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by Heather Mongilio — July 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday

skaiotaflyerThe Ska Revival Tour
Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 8 p.m. to midnight

Local Northern Virginia band Thirteen Towers joins bands Be Like Max and A-OKs at Clarendon’s Iota Club for the last leg of a ska-punk tour. The concert is for those 21 years and older. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Thursday

AD_Postcard_Paint_Party_2015

Painting Parties @ P. Brennan’s*
P. Brennan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (2910 Columbia Pike)
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Paint Irish scenery while enjoying a glass of wine and an authentic Irish vibe from P. Brennan’s. Tickets are $40 and include one canvas, painting and one glass of wine. No experience is necessary. Another session will be held Aug. 13.

Friday

David Koechner (via theNerdPatrol/Flickr)David Koechner LIVE from The Office and Anchorman
The Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

Fans of “The Office” and “Anchorman” will want to make their way to the Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse to see standup from David Koechner. If you can’t make the show on Friday, he’ll also perform on Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $22.

Saturday

Book-Cover

Islamophobia Book Talk and Signing
Busboys and Poets – Shirlington (4251 Campbell Avenue)
Time: 10-11 a.m.

Author Tom Green will discuss his new book “The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West” and why everyone should be concerned about anti-Muslim bigotry. Green will hold a book signing after his talk. The event is free.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) content

by ARLnow.com — July 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm 402 0

Heavy rain on 7/27/15(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington County is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 4:30 p.m. and a Flash Flood Warning until 6:45 p.m.

Parts of Arlington were inundated by heavy rain and frequent lightning and thunder this afternoon. There were scattered reports of power outages along Columbia Pike and people trapped in stuck elevators in Virginia Square and other parts of the county.

A wind gust of 58 miles per hour was reported in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington during the storm, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding was reported in the westbound lanes of Washington Blvd, prompting police to close a ramp from Route 50.

From the National Weather Service:

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… WEST CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… EAST CENTRAL FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…

* UNTIL 430 PM EDT

* AT 339 PM EDT…DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED OVER CRYSTAL CITY…AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 5 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… ARLINGTON…NATIONALS PARK…CRYSTAL CITY…HUNTINGTON…ROSSLYN… GROVETON…BALLSTON…US CAPITOL…ANACOSTIA…GEORGETOWN…HYBLA VALLEY…MARLOW HEIGHTS…FOREST HEIGHTS…ROCK CREEK…THE MALL… BOLLING AIR FORCE…BARCROFT…JEFFERSON MANOR…CHERRYDALE AND WESTOVER.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE DAMAGING WINDS…LARGE HAIL…DEADLY LIGHTNING AND VERY HEAVY RAIN. FOR YOUR PROTECTION…MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS. HEAVY RAINS FLOOD ROADS QUICKLY SO DO NOT DRIVE INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.

Also from NWS:

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR… THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… EAST CENTRAL FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…

* UNTIL 645 PM EDT

* AT 344 PM EDT…DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING HEAVY RAIN ACROSS THE AREA. UP TO ONE INCH OF RAIN HAS ALREADY FALLEN. FLASH FLOODING IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN SHORTLY.

THIS INCLUDES FLOOD PRONE ROADS LOCATIONS MILITARY ROAD AT 36TH ROAD…18TH STREET AT UPTON STREET…17TH STREET NORTH AT NORTH BUCHANAN ST… SOUTH TROY STREET NEAR LONG BRANCH… BRADDOCK ROAD AT WEST STREET… AND RHODE ISLAND AVENUE NORTHEAST BETWEEN 2ND AND CAPI.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Berry&Berry2

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

On July 21, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a new anti-discrimination bill. The bill, referred to as the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015, H.R. 1557, enhances existing discrimination laws. The protections proposed by the bill largely focus on federal agency and supervisor accountability involving discrimination of federal employees in the workplace.

If the bill becomes law, it would require that each federal agency restructure its operations so that the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program head reports directly to the agency head. Federal agencies would also be required to post notices on their agency’s website of any adverse findings of discrimination made against the agency for at least one year.

In addition, the new law would require an agency to notify the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding whether it has taken disciplinary action against an employee found to have engaged in discrimination or retaliation. The new law would further require that the EEOC refer any federal employees who are found guilty of committing discrimination or retaliation to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for disciplinary action.

A finding of discrimination against a supervisor does not often result in disciplinary action against the supervisor. Therefore, these new reporting and disclosure requirements would likely motivate agencies to take more disciplinary action against supervisors.

Lastly, the new law would prohibit non-disclosure agreements that prevent a federal employee from disclosing wrongdoing involving whistleblower matters to Congress, an Inspector General, or the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Federal agencies typically insist on these types of non-disclosure clauses in their settlement agreements with federal employees. However, the new law would certainly end this practice.

Since the Act passed in the House 403-0, there is a strong likelihood that it will pass in the Senate and become law. It was received in the Senate on July 22, 2015, and has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

We represent employees in federal employment matters nationwide, as well as private and public sector employees in employment matters in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. If you need assistance with an employment law issue, 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 this sponsored column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Heather Mongilio — July 27, 2015 at 1:45 pm 681 0

Big-Latch-On

A synchronized breastfeeding event will be held at the Arlington Central Library auditorium this week.

The Big Latch On is an international event where women across the country and world breastfeed their children at the same time. Women will join together in the Arlington County Central Library’s auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street) to breastfeed from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday.

“The Big Latch On involves groups of breastfeeding women coming together at registered locations around the world to all ‘latch on’ (breastfeed) their child or children at a set time,” according to the event’s website.

The Big Latch On was started to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and to encourage more women to breastfeed. It also aims to make breastfeeding in public part of daily life, according to the website. Last year, 14,173 women in 31 countries participated.

The World Health Organization encourages mothers to breastfeed their child for at least six months. Breastfeeding helps protect babies from infectious diseases and can promote cognitive development, according to WHO.

This year, the Big Latch On is hoping to beat its record of 14,356 children breastfeeding at one time. The women start breastfeeding at the same time for one minute while the children are counted, according to the Big Latch On’s website.

by Heather Mongilio — July 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm 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, plus other local technology happenings. 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.

A million people around the world have been able to play pen and paper games on a virtual tabletop thanks in part to an Arlington man.

Richard Zayas co-founded Roll20.net, a site that provides a virtual platform to play pen and paper games, like Dungeons and Dragons, with his college roommates Nolan Jones and Riley Dutton.

Roll20 Screenshot (Courtesy of Roll20)The three friends used to play Dungeons and Dragons together in college, but stopped once they graduated and moved to different parts of the country. After talking about how they wish they could all play together, Dutton created a prototype of a virtual tabletop.

What started out as a way for the three founders to play Dungeons and Dragons together after college turned into a successful business. Roll20 reached 1 million users in July, according to Jones.

“We didn’t start thinking we’d run a small software company,” Zayas said.

After creating the prototype, the three launched a Kickstarter with the goal of getting $5,000 to create Roll20. The Kickstarter raised $39,000.

“So to raise that kind of money in that short of time was a shock,” Zayas said.

Roll20 is not a video game, instead it provides the virtual tabletop for players to build their own games on. It is functionally similar to a video chatroom. Players are required to provide their own content — including tokens for characters — and create their own game boards. Alternatively, some game board and pieces can be purchased from a marketplace.

“At the basic level, the interface is just a virtual table,” Zayas said.

Richard Zayas (Courtesy of Roll20)The site can be used for any type of pen and paper game, not just Dungeons and Dragons, Zayas said. Roll20 users can create or enter a game. The “game master” creates the game using his or her own content, such as character tokens. Users can also buy tokens and other assets from the Roll20 marketplace.

“If you like video games or ‘Game of Thrones,’ Dungeons and Dragons was the original game of the fantasy genre,” Zayas said. “And if you want to play it online, you can play it on Roll20 for free.”

The site is free to use, but it also offers a subscription service that comes with advanced like dynamic lighting, which gives the game a more realistic feel, Zayas said.

The subscription service is the site’s current revenue stream, though Jones, Zayas and Dutton may consider advertising on the site, Zayas said. So far, enough people are subscribing to the premium content to keep the site profitable.

“The model is definitely sustainable,” Zayas said.

Users from around the world are using Roll20 to host games. About 15 percent of users come from outside the U.S., Zayas said.

“People just find us,” he said. “It’s like wildfire.”

The idea of being able to play a game with people all over the world is reflected in the company’s set up. The three founders each live in different areas of the U.S.: Dutton in Kansas City, Kansas, Jones in Las Vegas and Zayas in Arlington. The founders only see each other once a year, Zayas said, and each has his own role in the company. Zayas is responsible for accounts and finances, while Jones does public relations and Dutton is the main developer.

“He [Dutton] would be the brains. I guess Nolan would be the mouth,” Zayas said. “I deal with all the finance, accounts, that sort of stuff.”

While the company is successful and growing, it has only gotten to where it is today through hard work, long hours and tough lessons learned.

“It is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Zayas said. “Easily.”

by Heather Mongilio — July 27, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,360 0

A group of protesters, including students, teachers and members of advocacy group Higher Ed, Not Debt, chanted and waved signs outside of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn this morning.

The demonstration was held while for-profit college ITT Technical Institute held its annual shareholders meeting inside. The approximately 20-person protest group received honks from passing cars as they shouted complaints about how ITT Tech handles its marketing, course credit, loans and executive compensation.

“ITT what the Hell? Your CEOs should go to jail,” protesters chanted at the cars driving into Arlington from Key Bridge.

ITT Tech’s marketing promises students a sought-after degree and transferable course credits, but this is not always the case, said former ITT Tech student Anthony Byrd. Byrd attended ITT Tech in 2011 in order to get course credits he needed to attend Drexel University. However, when he called Drexel, he found out that his credits did not transfer.

Other students often leave ITT Tech only to find their degrees don’t count for much or that their credits are only transferable to another for-profit college, Byrd said. ITT Tech does say that the transferability of credits is at the sole discretion of the institution receiving the credits.

“I think a lot of students who attend ITT have no idea what’s going on until after they graduate,” Byrd said. He ended up leaving ITT Tech, but he still has debt for his time there, he said.

ITT Tech has a problem with students defaulting on student loans, with more students defaulting on loans than graduating at many of the ITT campuses, said Maggie Thompson, the campaign manager for Higher Ed, Not Debt.

ITT Tech CEO Kevin Modany spoke with Bryd at the protest, but Thompson said it is important that the shareholders pay attention. Shareholders are able to pressure the school into giving more support to students, reducing executive pay and focusing less on advertising.

“We really feel the schools needs to stop investing in executive compensation and more in students and teaching,” she said.

ITT Tech is not the only for-profit school where there are problems with loans and transferring credits, said Dahn Shaulis, an adjunct teacher at Burlington County College. Shaulis researches for-profit colleges and has found there are multiple instances where students end up defaulting on loans or cannot use the degrees they earned.

“These students have been defrauded,” he said. “They were lied to.”

This morning’s protest was also supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the group Student Debt Action and the Center for American Progress.

ITT, Modany and another executive were charged with fraud in May, with federal regulators alleging that the company hid the poor performance of student loan programs from shareholders.

by ARLnow.com — July 27, 2015 at 9:45 am 1,016 0

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey at the John Vihstadt victory party 4/8/14More than a year after she resigned from the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC), County Board Libby Garvey wants back in. But after applying, Garvey has been told she will need to wait at least a few months.

Garvey resigned in April 2014, preempting a committee vote to remove her, after she supported independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt over Democrat Alan Howze. Both Vihstadt and Garvey opposed the now-cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar project.

This year, Garvey is planning to support the Democratic nominees for County Board — Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey — and wants to officially rejoin the ACDC and its steering committee, on which elected Democrats are given seats. She was told to reapply for membership, but after submitting the proper paperwork she was then told that she would have to wait until November to apply again, a source told ARLnow.com and Garvey confirmed.

“I don’t know what the problem is,” she said in a phone interview over the weekend. “I’m a Democrat, I’m not a member of another party, I’m planning to support all the Democratic candidates — I think they’re all great.”

ACDC Chair Kip Malinosky said the move is simply a matter of staying focused heading into a key election, in which the Democratic County Board candidates will have to fend off two experienced independent candidates: Audrey Clement and Michael McMenamin.

“This year we have two exceptional county board candidates in Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey,” Malinosky said. “Because the focus should be squarely on them, as well as the rest of our great candidates, we deferred discussion about the subject of Libby’s readmission until after this year’s election.”

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm 4,755 0

Three people and two dogs escaped from a two-alarm house fire on the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street, near Clarendon, this evening.

The fire broke out around 7:00 p.m. in the rear of a three-story house. Residents told ARLnow.com that they rent the house and were playing video games when all of a sudden they noticed a fire in their backyard, which borders the 2700 block of Washington Blvd.

The three people inside the house grabbed the two dogs that were inside and fled for safety, they said. No injuries were reported.

Despite heavy flames and smoke, firefighters were able to largely contain the fire to the house’s back porch and first floor. Washington Blvd was closed in both directions while fire companies from Arlington and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall battled the blaze.

The county fire marshal is investigating the cause. Residents said they didn’t hear any loud noises before seeing the fire. ARLnow.com spotted a melted electrical meter near the charred rear porch, but a fire department spokesman declined to speculate on a cause.

by Heather Mongilio — July 25, 2015 at 8:00 am 725 0

Pork, beef and chicken buns at Gaijin Ramen ShopThe weekend is here and National Weather Service is predicting a beautiful Saturday with a high of 90 degrees. There’s a slight chance of late thunderstorms of Sunday, but the majority of the day should also be sunny.

If you’re planning to spend some of the sunshine in Lacey Woods Park, you’ll need to find a different way than N. George Mason Drive. The county is reporting that the road will be closed between 10th Street N. and Washington Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Saturday’s cool evening low of 72 degrees will be great for the runners participating in the Twilighter 5k in Crystal City. The race kicks off at 8:30 p.m. and follows a route along Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.

Feel free to sound off any local topic of interest to you this weekend in the comments.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This column is written by Dominion owner Arash Tafakor. When a consumer asks for…

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