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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — June 21, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

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.

According to our local go-to MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems), home sale prices in the DC area just hit an all-time high. The median sales price is now at $460,000, up 7 percent (or $30,000) compared to last year.

Additionally, 5,620 homes closed in May 2017, up 3.5 percent compared to May 2016. The median days on market is hovering right around 10 days.

So, what does all of this mean for you, the buyer? It means our market is hot and homes are going fast. Sure, things are generally more expensive than last year, but that’s been the trend for some years now.

Regardless of the stats and facts, I’m here to help you GET MORE out of your home search and, ultimately, your transaction. There are still bargains to be found out there – when you’re ready to find them, my team and I are here for you!

As of June 19 there are 243 detached homes, 70 townhouses and 273 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 39 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 Brooke Giles — June 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management will host its new HERricane camp at Washington-Lee High School next week, with the goal of inspiring “the next generation of firefighters, meteorologists, epidemiologists and county managers.”

Lauren Stienstra, senior manager at OEM, said she was inspired to hold a camp after she and a co-worker had a hard time naming women in emergency management for Women’s History Month. Young women in particular often account for only a small percentage of emergency management professionals.

“We started to think about a summer camp to be a way to bridge the gap, to help girls to consider fields in emergency management and allied fields,” said Stienstra.

The week-long camp from June 26-30 will give participants hands-on training with firefighting equipment and CPR. Other activities include preparing meals from emergency kits and a scavenger hunt. Registration is closed, with the camp filling up after just two weeks.

In addition to the exercises at camp, the young women involved will be able to find long term professional development opportunities. Guest instructors from the Red Cross, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Urban Alliance and the Arlington chapter of Awesome Women Entrepreneurs will all participate.

Stienstra said it makes sense for such a camp to take place in Arlington, as the county was the first to have a woman work as a professional firefighter in the 1970s.

“[Arlington County] was on the front line of integrating gender equality for that field,” Stienstra said.

by Kalina Newman — June 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A new study has found that nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Arlington have nearly doubled their impact on county coffers in the last five years.

The national study, “Arts and Economic Prosperity 5” by Americans for the Arts, found that nonprofit arts generate $189.2 million each year in Arlington and supports more than 5,000 full-time jobs. It also generates $13.9 million in tax revenues each year for state and local governments, the study found.

Of that, Arlington County receives approximately $7.5 million a year, up from $3.9 million in tax revenue recorded five years ago, when the last study was completed.

“Arlington has a vibrant arts ecosystem of 127 nonprofit arts and culture organizations that range from amateur theater to WETA, which is one of the largest producers of content for PBS, which is also headquartered in Arlington,” Michelle Isabelle-Stark, director of Arlington Cultural Affairs, said in a statement. “These numbers reflect the breadth and impact of that ecosystem.”

The study documented the economic contributions of the arts in 341 counties and regions across the country, including Arlington County. Only nonprofit organizations were studied, so calculations from for-profit organizations such as movie theaters or commercial concert venues were not included.

Some other notable local statistics from the study:

  • Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations provide 5,156 full-time jobs in Arlington
  • $118.6 million dollars of household income is produced annually
  • $170 million is spent annually to keep the organizations running
  • Audience members spend over $18 million each year on amenities such as lodging, child care, meals and transportation

“Not only do these non-profit organizations entertain residents with stellar performances, cultural events and heritage festivals, but they also generate $7.512 million in revenue for the county government,” said Janet Kopenhaver, chair of advocacy group Embracing Arlington Arts. “This translates into an economic powerhouse industry for our county and its residents.”

There are over 50 locally-focused art groups in Arlington County along with hundreds of independent visual artists, whose genres range from performing to media arts. In combination with heritage groups the represent countries such as Vietnam and Bolivia, over 4,000 programs are conducted annually that reach almost 600,000 people, according to the county.

by Katherine Berko — June 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A local teen is trying to make a difference by lobbying for safety improvements to a crash-prone intersection.

At 13 years old, Williamsburg Middle School student Andy Nogas is too young to vote, but not too young to email the Arlington County Board and ask for members’ help.

He emailed them a few weeks ago to request a stoplight be placed at the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Little Falls Road in the Rock Spring neighborhood.

“I have seen more than 15 crashes and many near misses [at this intersection and] I am writing to ask you to do something about this,” Nogas wrote.

Nogas said in an interview he has seen everything from serious crashes to fender-benders at the intersection, and he and his family have almost been involved in multiple accidents there themselves. Last year, as Nogas was coming home from an after-school event, he witnessed a particularly brutal crash.

“The car was upside-down and all the windows were shattered open,” Nogas said. “I saw the flipped car and a couple of ambulances.”

After this experience, Nogas knew he needed to do something. He spoke to his parents and told them he wanted to contact somebody about the intersection. After they gave him an explanation of how local government works, he decided his best bet was to contact the County Board.

“He was off to the races,” said Holly Scott, Nogas’ mother. “He was very excited to be able to send a message to the county about an issue that’s important to him, his friends and some of our other friends who live in the community.”

“Here is a possible solution that I hope you could look into: a stoplight,” Nogas wrote. “There are many ways you could program it, such as time it with the stoplight at Williamsburg Blvd and Old Dominion Drive, use it only during rush hour and use flashing lights at other times or use it like the stoplight at Yorktown Blvd and Little Falls Road. When one car approaches, the light will change. I hope you will please consider this option to improve safety on our roads.”

A reply from the Board promised they would assign staff to study the intersection.

Nogas said he was happy with the response and hopes the Board will take action, as the intersection is not far from Williamsburg Middle School.

“There are a lot of kids near there. They go to the same middle school as me and I know they have to cross [that intersection],” Nogas said.

Nogas’ mother said she has never reached out to the county herself, so she is particularly impressed by her son’s actions.

“I’m very proud,” she said. “I’m pleasantly surprised at the traction that his letter has gained… it’s definitely been very heartwarming and it certainly is encouraging him to think about what other things he can do to be helpful in his community.”

And while one would think Nogas aspires to work in the government or in law, he actually wants to be an artist. He just happens to care about the safety of those around him.

Map (top) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A man was stabbed in Jennie Dean Park near Shirlington this afternoon.

The stabbing was first reported just before 2 p.m. Tuesday at the park on the 3600 block of 27th Street S. That’s near Shirlington and the PBS NewsHour/WETA studios.

A man was stabbed in the arm and reportedly bled heavily before medics arrived. He was taken via ambulance to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The attacker was said to be an acquaintance of the victim. He fled on a mountain bike, according to scanner traffic, and remains at large.

Arlington County park rangers and Virginia State Police assisted Arlington County police on the call.

by Kalina Newman — June 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The Alzheimer’s Association of the National Capital Area will partner with several Clarendon businesses tomorrow (Wednesday) to raise money for those suffering with Alzheimer’s.

Known as Clarendon Cares, participating businesses will offer special deals for the occasion and a portion of their proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. The fundraiser coincides with the association’s “Longest Day” event, which encourages people to give on the summer solstice.

Anyone who can’t make it to any of the participating businesses Wednesday can donate online to help the Alzheimer’s Association reach its goal of raising $5,000.

And those posting on social media that day are encouraged to use the hashtag #ClarendonCares.

Local businesses participating are:

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — June 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

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: I just finished the home inspection for a single-family home I’m purchasing in South Arlington and there are about 40 items on it. Should I be nervous and consider walking away from the deal? What’s reasonable to expect from the seller?

Answer: Before you freak out about the list of issues the inspector found, I will say that for an older single family home, the number of items the inspector listed in the report is within the normal range of what I see. Unless you’re buying a new home, you should expect the inspection to turn up at least a handful of items that you or the seller should address.

What Is A Home Inspection?

Shortly after ratifying (signed by both parties) a contract to purchase a home, most buyers will (read: should) hire a third party inspector to inspect the entire home and produce a report of any issues, from foundation cracks to missing door stops.

In most cases, the contract to purchase is contingent on the home inspection, meaning the buyer has the right to ask the seller to fix or replace anything and/or provide a cash credit to the buyer at closing. If the buyer and seller are unable to come to an agreement on these requests, the buyer has the right to void the deal.

What Should You Look For?

The goal of an inspection is to ensure that the seller is delivering the property in the condition both sides expected while negotiating the sale price. Generally, you can divide findings into big-ticket items that impact the value of the home and must be addressed and smaller punch-list items that shouldn’t cause much friction. The big-ticket items I look for during an inspection are:

  • Structural flaws
  • Water penetration
  • Safety hazards
  • Inoperability (e.g. air conditioning not working)

System Life Expectancy

You should also determine the age of major systems like the roof, windows, HVAC and water heater prior to making your offer, and verify these are accurate during the inspection. Make sure you’re clear on the expected life expectancy of these systems while you’re negotiating the sales price and factor this information into your offer.

You’ll have a tough time convincing most sellers they’re on the hook for crediting you the cost of a 17-year-old water heater if that information was made available prior to your offer, assuming the system is working.

What Should You Ask For?

As I mentioned earlier, you’ll generally be deciding between asking the seller to handle the fix or replacement of something or asking for them to provide a credit at closing. Often times an inspection agreement includes both – a credit for some items and a request to fix/replace others. Sellers must use licensed contractors and provide works receipts for any work they do.

In general, if something you’re asking for involves personal preference or you want to have control over the quality of the result, it’s best to ask for a credit and handle it yourself. For example, if the deck is falling apart and needs to be replaced, you don’t want the seller managing the design and construction of a new deck so ask for a credit for the replacement cost and make sure you’re getting the deck you want.

Additionally, if the A/C system needs to be replaced and the seller has a mid-grade system, but you’d like to install a top-of-the-line A/C system, it’s best to request a credit equal to the replacement cost for a comparable mid-grade system and invest in the extra cost of a nicer system yourself.

Inspections Don’t Need To Be Contentious

Inspections are one of the most common points of contention between buyers and sellers, but with the right preparation and expectations going in, it can be a smooth process that both sides are happy with.

Like the negotiations you had on the sale contract, the inspection period is also a negotiation. Buyers should expect sellers to address big-ticket items and smaller items that are not classified as improvements/updates.

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 — June 20, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint at an as-yet undisclosed location in the county.

The checkpoint is being conducted with the support of a federal anti-drunk driving campaign.

The last announced DUI checkpoint in Arlington happened this past September.

More from an ACPD press release:

On Friday, June 23, 2017, the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint. This enforcement effort is in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National campaign to combat drunk driving by combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers. Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

by Chris Teale — June 20, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

For the time being at least, A-Town Bar & Grill in Ballston appears to have turned over a new leaf after a troubled few months.

The bar had been ordered to have its permit for live entertainment and dancing reviewed by the Arlington County Board three months after its last review in March. That review took place days after a brawl nearby that ended with police officers tasing two suspects, including one dressed in a Pikachu onesie.

But a staff report on A-Town’s progress since then — presented to the Board on Saturday — noted no code, fire or ABC violations, and only eight calls to the police.

Of those eight calls, the report said, the only time an arrest was made was for an “intoxicated subject acting ‘confused,'” which was called in by a staff member on Friday, March 24 around 2:30 p.m. The other seven police calls, including one on Sunday, April 23 at 7:49 p.m. when someone asked where they could buy drugs, did not result in violations.

Since March’s brawl, part of what neighbors said was a litany of incidents in previous years and a strained relationship with the County Board and staff, A-Town and county officials have hosted a series of meetings with those nearby.

The police and Fire Marshal’s Office held a meeting with A-Town’s owners on March 28 to discuss training for preventing incidents like noise disturbances, over-serving customers and assaults. County staff also contacted the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, as well as representatives of the Altavista and Berkeley Condominiums as part of this review.

“The president of the BVSCA noted that they have continued to have productive discussion with the A-Town owners, and reported no issues from other members of the BVSCA,” the report reads. “A representative of the Altavista credited the A-Town owners for a recent change in management that has resulted in patron behavior that was described as ‘much more restrained’ and ‘civil’ than in the ‘last many years.'”

The Board accepted the findings of the review as part of its consent agenda items, with no further comment from the public or members. A-Town’s next review will be before the Board in December.

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

ACPD Releases New Video of Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police have released new video of the man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in her Rosslyn condo last month. Police are still seeking more information about the suspect. [Twitter, YouTube]

Big Brother Contestant Is From Arlington — One of the contestants on the upcoming season of CBS’ Big Brother is Matthew Clines, a 33-year-old renovation consultant from Arlington. The show premieres on Wednesday, June 28. [CBS, Hollywood Reporter]

Nam-Viet Closing in D.C. — The Cleveland Park outpost of Arlington’s Nam-Viet restaurant is closing, citing “competition to remain significant and relevant in this fast-paced D.C. restaurant market.” There have been a number of restaurant closings in the neighborhood as of late. [PoPville]

New Cafe in Takoma Park Draws Arlington Talent — A new coffee, beer, wine and cocktail spot called Takoma Beverage Co. has opened in Takoma Park, Md. The cafe features a bevy of Arlington restaurant vets, including alums of Northside Social and the former Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. Helping to fund the venture is Mothersauce Partners, the restaurant investment firm and consultancy founded by Nick Freshman of Spider Kelly’s. [Eater]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by Buzz McClain — June 20, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Managing a home improvement project, no matter what size, is a daunting prospect. You may have a vivid idea of how you want the rec room to look when it’s finished, but you have little to no idea of the labor, materials, equipment and time it’s going to take to complete the job to match your vision.

But the folks behind Step Up Services Inc. do. Northern Virginia-based Step Up Services is the rare project consultancy for everyday homeowners dedicated to taking the headaches out of your home improvement project.

Step Up Services is not a design-build company. They don’t have a vested interest in the cost of the project. They’re not “up-selling” you to add square footage or more expensive fixtures. That’s the “normal” way of doing business.

Step Up Services is disrupting that routine by providing third-party peace of mind.

No matter what the estimated cost of your home improvement project is, Step Up Services will charge you a flat fee — based on the level of consultancy you choose — to look at all the elements of your project and provided educated, experienced and unbiased answers to your questions, options and choices.

Remodeling a basement? Sounds like a job a contractor can knock out pretty quickly with minimum difficulty right? Before you sign on the dotted line for that $30,000 to $50,000 estimate — or up to $50,000 on a kitchen — spend $250 with Step Up Services to double-check the deal, including showing you how to avoid a contractor disaster by doing a thorough background check.

Do you have lingering questions about committing to spend thousands on that long-awaited second-floor pop up? Rest assured after a $250 project consultation with the pros at Step Up Design that you did the right thing and that the finished project will be exactly what you are paying for.

It’s best to consult with Step Up Services before speaking to an architect or contractor.

The answers you get from Step Up Services will catch expensive problems before they arise.

But if you already have a proposal in hand, Step Up Services can review the contracts and provide advice and guidance during the construction.

Arranging an appointment with Step Up Services is fast and easy through the website.

And if you don’t like the answers Step Up Services provides, they’ll offer a refund. Not many others in the home improvement supply chain can say that.

Step Up Services Inc. can be reached at [email protected] or 443-797-7050. The website is here: stepupservicesinc.com/services.

Sponsored business profile written by Buzz McClain.

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

Update at 7:50 p.m. — The number of outages in Arlington is down to 200, according to Dominion.

Earlier: More than 5,500 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington following this afternoon’s storms, mostly in and around the Clarendon area.

The Clarendon outage extends from Wilson Blvd down to N. Bedford Street in Lyon Park, near Route 50. Numerous businesses in the area are without power and the busy intersection of Washington Blvd and 10th Street N.

As of 4:50 p.m. Dominion was reporting 5,542 outages in Arlington, with some smaller outages scattered throughout the county. There have also been reports of trees and utility wires down in the roadway in various locations, and at least one tree that fell and damaged a house.

The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers to treat dark traffic signals as a four-way stop.

Power outage map (top) via Dominion. Weather radar via weather.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — June 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Berry & Berry column banner

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

By John V. Berry

Many of our clients who are federal employees have been facing difficulties as a result of the hiring freeze enacted by President Donald Trump in January. While the initial hiring freeze has been rescinded in part, there are many restrictions still in place.

These restrictions have affected our federal employment practice since we often argue for or resolve cases involving changes, transfers, desk audits and promotions. This article covers the latest on the federal employee hiring freeze and where it presently stands.

Background

The federal hiring freeze began on January 23, shortly after the inauguration of the President, and covered most hiring actions for federal employees. This had the unfortunate result of causing many federal employees to take on additional jobs that were previously handled by other employees who had left but with no increase in compensation.

In many federal agencies, it appears that federal employees are unable to perform their basic work functions given the lack of staffing. The ban was eventually lifted, for the most part, on April 12. Additionally, there has also been a lack of staffing at the appointee levels as the current administration has only appointed one-third of the amount of appointees that the previous administration had in place at the same point in time.

Where We Are Now

While the original federal hiring freeze has been lifted for most agencies, some individual agencies have decided to leave the ban in place in order to reduce their number of employees. The somewhat understated goal is to reduce the size of the federal workplace.

For example, despite the lifting of the ban, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of State currently still have varying restrictions on hiring new personnel as of right now. Other agencies have not openly continued the hiring freeze but have only been hiring on a limited basis.

In addition, since the lifting of the initial freeze, guidance has been issued intending to restrict hiring of federal employees. Other agencies, like the Department of Defense that lifted the hiring freeze, issued requirements that hiring officials comply with the intent of the Office of Management and Budget’s memorandum of April 12, which focuses on reducing the numbers of employees for agencies.

In getting back to normal following the freeze, there has also been a significant backlog of background and clearance investigations from dozens of federal departments that need employees. This will slow down the on-boarding process for these employees.

We suspect that hiring will eventually increase and the policies will be liberalized somewhat, because even agencies looking to reduce their size and scope have to perform basic functions.

We have run across a number of federal supervisors and other employees who have become overburdened to the point that they may leave federal government altogether because they have no assistance and are performing multiple jobs.  This will eventually lead to increased hiring.

It will also likely take a year in order for the federal government to get back to where it was in staffing and productivity before the change in administrations and the enactment of the hiring freeze.

If you need assistance with a federal employment issue, 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 ARLnow.com — June 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

A customer of Amazon.com acquisition target Whole Foods had a special delivery for cars parked outside its Clarendon location Friday morning: wine bottles and loose change.

Police were called to the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd around 7 a.m. Friday for a report of someone throwing objects out of a second floor window. When the arrived they allegedly found a 21-year-old Arlington man who was drunk and tossing wine bottles and change at a car below.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-06160070, 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 7:09 a.m. on June 16, officers responded to the report of an individual throwing objects. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject was throwing objects at an occupied vehicle from an upstairs window. No one was injured. Marvin Sosa Velasquez, 21, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with missile into occupied vehicle and drunk in public. He is being held without bond.

by Chris Teale — June 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

Update at 3:20 p.m. — Arlington is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 4 p.m.

Earlier: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Arlington County, effective until 8 p.m.

NWS advises that the storms may bring scattered hail up to the size of ping pong balls, high winds up to 70 mph and frequent lightning.

The watch has been issued across an area including the entire D.C. metropolitan area as well as parts of West Virginia and North Carolina.

A flash flood watch is also in effect, warning of 1-2 inches or more of rain this evening.

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