Pet of the Week: Ritz

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Ritz, a male Black & White/Tuxedo kitten available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about him.

Ritz is a handsome tuxedo kitten with gorgeous white accents. He is as sweet as he is handsome.

He was a bottle-fed kitten, so he thinks people are his best buddies. He loves to cuddle.

He is also quite the sportsman when it comes to playtime. Ritz was born around May 1.

Are you and Ritz a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

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.

Reston real estate continues to be strong in spite of August being a little sleepy.

Inventory is painfully low with just 188 active listings on the market. Hopefully we’ll see more houses enter the market after the Labor Day holiday as people get ready for the fall market.

Year-To-Date sales in Reston are strong. 856 properties have changed hands with a total value $416 million. Typical of Reston, the house prices range from a low of $124,000 to a high of $1,400,000.

Here are a few of the houses that sold this past week.

2318 Glade Bank Way
3 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $399,900
Sold Price: $384,000

 

 

11539 Pine Cone Court
3 BR/2 BA, 2 half bath
List Price: $484,500
Sold Price: $450,000

 

 

11404 Gate Hill Place #B
2 BR/2 BA
List Price: $359,900
Sold Price: $366,000

 

 

11990 Market Street #2002
3 BR/3 BA
List Price: $1,400,000
Sold Price: $1,400,000

 

 

11701 Newbridge Court
4 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $565,000
Sold Price: $571,000

 

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Reno of the Month: Our Team’s Favorite Local Home Remodels!

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Every project we work on has its own story, unique to each homeowner’s needs and personality. Whether it’s a family just about to have their first child or the kids are grown and getting ready to head off to college, every person’s “why” is different. This is one of the reasons we love what we do!

It’s impossible to single out just one as our favorite, so this month we decided to share some of our team’s top picks for our local remodels.

1. Liz, Office & Client Relations Manager

“This Reston kitchen and first floor remodel was one of my favorites because of how special it was for this couple to have their first permanent home given all of their military relocations. They put their trust us in even though they were not currently living in the area and we provided a beautifully finished home for them to move into to grow their family and settle down.”
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2. Matt, Lead Carpenter

“So many projects have had a real effect on me! If I had to pick one, I will go with this kitchen and family room remodel. Just seeing how much my work meant to the family and their way of embracing how Synergy did things, still resonates. The tears of joy and the hugs were amazing!”
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3. Mina, CEO

“I have too many favorites to choose from, however, I’m currently obsessed with a home we’re just finishing up here in Reston. Our clients fully embraced creating an “Intention Painting” (which is writing an “intention” on the walls in order to energetically connect with the purpose of their remodel). The thought and care they put into it and their focus on creating a positive vibe for all who enter their home really resonated with me.”
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4. Nicola, Director of Sales & Marketing

“As a past client myself, I love how Synergy focuses on how each client uses their space and how it can flow better. Every project is unique — there’s nothing cookie-cutter about any of the projects!

This kitchen remodel resonated with me because the homeowner had a beautiful contemporary design aesthetic, but, with 2 young children, the finished spaces were also family-friendly with lots of storage in a mudroom hidden away from the Kitchen.”
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5. Camille, Interior Designer

One of the projects I loved the most was this recent whole home remodel. It’s rare that you get to do an entire home remodel from major construction down to all new furnishings. It’s a designer’s dream to have a project like this! Watching the client’s vision come to life was the best part!”
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6. Mark, COO

“Within weeks of finishing the remodel of their master bathroom and kitchen, tragedy stuck when our client’s outdoor grill caught the house on fire. With the interior a total loss from fire and water damage, it gave us the opportunity to take a terrible situation and make it the home they always wanted — from gutting all three levels, to moving the kitchen from one side of the house to the other, to new decks off the kitchen and master suite — we gave them a completely new home.

In the end, we also gained two great friends with a standing annual celebratory dinner in sharing birthdays with husband, Terry.”
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7. Emily, Interior Designer

“This particular project resonated with me because it was probably the closest to the style I would have for my dream home! The house and property were beautiful and I loved the classic/Colonial style. Also, I love custom cabinetry, and we did a LOT of cabinetry in the kitchen and basement.

There were also so many special touches, like the sleeping nook in the basement game room, coffered ceiling in the kitchen, wainscoting in the powder room and the finishing touch: a cat cut-out in the laundry to conceal the litter box!”
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8. Tom, Architect

“A current home we are working on is one of my favorites because the clients are just such great people to work with! There are also lots of moving pieces in their extensive remodel, and I relish the challenge of making their space perfect for them.”
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9. Lisa, Director of Production

“Besides a major kitchen & living room transformation, the whole house look, feel and style was altered by opening up the stairs and creating a more modern look with the railings. I really enjoyed working with this local family from beginning to end!”
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We couldn’t fit in all of our favorites, so if you’d like to see a few more of our projects, read more about our team or learn about our approach, we’re always happy to help!

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Pet of the Week: Lucky Luke

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Luke, a male Catahoula Leopard Dog & Shepherd mix available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him.

What a beautiful guy Luke is with his interesting coat and soulful eyes!!!

This boy is only 10 months old and weighs about 75 pounds, although he will add more weight as he finishes filling out his lanky frame. Luke is such a happy boy (just look at his pictures!!!) we’re confident he will make his adopters a really great companion.

This boy is such a nice blend of friendly affection and normal puppy playfulness we’re confident he will steal your heart in no time. He is up to date on all shots and dewormings, has been neutered.

Are you and Luke a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Legal Insider: Changing Jobs with a Security Clearance

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.

One of our major practice areas involves representing individuals in security clearance law matters.

We frequently speak to individuals who have issues or concerns relating to their security clearances and are seeking a new position elsewhere. We decided to put together some tips for employees that are changing positions in the context of holding a security clearance.

Tips for employees leaving one cleared position for another:

Leave Your Existing Employer on Good Terms

It is very important to leave your employer on good terms when taking a new position elsewhere. The better the departure, the less likely that you will have issues relating to your security clearance. Keep in mind that a former employer can still report security concerns about a former employee even when they have left.

I recommend the cordial departure approach with supervisors and the company and that the individual take every step possible to keep their former employer happy while you leave.

Know the Status of One’s Clearance Before You Go

It is important to know the status of your clearance before you leave. Too often we have seen a person accept a new position but not realize that their security clearance was out of scope or pending re-investigation, possibly leaving them without an active clearance when they leave.

There is also the possibility that a negative incident report is pending which is unknown at the time of departure. This is a major potential problem where an employee has left their position thinking that all is okay, but then later find out (usually after 2 weeks at the new job) that there is a problem with their security clearance which often leads to a termination.

Have the New Employer Check Your Status Before Leaving the Former Employer 

The individual leaving employment should confirm and re-confirm with the new employer’s security office the status of their security clearance.

This is especially the case where an individual maintains a security clearance in one system, i.e. the Department of Defense JPAS database and attempts to move to a position with an Intelligence Community agency (i.e. NSA, CIA) which is covered by a different database known as Scattered Castles. Sometimes these two databases do not sync well which can cause issues and delays.

Individuals Having Security Incidents Should Take it Slow Before they Leave

One of the most common problems that we come across is when an individual knows that they have an incident report but they still attempt to move to the new employer before their security issue is adjudicated and cleared.

If an individual knows that they have an incident report pending they are typically much better off by staying with their existing employer who will likely keep them employed while the matter is adjudicated. The new employer is far more likely to tell an individual, only after they have left their prior employment, that their clearance has an issue and that they can no longer hire them.

Special Transition Notes

When there is a difficult transition like when the employer is upset with an individual leaving their position for another job it is important to be very careful what the employee takes when with them when they leave the office. We have had numerous cases where an employee leaves one employer under less than favorable circumstances and then the employer claims loss of confidential information and reports the employee to clearance authorities.

In particular, an individual should be very careful in what they take from their computer or printed files from the office. If there is any question, get permission from the employer. Some clients have been reported for taking company emails, files or other information, even if not classified which results in significant security clearance issues.

Conclusion

If you need assistance with a security clearance issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com or securityclearancelawyer.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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Pet of the Week: Optimistic Orion

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Orion, a male Labrador Retriever mix available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him.

Orion and his siblings Olga and Olive are beautiful black lab mix babies, just 12 weeks old and now ready to go to their forever homes. Orion and Olga are a bit bigger than Olive at about 20 pounds but who knows if that will last. We think this group will be a nice medium size of 45 to 55 pounds when grown, give or take a little.

All three of these pups have friendly, happy dispositions and are fairly calm for puppies as you can see in their pictures — we often have to hold the pups to get any kind of pics at all, but these three were very cooperative and happy to pose during their photo session.

This great little guy is a nice blend of friendly affection and normal puppy playfulness and will be great company.

Are you and Orion a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

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

There are just 184 properties on the market in Reston today.

The market is generally very active with 142 properties in a pending status that are making their way through the settlement process. Days on market for pending property is short, averaging just 12 days. For property in an active status the picture is much different. 25% of the housing inventory has more than 100 days on the market.

If you have a property that’s been hanging around it’s time to ask your agent for a new set of comparables, chances are you’ve come on to the market too high to drive buyer interest.

Here are a few of the new houses to hit the market this week.

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Pet of the Week: Sam

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Sam, a Domestic Short Hair kitten available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about him:

Sam is a delightfully affectionate and fun-loving kitten.

He was a bottle-fed kitten, so he has really learned to love people! He also loves his siblings with whom he runs around and plays. He was also raised around a cat-friendly dog.

Sam will make someone a great buddy for life. Sam will be about 8 weeks old the end of June.

Are you and Sam a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

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.

We’ve been acting like it’s summer and been a little slack in getting the weekly numbers out — we’re going to put on our serious face and do better.

So, here’s how the sales in Reston have been this past month. We continue to have low inventory with just 201 active listings. Settled transactions in the same time period were 135, so that means we have about 1.4 months’ worth of housing inventory; meaning that in theory, if no more houses came on the market we’d sell all of the available stock of houses in 1.4 months.

Here are some of the recent sales in Reston.

10753 Blaze Drive
4 BR/4.5 BA
List Price: $1,075,000
Sold Price: $1,050,000

 

 

1550 Northgate Square #12B
2 BR/1 BA
List Price: $249,000
Sold Price: $255,000

 

 

2020 Mock Orange Court
4 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $799,000
Sold Price: $799,000

 

 

2359 Paddock Lane
4 BR/3 BA
List Price: $649,900
Sold Price: $681,000

 

 

11539 Maple Ridge Road
3 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $499,900
Sold Price: $510,000

 

 

1509 Chatham Colony Court
4 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $454,700
Sold Price: $440,000

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Legal Insider: New Virginia Law Restricts Non-Disclosure Agreements

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 Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.

A new Virginia employment law has gone into effect that restricts what employees and employers can agree to in non-disclosure agreements as a condition of the employee’s employment.

On February 22, 2019, the Virginia Governor signed off on House Bill 1820, affecting all Virginia employers. HB 1820 was unanimously passed by both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate during the Virginia General Assembly 2019 Regular Session.

The new law specifically limits the scope of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements between employees and employers regarding the disclosure or concealment of sexual assault claims.

The new law, at Va. Code § 40.1-28.01, prohibits a Virginia employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee from agreeing to a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement that attempts to conceal the details relating to a claim of sexual assault as a condition of employment. Under the new Virginia law, claims of sexual assault include claims of rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and sexual battery.

Va. Code § 40.1-28.01 provides that these types of settlement provisions are contrary to public policy, void and unenforceable in the courts. Va. Code § 40.1-28.01 further provides that the new prohibition on non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements will in no way limit other grounds that exist in law or equity for the unenforceability of any such agreement or any provision of such agreement.

The new law can affect new and existing non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements that attempt to hide claims of sexual assaults related to employment.

Conclusion

If you need assistance with a federal retirement or an employment issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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Pet of the Week: Rapturous Rambo

Meet Rambo, a male Terrier & Shepherd mix puppy available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him.

Rambo and his siblings Rocky and Stella are beautiful little mixed breed babies who likely have terrier, shepherd and collie genetics, a real doggie potpourri — they’re all just as cute and happy as they come.

As they’re fairly petite now at 12 weeks old we don’t think they’ll be very big when grown, maybe about 35 pounds or so, a nice medium size.

This great pup is a nice blend of friendly affection and normal puppy playfulness and will be great company. This friendly, happy little fella is going to bring lots of joy to some lucky adopters.

Are you and Rambo a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Pet of the Week: Molly

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Molly, a young Domestic Short Hair available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team have to say about her:

This young lady (1.5 years old) is super friendly, adjusts quickly to new environments and loves to play. She especially loves throwing her toy mouse in the air and carrying it around with her in her mouth.

She does well chilling independently, but also loves to be around people and sit in laps. She would prefer to be the queen of the household, but would also be fine with another kitty if they give her space.

Although she might be too much for small children to handle, she would make a great addition to those with older children or someone that wants a furry roommate. She deserves a home where she can relax and be the young cat she didn’t get to be due to having kittens!

Are you and Molly a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reno of the Month: The Art of a Hassle-Free Home Remodel

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all been there. We pin design and remodeling ideas like crazy on Pinterest, sit glued to our favorite HGTV show and watch with envy as another house is transformed into a dream home.

Or, we browse Houzz projects and wonder how such a dark, closed-in Kitchen became a light and airy space that looks twice the size, but… we are completely stuck when it comes to our own home!

There are a number of reasons why this happens:

  • Maybe you just don’t know where to start, and the different ways to remodel is making your head spin
  • The horror stories of renovation nightmares made you wary of taking on a remodeling project of your own
  • You just don’t want to deal with the disruption and stress and put up with a space even though it bothers you every time you walk into it

It doesn’t have to be like this! While remodeling can be tricky, it doesn’t need to be stressful. It is possible to have a more zen-like experience and keep your stress in check. While there are many ways to feel more in control, here’s a FREE download of the top ten: Ten Secrets to a Stress-Free Home Remodel.

This month’s featured remodel is a single family home in Reston. Our clients were ready to update the home to better reflect the contemporary architecture as well as open up the floor plan of the Main Level. As a busy and musical family of five (with their eldest child soon to be college-bound), they have A LOT going on!

It would have been easy to put it off indefinitely or wait until all the kids were in college before getting started, but the entire family were “all in” and ready to partner with us to keep stress to a minimum during their remodel. Our main goal was to create more open, light filled spaces to allow the family to gather together and enjoy their home for many years to come.

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling for a while, but just keep putting it off because it all seems too much of a hassle, now is a good time to take the first step on your stress-free remodeling journey!

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Legal Insider: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Members File Suit for Unequal Pay

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.

In April of 2016, we earlier wrote on the efforts of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and their efforts to receive equal pay as compared to the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team.

Much has happened in the past three years to warrant an update. For one, the women’s team has won another World Cup, recently with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. For another, national sponsors of soccer (e.g., Procter and Gamble) have begun to join the fight for equal pay on the side of the women’s team. Lastly, the equal pay movement has become stronger over the past three years. Attached is a copy of the original equal pay complaint.

Equal Pay Cases Take a Long Time

It is an unfortunate fact that the EEOC has taken so long with this case. As mentioned earlier, the case started in early 2016 and originally involved the five team captains of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, such as Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd, who filed a wage discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of all members of the women’s team against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Since the 3-year delay at the EEOC, all 28 women’s team players have withdrawn their EEOC case and filed suit in the federal district court in Los Angeles, alleging that the U.S. Soccer Federation has engaged in several years of institutional gender discrimination. A copy of that complaint is linked.

Equal Pay Complaint

In the latest filing by plaintiffs Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and other women’s team members, they allege the serious pay discrepancies that continue to exist between the men’s and women’s teams.

Specifically, members of the women’s team can potentially earn a maximum of $99,000 a year, while members of the men’s team earn an average of $263,320 per year. Other disparities include the U.S. Soccer Federation only providing charter air flights to the men’s team in 2017, but requiring the women’s team to take commercial air flights.

The reason why this case is so newsworthy is the fact that the women’s team has been out performing the men’s team in rankings and World Cup wins for a long time. The women’s team has been ranked number one in the world for 10 of the past 11 years. Also, in more recent years, the women’s team has been outperforming the men’s team in revenue and profits as well, and in viewership. For instance, the 2019 Women’s Cup Final viewership was 22% higher than the 2018 Men’s Cup Final.

While the Soccer Federation has claimed market considerations as the reason for paying the men’s team more, the women’s team, according to the complaint, has started to outperform the men’s soccer team in revenue and profit in the most recent accounts. Additionally, according to the complaint, the women’s team had even proposed a revenue-sharing agreement where women’s player compensation would be less if their revenue decreased. It seems as if the U.S. Soccer Federation needs a reality check.

Conclusion

It is time that the U.S. Soccer Federation recognize and pay the women’s team at least the same as their male counterparts on the two national teams and provide them the same benefits. We represent employees in employment matters.

If you need assistance with a federal retirement or an employment issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

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

The real estate market in Reston is holding steady with low inventory and strong demand.

Our numbers at this mid-year mark are looking good. We’ve sold slightly fewer homes than this same time last year with 677 this year vs. 721 in 2018; but things are generally very strong.

There are 201 active listings on the market and another 8 in a “Coming Soon” status. The average-days-on-market for active listings is 56 days, which is way above the average for property in a “Pending” status which is just 24.

The driver for a quick sale is always the price. Price is every seller’s best tool for generating action from buyers. Be the best priced, best presented item in your category and you will shorten your days on market, reduce your carrying costs and maximize your bottom line.

Here are a few of the new homes for sale in Reston this week:

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