In years past, if you wanted to attend a big, formal New Year’s Eve party — the type that comes with top-shelf drinks, food and entertainment — you would have to go out of your way to plan how to fight the crowds to get there and back. Since you didn’t have a choice other than heading into D.C.
Now, a new event is aiming to give Arlington and Northern Virginia its own marquee, center city NYE bash.
The New Year’s Eve Bond Ball will ring in 2016 in Ballston with a big, fashionable crowd at the Westin Arlington Gateway. As noted on the event’s Facebook page, the ball will feature a James Bond theme along with:
- Three Bond-themed ballrooms
- An open sky deck terrace
- Three premier D.C. DJs
- Heavy hors d’oeuvres
- Four hour top shelf open bar with signature “007” cocktails
- Horns, hats and party favors
- Secret agent photo booths
- Midnight champagne toast and golden balloon drop
- Valet parking, with hotel rooms and overnight valet available
General admission tickets are now available for $119, with VIP tickets priced at $199. The price of tickets will increase as the event approaches.
A new Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Rosslyn is planning to open its doors next week.
The restaurant, at 1735 N. Lynn Street, is set to officially open on Tuesday, Dec. 1. It will also be open for a lunchtime “oven-warming” on Monday, with 100 percent of proceeds going to nearby Key Elementary School.
In addition to offering sandwiches, shakes and salads, Potbelly plans to host live music from local performers.
The company, which has more than 300 locations in the U.S., issued the following press release about the Rosslyn opening.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced today the opening of a new location in Rosslyn at 1735 N. Lynn St. Set to open on Tuesday, December 1st, the widely acclaimed neighborhood hangout will feature its toasty warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes, tasty made-to-order salads and live, local music, which make it “The Best Place for Lunch.”
Earning a reputation in neighborhoods across the United States for having delicious food, fun décor and local musicians performing, Potbelly shops are also well known for their friendly and lively people. Khaled Elmeligy, the general manager of the new sandwich shop, has worked with Potbelly for two years.
“We look forward to becoming Rosslyn’s favorite neighborhood sandwich shop,” said Elmeligy. “Our toasty, warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes and market-fresh salads, will give guests the perfect lunchtime escape.”
Potbelly Sandwich Shop fans have grown to adore the brand while visiting its nearby shops in Ballston. Known for its good vibes in addition to great sandwiches, live music has been a part of the Potbelly experience since the first shop opened in 1977. Neighborhood musicians put a little rhythm into lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shops around the country. Interested performers in and around Arlington should contact the new shop manager to apply and to schedule an audition.
“There is no doubt we are going to be a welcome addition to the area,” Elmeligy added. “We have already heard from a few locals who are excited to have us open. It won’t be long before our friends, families and neighbors in Rosslyn are calling Potbelly Sandwich Shop home.”
To celebrate the launch of the new location, Potbelly Sandwich Shop will host its traditional oven warming event. The shop will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the pre-opening event to Key Elementary School. The fundraising celebration will occur on Monday, November 30th between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for lunch.
The new Potbelly Sandwich Shop includes about 20 staff members, ranging from customer service to managers. The shop will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Delivery service will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays with minimum orders of $25.
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: What are the five things Arlingtonians can be most thankful for?
Answer: Okay, I cheated. Nobody actually asked the question, but it’s the time of year to step away from our insanely busy lives (statistically, we’re THE BUSIEST), take inventory of all we’re thankful for, and appreciate our family, friends, and selves. I thought it’d be fun to come up with my own top five list of things Arlingtonians can be thankful for, and I would love to hear your top five. I’m dishing non-existent awards for 1) most creative, 2) most sarcastic, and 3) most comments generated.
Arlington is a model for urban planning with walkable communities all over, including Shirlington, Crystal City, Columbia Pike, Rosslyn-Ballston, Cherrydale, and North Arlington.
#4: (Reagan) National Airport
If you live in Arlington, you’re within a 15-minute drive and most are within 5-10 minutes. I’ve gone door-to-gate in under 25 minutes and give thanks every time they add a new Southwest route!
#3: Diverse (and Delicious) Food
With so many people from so many parts of the world, there are few cuisines you can’t find within a short drive. Our world-famous El Chilango taco truck ranks #58 in Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the entire country! If you haven’t fully enjoyed Arlington’s culinary diversity, spend some time over the holidays at Thai Square (Thai), Pho 75 (Vietnamese), Mele Bistro (Italian/Mediterranean), Bob & Edith’s (Diner), Rays the Steaks (Steak), and the brand new Secret Chopsticks (Chinese tasting menu) and let me know what you think.
The nation’s capital in a few minutes, vineyards and the Bay in under an hour, the Appalachian Mountains in 90 minutes, and numerous beaches in under 3 hours. Fun evenings, relaxing getaways, and great vacations are at our doorstep.
Relative to most of the country, we fared well during the recession, bounced back quickly, and have seen strong growth since due to our reliable, well-paying employers anchored by the Pentagon and large public consultancies.
What are your top 5 things to be thankful for this year in Arlington?
If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send me an email at [email protected]. To quickly read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.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.
Family members of the man who was critically injured earlier this month after he jumped from a bridge while running from police are searching for answers about what exactly happened that night.
The man has been identified by his family as 36-year-old Jivon Lee Jackson of Fort Washington, Maryland. According to Jivon’s father Richard Jackson, he is currently in a coma and stable at George Washington University Hospital.
“What’s murky is how the situation escalated so quickly from getting pulled over to Jivon jumping from a bridge,” Jackon said. “We believe there will be a moment in time when we get those answers, but the longer it takes, the colder information gets. We’re trying to jumpstart that process now.”
On Nov. 3, the night of the incident, Jackson said Jivon was on his way to a friend’s house and was supposed to pick up his mother from Union Station later that night.
Around 11 p.m., he was pulled over after being spotted driving recklessly on I-395, weaving in and out of traffic and driving on the shoulder at excess speeds, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow shortly after the incident.
Jackson exited the highway at Shirlington and pulled into the Exxon parking lot. When he stopped the car he got out of the vehicle and started running, according to police; shortly after, he jumped from the Shirlington Road bridge and fell approximately 20 feet onto the rocks below. Police reported he suffered from a “severe head injury” and was bleeding profusely.
As of this morning, police could only confirm that the process to transfer Jivon to a rehabilitation facility began last week. No police report on the incident was available.
According to Jackson’s sister Mara Doss, Jivon is a well-known theater producer, director and actor throughout the D.C. area. He earned a degree in communications from Howard University in 2001 and got a master’s in management and marketing from the University of Maryland University College. In 2012, he was named to the inaugural Prince George’s County Forty Under 40 list.
At the time of the incident, Jivon was producing and directing a play called Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues at the Anacostia Playhouse in Southeast D.C.
Doss described Jivon as an active, energetic and health-conscious young man who prioritized work and family.
“Jivon is sort of the glue of the family,” she said. “Right now, the family is kind of broken, and we just want to get some answers.”
After eight years of running his own business, Will Reintzell believed he was ready to take a new path. So the Arlington resident did what many of us would like to do: He chucked it all, shut it down and went to Spain for a well-deserved vacation.
When he got back he interviewed for a new position in a new industry — sales — and before long, given his background and genial nature, he landed an impressive job that, after thinking it over, he eventually declined.
“At the end of the day, I just wasn’t going to be happy,” he says, and for many Arlingtonians, his dissatisfaction is cause to rejoice.
WiKi Walks is back in business.
Will is the founder of WiKi Walks, a full-service dog walking/pet sitting service that he revived in early November. “I love dogs and I love owning my own company,” he says, explaining the return.
Not only is Will happier, so are some of his regular clients who were relieved to hear Will had picked up the leash again. Many signed up again as soon as they got the news.
“There are some dogs I’ve been walking for eight years, seven years, five years,” he says. “There is very little turnover. My clients are like family.”
Will Reintzell takes pride in keeping his schedule running like clockwork, knowing that not only do the clients count on him to save their canines from indoor accidents, but that the dogs themselves badly need the exercise dog walking affords. For many, it’s the only on-their-feet outdoor activity they get during working hours.
“Most of my clients are professionals and they leave home at 7 or 8 in the morning and get home nine or ten hours later,” he says. “It’s understandable, but it’s not healthy for a dog to have to ‘hold it’ for nine hours. And puppies need to go out more often, and older dogs need to go out more often. For the ones in the middle, walking is an activity and exercise that keeps them from getting overweight.”
Once a day — or more, according to the contract executed after an initial consultation — Will ventures out in all manner of weather for a 20-minute sojourn with his client’s best friend. The daily route is sometimes varied to keep it interesting for both parties — the walker and the walkee — and if something is amiss or the dog doesn’t seem his or her usual self, Will emails the owner right away.
I asked Will how the name “WiKi Walks” came about “It’s a portmanteau,” he explains. The “Wi” is from Will and the “Ki” is from his fiancée Kim’s name.
One last question: Does the dog walker own his own dog?
“I do, finally,” he says. He and Kim inherited her late father’s pointer, Ziva, named for the character on CBS’s “NCIS.” That’s Ziva in the logo with Will.
And yes, he walks Ziva. Of course he walks Ziva.
“I love dogs and I love spending time with dogs,” he says. “And at the end of the day I love my job.”
The preceding was a sponsored local business profile written by Buzz McClain for ARLnow.com.
Those who work and shop in Clarendon have a new parking option.
A new surface parking lot opened earlier this month in the empty lot along Wilson and Clarendon Blvd, between the Whole Foods and PNC Bank.
The lot is being operated by Crystal Parking, a local parking firm owned by Abraham Melles.
Melles said the new parking facility will allow the otherwise empty lot and eye sore generate revenue and help to alleviate parking issues in the neighborhood. He said the company will also consider offering a car wash service for customers.
The rate for parking is $2 for 0-30 minutes, $5 for 30-60 minutes or $6 for all day.
Melles has other local parking ventures he’s working on. In the “near future” he’s hoping to open a 400-500 space lot in the Shirlington area — no word yet on where, exactly. And in January Melles plans to launch Vaalio, an “on demand valet parking app” that will allow users to request a valet to show up, park and then bring back their car wherever they’re going.
Justin Funkhouser contributed to this report.
A casual ramen and Asian small plates restaurant is set to open in Ballston next week.
Yona will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting next Monday. It will also serve dinner beginning the following Friday, Dec. 4.
The new restaurant is owned by former “Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella, who also owns two other Arlington establishments, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. All three businesses opened this year in the same building, at 4000 Wilson blvd.
Unlike his other two eateries, Isabella won’t be the brain behind the food at Yona. That job is for Chef Jonah Kim.
“Yona is going to be more than just a way for Jonah to show off his mastery of Japanese and Korean flavors,” Isabella said in a statement. “We are creating a concept unlike anything in Northern Virginia. Ramen may be a humble dish, but it’s one that pays back the care and attention to detail a great chef can put into it.”
The menu Kim created features a handful of ramen options, but it also features several small plates and raw dishes, including fluke and smoked hamachi.
Kim said he thinks these items will complement each other well and bring something unexpected to the restaurant.
“There’s something about a truly substantial, warm bowl of soup that people don’t expect from a ramen place,” Kim said. “That’s still the focal point, but I think guests will be surprised by a non-traditional approach to it, especially with the cold dishes on the menu.”
A full drink menu will also be available, offering sake, cocktails, beer and wine.
The space itself can seat approximately 50 people at both communal and private tables. It also has an open kitchen and interior and exterior decorations inspired by Japanese and Korean influences.
Yona will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]
One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]
TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]
Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]
See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza recently opened a new restaurant in Clarendon, at 1119 N. Hudson Street, and the company is ready to introduce Arlington residents to a healthier type of pizza, said co-owner Jeff VanDyke.
“Our pizzas are thin crust so they tend to be healthier than other pizzas out there,” VanDyke said.
Brixx’s pizzas are made on traditional or whole wheat crust, both made from scratch every morning. Both doughs are vegan and guests can ask for vegan cheese. Gluten-free dough is also available. The restaurant, which is known for its large selection of beers on tap, offers gluten-free drinking options as well.
Brixx strives to have a casual and relaxing atmosphere, Van Dyke said. The restaurant is kid and family friendly, but looks to attract an older crowd as well with its late night offerings. The restaurant is open until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Its late openings fit in with the Clarendon bar scene, and Clarendon’s dynamic environment attracted the company to the area.
“We love the energy of the neighborhood in Clarendon,” VanDyke said. “Very vibrant. We’re excited to settle into the neighborhood. We love to work with the schools for fundraisers.”
The pizza chain offers discounts to police officers and firefighters, VanDyke said, noting that he often sees emergency personnel eat at the restaurant.
Beyond being a neighborhood-friendly restaurant, Brixx was built on the idea of being green and fresh. The chain recycles the glass from beer bottles and makes everything fresh that day.
“We do a lot of different styles of pizza,” VanDyke siad. “There’s good variety in terms of the menu.”
He recommends newcomers try the Bronx Bomber, a pizza with Italian sausage, prosciutto, mozzarella and gorgonzola; the Mexican, which has a black bean spread, chicken and jalapenos; or the Margherita, though there are so many options it is hard to choose.
In addition to pizzas, the restaurant offers a selection of salads, sandwiches and pastas.
“Even though we are called a pizza place, we have really good salads,” VanDyke said.
“We have what we call our M.B.A. program, Masters of Beer Appreciation, where you can earn rewards,” VanDyke said.
Those who enroll in the program can earn t-shirts, beer goblets and free pizza based on the amount of times they visit Brixx.
Brixx Wood Fired opened in Clarendon last month and is already seeing steady business. Call it a hidden gem: the Hudson Street location is a bit set back from Clarendon’s main drag. Look for it between the CVS and Nam-Viet restaurant.
Brixx is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.
The preceding was a sponsored profile written by Heather Mongilio for ARLnow.com.
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County and surrounding communities. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.
Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.
SK Bar Olympics
Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 5:30-10 p.m., games begin at 6:30 p.m.
Teams of two will compete in this fundraising event for the Arlington Free Clinic. Games include (Exam) Table Tennis, Pop-a-(flu)-Shot Basketball and Skee (the Doctor) Ball. The top five teams win prizes. Teams can sign up at the event for $20.
Arlington Turkey Trot 5K
Christ Church of Arlington (3020 N. Pershing Drive)
Time: 8 a.m.
The 10th annual Turkey Tro Thanksgiving Day 5K will raise money for five local charities. Residents are invited to run, walk or volunteer at the race. Online registration is closed, but participants can enter at the church this Tuesday (12-6 p.m.) or Wednesday (12-8 p.m.). Registration is free for children under 6, $20 for children 6 to 17, and $35 for adults.
Alonzo Bodden Live at the Arlington Drafthouse
2903 Columbia Pike
Time: 10 p.m.
“Last Comic Standing” winner Alonzo Bodden will be performing three shows this Friday and Saturday. Bodden is a regular on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and has appeared on several television shows. Tickets start at $22 and are available online.
The business voted Arlington’s “best gift shop” is participating in this year’s Shop Small Saturday movement. The celebration will have treats from Village Sweet bakery, free wrapping for gifts and a raffle to win a Covet gift card.
Strategy Gaming Night
Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Ave)
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Euro-game enthusiasts will gather on Sunday night for an evening of strategic gaming. Some of the board games at the event include Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Dominion. The game night is free and open to the public.
44th Annual Messiah Sing-Along
Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street)
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Organist and Choirmaster Dr. J. Reilly Lewis will lead a full orchestra, harpsichord, organ, soloists and the audience in singing Part One of Handel’s Messiah. A reception will follow. There is no admission charge, but a $20 donation is suggested.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) content
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.
Walking the dog is an integral part of the dog owners day, especially for those of us who don’t have a yard. And for many of us it has become a rote behavior, but walking your dog is an opportunity. It is quality one-on-one time that should not be wasted. Here are some ways to make the most of your daily dog walks:
1. Forget about the distance.
It doesn’t matter how far you walk. Unless you are jogging, walking is not good exercise for your dog. Your time is better spent exploring. Instead of a forced march, allow your dog to sniff to their hearts content. Your dog experiences their world primarily through scent, and a large portion of their brain is dedicated to deciphering scent. That means that sniffing is a full brain workout and can tire your dog out very effectively.
2. Train your dog.
Instead of giving your dog breakfast for free in a bowl, make them work for it. Carry their breakfast with you on the morning walk and ask for some simple behaviors like sits, downs and hand touches. As they get better and better, start asking for more advanced behaviors. Practice good manners with a neighborhood dog (sit before greeting). Whatever they don’t eat on the walk, they get afterwards.
3. Let the dog choose the route.
Ask them which way they want to go and be willing to follow their lead once in awhile. They will almost certainly be following their nose.
4. Pay attention to your dog’s body language.
What do they notice? Pay special attention to their ears and tail. Are they nervous? Scared? Excited? Do they want to keep walking or do they want to go home? Would they prefer a game of fetch in the field? Take the time to ask the dog what they want to do.
5. Maintain their socialization, aka introduce them to new things.
Socialization is the ability to adapt to new things, so taking your dog to new places and meeting new people can help them to maintain their socialization status. Are there opportunities to meet other dogs (with permission of course)? Can your dog jump on a big rock? Walk along a bench?
6. Hide some treats along the path.
It only takes a few minutes to place some milk bones under a bush for a simple game of nose work. As you dog gets better and better at finding them, increase the difficulty of the hide.
Have something else you have fun with on a walk? Let us know! The bottom line is to make your one-on-one time fun. As Thanksgiving approaches, show your pup how thankful you are to have them in your life by taking them on a super walk. The more time you spend having fun the better your relationship will be, and relationship is the foundation to better training.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Police say they were called to the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street around midnight Saturday night, for a report of a man standing in the roadway and acting erratically.
Upon arriving on scene, police saw 29-year-old Hector Segura in a flower bed, waving his arms in the air, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Segura was completely nude and sweating profusely despite the chilly temperatures, Sternbeck said.
According to police, Segura ran at the first responding officer and slammed his hands on the hood of his police cruiser, all while screaming incoherently. The officer used a Taser to subdue the man and called for backup to help take him in custody.
Medics responded and sedated Segura — who was under the influence of bath salts, according to a field toxicology test — to keep him from harming himself by continuing to writhe on the pavement, Sternbeck said. He was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for observation, where he continued to hallucinate and talk incoherently, according to Sternbeck.
Segura, a Mexican citizen, reportedly told police that he had traveled to the area for the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, which was being held in Crystal City. The conference focused in part on advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Segura was charged with disorderly conduct and held on a $10,000 bond. He remains in custody and his passport has been surrendered, said Sternbeck.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Around 5:45 a.m. Sunday, police responded to the 2900 block of S. Glebe Road for a report of an assault in progress. Upon arriving and exiting her vehicle, an officer confronted the suspect, who was in a car.
The suspect then drove toward the officer as if he was trying to hit her, but swerved at the last moment and struck two parked cars, before driving off, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Later Sunday night, police located the vehicle on S. Highland Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood — near the suspect’s parents’ house, Sternbeck said. Police closed in but the suspect was able to flee.
The Fairfax County Police helicopter and at least one K-9 unit were called in to search the area but as of this morning the suspect remained at large.
Based on various emails forwarded to ARLnow.com, the presence of the circling helicopter and police officers with guns drawn created a big buzz on Columbia Pike area listservs.
Springfield-based Express Homebuyers sent a letter to Arlington homeowners claiming they owed real estate taxes to the county. The letter then offers to buy the recipient’s home to help pay the tax debt.
The Treasurer’s Office released the following statement about the letter Monday afternoon:
“We have recently become aware that many Arlington County homeowners have received correspondence from Jud Allen of Express Homebuyers, falsely claiming that these owners owe real estate taxes and that the County may take their homes away from them due to delinquent taxes.
Please be assured that, unless you have heard directly from the Arlington County Treasurer, you do not owe delinquent real estate taxes and there is no risk of the County taking or selling your home.
If you have any questions about this letter, or would like to report having received this letter, please call us at (703) 228-3090.”
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.
With BushyTail Health, people with chronic illnesses will be able to wager money that they will be able to complete a personal goal in six months. Those who cannot accomplish the goal forfeit their money, but those who achieve their goal get their money back plus an extra bonus, said co-founder Dr. Jason Hoefling, an anesthesiologist at Georgetown University Hospital.
With chronic illnesses, people often don’t feel sick so they become less compliant, said co-founder and Arlington resident Dr. George Hwang, who’s also an anesthesiologist at Georgetown.
“It is hard to make people recognize that they are sick and scare tactics don’t work,” he said.
With BushyTail, the doctors are relying on financial incentives and motivation to encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles. The app is still in its design phase but the co-founders hope to release it early next year, Hwang said. BushyTail Health is a startup under the 1776 incubator program in Crystal City with backing from MedStar Health.
To use BushyTail, players will download the free app and set a personal goal. The app will connect them with other people who have similar goals or illnesses to create a game. A pot of money will be created from each of the participants’ wagers. If everyone completes their goal, they each walk away with the same amount of money they put in. If someone drops out or fails to achieve their goal, the remaining players will walk away with their money plus a cut of the leftover money.
Goals will be set so that they are attainable for each person and BushyTail will offer support and help, giving the participants a good chance of earning their money, Hoefling said.
“The entire experience is not designed to take money from people for the company,” he said.
The participants are given complete control over whether they complete a goal or not, such as losing weight or keeping their blood sugar level at good numbers, said
“This game is not gambling because you have all the control in the world,” Hoefling said.
Participants will be able to link the app to their lab results from lab services like Quest or LabCorp so that the data supporting their progress is objective and prevents a “fudge factor,” Hwang said.
“It is pretty unique that we’re using lab data, but its what separates from other apps,” he said.
The idea behind BushyTail is based on research, Hoefling said, adding that medical research suggests that the best way to change human behavior is through financial incentives and motivation.
“We encourage people to waiver an amount of money that will motivate them,” he said. “If it’s something that will hurt to lose, it’s more motivational.”
The doctors will be using the app to collect their own data on human behavior, looking to find information that can help physicians better treat people with chronic illnesses, Hoefling said.
“You’re obviously hoping to find what makes people better because it is so hard,” he said.