The week in review
Best sign Virginia isn't for all lovers: The House of Delegates, led by Bob Marshall, torpedoes the nomination of Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to General District Court judge because he's gay in a 1am May 15 vote, Dahlia Lithwick reports for Slate. Marshall objects that Thorne-Begland, a former Navy officer, spoke out about "Don't ask, don't tell" more than 20 years ago, and considers himself married, which is illegal for gay people in Virginia.
Local delegates opposing the nomination of a gay judge: Delegates Rob Bell and Matt Fariss vote against Thorne-Begland, while Steve Landes takes a "Rule 69" abstention, which means not voting because of a conflict of interest. The three Republicans approved all 40 other judicial nominations.
Newest area judges: Orange prosecutor Richard Moore, who was fired by Albemarle Commonweath's Attorney Denise Lunsford when she was elected in 2007, is approved as 16th District Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge, and J&DR Judge Susan Whitlock moves up to 16th District Circuit Court.
Biggest breach: Piedmont Airlines pilot Bruce Dieter, 52, who lives in Barboursville, is arrested May 18 in Buffalo trying to board a flight with a loaded .357 Magnum in his bag, and the Transportation Security Administration says he'd flown seven flights with the gun. NBC29 reports that former coworkers say Dieter had been on vacation and probably forgot the gun was in his bag.
Biggest bequest: Board of Visitors member and former rector Heywood Fralin and his wife Cynthia Fralin donate their 40-piece American art collection to the UVA Art Museum, which will be renamed the Fralin Museum of Art. The collection includes works by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Robert Henri, and the museum is getting a 20,000-square-foot addition to house its growing collection, according to a release.
Biggest loss of a citizen exemplar: Bunny Murray, 91, matriarch of the Panorama Farms Murray clan, dies May 19. Murray raised eight sons, was a noted conservationist, volunteer, and along with her husband, Jim, received the Paul Goodloe McIntire Award from the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce in 1991.
Biggest local sale: Silverchair Learning Systems, which employs about 80 people, is purchased by Vista Equity Partners out of California for an undisclosed amount, Nate Delesline III reports in the Progress.
Biggest boost for Hillsdale Drive Extension and Belmont Bridge: VDOT agrees to cough up the cash for those projects in return for Albemarle's okaying the Western 29 bypass last summer, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Worst infanticide: Staunton mom Ashkea Johnson, 19, gets 28 years May 17 for smothering her two-month old baby with a plastic diaper bag in 2009, according to NBC29.
Worst way to commit suicide: Verona man William Kerry, 60, steps into the path of a northbound I-81 tractor trailer May 19 driven by Robert Smith, 51, of Winnemucca, Nevada, the News Leader reports. Last month, a woman did the same on I-81 near Mint Spring.
Worst news for some golfers: The Charlottesville parks board votes 7-2 to ax golf from McIntire Park by 2020, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports. The recommendation goes to City Council later this year.
Latest Harrisonburg cop to kill a household animal: Sergeant Russell Metcalf is charged with animal cruelty and reckless handling of a firearm for killing a 10-month-old family dog named Sadie while he was riding a bicycle in Sadie's neighborhood, WHSV reports. Last November, an officer offered to euthanize a cat that had been hit by a car, and bludgeoned it to death with his nightstick.
Best draw: Afton resident Betty Carter, 70, wins $4 million May 10 in a four-state lottery called Decades of Dollars. Carter bought the ticket at her favorite store, the Royal Mart in Waynesboro, according to the News Leader.
Best military appreciation: On May 19– Armed Forces Day– the National Park Service begins issuing an annual pass good for free entrance to all 397 national parks for active duty military members and their dependents.