The week in review
Worst déjà vu: A gunman terrorizes Virginia Tech December 8, a situation that locks down the campus, amid reports two men are dead. Ross Truett Ashley, 22, a Radford University student, walks up to Tech police officer and father of five Deriek Crouse, 39, and shoots him. Ashley's body is found in a nearby parking lot with an apparently self-inflicted wound and gun nearby.
Likeliest opening: The Meadowcreek Parkway– at least Albemarle's portion of it– should be open in January, according to VDOT.
Closer to construction: The low bid for the Ragged Mountain earthen dam comes in at $21.7 million from Thalle Construction out of Hillsborough, North Carolina, but a contract can't be awarded until the city and county come up with a cost-share agreement, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.
Most missing people: Searchers seek 22-year-old Lauren Susanne Smith December 11, with no luck. She's been missing since November 21 when she was dropped off to clean a house in Madison County. And Earlysville man James Alvin Shifflett, 69, is reported missing December 8 when his Ford F150 is found in the middle of the southbound lane of the 1900 block of Earlysville Road with no keys and the lights on.
Longest seven years: Fluvanna resident Jesse Morgan Hicks was last seen by his family September 1, 2004. Now his family goes to a civil hearing later this month to have him declared legally dead, the Newsplex reports.
Longest planned library: A new and improved Crozet library has been on that community's wish list since the days of master planning. On December 7, the Board of Supervisors unanimously vote to have county staff prepare a request for proposal.
Biggest tax bill: Landmark Hotel developer Halsey Minor owes the city of Charlottesville $128,183.02, and a judge rules that bill must be paid first, the Progress reports. Next on the list of lienholders is Clancy & Theys Construction, owed approximately $2.6 million.
Freakiest accident: Gusty winds topple a tree onto a truck driving by December 7 in Greene County, trapping three females inside, NBC29 reports. Rescuers had to cut the top off the truck to get them out.
Biggest exoneration: Richmond native Thomas Haynesworth spent 27 years in prison for rapes he didn't commit until cleared of one of them by DNA evidence in March. On December 6, the Virginia Court of Appeals vacated two other rape/abduction charges, which means he won't have to register as a sex offender, wear ankle bracelets, and be subject to parole restrictions.
Most surprising Haynesworth advocate: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joins in efforts to seek full exoneration and gives Haynesworth a job in the AG's office.
Biggest plea dis-agreement: Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins refuses to accept a plea from one of the former Georgetown Farms employees billionaire Edgar Bronfman accused of embezzling. Mike Nemeyer was found not guilty of all counts in October. Joanne Thompson testified against him in hopes of helping with her own five felony counts, but Higgins rejects a plea agreement that would have given Thompson no jail time, according to the DP.
Greenest acquisitions: Charlottesville buys 6.5-acre Davis Field with existing soccer fields and five acres of woods on Marshall Court off Park Street for $750,500. The city also recently acquired 4.5 acres along Meadow Creek off Michie Drive in the Greenbrier neighborhood, which will join other parcels to total about 32 acres for creek restoration. City Council is expected to put that under conservation easement December 19.
Boldest lawsuit: Wilhelm von Himmet, 22, and Robert Payne, 43, after being denied a marriage license, file suit December 12 in Charlottesville Circuit Court, claiming their 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the laws has been violated, Samantha Koon reports in the Progress.