The week in review

Newest BoV member: Governor Bob McDonnell appoints prominent UVA/McDonnell donor Bill Goodwin to the Board of Visitors. Goodwin has served on the BoV before, and this fall, in an advisory position, he told the faculty Senate chair to get over the summer's Dragas debacle. Ted Strong has the story in the Daily Progress.

Quietest certification: McDonnell signs off on controversial requirements that abortion clinics meet hospital standards December 29 without the usual press release that accompanies executive actions, notes the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Latest in Boy Scout forcible sodomy case: Former troop leader David Brian Watkins waives a preliminary hearing January 7. His case goes to the grand jury February 4.

Most chilling abduction details: Mark Lawrence Weiner, 53, allegedly sent taunting text messages to the boyfriend of the 20-year-old woman he's charged with kidnapping December 14. In a January 3 preliminary hearing, the 20-year-old victim described Weiner putting a dark bandana over her face and then waking up in an abandoned house off Richmond Road, Samantha Koon reports in the Progress. Weiner's felony abduction with intent to defile goes to the grand jury.

Most curious choices for a bomb threat: The Food Lion on Fifth Street? The store is evacuated briefly the evening of January 1 after a male-sounding caller made the threat. No bomb is found. The FedEx Kinko's gets a bomb threat the morning of January 7.

Most burglaries: Amherst resident Kevin Scott Burchardt, 32, is charged with 12 nighttime residential break-ins that allegedly took place between December 25 and 27 in Fluvanna, according to a release. Additional charges from other jurisdictions, including Albemarle, may be pending.

Most pathetic armed robbery choice: The pizza delivery guy, a perennial target, is hit December 30 in the 700 block of Orangedale Avenue, the DP reports. Three black males in their early 20s make off with six pies and cash. The driver is unhurt.

Most contested constitutional office: Longtime city treasurer Jennifer Brown resigned in October, and City Council voted to name her deputy, Jason Vandever, interim treasurer until Brown's term expires in November. On January 4, City Council watchdog John Pfaltz, 77, announces a run for the office and a special election will be held in April.

Most highly qualified: The Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association endorses Louisa attorney Deborah Tinsley for the opening in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court when Judge Dwight Johnson steps down at the end of January, WINA reports. That recommendation goes to the General Assembly.

Biggest blaze: Resin-rich kindling and an electrical problem set Plow and Hearth in Barracks Road Shopping Center afire January 7.

Biggest bust: Maurice Toneal Harris is arrested December 14 after police find three buckets, a Redskins duffel bag, and a Gucci backpack filled with cocaine and marijuana at his 154 Burnet Street residence, along with guns, cash, and nearly 50 rounds of ammunition, according to the Progress.

Biggest anniversary: The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation is January 1.

Biggest gun change: Charlottesville Police modify their M16A1s from automatic to semiautomatic at a cost of about $40 per weapon, and the SWAT team is in the process of doing the same with M4s because the automatic weapons are difficult to hold on target and present liability issues, Henry Graff reports for NBC29.

Latest defection in UVA's creative writing department: Chilly Scenes of Winter author Ann Beattie resigns and says she disagrees with some university officials about the direction of the school, and she tells the Chronicle of Higher Education she was disappointed the dean of arts and sciences turned down her request for a sabbatical in 2010. Beattie and her husband, artist Lincoln Perry, are leaving Charlottesville to live in Maine. About a year ago, MacArthur genius grant recipient Deborah Eisenberg jumped ship for a position at Columbia.

Latest death knell for newspaper subscribers: The Washington Post ups its home delivery rate to $46 a month. Ouch.


"the Goodwins' financial support to Darden exceeds $25 million, making them the school's largest donors and among the most generous contributors to the University of Virginia......
It was Goodwin, as chairman of the school's trustees in the early '90s, who set Darden on its modernization course. At his urging, the school abandoned plans for a modest renovation of its old building and launched planning and construction of the Darden Grounds, an ensemble of state-of-the-art facilities designed in the Jeffersonian style. "

Congrats to the Jefferson Area Tea Party for ignoring Council's 5-0 to annoint the deputy treasurer without a special election and helping to convince the judge to hold the election after all. They did this before there even was a candidate that announced a run. Council had too much power already to be making political appointments also of constitutional offices meant to be elected by the people.

At least city residents will have a choice for an office that's been in a Democrat stranglehold for decades. They should get to choose who handles their tax dollars.

So what if the special election will cost money to run? That's something goverment SHOULD be paying for, unlike much of the nonsence spending that Council does to get its members re-elected time and again.

May the best candidate win.