The week in review
Most clueless board: The Commonwealth Transportation Board. In late June, VDOT's own engineers peg the cost of building the Western Bypass as $436 million, nearly double the previous estimate. CTB was seemingly blissfully unaware when voting in July to "fully" fund the controversial road. Sean Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow has the story.
Latest Landmark buzz: Rob Schilling reports that cash-strapped internet titan Halsey Minor says he's going to partner up with 2011 Hotelier of the Year Tom Dixon to finish the skeletal downtown landmark– once details with the Federal Deposit Insurance Company and the hotel's bankruptcy are sorted out.
Latest additions to the ACC: Once composed mainly of universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, the ever-swelling Atlantic Coast Conference siphons off two Big East schools– Pittsburgh and Syracuse– to make a 14-school conference.
Latest UVA tuition hikes: The Board of Visitors okays increases of 6.5 percent for each of the next two years.
Latest football funding: UVA athletic department wants a $13 million, 78,000-square-foot practice building so players won't have to get too wet or cold, the Progress reports.
Best growth industry: UVA Health System profits 50 percent over last year, increasing earnings by $62 million for a net income of $180.4 million, Ted Strong reports in the DP.
Lengthiest murder sentence: Orange school teacher Brenda Canosa gets 23 years in prison for the first-degree shooting of her estranged husband, Bob Canosa, an Orange sheriff's investigator. The accused entered an Alford plea in June and claims she doesn't remember the slaying.
Latest alleged child porn possessor: Albemarle police charge Michael McGrew II, age 27, with five counts.
Worst hazing: Seven Radford University students from Tau Kappa Epsilon are indicted for hazing and supplying alcohol to a minor in the death of Samuel Harris Mason, 20, of Chesterfield County, who was found dead last October with a blood alcohol level of .48. The Roanoke Times has the story.
Latest McIntire Park transportation project: City Council accepts a $414,000 federal "enhancement" grant for a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks that would link the bisected park, NBC29 reports.
Fewest minority supervisors? Charlottesville's public works department has 102 African-American workers– 35 percent– but only eight supervisors– 16 percent– are black, according to Virginia Organizing, which sent speakers to the September 19 City Council meeting to ask for a strategy to fight the "systematic racism" in the city’s personnel practices, according to a release.
Worst dog-ate-my-homework scenario: Charlottesville parents of 6th through 12th graders learn that they could be on the hook for $1,100 if the tablet computers the school system is handing out to students get lost or stolen.
Least surprising arrest report: UVA Police sends out a report September 20 listing four arrests over the weekend, all for driving under the influence.
Greatest pumpkin story: Tyro resident William Layton sets out to beat his own big pumpkin record of 1,138 pounds, but his massive gourd is felled by five inches of rain and starts rotting from the inside, Erin McGrath reports for the Nelson County Times. Layton estimates the giant thing weighed 1,180 pounds, and he vows to grow again next year.
Most fecally funky: The Department of Environmental Quality deems parts of the Rockfish River "impaired" after eight years of monitoring it because of the high E. coli bacteria levels, the Nelson County Times reports. The reason, according to the DEQ, is that livestock and wildlife are using the stream for a toilet so the bacteria are "directly deposited."
Headline that sounds most like a hoax: "PETA is getting into the porn business" is offered by WINA. The Virginian-Pilot broke the story that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to use graphic nudity on a new .XXX domain website to promote animal rights and a vegan diet.