4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Best news for petty lawbreakers: Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford tells the Board of Supervisors that a $32,000 cut from the state may mean her office won't be able to prosecute misdemeanors like DUIs, domestic violence, and underage drinking unless the county coughs up the shortfall. Brandon Shulleeta has the story in the Daily Progress.
Most ironic: While the Commonwealth's Attorney Office is coming up short in funding, Albemarle County police are pulling in federal grants– most recently one for $60,000– to set up checkpoints and ticket violators that Lunsford may not be able to prosecute.
Latest spreading of the radar net: The Albemarle Sheriff's Office scores $15,000 from the Virginia DMV– despite state budget cuts– so that sheriff's deputies can work overtime outside their main job mission of transporting prisoners and help Albemarle police catch speeders– 430 violators the past year who paid $30,000 in fines.
Latest plan from cash-strapped VDOT: A U.S. 29 study produces a route south from Culpeper through eastern Albemarle to I-64. Outrage ensues.
Latest Department of Corrections controversy: A magazine called Prison Legal News Inc. files suit October 8 against the DOC and prison officials, accusing them of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments by censoring magazines and books sent to prisoners. A woman at the Fluvanna Correctional Facility was not allowed to receive the magazine because it was a gift subscription, and an inmate at Coffeewood had a couple of issues censored but wasn't told what was objectionable, according to Tasha Kates in the Progress. The DOC and its director, Gene M. Johnson, were in the news recently when they banned a 20-year-old Books Behind Bars program, but reinstated it after the public outcry.
Latest Perriello challenger: State Senator Robert Hurt from Chatham becomes the sixth Republican to seek the nomination to run against Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and perhaps the best known– at least in Southside. (Locals Albemarle Supervisor/Solid Waste board member Ken Boyd, Ivy real estate investor Laurence Verga, North Garden resident/Northwest pilot Michael McPadden have already put their names in the hat.)
Least competent: Mark Ryland Dowdy is found incompetent to stand trial for the second time in four months, Kates reports in the DP. Dowdy faces five charges of possession of a hoax device from allegedly putting a suspicious powder on signs criticizing former employer Klockner Pentaplast. Judge Cheryl Higgins declared Dowdy, who is representing himself, incompetent during his opening statement at his June 30 trial. In court October 7, Higgins orders him to seek outpatient treatment. Clinical psychologist Michael Dowen testifies his belief that Dowdy has a paranoid personality disorder.
Hungriest: Two malnourished horses are seized from a farm on Maxfield Road in Keswick October 6 and placed in a Richmond shelter, WCAV reports.
Largest planetary ring: UVA astronomers Anne Verbiscer and Michael Skrutskie, working with University of Maryland, discover the largest planetary ring yet in the solar system, circling Saturn at 200 times the radius of the second largest plant.
First step: Albemarle Planning Commission okays wind turbines October 6 without nailing down specifics like where they can go, what color or how loud they can be, according to Brandon Shulleeta in the Progress. A public hearing will be held next month, and then recommendations go to the Board of Supervisors.
Best case study: The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard looks at Charlottesville Tomorrow's two-month-old partnership with the Daily Progress and how it can benefit both organizations in a world of shrinking newspapers.
Most ambitious fundraiser: The Legal Aid Justice Center hopes to fill the Paramount October 19 at $25 a pop, $15 for students, for a panel discussion on prison reform. John Grisham lends star power and leads the discussion.