The week in review

Latest Baldi plea: The former restaurateur/admitted embezzler Jim Baldi is in Charlottesville Circuit Court July 2 to plead guilty again, this time for taking between $22,000 and $23,000 from Café Cubano, NBC29 reports. Baldi, 49, previously entered guilty pleas on counts in Albemarle, and will face joint-jurisdictional sentencing September 17.

Latest in the McDonnell scandal: Dietary supplement company Star Scientific's Johnnie Williams allegedly gave Governor Bob McDonnell a $6,500 Rolex with the engraving, "71st Governor of Virginia," that was not disclosed, according to the Washington Post. That's on top of other Williams gifts to the first family— his close friends since McDonnell launched his run for governor in 2008— which include $15,000 for the first daughter's wedding catering bill, and a $15,000 Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, who came home with an Oscar de la Renta jacket worth $10,000.

But wait, there's more: Former Governor's Mansion chef Todd Schneider, whose four felony embezzlement charges led to the governor's current imbroglio, claims that he was forced to cater private and political functions for which he was not paid, the AP reports. Instead, Schneider says in a motion to dismiss the embezzling charges that he was told to compensate himself with food from the mansion's larders.

Least surprising person to be stumping for Terry McAuliffe: Former UVA prof and climate change researcher Michael Mann, who was in town July 1 with the Dem gubernatorial candidate and who was the target of a fraud investigation launched by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe's opponent, the DP reports. The Supreme Court of Virginia eventually ruled that Cuccinelli had no authority to launch a civil investigation.

Newest additions to the ACC: Non-Atlantic coastal Notre Dame, along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, on July 1 join what was once a mid-Atlantic, mostly Carolina-based roster of colleges.

Newest law: Do we really have to be told that texting and driving is a bad idea? The General Assembly finally got on board with that, and as of July 1, it's illegal and subject to a $125 fine for the first offense.

Biggest fine: The EPA hits Charlottesville with a $26,000 civil penalty for stormwater violations, Aaron Richardson reports in the Progress. City Council pays up and works to fix the violations.

Biggest grocery: Kroger crushes among local markets, with almost double the sales— $104.2 million— at three stores compared to second place Harris Teeter, whose three locations brought in $56.4 million during the same period of an April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, study by Food World magazine, the Newsplex reports. Food Lion comes in fourth with sales of $41.7 million from four stores. Astoundingly, Food World neglected to include eagerly awaited Trader Joe's, which opened in November.

Best sign the Charlottesville school superintendent is going a good job: Rosa Atkins' contract is extended by four years and sweetened with $45,000 in bonuses, putting her total pay package at $210,500, out earning superintendents in districts with three times as many students, Aaron Richardson reports in the Progress. Since Atkins took the job in 2006, the overall graduation rate between 2008 and 2012 has climbed from 75 percent to 85 percent, and the black student rate has jumped from 66 percent 83 percent.

Worst week for football players and homicide charges: Around the same time the New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez is charged with murder, former UVA linebacker Ausar Walcott, 23, who had been signed by the Cleveland Browns, is charged with first-degree attempted murder and two other charges for allegedly punching a man outside the Palace Gentleman's Club in Passaic, N.J., early June 23. Both players have been released from their teams.

Best news for Paula Deen: The racial-slurring celebrity chef, who has been dropped like a hot potato by most of her business partners, has not been ditched by Grand Home Furnishings, which will keep its Paula Deen line. It's available in Charlottesville and Waynesboro stores for now, reports NBC29.

1 comment

"Do we really have to be told that texting and driving is a bad idea?"
Why, yes we do. Or at least those among us who care not a jot whether they endanger themselves and others, have to face penalties.
A quote ascribed to Honest Abe told how laws without enforcement are simply good advice, and that might apply here.
A large proportion of car "accidents" happen because people have too many other things going on besides watching the road. Laws imposing stiff penalties for being stupid and careless on the roads might help cut the current highway death toll somewhat. While we surrender our privacy and freedom, to protect us from terrorism, consider 3000 dead in the Twin Towers incident ( a largely one trick pony incident). Then consider over 300,000 dead since then in car wrecks, most due to negligence of drivers. Priorities askew just a bit?