4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

First '08 City Council showdown: Mayor and affordable housing advocate Dave Norris finds his proposal to dedicate two cents of the property tax rate and 25 percent of the lodging tax derailed on February 4, 3-2, despite about 125 homeless and their advocates packing City Council chambers, Seth Rosen reports in the Daily Progress. New Councilor Holly Edwards votes with Norris, while the rest of Council balks at committing a dedicated stream of tax revenue to affordable housing.  

Worst scholastic find: A student is arrested February 4 for bringing a gun to Walton Middle School February 1 and giving it to a classmate to hide in a locker. 

Worst fire: A January 30 blaze in Lovingston takes the life of Shatia Arrington, 27, and her son, Andre Brown, 11. 

Longest sentence: Robert Wayne Wyant gets seven years November 14, 2006, for fatally shaking his girlfriend's baby, Rob Seal reports in the Progress. A jury convicted Wyant, a former volunteer firefighter, of second-degree murder and child abuse.

Most reduced sentences: Nine UVA students who faced felony charges for swiping the Hokie Bird last March receive misdemeanors and unsupervised probation if they stay out of trouble, the Roanoke Times reports. The Phi Society Nine claim the theft wasn't sanctioned by their fraternity and claim they didn't intend to steal Farmer Hokie, which was ripped from its base over the weekend of March 24 and returned a week later.

Smallest increase (comparatively, anyway): Charlottesville's residential real estate assessments rise just 4.2 percent this year instead of the whopping double-digit increases homeowners have seen in the past few years, like last year's 15 percent.

Biggest clarification: Albemarle Supe Dennis Rooker joins the undecideds on raising the county tax rate, stepping away from the "yes" position reported on the February 1 cover of the Progress.

Best schools: Murray Elementary and Western Albemarle earn the Governor's Award for Educational Excellence.

Best way to watch police: The County has three openings on its citizens advisory committee.

Best short film: Crozetian Rick Preve's The Night Before comes in first out of 120 films from 15 countries at the Second International Short Film Festival in Chennai, India.

Best blogger o' the month: The Washington Post's Marc Fisher picks Waldo Jaquith for his work on Richmond Sunlight– "the most wonderful tool any state government could ever wish for–" which Fisher calls a "Facebook for state politics junkies."

Best shot-putter: Darden student Adam Nelson wins the 101st Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden February 1, and is a contender for the U.S. Olympic team, USA Today reports.

Best new direction: Author John Grisham tells a church crowd in Atlanta how the Mississippi Baptist Church he attended as a child used the Bible to justify segregation and sexism, and he urges his fellow Baptists to embrace diversity, to stay out of politics, and to get out and help the needy at January 31 event convened by former president Jimmy Carter.

Least hospitable: Some legislators boo a group of teens visiting the state Capitol January 31 after Delegate David Toscano introduces them as members of the Charlottesville Young Liberals club, according to the Washington Post. Aides say the lawmakers were just joking, and Toscano keeps smiling.

Most meows: Another Virginia legislator amplifies cat sounds during the February 1 debate on the bill that makes it a felony to steal felines, Bob Gibson reports in the Progress.