Reston, VA

Pet of the Week: Scott

Meet Reston’s newest Pet of the Week, Scott. Scott is a friendly guy who’s just looking for his scratcher-in-chief.

Here’s what his friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team had to say about him:

Scott is a little bit shy at first, but once he knows he’s home, he wants to tell you all about it!

He’s got a big loud meow and a bigger purr. He likes to be petted and held. He loves to play with string toys — or really any toys. He doesn’t need constant attention and will settle in for a nap or a bird watch when you’re busy with other things. This young man is ready for action when you’ve got a spare moment! He’s great with the litter box and loves a good ear scratch.

Will you be his scratcher-in-chief and give this little love bug a forever home?

Are you and Scott the perfect match?

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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.

Our law firm has represented both employees and employers in employment investigations. This article discusses some of the issues involved when an employer conducts an investigation in the workplace and also issues that employees should consider.

Employers conduct workplace investigations into employee complaints typically because they may face legal consequences if confronted with allegations that they do not investigate. For example, if an employee alleges sexual harassment, religious discrimination or race discrimination at work and the claims are not investigated, an employer can be more readily held liable should litigation later occur. The same type of investigation is necessary when dealing with claims of whistleblowing and other alleged inappropriate conduct at work.

Of note, Virginia has recently added a number of new pro-employee protection laws that will make workplace investigations more likely.

Typical Steps in a Workplace Investigation

In most employment investigations, it’s common for an employer to hire an outside law firm (or occasionally use internal counsel) to conduct an employment investigation. Other employers will begin the process with human resources personnel conducting the investigation.

Once an investigator is appointed, they will start their investigation. From the employer’s perspective, their ultimate goal is to minimize their liability. While an investigator may find an individual employee at fault, the investigator ultimately wants to find and document that no fault on the part of an employer occurred. They also want to document the fact that they seriously looked into the allegations at issue.

While these vary, the following steps usually take place in an employer investigation:

  1. The investigator reviews the complaint and plans their investigation.
  2. The investigator then interviews the complainant or complainants regarding the allegations.
  3. The investigator interviews the employee or employees with knowledge of the issues in the complaint and allegations.
  4. The investigator interviews the accused employee or employees.
  5. The investigator conducts follow-up interviews of any witnesses as needed.
  6. The investigator reviews any relevant documentation, emails or other evidence involving the complaint.
  7. The investigator often concludes by issuing a final report with recommendations to an employer.
  8. The investigator or employer human resources personnel, to varying degrees, informs the complainant and/or employees under investigation of the outcome of the investigation.

Employee Representation

Depending on the employer and circumstances, an employee may have the right to legal representation during the investigative process. We assist complainants during such investigations and also defend employees accused or under investigation in the workplace for alleged misconduct. It is highly recommended that both complainants and those under investigation have legal counsel.

Results of the Workplace Investigation

Once an employer’s investigation is over, the outcome can vary. A report might be prepared, along with recommendations on actions to be potentially taken.

The investigation can result in the termination or other discipline for an accused employee or employees. The investigation can also result in a complainant filing an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint against an employer. Finally, an investigation can also vindicate an accused employee. No matter the outcome, an employer must be careful in avoiding retaliation against a complaining employee, even when their complaint is found to not be sustained. Retaliation is quite common against complainants, and employers can be held liable for retaliation when this occurs.

Each investigation is different, and different employers vary significantly in how they handle workplace investigations. Complainants and other employees should be represented throughout the process.

Conclusion

If an employee needs assistance with an employment investigation or other issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070, or visit our website to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or connect with us on Twitter.

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The biggest question a homeowner faces when taking on a $15K+ bathroom renovation is, “Will I be happy with my new bathroom?”

The answer will be based primarily on the bathroom’s design. Finding a reputable contractor who can do the work takes effort — but it is doable. The real challenge of creating a beautiful space is aligning design concepts with personal taste. Enter a professional designer. However, even for a small bathroom that service typically costs thousands.

Until now.

Local bathroom renovation startup Remodelmate has introduced a tech-based service allowing homeowners to pair with a professional designer for $650 — a fraction of the traditional cost.

It starts with a link sent to the homeowner’s smartphone allowing them to quickly scan their existing bathroom. The app takes thousands of photos and measurements, creating a 3D model of the space.

The designer references homeowner inspiration images and uses photorealistic rendering technology to apply an initial design to the 3D model, which is then refined until the final image matches the homeowner’s vision.

The homeowner ends up with a magazine-worthy design that matches their personal style, including virtual photographs of the finished bathroom — all before any materials are ordered or construction begins.

Learn more at remodelmate.com.

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Meet Classy Carolina, a friendly Great Pyrenees mix who’s looking for her forever home.

Here’s what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Meet Carolina, a beautiful Great Pyrenees girl who weighs about 65 pounds and is just barely 1 year old. She’s such a nice girl, friendly and affectionate — even does well on a leash. We’re confident Carolina will make her adopters a terrific companion. This great girl is a nice blend of friendly affection and normal puppy playfulness and will bring lots of love to any home.

Are you and Classy Carolina the perfect match?

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We are excited to announce that The Kensington Reston, our beautiful assisted living and memory care community on Sunrise Valley Drive, is now open and welcoming residents.

We spent the last year getting ready to deliver to seniors an extraordinary place designed and built to meet their unique needs. We hired best-in-class professionals whose hearts are as big as the sun. And we trained them to provide care and service that reflect our constant commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of older adults.

We promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. Our care and assistance is more comprehensive than what many other traditional assisted living communities can offer. Excellent staff-to-resident ratios help deepen connections between caregivers and residents. Pocket programs — personalized small-group activities — foster friendships and a sense of purpose. Two levels of memory care address the challenges unique to each phase of disease progression. Couples are welcome and can reside together in the same suite, even if their care needs differ. And we are following all recommended COVID precautions.

We’re standing by, eager to listen and ready to help.

Schedule an appointment for a personal tour, or RSVP to our open house this Saturday, Feb. 20, by emailing [email protected] or calling 571-494-8100.

Visit our website at www.KensingtonReston.com for more information.

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Meet Sabrina and Sheba, loving senior tabbies who are up for adoption locally.

Here’s what their friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team had to say about them:

Sabrina and Sheba are very well loved pet tabbies who have been together their whole lives. Unfortunately, their owner just died so they need a new loving home to live out the rest of theirs as well.

Are you, Sabrina and Sheba the perfect trio?

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This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Inventory is starting to pick up, but it is happening very slowly. Interest rates are astonishingly low at 2.5% to 2.8%, which puts home ownership within reach of many more buyers. The single-family house and townhouse market is moving at a fast pace. The condo market is also moving quickly but is much more price sensitive, so if you’re selling a condo, you’ll really need to pay close attention to the price relative to the condition.

If you are a buyer in this market, you will need to do your homework upfront so you can act quickly when the right property comes on the market. What does that mean?

  1. Go ahead and choose your lender and get ALL your documentation completed so that all you need to do is give them a ratified contract.
  2. Have your agent review the contract and the buying process upfront. Make sure you understand the contract contingencies and the risks that come with choosing to waive them to make your offer stronger.
  3. If you are not inclined to waive contingencies, discuss with your agent how you can make your offer the most appealing.

Look for more inventory in the next few weeks.

Here are few of the properties that settled in the past 10 days:

1446 Yellowwood Court
4 BD/3.5 BA
List Price: $535,000
Sold Price: $545,000

 

 

11717 Karbon Hill Court
2 BD/2 BA
List Price: $310,000
Sold Price: $300,000

 

 

1719 Ivy Oak Square
3 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $415,000
Sold Price: $420,000

 

 

For information on great Reston neighborhoods, or if you would like a free valuation of your home please feel free to contact me.

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Virginia Tech is launching its newest MBA program option, the Online MBA, in response to the changing needs of students and the workplace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new format allowed us to combine some of the tried and true features of our established in-person MBA formats and online master of information technology to craft the best possible educational experience for students who value consistent interaction with their classmates and also want the flexibility of an online program,” said Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs.

“We’ve sought to include the best aspects of our top-ranked Evening MBA, experiential-focused Executive MBA and hybrid Professional MBA, both in curriculum development and online delivery,” said Dana Hansson, director of MBA programs. “We’ve integrated feedback from students in all formats to determine how we can offer the best educational experience online.”

It’s this feedback that informed some of the unique features of the 22-month Online MBA that distinguish it from other online MBA offerings in the marketplace.

While fully online, delivery of the new program will be evenly split between synchronous and asynchronous experiences. “While students appreciate the flexibility of asynchronous learning, many shared with us that meeting synchronously best mirrors an on-campus experience. It allows students to participate actively in class discussions and study teams, develop working relationships with their peers and engage with Virginia Tech’s top-notch faculty,” Hansson said.

The program is cohort-based, which means that students complete their studies in lockstep and have the opportunity to build meaningful professional relationships with their classmates.

Students can choose to specialize their MBA in areas where Virginia Tech has significant expertise, such as cybersecurity, entrepreneurism, health information technology and business data analytics. The program also includes an option to study abroad through the international business specialization.

Online MBA students will also share the support and resources available to all Virginia Tech MBA students. Hansson said this includes access to an established MBA alumni mentoring program, personalized academic advising and membership in Virginia Tech’s vast alumni network.

“We’re excited to provide this new opportunity to professionals across the globe who want to further their careers and join our talented group of students and alumni who are proud to call themselves Hokies.”

Applications for the inaugural cohort are due May 1, with classes starting in July and graduation expected in May 2023.

Learn more at mba.vt.edu/online.

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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.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has enacted new legislation, which now allows for public sector unions to bargain for employee rights and their conditions of employment.

On May 1, 2021, Virginia’s new law will take effect. This is a major change. Previously, localities such as counties, cities or towns were not allowed to recognize or negotiate with labor unions or associations representing their public sector employees. This new law will affect all different types of public sector employees, which will vary from locality to locality. Under the new law, the county or city has to authorize labor unions in their jurisdiction for them to exist.

Virginia’s New Labor Union Law

The new law reads as follows:

§ 40.1-57.2. (Effective May 1, 2021) Collective bargaining.

A. No state, county, city, town, or like governmental officer, agent, or governing body is vested with or possesses any authority to recognize any labor union or other employee association as a bargaining agent of any public officers or employees, or to collectively bargain or enter into any collective bargaining contract with any such union or association or its agents with respect to any matter relating to them or their employment or service unless, in the case of a county, city, or town, such authority is provided for or permitted by a local ordinance or by a resolution. Any such ordinance or resolution shall provide for procedures for the certification and decertification of exclusive bargaining representatives, including reasonable public notice and opportunity for labor organizations to intervene in the process for designating an exclusive representative of a bargaining unit. As used in this section, “county, city, or town” includes any local school board, and “public officers or employees” includes employees of a local school board.

What This Means

Collective bargaining had previously existed in a number of Virginia localities, including in the City of Alexandria, until a 1977 Virginia Supreme Court ruling that barred local governments from collective bargaining with their employees. Fairfax and Arlington counties are already studying the effects the unionization will have. Loudoun County is reviewing the new law as well. In addition, in preparation for the new legislation, Alexandria has proposed a public employees collective bargaining ordinance, including police, fire, labor and trades, and general government employees. In general, unions are not available for senior or managerial-level employees.

In sum, the new Virginia law will allow counties, cities and towns the ability to adopt ordinances recognizing labor unions and enter into collective bargaining agreements with them. The new law is not mandatory for local jurisdictions, but it allows them the ability to permit employees to have unions. If such union interest arises, counties, cities or towns must vote to adopt or not adopt an ordinance authorizing them within 120 days of receiving certification from a majority of public employees in an appropriate bargaining unit. The legislation will ultimately affect police officers, teachers, fire and other types of government employees in Virginia.

The legislation shows that the days of Virginia as an anti-union state are numbered, and this is likely the first step in what will be evolving legislation over the coming years broadening the scope of labor unions in this state.

Contact Us

If you are in need of employment law legal representation or advice, 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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By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

One of the things we love about being a remodeling company in Reston is the diversity of the homes we get to work on! From the original townhomes of Waterview Cluster to the newest condos in Reston, every home tells a story, and we love working with clients who are ready to write theirs.

With many of the houses built in Reston’s early years now well into their fifth decade, you may be living in one and are starting to think it’s time for an update. If this sounds like you, here’s some inspiration for turning your 1970s home into a modern oasis that will stand the test of time.

1. Create a More Open Concept

There was a time when clearly defined rooms were the only way houses were designed and built. It’s very common in older homes in this area. The kitchen. The dining room. The family room. The bonus room that no one really knows what to do with. This often meant the size of the kitchen was compromised leading to odd “U” shaped or cramped galley kitchen.

Over the years, the way we use space has changed with less demand for formal dining rooms and more demand for multi-functional spaces that serve as family gathering areas with informal dining, and let’s face it — once we can safely gather again — the kitchen is THE room where guests congregate.

The kitchen has taken center stage as the place where most homeowners are willing to spend more to get more. The most obvious example of a way to give your kitchen a modern feeling is to create a more open plan concept and increase the usable square footage in your kitchen. This is usually achieved by completely removing walls between rooms. Not in your budget? You can also make a huge difference by creating larger openings between rooms to improve the flow and allow more natural light into your space.

Read our previous blog How to Tell if a Wall is Load-bearing, and ALWAYS get a professional opinion before you take down any walls!

The home below was built at the very end of the ’70s. This is a great example of how removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room enabled us to expand the size of the kitchen and add a large island with lots of room for the family. The dining room was relocated to another room at the front of the home.

In this second example, this Reston townhome had undergone a previous renovation some years ago, but this time around we opened up the kitchen to the dining room, which not only provided better flow and light, it opened up the fabulous view to Lake Thoreau.

2. Flooring, Stairs and Front Doors!

Parquet floors. Small square tiles. Carpet. Painted stair railings. If you love them, don’t change them. However, these are some of the things that really age a home. Some of them are an easy(ish!) fix.

If your hardwood floors have lost their luster, you don’t necessarily need to replace them. Spend the money to get them sanded and refinished. The popularity of hardwood is going nowhere, so if you’ve got some original 1970s wood floors, they are probably a quality product, and the quirks and imperfections acquired over the years make them even more endearing. Take care of them, and give them a chance to shine in their own right!

If you have tile in your kitchen but hardwood floors elsewhere, you may also be able to tooth new hardwood floors into the existing floors. This will require the entire floor to be refinished to avoid a patchy look, but it is possible, and the same flooring throughout provides cohesiveness between spaces.

We’d like to tell you that small square brown/white/yellow/pink/blue 1970s bathroom tile is “in” again. Alas, it’s not. Although a tile called zellige has become popular in recent years, that’s about as close as it gets to the 1970s tile we all know. It’s time to let it go. Want to know more about tile trends and how you can get an updated look? Read our latest blog!

Lastly, unless you live in a cluster neighborhood with HOA rules about what you can and cannot do on the exterior of your home, start with the front door (as long as the Reston Association is OK with that!). Nothing provides better curb appeal and an instant home update than a new front door.

The Reston home below (built in 1970) shows how a beautiful new front door, refinished floors/stairs and modern cable railing bring this home right up to date — but still look perfectly at home!

Read More

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Meet Reston’s newest Pet of the Week, Hank. This good boy is looking for his forever home.

Here’s what Hank’s friends at NOVA Pets Alive! had to say about him:

Hank is 6 months old, 40 pounds and an all around good boy! He gets along with other dogs and doesn’t appear to be bothered by cats.

His foster mom says: “Hank is a sweet, friendly boy who bonds very quickly and will not let you out of his sight but is not obtrusive — will just sit or lay calmly nearby. He is good at matching the pace of the surroundings; if we are on a walk or playing he is excited and active, but when relaxing he is quiet and relaxed as well. He is a great dog and any adopter would be lucky to have him.”

Are you and Hank the perfect match?

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We are proud to announce that our doors are officially open! We spent the past year getting ready to deliver to Reston an assisted living and memory care community designed and built to meet the unique needs of seniors.

Located on Sunrise Valley Drive, adjacent to Reston National Golf Course, it’s beautiful inside and out. We are proud to share that we are the third Kensington community to bring uncompromising care and service to D.C. area seniors and their families.

We will uphold our promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. In fact, we will deliver more comprehensive assistance than many other traditional assisted living communities can offer. Our staff are the most talented and kindhearted professionals we could find. We offer excellent staff-to-resident ratios, which help deepen connections between caregivers and residents. Pocket programs, which are small-group activities tailored to different interests and abilities, foster friendships and boost a sense of mastery.

Two levels of memory care enable us to address the challenges unique to each phase of disease progression. Couples are welcome, even if the care needs of one half of the couple are not the same as the other. Complimentary meals for family and friends make dining together a real treat. And please note, we are taking great care to comply with all COVID safety regulations.

We are currently conducting our tours in-person and are taking all recommended precautions to protect our guests from COVID. We will gladly make a virtual tour available, if you prefer.

No matter what you choose, we’re standing by, eager to listen and ready to help.

Please call us at 571-494-8100 or email us at [email protected] to schedule your tour today!

Visit our website at www.KensingtonReston.com.

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This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

Limited housing inventory continues to be the watchword, though the large number of properties added in the past week with a status of Coming Soon may indicate that things will be losing up soon.

There were 13 new listings this past week in Reston for a total of 68 active listings. The market is very active with 37 properties going under contract and 18 being added to the market in a “Coming Soon” status.

Here are few of the new listings this week in Reston.

A few to watch out for that are in Coming Soon Status:

  • 1846 Golf View Court — 4 BD/2 BA — $615,000
  • 1829 Ivy Oak Square — 3 BD/2 BA — $419,900

For information on great Reston neighborhoods, or if you would like a free valuation of your home please feel free to contact me.

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Meet Reston’s latest Pet of the Week, Adam. This easygoing boy is looking for his forever home.

Here’s what Adam’s friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society had to say about him:

Adam is a large-framed boy. Weighing in at just under 15 pounds, he is long and solid.

Adam is calm, sweet and easygoing. He loves affection and sleeps in bed with his foster mom. Adam has no teeth but that doesn’t affect his eating. He enjoys both wet and dry food. He like toys and has fun batting them around.

Based on his personality, Adam might prefer a quieter home where he will receive one-on-one attention.

Are you and Adam the perfect match?

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This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Inventory is starting to pick up with a jump in housing inventory to 95 homes — 18 of those are in a “coming soon” status and the remaining 77 are active.

Keep in mind if you are not working with an agent you won’t have access to the houses in a coming soon status. Those can only be sent to you from the multiple listing system from a real estate agent.

Hopefully, this bump is a sign of an early spring market to come!

Here are few of the properties that settled in the past 10 days:

11123 Lake Chapel Lane
3 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $815,000
Sold Price $818,500

 

 

12507 Thunder Chase Drive
4 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $629,900
Sold Price: $660,000

 

 

11428 Tanbark Drive
4 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $725,000
Sold Price: $715,000

 

 

1430 Northgate Square #11B
2 BD/2 BA
List Price: $265,000
Sold Price: $260,000

 

 

12000 Market Street #302
3 BD/2 BA
List Price: $570,000
Sold Price: $560,000

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