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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

One of my favorite local restaurant groups was started in 2007 by Mark and Stephen Fedorchak, along with Brian Normile, in Arlington. They own Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, and Northside Social in Arlington.

They’ve also expanded to the city of Falls Church to include Liberty BBQ and the new Northside Social (affectionally referred to as NOSO).

The new NOSO is located on a side street in Falls Church with tons of outdoor seating and 2-levels of seating indoors. It’s great for a cup of coffee and pastry, or their full blown breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

My favorites include the cookies, pop tars, egg sandwiches (salmon and egg!), quiches, grilled cheese (with bacon), charcuterie plates, brussels sprouts and French fries. The food is really, really good, and it helps the staff is friendly and eager to help. In addition, the owners are really nice guys that makes you want to support them.

The have special events like half price wine nights on Monday, date night on Sunday nights (salad & pizza for 2 & a bottle of wine for $45), brunch is every weekend 10 a.m.-3 p.m., but the second Sunday of every month is jazz brunch with live music singer Vanessa Ralls (11a.m.-1 p.m.). They often have dinner with a winemaker night (4 course meals with wine pairings), beer dinners and seasonal events.

I personally hope to see them continue growing both because their food is good, the atmosphere of their restaurants is fun and I love to see a good local business owner succeeding. Well done guys!

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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 Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.

The Federal workforce is presently undergoing significant changes in size and scope.

In some instances, this has led to the Federal government providing incentives for Federal employees to retire early. Federal agencies that are undergoing substantial organizational changes such as reorganization, reduction in force, reshaping or downsizing can be given the option to offer federal employees voluntary early retirement based on the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA). OPM provides guidance on VERA here.

The purpose of VERA is to help agencies complete the necessary organizational change with minimal disruption to the workforce and make it possible for federal employees to receive an immediate annuity payment years before they would be eligible.

The voluntary early retirement provisions are the same under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Requirements for Early Retirement

In order to be eligible to retire under VERA, a federal employee must usually meet the following requirements:

  •  Meet the VERA minimum age and service requirements set by statutes in the U.S. Code for CSRS and FERS employees (i.e., the employee has completed at least 20 years of creditable service and is at least 50 years of age or has completed at least 25 years of creditable service regardless of age).
  • Have been continuously employed by the agency for at least 31 days before the date that the agency initially requested the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval of VERA.
  • Hold a position that is not a time-limited appointment.
  • Have not received a final removal decision based upon misconduct or unacceptable performance.
  • Hold a position covered by the agency’s VERA authority or program.
  • Retire under the VERA option during the agency’s VERA acceptance period.

It is very important for federal employees considering a VERA offer or whether one is available to seek the advice of an attorney regarding their retirement issues prior to initiating the VERA process.

Our law firm represents federal employees that are considering early retirement 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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It’s a good weekend for local foodies.

Roll Bär is a new egg roll, sushi burrito and poke fusion restaurant coming to the Scott’s Run development, but the restaurant is making it’s debut at a pop-up event in the Tysons Biergarten.

From 1-3 p.m., the restaurant will host a tasting in the Biergarten at 8346 Leesburg Pike.

And if you sample Roll Bär early enough, you can make it across town to TenPenh Tysons‘ cooking demonstration at the Tysons Pimmit Library (7584 Leesburg Pike).

Chef Erick from the restaurant near the Tysons Galleria (7900 Westpark Drive) will teach guests how to make grilled shrimp and Vietnamese rice noodle salad. The demonstration runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Photo via Facebook

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It’s a season of duets and intimate conversations for The Barns at Wolf Trap.

First up is Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti and her mother, former Broadway star Linda Benanti, for a musical performance about the relationship between mothers and daughters. Laura Benanti performed in several Broadway productions like “Gypsy”, for which she won Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and Linda starred in the 1981 revival of Brigadoon. The show will have two performances on March 9. Tickets start at $40.

Comedy troupe The Second City will also have five improvised comedy shows from March 20-23. Alumni of the group include Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Bill Murray. Tickets start at $30.

Finally, the venue will host “An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash” on March 25, 27 and 28. Nash is a singer-songwriter and a founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies. Among his many accolades, Nash is a two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Award winner, New York Times bestselling author and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Tickets start at $85.

Here’s the full list of Wolf Trap events in March:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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Tech company Cvent announced an expansion in Tysons last year, and now that expansion is bringing a host of new jobs in the Tysons area.

Cvent creates software for businesses to organize meetings and events. The company signed a 72,000-square-foot expansion that will see the company occupy three floors of Boro Station at 1765 Greensboro Station Place.

The company is advertising a total of 67 jobs. Among those, the company is looking to hire:

There’s a handful of internships with the company available as well:

Photo via Facebook

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Update on 2/16/19 — In a Facebook post, Great American Restaurants announced that the new location will be a “coupling” of Patsy’s American and Randy’s Prime Seafood and Steaks. According to the post:

We are excited to announce, Patsy’s American and Randy’s Prime Seafood & Steaks will be “coupled together” on Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner – with Best Buns Bakery & Cafe opening next door. Named by children Jill, Jon and Timmy Norton – and Great American Restaurants – in honor of founder Randy Norton and his wife Patsy Norton’s 50 years of marriage and nearly five successful decades dedicated to the hospitality industry. 

The new Great American Restaurants eatery reported a few weeks ago was unnamed at the time, but could be the American Seafood Steaks Bakery & Café, which filed permits last week for the same address.

It’s a mouthful, but it accurately describes a planned restaurant said to have bakery, American food and sports bar components.

The new restaurant is being built at 8051 Leesburg Pike, formerly the site of a Chili’s and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, before both were torn down.

The new location is under construction, with a manager at a nearby location from the same company saying the new restaurant was planning to open in June or July.

According to a legal notice in the Washington Post, the restaurant is currently seeking approval to sell alcohol at the site as well. The license is being filed under the name “Fred’s Food Group LLC,” whose only online reference is in connection with this restaurant.

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A wallet was stolen in Reston — and several of the cards inside wound up in Vienna the next day.

The discovery was made Saturday morning at the intersection of Lawyers Road and Windover Avenue NW.

“A citizen was walking their dog when they found a driver’s license and a store card on the road and brought them to the police station,” said this week’s Vienna Police Department crime report. “When an officer notified the owner, they were advised the cards were in their wallet which had been reported as stolen in Reston, Virginia the previous day.”

The wallet, its other contents and the person who took it remain at large.

Map via Google Maps

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Currently, e-bikes are not allowed on Fairfax trails, but that could be changing soon.

NOVA Parks regulations currently group motor-assisted bicycles in with motor vehicles, and they are only permitted where motor vehicles are allowed. The regulation was originally intended to regulate the use of mopeds and does not fully address e-bikes.

As a result, NOVA Parks is recommending a change in Fairfax County’s regulation to allow legal use of e-bikes where other pedal-powered bicycles are permitted.

The new regulations add a specific section — fittingly section “E”– governing e-bikes:

Electric power-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) equipped with pedals that allow propulsion by human power are considered bicycles and non-motorized vehicles for the purpose of these regulations, and are allowed in the same places that traditional, pedal-powered only bicycles are allowed.

Under federal law, e-bikes are broken up into distinct classes, but in Virginia, e-bikes are regulated by power with a maximum allowed speed of 25 miles per hour. In Fairfax, the new regulations would limit e-bikes to those with 750 watts of power or less and limit speed to under 20 miles per hour. E-bikes would be allowed anywhere pedal bikes are.

Like pedal bikes, guidelines say e-bikers should yield to pedestrians and equestrians.

A study by NOVA Parks found that e-bike users exhibit nearly identical behavior as regular bike users, with lower than standard bike speeds and a similar crash rate.

Allowing e-bikes in Fairfax can be a contentious topic, with safety concerns about the size and speed of the vehicles. Large vehicles fitting under the nebulous “e-bike” categorization have been spotted speeding along the trail.

But Alexis Glenn, a board member of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) and an e-bike rider, said it’s practically impossible for most bikes to go more than 10 or 15 mph and are often passed by other pedal-powered bikes on the trail.

“Safety on trails will always, always be an education and culture issue, not an equipment issue,” said Glenn. “The weight of e-bikes actually makes it take longer for a rider to get them up to or maintain high speeds. And, if an e-bike user is somehow able to buzz down a trail at 20 mph without encountering a curve, bump, or other users to slow her down, then the battery will drain fast, rendering the e-bike to just a bike.

“My inclinations aside, yes, speeds are a valid concern and NOVA Parks are working on regulations regarding this,” Glenn continued. “I’ll say it again, speed is a user education issue, not an equipment issue. When a driver speeds recklessly we don’t cite the make and model of his vehicle as the culprit, it’s his bad behavior.”

Glenn said FABB supports the proposed policy change as part of promoting greater use of bicycles for recreation and transportation.

Judy Pedersen, public information officer for Fairfax County Park Authority, said the Park Boards are likely to make a decision on the regulation in the spring.

But in the meantime, Pedersen asked e-bikers to obey current park rules and keep off the trails.

“Until the new regulation is approved by both Boards riding e-bikes on trails would be a violation of park regulations,” said Pedersen. “Current park regulations define any vehicle with a motor (gas or electric) as a motor vehicle, therefore excluding their use on park trails.”

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Morning Notes

Tysons Company Tops Fortune List — Tysons-based Hilton is No. 1 on Fortune’s new 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The hotel operator was also joined by local companies Navy Federal (#29, Vienna), Capital One (#39, Tysons), CustomInk (#86, Merrifield) and Mars Inc. (#98, McLean) on the annual list. [Fortune, Twitter]

State of McLean: Under Construction — “McLean is poised to benefit from a raft of infrastructure and revitalization projects, Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) told the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce Feb. 14 [during] his annual ‘State of McLean’ speech.” [InsideNova]

Falls Church Property Assessments Rise — “Property values are on the rise in Falls Church, according to 2019 assessment data released by the city. Overall residential and commercial property values have increased from January 2018. Commercial property values rose by 4.3 percent and residential real estate values by 2.93 percent over the last year.” [Patch]

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Women’s and safety organizations around McLean are coming together for a panel discussion on combatting local teen trafficking.

In 2017, Virginia ranked sixth in the number of human trafficking cases on federal court dockets. There were 33 active human trafficking cases, most of them in the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes Northern Virginia.

The panel presentation will be led by the Just Ask Prevention Project, a nonprofit based out of Tysons dedicated to combatting sex trafficking helmed by former Detective Bill Woolf. Woolf first became involved with the fight against sex trafficking after he discovered a young victim who was being trafficked by a gang.

The event is scheduled for next Tuesday (Feb. 19) at 7 p.m. at the McLean Presbyterian Church (1020 Balls Hill Road). The discussion is free and open to the public, though the website includes an option to donate to Just Ask Prevention.

The event is being co-hosted by the Women’s Club of McLean, the Safe Community Coalition and the New Dominion Women’s Club.

According to the event description:

“Trafficking and exploitation of teens is appallingly prevalent and underreported in Fairfax County. Help us eradicate this horrendous scourge by learning what makes children vulnerable, how to identify the signs of a possible victim, and what to do if you suspect a teen is being exploited.”

Photo via Facebook

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