4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Most mysterious disappearance: Glenmore Country Club president Michael Comer, 45, has not been seen since July 1. His car, keys, and cellphone are found at his Wintergreen vacation home, and police say there's no evidence of foul play. [See news story.]
Quickest mistrial: Alleged hoax terrorist Mark Dowdy, representing himself in court June 30 on charges of sprinkling a powder on signs, is a few minutes into his opening statement when Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins declares a mistrial and orders a psychiatric evaluation, Jason Bacaj reports in the Progress.
Latest phone company: Embarq and CenturyTel, Inc. announce a merger July 1 into CenturyLink. Current landline users here have gotten their bills since 2006 from Embarq, and before that it was Sprint, and before that, Centel.
Latest cottage industry to fall afoul of drug laws: A psychedelic mushroom farm that police say is the largest ever in Waynesboro is busted July 1, NBC29 reports. Arrested is Felix Christopher Gutierrez, 31. Police say they found 107 Mason jars full of 'shrooms, as well as a bedroom devoted to growing the crop in a New Hope Road apartment.
Less common bite: A man found on the Blue Ridge Parkway was airlifted to UVA after allegedly saying he was bitten in the hand five times by a timber rattlesnake, the News Leader reports. The man's story was later dubbed bogus by authorities.
Biggest conservation easement: Wintergreen protects 1,400 acres around Crawford Knob, elevation 3,000-plus feet, in Nelson County and earns more than $3 million in tax credits, Bryan McKenzie reports in the DP.
Biggest salmonella outbreak: Six people at a dinner party become ill after eating frozen lasagna from Mona Lisa pasta, NBC29 reports. The owner of the restaurant says his kitchen is not to blame, nor is it responsible for the dish not being cooked to code.
Biggest non-Fourth of July boom: UVA's Wilsdorf Hall is evacuated July 6 after bad chemistry blows open a storage cabinet containing nitric and hydrochloric acid, the DP reports. University officials call the incident a "spill," not an explosion.
Worst response to police arriving: Paul Harris, 64, fatally shoots himself in the head when Fluvanna County deputies arrived at a Fork Union residence July 4 following a report that he was threatening to shoot his girlfriend, according to the Progress. Abby Proffit, 21, is shot in the arm.
Most holiday break-ins: Two people are charged for breaking into Hollymead Elementary School July 5. Henry Lamont Massie, 24, and Jeanette Cooper, 18, are found inside the school, NBC29 reports. Two men– James Hagy and Sanford Davenport from Chester– are charged with attempted B&E at Toddsbury of Ivy early July 5, and police are seeking a third person.
Most poorly planned robbery: The Newsplex reports that 47-year-old Samuel Murray of Charlottesville went into the Papa Johns on Ivy Road last month and filled out a job application, then stole a tip jar with $57.55 on his way out, a heist caught on the store's surveillance camera. Charlottesville Police Lt. Gary Pleasants said there was "not much investigation to do."
Worst driving: Shaun Snead, 23, of Waynesboro, sails into a pond 150 feet off U.S. 250 around 8:30am July 1 with no braking, the News Virginian reports. He's charged with a DUI, and police retrieve a can 3M Dust Remover (which can be used to get high) from his waterlogged car.
Most embarrassing arrest? After the previous two items, competition is tough, but how about masturbation in public? A 32-year-old is charged with that July 1 on JPA.