4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest changing of the guard: Former head football coach Al Groh had barely left the building when UVA athletic director Craig Littlepage announces Groh's successor December 7– University of Richmond head coach Mike London.
Biggest interchange: City Council approves 3-2 the design for the $33.5 million terminus of the Meadowcreek Parkway at McIntire Road and U.S. 250 Bypass.
Biggest bummer: Despite the millions, it'll be a conventional "diamond" with stoplights instead of the roundabout alternative.
Biggest priority? City manager Gary O'Connell, 57, says he's not including an increase to Charlottesville's 95-cent-per-$100 real estate tax rate, that employees may not get raises, and that funding the retirement system for city employees is his top priority for the fiscal year 2011 budget, according to Brian Wheeler at Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Biggest housing cost: To redevelop Charlottesville's public housing and increase it from 373 to 558 units, the price tag is $115.5 million, which works out to about $207K per unit. Rachana Dixit has the story in the Daily Progress.
Most passé urban development plan? Mixed use, once the darling of local planners, is ditched in the latest plan for the Coran Capshaw-owned coal tower project along the CSX railroad tracks that used to include office, retail, and restaurants and now is strictly residential with 302 units, Dixit reports.
Worst alleged infanticide: A 17-year-old in Staunton is accused of suffocating her two-month-old baby, according to police there, who began an investigation November 15. The teen is charged with first-degree murder.
Worst news for Albemarle teachers: No raises for the second year in a row, thanks to a projected $10 million deficit for the next fiscal year.
Feistiest competition: Baby formula maker PBM in Gordonsville takes on Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson in federal court and wins a court order December 1 that the name-brand maker stop advertisements that contain inaccuracies about the generic formula, Tasha Kates reports in the Progress. That follows a federal jury in November that awarded PBM $13.5 million because of Mead Johnson advertising.
Angriest: Supervisor Sally Thomas calls Chairman David Slutzky "irresponsible" for not being willing to drastically raise zoning fees to developers, according to Brandon Shulleeta in the Progress. Both Thomas and Slutzky will be off the Board of Supes in January.
Priciest ride: Albemarle supes okay fees for ambulance service at the Hollymead, Monticello, and Scottsville rescue squads that will run between $350 and $550. Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad and Western Albemarle Rescue Squad demur from charging fees right now, fearing that will affect donations to the volunteer organizations.
Latest first frost ever: December 6 at McCormick Observatory, which has been tracking such events for over 100 years, according to Jerry Stenger, director of UVA's climatology office.
Most banned books: The 25-page long "Disapproved Publications List" maintained by the Virginia Department of Corrections censors from inmates publications such as Prison Legal News magazine, Reader's Digest, and the Daily Progress, reports Kates at the DP.
Hottest book title: Sex and the Professors is the nonfiction book that Ann Lane, recently retired UVA head of women's studies, is working on, and in it, she reaffirms her longtime proscription against student/prof hanky panky.
Best black-market-for-fat debunker: Human fat is so easily obtained–- from liposuction clinics, presumably–- that there's no reason for a black market, says UVA plastic surgeon Adam Katz, disputing claims from Peruvian police that a gang called the pishtacos killed portly passersby and hung their bodies over votive candles to drain the fat– another part of the story derided by experts. Peruvians now believe the ghoulish tale was a police concoction to distract attention from news that security forces were operating death squads that targeted drug dealers.