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RSVP Catering, one of the region’s premier catering services, is offering to simplify Thanksgiving dinner by delivering it to your door.

A total Turkey Day dinner, including everything from the turkey to the sides, is easy with online ordering. You have lots of options, including whether to confess to your guests that you prepared this awesome meal yourself.

RSVP Catering’s Thanksgiving 2021 program provides a choice of turkey methods — traditional herb roasted or Cajun-fried (and if you’ve never had the opportunity, you might want to take a chance) — in family style meals that can feed five or 10. The smaller option is $150 and the large meal is $280, and includes four delicious side dishes, homemade challah and sweet potato biscuits.

Sides include creamy mashed potatoes, sage and turkey sausage cornbread stuffing, crisp winter green bean salad, maple-sherry roasted carrots, cavatappi pasta and gruyere mac and cheese, grilled sweet potatoes, charred brussels, and fall harvest salad. Many of the options are gluten free, as are both turkey dishes.

Optional dessert offerings, which feed eight to 10 guests, brings to the table apple crisp cheesecake, bourbon pecan praline pie, marshmallow pumpkin pie and pear cranberry crisp.

The full RSVP Catering menu is available for home delivery ala carte.

Those who want RSVP Catering’s chefs to take care of Thanksgiving need to put their orders in by Monday, November 22. Browse the full Thanksgiving dinner details here.

Place your order online, email RSVP Catering at [email protected], or call 703-573-8700.

This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist. Enjoy!

Question: We are looking forward to buying a home in 2022. Do you have any recommendations on how we should start the home buying process?

Answer: Google “home buyer tips” or “what to know before buying a home” and you’ll find plenty of advice on the topic, so I’ll include some suggestions I don’t see on most of those lists and also put my own spin on others that you have heard before.

Weighted Criteria

It’s easy to come up with 3-5 things that are most important to you, but challenge yourself early to come up with a list of 12-15 things. Then give yourself 100 points and allocate points to each based on how important each item is to you and you’ll end up with a weighted criteria list to help you focus your search and objectively compare properties.

If you want to take it to the next level, bring your weighted criteria list with you on showings and score each house out of the total points allocated to it so each home you see is scored on a 100-point scale.

Length of Ownership

How long you expect to be in your home is one of the most important considerations in defining what you prioritize and how you use your budget. You should focus on the following:

  • Likely length of ownership
  • Difference in criteria for a 3-5 year house vs a 10-12+ year house
  • Difference in budget requirements for a 3-5 year house vs a 10-12+ year house

Appreciation is not guaranteed and difficult to predict, but the value of longer ownership periods is undisputed. One way longer ownership adds value is the potential for eliminating one or more real estate transactions, and the associated costs (fees, taxes, moving expenses, new furniture, etc) and stress that comes with moving, over the course of your lifetime.

If you have an opportunity to significantly increase your length of ownership by stretching your budget, it’s often justifiable. On the other hand, if your budget or future plans restrict you to housing that’s likely to be suitable for just 3-4 years (and buying now still makes sense), it’s generally better to stay under budget.

Influencers (not the Instagram ones)

Family, friends, colleagues… they’re all happy to offer opinions and contribute to your home buying process, but the input can be overwhelming and unproductive if you don’t set boundaries. Try to determine up-front who you want involved in the process and how you’d like them to be involved.

Think about how you’ve made other major decisions in life — what college to attend, what car to buy, where to get married, whether to change jobs — and if you’re the type of person who likes input from your friends and family, you’ll likely do the same when buying a house. Plan ahead with those influencers so their input is productive.

Does Your House Exist?

Before jumping too far into the search process, spend a little bit of time searching For Sale and Sold homes on your favorite real estate search website/app to see if the homes selling in the area you want and within 10% of your upper budget are at least close to what you’re looking for. If not, spend some time adjusting price, location and non-critical criteria to figure out what high-level compromises you’ll need to make and then compare those compromises to your current living situation and/or continuing to rent.

Know Your Market

We’re in a strong seller’s market for single-family and townhouses right now with low supply, high demand and increasing prices, but the condo market is more balanced.

Each sub-market behaves a bit differently and comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities, so take time early on to understand the sub-market(s) you’ll be involved in and what you’re likely to experience. This is something your agent should be able to assist with.

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Arlington County is negotiating a contract with a new medical care provider for the county jail — its most recent move in the wake of a series of inmate deaths.

The decision, announced yesterday (Monday), comes the same month that a man, who appears to be connected to the current provider, appeared in Arlington County General District Court on charges related to the police investigation into the in-custody death of Darryl Becton last year.

Also this month, a man named Clyde Spencer became the sixth reported in-custody death in six years.

The effort to find a new medical provider will cut short Arlington’s contract with Corizon Correctional Health, which was renewed last year through 2025. Corizon will continue to provide services until the new provider is slated to take over, on Monday, Nov. 15. Because the negotiations are ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, couldn’t reveal the name of the proposed new provider.

The county says it made the decision “after careful consideration” to ensure the medical safety of inmates.

“The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing the highest level of medical services to those in our custody and I take each individuals care very seriously,” Sheriff Beth Arthur said in a statement. “How we care for those remanded to our custody is a priority. We are committed to having a vendor that provides the level of medical service that reflects the high expectations of not only myself, but the Arlington community.”

Corizon was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

Corizon has been sued multiple times across the nation for inmate deaths allegedly connected to inadequate care. In Arlington, it appears that local officials are investigating whether the way Becton was cared for in jail played a role in his death. The state medical examiner’s office ruled his cause of death to be hypertensive cardiovascular disease — caused by sustained high blood pressure — complicated by opiate withdrawal.

Nearly one year after Becton’s death, the Commonwealth’s Attorney issued an arrest warrant for a man who was charged with falsifying a patient record, a misdemeanor.

Although the office couldn’t add further details about the man at the time, a D.C. resident by the same name lists his occupation as a licensed practical nurse and his employer as Corizon Health, according to a LinkedIn profile.

And if the man who was charged is indeed employed by Corizon, his case is the second in which a Corizon correctional nurse has been charged with a crime involving an inmate in Arlington.

Another nurse was charged in 2014 with misdemeanor sexual battery and found guilty in Arlington General District Court. In an appeal to the Circuit Court, the inmate and the nurse reached a deal that allowed the nurse to avoid a jail time, according to Maj. Susie Doyel, the then-spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The Arlington branch of the NAACP, which called for an independent investigation into Becton’s death last year, issued a statement after the news of the new medical provider was released.

“Although the Sheriff’s Office is seeking a new medical contractor, the issue remains that there have been six in-custody deaths in six years, as reported by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office,” President Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. said. “The Arlington Branch NAACP’s position remains firm in seeking justice for those who have died while in the custody of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.”

“Ultimately, the Arlington County Sheriff, the Command Staff, and Sheriff’s Office personnel are responsible for the health, care, and safety of the individuals in their custody,” Spain’s statement continued. “The Arlington Branch NAACP will continue to seek justice to find all who are responsible, complicit, and or negligent in the deaths of those in-custody and hold them accountable.”

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(Updated at noon) Today’s strong winds are likely to bring down lots of leaves across the area, but Arlington County is not set to start its vacuum leaf collection rounds for another two weeks.

The county’s first pass is scheduled to kick off on Monday, Nov. 8 and will likely run through late November. The second pass will likely run through Friday, Dec. 17, according to a new fall leaf collection brochure.

The county website has a full leaf collection schedule sorted by neighborhood, but has not yet been updated for 2021, a spokesman told ARLnow after initial publication of this article.

“The Solid Waste Bureau is still fine-tuning this year’s based on forecasts, temperatures and zones,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin.

Even then, the schedule is a bit fluid based on weather and other factors, the county’s website notes, adding that “you may see additional leaf vacuum trucks in your neighborhood between passes for clean up activities.”

Neighboring Falls Church, by comparison, is staring its leaf collection service this week, making 3-4 passes around city neighborhoods through early January.

The good news for Arlington is that with peak fall foliage delayed this year in the immediate D.C. area due to warmer-than-average weather, many trees still have plenty of green leaves. That should result in smaller curbside leaf piles before vacuum collection starts.

For residents those who have leaves that need to be collected now, and which don’t fit in the green organics bin, Arlington County started offering free paper leaf bags for the season as of Monday, Golkin said.

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Washington-Liberty H.S. Annual Holiday Bazaar is Back!

Join us Saturday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the covered parking decks next to Washington-Liberty High School, 1301 N. Stafford St., Arlington.

As always, we will have tons of vendors featuring jewelry, crafts, clothing and more,

Arlington and much of the D.C. region is under a Wind Advisory from noon until midnight today.

Gusty winds will whip up in the afternoon, becoming progressively stronger later in the day and evening, forecasters say. Gusts of up to 50 mph are expected.

Falling trees and tree branches will pose a danger during the wind event, and power outages are likely.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT EDT TONIGHT…

* WHAT…NORTHWEST WINDS 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH EXPECTED.

* WHERE…PORTIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, CENTRAL, NORTH CENTRAL, NORTHERN, SOUTHERN AND WESTERN MARYLAND, CENTRAL, NORTHERN, NORTHWEST AND WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EASTERN AND PANHANDLE WEST VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT EDT TONIGHT.

* IMPACTS…GUSTY WINDS COULD BLOW AROUND UNSECURED OBJECTS. TREE LIMBS COULD BE BLOWN DOWN AND A FEW POWER OUTAGES MAY RESULT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

USE EXTRA CAUTION WHEN DRIVING, ESPECIALLY IF OPERATING A HIGH PROFILE VEHICLE. SECURE OUTDOOR OBJECTS.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Rainy morning in Courthouse (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Candidate Questioned About Age — “Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who previously told news outlets that she is in her early 50s, appears to be two decades older, according to government records. When asked about the discrepancy, Clement, a perennial candidate who largely has self-funded her independent campaigns for local office, said that asking for her age amounted to discrimination and violated her right to privacy.” [Washington Post]

Road Closures for Biden Event — “On Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, President Joe Biden will attend a special event at Virginia Highlands Park, located at 1600 S. Hayes Street in Arlington. The event will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The public can anticipate large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event… All road closures are anticipated to be lifted by 10 p.m.” [ACPD]

DARPA Building Sold — “The home of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is under new ownership. An affiliate of Cleveland-based Boyd Watterson Asset Management has acquired the 13-story, 355,000-square-foot building at 675 N. Randolph St. in Ballston for $196.5 million, according to public records. An affiliate of the Shooshan Cos., which developed the building a decade ago, was the seller.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Name Change Celebration — “It’s now been 101 years, but that’s not going to stop the Arlington County government from celebrating the 100th anniversary of its current name. County officials expect to hold a celebration of the switch from ‘Alexandria County’ to ‘Arlington County’ on Friday, Nov. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lubber Run Community Center.” [Sun Gazette]

Marymount to Promote ‘Racial Healing’ — “In the latest example of Marymount University’s commitment to raising awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion issues, the institution has been selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to host a new Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center.” [Marymount University]

County Seeking Design Award Nominees — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is accepting submissions for great design in architectural, historic preservation, landscape and public art projects through December 6, 2021.” [Arlington County]

It’s Tuesday — It’s going to be a windy day. A slight chance of showers between 8am and noon today. Partly sunny, with a high near 65 and a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 18 to 23 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph into the evening hours. Sunrise at 7:29 a.m. and sunset at 6:14 p.m. Tomorrow it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 68 and more gusty winds.

Get the Morning Notes four hours early on most days (and get text alerts for urgent stories) by joining the ARLnow Press Club

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Flash Flood Watch and radar as of 6 p.m. (via NWS)

Update at 10:15 p.m. — Arlington is under a Flood Warning as heavy rain continues to fall. Some flooding is being reported in parts of the area, including along I-66 in Arlington.

Earlier: A rainy night, and possible flooding, is on tap after a line of storms packing gusty winds and downpours blew through Arlington during the evening commute.

More rain is expected to fall on already-saturated ground tonight, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Flash Flood Watch.

More from NWS:

URGENT – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
550 PM EDT MON OCT 25 2021

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 AM EDT TUESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF DC, MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS: IN DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN MARYLAND, ANNE ARUNDEL, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST HOWARD, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST MONTGOMERY, PRINCE GEORGES AND SOUTHERN BALTIMORE. IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA AND FAIRFAX.

* UNTIL 2 AM EDT TUESDAY.

* SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAIN THROUGH THIS EVENING, WITH LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OF UP TO 4 INCHES POSSIBLE. HEAVY RAIN IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME MAY RESULT IN RAPID RISES OF WATER ON SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS AND IN URBAN AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.

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Arlington County could use federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to take a swing at making the “Arlington Way” work for more residents.

From what a development project should look like to where protected bike lanes could go, Arlington often invites residents to have a say in policy-making, a local community engagement philosophy known as the “Arlington Way.”

Although it’s a point of pride for the county, officials and staff have acknowledged that these pathways privilege those with the time, resources and connections to invest in discussions about projects, studies and policies — typically older, more affluent residents.

Left out of important county conversations, then, is Arlington’s growing population of renters, parents of young kids, people who work non-traditional hours, people without access to reliable and affordable transportation, and those who are not fluent English speakers.

This is not just a topic Arlington is grappling with. Over in Richmond, the city gave out small stipends to people who participated in updating its citywide master plan. And nationally, compensation has emerged as a “best practice” to “ensure lived experience and community expertise are fairly compensated and publicly recognized,” according to the Urban Institute.

So now, the county is proposing to allocate $50,000 during this fiscal year for a pilot program exploring different ways to make it easier for underrepresented community members to participate in engagement processes through compensation. It would apply to one-time meetings for issues as they arise as well as the longer-term time commitment of an ongoing advisory commission.

“Improving engagement with, and representation in civic structures by, historically underserved communities is a key priority nationally and for Arlington County,” according to a county ARPA spending plan. “Recent Dialogues on Race and Equity surfaced community perspectives that Arlington’s structures for decisions and public input are narrow, advantage dominant perspectives and do not offer access or representation for communities of color to County government leadership.”

Compensation could look like gift cards, childcare and meals, or waived transportation costs. As part of the pilot, the county will collect data on whether these practices increase the diversity of those who participate in government processes.

Championing this cause is Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol, who told ARLnow earlier this month that there would soon be news about how the county aims to tackle the “Arlington Way.”

“From my perspective, this $50k in ARPA funding is important because it will help catalyze complicated, government-wide conversations about how to reduce barriers for underrepresented Arlingtonians to participate in public processes,” she said. “One of our most challenging issues is the question of how to value time spent, and address obstacles to participation, in our standing advisory bodies.”

She commended the county’s Communications and Public Engagement team for doing “some very exciting work engaging residents in more ad-hoc opportunities,” such as when the county went out to the Lubber Run Community Center to ask kids to sketch out what they’d like to see from a recreation facility.

“But we also do still derive a lot of value from groups, like Commissions, that advise the County over time and can serve as ‘laboratories’ for new ideas; and it’s clearly a lot harder to engage in that kind of ongoing commitment if childcare, transportation, opportunity costs of shift work, etc. are obstacles for you,” she said.

Previously, she said, this has been tested out in Arlington with private funding. When Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing hosted planning meetings about the future of Columbia Pike, it organized multi-lingual sessions with dinner and childcare provided with funding from an outside grant, she said.

Eventually, the county aims to turn the results of the pilot into “common policies that can be implemented across County departments and projects,” according to the funding plan.

When asked who will oversee the pilot program and when it could be rolled out, as well as who would monitor the money to ensure it gets to the right people and so that it isn’t used to engineer who participates, a county spokeswoman said answers will come when the pilot program kicks off.

“That will all be developed in an implementation plan if/when approved by the county board,” she said.

County Board members are expected to vote on the allocation plan when they meet in November.

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