4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Best loosening of city purse strings: City Council okays $2.1 million from its economic development fund August 17 to jump start a road that even greenies love, Hillsdale Drive Extended, Rachana Dixit reports in the Daily Progress.

Most suspicious blaze: The mansion at 4595 Belle Vista Drive– Southwind Manor– burns to the ground August 16. The Stony Point Road-area blaze caused $2 million in damages. The house was empty, had been listed for sale for $3.9 million, and– most curiously– had a sprinkler system.

Most wannabe Perriello challengers: With 5th District Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello barely into the first year of his first term, two more local Republicans announce their intentions to run against him, Brian McNeill reports in the Progress. Fluvanna biology teacher Feda Kidd Morton and Ivy private real estate investor Laurence Verga join Bedford County FairTax advocate Bradley S. Rees in seeking the GOP nomination, and Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd says he's seriously considering a run. 

Worst alleged caretaker: Orange County resident Nancy Mackall faces animal cruelty charges after animal control officers seize 20 severely emaciated horses and three dogs at her Langley Farm in Mine Run, and find 20 decaying horse carcasses, NBC29 reports. Mackall claims she couldn't care for the animals because of health conditions, and will be in court August 21.

Latest bilker: Jeffery Thomas Tuggle, 45, gambled away $400,000 of investors funds in a Ponzi scheme, and pleads guilty August 13 in federal court in Lynchburg, according to a U.S. Attorney release. Tuggle promised 19 investors returns of 30 to 40 percent a year.

Latest setback for Council candidate: Independent Andrew Williams, who didn't come up with enough signatures to get on the ballot and is running as a write-in candidate, also sought a seat on the Planning Commission, but is not appointed by City Council.

Newest planning commissioners: Kurt Keesecker and John Santoski succeed Cheri Lewis and Mike Farruggio. 

Weightiest police operation: A portable weigh-station trap set up at Walton Middle School/Monticello High parking lot August 11 nets 10 obese trucks and $9,090 in penalties out of 22 forced onto the scales, according to a release. One dump truck was more than 7 tons over the legal limit.

Most fuel-efficient law enforcement: Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding ditches the traditional gas-guzzling Ford Crown Victoria for three 4-cylinder Honda Accords, which sport a new design in their exterior striping at no additional cost to taxpayers, says Harding. 

Biggest dissolution: GE and Fanuc announce they're ending their 23-year-old partnership that employs 500 people locally and going their own ways. At press time, the fates of the Charlottesville employees are unknown.

Biggest shiny new fire truck: Hollymead Fire Station gets a new engine with the help of a $401K grant from the Virginia National Defense Industrial Authority to cover the expansion of the National Ground Intelligence Center, which is gaining staff from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. 

Best national story about Charlottesville: Salon covers U.S. Representative's Tom Perriello's August 11 town hall meeting on health care reform at Charlottesville High in an article called, "It's the tea-baggers– they have woken us up."  

Most 4oth anniversaries: Woodstock marks four decades August 15-18 and Nelson County commemorates Hurricane Camille August 19-20. And Charles Manson follower Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, whose best friends perpetrated the 1969 Tate/LaBianca murders, is released from prison August 14 after serving 34 years for the attempted murder of President Gerald Ford.