The week in review
Best connecting the dots: The common thread for controversial UVA Rector Helen Dragas' top supporters– Governor Bob McDonnell, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, and former governor/U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who appointed her– is donations by former Board of Visitors member Randal J. Kirk, who was the number one or two donor for those guys. McDonnell reappointed her after the Sullivan-firing debacle, and Warner has lobbied legislators in the General Assembly to confirm her. Ted Strong has the story in the Daily Progress.
Best McDonnell legislative endorsement: In his last State of the State address January 9, the governor supports automatic restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons. The bill dies January 14 in a House of Delegates Privileges and Elections subcommittee.
Worst McDonnell plan: To deal with Virginia's crumbling, congested roads, he proposes cutting the gas tax, which hits users of roads, and increasing the sales tax, which hits everyone who buys anything.
Best news for the YMCA: The Virginia Supreme Court tosses the ACAC and Gold's Gym lawsuits against the city and county for not allowing the for-profit fitness centers to bid on the Y's planned facility in McIntire Park, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Latest in Lester v. Allied Concrete: The Virginia Supreme Court reinstates the $8.58 million a jury awarded Isaiah Lester after his wife, Jessica, was killed in 2007 when William Sprouse, driving a cement truck, rolled over on the Lesters' car. Judge Edward Hogshire had slashed the award by $4 million. Allied wanted a new trial after Lester's attorney, Matt Murray, instructed Lester to "clean up" his Facebook profile and Lester deleted 16 photos, including one of the widower holding a beer and wearing a t-shirt that said, "I [heart] hot moms." Samantha Koon has the story in the Progress.
Longest child porn sentence: Former UVA student Ralph Rogers is sentenced to two-and-a-half years January 8, NBC29 reports. Rogers had pleaded guilty to 10 counts and was sentenced to 45 years for each, most of which was suspended.
Biggest bath salts case: A federal jury finds Stephen Dominick McFadden guilty of supplying Lois McDaniel, owner of C-ville Video, with the synthetic drugs. A jury convicts McFadden January 10 of nine counts for shipping the bath salts from Staten Island to Charlottesville; McDaniel already had pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges.
Biggest birthday bash: Charlottesville spends $150K on its Celebrate 250 year-long commemoration, and $64K for the grand gala in November with Kool and the Gang, Graham Moomaw and Aaron Richardson report in the DP.
Cheaper by the dozen (not): The city/county excursion to study Austin's music and cultural scene in February falls apart when only a dozen people sign up, and the travel agent needs 20 to make the trip doable, for some reason, according to the DP. Mayor Satyendra Huja, Councilor Dede Smith, Supervisor Ken Boyd, and four staffers were among those on board for the $1,500-a-head rate.
Most incompetent alleged drug dealer: After driving erratically, Gary Leon Minnis, 47, of Waynesboro, speeds away when an Albemarle police officer approaches his car during a traffic stop January 11 on Seminole Trail. Minnis runs two red lights, T-bones a minivan sitting at Timberwood Boulevard, and takes off on foot, according to police. No one is hurt in the collision, and Minnis is charged with felony possession of nearly five ounces of marijuana with intent to distribute, felony hit-and-run, felony eluding, misdemeanor eluding, and having no driver's license.
Most annoying trend: Late January 8, the Waffle House on Fifth Street Extended becomes the third business to get a bomb threat recently, joining Food Lion and FedEx Kinko's as victims of the male caller who's looking at a Class 5 felony that carries up to 10 years.
Best sellers at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library: V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton was checked out 506 times in 2012, followed by Ann Patchett's State of Wonder with 477 readers.