Healthy Paws: The Chew On Chew Toys

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.

Chances are that, in addition to chasing squirrels and keeping watch over the Amazon package delivery man, one of your dog’s favorite pastimes is chewing.

Bones, rawhides, sticks, your most expensive pair of shoes… you name it — your dog can demolish it in a matter of seconds. While chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and a great way to keep them occupied, it is important to remember that their teeth are not indestructible.

Many chewing materials are hard enough to break or wear your dog’s teeth or damage your dog’s gums, putting them at risk of oral pain and infection.

Keep in mind that even if a chew is sold at your local pet store, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. There are plenty of products on the market that have less give than your furry friend’s fragile teeth. Antlers, natural bones and nylon or plastic toys without any flexibility can all cause a tooth to break.

If you would be concerned about breaking your own tooth while chomping on the toy or chew, then you should be equally as concerned about your dog’s teeth. A general rule of thumb to use when selecting an appropriate chew for your pet is to try to bend it with your own hands to see if it has any flexibility and indent it with your thumb. If the chew is too hard to do this, then it is too hard for your dog’s teeth.

In addition to fracturing teeth, some chewing materials can cause significant dental wear as well, which can also eventually lead to pain or infection if the wear extends far enough into the tooth.

The surface of a tennis ball can act like sand paper and wear down teeth over time, especially when it accumulates dirt and sand. Devoted retrievers are more prone to dental wear from the friction of a tennis ball or a Frisbee rubbing against their teeth over time.

If you aren’t sure about the safety of a product, ask your veterinarian before giving it to your pet. You can also access helpful information and approved products from the Veterinary Oral Health Council and the American Veterinary Dental College’s websites.

We suggest a Classic Kong toy appropriate for your dog’s size and age. We recommend spreading a little bit of peanut butter or canned pumpkin on the inside to keep your dog occupied.

Approved rawhide chews are safe only when used under your direct supervision. Your dog should chew the rawhide slowly and soften it as he chews, and you should remove the chew when there is only a small piece remaining to prevent choking or gastrointestinal disease. Happy chewing!

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Small Biz Focus: Arlington — The #1 Digital County in the U.S.

This article was written by Alex Taylor, Senior Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

For the third consecutive year, Arlington County was ranked the #1 Digital County in the United States.

But what does this really mean? What is a digital county and why should Arlington residents and businesses care about residing in one? Well, you may know that the internet (ARPANET), GPS, Siri and other high-profile technological advancements were pioneered right here in Arlington, thanks to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency calling the County home for decades (see that historical placard in Rosslyn re: the creation of the internet? DARPA now calls Ballston home).

But it isn’t the many innovations that have been envisioned within the boundaries of the County that has led to this distinguished title, it is County government’s efforts to tap these technologies to positively impact the efficiencies and effectiveness of government programs.

Last July, The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties recognized Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cybersecurity and operations.

Here are just a few examples:

In 2010, Arlington County partnered with the District of Columbia to pilot a bikeshare system across jurisdictions. Today, Capital Bikeshare is the largest bike sharing program in the United States. But bikes aren’t digital, are they? Well, the infrastructure that allows for them to join the sharing economy is, and Arlington was and continues to be a pioneer in transit advancements (hello, scooters and transit screens).

The ConnectArlington dark fiber network that the County has rolled out over the last few years connects all schools, County facilities, traffic signals and emergency management offices on one closed circuit system.

What many don’t realize is that as the technology becomes commercialized over the next five or so years, this system provides the infrastructure necessary to allow citizens to text pictures and videos to 911, which will then be routed by dispatchers to police officers, firefighters and paramedics arriving at the scene of an incident.

Live streaming video from over 200 CCTV cameras in the County, which are located at most signalized intersections and major roadways, according to Director of Transportation Dennis Leach. Those cameras can be easily accessed by emergency response personnel, allowing for quicker and more efficient response.

Arlington also has the ability to remotely manage its traffic signals to mitigate the travel impacts of accidents and maintain the flow of traffic around emergency and special events. The ConnectArlington system gets resources to where they need to be quicker and more effectively, and this will only improve as next generation 911 applications become commercially available in the coming years.

When the news broke that Amazon had chosen Arlington as the home for its HQ2, the County was quick to reach out to the community with a series of digital engagements across web and social media platforms. This quick reaction informed and engaged the public in a forum that could be the most impactful and responsive.

And just last month, the County rolled out Arlington Wallet, a new online financial transparency tool. The resource allows anyone to access data to better understand the County’s financial information and is just one of the many ways Arlington County is sharing data with the community.

So yes, Arlington County is very digital. It might not be in ways that most people would identify or that would make splashy headlines, but your government is taking aggressive steps to enhance its ability to connect to, and share resources with, its citizens; and it has certainly been recognized.

It also makes it very easy for economic development staff to promote the County at a national level. Companies want to locate where innovation is the backbone of a community. That is very much the case in Arlington, whether it is local government services or world-changing federal government innovations (or Amazon).

In December, Arlington County was featured on the CES 2019 Tech Talk Podcast Series. In the podcast, Arlington Economic Development Director, Victor Hoskins, Director of Transportation, Dennis Leach, and Director of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, Aaron Miller, break down what it means to be a digital community.

It is an interesting listen, and they cover everything from emergency response to the future of transportation, or “people moving” as Leach puts it. Have a listen to learn more!

Rendering by JBG Smith

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Your Beermonger: Going (Not Entirely) Hopless

This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

It’s that magical time of year, where flashes of not-miserably-cold weather fool a percentage of us in the area into thinking spring is here, and that we won’t get tagged by one more winter outburst.

As we dare to venture from our hovels and spend time with — hold on, what was that word? Ah, yes — “people” again, the occasion might call for something not quite packed to the gills with hop material.

With that in mind, here are some recent arrivals I’ve been recommending for those looking for tasty, non-IPA/hop-driven options — with one partial exception (you’ll see).

Rocket Frog Wallops Island (5.3% ABV)

Wallops Island, from Sterling’s Rocket Frog Brewing, checks a few boxes for me. It fills a need I’ve had here at Arrowine for a classic American Brown Ale, for one. It’s also is a great example of the style, with loads of caramel, chocolate and coffee malt flavors but dry, as it should be.

It picked up a Bronze medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival, to boot. Not bad for a beer from a brewery in its first months of operation.

Von Trapp Helles (4.9% ABV); Pilsner (5.4% ABV)

Vermont’s Von Trapp Brewing (yes, those Von Trapps) has been available in Virginia for a little while now, specializing in Lagers that are both well priced and readily available. The Bohemian-style Pilsner and German-style Helles are both done in the classic style: the Pils has a crisp feel with pleasing floral/peppery aromas from its hops — but not IPA-level hoppy by any means.

The Helles adds light, bready malt notes to grassy, clean Noble hop flavors. Bonus: both are now available in cans!


Photo via Von Trapp Brewing Company

Väsen Savvon (9.2% ABV)

So this’ll be the outlier on the list; nearly twice as strong as the rest and with a notable dry-hop addition, but too cool not to mention. Richmond’s Väsen Brewing Company combines a number of influences, from Belgian Farmhouse beers to American IPAs, with ingredients mixing and matching as much as styles.

Savvon, the first beer of theirs to hit Northern Virginia in package, is a great example: a Brettanomyces-fermented, bottle conditioned Farmhouse Ale dry-hopped with a pair of Southern Hemisphere hops — Galaxy and Enigma — typically found in Hazy IPAs. Tropical hop flavors and aromas play well with the funky, fruity Brett character.

Green Man ESB (5.5% ABV)

An easy way to win my heart, as a brewery, is to produce a solid version of just about any British beer style. Asheville’s Green Man Brewing does just that with their ESB, with it’s crackery/bready/fruity malt character and traditional level of hoppiness.

Since I first got to try this about 8-9 years ago, I’ve wanted this beer in Virginia. Finally, it’s here and it’s not leaving Arrowine’s stock if I can help it.

Let me know in the comments if you’re looking for something new and I’ll try my best to make a suggestion that works.

Until next time.

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Boring Title: Brian Athey, CEO of Congressional Capital

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.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Boring Title!

This week, Allied Title & Escrow’s CEO, Latane Meade, sits down with CEO of Congressional Capital, Brian Athey.

Brian talks about how Congressional Capital is different than other hard money lenders, why you would use a hard money lender instead of a conventional bank, gives a market update and more.

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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Small Biz Focus: Getting Noticed — The Star Power of Your Business

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

By Tara Palacios

2019

The age of information sharing is moving at lightning speed. Each day thousands of internet activities take place in under a minute. Social media, emails, advertising and online sales. Your customers are constantly bombarded with information. According to a recent study by @LoriLewis and @OfficiallyChad188 million emails are sent every 60 seconds in 2019.

SO, just how does your business stand apart from others? With information 24/7 — how can your business attract new clients with so much activity going on per minute? This Small Business Focus blog has answers, and a concrete action item below.

Tara’s Quick Tips to Getting Noticed

Find Your Voice — Speak at industry events. Post articles on blogs (like ARLnow) or industry papers.  Be heard where your customers and influencers congregate. Be Present. Be the subject matter expert, and all things pertinent to your business.

Excellent Customer Service — Be known for going that extra mile for your customers. Anticipate your customer’s needs, and be proactive with business intelligence. Channel your customers and create positive experiences for them 24/7.

Leader in Your Field — Don’t be a follower. Be an innovator. Figure out best practices in your industry and go for the gold. Don’t be afraid of calculated risks. Create dynamic teams and cultivate a culture of creativity and trust.

Identify the Missing Link(s) in Your Industry — Where are the opportunities? What does your industry need (I.e., what is it lacking?) and how can you best address it? Find winning solutions and connect the dots for others. This will always keep you ahead of your competition.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat — As with all good things keep the momentum going. Don’t stop. Build up the pipeline. Positivity is infectious. Each day exhibit your personal brand of getting noticed in a sea of businesses.

If you’d like to learn more getting noticed in a crowded field — join us for a dynamic presentation on April 4 at BizLaunch when Zack Miller presents on “Anomaly: How to Finally Stand Out in a Crowd.”

This workshop provides easy-to-implement methods for business owners and marketing professionals to turn heads, leave an impression and become the anomaly! Award-winning television host and businessman Miller will provide the audience a blueprint of what they can do TODAY to grow their brand and stand out from their competitors.

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Healthy Paws: Can I Catch That From My Pet? No!

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.

Can I catch that from my pet? This is a common question we hear as veterinarians, and as such have made this a recurring topic. This week we debunk some myths and talk about stuff pets are sometimes blamed for — but are highly unlikely to have been obtained from your pet.

Zoonotic diseases are infectious illnesses — think viruses, bacterial infections, fungal infections, or parasites — that can be spread between animals and humans. Zoonotic diseases can be spread both ways, from animal to person AND from person to animal.

In veterinary medicine, we take zoonotic diseases very seriously to keep both the pets we care for and their humans healthy! That said, we have had, at times needed to field questions about diseases that perhaps a misinformed friend, “Dr. Google” and on occasion human medical doctors have blamed on the pets.

Pinworms & Head Lice 

Pinworms is an intestinal worm that is commonly found in young school-aged children. The primary symptom is having an itchy rear-end and they are passed easily from child to child — mostly because children don’t think to wash their hands after scratching their bums.

Sandboxes can also be common places for pinworms to pass between children. The important thing to know is that pinworms do not infect dogs and cats, so your pets are innocent.

Head Lice are tiny insects that love to live on human heads and hair, feeding on human blood. They often cause an itchy scalp and the lice or eggs may be visible on close inspection. There are many types of lice that exist, but the human head louse only wants to live on people. You won’t find these lice on other animals, so no need to inspect Fluffy.

Strep Throat

Streptococcal pharyngitis or “strep throat” is caused by a bacterial infection from Streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep). The natural host for this bacteria is humans. Some people even carry this bacteria as part of their normal flora without having symptoms. This bacteria is not found on our pets, except very transiently — i.e. for a day or two, but it doesn’t truly colonize in dogs.

The reality is that if you catch strep throat, you got it from another human. Some human doctors will request that dogs in the household be treated in family situations where people are repeatedly getting infected. The only time this remotely almost makes sense is if all the humans are also treated at the same time — but even then, the human carrier in the family will likely continue to be a carrier and continue to be a source of repeated infections.

Strep throat: https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can infect both dogs and humans, but you can’t catch it directly from Fido. Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease, meaning that ticks carry this disease transmit it to a dog or person that they bite for a blood-meal. This is one of the many reasons we recommend year-round flea and tick prevention and annual screening for Lyme disease for all dogs!

It’s also why people should check themselves thoroughly for ticks after spending time in the woods… ticks are very skilled at crawling up under a pant leg or sleeve.

Lyme disease in people: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html

Lyme disease in dogs: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/lyme-disease.aspx

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Arts Focus: Creative Entrepreneurs Workshop Series

Ready to get down to business with your artistic endeavors?

Arlington Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA) announces the Creative Entrepreneurs Series @Arlington Arts. The six sessions (all presentations with Q&A) will be held on consecutive Wednesdays, from March 27 through May 1, from 7-9 p.m. at Theatre on the Run in Shirlington.

WALA’s Creative Entrepreneurs Series (CES) is designed to help creatives of all kinds take the next step in their professional career by creating their own business. Explore the basics of forming a business for your creative endeavors, from deciding whether to incorporate as a non-profit or for-profit entity, to understanding copyrights and trademarks, to contract and negotiation skills, and finally to taxes and understanding the grants process.

The Series offers tips on every skill you need to help you bring your best and most creative self to the community.

The Series constitutes the official launch of the Arts Enterprise Institute, a program of Arlington Arts to provide resources for artists so they can make a living as artists. Artists teaching artists is a cornerstone of our programs, which have been well received during the last year. The complete series is as follows:

  • Session 1:  Tax Strategies — March 27
    Benjamin Takis (founder, Tax-Exempt Solutions PLLC), Benjamin Grosz (partner, Ivins Phillips & Barker) and Jonathan Holbrook (associate, Ivins, Phillips & Barker)
  • Session 2:  Business Entities Formation — April 3
    Hardeep Grover (attorney, Tresquire)
  • Session 3:  Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use — April 10
    John D. Mason (Copyright Counselors, LLC) Arts/Ent. and intellectual property attorney
  • Session 4:  Contracts & Licensing — April 17
    Karl Means (Miles & Stockbridge, & fmr. Shareholder, Shulman Rogers)
  • Session 5:  Negotiation Strategies — April 24
    Facilitator TBA. Learn tips and tools for being a successful negotiator and collaborator.
  • Session 6:  Grants — May 1
    Paul Marengo (CEO, Promethean Fundraising; Volunteer Coordinator, FilmFestDC)

Since 1983, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts has supported artistic expression and creative innovation by serving the legal needs of the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland arts and cultural communities. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, WALA provides access to education, advocacy, and legal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro bono legal referral services.

The series is free for WALA members, and $20 per workshop for non-members (registration for each individual workshop is required). For more detailed information on the sessions and the presenters, and to register, visit Eventbrite at this link.

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Your Beermonger: New Adventures in Dry Hop

This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Last time, we looked at Hazy or New England-style IPAs, and how they’re attracting new drinkers, and why that might be the case.

This week, I wanted to drill down on one of the most important techniques used in making those beers: dry hopping. The science of brewing is starting to catch up with the effects techniques like dry hopping can have — some of which run counter to everything we thought we knew about how hops worked.

First, let’s knock out some basics. Like, really basic — I’m not a scientist. Not officially, anyway. Hops impart different characteristics in a beer depending on when they’re added and how much are added.

Hops are usually added to the wort — the sugary liquid made when you soak your grains in hot water — while boiling it. Hops added earlier contribute bitterness, as their alpha acids stay at temperature long enough to isomerize. The later in the boil hops are added the less bitterness they impart, and the more their unique flavor/aromatic qualities emerge.

Dry hopping is used colloquially to refer hops added once the wort is cooled, whether during primary, secondary or post fermentation (prior to packaging or in keg). The idea is to punch up the hop aroma and flavor notes, and because they aren’t boiling, you get all that flavor and aroma without making the beer more bitter.

Dry hopping has been used in big IPAs to offset increasingly intense bittering additions, and as tastes changed, became the dominant — in some cases only — method by which hops were added, in the grand American tradition of “some is good; therefore, more is better.”

Scientific advancements over the past couple of years are refining our knowledge of dry hopping’s effects. A 2016 study found that dry hopping can, in fact, contribute bitterness to beer: Sapwood Cellars co-founder Scott Janish breaks down the study well on his blog, but the TL;DR version is that there are specific oxidized alpha acids in hops called humulinones.

These humulinones are much more soluble in beer than the major alpha acids, but, being about 66% as bitter, can contribute a “smoother” bitterness than that of isomerized alpha acids.

In a later post, Janish digs into findings that reveal how beers rated under 20 IBU (International Bittering Units) can become more bitter through dry hopping, while those over 30 IBU can become less bitter. The wildest finding to me is that because dry hopping increases a beer’s pH, it can boost the perceived bitterness of the beer even if it doesn’t increase its IBU.

That brings me to a piece I read over the weekend recounting the keynote address from the recent Ohio Craft Brewer’s conference by Tom Shellhammer, Norwester Professor of Fermentation Science at Oregon State University. Shellhammer reiterated findings of those earlier studies, but added analysis of a phenomenon known as “hop creep.”

Hop creep is when dry hopping triggers additional fermentation in a beer. That can happen because enzymes in the hops “can break down the unfermentable long-chain sugars to simple sugars”, which can trigger fermentation if any yeasts remain present and active in the beer.

So, wondering how a “zero IBU” NEIPA still has some bitterness to it? Wondering why that Hazy IPA you like can be inconsistent, a little stronger some times than others? Look to the science, friends. We still have much to learn.

Until next time.

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Boring Title: How Andrew Reamer Assigned 1,600 Foreclosure Properties in 24 Hours

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.

Welcome to the most un-boring Boring Title edition yet!

This week, Allied Title & Escrow’s CEO, Latane Meade, sits down with serial entrepreneur and CEO of Remax Distinctive, Andrew Reamer.

Andrew talks about how he got into real estate, how he benefited from the financial crisis, assigning over 1,600 foreclosures in under 24 hours, sneaking groupies (Latane) into the back door of O’Sullivans when his band was performing and much more.

A ukulele may or may not have been used in the making of this video… it’s a long one but worth it. Enjoy.

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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Small Biz Focus: What Economic Development Means to Arlington County

This article was written by Christina Winn, Director of Business Investment for Arlington Economic Development.

As a professional economic developer, I’m often asked by my fellow Arlington residents and business owners about the importance of economic development.

After all, we have a thriving community with notable businesses, excellent schools, a highly educated workforce, an unemployment rate of 1.7% and beautiful parks and green spaces. What else do we need?

Well, the problem is that our commercial vacancy rates are too high and we need to continue to broaden the commercial tax base. Arlington’s 2018 4th quarter vacancy rate is at 17.2% (which is significantly better than the almost 21% in early 2015), and it could take up to 10 years or more before we can reach a baseline level of 10%.

Arlington County lost 34,000 jobs since 2001 due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC), corporations right-sizing and the increased mobility of their workforce. Even with Arlington Economic Developments efforts to strategically market the county to attract new businesses, retain our existing business base and encourage our businesses to grow and expand, it takes time to recover.

So why do vacancy rates matter? And most importantly, why does it matter to you? The majority of Arlington’s taxes comes from either the commercial or residential property taxes collected.

Those taxes are what funds the services that we all enjoy as Arlington residents. Historically, Arlington is unique because our tax base is derived from almost 50% residential and 50% commercial. In most other communities the residential tax base carries the weight — which means the people that live there pay higher taxes.

If our commercial office buildings are vacant with no occupied businesses (currently almost 1/5 of the 40 million square feet of office space is empty), then that means Arlington County is not collecting as much property and business taxes, which puts pressure on the general fund in providing the services we all enjoy.

Our schools, transportation systems, parks and human services struggle for limited funds. Luckily, the recruitment of Amazon will go a long way to help broaden the commercial tax base and increase tax revenues to fund these services.

So yes, economic development is important to you. As an Arlington resident, I want to continue to have top-notch public schools for my kids. I enjoy our beautiful and convenient parks and enjoy that my trash is picked every week.

As a result, we will continue to market Arlington to attract new companies. We will expand our engagement programs to retain our existing employers and help them expand and grow. We truly understand that our mission is to generate revenue for Arlington County, and every program, service and project is focused on that goal.

Every time you read in the paper that a new business has located to Arlington, be excited because that means their taxes are paying for your services.

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Legal Insider: Reasonable Accommodations for Federal Employees

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. and Melissa L. Watkins, Esq.

Federal employees, whether part-time or full-time, with a qualifying disability are entitled to reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are changes in the work environment or in the way things are done in the workplace to assist disabled individuals in participating fully in the employment environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a nice article on the subject here.

Examples of potential reasonable accommodations:

  • Making existing facilities accessible
  • Job restructuring
  • Part-time or modified work schedules
  • Use of leave
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment
  • Changing tests, training materials or policies
  • Providing qualified readers or interpreters
  • Reassignment to a vacant position
  • Accommodations to access benefits and privileges of employment. Examples of benefits and privileges of employment include training, services, credit unions, cafeterias, lounges, gymnasiums, auditoriums, transportation and parties or other social functions.

A federal agency does not have to eliminate a fundamental duty of the position or lower production standards in the reasonable accommodation process, but the agency may have to provide an accommodation to enable a disabled employee to satisfy the duty or meet the standard if it is reasonable.

Reasonable accommodations must not be unduly burdensome (feasible or plausible), effective in meeting the needs of the disabled individual and they cannot cause undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense) for the agency.

Agencies are not required to provide the exact accommodation that is requested but the accommodation provided must be effective in meeting the needs of the federal employee.

Example of Reasonable Accommodation — A federal employee has an eye disability that makes it difficult for the employee to read small font on a standard computer. The employee requests a computer software tool that magnifies font sizes to make documents easier to read.

This accommodation is reasonable because it is a common-sense solution to remove a workplace barrier when the job can be effectively performed with a larger font size. This accommodation is effective because it addresses the employee’s eyesight disability and enables him/her to perform the job duties. The accommodation does not cause undue hardship because the software is easy to obtain and the cost is minimal to the agency.

Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

In order to obtain a reasonable accommodation a disabled employee must inform the agency that an accommodation is needed. The request for an accommodation can be made at any time during employment. The process for requesting a reasonable accommodation is very informal and usually occurs through conversations between the employee and the agency.

The request does not have to be in writing, but it is recommended that something in writing be provided for the purposes of record keeping. Agencies may also have a designated form that is provided to federal employees making a reasonable accommodation request. An agency may not cause unnecessary delay in responding to a request for accommodation.

An agency’s failure to participate in a dialogue (otherwise known as the “interactive process”) about accommodation after a request is made or the causing of undue delay could result in liability for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation.

Generally, a federal employee requesting a reasonable accommodation is not required to submit medical evidence. However, in certain instances, an agency may require reasonable documentation to verify the disability and the type of accommodation that is necessary.

The agency is not allowed to require any more documentation than what is necessary to establish a disability and that the disability necessitates a reasonable accommodation. Agencies may not demand documentation when the disability and the need for reasonable accommodation are obvious.

It is very important for federal employees in need of a reasonable accommodation that they seek the advice of an attorney regarding their request in order to ensure compliance with agency-specific procedures.

Legal representation can also be beneficial in addressing reasonable accommodations as they relate to adverse employment actions or termination.

Our law firm represents federal employees seeking reasonable accommodations and in other federal retirement matters.

Conclusion

If you are in need of federal employee retirement law 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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Rethink Energy: Duct Sealing is More Important than You Think

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

If you cool or heat your home with forced air through vents and duct returns, keep reading.

Duct sealing is a great way to improve home comfort, save money and improve indoor air quality. How much of a difference in home heating and cooling efficiency do you think duct sealing makes? According to the EPA, as much as 20 percent.

What’s the big issue with duct sealing? 

For starters, your air ducts are a vital part of your cooling and heating system. Metal on metal ductwork connections are never a perfect fit and over time ductwork can separate, creating holes and cracks.

These holes and cracks mean that your air conditioning or heating is likely blowing into your walls, crawl space and attic, and are creating uneven temperatures in your home. It also means that air may be pulled from your crawl space or attic into your home in your air duct returns. That isn’t the healthiest air to breathe.

What’s the fix? 

A technician can seal your ductwork where it is visible using an adhesive called mastic, coupled with professional grade foil tape. Believe it or not, duct tape is never recommended. The technician will also check for disconnected or poorly connected ducts and reattach them.

Most duct work isn’t visible because it is behind your walls, in your attic and crawl space, or beneath floors. Sealing that part of your ductwork requires an aerosol-based product. This process seals your ducts from the inside out. It is the most effective way to seal your ducts. This video helps to detail the process.

Take the next step to home comfort and seal your ducts. It will make sure that your air is healthier, your home is more evenly cooled and heated, and your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard.

Check out the contractors that participated previously in Arlington’s Home Energy Rebate Program and see who has done work in Arlington: https://environment.arlingtonva.us/energy/rebates/contractors/

Have questions? Email us at [email protected]

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Small Biz Focus: Celebrating the Sheroes of Business During Women’s History Month

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

By Tara Palacios

Women are launching businesses at a high rate in BizLaunch.

From cyber security companies to health and wellness to engineering, women are starting and leading a variety of innovative businesses in the Arlington community. In fact, the number of women-owned businesses is growing at a rate five times faster than the national average.

March is Women’s History Month and BizLaunch will be celebrating our women entrepreneurs at two dynamic events.

First, we begin the month by kicking off our latest Brunch and Business Series: Celebrating the Sheroes of Arlington Business on March 6, 2019 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Arlington Economic Development. We will hear from three entrepreneurs as they share their stories of perseverance, dedication and hard-work.

At this free event, you’ll have the opportunity to network and learn the diverse journeys of women who have lived their dreams of founding their successful businesses.

Next, BizLaunch is honored to co-host with SCORE DC our first regional Women’s Entrepreneurs’ Conference entitled weTHRIVE. The information packed conference will be held all day on March 21, 2019 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall.

Women entrepreneurs will lead sessions on marketing, government contracting, access to capital and product development and launch.

Running a business is an amazing achievement of success. It is not easy. Nor is it for everyone. Many of our women entrepreneurs have great stories to tell as they journey to embody their dreams.

In the words of Anne Sweeney, former President of Disney ABC, and Co-Chair of Disney Media, “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”

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Neighborhood Spotlight: Get a Breathtaking View of D.C. From the Observation Deck in Rosslyn

https://www.facebook.com/kerishullteam/videos/365106244344780/?v=365106244344780

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

In this video, Cassidy Ginivan from the Keri Shull Team takes us up to the Observation Deck in Rosslyn.

After passing through the box office just across the street from the Rosslyn Metro, you’re ushered into a glass elevator that starts up — and up, and up, an even longer ride than the Rosslyn escalator — as the streets shrink below you.

Soon you’re hundreds of feet above the rooftop patios of Arlington, the clouds look closer and you’re at eye level with blue sky through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

A dark blue, geometrically fascinating ceiling glimmers with constellation-style lights overhead. As you walk the perimeter, your 360-degree view of Arlington, D.C. and surrounding land is punctuated by touch panel displays — “Windows into History” — where you can get hands-on with fascinating facts about historic figures and famous landmarks.

This is the Observation Deck.

The Observation Deck is just across the street from the Rosslyn Metro stop and 400 vertical feet above. It’s a space full of sleek glass and gleaming metal where you can gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows for a sweeping view of D.C. and Arlington.

It’s fun to pick out familiar landmarks, from Courthouse to the National Mall… and it will make you wonder yet again why your commute, which looks so small from above, has to take so long.

Things To Do Above the Skyline

The Observation Deck’s aerodynamic-looking interior is as beautiful as the view itself, and there are lots of fun things to do here.

Don’t miss the Instagram experience, where you can get amazing photos above the skyline with perfect natural lighting. Hover D.C., an immersive flyover experience, allows you to see and feel what it’s like to hover over the city with actual birds-eye footage of the nation’s capital, even restricted airspace. See the rooftops pass beneath your feet as the wind blows in your face.

There’s now a new lounge bar on the 32nd floor — called “The View” — pouring Champagne and displaying photos from local photographers. For a chance to get noticed and have your photo shared on screens in the champagne bar, tag your own photo from the Observation Deck or surrounding D.C. area with the hashtag #TheViewofDC on any social platform.

Events include Sunrise yoga every month, the Revolutionary Rivalry event on March 9th to prepare for the George Mason versus George Washington basketball game and many other events announced via @theviewofdc on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What are some other good spots for a scenic view in Arlington? Let us know in the comments.

If anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home in the DMV, contact the Keri Shull Team today!

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Your Beermonger: Through the Haze — How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Juice Bomb

This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

The rise of Hazy/Juicy/New England-style IPAs was probably my first “old man yells at cloud” moment as a beer “professional”, or whatever it is I am.

They weren’t bitter, and the “haze for haze’s sake” thing was almost immediately obnoxious to me. It felt like style was trumping substance, not to mention the difficulty in keeping up with the tide of frequent new releases.

The thing that might’ve irked me the most was that I really liked a lot of the beers that kicked off the movement, and have enjoyed many that followed. To name only a few: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper is great, and if anything I enjoy Focal Banger even more.

The Lawson’s Finest Liquids beers I’ve tried have been excellent. I adore Two Roads’ Two Juicy, Solace’s Partly Cloudy and mostly anything Commonwealth Brewing Company puts out, and have been on a recent kick with Fat Orange Cat’s Write Drunk Edit Sober (pictured — how did they know?).

So, as usually happens once I get over myself, I found myself far more open to new takes on the style, and more easily able to discern what I liked/disliked in a Hazy IPA, and whose versions I tended to prefer. Not much of a surprise there.

What did surprise me was something I started noticing before, but especially after I rejoined the staff here at Arrowine: how many wine drinkers were getting into Hazy IPAs.

Actually, the idea coalesced observing our own fearless leader himself, Doug Rosen. Where just a few years ago, you couldn’t pay him to drink the average IPA, now he’d try new Hazy IPA arrivals and note their flavors, and balance. This threw me for a loop. What balance? I would think. There’s little or no bittering hop here; little in the way of malt character — where’s the balance in that? 

But it wasn’t just Doug saying things like this; a number of our customers, especially our more wine-centric ones, were finding themselves enjoying IPAs, many for the first time.

I realize now that I was thinking of “balanced” IPA in terms of what it used to be — which I still love, mind you — back in the days of the IBU wars, when the more aggressively bitter your IPA was the more sought after it became.

With an emphasis on low bitterness, fruity aromas/flavors and specific varietal characteristics (from hops rather than grapes), Hazy IPAs are a great gateway beer for wine fans, many of whom are discovering that they didn’t dislike “hoppy” beer so much as overly “bitter” hoppy beer.

So, scoff at that orange juice-looking beer on Instagram (like I still do at more egregious examples), but bear in mind that it and others like it are expanding beer’s audience and consumer base at a time when between an explosion of new breweries, continued growth in hard liquor/cocktails and the looming competition of legalized marijuana (more on that at some point), new consumers are more important and more difficult to draw in than ever.

Until next time.

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