4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Worst déjà vu: The stock market plunges almost like it's 1929.

Deepest cuts: Governor Tim Kaine announces layoffs of 570 state employees and slashes UVA's budget by 7 percent in anticipation of a $973-million shortfall this fiscal year. 

Biggest bubble: UVA's Board of Visitors signs off on an $8 million plastic practice field to keep athletes practicing even during inclement weather. 

Fewest home sales: Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors reports that house buying continues to slide during the first nine months of 2008, with Albemarle sales down 31.5 percent– from 1,190 in 2007 to 815– and Charlottesville dips 7.6 percent, from 2007's 515 sales to 476 this year.

Deadliest confrontation: A private party at Pacino's Deli on West Main turns ugly early October 12 and leaves Phillip E. Adams Jr., 22, dead of a gunshot wound and three others wounded. Darryl Andre Johnson, 20, has been charged with murder, malicious wounding, and use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and malicious wounding.

Saddest conclusion: Earl Funk, the Staunton man who was missing for 12 days in the Shenandoah National Park while hunting ginseng, is found dead October 11 in the Browns Cove area of Albemarle County. Albemarle police are investigating.

Worst luck at the lottery: Tammy Staton enters an Alford plea on charges of stealing thousands of dollars in lottery tickets from Parkway Pharmacy in Crozet, and is sentenced October 8 to 30 days in jail and $36,000 in restitution, NBC29 reports. 

Most scenic: Albemarle Board of Superviors vote to designate Route 20 North, Route 22, Route 53, Route 231, Route 250 East, and Route 729 as All-American Scenic roads, which means they can become part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Corridor from Gettysburg to Monticello, are eligible for grants and preclude installation of new billboards.

Most perplexing: Why are Charlottesville gas prices the highest in the state? Tiger Fuel Company president David Sutton tells NBC29, "The reason it's a higher price is, one, Charlottesville is further from the pipeline than Goochland is; the cost of doing business is higher than in Goochland." He tells the Daily Progress that Charlottesville does not consume gas as rapidly as other areas and is not a high-volume market, thus the prices are slower to change. Tiger Fuel operates a dozen stations and supplies oil to 100 others.

Most perplexing, part 2: So why is gas cheaper– $2.79 at the Tiger Fuel BP station on Route 151 in Afton October 14– in low-volume, farther-from-the-pipeline Nelson County?

Most startling: Nearly half of Albemarle County residents surveyed would pay more taxes for roads.

Most startling poll results: Fifth District Dem candidate Tom Perriello is within eight points of Congressman Virgil Goode, an incumbent who typically dispatches challengers by 20 points. According to a Benenson Strategy Group survey, Perriello went from 31 percent of the vote in July to 40 percent in October, while Goode slid from 56 percent in July to 48 percent. The poll has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

More typical poll results: SurveyUSA's results released October 8 put Goode at 55 percent to Perriello's 42 percent. 

Best sign the presidential race is heating up: McCain signs on Old Garth Road are burned, NBC29 reports.

Latest geezer enticement: Black Enterprise Magazine chooses Charlottesville as the second best place to retire.

Best biz school profs: The Princeton Review ranks Darden's faculty the best in the biz-school business for the second year in a row. 

Best ploy to get out of class: UVA Student Council passes a resolution October 7 that faculty excuse students from class or exams on Election Day so they can go vote, the Cav Daily reports.