugs, even in states that have legalized the use of certain drugs, still violates federal law. As a result, drug use, even where approved by state law, can result in a security concern being raised and/or the potential denial of a security clearance for federal employees and government contractors. In addition, a security clearance holder can be penalized for associating with other individuals engaging in drug use, even if the other individuals have engaged in state-legalized drug use.

Our law firm represents and advises employees on employment-related matters. If you need legal assistance, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation.  Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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

by Ethan Rothstein — March 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm 377 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.

Healthcare entrepreneurs at work at LiftOff Health (photo via Facebook)Crystal City’s rebranding as a hub for all kinds of innovation has a new entry in its portfolio: LiftOff Health, a new incubator for healthcare startups.

Founded by Michael Slage, an entrepreneur and former NASA employee who also founded Better Health Box and Healthengage, LiftOff Health is in office space above the Crystal City Shops, given to them for a six-month trial period by Vornado, and Slage said it’s the perfect launching pad for an industry that has gone curiously underdeveloped in the D.C. startup scene.

“A lot of angel groups and places like the Dingman Center don’t really invest in healthcare because they don’t understand it,” Slage said. Along with being an incubator and coworking space, LiftOff will serve as a vetting agency, helping to prepare investor presentations for its clients and validation studies for investors.

“We stand between companies — the risk-takers — and hospitals — the risk avoiders,” Slage added.

LiftOff will wear many hats, but the company still has to “figure out what we are,” Slage said. Is it an incubator, a coworking space, a trade association for healthcare startups, a nonprofit? All could theoretically apply, but Slage said the company is ready to assume all forms.

“It all comes down to how we increase innovation in healthcare,” he said.

There are a couple ways Slage and his cofounders, Sandeep Pulim, Ludmila Litvyakova and Pratik Patel, plan on spurring innovation. First, is a partnership with Marymount University. The school is in negotiations to invest in LiftOff, and partner to provide educational programming. In fact, Slage said when he brought the idea to MU President Matthew Shank, Slage said Shank’s enthusiasm was part of the impetus to start the company.

Second, Slage said he reached out to dozens of foreign embassies in D.C., whose countries are thirsty for better healthcare products. While the U.S. market is tough to break into because of daunting federal regulations, the barrier to enter the market in foreign countries is much lower. LiftOff is already capable sending its clients on a five-day “trade mission” to the United Arab Emirates to set up partnerships in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

“In the UAE, there’s a huge need for the things we take for granted here,” Slage said.

Third, LiftOff is partnering with the increasingly vital TechShop, just a few blocks away, for a new “Health makers” program. Many of the startups the incubator hopes to bring on as clients will be building and testing new devices, and there are few better resources than the maker space in Crystal City.

LiftOff Health's office space in Crystal City (photo via Facebook)LiftOff currently has 12 clients in its 5,000-square-foot space, and it’s looking for more. Slage and his team take equity in their clients’ companies — between 4 and 8 percent — or accept cash for a new tenant. LiftOff already has $500,000 in investment and is looking for another $500,000 to grow its incubator program.

Part of how the company has been able to take off so fast — they only entertained serious discussions around the idea starting last November – is its partnership with Vornado. Seeing LiftOff’s potential, Vornado gave Slage the space rent-free for six months “to see what we can do with it.” The space opened in January.

If the company is successful, there is hundreds of thousands of square footage in Vornado’s portfolio for it to grow into. Vornado and the Crystal City Business Improvement District are betting it will be.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm 622 0

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.

When I think of a winery that has a vineyard, I don’t picture the usual trappings of a farm. To be sure, a vineyard is not called a grape farm. But if you say “farm brewery,” I absolutely picture the archetypal farm — a silo, a barn and equipment everywhere.

After all, the main ingredient of beer — grains — are field crops.

This brings me to today’s topic, one that has piqued my curiosity as a craft beer lover: farm breweries. Two area breweries operate on the farms that yield most, if not all, their ingredients — Richmond’s Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery and Mt. Airy’s The Red Shedman Farm Brewery & Hop Yard. What these two breweries have in common is a deep connection to the land they work.

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (LCCB)

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (LCCB) is known as “Virginia’s Farm Brewery” and opened its doors in September 2013 northwest of Richmond in Goochland. It has continued growing its capabilities and offerings ever since. I first became aware of LCCB in 2013 when they grew a large Instagram following with nothing but photos of their first plantings and the construction of their brewery building. It was clear then that this was a unique brewery.

Estate Series Mango-Habanero Brown AleThe brewery and its farm are “water-conscious and biologically friendly.” They use well-water and they reintroduce purified waste water back into the Lickinghole Creek watershed. A main aspect of their mission is to begin with the farm for the ingredients they need, then outsource for those that they cannot get. In fact, the Estate Series was created to use as many LCCB-grown ingredients as possible. While their other beers may not be made from ingredients grown on their own farm, they are often sourced from local farms or providers.

I was only able to get a hold of one LCCB beer for this article, but it was an absolute gem!

Their Estate Series Mango-Habanero Brown Ale is a real treat. The heat from the pepper balances well with the tang of the mango. Behind the fruit and pepper is a hoppy and sweet brown ale that shows the higher ABV (8.5 percent) without tasting too boozy. You can get this, and other Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery beers at Dominion Wine and Beer – they often have growler fills in addition to bottles and cans.

Pump House IPAThe Red Shedman Farm Brewery & Hop Yard

Opened by Vic Aellen in 2014, The Red Shedman Farm Brewery & Hop Yard sprouted on the farm that houses Linganore Winecellars in Mt. Airy, Md. Vic’s brother, Anthony Aellen, runs Linganore, which was opened in 1971 by his parents Jack and Lucille Aellen. The Red Shedman’s canning operation started in late November, allowing them to self-distribute their brews locally.

In order to obtain a farm brewery license in Maryland, a brewery must grow at least one ingredient that they use. The Red Shedman goes one better by growing barley and hops. Though the barley they grow doesn’t provide enough grain for their beer just yet, they are using farm-grown hops in all their beers.

All of The Red Shedman’s canned beers are available at Georgetown Square’s sister store, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer. The standouts among their solid line up are their Pump House IPA and Vanilla Porter.

Pump House IPA is a West Coast IPA that balances piney hops with a pleasantly sweet maltiness. This beer is mash hopped, which instills a vibrant hop flavor without too much bitterness as the hops are not boiled. The result is a very drinkable IPA, with plenty of flavor.

Vanilla PorterTheir Vanilla Porter is a simple and flavorful beer that is suitable for a light dessert or even with creamy cheeses. The bitterness from the black malt balances the warming vanilla to create a memorable experience. I mentioned in my Instagram post about the Vanilla Porter that this was the best one of its kind that I’ve had. That may have been a bit of hyperbole, but you cannot go wrong with this beer!

Do you have a favorite or new farm brewery that you can share? Or have you tried either of today’s breweries’ offerings? Tell us about them. Cheers!

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 — March 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm 426 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.

Hopefully the non-stop winter weather will soon come to an end, but the last few months have been wreaking havoc on fitness routines. The constant snow, ice and wind test even the heartiest of winter warriors. Aside from hitting your local gym, what can apartment dwellers do to fight off the winter blues with fitness? Here are a few of our ideas.

Make Use of Building Amenities – Sure your community gym is the obvious choice, but what about organizing a weekly group yoga or strength training class in your community room? This choice comes with the added benefit of meeting your neighbors.

Set up a Home Gym – This is easier than it sounds. You can get in a great workout with little to no equipment. Resistance bands are probably the best option for space saving and portability. There are plenty of body weight exercises that require zero equipment yet still give you a great workout. Just be mindful of your neighbors, and maybe keep the high impact stuff for the outside workouts. Here is a good workout designed just for apartments to keep the noise to a minimum.

Exercise Videos – Long gone are the days of Richard Simmons work out videos, and now we have great options with things like Insanity, P90X and the like. But if exercise videos are only a last resort, there are plenty of options through cable (Comcast has several fitness options On Demand) and Internet for free. Check out Gaiam or Fitness Blender for some great options online if you don’t have cable.

Find a Workout Partner – Nothing says couch potato like cold winter mornings. Find someone to keep you motivated on the days you find it hard to get out of bed. Even if you don’t work out together, find someone who will call or text you to get you moving. Or you could use an app or fitness community to keep you motivated. Gym Pact is a fun way to stay motivated, as you can earn rewards for meeting your goals. Websites like Spark People have a robust community to keep you going.

Not only do these workout options work well on snow days, but they are great for travel, too. Sometimes body weight and a tablet are all you need to get the job done. Just keep up the good work, as spring is right around the corner, and you’ll want all the extra energy to enjoy a D.C. spring.

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 — March 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm 588 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Buffy, a cat who shares no relation to a certain vampire-slaying teenager.

Here’s what owner Rose had to say:

We found this delightful blonde bombshell at the Arlington Animal Shelter in Shirlington. She had not been at the shelter long, and stood out like a movie star. For being part of the orange tabby line, she is more buff-colored, and so the name Buffy. I tried to call her Buffy-Bull’s Eye due to her odd circular stripes — just “Buffy” seemed not grand enough — but neither the vet nor my husband would go along.

She is medium-hair, and her fur is luxuriously thick. I have no trouble finding a cat sitter: everyone is enamored of her. With an indoor cat, owners go out of their way to keep the cat from sleeping so much and getting dull. Luckily, Buffy likes window sills. Buffy has a cozy nap and look-out place on my desk against the window: add an old beach towel and desk lamp and she’s got the good life. The other nap place is her round fleece “snuggy,” which we are afraid she will soon outgrow.

“The Buffer” keeps us laughing; after eating, she scratches at newspapers or whatever is under her plate to cover her food, I guess. But the oddest and funniest thing she does is how she comes running when I’m changing sheets. As I’m flapping the clean sheet in the air, she makes it to the bedroom and is under the sheet before it can fall flat on the bed! My husband and I collapse laughing, and then have to remove Buffy to the den until the bed is made. “Cats want to be where you are” and it is so true with Buffy.

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 — March 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm 973 0

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

Q. I live in a small condo complex in the Ballston area, less than 15 units. Our small lot has one spot per unit, and two guest spots. Recently it was proposed that we eliminate the guest spots because people from neighboring complexes have been monopolizing them instead of our residents.

Many residents were fine with getting rid of them, but someone said eliminating the guest spots would lower our property values. Does that seem right? I’m sure eliminating resident spots would lower values, but it seems weird that guest spots would affect our prices.

A. I’ve never seen an appraisal or home value analysis that placed a dollar value on the availability of guest parking spaces. That said, I think your condo building will be more appealing to potential buyers if it offers guest parking than if it does not.

Ballston can be a challenging place to find parking at certain hours of the day. A savvy homebuyer is going to recognize this and may be turned off if guest parking or ample street parking is not available. If buyers go elsewhere because guest parking isn’t available then it is having an effect on your home values.

I recommend keeping the guest parking spaces even if you have to work with one of the local towing companies to set an example when the spaces are not used by legitimate guests.

Please keep the questions coming to adam@rlathome.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 Sponsor — March 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm 350 0

The following article is written and sponsored by Alexander Chamandy of Arlington Virginia Computer Repair, the IT services provider of ARLnow.com.

Alexander ChamandyData recovery technicians are no stranger to hard drives with bad sectors.  In fact it’s one of the more common forms of hard drive damage we see from client storage devices.  So what  exactly are bad sectors and media errors and how do they effect a hard drive?

What is a hard drive sector?

Let’s start with the basics.  Sectors hold tiny chunks of information.  They embody where and how data is broken up and stored on to hard drives (and other storage devices).  Most sectors are 512 bytes on older drives and 4096 bytes on modern drives.  They are a component that is part of what is referred to as ‘disk geometry’ or the physical location of data stored on the hard drive’s platters.   The sector itself is just a small section of magnetic media surface.  This surface is referred to as the platter(s) of the hard drive.

Your actual data is stored in these very same sectors as fragments.  These fragments are what make up your files, such as documents, photos, music, etc.  When the fragments of data that are stored in each sector are assembled properly your data is accessible to read, edit, save, etc.  But when these fragments of data cannot be accessed properly, it may be due to bad sectors.  And those bad sectors may actually worsen as the drive is accessed.

How do hard drive sectors go bad?

Most of the time hard drive storage sectors go bad because of wear and tear.   Hard drives are spinning around from 5,400 RPM all the way to 15,000 RPM depending on the model.  This force, combined with the heat of a motor and the action reading and writing data all cause the hard drive to begin to stress itself on a molecular level.  Because the surface that data is recorded on is electroplated on to the hard drive platter’s surface, it is quite fragile and can actually begin to degrade or even flake off in to tiny bits of metal over time.  Sectors may also degrade due to direct physical damage, manufacturer defects or other problems.

Bad sectors are defined as a sector that take a long time to access, is no longer readable/writeable or otherwise compromised.  Because bad sectors are a sign of a hard drive failing, it is recommended that hard drives in this condition are retired as they will functionally deteriorate until they are no longer operational.

How can I avoid bad sectors?

You can’t reliably avoid bad sectors, but you can try to ensure that you keep your data on multiple storage devices, so that when (and not if) one dies, you have a copy of your data located somewhere else that is still reliable.  To ensure your drive has a long, healthy life you can be mindful of extreme temperature changes, high humidity, physical shock and not moving the hard drive while it is powered on.

I didn’t backup, is my hard drive’s data lost?

Probably not so don’t lose hope yet!  Arlington Virginia Computer Repair is a small, family-owned and operated company that offers expert data recovery services at competitive prices to the Washington, DC area and beyond.  We will exhaust every option to re-unite you with your data as cost effectively as possible.  Our rates are competitive and our success rate is currently 90%.  That means there’s a very good chance that if you can’t find your data anywhere else, we can recover it from a damaged hard drive with bad sectors (or other maladies).

Read more about our data recovery services and contact us for help.

The preceding article was written by Alexander Chamandy of Arlington Virginia Computer Repair

Local Woof: Dog Sports

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm 301 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.

Spring is just around the corner. Really. And spring is a great time to get involved in a sport with your dog.

Dog sports continue to grow in popularity for several reasons. First, it’s a great way to advance your dog’s training. No matter what activity you choose, your dog’s training will improve.

Second, dog sports are a great way to burn off both physical and mental energy. They are especially great for young adolescent dogs with lots of extra energy.

Third, doing an activity with your dog is a great way to improve or expand your relationship. Like any team sport, dog sports require you and your dog to work together and can generate a greater understanding between the teammates. Finally, dog sports are fun. It’s fun to see your dog learn a new complex skill, even if you never plan on competing.

The best way to get started is to join a beginner class. Most beginner sport classes require your dog to have had some basic training already, so you might need to start there first. Keep in mind that sport classes are different from basic obedience classes.

Sport classes don’t end, just like training or practicing a sport doesn’t end.  You might take a single class several times before you master the content and move up. Serious competitors are always practicing and training.

One of the best things about sport classes is that it gives you lots of fun tricks to work on with your dog between classes. Even if you never advance or compete, working on tasks steadily and consistently with your dog builds the relationship and strengthens your bond.

The most popular dog sports are: Dog agility, where you navigate your dog through an obstacle course; Rally Obedience, in which you navigate your dog through a series of obedience exercises; Nose work, where you teach your dog to sniff out specific odors, detection dog style; Flyball, a fast and furious combination of steeplechase and fetch; plus freestyle, Frisbee and other options.

So if you are looking for a fun way to continue working with your dog, find a fun sport class and get started.

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 — March 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm 423 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.

Notify Anywhere Founder Ajay Maheshwari, right, and Sahaj ShardaThere are billions of people on the planet with no access to Internet. Ajay Maheshwari wants to connect to all of them.

Maheshwari is the founder and CEO of Notify Anywhere, a mobile platform that allows users to notify a list of contacts or subscribers in a wide range of ways, from social media to email to text or phone messages. It can be used for restaurants to tell customers about specials, coaches to tell players about practice cancellations or family members to reach out in case of emergency.

“There is a need of a platform to provide people with a unified notification medium,” Maheshwari said from Rosslyn, in his borrowed space from Notify Anywhere’s mentor company, Miracle Systems.

Maheshwari’s example of a coach notifying a team is personal — his wife was taking his daughter to soccer practice in Ashburn one rainy morning. They hadn’t heard from the coach so they assumed practice was still happening. The Maheshwaris arrived to an empty practice field and, when they got the coach on the phone, were told that he had no way of contacting all the parents.

“I decided we needed to come up with an automated critical process, triggered at an event so users don’t feel like it’s a burden to notify people,” Maheshwari said. “People want a simple thing. They want to reach their audience, irrespective of the network.”

A screenshot of the Notify Anywhere appSeven months ago, Maheshwari formed the company with his cofounder, who goes by Shikha, applied for a patent and got to work. He brought on a developer, like many startups, but his is unique. Sahaj Sharda and Maheshwari met at a “hack-a-thon” in D.C. after Sharda’s team impressed with a quick-built app to “make children accessible to the education industry.” Maheshwari saw it, was impressed, and brought him on board.

Sharda is 16, and his team was a group of his classmates from Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County.

“I was excited about the idea,” Sharda said. “It was similar to what we had built. When you’re developing anything, you’re looking at your target audience. Ours don’t have Internet access, but they’re still in the community at large. It’s a big problem in terms of accessibility.”

That’s why one of Notify Anywhere’s key selling points is its partnership with global telecommunications providers. In more than 200 countries, the app can access the phone infrastructure, allowing users to send voice and text messages over a network instead of requiring both end-users to download the app.

The infrastructure access and ability to send “robo-calls” sets the app apart, Maheshwari says. It’s is cloud-based, syncs with the phone’s contacts

“We don’t have any direct competition,” he said. “I don’t see any other companies doing it.”

Notify Anywhere is currently in a beta test, and Maheshwari said the response is “overwhelming.” He expects to hit the open market by April.

To this point, Notify Anywhere has been bootstrapped by the former federal government employee, and funded with friends and family money. As the launch date approaches, the company is seeking angel investors and venture capitalists to inject funding for engineering, marketing and sales.

The app will be Android-only to start, but an iPhone app isn’t far behind. It will be free for most users, and, in less than two months, live and “fully-formed.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm 466 0

Healthy Paws

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

We all know the feeling — you get the annual reminder card from your veterinarian telling you Spot is due for vaccinations, many of them a bunch of weird names that say nothing to describe the diseases they protect against. To help you understand what’s being reminded for, here’s a brief run-down of the common canine vaccinations:

Rabies – an incurable and nearly always fatal viral disease of mammals, Rabies is transmitted through saliva and targets the central nervous system. Because it is spread from animals to people, the public health implications have led to a legal requirement for all cats and dogs in nearly every state.

DAPP/DHPP – Distemper/Adenovirus/Parainfluenza/Parvovirus – This combination of vaccines is considered a “core” vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association and is highly recommend for all dogs.

  • Distemper virus (in the same class as measles) is highly infectious and spread by respiratory droplets. It targets the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and even the brain in some cases.
  • Canine Adenovirus/Infectious Canine Hepatitis is transmitted through bodily secretions and causes respiratory symptoms followed by liver damage and/or ocular damage.
  • Canine Parvovirus is an extremely contagious and very serious virus that causes gastrointestinal signs, sometimes severe and even fatal. Spread by feces and very hardy — it is ubiquitous in the environment. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are extremely susceptible.
  • Parainfluenza is a respiratory virus transmitted via respiratory secretions. It is one of the causes of “kennel cough.”

Lyme – this bacterial organism is spread by the deer tick. In dogs, it is most often associated with severe joint pain and fever; rarely a severe, often fatal type of kidney disease or  neurologic symptoms can result. We do not know if dogs can suffer the same chronic effects of Lyme infection as people may.

Leptospirosis — this bacterial infection affects the kidneys and/or liver and is transmitted through the urine (rodents, raccoons and opossums are major carriers in this area). Dogs that swim, play in water or live in cities are at highest risk; humans are also susceptible and suffer similar symptoms.

Canine Tracheobronchitis/Bordetella — another cause of “kennel cough,” Bordetella bronchiseptia is a highly contagious bacterium transmitted through respiratory secretions. It causes inflammation of large airways, causing a honking cough; in the young or immune compromised it can become pneumonia. Typically required by boarding/grooming/training facilities.

Canine Influenza – This virus is transmitted similarly to the human flu virus (direct contact, respiratory secretions, or contaminated surfaces). Most cases of this relatively new disease have been reported at shelters, dog tracks, or areas where many dogs are housed together. Some boarding facilities may require this vaccine.

Most veterinarians aim to customize vaccine protocols based on each pet’s geographical location, age and sex, and individual lifestyle. Which lifestyle category does your pet fall in?

  • “free spirit” — spending time hunting, camping, hiking, swimming, potentially likely to eat or drink from unknown sources?
  • “urban socialite”– frequent visitors to dog parks or doggie daycare? Exposure to rodents (common in urban environments)?
  • “pampered pooch” — frequent trips to the groomer, often travels along to public places?
  • “homebody” — little or no exposure to other dogs, short leash walks only, no access to unknown dogs, food, or water?

By taking all these factors into consideration, your veterinarian can work with you to develop the best individualized vaccine protocol for your dog.

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 — February 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm 981 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Noor, an Australian shepherd/husky mix with different color eyes and the ability to tap dance “like Fred Astaire.”

Here’s what owner Lydia had to say about her rescue pup:

This is Noor, short for the term “light within” in Farsi, and she totally demonstrates how bright her personality is!

Noor was found happily roaming freely through the woods of West Virginia ridden with ticks and burrs before someone spotted her (likely thinking she was a coyote), and called Animal Control. She was quickly transferred to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and her unique face was posted on their Facebook Page suggesting she would be up for adoption.

As luck would have it, she randomly appeared on my news feed, and I filled out an application to adopt her! It was like a Match.com commercial; I fell in love at first sight!

Noor is just over 1 year old. She is the smartest Australian shepherd/husky mix who will gladly shake your hand upon meeting you. She snuggles like a sausage in the blankets, tap dances like Fred Astaire, and will sing you a tune when she’s feeling frisky.

Noor has a gentle Boxer boyfriend named Apollo and she enjoys convertible car rides in any season. She has shined a light in our lives, and has been a blessing in every way.

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: Walkable Communities

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm 1,817 0

Ask Adam Real Living header

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

Q. We are brand new to the area and looking for a house in Arlington. Coming from the Bay Area in California we have been spoiled by walkability. I don’t think we can afford a house on the Metro line. Can you please recommend some other neighborhoods in Arlington that are somewhat walkable to parks, restaurants and necessities?

A. Arlington does such a nice job providing parks that it’s more difficult to think of areas in Arlington that do not have parks within walking distance. You can click here for a full list of parks… searchable by name, community or address.

Below is a list of the top six neighborhoods that come to mind, but I am hoping the commenters can fill in the blanks with additional neighborhoods that they have experienced as walkable.

  • Cherrydale – restaurants, grocery store, wine shops, bakery, hardware store, cafes, etc. It’s a quaint and convenient part of town.
  • Columbia Pike Corridor — Columbia Pike has grocery stores, restaurants, a movie theater, odds-and-ends shops and a farmers market. It’s a long stretch of road, though, so where you live along Columbia Pike is going to greatly determine what you have walkable access to.
  • Harrison/Lee Highway area — The shopping center at the intersection of Harrison Street and Lee Highwy is so packed with dining and shopping options that it is hard to find parking. A nearby park called Chestnut Hills is wonderful for kids.
  • Shirlington — The dining options at Shirlington provide a ton of variety. It is also well equipped with a Harris Teeter, library, movie theater and dog park.
  • East Falls Church area — You will be within walking distance of the Orange Line Metro, some nice little restaurants and few conveniences. You also have easy access to the W&OD trail. You’ll have to get in the car or on the metro for most of your shopping needs though.
  • Westover – like Cherrydale, this is another quaint area of Arlington. You have a small hardware store, market (with the best beer selection in town), restaurants, ice cream shop and cafe.

I know you mentioned not being interested in homes along the Metro line, but there are a number of neighborhoods within reasonable walking distance of the parks, restaurants and shopping that surround the metro stations (i.e. Lyon Park, Ashton Heights and Bluemont) that you may want to consider.

We are happy to spend some time with you or anyone else who is new to the area and would like a personal tour to become more familiar with the various neighborhoods before buying.  Please just send me an email: adam@rlathome.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 Sponsor — February 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm 529 0

Berry&Berry2

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

Many current and former employees often wonder whether they have the right to review or obtain a copy of their personnel files. As a general rule, private sector employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia are not entitled to review or obtain a copy of their personnel files from an employer.

Private Sector Personnel Files

Each state has its own laws and regulations concerning the personnel files of private sector employees. Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland currently do not have statutes that require private sector employers to provide an employee with a copy of or the ability to review his or her personnel file. Some states, such as California, Michigan, and Connecticut, have passed laws requiring that employees have access to their personnel files. The national trend is moving toward legislatures requiring employers to provide current and former employees access to their personnel files. Some states require that a copy of such files be made available to an employee or former employee at a nominal cost. Unionized private sector employees may have additional rights to review or obtain a copy of their personnel files depending on collective bargaining agreements in place between a union and an employer.

Public and Federal Sector Personnel Files

Public sector employees are governed by different county, state, and federal laws. Federal employees generally have the right to obtain a copy of their personnel files through the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. Virginia public sector (state or county) employees have the right to review their personnel files under Va. Code 2.2-3705.1 and Va. Code 2.2-3705.5. Additionally, if a personnel matter goes to court, an employee will typically be able to obtain a copy of his or her personnel file through litigation procedures.

Advice to Private Sector Employees and Employers

If employees do not have a statutory or other right to obtain a copy of their personnel files, we advise that they still request the ability to review it. Even though employers may not have a formal policy on reviewing personnel files, human resources will often grant an employee’s request to review his or her personnel file. Sometimes there are restrictions on copying the personnel file or other safeguards. We generally advise employers to consider allowing employees, under certain conditions, the ability to review their personnel files even if it is not required by law. This often has a positive effect on workplace morale and helps to limit suspicion within the workplace. Such a policy also gives an employer the ability to clearly document that an employee has been put on notice or received prior disciplinary or performance counseling. Whatever policy is adopted by an employer, it should be applied consistently to all employees.

Please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation if you need legal assistance regarding an employment matter. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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 — February 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm 1,172 0

Startup Monday header

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.

Patdek's Robert Melton, left, and Jay GuilianoRobert Melton is a software developer who has built command centers for the FBI and local law enforcement agencies, but eight months into his latest project, building software for patent lawyers, he said “we were a complete failure.”

“It was a really hard year,” Melton admitted from his office at Clarendon’s Link Locale.

Melton has since turned it around, and he and founder Jay Guiliano are less than two months from launching Patdek, which they hope will be a game-changer in patent law, and potential the entire legal industry.

The concept appears simple: give patent lawyers a tool to find relevant information in patent applications and cases, both current and past, and a way for them to easily share it with clients and colleagues. The concept is so simple, in fact, that when Guiliano pitched his startup idea to Melton, asking him to be his developer, Melton thought for sure something like it already existed.

The Patdek team says nothing brings together the content of patent cases — terabytes worth of data comprising hundreds of millions of documents, all in Patdek’s system –  with the tools to search them easily in a usable way.

“These massive companies have the capabilities to do it,” Melton said. “But they don’t have the motivation to build a holistic tool like this for a niche market.”

The biggest challenge, Melton said, was avoiding converting the documents to text, something that would make them unusable for lawyers, who hold original documents sacred. All of the documents in Patdek’s system are images of the original, meaning a lawyer can take a paragraph from a patent case, highlight the text, send it to a colleague with the information and it can be used worry-free in court.

Guiliano knows how useful and how powerful the tool could be if executed properly. He’s been a patent lawyer for 19 years, and is still in practice challenging patents at his day job, and he’s been the driving force behind Melton’s seemingly ever-increasing workload.

Patdek screen shot“Jay is someone with a clear vision of where he wanted to go,” Melton said. “After eight months, we couldn’t select text or highlight characters. Jay said, ‘We need that. It’s super frustrating using other apps that have that. I don’t want to be frustrated.’”

Why is it so important, and so frustrating not to have? Guiliano said, as a lawyer, he needs to be able to answer questions about cases quickly. Right now, there’s no easy mechanism to do that.

“I want to be able to set up a case in five minutes,” he said. “That’s our goal. How do we take out all the time leaks and make it smooth and easy to do?”

Eight years ago, he knew he wanted to solve this problem, but only in late 2013 did he decide to get the ball rolling to do it himself. That’s when he reached out to Melton, a self-described “gun-for-hire” developer, to help him build it.

Now, less than two months away from their expected launch, the gun-for-hire and the attorney realize they might have something even bigger on their hands than a niche patent software tool.

“We see a lot of markets for this because we accidentally built a platform,” Melton said. “Everyone wants to use the app in different ways.” (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm 457 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.

I sat in the cavernous tasting room at Tröegs Brewing Co. pondering the deep golden red of my Nugget Nectar just days after its annual release.

The place was wall-to-wall beer lovers — two men at our table were in town from upstate New York. It occurred to me that this beloved hoppy red ale was a sign that this category of beer (splitting the difference between a pale ale and a brown ale) still has legs. It’s so important to Tröegs that the wall just inside the entrance is decorated with a two-story decal of the Nugget Nectar hop squeezing fist.

In the early days of the American microbrew movement, American brewers used the term “amber” to help beer consumers differentiate this hoppy, reddish ale from paler colored pale ales. Ironically, the earliest amber ales were actually pale ales that matched the darker color of European pales.

American consumers were confused, however, as they expected pale ales to be light in color. The name stuck and became a legitimate category of beer.

The American amber ale is characterized by its balance of moderate to high hop and malt flavors. Typically, amber ales are hoppier (with the piney or citrusy American hops) than brown ales and maltier than American pale ales.

This style has included American red ales, Irish red ales and American versions of the British style, Extra Special Bitters.

More often than not, though, an American amber ale consistently matches the flavor profile above. Below, let’s look some amber ales that run the gamut from the typical, hoppy style to more old-fashioned malt-balanced reds.

Tröegs Brewing Co. Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale (7.5% ABV)Tröegs Brewing Co. Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale (7.5% ABV)

This perennial favorite is a classic example of this style. The hops burst forward in the piney aroma and floral flavor. Malt takes a back seat in this ale, but it’s not overly bitter either. It also lacks the alcohol-derived sweetness of other imperial ales, which makes this a sneaky beer. It’s so drinkable, that you’ll want to be a bit careful with this slightly strong beer. It’s no wonder that this Pennsylvania beer is sought after every year. You can enjoy this anytime.

Apocalypse Beer Works Red Hoppocalypse Imperial Red Ale (8% ABV)Apocalypse Beer Works Red Hoppocalypse Imperial Red Ale (8% ABV)

Brewed by the wildly original Virginia brewery, Apocalypse Beer Works, Red Hoppocalypse won the silver medal at the 2014 U.S. Open Championship. I can see why. The aroma of this tasty local beer is a caramel malt that is spiced with hops, very much like a malt-forward imperial IPA. There is a spicy sweetness in the flavor that starts with the sip and continues through after you swallow. The finish is all the more interesting as the black tea-like hop flavor adds a complexity that I wasn’t anticipating. This is one of two of their beers that are currently available in cans, the rest you can only get in kegs.

Terrapin Beer Co. Mosaic Red Rye IPA (6.3%)Terrapin Beer Co. Mosaic Red Rye IPA (6.3%)

Terrapin’s seasonal red is quite the complex beer. On the one hand, it’s an amber, on the other, it’s an IPA — and then there’s the rye. Not to mention the fact that they’ve made it with only Mosaic hops — a newish hop variety that seems to burst with all the major American hop characteristics (floral, piney, citrusy, earthy, tropical fruit and so on). The aroma is on the earthy hop side, masking any maltiness. You really get the complexity of this beer in the flavor: Spicy rye combines with big citrusy hops and a dry malt to create a thoroughly enjoyable beer. These cans won’t be around long, get them while you can.

Three Notch'd Brewing Hydraulion Red Ale (5.3% ABV)Three Notch’d Brewing Hydraulion Red Ale (5.3% ABV)

Named after the only fire engine that the University of Virginia’s first fire department owned, Hydraulion is a tribute to Three Notch’d Brewing’s hometown. It’s also like a bit of history itself. Eschewing the hoppy ambers and reds of today, Three Notch’d has made a malt-balanced red ale, truly in the Irish tradition. The addition of the English Golding hops, rather than an American variety means that the hops will be more subtle. Though this beer does not lack hop bitterness altogether, it’s definitely not pronounced. What you get, instead, is a tasty malty brew that is pleasantly offset by a slight hop bitterness around the edges. You can’t go wrong with this 2014 Great American Beer Festival Bronze medal winner for Irish-style ales.

These ambers are now available at Georgetown Square Wine and Beer, but I have a couple more that I have to tell you about.

My first is Laurel, Maryland’s Jailbreak Brewing Co. Infinite Amber Ale, a local amber that nicely walks the line between malt and hops. It’s the very definition of the American Amber Ale. It’s only available on tap — I had it at Georgetown Square’s sister store, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer.

My second must-share amber is New Jersey’s Carton Brewing Co. Red Rye Returning Ale, which combines several American hop varieties with the spiciness of rye to create an immensely quaffable amber that’s full of flavor. I had this at a great little craft beer restaurant in the East Village in New York called Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen. Now, tell me about your favorite ambers. Cheers!

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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