4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest revisionists: The General Assembly that passed the abusive driver fees last year now races to revoke it, with Governor Tim Kaine leading the charge.
Most obvious bad ideas likely to be criminalized: Text messaging while driving and driving with a dog in one's lap could be banned by bills before the General Assembly.
Most misleading real estate numbers: The median house price in Charlottesville went up nearly 17 percent– $40K– in 2007, according to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors Year End Market Report. Overall, housing prices dropped, CAAR assures us, and Charlottesville's blip is caused by condos lowering the 2006 median price, and fewer home sales– 629 compared to 764 in 2006– that raised the median price.
Worst growth: Another 6,700 inmates are expected to enter Virginia's prisons by 2013, according to an AP story, pushing the state's prison population to 44,700.
Worst street on which to own a business: Third Street NE, which has been fenced off since August for utility and brick work that was supposed to be completed by the new year, but which could continue until April, Seth Rosen reports in the Progress. Third Street NE previously suffered being closed for months in 2003 and 2004 during the renovation of the Paramount.
Latest hit for frugal shoppers: A&N announces it's closing the doors of its 48-store clothing chain, including the two stores in Charlottesville at Pantops and Seminole Square. Another clothing retailer, Goody's at Barracks Road, will close January 31.
Rowdiest Putt-Putt trespassers: Police are called to the East Rio Road course January 12 after reports of a fight. An estimated 75 teens disperse when the badges show, an Albemarle police officer is assaulted in the panicked getaways, and four teens are arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the DP.
Biggest potential Super Bowl clash: John Whitehead is itching for a fight with the National Football League because it prohibits screenings of the big game on devices larger than 55 inches, thus preventing churches from hosting Super Bowl parties. Whitehead is ready to sue the NFL once he finds a plaintiff, says Rob Seal in the Progress.
Biggest potential clash over donor anonymity: Two bills in the General Assembly would allow UVA to exempt its donor database from the Freedom of Information Act. Critics argue that donor anonymity is bad public policy for a public institution, Brian McNeill reports in the Progress.
Most encyclopedic: The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities' Encyclopedia Virginia, an online reference for all things from 20th-century Virginia, gets a test drive this summer by middle school teachers, and should be online for the public in 2009, according to the Virginian Pilot. Unlike Wikipedia, the articles, two of which will be about Rita Dove and John Grisham, will be written by experts.
Latest things to do with your iPod: Watch City Council meetings! Get local music from the Hook!
Biggest payback: Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chair Ken Boyd votes against his Rivanna District opponent in last November's election, Marcia Joseph, for reappointment as the at-large member of the Planning Commission. Joseph keeps her seat in a 5-1 vote January 9.
Best possible revenge of Pat Robertson: The televangelist toys with the idea of buying the Virginian-Pilot, a Norfolk newspaper he claims is critical of him in its coverage and is now on the block after Landmark Communications announces it will sell all its assets.