4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Speediest speed limit reduction: At a July 1 meeting of angry Forest Lakes residents who wanted something done at the U.S. 29/Ashwood Boulevard where 16-year-old Sydney Aichs was killed when a tractor-trailer failed to stop, VDOT says it will be the end of the summer before a change could be made. But at the July 2 Board of Supervisors meeting, Allan Sumpter of VDOT says the speed limit through the intersection will be 45 mph by the end of the week, Sean Tubbs reports on Charlottesville Tomorrow– and it is now.
Worst broad daylight shooting: Kenneth Blair Townsend, 21, is gunned down around 3pm July 7 in his Oxford Hill apartment complex parking lot on Madison Avenue. Townsend is taken to the hospital for serious, but non-life-threatening wounds, say police, and a witness reports three males fleeing after the shooting.
Worst day for inmates in area jails: Convicted ex-wife-and-her-boyfriend killer James H. Long Jr. is found dead in his Central Virginia Regional Jail cell June 29 while awaiting transfer to state prison to serve two consecutive life sentences plus eight years. Virginia State Police are investigating. And cop-killer suspect Ronnie L. White is strangled in his Prince George, Maryland, cell the same day in what is being called vigilante justice for the June 27 hit-and-run death of Corporal Richard Findley.
Worst date: Travis Wayne Lamm is found not guilty of rape– but guilty of the malicious aggravated wounding of his girlfriend January 24 after she drove him home. Lamm contended that the sex was consensual, and the jury, which recommended 20 years for the malicious wounding, apparently believed him. NBC29 has the story.
Worst moped accident: James Michael Baber, 50, is fatally injured late July 4 in Waynesboro when his moped collides with a Ford minivan.
Worst military loss: Charlottesville native Sergeant Sean Kenneth Webster, 23, dies June 28 at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in California after serving two tours in Iraq, and officials say his death was not an accident, the Progress reports.
Oddest home invasion: Two men– one brandishing a gun– break into an occupied 1600-block Rio Hill Drive apartment around 7am July 8 but leave in a large red or maroon vehicle without taking anything, WCAV reports.
Biggest layoffs: The Daily Progress says farewell to 25 printing and packaging employees, shifting printing of the 28,697-circulation newspaper to Richmond rather than spend several million to repair and refurbish its 25-year-old West Rio Road presses.
Biggest deal: Frank Batten-founded Landmark Communications sells the Weather Channel to NBC Universal for a reported $3.5 billion.
Latest local government trend: Within a week, both Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors approve studies to find out if city and county governments are efficient.
Most alarming idea from Senator John Warner's office: Virginia's senior senator suggests a return to a national speed limit to save fuel, à la the widely despised 55 mph limit enacted in 1974.
Most innovative commute: Lovingston resident Steven C. Manning, 64, kayaks down the Rockfish River to his 104-plant marijuana patch until he's busted July 1 near Woods Mill and charged with with one count of manufacturing pot, punishable by five to 10 years and up to a $10,000 fine, according to a release.
Least amused by one of Nelson's top agricultural products: State Police Agent R.K. Kincaid spends three weeks investigating Manning's pot patch, pulling in the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Nelson County Sheriff's Office to quash the scourge and confiscate the kayak.
Best mugshot: Manning. He serves up a smile.