4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Most surprising change of heart: The Western Albemarle student who pleaded guilty to conspiring to blow up two schools appeals his plea in Albemarle Circuit Court June 7, Liesel Nowak reports in the Daily Progress.

Most surprising acquittal: A Charlottesville jury finds Sean Orlando Scott, 32, not guilty of voluntary manslaughter June 6. Scott punched Gregory Johnson once in April 2005 when Johnson tried to intervene in a fight.

Most ho-hum response to an important election: Voters stay home in droves for the June 13 primary to decide whether Dems Harris Miller or Jim Webb will face Senator George Allen in November. The results, which could impact Allen's chance in the 2008 presidential race, were not available at press time.

Biggest electric bill jump: Dominion Virginia Power could raise residential utility rates 8 to 10 percent next summer in the face of rising fuel costs.

Biggest drain on the James: Fluvanna and Louisa have been given the go-ahead to tap 3.1 million gallons a day from the James River for the Zion Crossroads area. Megan Rowe has the story of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's okay of the plan in the DP.

Saddest loss in city government: Assistant city manager Linda Peacock, 61, dies from cancer June 9. 

Best opportunity for English grads who decide they want to be doctors: UVA inaugurates a 12-month, intensive pre-med program for career changers that covers the science requirements needed to get into med school. 

Best poster boy for Toastmasters: Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead receives a communications and leadership award from Toastmasters June 10.

Best demonstration: A local family places itself under house arrest June 17 in commemoration of the 61st birthday of Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyii, who has been confined to her home for years. The house arrest party is at 105 B Stribling Avenue from 5 to 8pm.  

Biggest building blitz: Habitat for Humanity constructs six houses between June 3 and 11.

Most sustainable region: The Thomas Jefferson Planning District, which includes Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Lousia and Nelson, is named most sustainable community in the state by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network, whatever that is. 

Best small-stuff: Small Times magazine chooses UVA as one of the top 10 in nanotechnology. 

Earliest Flag Day celebration: City and county Republicans get a jump on the June 14 holiday with a June 12 picnic at McIntire Park, where Charles "Buddy" Weber is elected chair of the Charlottesville Republicans. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling commends Bob Hodous, who served as chair for six years. with a Patrick Henry Award– whatever that is. 

Chirpiest graduation prank: Members of Madison County High's class of 2006 release 2,006 crickets at the school May 30, Media General News Service reports. Charges could be filed, and eight students were banned from participating in the June 10 graduation ceremony.

Blackest night: The Charlottesville High girls Black Knights soccer team loses its state championship 3-2 to Hidden Valley, its only loss for the season, June 10.

Biggest 30th birthday: Charlottesville plans a three-day bash to celebrate the bricking over downtown in 1976, which was not always the smashing success the Downtown Mall is seen as today.

Fastest disappearance: Kayla, as a name. The Progress reports that the name ranked #1 for girls born at the UVA medical center in 2002– and fell off the list three years later. 

Best reason to have a mug of joe: Coffee may counteract alcohol's effect on the liver and help prevent cirrhosis, a recent study suggests.