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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm 414 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. I have pneumonia. I requested FMLA leave and submitted medical documentation from my doctor describing my condition. My employer now wants me to get another doctor’s opinion. Should I go through with it?

A. Employees suffering from a serious health condition that impairs their ability to do their jobs are allowed to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave, or paid leave under certain circumstances, so long as they as they have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer over the past 12 months. For an illness to qualify as a serious health condition, it must result in inpatient care or the “continuing treatment by a health care provider,” federal regulation states.

Pneumonia is generally understood to be an FMLA-covered illness and was even listed as an example of a serious health condition in the Senate report for the act, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in Miller v. AT&T (2001).

Employers are allowed the require employees to provide medical documentation “to substantiate that the leave is due to the serious health condition of the employee,” the regulation states. However, one doctor’s diagnosis of pneumonia does not make FMLA leave automatic.

When the validity of the medical certification provided by the employee is in doubt, the employer can require him or her to get a second opinion. The employer can select the physician who would provide the second opinion. When the first and second medical opinions differ, the employer could require the employee to get a third opinion from a health care provider on whom they jointly agreed. The third opinion is “final and binding,” the regulation states. The employer must foot the bill for the second and third opinions and compensate the employee for out-of-pocket travel expenses.

Employers generally should not wait too long before requesting a second opinion. The FMLA “does not suggest that an employer must pursue these [subsequent opinion] procedures or be forever foreclosed from challenging whether an employee suffered from a serious health condition,” the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in Rhoads v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (2001).

The 4th Circuit, however, did point out there are “potential pitfalls for an employer who chooses not to pursue a second opinion.” Namely, employers who wait months or years to challenge a physician’s contemporaneous notes may have difficulty proving that there was a “genuine issue of material fact” as to whether the employee who went on FMLA leave was actually incapable of performing his or her job because of a serious health condition.

Employees who believe they have been improperly denied FMLA leave should immediately consult with an experienced employment law attorney. Employers, too, should consult with an experienced employment law attorney to determine whether an employee is eligible for FMLA leave.

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 — December 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm 433 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Samoa, a former princess who goes by “Mo.”

Here’s what owner Faith had to say about her cat:

Samoa, aka Mo, is an 8-year-old muted calico cat hailing from the streets of Prince George’s County. As part of the interview during the adoption process, Mo assured her new housemates of two things: 1. She will do all she can to bring joy to the household and 2. She will not shed a hair anywhere in the house. So far, she’s one for two.

Known as “Princess” in her previous home, she has taken to her new moniker with a pride and repetition that only a cat can do. When guests or her housemates enter the room, she belts out a lively, “Welcome to Mo’s!”  Whenever she enters a room, she exclaims, “Welcome to Mo’s!”  Despite the three years that have passed, the phrase continues to resonate throughout the home, despite anyone’s hint that it’s getting old.

When not infringing on corporate trademarks, Mo spends her days sleeping in one of her ever-changing favorite lounging areas, keeping a watchful eye on the neighbors and any surrounding wildlife, knocking things over (plants are her specialty), giving unwanted computer and paperwork advice, and giving her catnip banana the occasional beat down. Her favorite time of year comes every Halloween when she can play dress up and shake down humans for candy.

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

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm 640 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 planning to buy some time this coming year. It’s kind of our 2015 goal. We are in a month-to-month lease so we have some flexibility on timing. When is the best time to buy in your opinion? 

A. I get this question a lot. As I have explained before, when supply is higher so (usually) is demand. Therefore, you are not going to gain a lot of advantage trying to time the market based on seasonality.

Right now seems like a pretty great time to buy in my opinion. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Buying at the beginning of the year allows you to take advantage of more interest tax deductions than if you buy towards the end of the year. Double check with your accountant on this.
  2. Interest rates are as good now as you could possibly hope for. I guess you could get lucky and they will drop another fraction of a point, but not enough where it is worth not buying now.
  3. This is the slowest time of year for real estate agents, mortgage officers, settlement attorneys, home inspectors, movers, etc.. Therefore, it is a great time for you to get their undivided attention.
  4. While other home buyers are distracted by the holidays, you could be in a great position to negotiate a better deal or find a hot property before someone else does.
  5. The second half of 2014 was lackluster for the real estate market. Homes continued to sell, but not in a fashion that created significant price appreciation. This is good for you as a home buyer. However, from what we are experiencing in our office and from talking to other brokers, a wave of new buyers are putting plans in place to buy in 2015. In other words, based our small sample, I anticipate strong buyer activity going in to the new year.

Have a fun, safe NYE!  Please keep the questions coming in 2015.  You can send them 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 Ethan Rothstein — December 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm 592 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.

In the startup world, change is rarely slow and steady. For many of the businesses ARLnow.com has profiled this year, change has already come, and it came fast.

The SevaCall teamIn July, we looked at SevaCall, a Crystal Tech Fund company that allows users to call and immediately be connected with a pre-vetted service provider, like a plumber or HVAC repair service. When we spoke to co-founder Manpreet Singh in July, the company had already raised $1.3 million in funding and was in the midst of angling for more capital.

In September, Manpreet and his brother, Gurpreet, announced that they had raised $2.6 million more and rebranded. SevaCall is now talklocal, and the company has moved out of Crystal City. According to Disruption Corporation Founder Paul Singh — previously Seva Call’s landlord — they have relocated back to College Park, Md. Crystal Tech Fund was one of the lead investors in the new funding round.

Singh, himself a subject of a Startup Monday profile, has continued to show that Disruption Corporation will not be categorized. After launching as an investment fund, then adding investment advising to its portfolio of services, Disruption doubled the size of its headquarters and filled it almost immediately. Now, neighboring the dozen or so startups already on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive, is a coding “boot camp.”

DescribeIt CEO Ryan Yanchuleff works in his Courthouse officeDescribeIt is still in its Courthouse headquarters, but co-founder and CEO Ryan Yanchuleff tells ARLnow.com that the company recently closed a $255,000 round of investment — he had been searching for investment to help market his landscaping proposal software — and hired its first non-founder full-time employee.

Most importantly for the company, the full product is launching on Thursday with the new year. When landscaping projects start to boom in the spring, Yanchuleff and his co-founder, Ed Barrientos, wnated to make sure all the kinks were worked out.

“We’ve been busy for sure,” Yanchuleff said. “We’ll be making our big splash at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show up in Baltimore on Jan. 14-16.”

This August, Airside Mobile launched its major product at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. The Mobile Passport app allows users to fill out their customs forms on their smartphone and download the receipt. Essentially, it lets those with the app bypass the sometimes hours-long lines for customs, and breeze by.

The app was developed in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Airside Mobile is planning to launch in other airports around the country soon.

Startup Monday has covered companies that specialize in complex, big data analytics, healthcare technology and everything in between. One of the simplest ideas — an app that lets users submit pictures to win prizes — has taken hold.

Snaapiq, with Rosslyn-based Jacob Perler at the helm, took that simple idea and used it to raise $180,000 in seed funding last month. When ARLnow.com profile Snaapiq in August, 90 percent of the photo contests were sponsored by Perler and his co-founder, Ryo Hang. Today, Snaapiq partners with university athletic programs, Alex and Ani and SoccerPro.com to sponsor contests for its users.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm 503 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.

Congratulations on having a baby! We truly hope the experience is a great one for your family.

With a few simple steps we can help make sure that the transition goes as smooth as possible for both you and your felines. It is important to help manage their stress because their entire environment is about to completely change.

Start by making sure your cats have a place to retreat, preferably up high. Cat trees or shelving can aid in this. We purchased a large cat tree off Groupon a few weeks before our daughter was born. While assembling the furniture for her room, we assembled the cat tree as well.  The cats seemed to appreciate their gift from the baby immediately.

Scratching Post pictureConsider using feliway and Calm diet starting a few weeks before the baby is due. Feliway is a pheromone that helps reduce stress in cats.  It does not work in every cat, however I have noticed less cat to cat aggression when we use it.  You can find out more information at their website.

Calm diet is a veterinary prescription diet made by Royal Canin that contains tryptophan and casein.  Think of having a large turkey dinner and a warm glass of milk. In some cats it helps them calm down. My cats tend to vomit whenever they are stressed and when we used this diet the vomiting almost ceased to exist.

The two most important aspects of a smooth transition happen after the birth of the baby. Whoever is not stuck in a hospital bed needs to go home with a few of the blankets that were with the baby for the cats to smell. Bring one blanket per cat and leave them spread throughout the living space. Spend some time with them while they smell the blankets so they associate the smell with you.

The second important thing happens when everyone comes home. Please make sure the person who did not come home with the blankets isn’t holding the baby when entering. Your cats missed you, so do not start the jealously immediately. Have a few moments of quality kitty snuggle time without the baby if possible right when you get home.

Try to spend some dedicated time with the cats everyday. Include the cats as much as possible.  Anytime I breastfed, my orange cat would lay on the other side of my daughter across my lap.

The bond my daughter has created with our cats is truly amazing and I wish nothing but the same for you.

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

 

by Nick Anderson — December 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,410 0

Your Beermonger logo

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

Saving me from finding one more angle for a Christmas-themed column, I realized that the 26th will mark the last “Your Beermonger” of 2014 — which means it’s once again time for my little-anticipated, completely unscientific Beers of the Year column.

As always, this is a list of six (the list is six this year, because reasons) beers that I wouldn’t necessarily say were the “best” of 2014, but those new/new to me that I enjoyed the most and/or made the biggest impression. OK, onto the fun:

6. Abita Bourbon St. Imperial Stout: A chocolate-toned, boozy bit of decadent fun that over-delivered in every aspect. There were some criticisms that Bourbon St. was a little “thin,” but amid a sea of unbalanced, milkshake-y, rich for the sake of richness Imperial Stouts, even if Bourbon St. seemed light by comparison (I personally didn’t find it so) that isn’t necessarily a knock on it. In any event, Bourbon St. was an important shot across the bow of the beer world from Abita: the Louisiana brewery hasn’t been around for over 30 years by accident, and still has some tricks up its sleeve.

5. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin: Sculpin may not be the perfect beer, but it’s certainly a perfect beer — representing the best in West Coast hop-obsession in an IPA that doesn’t overwhelm in terms of bitterness or ABV. Sculpin wants for nothing, and yet the addition of grapefruit rind does something magical to this beer. The grapefruit doesn’t necessarily make Sculpin better; it’s just more wonderful, more fun, more lighthearted. After trying Grapefruit Sculpin at Stone’s Anniversary Party this summer, I worried we’d never see it in Virginia. A late-December shipment barely qualifies as a cameo in terms of sating demand, but here’s hoping it’s just the first of many runs we’ll see of this delightful beer.

4. Sixpoint Sensi Harvest: 2014 was a big year for Sixpoint; a repackaging/rebranding effort saw its core beers move from tallboy can 4-packs to 6-packs of the sleek 12-ounce cans previously only used for bigger beers like Resin or 3 Beans. The new Sixpoint sixers were arriving much fresher than before, which paid off in a big way when it introduced Sensi Harvest Ale. Back in October I wrote about my love for Fresh Hop and Wet Hop beers, and it didn’t take long for Sensi to become by go-to Harvest Ale. I appreciated its combination of its 4.7 percent ABV with an intense clarity of hop character. It’s too late to catch Sensi Harvest Ale but the current Sixpoint seasonal, Global Warmer, is highly recommended.

3. Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose: This summer’s release of Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink, And The Holy Gose delivered an unexpected hit from the stalwart California brewery. As the summer ended, I figured that was that and we’d have to wait until next year for more — and then the brewery posted a picture of Gose cans ready to be filled, with the words “Blood Orange” added to the labeling. The Blood Orange variant of Anderson Valley Gose isn’t just a tart, light, addictively easy-drinking Session Ale; it’s become the palate-cleanser beer of choice for bottle-shares all-around. A recently-arrived batch of the standard Gose has ignited hopes that one or both beers may go year-round; we can only hope. (more…)

by ARLnow.com — December 24, 2014 at 11:00 am 710 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Ginger, a “sassy” German shepherd/chow/akita mix is keeping the Pet of the Week honors in the family.

Here’s what owner Felicia had to say:

This is Ginger. She is a rescue dog and became part of our family 7 years ago. A Doggie DNA test determined Ginger is mostly German shepherd, mixed with a little chow and akita.

She was born a country girl and was very shy when she first came to us but she has become quite sassy. Ginger loves long walks, socializing along the way, though she is equally happy lounging at home, looking out the front door.

Ginger’s good looks won her second place of mid-size dogs at the Arlington Dogtober Festival (she was robbed!) and her cousin Moe was recently named an Arlington Pet of the Week.

See the many faces of Ginger. She’s playful, silly, pensive, cute and sassy!

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

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm 334 0

Rental Report header

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.

Instead of starting the New Year with a resolution, why don’t you start out by giving your home a little facelift? Save up those gift cards or holiday bonus to hit up the end of year sales, and try our tips to freshening up your home for 2015.

New Wall Art – Whether it is a high-end print in a nice frame or a seasonal DIY piece, new artwork is a great way to brighten up a room. Check out a local thrift store or flea market to pick up a one-of-a-kind piece. Or try a print with a simple frame to add a little sophistication in a living area. The kitchen is a great place to add a little splash of color with a DIY painting on canvas.

Furniture Accents – If you have neutral furnishings, changing out your accent pillows or throw blankets with the seasons is an inexpensive way to change up a space. Complete the look by switching out your dining table cloth to match. Looking for something to change up a home office or bedroom? Try some curtains. You can find some great inexpensive curtains at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond that will help you easily add some character to any room.

New Accent Pieces – Do you have a little bigger budget? Why not add a side table, ottoman or bookshelf? Pick something that compliments your current pieces but adds some color or a changes up the style just a bit. This is another great area where DIY can be a lot of fun. You can definitely hit the jackpot on Craigslist if you have a certain piece in mind. Head on over to Pinterest for inspiration on mixing and matching styles.

Redecorate your Bathroom – The bathroom is a small space you can easily redecorate without breaking the bank. Simply change out your shower curtain or rugs, throw in some new hand towels and, voila, for under $100, you’ve got a new look.

Get Organized – Nothing says new start like getting organized. Use the New Year as an opportunity to get rid of all the stuff you don’t need, and organizing the stuff you do. Getting organized can be also a great stress reliever. And who doesn’t need that after the hectic holiday season? The best way to tackle an organization project is to pick one room at a time. It is easier on your mind and your budget (if you need supplies).

Even though it is chilly outside, you don’t want to spend all of your free time knee deep in old socks and magazines at the back of your closet. Be sure to take time to go skating in Pentagon City, or if you don’t like cold weather activities, try some Hot Yoga.

Keep it simple, and maybe try to do one thing each quarter to add some new life to your home. It is a great way to keep your home interesting. If you spread it out throughout the year, it keeps you from busting your budget by buying things on a whim, and you aren’t overwhelmed by too many projects on your to do list. Happy New Year!

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.

Ask Adam: New Cherrydale Condo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm 1,601 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. I heard a rumor that 3800 Lofts in Cherrydale is going to become a condominium? Any truth to that?

A. It’s true. 3800 Lofts is going to convert from rental apartments to condos. You may remember that the building was originally intended to be condos back in 2005/2006. They were going to be called The Bromptons. The newest rendition is called 38 Place.

3800 Lofts (photo by Adam Gallegos)38 Place is located at 3800 Lee Highway. In addition to being within walking distance of Ballston, Cherrydale has plenty of its own charm and conveniences to offer. There are some nice little cafes and restaurants, wine shops, a bakery, tea shop, yoga studio, hardware store and niche retail. I’ve found that there is a lot of neighborhood pride in Cherrydale.

38 Place is four stories with retail on the ground level. There are two one-bedroom homes and 20 two-bedroom homes. Sizes range from 800-1,500 square feet. Current retail includes Subway, House of Steep and Kite Runner Cafe.

3800 Lofts (photo by Adam Gallegos)As a side note, I highly recommend Kite Runner Cafe for great kabobs.

The interior finishes include wood floors throughout (including bedrooms), GE stainless steel appliances (with gas cooking), granite counters, maple cabinetry and full size washers and dryers in the units. There are some loft features such as nine foot ceilings with exposed ductwork, large windows with Mecco shades and modern lighting fixtures. The homes come with underground parking.

Sales are slated to begin in January. The 1-bedroom units will start in the mid $300′s and the 2-bedroom units will start in the low $500,000′s.

I would love to hear feedback about the building in comments from anyone who has lived here while it has been a rental.

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 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm 892 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.

Eastern Foundry CEO and Founder Geoff OrazemEastern Foundry, a new startup incubator focusing on government contractors as tenants, launched on Dec. 16. With 70 offices covering 21,000 square feet, it’s already 85 percent full.

Eastern Foundry CEO and Founder Geoff Orazem said he expects to be full in his space on the fourth floor of 2011 Crystal Drive by “mid-February at the latest.” Its occupancy rate is just one example of the sweet spot his company has found in its sector.

Taking a walk through the halls of Eastern Foundry belies the future the company envisions. Outside a few of the office doors are framed fact sheets about the companies inside, with photos and bios, plus the company’s mission, relationships within the federal government and former jobs where the workers may still have contacts. These sheets will soon be outside every office, and are a resource for companies looking for partners or advice.

Every Thursday, Eastern Foundry hosts a seminar on issues government contractors face, led by a working expert in the field. These topics have already included GSA scheduling, and the ins-and-outs of Small Business Administration set-aside mandates. Eastern Foundry is also using the 10th floor of the Vornado-owned building — currently a vacant 40,000-square foot space – and turned it into an event space and flexible area for some of its tenants.

A standard Eastern Foundry office“No one has integrated residential, community and business development the way we have,” Orazem told ARLnow.com. He said Eastern Foundry is the first government-contractor-only incubator in the country.

Orazem is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry platoon commander and graduate of Harvard Law School, but realized he wanted to help facilitate business success while working to set up a “tribally run trucking cooperative with government contracts” in Iraq and Afghanistan around 2009.

“We were having an amazing impact on development and security in the area,” he said. “I had far more influence by creating jobs than I ever did as a Marine.”

He spent three years working for McKinsey & Company in D.C. before he decided to try to start his own contracting firm in January. The process, he said, was far more onerous than he had imagined, and his background as a veteran and his “fancy named” college degree didn’t help.

“It wasn’t hard for reasons I thought were good reasons,” he said. “It was difficulty with the process. It was bewildering, bureaucratic, obfuscating and infuriating.”

Eastern Foundry's kitchen and break roomOrazem realized the opportunity was there to help people like him get through the process. During a meeting with a friend at 1776 in D.C., he saw how collaboration was working for tech startups, and had a “mini-breakthrough.” He realized a cooperative space could have the same impact for contractors as it does for young tech companies.

Orazem hired Andy O’Brien at Jones Lang LaSalle to broker a real estate deal, and Vornado started aggressively pursuing Orazem to consider Crystal City.

“Vornado basically made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. “We’re really excited about the area and the vision of Vornado to recreate it as a technology and innovation center. They were really putting their money where their mouth was.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm 338 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.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) is hosting the 5th annual “Train Your Dog Month” in January 2015. The goal is to encourage people to work with their dogs and this years focus is on basic training.

Is there something you never got around to training, like a nice stay at the door? This is the time to get back to it. There will be several free webinars and tips and tricks to help you on your way. You can find all the information here.

Why have a Train Your Dog Month? Well it’s just a fun way to encourage people to reconnect with their dogs. The truth is that training, when done positively and in partnership with your dog, is a great way to have fun and strengthen your bond and your dog might become more obedient as well!

Training is also great exercise for both you and your dog. Having a hard time exercising your dog in the dead of winter? Try a 20-minute training session. The mental energy that your dog expends is as good as or better than a 20-minute walk.

This is also a great opportunity to teach something new. Believe it or not, training tricks is just as valuable as teaching an important cue like sit or stay. What about taking up a sport with your dog? Agility, Flyball and Nosework are all fun ways to train without feeling like you are training!

Ultimately, training is one of the best things you can do with your dog. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or frustrating. Take a one day workshop, watch a webinar, or just try something new at home. WOOFS! will be hosting some Train Your Dog Month events, so come on out and have some fun!

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

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

Your Beermonger logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 424 0

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Arlington firm that specializes in federal employment and labor law, security clearance proceedings, and military law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Ethan Rothstein — December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1,006 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Ethan Rothstein — December 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm 1,390 0

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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