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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 23, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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The preceding was written and sponsored by Community Pools.

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The much-loved Shirlington Dog Park could get smaller under plans being discussed by the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.

Three alternatives have been put forward for the park along Four Mile Run, including one that would reduce it to approximately 27,000 square feet, known as Alternative 1. The park would be cut in half at the current S. Oxford Street entrance, with the area west of Oxford Street reforested and the park running between S. Oxford and Oakland Streets.

The other two proposals would have the park at around 55,000 square feet (Alternative 2A) or 47,000 square feet (Alternative 2B). Both incorporate a proposed, expanded portion of parkland along S. Oakland Street.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation said that new plans are being explored for the dog park due to concerns around stormwater management. Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park are also being planned as part of the working group’s wider look at Four Mile Run’s future and a parks master planning process.

The possible reduction in size of the dog park is not quite as drastic a change as earlier rumors — that the county was planning to “move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it” — had suggested. It has, however, sparked loud opposition from supporters of the dog park on social media, including on the park’s unofficial Facebook page.

“Just out of curiosity, what happened to the chorus of reassurances we got from the board reps just a couple of weeks or months ago about them not touching the park?” wrote one supporter. “I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact they continue to push initiatives that put the park at risk or that they misled supporters to believe the park was safe as-is.”

An online petition against the proposal has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

“4 Mile Run Shirlington Dog Park is the best dog park in Northern Virginia,” wrote one signee. “One of the biggest reasons is its current layout. The small dog area, the water access, and the lengthy, open run area, as well as the seating, provide the best experience. Please do not alter this dog park!”

“It is an all too rare NOVA stress reliever that should be protected, not changed or reduced in size,” wrote another.

A separate Facebook group has also been started dedicated to saving the dog park and energizing supporters.

Parks department spokeswoman Martha Holland said there are no “short term” plans to change the park, but didn’t rule out longer-term changes due to state water runoff rules.

“Currently there is no immediate funding or intention on changing the configuration of the Shirlington Dog Park in the short term, however as capital renovations happen in the future or significant maintenance is needed in the parks, state mandated stormwater management standards will need to addressed,” she said. “County staff is working with the County-Board appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group on developing a plan for the park to meet state requirements and community interests.”

The County Board is set to have a work session on Four Mile Run Valley planning on May 30. Holland said that at no stage has removal of the park been on the table.

“The county recognizes that the Shirlington Dog Park, one of eight Arlington County dog parks that residents and their pets enjoy, is a tremendous and much-beloved resource for the county and there has never been any intention to remove it from the area,” she said.

The County Board is set to adopt the parks master plan for the three parks early next year. Public input on the draft concepts will be taken in July.

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

The old Ballston pedestrian bridge is no more.

The bridge was torn down over the weekend, closing part of Wilson Blvd in front of the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall and prompting a new location for the Taste of Arlington festival. The demolition included the use of a large crane to lower sections of the bridge.

Today, a construction crew was working to clear leftover debris, while a large section of the bridge sat largely intact, fenced off along the sidewalk.

Via Twitter, one local resident called the dismantling of the bridge and its “Ballston” sign an “end of an era.” A new pedestrian bridge will be built nearby, however, with its opening set for the fall of 2018.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Berry & Berry column banner

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

By Kimberly Berry

The following are six tips that can be helpful when an employee in Virginia is facing significant employment issues like termination, discrimination, or retaliation.

  1. Try to Remain Calm.

It is extremely important that employees remain calm and keep their composure when facing an employment issue. As difficult as it may seem at the time, it is critical to stay calm while at work even when dealing with significant employment issues like termination, separation, or poor performance reviews.

Generally, it is not helpful to argue with a supervisor over an employment issue that arises. Doing so can put an employee at risk for discipline, placement on leave, or even retaliation. In addition, employers could contact law enforcement or security if they feel the employee is irate and getting out of control.

  1. Avoid Using Social Media to Talk About Employment Issues.

We advise employees not to advertise their employment issues on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Almost inevitably, when employees discuss their employment issues on social media, one of their “friends” will pass it to someone who then passes it on to the supervisor who was a party to the problem compounding difficulties for the employee at work.

  1. Realize that Human Resources Supports Management.

A common misconception is that Human Resources is supposed to be a fair mediator of workplace disputes. This is not the case in 95 percent of employment issues. Human Resources is there to support management’s position in personnel matters. It is important to seek advice elsewhere before reaching out to Human Resources if an employee’s dispute involves a supervisor. HR generally tends to also pass on complaints by employees to supervisors and not treat them confidentially.

  1. Don’t Use Your Work Email Account or Computer for Employment Problems.

Employees should not use their employer’s email account to send personal or private information, especially related to their employment problems. We also recommend that employees not use work computers for drafting personal documents, storing pictures, or other storage. Otherwise, the information employees store on their work computers can potentially be used against them.

It is often very easy to use an employer’s email account or computer for private or workplace issues, but it can hurt an employee’s employment claims later or cause them to be terminated. The employer can potentially claim misuse of a work email account or computer. If an employer begins to suspect problems with an employee, the employer may take steps to review an employee’s email account or computer. Employers also usually archive emails for each employee.

  1. Don’t Talk With Co-Workers About Employment Problems.

It is important to be very careful about discussing employment problems with co-workers in the office, even if they are your friends. It is quite common for an employee to tell a co-worker about his or her employment problems with a supervisor, then the co-worker will (even inadvertently) tell another supervisor or other co-workers where it eventually makes its way back to the supervisor involved. This can result in workplace retaliation.

  1. If Terminated or Separated, Get Legal Advice Before Signing an Agreement.

If an employee is terminated or separated and is presented with a severance, separation, or other settlement agreement, he or she should consult with an attorney to discuss the rights that he or she may be waiving and the terms of the agreement before signing it.

If you need assistance with employment law matters in Virginia or the District of Columbia, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm 0

Rosslyn’s new 180-seat indoor and outdoor beer garden is slated to open next month.

The Continental Beer Garden at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive transforms what was once a service station under an office building.

Continental’s outdoor space is equipped with bocce courts, patio sofas and lounge chairs, picnic tables and a long communal high top table for 150 people. Workers also added lights, flower boxes, tree planters and a mural.

Inside, reconditioned garage doors open to an indoor bar and kitchen with seating for another 30 people. The beer garden is owned by Curt Large, who also owns the nearby Continental Pool Lounge. The project received support from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and landlord JBG.

Beers from Virginia and Germany will be served by the pint or pitcher, while wine can be ordered by glass or carafe from kegs. A slushy machine will also be among the drink offerings.

On the food menu, chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley has introduced a selection of sausages including bratwurst with sauerkraut and a classic D.C. halfsmoke with grilled onions and cheese.

Meek-Bradley, who was a finalist on the 13th season of the Food Network’s “Top Chef,” has added other snacks, entree salads, a selection of skewers served over basil quinoa salad and hot sandwiches like grilled cheese and pulled pork.

Once open, Continental’s hours will be 3-11 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. A firm opening date has not been set yet.

Courtesy photo

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Arlington police is seeking the public’s help to find a 16-year-old who went missing on the afternoon of May 9 after getting off a school bus.

Jessica Baires was last seen at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street in Buckingham.

She is described as a Hispanic female with fair complexion, brown eyes and long curly brown hair. She is 5-foot-3 tall and weighs approximately 132 pounds. She was last seen wearing dark blue jeans and black shoes.

Police said detectives have canvased the area, spoken with her family and friends and followed up on leads but have been unable to find her.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ms. Baires is asked to contact Detective C. Cook at 703-228-5747 or [email protected].

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Startup Monday header

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 new startup is looking to help landlords and tenants through every stage of the rental process, from listing and vetting potential renters to dealing with maintenance requests.

Sisters Miriam and Brenda Bolanos started Clarendon-based Leaseably last year, and began serving customers in April. The pair also have experience managing Airbnb properties, and said they want to save potential landlords money and time when they look to lease out their property.

The service is aimed at those who are looking to rent out one or two properties, as opposed to being for large apartment buildings, which already have in-house management and maintenance.

“If you think about it just conceptually, the options that owners have today for property management is a real estate company or managing it by themselves,” said Brenda Bolanos. “There’s nothing in between. So we are that in-between that will offer assistance to owners to help them manage their property to save time and to save money so they don’t have to pay as much as real estate companies charge.”

After registering their interest in using Leaseably, a potential landlord must provide details on their property and some photographs. The company then takes care of listing the property and being the point-of-contact for interested renters, before then coordinating viewings.

Once vetting potential renters, homeowners have the option to either prepare the lease themselves or use Leaseably to go through a realtor to prepare the paperwork. After providing an inspection list for move-in, tenants are in place.

But Leaseably’s services extend beyond getting homeowners a tenant. Once the renter is in place, they can help troubleshoot problems in the home and coordinate with a contractor to provide maintenance.

And the pair said that doing everything through virtual assistant software should help maintain a relationship between the landlord and their tenant by addressing needs quickly and automating as much as possible.

“Property management and real estate overall hasn’t had a change like everything else we have experienced with embracing new technologies,” said Brenda Bolanos. “Things haven’t changed in years, and of course part of it is regulation. I think there’s an opportunity to do things in a cost-effective manner, not compromising the security or trust of people, but opening that space that will offer a service at a reasonable price and that also responds to tenants and landlords.”

The sisters began Leaseably having spent a decade working for international organizations and managing Airbnb properties in Arlington. They said they had heard about other people’s difficulties managing their rented properties while working abroad or traveling, and so wanted to make things easier for everyone.

“One of the lessons was to have clear communication channels with tenants,” said Brenda Bolanos. “To know what they can expect and be able to respond when they need something in the property. We had long-term people who were abroad working for the government, and good communication was the best experience.”

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 11:40 am 0

Terry McAuliffe campaigns at Washington-Lee High SchoolVirginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to be in Clarendon tomorrow night for the seventh annual NARAL Virginia “Power of Choice” event.

The gala and awards presentation will honor “those who have made an outstanding impact” on NARAL’s “work to protect and advance reproductive freedom in Virginia.”

The event is taking place at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Boulevard) and is also expected to be attended by Attorney General Mark Herring and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who is currently running for governor.

Tickets for the event range from $40 for students to $150 for general admission. Sponsorships of the gala range from $500-5,000.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 10:50 am 0

A man arrested and charged with exposing himself Friday night only had to make a very short trip to jail.

The incident happened just after 11:30 p.m. Police say a 27-year-old Arlington resident exposed his genitals to a woman on the 1400 block of N. Taft Street in Courthouse.

That’s just a block away from Arlington County Police headquarters and the county detention facility. The man was soon arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

More from an ACPD crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-05190357, 1400 block of N. Taft Street. At approximately 11:36 p.m. on May 19, officers responded to the report of an indecent exposure that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject allegedly exposed his genitals to a female victim. Airimis Arutiunian, 27, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. He was held on a secured bond.

Image via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Public Hearings Set for Sign, Rosslyn Streetscape Changes — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board set public hearings for changes to the county sign ordinance related to mixed-use retail centers and industrial districts, which would allow for more blade signs in certain places. The Board also set hearings for a plan that “would establish a cohesive set of streetscape furnishings to strengthen Rosslyn’s character, and encourage more pedestrian use and vibrancy in Rosslyn’s core.” [Arlington County]

Washingtonian Spends Day in Crystal City — The staff from Washingtonian magazine spent Friday — Bike to Work Day — in Crystal City, filing stories about everything from quirky neighborhood fixtures like a reasonably-priced strip club and a long-time puppet store to WeLive, TechShop and other places driving Crystal City’s innovation economy. The goal was to report “stories of a place that’s creating a new future for itself in the ashes of one that didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought.” [Washingtonian]

Bike to Work Day Record — This year’s Bike to Work Day set a regional record, with 18,700 registrants at 85 D.C. area pit stops. [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Ambassador — On Friday Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) urged the Trump administration to kick the ambassador of Turkey out of the country in response to a violent confrontation between protesters and bodyguards for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, meanwhile, today summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about police treatment of the bodyguards who were seen beating up protesters. [Rep. Don Beyer]

D.C. Man Is Big Arlington Thrive Donor — A retired ophthalmologist who lives in D.C. has donated more than $750,000 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive over the past few years, after reading about it in a Washingtonian magazine article. Arlington Thrive, formerly known as Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs, “delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community.” [Washington Post]

Board Approves Intersection, Stormwater Projects — The Arlington County Board has approved more than $2.3 million in contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Irving Street and construct a “green streets” stormwater management system along Williamsburg Blvd. [Arlington County]

Arlington Represented on Route 1 Renaming Group — The former president of the Arlington NAACP and former president of the Arlington Historical Society have been appointed to an “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway” formed by the City of Alexandria. The city is moving forward with its effort to strip Route 1 of its confederate monicker, but wants to coordinate with Arlington in case the county decides to lobby Richmond to allow it to rename the road. [WTOP]

Columnist Blasts Website Comments — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark says that reader comments about the candidates in the recent Democratic Arlington County Board caucus were “inflammatory” and “pea-brained.” He singled out ARLnow’s comment section and “the slightly-more-civil commenters in the Sun-Gazette.” Caucus winner Erik Gutshall, meanwhile, said he seldom reads the comments, opining that “some are thoughtful, but it’s like opening a horror show.” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 22, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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by Chris Teale — May 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

It’s the end of another week, and there has been plenty to talk about all across Arlington. Ballston got some attention as it will be the location for a new…

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