4 BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Most making waves: UVA Council of Chairs of Arts and Sciences balk at the university's new Semester at Sea program because professors weren't consulted before the program was adopted, according to a February 22 declaration. College Dean Ed Ayers meets with the recalcitrant chairs February 21 to address their concerns.

Best scoopage: The Cav Daily reports that the University of Pittsburgh dropped the Semester at Sea because of safety concerns. Those include injuries sustained by students being tossed about by 50-foot waves last January, a stop in Kenya with students last spring– despite a State Department warning– and the 1996 deaths of four students in a bus accident in India.

Worst walk-by shooting: Two men are injured, one seriously, when shots are fired into their van early February 16 when they stop to drop off a friend in the Westhaven neighborhood.

Most SOL: Laura Purnell, Charlottesville's director of school improvement, dodged a bullet last year when then-superintendent Scottie Griffin eliminated Purnell's assistant supe position, and she settled for her current job and a slight pay cut. February 16, the School Board cuts that job, too.

Worst result for over-achieving high schoolers:

A study conducted by UVA prof Robert H. Hair and Harvard's Philip M. Sadler shows Advanced Placement courses don't necessarily boost college performance in the sciences– a conclusion disputed by the College Board, according to a Carlos Santos Richmond Times-Dispatch story.

Best case of right place/right time: A neighbor notices that Kent and Laurie Davis' Free Union house is on fire February 18, and calls 911. Dave Donaldson and his parents help Davis fight the fire with a garden hose until firefighters arrive, according to the Daily Progress.

Worst furnace: The second floor of the Salvation Army Thrift Store catches fire February 21 because of a faulty furnace.

Most bizarre shooting: Virginia State Police Trooper Kevin C. Manion, 27, is fatally shot February 18 when a gun inside a wrecked vehicle discharges and strikes him.

Best tank convoy: Forty gigantic beer-brewing tanks will journey from Fredericksburg to the Coors Brewing plant east of Harrisonburg in Elkton on Sunday and Wednesday mornings during March, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The tanks are 70 feet long, weigh 70,000 pounds and the loads will be 21 feet high.

Least amused: Outraged Muslims continue to riot over 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad that were published in Denmark last September. At least 45 people have been killed worldwide, and a Pakistani cleric offers a $1 million reward for killing one of the cartoonists.

Most restrained:

Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression head Robert O'Neil opines, "The cause of press freedom may well have been set back substantially by those who chose to push that freedom beyond reasonable restraint" in an op-ed piece on the Danish cartoon situation in the February 19 Charlotte Observer.

Best Miller Center plug: The Washington Post touts the just-released oral histories gathered from the Reagan administration: links to 2,500 pages of transcripts can be found on millercenter.virginia.edu.

Best book plug: The New Yorker reviews The Happiness Hypothesis by UVA prof Jonathan Haidt, who's the subject of this week's Facetime on page 38

Most outstanding Virginian: Dan Jordan, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, gets the nod for 2006 from the General Assembly.