4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest clearing of the air: The House of Delegates approves 59-39 a diluted smoking ban February 9 in the state founded on tobacco after Governor Tim Kaine and House Republicans agree to a compromise that would exempt private clubs and restaurants with walled-off smoking areas and a separate ventilation system. Delegates further amend the ban to allow smoking in areas separated by doors, in restaurants rented out for private parties, and in clubs or bars closed to minors. The compromise ban goes back to the Senate. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell opposes the ban because it interferes with the free market, as do anti-smoking advocates, who feel it doesn't go far enough in banning tobacco smoke. Fines for illegal lighting up are $25.
Biggest upgrade: UVA plans to spend $59 million to electronically consolidate medical records.
Least in favor of being homegrown heavy: UVA's Board of Visitors objects to House of Delegates bills that would require state universities to favor in-state admissions. Rector W. Haywood Fralin writes to Delegate David Albo that quotas would limit diversity– and the hefty out-of-state tuition paid by 31 percent of the undergrad population, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
First City Council challenger: Kristin Szakos, a community organizer who campaigned full time for Barack Obama, announces her candidacy for City Council February 14.
First Board of Supervisors challenger: Former planning commissioner/Charlottesville Press owner Rodney Thomas declares his candidacy for the Rio District seat now held by David Slutzky February 5.
Worst grade-point average: UVA women's basketball scores the lowest of all university athletic teams against NCAA standards on a 1,000-point scale and is rated 928 compared to a national average of 960. Three UVA women's teams– soccer, softball and volley– are among the highest scoring with averages of 996 and 995 and rank in the top 10.
Worst blow to "buy local": Albemarle Board of Supervisors nixes an $80,000 request for the Local Food Hub February 4, according to a Brandon Shulleeta DP story. Food Hub executive director (and Feast proprietor) Kate Collier vows to push on with the project to support local farmers.
Worst driving: A Chevy pickup plows into the East Rio orthodontics office of Dr. Suzanne M. Dennis February 5. The DP's Scott Shenk gets the photo.
Most perplexing: Why does a world-class city see a steady population decline since 2000, losing 461 people? According to the Weldon Cooper Center, Charlottesville is the only central Virginia locale to grow smaller; it dropped 13 people between 2007 and 2008 to 39,678.
Most overwhelming success: Free electronics recycling at Crutchfield January 31 fills more than eight tractor trailers with old TVs and computers. UVA, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Charlottesville Design Center, Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, Thomas Jefferson Planning District and Papa John's Pizza sponsor the event to keep the materials out of landfill.
Latest Mall business on the skids: Gravity Lounge seeks $200K to pay off existing debt and relaunch as a nonprofit, Rachana Dixit reports in the Progress.
Latest RR stake-out: Charlottesville Police ticket 10 people February 9 for trespassing on the railroad tracks at 15th Street NW.
Yappiest dogs: Carol Minetree comes to court February 3 under the county's 2008 animal noise ordinance because of her barking dogs, Emmy and Scooter, and goes to mediation with neighbor Peter Sweeney, and if that doesn't work, will be back in court March 13. Tasha Kates has the story in the Progress.
Botchiest bail-outs: Four business days after Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren reveals that the government grossly overpaid for bank assets ($78 billion of the $254 billion spent so far was wasted), the treasury and fed unveil a $1.5 trillion bailout– and watch helplessly as the Dow slips below the 8,000 mark.