4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest housing slump: Albemarle sales fall 31.8 percent in 2008, according to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, and Charlottesville's drop 14 percent. The median in Charlottesville price slides 5.4 percent to $265,000. Ironically, Albemarle median sales price increases 4.3 percent to $320,100.
Biggest setback to local multi-national Internet business: Police arrest David Allen Haney, 27, at his Lake Monticello home January 8 and seize seven pounds of high-grade pot worth an estimated $30,000, according to a release. Two days later, authorities go back and find 1,000 hits of Ecstasy– also valued at $30K– and two more ounces of marijuana.
Biggest reefer madness case: Sexshuns owner Reynolds George Samuels Jr., 40, is sentenced January 12 to 292 months– over 24 years– in federal prison when he pleads guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance and one count of copyright infringement. Samuels confessed to heading an organization that distributed over 3,000 kilograms of pot and sold $2,500 in bootlegged DVDs, and he was indicted with seven of his alleged minions in February 2008.
Biggest contrast in sentencing: That same day in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, coke-dealing track coach Kelvin Freeman from Virginia Beach is sentenced to 135 months– over 11 years– in jail for selling 60 to 80 kilos of cocaine, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Huber in a Daily Progress story. Thirty supporters show up, and the court gets 80 letters on his behalf, including one from Olympic gold medal winner LaShawn Merritt.
Worst domestic dispute: Dawn D. Smythers, 52, is found dead in her Louisa County home around 8pm January 11 from what appears to be a single gunshot, the DP reports. Her husband of 25 years, Forrest M. Smythers Jr., 53, is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Worst women-behind-bars story: Former Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women security head Patrick Owen Gee, 45, is sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with inmates.
Most enticing: Aftonite Daniel Wayne Widdowfield, 24, pleads guilty January 6 to using a communications device to entice a 14-year-old girl to have sex, the Progress reports. Widdowfield used his work computer at UVA, where he was a facilities technician, to talk to the girl, whose parents notified police. He'll be sentenced May 6.
Most stunning: Taquan Lovelle Anderson, 19, pleads guilty to charges from two convenience store robberies in October 2007, in which the clerks were incapacitated with a stun gun, and gets 10 years in prison, the DP reports.
Most like Romeo and Juliet? The victim was 14, and the man convicted of having sex with her used a ladder to limb into her bedroom for six weeks in what prosecutor Elizabeth Killeen described as a "Romeo and Juliet routine," according to the Progress. Alsonso Ivan Garcia, 29, is sentenced January 9 to nine months for having sex with a juvenile and faces deportation.
Newest chairman of the board: Albemarle supes choose David Slutzky as the new chair, and Ann Mallek as the new vice chairman.
Best value: UVA comes in at number one among public universities for providing students most bang for the buck, according to the Princeton Review and USA Today's "Best value colleges for 2009." The College of William and Mary ranks number three.
Best inaugural brat: The artisanal "Barackwurst" combines beef and pork to symbolize the Chicago hot dog and DC half smoke. The packages of 10 cocktail-sized wienies cost $5.95 and are available at Feast.