4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Most inadequate yearly progress: Nine public schools flunk No Child Left Behind Act standards. In Albemarle, Agnor-Hurt and Greer Elementary schools, and all the county's middle schools– Burley, Henley, Jouett, and Walton– fail to meet federal benchmarks. In the city, last year's schools that didn't make adequate yearly progress– Charlottesville High and Clark Elementary– rebounded, but Buford Middle School, Walker Upper Elementary, and Burnley-Moran Elementary didn't make the AYP cut this year. Both city and county school systems are appealing their grades.

Most coke busts: Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force seizes 70 grams of crack cocaine at the 2600 block of Barracks Road and arrests Brian Lamont Robinson August 27.  The 2400 block of Fontaine Avenue is where Tremain Versale Turner, 29, of Dillwyn, and Maurice Renaldo Lewis, 26, of Madison are arrested August 25 with approximately 115 grams of crack cocaine, 70 grams of powder cocaine, and $1,500 in cash.

Most missing water: Albemarle County Service Authority reveals at its August 21 meeting that it's lost 500 million gallons over the past year, the discrepancy coming from records of what it buys from Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority and what ACSA sells its customers, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.

Thirstiest: The well system supplying Earlysville Forest subdivision runs out of water August 23 for its 195 homes on the heels of Albemarle's warning to well owners that groundwater levels are seriously depleted. Scott Shenk has the story in the Daily Progress. 

Cleanest books: The City of Charlottesville receives the gold medal of the Government Finance Officers Association– the coveted Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Biggest Stonewalling: Charlottesville City Council holds its 2008 retreat September 3-4 in Staunton at the recently swanked-out Stonewall Jackson Hotel, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.  

Biggest pot bust: One thousand marijuana plants are found in the George Washington National Forest, and two brothers, Jackson David Shifflett, Jr., 51, of Natural Bridge, and  46-year-old Michael Jay Shifflett of Glasgow are indicted on conspiracy, distribution and possession charges.

Most bearish: Redfields subdivision, where two cubs and a mother black bear have been spotted recently, according to another Shenk story.

Worst cousinicide: Jerome Mallory is charged with second-degree murder for the death of his cousin Charles Houchens, who died after a week at UVA Medical Center and whose injuries are described by Louisa County Sheriff's Office Major Donald Lowe as a "severe beat down" and "as bad as I've ever seen," according to NBC29's account.

Best time to visit Monticello: Local residents can tour Jefferson's home for $10 in September or free if they bring a full-price-paying out of towner.

Newest Virginia poet laureate: UVA/UNC-Greensboro grad Claudia Emerson, now a University of Mary Washington prof, is named the commonwealth's laureate. Her book of poetry, Late Wife, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize.

Most ready for Christmas: Labor Day weekend, Charlottesville puts out the call for a perfect, free Christmas tree under 25 feet tall and easily accessible to go on the Downtown Mall. Donors get recognized for their generous gift of evergreen at the tree lighting.

Most diverse reactions over Senator John McCain's VP choice: "Brilliant" comes from the Center for Politics' Paul Freedman over little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and his colleague Lynn Sanders thinks it's "really hard to see a downside to it," the Progress reports. However, James Madison University political analyst Bob Roberts tells NBC29 he's "shocked" by the choice, and that it could be a "risky move" for the Republicans. [See what Paul Gaston says in the back page essay.]