The week in review

Worst trend: Charlottesville becomes the wild West again with another incident of gunfire on a weekend night at a crowded venue. The latest bullets erupt March 22 at the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot during a 20-person brawl, in which two are stabbed, according to the Daily Progress. Antwan Chambers, 20, of Buckingham, racks up five charges including reckless use of a firearm, and possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. Four other people arrested with him face drug charges. The previous weekend, two men are shot downtown outside the Elks Club, and early March 8, multiple gunshots are fired on the Corner.

Worst news for texters-while-driving: Governor Bob McDonnell signs into law a bill that makes it a primary offense.

Worst news for vote fraudsters and for women who don't think their health insurance is the government's business: In the former, a category of crime that rarely happens, McDonnell signs a law that requires Virginia voters to produce a photo ID at the polls in 2014. The Guv also adds an amendment to health care reform that prohibits abortion coverage in insurance plans purchased through the federally run health care exchanges, the AP reports.

Worst spill: A kerosene-carrying truck overturns on Route 810 in Whitehall around 7am March 19.

Biggest oops: Bridge Ministry's Reverend William Washington, Jr. says he didn't know the rebuilt Camaro his organization sold had to have a new registration and pleads guilty to a Class 1 misdemeanor March 20, the Daily Progress reports. Washington was originally charged with two felonies, and with good behavior won't serve any of his suspended 12-month sentence.

Biggest pay discrepancy: Public defenders make about 25 percent less than prosecutors, a situation Public Defender Jim Hingeley wants to remedy. He's asking Albemarle and Charlottesville to up their contributions to attract and retain defense attorneys.

Most frightening: Greene County locks down its schools March 20 for about an hour– but refuses to release info about the perceived threat that later devolves into a misunderstanding.

Most surprising part of town for a mugging: Three people are robbed around 10:45pm March 19 on Fourth Street NE behind the Charlottesville Circuit Court. Two young men, one shielding his face with his arm, take cash from a 61-year-old man, a woman in her 50s, and another in her 70s.

Most likely to slit their wrists: Parents with school-age children kept home March 25 by snowfall (real, this time) for the umpteenth time this year.

Healthiest: Albemarle is the healthiest county in Central Virginia and fourth in the state, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin. NoVa's Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington top the list.

Stormiest waters: Seminole Square-owner Great Eastern Management and Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia sue Charlottesville and Albemarle County for allowing Stonefield developer Edens to divert water under U.S. 29. The suit alleges that it will flood Seminole Square and Pepsi properties. Edens is named as a defendant in the suit as well.

Best reappearance: Beta, the black Lab service dog missing since March 9 in the Key West neighborhood, is dropped off at the Charlottesville SPCA over the weekend. The blood-sugar monitoring pooch has been returned to her diabetic 11-year-old owner in Fort Worth, Texas. The DP reports police allegations that the dog may have been stolen.

Best hello kitty: UVA stops its controversial practice of using live cats to teach students how to intubate infants and adopts out the practice specimens. Ted Strong has the story in the Progress.

Biggest about-time: Albemarle announces its enforcement of state law prohibiting signs in highway rights of way (ahem, realtors and political operatives). County staffers are removing the signs and violators could be hit with a $100 fine.

1 comment

I've had a personal enforcement policy for many years. Whenever I see one of these cardboard signs posted on utility poles or stuck in the ground next to roads, I stop where convenient and take them down. I view it as picking up litter and have been aware for a very long time that such posting is illegal.