The week in review

Warmest winter: The National Weather Service says 2011-12 is the fourth warmest on record, and the average temperature of 44.5 degrees is a whopping five degrees higher than the average winter norm.

Biggest exception to the warm winter stats: A storm drops as much as 8 inches of snow in some parts of Central Virginia March 5.

Speaking of warm winters: The Virginia Supreme Court rejects Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's demand that UVA turn over climate research records of Michael Mann. According to a release, that court battle cost the university $570,698 in legal fees, which came from private sources.

Worst news for team-sports-oriented home schoolers: Delegate Rob Bell's "Tebow bill" that would have allowed children to play on teams even if they're not enrolled in a public school died in the Senate March 1, the News Advance reports.

Toughest on juveniles: The General Assembly passes a bill making the suspension and expulsion records of students open to public scrutiny, according to NBC29. And juveniles convicted of dealing drugs for the third time can be tried as adults.

Best trend: Overall crime rates in Charlottesville and Albemarle decline in 2011. In the city, thefts from cars remain on the rise, but murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assaults drop from 159 incidents in 2010 to 140 in 2011, the Progress reports.

Most alarming trend: The number of traffic fatalities on rural roads in Albemarle jumped to 21 in 2011, according to the Hook, with speed, alcohol, and disuse of seatbelts the three major causes of death.

Highest high schoolers: A survey of Charlottesville seniors shows that the number who have used marijuana is higher than the national average, according to WINA.

Biggest change for the Jefferson Area Tea Party: Carol Thorpe will step down as chair person, but will continue as tea party spokesperson. Rob Schilling has the story.

Latest in the James Halfaday saga: The former City Council candidate pleads guilty to one Class 5 felony count for election fraud March 6 in Charlottesville Circuit Court for claiming to live at a city address when he lived in the county. He faces up to 10 years in jail and a $2,500 fine when he's sentenced July 5, and as a felon will not be able to run for local office (or even vote) unless pardoned by the governor. The Virginia State Board of Elections also could fine Halfaday $500 for each of the 21 false claims he made of receiving $499 in donations.

Latest Ragged Mountain dam deterrent: A group of citizens petition City Council to hold a referendum on the controversial water project.

Most disturbing anniversary: March 2 marks 16 years since Alicia Showalter Reynolds was abducted off U.S. 29 in Culpeper. Her remains were found two months later, and her killer still is unknown. The Virginia State Police say the case is still an open and active investigation.

Most restitution: Cigarette smuggler Vijay Nanubhai Patel, 50, of Fredericksburg agrees to pay $5 million and forfeit $625,000 as part of his guilty plea March 2 in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville.

Most lackluster Super Tuesday: Due to a failure by some of the big candidates to muster the the required 10,000 signatures, Virginia's March 6 Republican primary ballot offers only has Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, and while we could hazard a guess on the outcome, the official results won't be available until after this issue has gone to press.

Most inane rejection: Labels for new brews from a boutique division of Blue Mountain Brewery, Chocolate Orange Bourbon Porter and Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Porter, get nixed by an organization called the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau because people may not realize they're not getting a traditional porter–- despite such clues as the words "Chocolate Orange Bourbon." Aaron Richardson has the story in the Progress.

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