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by Tim Regan — January 23, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

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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 local tech company wants to make it easier for people to connect with their elected representatives.

That company, Phone2Action, turns people into “citizen advocates” by helping them engage with lawmakers over the phone, in emails and on social media, according to co-founders Jeb Ory and Ximena Hartsock.

Jeb and Ximena, photo by Tony Powell“We created Phone2Action to solve a very large but very simple problem,” Ory said. “Connecting people to policymakers so they can be part of the civic process.”

Say you run an organization or business that wants to rally supporters behind a specific cause. Using
Phone2Action’s subscription “digital grassroots platform,” you can urge people to get in touch with their state or local officials without having to step away from their computer or put down their smartphone.

“If you are … a service provider, you can let a lawmaker know about the valuable service you can provide or you can let a lawmaker know about why your supporters believe that policies could be a certain way,” Hartsock added. “Our clients use the tools to engage their supporters and let lawmakers know about how they feel about certain things.”

The company started in 2012 with just 15 employees, but quickly outgrew its location in the District. Now at 40 staffers, Phone2Action operates out of an office building in Rosslyn.

“We have about 20 open positions now,” said Hartsock. “We will be 90 [employees] pretty soon. We’re already outgrowing our space.”

When the company finally does outgrow its space, it will move to a larger office, likely elsewhere in Arlington, Hartsock added.

In the future, Ory said the Phone2Action will continue to invest in working with new platforms. For instance, the company is looking to integrate its platform with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated service.

“Today, it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, but where is it going to be tomorrow?” he said. “We’re committed to being at the forefront.”

Phone2Action also has plans to expand its service to other places across the globe, like Chile and countries in Western Europe.

“There’s a huge opportunity to help people across the world weigh in and talk about matters that are important to them,” Ory added.

Ory and Hartsock photo by Tony Powell

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

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The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Dog Paws n Cat Claws, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, DPnCC offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

“When we rescued Lucy, we bought her a crate. The first time we left her in the crate for a dinner date, we returned home to find she’d rubbed her nose to the point of breaking skin and her gums were bleeding which we assume happened because she was biting the cage. Please don’t put her in one here,” said Susan S., one of our favorite clients, as she dropped off her pup for boarding.

Crates can be excellent training tools for dog owners and essential for puppies, but that doesn’t mean they work for every dog. You may discover that your rescue dog, who came to you with little information about their past, may hate their crate.

If you have a dog that reacts negatively towards a crate, she may have experienced some type of trauma while in a crate or during confinement. With patient training, many dogs learn to accept their crates over time. If you don’t have time for training, creating a larger space, such as a room of her own or a gated area, is less stressful for your dog and easier for you.

If you have a dog that’s done well in crates in the past and suddenly decides to protest, it may have something to do with the size. You want to make sure the crate is large enough for him to comfortably stand up and turn around without obstructions. When buying a crate for a puppy, keep in mind how big he will grow before deciding on a size. Most crates today come with dividers so you can partition part of the cage off and move it as your puppy grows.

Placement of the crate is also critical. They should live in a space free of noisy appliances, away from vents blowing hot or cold air, and far from the entrances of your home. It should be in a room where there’s human activity. You want your dog to feel like he is still part of the family, but doesn’t need to be involved with everything. If you have small children, teach them to steer clear of crates. Poking or banging on crates can be stressful for dogs.

If you choose to work on counter-conditioning your dog’s anxiety, the goal is to get your dog to voluntarily enter her crate. You want her to feel secure in her crate and enjoy her time inside. Placing treats inside the crate with the door open entices your dog to check it out. Keep the door open until she seems a bit more comfortable inside. Once you close the door, make sure your pup can see you and gradually work your way up to moving out of her sight line for longer periods of time.

If your dog barks while in the crate, ignore the behavior. Only reward when they are calm and well behaved using high-quality treats or a favorite toy. Stuffed Kongs are ideal. It keeps them busy and the act of cleaning out the Kong helps them relax. Another option is to cover the crate with a sheet, simulating the feeling of being in a den and calming to your pup.

If your dog continues to hate his crate and causes nothing but trouble when left to roam your home, dog daycare is another option. We have several dogs that come to daycare and boarding with crate anxiety. We have designed our daycare facility to include several small rooms called “zones.” When Lucy and dogs like her stay with us, we utilize these zones to keep them happy, calm and secure during their stay. At Dog Paws, we put extra effort into ensuring a crate hater will never see the inside of a crate.

Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Care Manager

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 20, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s low inventory problem just got worse. Some 35 fresh new listings came on the market this week, but 43 buyers ratified contracts. Buyers are once again outpacing sellers. Of the 43 homes sold, five had been on the market over 200 days, and one was 688 days on market. The average sales price of those homes sold jumped to $718,486.

Check out the stunning new listing on Roberts Lane priced at $3.2 million.

Arlington’s low inventory did not make the list of the 10 US cities with worst housing shortages. The cities with lowest inventories are:

Seattle, Eugene, Grand Rapids, Buffalo, Fort Wayne, Sacramento, Detroit, Portland, Santa Rosa and Omaha.

Interest rates this week rose slightly by about 8 basis points to 4.2% for a 30-yr fixed rate.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

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This biweekly column is written and sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

911 Ready Arlington9-1-1, Where is your emergency? If your answer to this question is “this isn’t an emergency,” then you’ve dialed the wrong number. Arlington County has a non-emergency number that’s also answered 24/7 by call-takers in the Emergency Communications Center. Still not sure when it’s appropriate to use the non-emergency number?

  • Is the situation life threatening? Is something on fire? Is someone bleeding? Not breathing? Is there a weapon? If you find yourself in a situation where someone needs medical attention, there’s any type of fire, smoke, smell or someone has a weapon or is threatening you, you should absolutely call 9-1-1. For any situation when there is an immediate threat to life, health or property, do not wait — call 9-1-1 immediately.

Non Emergency Number Ready ArlingtonPRO TIP: The most important piece of information you can give is your location. Give this information first. If you don’t know
the exact address, pay special attention to your surroundings. Just saying, “I’m at the 7-11,” isn’t helpful (there are seventeen 7-11’s in Arlington). But if you say, “I’m at the 7-11 near Columbia Pike and South George Mason,” then dispatchers can figure out where you are. Keep in mind, your cell phone will not automatically tell dispatchers where you are.

  • Online Reporting Ready ArlingtonDid the event happen more than 30 minutes ago? The possibilities of when the non-emergency number should be used are really limitless, but one of the biggest factors is time. If the danger still exists, call 9-1-1. However, if there has been an incident where you needed the police but the danger has already passed, then the non-emergency number would be appropriate. Some examples: if you saw a strange car in your neighborhood an hour ago, if you left your wallet in a cab last night, if you just noticed something was stolen from your car in the last week — then call the non-emergency line!

Other times it’s appropriate to use the non-emergency number is for nuisance calls. A barking dog or an illegally parked car are things that are annoying (and violate certain ordinances), but are not life threatening. If you cannot find your car, that is not necessarily an emergency. If you saw someone physically steal it then yes, call 9-1-1 immediately. Otherwise you can find out if it’s been towed or file a stolen vehicle report through the non-emergency number.

PRO TIP: The Arlington County Police has a great system in place for making online reports. Once the report is submitted, you will automatically receive a temporary case number. You will then receive an e-mail from an officer within 48 hours to follow up. If further information is needed, the Officer will ask for it via e-mail.

See Something, Say Something Ready ArlingtonPRO TIP: Arlington County also has an online tool for reporting things like littering, traffic signal issues and damaged signs.

  • See Something, Say Something. The community plays a critical part as our eyes and ears for suspicious activity. However, just because something is suspicious doesn’t mean it’s an emergency. If you see someone taking unusual pictures or videos, or behaving strangely, call the non-emergency number. If what you are seeing feels like it might be an imminent danger, call 9-1-1.
  • Just because you call the non-emergency line, doesn’t mean it’s not important. A call for a non-emergency situation may take a little longer than an emergency. However, this does not mean your incident isn’t important, or won’t be handled properly. Just have a question for a call-taker? Call the non-emergency number.

PRO TIP: Arlington County also has Text-to-9-1-1 capabilities for times when it’s an emergency, but you are unable to speak on the phone.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 19, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

849 N. Jacksonville Street
Neighborhood: Bluemont
Listing Price: $1,449,000
Open House: Sunday, January 22 from 2-4 p.m.

Brand new home is move in ready! This stunning single-family home features three finished levels with over 4,500 square feet of living space. Sunny, open layout is perfect for entertaining and finishes include crown molding, shadow boxing, hardwood floors and two story foyer.

Gourmet kitchen includes top of the line stainless steel appliances, range hood, granite counter tops, custom cabinetry, and large breakfast nook. Kitchen opens up into family room with fireplace, and the spacious floor plan also includes separate dining room and additional living room.

Upstairs you will find 4 large bedrooms, and the stunning master bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet and incredible master bathroom with soaking tub.

The finished basement offers a home theater for cozy nights in as well as a bedroom and full bath for guests to stay, or to be used as an in-law suite or home office. This home sits on a beautifully landscaped lot with fenced in yard, 2 car garage, and has great curb appeal with gorgeous stone facade. Great location in Arlington just minutes to the Ballston corridor and I-66.

Stop by to see everything this great home has to offer at our open house this Sunday, January 22 from 2-4 p.m.

Please contact Keri with the Keri Shull Team and Optimé Realty at [email protected] or call 703-436- 2191.

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Grover, a social dog who loves playing hide-and-seek. Here is what Grover’s owner, Jenny, had to say about him:

I was bitten by a dog when I was little and spent my life skittish and terrified of them. My kids really wanted a dog and I hesitantly gave in. That was 3 years ago and very soon after, Grover bounded into our lives. Grover is an extremely tall, long-legged, trim guy. He is fun loving and kind. He has never met another dog he does not like, although occasionally other dogs don’t care for him. He does not let that stop him from openly giving his heart and if I am in a rush on a walk and I don’t take him to say hi to a canine friend, he whimpers. He also loves people and always wants to say hi. Sometimes, he gets so excited he jumps on them, but he is working on that. He mostly loves to be with his human family.

Grover loves running, walking and playing hide-and-seek with his ball and his very favorite activity is chasing the ball! He likes to sleep in on weekends, sometimes until 10 a.m! He loves food, especially people food and is always on the look out for opportunities to take food that he should not have. He is sneaky and will “counter-surf,” but then if he hears us coming, he quickly gets down and pretends he is eating his food. He can also drink a full glass of milk on the kitchen table without knocking it over or making a peep! This has led to a few unfortunate late nights at the vet, but luckily, Grover is okay and we are very good about putting our food away. Thanks to Grover, our house has never been cleaner!

He loves visiting his granddad at the beach every few months and when we are a few miles away, he knows where we are going and yelps for joy. He rides in granddad’s jeep and boat and can also chase a ball for hours! Grover is what most would describe as “happy go lucky” and a joy to be around. We take him wherever we can and most of the neighborhood knows Grover!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

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 is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 18, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

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Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.

It’s gearing up to be a quite a week here in the D.C. area with so many inauguration festivities.

We’re reminded all the time, in one way or another, that our region is truly at the heart of so many things that impact these United States. We’re home to so many prominent figures, businesses and historic, cultural events.

And with so much action, Arlington County is truly a wonderful place to call home. Our area is anchored by high-paying jobs, low unemployment rates, a top-ranked school system, a beautiful park system as well as world-class restaurants and shopping.

And, of course, our real estate market is rock solid. When you’re ready to GET MORE out of living in Arlington County, I’m ready to help you find a perfect home to call your very own!

As of January 16 there are 160 detached homes, 26 townhouses and 212 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 38 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Two weeks ago you wrote a column stating that the average sale price growth in Arlington was 0.15%, but the County just announced that the average tax assessment will increase by 2.9%, why the difference and is there anything I can do to challenge my assessment if I think it’s too high?

Answer: The numbers I used two weeks ago in my 2016 market review were based on the average sold price (less any seller credits) for all on-market homes sold in Arlington in 2016. While the County does factor in recent sales, they use a different model for calculating the tax assessment that includes lot size, taxable square footage, permit history (major updated/additions) and other factors. The County’s approach is localized by neighborhood rather than across the entire county and they use data from Sept 1-August 31. For example, your 2016 assessment is based on market data from Sept 1, 2015-August 31, 2016.

Overall, Arlington homeowners get a pretty good deal on their tax assessments from the County. In 2016, the average home in Arlington sold for almost $85,000 more than its 2015 tax assessment. At a tax rate of .991%, that’s about a $850 “savings.” Here’s a look at the average difference in sold price vs the previous year’s tax assessment value in Arlington over the last five years, broken out by zip code:

Ask Eli chart Jan 17

Here’s the average difference between 2016 sale prices and their 2015 assessed values, broken out by the three major types of housing in Arlington:

Ask Eli chart 2 Jan 17

Note that for both tables above, I removed any sales where the tax record didn’t include an assessed value (about 5% of sales records).

In 2016, Arlingtonians will pay .991% of their assessed value in real estate taxes. Every year you have an opportunity to appeal your assessment and yes, it has worked, but the burden of proof is on the homeowner, not the County. Arlington provides an informative website on the appeal process.

Quick hits on the appeal process:

  • Expect to receive your 2016 assessed value in later this month
  • Your first appeal with the Dept of Real Estate Assessments must be filed by March 2, 2016
  • Step 1: Call 703-228-3920 for information on how your assessment was determined
  • Step 2: File your appeal online here (First Level)
  • Step 3: An assessor will visit your home and you can provide relevant info to make your case
  • Step 4: If you’re not satisfied with the decision or have not received written notice by April 1, file your second appeal with the Board of Equalization online here (Second Level) by April 15
  • Step 5: If you’re not satisfied with the decision, your final option for appeal is with the Circuit Court, which will likely require you to hire an attorney

If you’re considering appealing your tax assessment, feel free to reach out to me to discuss building a case. I have access to micro and macro market data that can help you determine if your property is over-assessed and can help you create a clear report supporting your appeal.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

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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 John V. Berry, Esq.

What constitutes hostile work environment is often confusing. Many employees often assume that general bad behavior exhibited by a supervisor or coworker constitutes a hostile work environment claim for purposes of filing an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint.

Typically, an EEO complaint based on hostile work environment must involve actions taken as a result of discriminatory behavior. In other words, a hostile work environment involving a supervisor that is petty, obnoxious, mean, or otherwise terrible to work for, without the element of discrimination as the basis for the conduct, is not necessarily an actionable EEO hostile work environment case.

In general, employees can and do suffer from an unpleasant work environment for reasons other than unlawful discrimination. While such conduct is inappropriate and unfortunate, it may not provide a basis for an EEO complaint. In order to show a hostile work environment for the purpose of filing an EEO complaint, employees generally need to show that:

  1. The actions taken were discriminatory or harassing against them based on their race, religion, national origin, gender, age, etc.
  2. They were subject to harassment (verbal or physical) as a result of the discrimination.
  3. The discrimination is pervasive. In other words, it persists over time.
  4. The hostile behavior is severe.
  5. The employer knew or should have known about the discriminatory behavior.

Here are a few examples of a hostile work environment:

  1. An employee, who is an older woman, is subject to constant ridicule in the office by her supervisor for work-related mistakes due to her age. Her supervisor often makes comments that “she should retire.” The employee reports the situation to Human Resources, which does not address the issues, and the supervisor continues his/her harassing behavior.
  1. An employee, who is African-American, is subject to repeated offensive racial comments at work by a supervisor in front of other employees. The employee takes the matter to the employer’s president who declines to take action. The supervisor continues his/her discriminatory behavior.
  1. An employee, who is female, is consistently asked out on dates by a co-worker even though she has politely declined the requests. The employee then begins to receive notes on her office door from the co-worker with inappropriate remarks. She reports the situation to her manager and Human Resources, which takes no action in the matter, and the harassment continues.

The examples of different types of a hostile work environment are too numerous to cite, but the harassing behavior has to involve discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin or other protected categories. Again, if a supervisor or co-worker is hostile, mean or even engages in bizarre behavior, it may not rise to the level of an actionable EEO hostile work environment case.

If you need assistance with an employment law issue in Virginia, 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 Katie Pyzyk — January 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

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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.

Cybersecurity currently is a frequently discussed but often misunderstood field. At Adlumin, though, it’s a well-understood topic that’s more than just a buzzword. The employees design solutions to identify and prevent potential breaches in clients’ networks.

Adlumin logoCybersecurity is a broad term, but the Adlumin team targets what co-founder and VP of business development Timothy Evans calls “the Edward Snowden problem,” when a seemingly authorized user enters part of the network they’re not allowed to access.

“I realized that corporate breaches were continuing to succeed because attackers were able to steal the identities of employees and use that identity to attack the infrastructure as if they were that person,” said Adlumin president and CEO Robert Johnston. “The problem we set out to solve is the identity access and management piece.”

A small breach such as a user figuring out a computer password can compromise an entire business structure because the illegitimate user often gains access to other accounts with locally-saved passwords, such as Gmail or Twitter.

“Eventually [an intruder can] end up with the keys to the entire kingdom and they can literally access any system or cloud resource they want,” Johnston said.

That’s what happened during the Democratic National Committee hack last year when more than 100 users’ private email accounts were accessed, Johnston said. He led the response effort to the DNC breach and said those hackers “were able to access the system as if they were a user.”

Adlumin team membersAdlumin’s software can “see” and monitor every single user on a client’s network, even on a global scale. It incorporates user behavior analytics — which Johnston said not all cybersecurity companies deal with — to determine if a network is in danger.

“Rob decided we needed to solve a hard problem, which is to find intruders in a network. They don’t use things like malware or ransomware, they’re in the network and they look like your legitimate users,” Evans said. “There’s only one way to find them and that’s based on their behavior patterns to determine whether they’re a real user or a fake user.”

Adlumin’s software monitors a business’ network 24/7 to detect changes in user behaviors. Evans explained that it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to continuously update information about user habits. If the software detects a potential anomaly, it sends an alert. Think of it like a credit card company tracking a card user’s spending habits and sending a warning notification when an odd purchase occurs.

In addition to providing the monitoring software, Adlumin manages customers’ cyber infrastructure and training.

Clarendon-based Adlumin incorporated in June 2016 and was assisted by the Herndon-based Mach37 cybersecurity business incubator. It now has five full-time employees and plans further expansion this year.

“The Washington, D.C. metro area, and specifically Arlington, is an awesome place to do this business,” Evans said.

Noting the proximity to the country’s top intelligence agencies, Johnston said there’s “a lot of untapped human capital in this area” for cybersecurity.

As far as what’s in store for the future, Johnston said the Adlumin team will continue updating its software algorithms and wants to “dominate the identity and access management piece” of cybersecurity.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

The Rethink Energy Program is rolling out new programs this year, hosting exciting events, and serving you up with tips and info to save energy, save money, and be more comfortable in your home.

If you take only two action today, we ask that you:

Be the first to know! In February, we’ll launch via our newsletter and Facebook page, new events and tools that residents can use to save

This New Year we resolve to help you save money, be more comfortable in your home, and leave a lighter footprint on the environment. We hope you will resolve to let us help you make it cheaper and easier than ever to save energy by taking two simple actions today, like and sign up.

*We dislike spam too. We promise to send no more than one email per month.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

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

In the cradle of our democracy and the Piedmont of Virginia, lies a winery that bears the name of the President-Elect. Trump Winery, formerly Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, sits in the same area that Thomas Jefferson once made wine. A region that has long had its own American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation as Monticello.

Donald Trump bought the winery in 2011 for $6.2 million — a bargain compared the $28 million that was owed on it. As part of that deal, Trump gained the rights to purchase Patricia Kluge’s famous estate, Albemarle House. It is now a luxury hotel for visitors of the winery.

Regardless of the reputation of its current owner or its previous one — Kluge was the divorcee of one-time Forbes’ richest man in the U.S., John Kluge — the winery has racked up accolades from publications like Wine Enthusiast and awards in local and national competitions. Its sparkling wines are its bread and butter, but there’s plenty to like about many of their varieties.

It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump wines are a hot commodity right now with the inauguration of its namesake in a week. A quick search on eBay reveals that there is a market for these wines with the name of the next president on them — in one post a case goes for $295. In fact, the wines are in such demand that they are mostly allocated to restaurants.

We took a look at three of the wines for sale: the 2010 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, 2015 Meritage and 2015 Viognier.

WWBG Trump wines2010 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc
A classic example of a champagne-style chardonnay wine made in the U.S., the 2007-2009 vintages garnered 22 awards among them. Given that the winemaker has been with the winery since before the current owner took over, the 2010 vintage of this wine stands up well.

2015 Viognier
Named Virginia’s signature white grape in 2011, the Viognier grape is well suited to the climate of the Old Dominion. This wine is fruit-forward with distinct notes of banana and pear. It’s on the lighter side with a slight hit of sweetness.

2015 Meritage
Meritage is the name of blended wines that are made in the Bordeaux style, without having to be made in that region. The designation is controlled by the Meritage Association, which dictates the grapes to be used and suggests standards. This Meritage is a blend of merlot and cabernet franc grapes. The merlot grape dominates with big blackberry notes while the cabernet franc grape brings a hint of coffee grounds, which grows stronger as this wine warms in the glass. Bottled in 2015, this Trump Meritage is young and could use time to evolve.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 13, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Buckle up. The spring real estate market has arrived. The temps might still be low, but activity is high. Some 40 new listings came on the market this week, and 41 buyers ratified contracts including many homes that had been on the market over 100 days. Interest rates eased back this week about 10 basis points to 4.1% for a 30-yr fixed rate.

A new troubling trend has emerged. The rate of transaction failures has jumped from 1.4% two years ago to 4.3% last quarter, mostly involving first time home buyers and lower priced “starter homes,” according to a Trulia report. Realtors in our area have experienced this trend, more frequently caused by buyers financing falling apart before settlement. These events are highly stressful on all parties. Working with experienced agents and reputable lenders can help reduce the risk of transaction failure.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

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This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and homeowner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

The formation of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) entity can be extremely useful if you are a rental property owner. It allows you to protect your assets, gain tax benefits for your rental property, and manage any property ownership transfers in a more convenient way. This article explores the legal, tax and property transfer benefits of holding your property in an LLC, rather than keeping it under your name.

Asset Protection

If you elect to form an LLC and transfer your rental property to the LLC, any judgment against the property will extend only to the LLC and not to your personal assets. In essence, the LLC offers you liability protection against a lawsuit or against creditors who might seek to make claims on your assets. It is also generally recommended that you place each rental property you own in a separate LLC. This provides additional assurance that any judgment against one property will not affect the other properties. Moreover, in many states, creditors can seize a property if it is owned in your name. If it is in an LLC, however, creditors may be limited to placing a lien on your property. Although types of liens vary, a lien may allow a creditor to claim any cash distributions from the LLC to its owners, and may also entitle the creditor to have the right to any proceeds from the sale of the property. In D.C., for example, a judgment lien can be attached to your rental property for up to 12 years. Other liens, which may be attached to the property, will impact a creditor’s ability to collect funds under a judgment lien. Creditor-debtor laws do vary by jurisdiction, and you should research your state’s regulations to understand the rights and obligations that debtors and creditors have under the law.

You can further protect yourself by adding a liability insurance policy for each property, as well as purchasing an umbrella policy to provide additional liability coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Placing your rental properties in an LLC and buying additional insurance for them offers you a double layer of protection in the event of a lawsuit.

Tax Advantages

An LLC can be taxed as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a C corporation or an S corporation. For rental property ownership purposes, it is best that an LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. This is because any income will flow through to the individual members of the LLC and it will be reflected on their tax returns. In this case, the company will not have to pay any federal income tax and its owners can take advantage of tax deductions for the rental properties held in the LLC.  You would be eligible for the real estate depreciation deduction, but will also have to pay capital gains taxes when you sell the property. However, there are options to defer capital gains taxes, such as a 1031 exchange, if you sell one property and reinvest the sale proceeds into another property of like-kind within a specified time period.

Property Ownership Transfer Benefits

When you transfer your rental property into an LLC, you can create units of ownership with a specific value and allocate them to any other members of the LLC. This offers an easy way for you to designate ownership in the property to other family members, rather than updating property deeds to reflect changing ownership interests. Ownership interests can also qualify for several valuation discounts, depending on the structure of the LLC, the terms of its operating agreement, and the division of ownership interests among its members. Since these valuation discounts can reduce the overall value at which ownership interests are valued, they can have a significant impact on gift taxes and estate taxes when interests in the property are transferred between LLC members.

For more information about the benefits of placing your property in an LLC, see the following:

by ARLnow.com — January 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Scout, a beagle-mix dog who loves running, playing and Lost Dog pizza leftovers.

Here is what Scout’s owner, Drew, had to say about him:

Scout is a playful beagle-ish dog who lives in Westover with his two humans. He found his humans through the Lost Dog Rescue Foundation, whose pizza he also enjoys (at least the remaining bits leftover on plates). It’s his job to make sure that his humans are awakened each morning by jumping on the bed and licking their faces.

Scout’s full-time profession is guarding the house from mail carriers or delivery people of all sorts, and taking care of his best friend/captive, Hedgehog (note: hedgehog is a stuffed animal; please do not alert the hedgehog protection authorities).

Despite his small stature, Scout loves to run no matter the weather, often pulling a human along with him. His favorite place to run is the Four Mile Run trail, for its unencumbered stretches of running and proximity to squirrel habitat. Squirrel-chasing is Scout’s second favorite pastime, treeing them using an unrelenting mix of monkey noises and barking.  He also enjoys hiking, carrying his own food & water in a backpack, still outpacing his humans despite this extra load.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

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 is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

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