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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm 338 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.

It’s that time of the year that NOVA Cat Clinic starts to see an influx of patients for more than our routine standard of care. We see a significant increase in sick patients. The holidays for us are a sad time of the year since this is usually when we see a rise in euthanasia as well. But why?

Stress

While the winter holidays are supposed to be filled with hot chocolate, turkey, cookies, family visits, gifts, and silly winter sweaters, it is also the most stressful time of the year. And your cat feels it, too (it is not just your sweater).

Cats are creatures of habit. They love routine. What they don’t love is going on a car ride somewhere to board for a week or two while their favorite person(s) are away (even though all of the cats are loved on and spoiled here). Most cats are not fans of household guests either. The quiet, one-on-one time of 6:00 a.m. coffee and cat food might all of a sudden include several people, sometimes screaming children, and possibly even a dog in the mix, not to mention strangers using the bathroom where their potty box could be.

Their routine is changed. Change equals stress which can turn into a trip to the vet’s office. Sometimes they can be expensive ones. We see trends of cats not getting their medication that is needed daily.  In turn, their disease manifests into something that may need urgent medical care simply because our holiday hustle and bustle has made our lives too busy to pay them the attention they normally receive.

Cats that have high anxiety can develop problems such as urinary tract infections, while some can become suddenly aggressive or perhaps depressed. Some elderly or very metabolically sick cats take a turn for the worse and succumb to their diseases right around the holidays. All because the household is stressed even though you don’t think it is.

What can we do about this? If you have guests over, make sure your cat has its own room that you have set up for them. This way your cat is in a “safety zone” that only you or people that your cat are close to can go into. No one else!

Consider pet sitters if your cat does poorly at the vet’s office or boarding facility, especially if your cat tends to be aggressive or very fearful in nature. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to mind their manners around your cat, or even request that they don’t bring other pets over if your kitty really does not like dogs or other cats.

Teach visiting children that the cat is off limits if the cat doesn’t come out and about and want to socialize on its own. The use of Feliway diffusers or even Sentry Calming Collars can help aid in lowering their stress levels as well.

The most important thing is to stick to your cat’s routine as closely as you can and not wait until the last minute or the day you are supposed to catch a plane to take your ill cat to the vet. If your cat seems to be acting odd or “off,” make an appointment sooner rather than later to prevent those holiday woes of expensive vet visits.

Everyone at NOVA Cat Clinic wishes you a safe and happy holidays!

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

by Ethan Rothstein — December 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm 447 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.

The GoGloveA new invention — by a company with a cofounder living and working in Arlington — allows people to control music and other apps on their smart phone by simply tapping their fingers together.

GoGlove is the product, and it works with a bluetooth remote controlled by sensors in the fingertips of a glove. The sensors are attached via an electrical harness to the remote, which can be used separately from the glove.

The user links the remote to the phone, and can play and pause his or her music, adjust the volume, and even take photos without ever having to take their phone out of their pocket.

The GoGlove is the brainchild of Ben Harris and Eric Ely, two Boston-based entrepreneurs, in the works for two years. Michael Conti, a friend of Ely since the two attended George Mason University together more than a decade together, was brought on about six months ago for his area of expertise: mechanical engineering.

“Ben was on the mountain skiing and wanted to adjust his music, but he had to take off his gloves and unzip his jacket to get to his phone,” Conti said. “By the time he had finished, his buddies were halfway down the mountain. That’s when he thought ‘there had to be a better way.’”

GoGlove cofounders Eric Ely and Ben HarrisConti heard about the idea after Ely and Harris started sending emails to friends and family asking for input. Conti told ARLnow.com near his home in Ballston last week that he sent back a long reply with several ideas for ways to improve the product.

“I told them it has a lot more applications than just skiing,” Conti said. “They asked me about cases and harnesses. They really needed my expertise. I got really interested and they brought me in as a cofounder.”

Conti helped design the magnet in the thumb of the glove, which, when tapped on the sensors on each finger, sends a message to the smart phone to perform different functions. GoGlove has patents pending on the magnet-sensor technology, but it took “multiple iterations” to get the gloves and remote to work the way they envisioned, Conti said.

The original remote prototypes have been built using Ely’s 3-D printer. With the design nearly perfected — Conti said they’re always looking for ways to improve the product — the GoGlove team launched a Kickstarter page last month, and it reached its $40,000 over the holiday weekend. The page is still open for contributions until Dec. 4, and those who pledge $79 or more will receive a pair of GoGloves, at a discount of the $129 the gloves are expected to retail for.

“We’re figuring out ways to bring the price down,” Conti said, although the company is marketing it as a luxury item for dedicated skiers and outdoor types. “You can also buy the remote module for $49, if you don’t want the gloves.”

GoGlove cofounder Michael ContiConti is an aerospace engineer, Ely is an electrical engineer and Harris works in marketing — they did not want to disclose their full-time employers — but the three teamed up for many late nights on Google Hangouts to work out the kinks of the project before going to market.

In addition to controlling music and taking photos, the gloves will have the ability to read texts aloud to Android users. Once the company is fully launched, Conti said they will work on ways to build the technology into leather gloves for more formal settings, and to add functionality.

Those who purchase the gloves through the Kickstarter can expect to receive them in April. If buying the gloves as a Christmas gift, Conti said they can provide a letter telling the recipients that “this is the cool technology you’re going to be receiving in the future.”

by Nick Anderson — November 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm 317 0

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

By now, we’re in various stages of recovery from our food comas — and I hope everyone out there had a Happy Thanksgiving.

That means today is the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday. I’m not going to go in on the merits of Black Friday; Arrowine is closed on Black Friday, and I’ll let that be our only official commentary on that. Personally, I don’t go out of my way to wade into the madness but sometimes there’s a deal on something you want/need that’s too good to pass up — I get it. What I am going to do is talk about some Black Friday deals that are of interest to beer fans.

There are a lot of great deals out there for homebrewers. Northern Brewer is offering their $90 Essential Starter Kit for free to those who purchase a five-gallon stainless kettle and an IPA kit (with a product code; check it out here). Brooklyn Brew Shop is having a Cyber Week sale, with all kinds of stuff on deep discounts from gear to kits to books. If you’re out and about right now My Local Home Brew Shop in Falls Church has Black Friday discounts and offers for customers through 6:00 p.m.

Special and rare beer releases are occurring on Black Friday more often — as if the day wasn’t insane enough. Paste Magazine has a good list here of 10 such releases, including a regional shout-out to Ashland’s Center Of The Universe Brewing, who will be holding a release party for it’s Shut Up Imperial Stout from noon to 9:00 p.m. today. Shut Up is aged in barrels that were originally used to make Bourbon, and then were bought by a Virginia winemaker to age its Port-style dessert wine in.

Also, look for retailers around the area to be putting out Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Practically a holiday unto itself among beer geeks, BCBS will be up for sale at various prices and quantities starting tomorrow. Though production on BCBS is higher than ever, supply in our market is actually down dramatically due to distribution now including all 50 states. If you’re looking to try new things or bulk up your cellar, Craft Beer Kings is having a Black Friday Sale featuring limited and rare bottles — worth a look if you don’t mind paying the shipping (which admittedly isn’t all that bad, especially if you stock up in a big way).

No matter what deals you end up taking advantage of this Black Friday (if any), here’s to a healthy, happy holiday season ahead. 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 — November 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm 735 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parking: $50

Transportation: $100

Utilities and Cable: $250

Laundry: $27

Pet: $25

Total: $452

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

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

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

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.com.

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

by ARLnow.com — November 26, 2014 at 11:00 am 490 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Adam: Preparing to Sell

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm 451 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. We are planning to list our Arlington house for sale right after the holidays (early January). What are some things we can do now to get our home ready for the market? 

A. Below are five things you can do now so you hit the ground running in January:

  1. Coming Soon – our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) just added the ability to advertise your home as a “coming soon” listing. You can also advertise your home on Zillow as “coming soon.” I highly recommend asking your Realtor to list in both of these locations before going live in January. You can also post a coming soon/for sale sign out front. It’s a great way to test the market and generate interest. Be prepared, you may attract someone who wants to see or even buy your home right away. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place for how you want to treat these situation.
  2. Your Network – get the word out to your social network that you plan to sell your home. You never know who may know someone looking for a house like yours. It’s helps to include photos, number bedrooms/baths, square footage, lot size, location and a short list of feature highlights.
  3. Prep The Home Inspection – make sure anything that may come up in a home inspection is addressed now. You may even want to have a home inspector come through for a preliminary inspection to help you identify items that will come up. You can also check out an article I wrote back in May of 2013 about preparing for a home inspection.
  4. De-Clutter – you are going to be packing up everything to move eventually, so get started early on the things that do not need to be out. Do not just shift everything to the garage or basement. You want the house to appear as if there is ample storage space. If needed, you can rent some of those temporary storage pods.
  5. Professional Photos — if you are going to be advertising your home as a “coming soon” listing, you should go ahead and get photos taken as soon as you are done with your home prep. Please don’t skimp on the photos. If you take them with your iPhone, the rooms are going to look small, dark and unattractive. Insist that your Realtor invest in professional photos. Photos are going to help potential buyers determine whether your home is worth seeing so putting your best foot forward is of major importance.

Happy thanksgiving!

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 — November 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm 695 0

Washington, D.C. area airports are making big changes to bring first class finds to savvy travelers and just in time for the holiday travel season.

Don’t arrive to your destination empty-handed. You can now jet to the newest stores for your gifts on the go.

Arlington’s “local” airport has plenty of new retail and restaurant options to choose from — and an offer that will reward you for your patronage.

Reagan National Airport has recently added the following to its shopping and dining mix:

  • American Tap Room
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Brighton
  • Brooks Brothers
  • CNBC Smartshop
  • Five Guys
  • Forbes
  • Hudson News
  • Lacoste
  • Legal Sea Foods
  • NBC4
  • Pinkberry
  • Spanx
  • Starbucks
  • Vineyard Vines
  • Washingtonian

The following eateries are opening at DCA before the end of the year:

  • &pizza
  • Grille District Bar
  • Taylor Gourmet

Looking forward to checking them out? Or visiting an old favorite? Good news: it could get you a gadget that will come in handy while going home for the holidays next month.

If you spend $100 or more (pretax) at any combination of stores and restaurants at the airport in December, you’ll be eligible for a FREE portable USB battery pack charger for your smartphone or other device.

The charger has a retail value of $30. To get it, present your receipts at any of of the following pre-security redemption stores: Brooks Brothers, Fine Leather Works, iRelax-n-Massage or Lacoste. Limit one per customer, while supplies last.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm 406 0

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

The Credit Junction team in its ÜberOffices spaceA startup that’s focused on connecting “small and medium industrial supply-chain businesses with private investors” is not going to win a sexy pitch competition, but it’s already growing fast in its new Rosslyn office.

The Credit Junction is based in Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices and has raised $2 million in seed funding to fund its online marketplace. Founded by CEO Michael Finkelstein with Chief Strategy Officer Sergio Rodrigueira, the company is “60 to 90 days” from launching its platform.

The concept is relatively simple: The Credit Junction is an online marketplace. Small manufacturing and industrial companies — the types that supply equipment and materials to large multinationals — who need capital investments sign up. TCJ’s technology platform, as well as its six-person staff, vets the company, assesses its value and potential and can get approval for a loan from its network of lenders also on the platform.

“We thought there was a way to use technology and data to create a better credit model,” Finkelstein, who is based in New York, told ARLnow.com. “The use of data creates a better understanding of a company. We use tech as an enabler, but there are lots of human elements too. This allows you to look at different sources for a company’s opportunities.”

Finkelstein and Rodrigueira met a year ago at a conference in Chicago. Finkelstein isa 15-year veteran of startups, beginning in Silicon Valley just a couple of years before the dot-com bubble burst. Rodrigueira spent four years in Navy active duty before joining the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush in 2004. He worked for Bush before deploying to Afghanistan as a Naval reservist. When he returned, he worked for Rep. Eric Cantor and in cybersecurity and finance policy in the House of Representatives.

The Credit Junction logoRodrigueira also worked on the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, and after leaving the public sector, he thought “there’s got to be a better way to do this” when it came to banks and financing. When he met Finkelstein almost exactly a year ago, and heard his idea, Rodrigueira said “I want to come work for you.”

Although the concept isn’t complicated, the problem The Credit Junction purports to solve is. The companies Finkelstein and Rodrigueira are targeting have relied on local banks for financing “since the beginning of time,” Finkelstein said.

“In 2008, the world changed,” Finkelstein said, referring to the global recession. “Lenders are cutting back and there are fewer options for these companies.”

Not only does Finkelstein say TCJ can give a response to a loan application in two weeks — whereas traditional banks or government agencies can take two months or longer — but he also says the system provides more transparency during the waiting period.

The Credit Junction Founder Michael Finkelstein“We’re able to create transparency and efficiency in the process,” Finkelstein said. “A borrower knows where he or she fits. They know whether they qualify extremely quickly. That’s a big deal.”

GLI Finance led The Credit Junction’s seed funding round, and, for the company’s launch, is also the primary capital investor in the marketplace. Over the next few months, the company will target borrowers in industries, and grow both sides of the marketplace slowly.

Part of The Credit Junction’s challenge is to find companies that want to borrow. Considering the industry’s inherent need for capital, Finkelstein and Rodrigueira are confident the demand is there.

“Holistically, our biggest challenge is education,” Finkelstein said. “But there are plenty of opportunities to help their business.”

“What’s exciting about the space is how broad and diverse the options are,” Rodrigueira said. “There are companies not just building ships or plans, but now they’re building things like drones … To get the word out to businesses, that’s the exciting part. Once companies hear what we can provide, their eyes light up.”

by Nick Anderson — November 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm 420 0

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

Thanksgiving is simultaneously the most- and least-forgiving meal of the year for beverage pairing: gauging the sweetness levels of the dishes being served along with the palate preferences of the diners can be the difference between everyone having a rollicking good time, and being berated as a “snob” because everything you have to drink is “too dry” (I’m not reliving any Thanksgiving traumas here, I swear).

Here are some great beer options for every crowd:

For the macro drinkers: Your guests don’t know the difference between Ales and Lagers, and they don’t care. They don’t know from IBU, hop varieties, or yeast strains; they just want to have a couple pops. Nothing wrong with that — none of us would be into beer if we felt any different — but maybe you don’t want to reward the ad budgets of the giant breweries. So stock up on some of the outstanding easy-drinking Lagers currently being made right here in Virginia: Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone; Hardywood’s new year-round German Style Pils; Port City’s Downright Pils; or Blue Mountain’s lush Classic Lager. Shake things up a little with light, crisp Pale Ales like Bravo Four Point from Devils Backbone or The Great Outdoors from Three Brothers (4.4 percent and 4.8 percent ABV, respectively).

Couch-to-table: All of the beers I mentioned above would transition well to the table under the Cardinal Rule of Beverage Pairing — drink what you like, and you’ll never be disappointed. If you’re trying to be more mindful of how your beers will hold up with dinner, look to maltier Ales and Lagers; the touch of sweetness from the malt will play right into Thanksgiving sides. Heritage King’s Mountain Scotch-style Ale, Blue Mountain MacHayden’s Scotch-style Ale, and Mother Earth Dark Cloud Dunkel-style Lager could all work here. English-style Ales work, also: Left Hand Sawtooth Nitro is flavorful but not overpowering, and Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome is a touch hoppy, but still malt-driven and a great choice.

Kolsch! Yes, Kolsch-style Ales are great ‘compromise’ beers by nature; light and easy on the palate like Lagers, but with the fruitier yeast tones of Ales, they make excellent Thanksgiving options. Schlafly is a great choice, but try any of the many Virginia-made versions (Blue Mountain Kolsch 151, Champion Killer Kolsch, Parkway Majestic Mullet Krispy Kolsch) for a complex beer anyone can enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to go big: If you are of a mind to do so, give yourself and your guests a couple options and throw something a bit heavier out there. Doppelbock (Ayinger Celebrator, Lickinghole Creek Creator ‘Hoppelbock’, Troeg’s Trogenator) brings a pleasant combination of warming heat and rich malty flavors. Hardywood Hoplar and Brooklyn Blast! would serve well for the hopheads among us.

Finish strong: Dessert gives us the excuse to break out the big guns, and you can set out some robust Imperial Stouts and Barleywines right alongside the Ruby and Tawny Ports if you like. Founders Breakfast Stout is a classic, and not too overpowering. I always like to open a bottle of The Bruery’s Autumn Maple at Thanksgiving; the sweet potato, maple, molasses, and spice flavors are right at home with dessert. Also just in and worthy of a nightcap are North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin, Deschutes Mirror Mirror, and the all-new (very limited) Brooklyn Hand & Seal bourbon barrel-aged English-style Barleywine. These are great bottles to break out and share among friends and relatives while enjoying various pies, tarts, and cookies.  (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 20, 2014 at 5:00 am 488 0

Winter is approaching and the perfect way to stay warm, active and get a little more social this season is with United Social Sports!

United Social Sports’ winter season registration is open and now is the time to sign up for team and bar sports in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

United Social Sports continues to give Arlington residents a chance to “get out and play.” Bar Sports featuring glow bocce, skeeball, cornhole, and shuffleboard are back! From volleyball to soccer and dodgeball, we’ve got you covered with our Team Sports too.

We’re continuing to expand our Arlington leagues, offering those who live, work or play here plenty of opportunities to mix, mingle and play!

This winter season USS has both indoor and Polar Bear leagues:

Bar Sports: Full Lineup

GLOW Bocce: Full Lineup

Cornhole: Full Lineup

Dodgeball: Full Lineup

  • Thursdays @ Gateway Sport & Health — Crystal City

Shuffleboard: Full Lineup

  • Monday @ Light Horse — Old Town
  • Tuesdays @ Bungalow Sports Grill — Shirlington

Skeeball: Full Lineup

Polar Bear Soccer: Full Lineup

Indoor Volleyball:  Full Lineup

  • Sunday @ Gateway Sport & Health — Crystal City
  • Wednesdays @ Dunbar Alexandria Boys & Girls Club
  • Thursdays @ Gateway Sport & Health — Crystal City

United Social Sports caters to a growing population in Arlington who love to stay active and who put an emphasis on having fun and being social over hardcore victories.

Registration closes for Winter team sports on Tuesday, January 13 or when leagues FILL! and for Bar Sports on Tuesday, January 20. Register today to snag your spot!

The preceding article was submitted by an ARLnow.com sponsor.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm 821 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. With everything happening in Iraq and Syria, people in my office have been expressing their disapproval of my Islamic beliefs. At what point does this become discrimination?

A. Several years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v. Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. (2008) pointed out that Muslims had become “targets of gross misapprehensions and overbroad assumptions about their religious beliefs.” But while the events of 9/11 “shook the foundations of our buildings, [they] did not shake the premise of our founding — that here, in America, there is no heretical faith.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from religious-based harassment that creates a hostile or abusive work environment. As abhorrent as anti-Islamic or anti-Semitic statements are, not all of them will violate Title VII. For a co-worker’s or supervisor’s anti-Islamic comments to create a hostile work environment, they must be unwelcome and “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive atmosphere.” Further, it must be shown that the employer engaged in, or did not take adequate steps to stop, the harassment, according to the 4th Circuit.

Harassment can be religious-based when co-workers or supervisors use religious epithets or other offensive religious terms, such as “Taliban” or “towel head,” or when they tease a Muslim employee about his kufi (traditional headgear) or beard, the court noted in Sunbelt Rentals. It is important for the employee to file an internal complaint in accordance with the employer’s anti-discrimination policy. This action would clearly establish that such discriminatory comments are unwelcome and place on employers the responsibility of countering such misconduct.

Initially, a district court dismissed the religious discrimination claim raised by the Muslim employee in Sunbelt, saying the co-workers’ comments were merely part of the “coarse behavior that goes on in the workplace.” The court also said some things the employee complained about, such as the hiding of his time card, had no connection to his religion. It also did not believe the co-workers’ comments were sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment because the employee did not mention the “explicitly religious incidents” in his written complaint to human resources.

On appeal, however, the 4th Circuit disagreed with the lower court’s decision, saying the employee persistently suffered from religious harassment of “the most demeaning, degrading, and damaging sort.” Key to this finding was the fact that the discriminatory conduct was “persistent, demeaning, unrelenting, and widespread.” The court stressed, “[W]e cannot regard as ‘merely offensive,’ and thus ‘beyond Title VII’s purview’ … constant and repetitive abuse founded upon misperceptions that all Muslims possess hostile designs against the United States.”

Employees who believe they are being harassed because of their religion and are working in a hostile work environment “must clear a high bar in order to satisfy the severe or pervasive test,” the appellate court said. That is why it is crucial for employees to consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can gather the testimony and other evidence necessary to pass that test.

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 ARLnow.com — November 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm 796 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Mason, a rescue dog that “likes other dogs,” but loves people.

Here’s what owner Kristina had to say:

My name is Mason! I was named after George Mason and am a 4-year-old rescue from a shelter in West Virginia. I think I am a Belgian Shepherd mix, but others tell me that I am also part Akita. I’m not really sure — but I do know that I’m cute!

I like other dogs… but I love people. My favorite activity is relaxing in my yard and looking at the squirrels and occasional deer that walk past my fence. I try to jump over the fence to play with the deer but my large torso won’t quite make it over the top of the fence, so just I watch standing on my two hind legs.

I love to travel and have a favorite toy that I carry around everywhere. I am not easily offended and can do several tricks (one of which is an army crawl), but my favorite trick is taking naps all day long. I also love to sit inside my house and bark when packages are delivered by strangers.

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 — November 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm 494 0

Ask Adam header

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

Q. We recently purchased a home and are loving it so far. We haven’t had any problems with flooding and hopefully never will, but being worrywarts we are wondering if we should purchase flood insurance for our home.

A. Interestingly, you are the third person who has asked me about flood insurance in Arlington during the last month. Typically this is the type of question that comes up more in Alexandria where flooding is more prevalent. Maybe the hard rains we had this summer have caused some concerns.

Almost all lenders require flood zone certification prior to them lending you money to purchase a home. They want to be sure that you have flood insurance in place if your home is in a flood zone as determined by FEMA. It sounds like your concern goes beyond just the minimum standard of protection.

I shared your question with insurance expert Max Olson at Nationwide Insurance. Below is what he had to say:

A great place to look to see the likelihood of a flood for your property is www.floodsmart.gov. This website will tell you what the likelihood of a flood is for your property and will even give you ranges on the cost of flood insurance as long as you type in your address. People think that floods only happen in high risk flood zones, but 20 percent of all flood claims occur in low to moderate risk flood zones.

On the other hand, keep in mind that certain scenarios people call “flooding” would already be covered under most home insurance policies (like a pipe bursting and ‘”flooding” a basement or a sump pump failing and “flooding” a basement). Your insurance agent can go through all the different scenarios and what would be covered under a flood policy vs your home insurance policy.

Below is contact information for Max incase you have additional questions or need a great insurance agent.

Max Olson
Olson Insurance Agency
Nationwide Insurance
(571) 438-6902 office
olsonm13@nationwide.com
nationwidemax.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 — November 18, 2014 at 9:00 am 506 0

John Nguyen HeadshotThe following article was written by John Nguyen. John is a lifelong Arlingtonian and the Managing Partner of Clarendon Wealth Management, a financial advisory firm focused on comprehensive wealth management for high net worth individuals, medical professionals and small business owners.

With the holidays fast approaching, now can be a great opportunity to perform a comprehensive review of your financial situation and plan for next year. Use this year-end financial checklist to focus on where you stand and make any adjustments necessary for the New Year. Spend a little time now and make your holidays brighter knowing you’re on solid financial footing.

Budget and SpendingReview your spending and fine tune your budget. Take a look at your 2014 spending. Are there areas where you were consistently over budget? Were there unanticipated expenses? Did you meet your savings goals? Use this year’s fresh figures to prioritize your expenditures for next year.

Determine your net worth. This is a worthwhile yearly exercise to find out where you are — and where you need to go. Simply add up what you own (home, car, savings, business interests, personal property, investments, etc.) and subtract what you owe (mortgage, loans, credit cards, etc.). Your net worth can be used to track your progress each year and incentivize you to save more or reduce debt.

Add more to your 401(k). You can contribute up to $17,500 to your 401(k) for 2014 ($23,000 if you’re over 50).  You have until December 31st to reach that limit. The contributions must be made through your employer’s payroll deduction.

529 College SavingsContribute to a 529 college-savings plan before December 31st. The beneficiary of the account (your child, grandchild, etc) can use the money tax-free for college tuition, room and board and fees. In many states, you get a state income tax deduction for your contribution. Many 529 plans require you to make your contributions by December 31st to count for that tax year.  For details, see SavingforCollege.com.

Rebalance your portfolio. Market movements may have resulted in portfolio drift altering your targeted asset allocation. Check to see if your portfolio still reflects your goals and risk tolerance. If not, bring it back to your target allocation by reducing your over-weighted asset classes and increase the underweighted classes.  If you’re retired, this is a good time to set aside money for next year’s cash needs.

Take your required minimum distributions. If you’re older than 70½, you generally need to take required minimum distributions from traditional IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement-savings plans by December 31 (except for the year you turn 70½, when you’re given an extension until April 1 to make your first withdrawal; also, you don’t need to take RMDs from your current employer’s 401(k) while you’re still working).

Taxes and CharityStart tax planning. It’s not too early to think about taxes. If you’re selling stocks to rebalance your portfolio, consider harvesting your losses to get a tax break. Capital losses can be used to offset taxable capital gains, plus up to $3,000 in ordinary income ($1,500 for married couples filing separately). Losses you can’t use this year can be carried over into future tax years.

Giving money to charity before the end of the year is a great way to boost your deductions if you itemize. You may be able to deduct various kinds of charitable contributions, including cash, appreciated stock and non-cash donations.

Update your estate plan. New baby? Newly married or divorced? Make sure your beneficiary designations are updated to reflect any changes. Don’t have an estate plan? Make that a new year’s resolution!

The preceding article was submitted by an ARLnow.com sponsor. Please consult a tax advisor for all tax-related information.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Fixed insurance products and services offered by Clarendon Wealth Management. 3033 Wilson Blvd. Suite 430, Arlington, VA 22201. Phone: 571-257-3252.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm 405 0

The Scratching Post banner

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

Cats are true, obligate carnivores and should be treated as such. Walk into any grocery store or pet store today and you can find a vast variety of cat food available. So much variety it is difficult to choose what can be considered an extraordinary diet vs. just a good diet.

Commercial cat food started in the early 1900s and gained popularity in the ’30s and ’40s with dry food due to World War II’s metal rations, and a few select companies producing pet food. Step ahead a century later, and there are so many brands it can make your head spin. No longer are cats just eating birds, squirrels or anything else they can hunt for, they have their human counterparts they can count on!

For the past decade, there has been a rise in feeding “natural” cat diets vs. stuff in the bag that is full of cornmeal, byproducts, pillow fluff and staples (just kidding about the last ones). Now you have whole meats, veggies, omega fatty acids added etc… to make them more nutritionally complete.

But what makes a good diet vs. a bad diet? Why are we not feeding cats a raw diet based on ground up mice, squirrels and birds?  They have berries and grains in them too. They must be the perfect diet! It can be if you are an outdoor cat and can manage to hunt five-to-six rodents per day; they sure can sustain a cat easily.

Many cats that hunt leave behind the digestive tract of the rodent, and other parts they find less appealing, so saying they eat the whole thing is not a true statement.  I have yet to see a commercial pet food company jump on the bandwagon on making foods with the names of “Chipmunk Stew and Robin’s Delight.” It is expensive and time consuming to create diets based on a true outdoor, natural diet, not to mention a public outcry on grinding up songbirds and other fuzzy critters.

Commercial diets are readily available and they are easy to feed, which is why the public likes them vs. making a homemade or raw diet. Commercial pet food must meet the minimal AAFCO standards on nutrition as well. A company cannot just dump in a bunch of ingredients, hand it to the consumer with a smile and say “There you go! Enjoy the food! Your cat will live a long life thanks to us!”

They must go through rigorous testing and formulations to meet the minimal standards. If a company wants to go above and beyond those standards, they can and that is what makes the premium diets popular, and a good majority is grain free!

This is where the huge controversy on cats that should not be eating grain takes place. While it is true that cats are carnivores, in some situations carbohydrates can help ill cats by being a source for fast energy or assisting in treating a metabolic disease. So carbohydrates do have their places in cat diets. Not all carbohydrates are bad. 

For those people who wish to feed a raw diet, there are two options. Purchase one that is made correctly and meets the safety standards for creating these diets, or make one at home. While you do feed less with a raw diet, it is expensive and time consuming, but those who feed it find it totally worth the price and labor involved. (more…)

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