4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Heaviest weather: Nearly 15 inches of snow cover the area February 5-6, so full of water that a snow-shovel full weighed 25 to 30 pounds, according to UVA climatologist Jerry Stenger.
Biggest casualty of snowfall: The roof of 84 Lumber on U.S. 29 near Forest Lakes collapses February 6 under the weight of snow.
Most record-breaking: Charlottesville is just a few inches away from the season record of snow– 54.7 inches during the winter of 1995-96.
Most snow fatigue: More accumulation is predicted February 9 as the Hook goes to press.
Latest assault on higher education in Virginia: After slashing funds the state contributes to colleges, the state budget now calls for a five-percent cut from universities' self-supporting "auxiliary enterprises," such as dorms, bookstores and parking, to be paid to the general fund. Brian McNeill has the story in the Progress.
Latest lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections. The Rutherford Institute files suit challenging the prison department's ban on CDs that contain the spoken word, even if it's a religious sermon. In September, the DOC banned "Books Behind Bars," a program that provides book for inmates, a decision that also drew Rutherford scrutiny and was soon reconsidered by prison officials.
Biggest escalation: Delegate Rob Bell's bill to change the state's school-funding formula to account for the revenue-sharing money Albemarle pays Charlottesville has the city up in arms and threatening to retaliate. The Daily Progress runs a series on the increasingly heated battle over revenue sharing, which was adopted by both jurisdictions in 1982 when Charlottesville agreed to stop annexing if Albemarle paid the city a portion of its tax revenue. The following year, the General Assembly put a moratorium on annexation.
Best reason to wear a seatbelt: Eleven people died in nine crashes on Albemarle County roads in 2009. Six of the dead were not wearing seatbelts and five of them were ejected from their vehicles.
Most notable lobbyist: Norfolk native Wayne Newton testifies before a House of Delegates committee to gain state recognition for the Potomac Indian tribe, of which he is a member . NBC29 has the story.
Biggest closure: The U.S. Postal Service decides to shut down Charlottesville's distribution center. Its 179 employees will be offered jobs elsewhere and local mail processing moves to Sandston.
Biggest coke bust: The Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force arrests two men– Fidel Martinez-Cortez 35, and Abidan Pimentel, 25– Febrauary 4 in the 1700 block of Timberwood Road and charges them with possession of 124 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute. JADE also seized $2,728 in cash.
Toughest crowd: A proposed gas station on U.S. 250 west in Crozet goes before the Albemarle Architectural Review Board for the third time in the past year, to no avail. Jeff and Michelle Sprouse want to build a Re-Store'n Station in an area zoned highway commercial near Freetown where there was formerly Ward's Small Engine Repair, and have reduced their building from 7,000 to 4,750 square feet. Charlottesville Tomorrow has the story.
Most infectious: UVA Medical Center makes the top of the list of hospitals with high rates of bloodstream infections in the March issue of Consumer Reports Health. UVA had 77 infections– twice the national average– during a 15-month period that ended in September 2009.
Best snapshot in a disaster: The Charlottesville Fire Department sets up an online VueToo dashboard with weather, road conditions, Dominion Power outages– and even the Hook webcam.