4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Most tragic local link to international terrorism: Nelson County residents Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter, Naomi, are killed while eating at the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India, November 27. The father and daughter were in India on a retreat with the Faber-based Synchronicity Foundation, where they lived. [Editor's note: see story]
Worst start to the busiest travel week of the year: Twenty-year-old Brittany Jarrell dies after her northbound Kia crosses the median on the U.S. 250 median November 24 and strikes a 2005 Toyota Highlander SUV head on.
Worst start to the busiest travel day of the year: A tractor trailer carrying a bulldozer overturns on I-64 near Crozet around 7am November 26 and catches on fire, backing up traffic for miles, WCAV reports. The driver suffers minor burns trying to unhook the trailer.
Worst guy to accuse of panhandling: John Miska, Vietnam War vet and commander of the VFW in Ruckersville, routinely wears his uniform and hands out "Buddy Poppies," for which he does not ask for donations, but does accept voluntary contributions. He's been ticketed for panhandling at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall and has been threatened with having his Buddy Poppies confiscated on July 4. The Rutherford Institute has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the National Park Service.
Worst FOIA to ignore: The U.S. Army denies reporter Jayson Whitehead's Freedom of Information Act request for the government's appraisal of land it bought from local developer Wendell Wood for $7 million, and does not respond to his appeal. Whitehead, son of Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead, sues the Army July 2 in federal court, and as part of the settlement, the agency reveals its $9.7 million appraisal of Wood's land and picks up Whitehead's $4,200 in legal bills. The Daily Progress has the story. (But it turns out that Wood was right; he did sell it below appraisal.)
Worst person to date: Earlysville resident Andrew Reid Bechtle, 19, has aggravated sexual battery and carnal knowledge charges certified against him November 24 in Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the DP reports. Bechtle originally was charged with abduction, rape, and forcible sodomy in June of a 17-year-old girl, who told police Bechtle took her to his home instead of out for dinner and a movie.
Worst break-up, eastern division: Kitty Lynn Gish, who shot her boyfriend June 18, 2007, pleads guilty to four felony counts in Louisa and faces up to 48 years when she's sentenced March 2, according to NBC29. Gish made 4Better last year under "Happiest mugshot" for the beaming photo after her arrest.
Worst break-up, western division: Waynesboro resident Eva Ester Hamby, 49, is charged with second-degree murder for the November 19 stabbing of boyfriend, Jeffrey Allen Gischel, who died the next morning. NBC29 has that story, too.
Worst counting skills: Virginia public schools, according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. The center finds that inaccurate student population counts could have caused $17 million in dwindling state funds to have been misallocated last year.
Fastest: Albemarle police clock a driver doing 80mph in a 45mph zone during its weeklong crackdown on U.S. 29. The DMV picked up most of the costs of pulling 276 drivers and writing 296 tickets.
Second fastest: PCMag.com ranks Virginia second in Internet service speed in the nation.
Seventh best-educated city: Forbes puts Charlottesville between southern Connecticut and Durham.
Most suspicious: Fire officials believe a Thanksgiving day fire at 2936 Beaumont Farm Road that killed the family dog is arson.
Most tireless: Erving Eugene Stewardson, 36, and Donald Joseph D'Amore, 28, are indicted on November 24 for stealing a riding lawn mower and 107 tires during a spate of break-ins of businesses in Orange County, according to the Progress.