4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Worst way to end the year: With a murder and attempted suicide. Khalil Akeem Powell, 19, shoots his girlfriend, 21-year-old Sanada C. Monroe, December 26, and turns the gun on himself. Monroe's death is the second murder at Westhaven this year.

Most births: Charlottesville moms have given birth to 1,761 babies at Martha Jefferson as of December 26, topping the hospital's previous record of 1,743 in 2003, Brian McNeill reports in the Daily Progress. UVA had 1,641 newborns as of November 30, and was on track to top the 1,714 born there in 2006.

Most deaths: Virginia's highway death toll stands at 997 December 27– before the New Year's weekend. Last year, 961 people died on Virginia roads. A spike in motorcycle deaths is blamed for the state's high tally.

Most meth: Twenty-four people in the Charlottesville area are convicted of methamphetamine trafficking for distributing 100 pounds from Rockbridge to Greene counties, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee announces in a December 20 release. Cell phone "wire intercepts" reveal Crozet as a hub of meth distribution for one of the two busted organizations.

Most swimmingly for the YMCA: Charlottesville City Council votes 3-2 December 17 to lease the Y three to five acres in McIntire Park and contribute $1.25 million in exchange for swim lane priority for CHS teams. Seth Rosen has the story in the Progress. 

Most swimmingly for the Charlottesville Fire Department: Council votes 4-1 to hire six medics and lease-purchase two new ambulances, despite criticism from the all-volunteer Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad that such an expenditure is unnecessary.

Least swimmingly for citizens: The city could decide to bill residents for ambulance service, and Albemarle County is also tossing around the idea.

Newest mayor: Dave Norris takes the mayoral reins from David Brown, who's served the past four years. Norris says he's the unanimous choice of his fellow councilors, who are expected to vote him in January 7.

Baddest cop: Former Greene County sheriff's office lieutenant Leftery N. "Terry" Tsouroutis pleads guilty December 17 to transporting a teen-aged police informant/ crack addict across state lines to have sex and of making false statements to the FBI. He'll be sentenced in March.

Strangest disappearance: Former Charlottesville resident Anu Solanki, 24, disappears December 24, and her Honda Accord is discovered near the Des Plaines River in Illinois, where she'd planned to dispose of a broken statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, the Chicago Tribune reports. Authorities believe she's with a man, 23, from California.

Biggest fund-raiser in supervisor race: David Wyant raised $61,239 but that wasn't enough to hold on to the White Hall seat, which Ann Mallek took with $41,555 in contributions, according to Virginia Public Access Project. Ken Boyd amassed the second largest war chest at $60,541. 

Biggest lump of coal: Blue Ridge Earth First carolers singing "I'm Having Nightmares of a Coal Christmas" as they deliver a sack of coal to Bank of America on the Downtown Mall December 18 to protest the bank's investment in companies that practice mountaintop removal.  

Biggest Baptists: Author John Grisham signs on to speak at former President Jimmy Carter's "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant" in Atlanta at the end of January, joining Bill Clinton and Al Gore, according to the Associated Baptist Press.

Best lawyer: Brad Chandler marks his 25th time being listed in Best Lawyers in America, according to a release.

Most thought-provoking headline: "Cooking 101: Potatos [sic] more dangerous than they appear" explodes off the page of the December 27 Nelson County Times.

Best phonetic headline: "Mountaineers annihilate Blue Hose by 67" appears in the December 16 Progress, chronicling the West Virginia women's basketball team's victory over Presbyterian.