The week in review

Odds on favorite for mayor: Incumbent Satyendra Huja is expected to be elected ceremonial leader of Charlottesville at the January 3 City Council meeting (just after presstime, alas), which will be the first for new councilors Kathy Galvin and Dede Smith, the Daily Progress reports.

Biggest bowl: The Cavaliers take on Auburn New Year's Eve in Atlanta at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, losing 24 to 43.  

Biggest pile-up: A sudden snow squall leads to an estimated 20-vehicle crash January 3 on I-81 in Harrisonburg with four injuries, three of them minor.

Loudest exodus: Former Greene County deputies lash out against sheriff-elect Steve Smith and say seven firings put public safety at risk, according to an email former Lieutenant Scott Cox sends to the Daily Progress. Smith responds that citizens will be safe and he didn't intend to let so many employees go, but some of them were telling "lies" during the campaign in which he ran against Chief Deputy Randall Snead.

Fourteenth best town for economic growth: That's how the Milken Institute ranks the Charlottesville metropolitan area out of 179 small metros for job creation and sustainability, right between Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Dubuque, Iowa.

Most surprised by the Milken rankings: Local citizens have seen their earnings erode rather than sustain.

Most pro-business: Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd wants to create an "economic development SWAT team" to streamline approval of highly desirable business like Cracker Barrel, according to Aaron Richardson at the Progress.

Boldest impersonation: Scamsters make telephone calls and say they're with law enforcement and have a warrant for the recipient's arrest for falsifying collateral when applying for a loan, but will make the warrant go away if the person gives them money, according to an Albemarle police release.

Last Albemarle traffic death: Gaetan Fraser, 45, of Quebec, dies December 21 when he swerves his Saturn to avoid a wooden chair in the left lane of I-64 and strikes the Toyota Tacoma from which it had fallen. Tacoma driver Chad S. Ellis, 27, of Charlottesville had pulled off the road after the chair fell. A Virginia State Police release says charges are pending, and Fraser becomes Albemarle's 20th and final traffic fatality for 2011.

Saddest loss at UVA: Raymond C. Bice, 93, beloved psych professor and UVA administrator, dies December 22.

Worst on your resume: Second-year UVA engineering student Ralph Samuel Rogers, 20, is charged with 10 counts of child porn possession following a December 22 search of his Lambeth Field residence.

Worst allegations about a cop: Charlottesville police officer Wilbert Davis Brassfield, 47, is charged with three felony counts for embezzling $10,000 from Courts of Praise Christian Fellowship in Fluvanna, where he served as pastor. Ted Strong has the story in the Progress.

Worst hatchet attack: Police are called to 1800 Monticello Road December 30 where a man allegedly had been hit in the back of the head with a hatchet. Teresa Currier Cassell, 46, is charged with felonious assault.

Best land swap: Habitat for Humanity offers 13 acres of land at Southwood Mobile Home Park in exchange for Biscuit Run State Park acreage, which Habitat wants to use for its mixed use development project at Southwood and to provide sorely needed athletic fields as a proffer to Albemarle for a future denser-housing rezoning request. Charlottesville Tomorrow has the story.

Best news for Woolen Mills: The new sewage pump station will not be in the frequently befouled neighborhood, but moved a short distance away, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Latest feature to be filmed locally: The Home Game, which won first place in the Baltimore Screenwriting Competition, stars Robert Amaya, who played Javier in the $34-million box office, faith-based hit Courageous, and uses retired baseball Atlanta Braves pitcher, Billy Wagner, who lives in Crozet, as a consultant.


Who in their right mind thinks the unhealthy, nasty fare at the Cracker Barrel is "highly desirable"?!??

Try a Playboy Club or something.

And saddest loss for the City - Alicia Lugo. Some voices can never be replaced and Alicia's is one; my hope is that others will embody the courage and honesty she brought to our town.

I rarely post here, but how is Cracker Barrel a "highly desirable" business? We have enough minimum- wage jobs, the obesity rate is off the chart, and so many big-box stores and chain restaurants waiting to be torn down. Tax revenues, sure. But I wish you'd picked a better example of desirable businesses.