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Small Biz Focus: Looking Beyond Amazon… The New Way Forward

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Victor Hoskins, Director at AED. 

It has been two months since Amazon announced its plan to bring its major new headquarters to Arlington.

In that time we have been busily planning and answering Arlingtonians’ many questions about the project. However, here at Arlington Economic Development, we are already looking ahead.

What’s next for Arlington’s economic landscape?

The Amazon effect, as it is being called, has been a game-changer for Arlington’s business community. Not only does Amazon’s decision really cement Arlington as a technology leader on the East Coast, the revenue generated from this company in the coming years will go a long way toward restoring stability to Arlington’s office environment, which has suffered from years of high vacancies.

Amazon will gradually reduce the eight million square feet that currently stands vacant in Arlington. Each one percent of vacant office space that we fill yields $3.4 million annually in new local tax revenues– revenues that help to provide resources and amenities valued by our community.

In a time when we all have faced difficult decisions regarding the County budget, this needed revenue comes at the perfect time.

But by no means is this a time to sit on our laurels. It just changes the conversation a little. In addition to putting a dent in Arlington’s office vacancy rate, what Amazon has truly done is put us on the map as a desired location to do business. That is where the real work begins.

The AED team is always working to find the next innovative company that is considering making Arlington its home. We are focusing on diversifying our economic base. We have come a long way in the last four years, but there is still work to be done to ensure Arlington’s place as a leader in the innovation economy.

The Amazon deal did something else that will also help to propel us into the future. That deal set truly unprecedented levels of partnership between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure success, and that partnership around the region is something we only see growing. It is truly a regional economy now, and we need to think that way moving forward.

I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership as well as the counties throughout Northern Virginia. In addition, D.C. and Maryland Counties across the river are colleagues I have come to value not just as coworkers, but also as friends.

We have all discovered that by working together, the entire region benefits, and I believe that is the true Way Forward formula that will bring economic success to Arlington.

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Legal Insider: Top Reasons for Clearance Denial in 2018

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.

We represent security clearance holders and applicants so every few years, we look back on the trends of what security concerns most often lead to the loss (or potential loss) of a security clearance. This year we thought we would do the same. Overall, not much has changed.

2018 Grounds for Loss of Security Clearance

There are 13 security concerns that can lead to the loss of a security clearance, which is listed in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4). These concerns range from foreign influence to financial issues and numerous other issues in between. A review of publicly available security clearance cases was conducted by Marko Hakamaa of ClearanceJobs.com, which provided the breakdown of issues that resulted in initial security clearance denials.

Financial Issues Remain the Number 1 Concern

From the report, it is fairly clear that the number 1 issue of concern for security clearance holders remains Financial Considerations under Guideline F. While this Guideline can cover many areas related to financial responsibility, we see that it most often comes up in the context of a credit report which shows major unresolved debts or when an individual’s tax payments or filings are not timely.

Often for major debts the government is concerned that this could leave an individual subject to potential coercion. For issues related to taxes, the issue is the non-compliance of the individual with tax laws.

General Misconduct Comes in Second

The second most significant security concern from this report shows that Guideline E, Personal Conduct is the next most common clearance issue. Guideline E is a general security concern which can practically cover any type of bad conduct. Most typically, however, it often comes up in the context of illegal drug use, an arrest, a record of bad employment or lying on security clearance forms.

Foreign Influence is Ranked Third

The third most common basis for losing a security clearance was foreign influence, under Guideline B. This issue most commonly comes up when an individual with a security clearance (or who is seeking one) has relatives or property in another country.

The major concern of the government is that an individual may have relatives in another country that work for that government or who could be used as pawns to gather information from the clearance holder or applicant. The United States also treats clearance holders and seekers whose relatives are from allied countries (e.g., the United Kingdom, France, etc.) much better than those from less cooperative countries, like China or Russia.

The rest of the 2018 breakdown of security concerns is included in this report. We represent individuals with these types of security clearance appeals and there are often mitigating factors which can result in a favorable adjudication of these types of security clearance issues. The key is to involve counsel experienced in this area of law as soon as possible.

Conclusion

If you are in need of security clearance advice or representation, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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WWBG: Living Up To The Hype

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by David Birks, General Manager and buyer of Downton Crown Wine and Beer.

It was only a year ago that esteemed homebrewers Scott Janish and Mike Tonsmeire signed a lease on a building in Columbia, Md. That space now holds the production brewery and tap room for one of the hottest breweries in our area, Sapwood Cellars.

Mike is the author of “American Sour Beers”, a widely respected book on mixed fermentation beers. He also was an original recipe writer and flavor developer for Modern Times Beer in San Diego, Ca.

Scott gained fame through a blog primarily focused on the science of how hops are used in the brewing process. He has carried out various cutting edge experiments on the components of hops, and how they can be best utilized within the brewing process.

Together they have immersed themselves into a philosophy of making world-class beers through the understanding of processes, techniques and ingredients. Rarely is this seen in the brewing industry, and almost never in a brewery in its infancy.

Open now for less than 6 months, the general consensus seems to be (and we agree) that their beer is of the highest quality. They are definitely living up to, if not exceeding their pre-opening hype.

I would call these guys beer scientists. It’s one thing to throw a ton of various hops into a hazy IPA, jack up the ABV to mask flaws, put out a super hoppy hazy beer and watch it fly out the door. We find that way too often. But what sets the best of the best apart from the rest? I believe (although I am no brewer) that it all comes from a complex understanding of process and ingredients, paired with the knowledge of how those two key aspects work together.

This understanding is what can create truly wonderful beer. That work was on display when Sapwood released a Double IPA named ‘Snip Snap’. A wonderful beer, clocking in at 7.9% ABV, hopped generously with Citra and Galaxy hops.

We had our first taste during the Montgomery County, Md introduction event of Sapwood at our sister store Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Md. That weekend ‘Snip Snap’ became the beer of choice amongst our customers and with those visiting the brewery.

Word spread in a viral fashion on all of the local beer forums, and in the coming days, the hype and demand for Sapwood just seemed to grow and grow!

One exciting thing to look forward to is all of the beer they currently have aging in a variety of barrels. With Mike’s knowledge of mixed fermentation (wild yeast, bacteria and microflora), the future looks bright for those that enjoy complex, barrel-aged wild ales. They are also aging a variety of non-wild ales in various spirt and wine barrels.

If you are interested in trying the work of Sapwood Cellars, head over the bridge to their brewery in Columbia, Md. Kegs rarely leave the brewery, but this weekend they’re introducing ‘Concentric Rings’ (a brand new 8.1% all Citra hopped Double IPA) and ‘Threat Level Pistachio’ (a variant of their 7.4% ABV Stout with the addition of dry roasted pistachios).

A second batch of ‘Snip Snap’ is on the horizon for those that missed out the first time around.

Cheers to Sapwood, a great addition to the local brewing scene within the DMV! Learn more about Sapwood Cellars and the guys behind the brewery here:

Sapwood is located off of Route 108 in Columbia, Maryland. Right up Route 29 or I-95. Easy Drive from Arlington, D.C. or the rest of Virginia.

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Healthy Paws: New Years Resolutions — Pet Edition

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

It’s January and the time for new year resolutions. While you may have a few on your own list, have you thought about resolutions for your pet? Here we have a few ideas that you could aim to work into your 2019 routine, if you aren’t already doing so:

Tooth Brushing

Whether you have a cat or dog, setting a goal to brush their teeth on a regular basis will certainly pay off in 2019. How regular? The Veterinary Oral Health Council recommends daily brushing to disrupt the cycle of plaque mineralizing to hard tartar.

At minimum, brushing every other day is needed to make an impact in reducing tartar accumulation. New habits can be a bit scary for pets, so aim for only a few seconds of brushing at a time, then slowly work up to the whole mouth.

Focus on the outside of the teeth, that’s where all the tartar builds up, 60 seconds to clean should be enough to get the whole mouth.

Home Nail Trims

Keeping your cat or dog’s nails short can have many benefits. It can reduce damage in your home from scratching behavior, prevent in-grown or torn nails and save yourself the cost of grooming appointments.

New to trimming your pet’s nails or found them difficult in the past? There are several great online resources for how to slowly train your pet to enjoy nail trims via positive reinforcement training. Here are some nail trimming resources:

Exercise

You might be trying to hit the gym more often in 2019, but have you thought about your pet’s exercise too? Regular activity is important for your pet’s overall wellness.

Benefits include weight management, maintaining muscle mass, decreased stress and anxiety and cardiovascular health. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day — walking, running, swimming, training or play — but more is good too!

Training and Enrichment

Is 2019 the year you master a new hobby? Well, similar to how new activities make your life more exciting, they do the same for our pets.

Try starting with the basics — sit, stay, come, and leash manners — then progress to more advanced tricks. Positive reinforcement and consistency is key. Clicker training can also be a great tool for pet learning.

You would be amazed how much progress you can make with 5 minutes a day, plus you get the added bonus of creating a stronger bond with your pet. Don’t forget about your kitties either, they can learn tricks just like dogs.

Additional Resources:

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Small Biz Focus: 2019 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

What New Year’s resolutions are on your list this year?

Today marks the 9th day of the New Year. Have you stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions for your business? Or are you still working on what you’d like to do for the year?

Planning and executing a strategy at the start of the New Year is a great way to ensure you accomplish your business goals in 2019.

BizLaunch is offering two new workshops this month which can help you to achieve your goals in 2019. Our first event is “Branding Your Biz 2019: Best Practices for Startups,” and the next is our highly popular — quarterly Brunch and Business on, “Raising Capital in 2019.” Marketing and financing are two topics in demand at BizLaunch in 2019.

If your goals are in these two areas we have fast tips for you to think about below:

Quick Tips on Branding in 2019

  • Consistent Use of Your Brand on all Platforms

As a business, develop a clear branding plan for 2019. Implement consistent, almost predictable activities on all online and offline platforms (Think GEICO… all their ads have the same look and feel whether on TV, radio or in print).

Your clients, colleagues and associates should be able to clearly identify your business via marketing initiatives regarding your products or if you are sponsoring an event. Use the same “voice,” of your business even if someone else is producing your materials.

  • Be Seen

If no one sees your business at leading industry events — you do not exist in the marketplace. Identify and attend events, conferences and networking programs where it is both logical and beneficial for your organization to participate.

While being seen at events, do ensure your business cards, promotional and marketing materials are up-to-date with the latest branding. Sponsor events and activities where you can quantify your return on investment.

  • Know Your Customers

What do your customers like and dislike? Which platforms are your clients on? Ask your clients for referrals and build your brand around customer loyalty. Don’t try to please more than your direct target market. It can be costly and too much work. Produce high value to a well-defined audience.

  • Repetition is Healthy

The more you are seen with your brand — the more people equate you with the success of the brand. Repetition and being known in an industry are key tools to a healthy brand. It takes a minimum of 6-8 touches before the brand is recognized by a target market. Therefore, it is important every time a potential client sees your brand your business is using the same imagery.

Top Tips on Raising Capital

  • Find Out Exactly How Much Capital You Need in 2019

If you are presented today with an opportunity, do you have enough liquidity to successfully accomplish the initiative? What types of work will you be undertaking in 2019, and how much will it cost you to execute the proposal?

If something goes wrong, how much will you have to pay to get out of the opportunity? If something goes too well, do you have the cash on hand to respond to the demand?

  • Educate Yourself on Current Financing Trends

How are banks structuring business loans in 2019? Is it possible to get a loan from a bank? Are investors looking for specific qualities from businesses to invest in them? How much does a business need to give up in receiving an investment?

Are investors interested in your industry? There is the opportunity to use crowdfunding to finance business endeavors; however, is this something one can use to underwrite expenses, and if so how much will it cost?

  • Review Current Interest Rates and Identify the Best Options in the Long & Short Term

Will the Federal Reserve increase interest rates this year? What are the current rates offered by banks, and how will this affect the buying power of the business? What are other banks offering, and should an entrepreneur lock in a rate now versus a year from now?

Contact your accountant to see how interest rates, and the recent changes to tax law will impact your business in 2019.

  • Much Talk on Potential Recession in Late 2019 or 2020

Economists are predicting slow economic growth this year or a recession in 2020 based on current activity. How will this impact your buying power and what should you be doing today to plan for a slowdown in the market tomorrow?

Do a fact check of your industry and look for signs of changes in financing trends. A rule of thumb in financing is to go after capital when you don’t need it.

If you have more questions, please put on your New Year’s list to attend a BizLaunch workshop in 2019.  We hope to see you at a BizLaunch program in the New Year! Here’s to a productive and profitable 2019.

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The Chew: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Pet

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

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

The start of the New Year is often a time when we, as humans, decide to make a change in our lives and set higher goals. But making resolutions isn’t just for us! There are lots of little ways you can decide to improve your pet’s life this year by changing some habits.

Eat Healthier

Just like us, what pets eat can affect their quality of life.

This year, you can help keep them healthy by incorporating new habits into your routine. Measuring their food, instead of eyeballing it, every time you feed them ensures they’re not overeating.

You can also make a goal to stop feeding your pet table scraps. Their dog food is specially formulated to give them the nutrients they need and the appropriate amount of calories. Feeding them leftovers can cause them to gain weight and possibly suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

Create a Grooming Routine

The type and frequency of grooming that your pet needs will depend on their breed and type of coat, but there’s no time like the present to figure out what works best for your furry friend.

Brushing your pet removes excess fur, which means there’s less getting on your furniture and clothes. It also helps spread oils from the skin to the fur, causing the coat to look shiny and healthy.

Part of your routine should include oral hygiene. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth prevents tartar and plaque, and helps fight bad breath. Regular appointments with a professional groomer are a great way to easily maintain your pet’s good looks and hygiene.

Don’t Forget the Details

Within the span of a year, a lot can change such as addresses, phone numbers and more information that is key to making sure your pet gets returned to you if they’re lost. In too many cases, people only realize the info on their pet’s tag is out of date after they’ve escaped.

If any of your contact information has changed within the past year, be sure to update their tags and microchip as soon as possible.

Learn Some New Tricks

Your pet doesn’t need to be young or disruptive to attend a training class. These classes offer a challenge to dogs to keep them stimulated and also encourages bonding between pet and owner.

Even if you don’t want to go to an official class, there are plenty of resources online you can find to help you teach your dog a new trick at home. Learning new tricks and practicing old ones help keep your dog’s brain healthy and engaged.

Focus on Their Health

Yearly examinations for your pet are an important part of a good healthcare routine. If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment for your pet to make sure they are healthy.

Regular check-ups can catch conditions like diabetes, arthritis and obesity in much earlier stages, which makes them easier to treat and manage. Similarly, be sure to stay on top of preventatives like monthly flea, tick and heartworm medicines.

It may seem like a big cost up front, but it’s sure to save you money in the long run by not having to pay for these problems after they arise.

Do Some Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your pet’s food and water bowl? Or their bedding?

Their eating dishes should be washed weekly with hot, soapy water. Any bedding they use should be washed weekly as well and if they frequently use a crate or carrier, it should be cleaned using pet-safe products. All of these prevent the build-up of disease-causing bacteria and keep your pet (and you!) healthy.

Send an Update

Just like the holidays are a common time for humans to send cards with family updates, the New Year can be a great time to do the same with your pet.

If you adopted them from a shelter or a rescue group, take a moment to snap a photo and send them an update so they know how their old friend is doing. We know that the volunteers will be thrilled to know how much your pet loves their forever home!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

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Neighborhood Spotlight: Potomac Yard

This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

Update, January 7 at 5:20 p.m.

Although Potomac Yard overlaps Arlington, it is mostly located in Alexandria. We’re revising the video accordingly.

Potomac Yard is full of beautiful new condo buildings and homes. Along with neighborhoods Crystal City and Pentagon City, Potomac Yard is poised to become a site of rapid development and economic growth as part of the National Landing area for Amazon’s HQ2.

Where to Eat in Potomac Yard

Looking for a place to eat? Try Souvlaki Festive Greek for delicious grilled pita wraps, rice bowls and other Mediterranean fare. Rustico serves wood-fired pizza with over 30 beers on tap and a truly massive bottled beer list organized by flavor type. Try Hebir Exotic for tasty Ethiopian food and stop in at Hops Grill for craft beers, burgers, lobster tails and more.

Things to do in Potomac Yard

Potomac Yard Shopping Center is home to shops such as staple retail chains as, Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Petsmart and many more.

Speaking of pets, Potomac Yard is home to Simpson Stadium Dog Park, one of Alexandria’s dog parks where your pet can run and socialize.

Near Target you’ll also find Potomac Yard Park with its playgrounds for toddlers and older children, and a splash park for cooling off on the hottest days of the year.

You can catch a movie at Potomac Yard’s Regal Cinemas or work out at Trident CrossFit.

Daingerfield Island park was the first permanent settlement of the city of Alexandria, and is now a marina where you can watch herons and kingfishers.

Commute

Potomac Yard is currently accessible via the blue and yellow D.C. Metro train lines from the Crystal City and Braddock Road stations. A Potomac Yard Station is in progress, and should open between Ronald Reagan National Airport Station and Braddock Road Station by 2021.

Housing

Potomac Yard is full of new development and newly built homes. Single family homes stay on the market for an average of 44 days with an average sales price of $945,238. Condos stay on the market for an average of 47 days and sell for an average of $491,273.

Potomac Greens is a community of 3 and 4-story townhouses within easy reach of the Potomac River waterfront.

Notch 8 is a luxury apartment building with units ranging from studios to 2-bedrooms. The amenities here include a swimming pool, outdoor living room with fire pit and a fitness center with a personal trainer and group classes.

Verdict

Potomac Yard is already full of new development and great entertainment — and there’s much more on the way with Amazon’s HQ2 location. Potomac Yard might just be your new favorite neighborhood!

If you know anyone who needs help buying or selling a home, contact The Keri Shull Team.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Potomac Yard? Let us know in the comments.

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Boring Title: 7 Reasons Why Every Homebuyer Needs Owner’s Title Insurance

Title insurance is boring, but Allied Title & Escrow is here to decode the jargon and make it (somewhat) more interesting. This biweekly feature will explore the mundane (but very necessary!) world of title insurance while sharing interesting stories of two friends’ entrepreneurial careers.

When you buy a home, you are required to get title insurance for the lender who is providing your mortgage. You do have the option to get title insurance for yourself and we highly recommend you do so to protect what is likely your largest investment.

The horror stories are painful to hear about when people decline owner’s title insurance and end up losing their homes because of a rare issue that arises with the title of their home.

Many of our clients are confused by why you need title insurance and so we put together a list that will give you an overview of why it’s a good investment:

  • Protects your largest investment
  • Reduces your risk
  • You can’t beat the value
  • Covers your heirs
  • Nothing compares
  • 8 in 10 homebuyers agree
  • Peace of mind

Click here to see a quick one pager that further explains each point and if you have questions, email us directly. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Have questions related to title insurance? Email Latane and Matt at [email protected]. Want to use Allied Title & Escrow when you buy a home? Tell your agent when you buy a house to write in Allied Title & Escrow as your settlement company!

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Arts Focus: The Beat Goes On at The Library — Groovin’ On The Pike Dance Party Series

This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

What better way to kick off the New Year than a heads-up about the upcoming schedule for the Groovin’ On the Pike: After Hours at the Library dance party series which was recently recognized with an Arlington County Manager’s Excellence Award!

This award is given to an individual or team in each department to recognize a suggestion, invention, superior accomplishment, productivity gain or other personal or team effort that contributes to the efficiency, economy or other improvement of County operations.

Here, the collaboration between Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts and Arlington Public Library was noted for bringing new audiences to Columbia Pike Branch Library.

Featuring a diverse line-up of musical groups from near and far, upwards of 200 patrons now come to the library to dance in the stacks and enjoy a brew from the cash bar every first Friday of the month at 7 p.m.

Here’s a quick look at the schedule when it resumes in February:

February 1 — Little Red and the Renegades

Blues, zydeco, funk, R&B, country, gospel, pop, compas direct, latin, jazz and carnival flavors from all over the world have been blended and distilled into the Renegades’ sound.  This is party music, best served with good friends, food, drink and lots of dancing.

Check out their recent video of a performance at D.C.’s The Hamilton Live!

March 1 — Bitter Dose Combo

The Bitter Dose Combo is DC’s premiere gypsy jazz band, playing gypsy jazz and swing standards at social dances, bistros, supper clubs, weddings and special events in and around the District.

The BDC’s sound combines the improvisation and swinging guitar made famous by Django Reinhardt with spirited jazz vocals, Paris musette accordion and upright bass.

April 5 — Los Gallos Negros

From rural son jarocho to urban mariachi styles and contemporary Caribbean rhythms, Los Gallos are an eclectic musical ensemble working to make the modern more traditional and the traditional more modern.

Members of the group hail from throughout the U.S. and all have strong roots in Mexico. Los Gallos perform regularly across the East Coast, including National Mall marches, Smithsonian museums and even the 2016 White House Cinco de Mayo celebration for President Barack Obama.

Come on out and discover another side to your local library! Click this link for free tickets.

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Legal Insider: Ghosting Hits The Employment World

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.

We practice employment law. A new trend that the Federal Reserve and others have picked up on recently is the concept of “ghosting.” Ghosting occurs when a job applicant does not show up for their scheduled interview or where an employee does not show up for scheduled work and never returns.

What is Ghosting?

In areas which range from food services to banking, employers have indicated that a tighter job market and labor shortages have led to applicants deciding not to show up for scheduled interviews without notice or in accepting positions and then not showing up for their first day of work.

In other cases, ghosting has meant that an employee just decides to leave their employment without giving notice (or telling anyone) and just never shows up again. Other reasons for ghosting include the fact that because the employment rate is very low, it is easier than ever to find new employment. One report indicated that 20-50% of employers were facing ghosting in one form or another.

Why is Ghosting Bad for Employees and Applicants?

Ghosting is very bad for applicants and employees on a number of levels.

For starters, it isn’t a good long-term career strategy. If an employee doesn’t provide notice to an employer that they are leaving, supervisors may call the police for a wellness check, leading to a host of issues.

Additionally, by leaving in this manner, employees will most likely be deemed by the employer to have abandoned their employment and then classified as having been terminated. As a result, the employee that “ghosts” away from their employment will be left with a negative mark on their employment records, which they may have to disclose in future employment applications elsewhere and/or if they choose to ever seek a security clearance. This also applies to new employees that are hired but do not show up for their first day of work.

For applicants that don’t show up for interviews, doing so can hurt them in other ways. If a recruiter is involved, that recruiter could list the non-appearance in a shared database with other recruiters, essentially blacklisting the person.

With the digital future upon us, it is only a matter of time before such things also end up in background investigations or reports. The point is that “ghosting” is a recipe for hurting one’s own career.

It is important to take the time to give notice to an employer and make a phone call or at least send an email to an employer if an individual they plan to quit or cannot make a scheduled interview. Furthermore, if an applicant “ghosts” a scheduled interview with an employer, that individual’s name may get around to others in the same field, causing them to lose or not get an interview with other employers.

It may be easier to ignore interviews or leave for better employment, but it is far better to do so with professionalism. Ghosting is simply to big a risk for an employee or applicant to their long term career.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law advice or assistance, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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WWBG: Champagne vs. The World


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

As this weekend’s New Years Eve festivities approach, most of you are going to buy a nice bottle of champagne or sparkling wine to celebrate the New Year.

Usually I would go in depth of what champagne exactly is, the process of making champagne and all the different types of champagne, but I will save that for another time. For simplicity purposes I’m just going to write up a quick guide that should ease you into buying a nice bottle to pop open for your celebration.

Champagne

You will notice that actual champagnes from France have a higher price tag than other sparkling wines from the rest of the world. This difference in price is just. Producers from around the world have tried to duplicate the quality and taste of champagnes for years to no avail. Some come close, but champagnes from France are truly unmatched (in my opinion).

According to French law, champagnes must be a cuvee of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes. There are many types of champagne available at most reputable wine stores. Picking one maybe pretty daunting unless you can read French. You cannot go wrong with a big name such as Moet, Pierre Jouet, Taittinger, Piper Heidesick and Veuve Clicquot.

These champagnes are crowd pleasers, and have been produced for more than a century. Louis Roederer and Ruinart are also classic champagne producers that are of excellent quality. All these producers make a rose varietal of their cuvee. Roses tend to be slightly sweeter, and not as dry as their brut counter parts.

Avoid overpaying for champagnes such as Ace of Spades and Cristal. Although these champagnes are of good quality, the price has been inflated due to pop culture referencing them in music videos. If you do feel like paying the extra price for vintage champagne, try Dom Perignon or first growth champagne.

Sparkling Wines

Even though sparkling wines are not true champagnes, most use the same method of secondary fermentation. This method is called methode champenoise, which is where producers bottle the wine and add sugar and yeast.

Secondary fermentation takes place producing carbon dioxide, which is where the bubbles come from in champagnes and sparkling wines. All this takes place in the bottle you buy from your local retailer. Now the less inexpensive sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, ( We went in depth about Prosecco last here, can read here) have their secondary fermentation in pressurized stainless steel tanks known as the charmat process. This process is much cheaper for producers and often produces bulk sparkling wines.

Unless mixing with orange juice stay clear of these sparkling wines, they often are high in sugar and alcohol and produce hangovers. When picking out a sparkling wine, it is very important to see on the label “Traditional Method” or “Method Champagne.” This indicates that the sparkling wine was made the same way champagne is made in Champagne.

Most cava’s from Spain and sparkling wines from California use the traditional method and are very good alternatives to Champagne.

I hope this brief guide will help you pick out a great sparkling wine for you to celebrate the New Year with. Please drink and celebrate responsibly.

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Healthy Paws: What Is That?! Incisive Papilla

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

One of the most important topics studied in vet school is anatomy — as veterinarians, we need to know what is normal and what isn’t.

Most pet owners, on the other hand, haven’t spent countless nights studying every organ, vessel and protuberance found on a dog’s body. So it’s understandable that when an owner notices a less obvious anatomic structure for the first time, they may become alarmed and rush their beloved pet to the vet, fearing the worst.  These situations have inspired a new series for our column called, “What is that?!”

Maybe you’ve experienced this scenario before — your happy, fun-loving pet is playing and when she rolls on her back, you suddenly notice a firm, diamond-shaped lump on the roof of her mouth, just behind her front teeth. Panic bells start ringing.

But not so fast! This is actually a completely normal structure. It’s called the incisive papilla and every dog has one, though some may be more prominent than others. The incisive papilla contributes to the dog’s intricate and exceptional sense of smell.

A human’s primary sense is vision — we understand our environment best through visual pictures. Dogs, on the other hand, rely most heavily on their sense of smell. To put into perspective just how sensitive a dog’s sense of smell is, dogs have more than 200 million olfactory receptors. Humans only have about 5 million!

And it gets even more interesting. Dogs don’t just smell with their nose. They also have a vomeronasal organ, which helps detect chemical cues called pheromones. Pheromones are important for communication and passing social messages between dogs. The incisive papilla helps collect these cues and is connected to the vomeronasal organ.

So if you’ve ever lost sleep after noticing this bump on the roof of your dog’s mouth, don’t worry — you’re not the first and you won’t be the last! The incisive papilla is one of the most common normal anatomic structures that cause owners to scratch their heads and wonder, “what is that?!”

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Small Biz Focus: ‘Tis the Season for Nonprofits

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Natalie Monkou, Business Development Manager at AED

I don’t know if there is any correlation between colder weather and warmer hearts, but over the past decade, Americans have shown that they are the most generous towards the end of the year.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the last few months of the year make up what is commonly called the “Giving Season” for the nonprofit community. This underscores the idea that, during the holidays, we operate in a more generous frame of mind — giving our time and resources to both the people we love and people in need.

But giving once each year is just the beginning. Arlington County is home to several nonprofits that contribute significantly to our local community and have a global impact every day.

For example, The Nature Conservancy is an Arlington nonprofit and a world-class organization that addresses issues in our land and water. As noted by Independent Sector, the company has worked to protect Virginia wildlife for more than 50 years.

In the last few months, Arlington has been in the news for attracting a major company to our community. However, you may have also heard about the recent relocation decision of a nonprofit organization from White Plains, New York to Arlington.

Beyond the common reasons companies choose Arlington as a place for business, nonprofits like March of Dimes choose Arlington because they want to be in a location where they can truly partner with the local community — to be in place where “giving season” is the norm.

Leveraging the spirit of the most generous season, I encourage you to consider new and innovative ways to support Arlington’s local nonprofits and finding ways to give all year round.

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The Chew: Cold Safety for Pets

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

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Most of us are aware of the dangers that hot weather holds for pets, but you may not realize the dangers that cold weather can pose. While it is tempting to think that your pet’s fur coat makes them more resilient to cold weather, they are still susceptible to things like frostbite and hypothermia.

There are several simple steps you can take to keep your pet safe, no matter the temperature outside.

The most important thing is to know your pet’s limits. Animals that are young, old, ill or arthritic are more susceptible to the cold. Other factors like your pet’s coat, stores of body fat, activity level and health will play into how quickly the cold affects them.

To help keep your dog active and still safe during the cold weather, dressing them in a sweater or coat and putting booties on their feet will help them stay warm and keep their paws dry. It’s best to have several sweaters on hand so that you always have a dry one to use — putting your pet in a wet sweater is worse than no sweater at all.

If your pet won’t wear booties, you should check their paws frequently for cold-weather injuries like cracks or bleeding. Rubbing paw protection wax onto their pads can help keep them protected, both from these injuries and from salt and other deicers.

Clip the hair between your dog’s toes to prevent ice from accumulating, which can cause sudden lameness on a walk. When you return from the walk, be sure to wash off their paws to remove ice, antifreeze, deicers or other chemicals they may have picked up. These chemicals are toxic to dogs and may be ingested if the dog licks their paws.

Even when your pet is indoors, take extra care during the cold weather. Give several options of places to sleep so they can choose where they feel warmest, and make sure their bed isn’t in a drafty area. Use space heaters with extreme caution when pets are around, as they can burn themselves or even knock the heaters over, potentially starting a fire.

The dry air plus fluctuation in temperatures between going outdoors and coming inside may cause your pet’s skin to become itchy and flaky. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as they come in, taking extra care to remove any build-up of snow between their foot pads.

Bathe your pet as little as possible during the winter months. Washing them too often strips their skin of helpful oils and can increase the chance of dry skin. Ask your vet or groomer about a moisturizing shampoo to help prevent this.

Cars can present dangers of different kinds. Just like when it’s hot outside, you should never leave your dog unattended in a car when the temperature drops. Your car can quickly become like a refrigerator, rapidly dropping your pet’s body temperature to dangerous levels.

For stray pets, they may be attracted to the heat coming off your car even when it’s off. Before you get into your car, be sure to check underneath it or make a loud noise to encourage any animals to come out from under the car and find a safer spot to rest.

If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, lethargic,  weak or begins looking for places to burrow, they could be suffering from hypothermia and should be brought inside to a warm place immediately. Cover your pet with warm water bottles, blankets or towels. Heating pads can burn your pet, so be sure to always have several layers between your pet and a heat source. Frostbite is harder to detect, but if you suspect your pet has either, call your vet immediately and take your animal to receive medical help as soon as possible.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

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Feral Cats Abound in Arlington

The following feature article was written by Buzz McClain, a writer and communications professional who lives in Arlington. It was funded by our new Patreon community. Want to see more articles like this, exploring important local topics that don’t make our usual news coverage? Join and help fund additional local journalism in Arlington. 

A feral cat is a cat that lives in the wild without human intervention, and Arlington has plenty of them.

Along with coyotes, foxes, rabbits — so many rabbitsturtles, snakes, and other fauna that share the county with humans, feral cats have established “colonies” throughout Arlington, some of which date back for generations.

At any given time there are some 200 to 250 feral cats in Arlington, with colonies ranging in size from two to three cats to more than a dozen. There seems to be a concentration of colonies around Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road and in the Nauck neighborhood, according to Anna Barrett, an animal services coordinator with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, the private nonprofit organization that provides shelter and animal control services in the county.

Feral cats are easy to spot, she said. For one, they are unapproachable, so if they see you first, chances are they’ll run and hide. You can’t lure them to your hand or into a trap, not even with food. “They’re more like wildlife than a domestic cat,” she said.

They also may have a section of an ear removed. A clipped ear, Barrett said, is an indication that the cat has been trapped, neutered, inoculated for rabies and distemper, “ear-tipped” to indicate treatment, and returned to where it was found as part of the AWLA program of the same name: Trap-Neuter-Return. (See here for the feral cat program page of the AWLA website.)

AWLA personnel do not do the trapping, and they don’t accept feral cats as strays for adoption — they are not safe for the staff to handle. Feral cats cannot be domesticated, and handling them may lead to injury, to humans as well as cats.

But feral cat colony “caretakers,” and the occasional determined resident, manage to bring them in. That’s when the AWLA staff does the T-N-R and ear clip service. The feral cat colony caretaker who brought in the cat is responsible for returning them to where they were found, which is why it’s best for those unfamiliar with feral cat behavior to not even try.

In her eight years at the shelter, Barrett has seen a reduction in the feral cat population. “We feel the 200 to 250 number is greatly reduced from year’s past, in large part to the T-N-R program,” she said.

The T-N-R program, she added, “is not a perfect solution, but it goes with our humane approach to animals.”

The neutering would cost $300 to $400 per cat for a pet cat or kitten. The League pays for cats trapped in Arlington or in the City of Falls Church.

The cats, said Sandra M., choose her and not the other way around. And it’s been that way for going on eight years.

After her own cat died in 2010, an “outdoor” Siamese cat tentatively approached her at her home in South Arlington and Sandra M., a cat lover, fed it. (She would rather we did not use her full name or specify which neighborhood she lives in, for reasons that will become obvious.)

The cat was healthy but clearly did not have a home, nor did it seem to crave human companionship other than the occasional meal. Eight years later, the cat still comes for regular feeding but little else, along with some eight other cats.

They do not go into her house. Instead, they live nearby in the wild in what is known as a feral cat colony, one of many in Arlington, some of which date back for decades.

Sandra M. is a feral cat colony caretaker, an unofficial title given to a select few by the AWLA. But not everyone is enamored with having feral cats in their neighborhoods. Sandra M. reports several of her charges have been mistreated after being captured. Kittens and older cats have been poisoned.

“That’s something I just don’t understand,” she said. “I don’t understand why a human would do that.”

For Sandra M., the cat colony is a blessing. “They rescued me,” she said. “They’re like little children to me.”

If you see a cat you think is feral, Anna Barrett suggests contacting the AWLA office to report it. A feral cat colony caretaker may be able to have the cat serviced in the Trap-Neuter-Release program. Questions may be directed at [email protected] or by calling 703-931-9241, ext. 200.

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