4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest changing of the guard at UVA: Teresa Sullivan, 60, becomes the eighth president and first woman to head Virginia's flagship university. She succeeds John Casteen, who steps down August 1.
Biggest changing of the guard in Albemarle County: The first Board of Supervisors meeting January 6 foreshadows a more conservative bent with a resolution to drop the property tax rate, implement zero-based budgeting, and make economic development the top priority. Newly elected GOP supes Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas join former lone Republican Ken Boyd and with fiscally conservative Democrat Lindsay Dorrier approve the resolution 4-2.
Biggest push to restore voting rights to felons: At the tail end of Governor Tim Kaine's term, 10 civil rights or faith based groups, including the ACLU, Rutherford Institute, and League of Women Voters of Virginia, lobby him to sign an executive order to allow all or most of Virginia's 300,000 felons to vote. Their letter calls felon disenfranchisement a remnant of Jim Crow.
Biggest annual report: Freshman Congressman Tom Perriello issues an 85-page summary of his first year in office on January 7, one year after he was sworn in.
Biggest NIMBYs: Woodbrook neighborhood, which vociferously opposed a road connecting their 'hood with a new Arden Place apartment complex behind Albemarle Square, now squawks about plans for an eight-foot-wide pedestrian path on public property that would connect with Arden Place. Brandon Shulleeta has the story in the Daily Progress.
Best quote: Woodbrooker Travis Brown says he's fine with the apartment complex "as long as Arden Place stays in its place."
Biggest roulette for ambulance users: Albemarle County implements fees for transporting people, but the volunteer Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad and the city of Charlottesville will not charge. When someone dials 911, if Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Hollymead, or Monticello responds, the rider gets billed $350 to $550, plus $8.50 per mile. The county says insurance covers the fees.
Biggest fine: Crown Orchard has to pay $9,551 for an illegal dump that was promptly cleaned up with 70 tons of trash hauled away.
Sharpest contrast: The 16-acre Cismont dump, the site of fires in 1984 and 2005, takes three years to clean up, its owners consistently miss Albemarle County deadlines, and the fine is just $200.
Lightest: Oliver Kuttner takes his Very Light Car to the January 11 Detroit auto show to compete for the $10 million Progressive Automotive X-Prize, Brian McNeill reports in the Progress. Kuttner's team expects the car to exceed 100 miles per gallon.
Most layoffs: The Carlton Avenue printing plant, formerly part of LexisNexis and later acquired by Cadmus Communications (which is itself owned by publicly held Cenveo), leaves 61 people without jobs when it closes its doors January 8, according to the Progress. The company holds out the option for people to relocate to Baltimore, and a 2007 release shows that there were once 90 people working there.
Most frightening time of year: The General Assembly convenes for its 60-day session January 12 and must come up with a two-year budget despite a $4.2 billion shortfall.
Most sickeningly familiar trend: Gas prices jump 12 cents a gallon in one week, to an average of $2.65 in this area, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. A year ago, the price was $1.69.
Most embarrassing first impression: Two months after a similar Hook story, a January 10 Rachana Dixit Progress article, "Potholes at train station become a distraction," notes how additional Amtrak service draws attention to the unpaved, crater-riddled parking lot at the train station on West Main owned by Gabe Silverman.
Most embarrassing allegation: Wilmont "Bill" Packard, 49, of Schuyler is arrested for petty larceny, allegedly for taking money from a Fast Mart donation jar set in place to help a family pay for funeral expenses, according to Henry Graff at NBC29.