4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Worst UVA student crime: Second-year engineering students Guanyu Lu and Baichuan Shu, both 19, allegedly abduct a man in Tysons Corner, hold him bound and gagged with duct tape in a Falls Church motel, and demand a $500,000 ransom.
Worst boyfriend crime: Irvin "Jack" Fountain, the man convicted of killing his eight-and-a-half months pregnant girlfriend, Shantay Wheeler, 18, in 2001, is handed a life sentence November 19 in a Louisa court.
Biggest national story– before the abduction: Elisa Kelly and George Robinson's release from jail five months into a 27-month sentence for serving booze to minors is noted in the Washington Post– and in a Santa Ana, California, OC Register editorial entitled "Too many of us in prisons."
Biggest dropped charge: A voluntary manslaughter charge against Greene County game warden Robert Orrin Ham III, who shot and killed Allen Cochran, 16, January 24, is dismissed November 20, Rob Seal reports in the Daily Progress.
Worst diss recirculated the week of the big game: "UVA football is the softest bunch of creampuff, bowtie-wearing, Brie cheese-eating, ascot-wearing wussies I've ever seen," said ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd in July 2006. "There's not a softer bunch of cookie dough-eating weenies than the UVA football program. Those guys wear makeup to games."
Worst diss to Al Groh: Although the "Groh must go" signs have virtually disappeared on grounds since last year, Sports Illustrated.com list Groh as one of the bottom five coaches in the country, Jerry Ratcliffe reports in the DP.
Worst news for Anna "Anastasia" Manahan believers: The missing two bodies of the seven-member Romanov family, who were shot by the Bolsheviks July 17, 1918, are discovered by amateur sleuths near where remains of the rest of the Russian royal family were found in 1991. The two bodies are sent for DNA testing, and likely will put to rest once and for all Charlottesville resident Manahan's claim that she was the missing princess.
Latest presidential candidate to hit town: Congressman Dennis Kucinich plans a fundraiser December 7 at the Albemarle County Office Building.
Latest Charlottesville top 10 list: Number six in the Top 10 Digital Cities, according to the Center for Digital Government, whatever that is. This is the fourth year Charlottesville has made that list, but it's edged out for the number one spot by Lynchburg and Jupiter, Florida, in the 30,000-74,999 population category.
Most dubious improvement in city rankings: Richmond moves down on the list of most dangerous American cities from last year's 15th to 29th this year.
Worst driving: Jason M. Hall, 22, racks up two hit-and-run charges, a reckless driving, DUI, and two felonies– attempted malicious wounding and attempting to elude– November 24 when he slams into two different vehicles before crashing in the Key West subdivision and fleeing on foot.
Biggest gun heist: Seventeen guns and ammo are taken in a November 14 burglary in Albemarle County. Arrested November 21 are Michael Bradley Willoughby and Christopher Owen Clements Sr., both 35. Charges also are pending against a juvenile, according to a police release.
Biggest splash: City Council votes to replace Smith Pool November 19.
Best turn-around for Junior Johnson: The former moonshine runner immortalized 42 years ago in a Tom Wolfe story for parlaying those driving skills into NASCAR now owns part of a legal distillery and sells his shine– Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine and Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon– in Virginia ABC stores.
Newest celeb named Johnson on the local scene: Wrestler-turned-moviestar Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, having reportedly purchased a farm in the area, was photographed by the Progress' Andrew Shurtleff at the Thanksgiving morning Blessing of the Hounds in Keswick.