4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Worst start to the new year: Colby W. Eppard, 18, of Stanardsville is fatally gunned down on Route 20 south January 1 after he allegedly absconds with a Greene County deputy's car, is pursued through Albemarle and Nelson counties and allegedly fires at police when he's stopped by a tire deflation device.
Biggest inside job: Former Clemons Library employee Bruce Eugene Johnson, 37, is charged December 29 with 11 counts of embezzlement and 8 counts of larceny with intent to sell. According to UVA police, between May 2008 and August 2009 Johnson pawned computer, video and audio equipment belonging to Clemons valued at nearly $5,000.
Worst hit to city cop cars: Two parked at Walker Square Apartments have windows smashed and items stolen, some of which are recovered on 6 1/2 Street SW, but still missing is a Taser.
Worst hit to VDOT workers: Fifty-three in the Culpeper District, which includes Charlottesville, will get layoff notices this week in the agency's second round of reductions. The Culpeper and Louisa residency offices will close in July.
Latest unemployment numbers: The area rate for November is 5.1 percent, with Albemarle the lowest in the region at 4.6 percent, Charlottesville at 5.6, and layoff-prone Augusta County the highest at 6.1 percent unemployment, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
Latest bad press at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women: Blind inmate Mildred Oliver, 44, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2004 stabbing death of her boyfriend, files suit claiming she has not received reasonable accommodation for her disability, Tasha Kates reports in the Daily Progress. Last year, prison officials were accused of segregating gay inmates, censoring books and restricting access to religious programs. On December 28, Warden Barbara Wheeler announces plans to retire.
Latest bookseller to bite the dust: Waldenbooks in Fashion Square Mall closes its doors at the end of January.
Latest mayor: Holly Edwards was expected to take the ceremonial title January 4, but instead declines, and City Council re-elects current mayor Dave Norris for another two years.
Noisiest? City Council postpones a decision January 4 to lower noise limits after 11pm in Belmont in favor of more public input. A proposed restriction would drop night-time noise from the current 75 decibels to 55 decibels, slightly below the 60 decibels considered normal conversational levels.
Newest park: The cash-strapped Commonwealth of Virginia buys the 1,200-acre Biscuit Run tract, which sold for $46.2 million in 2005, for the fire-sale price of $9.8 million on December 30. Would-be developer Hunter Craig gets tax credits instead.
Best addition to the Virginia Landmarks Register: The Woolen Mills Historic District originally was built to house mill workers in 1847 for Charlottesville's earliest industry– a textile mill on the Rivanna River and at the foot of Monticello mountain. The neighborhood, which still evokes a late 19th-century industrial village, is approved for the state's historic register in December.
Best value: UVA retains its number-three ranking on Kiplinger's 100 best value public colleges for the fourth time in five years.
Most ambitious: Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd announces interest in the chair job on the Board of Supervisors at the same time he's running for the Republican nomination in the 5th District to challenge U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. By December 30, Boyd removes his name from consideration, telling Ted Strong at the Progress the chairmanship had become "a distraction."
Most ambitious recycling effort: Carpet Plus, which sells cork flooring, launches Re-Cork Charlottesville to keep wine bottle corks out of the landfill. Brian McNeill has the story in the DP.