4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Latest grim news for Albemarle schools: Its budget shortfall, bad at $6 million, worse at $10 million, leaps to a possible deficit of $13 million.
Best sign those outlying Home Depots and Walmarts are making a difference: Charlottesville, Albemarle, and Augusta experienced a 2009 retail sales slump, according to a Chamber of Commerce sales-tax report, while Greene, Louisa and Waynesboro saw increased sales.
Best grant get: UVA assistant prof Sudhanva Gurumurthi gets a piece of a $1 million grant from Google to look at ways to make Internet data centers more energy-efficient. Gurumurthi works with researchers from Rutgers University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of Michigan to make servers less energy hogs.
Oldest sexual abuser: Eighty-four-year-old William Nicholson is convicted on four counts of aggravated sexual battery February 9 in Albemarle Circuit Court, Tasha Kates reports for the Daily Progress. During visits in October 2008 and April 2009, the victim, now 15, testified that Nicholson came into her room on four separate occasions. His wife testified that he is unable to function sexually. Nicholson is out on $10,000 bond and will be sentenced May 26.
Latest city government turnover: Longtime City Council clerk Jeanne Cox will retire this spring after 27 years, about the same time city manager Gary O'Connell moves to head the Albemarle County Service Authority. Retiring with Cox is her husband, Buz Cox, director of Charlottesville's Department of Social Services.
Best spin: Ken Boyd's campaign to unseat Congressman Tom Perriello in the 5th District takes a Public Policy Poll that shows Boyd with 42 percent versus Perriello favored by 46 percent of the voters and calls it a "statistical tie." Seven Republicans– oops, make that eight, with the February 15 entrance of Albemarle contractor Scott P. Schultz– are queuing up to challenge Dem Perriello, and the same poll shows state Senator Robert Hurt tied with Perriello 44 to 44 percent.
Second best spin: Hurt's campaign interprets the poll with a release heralding, "Hurt strongest candidate to take on Perriello."
Best get for Boyd: Former 5th District congressman Virgil Goode will be the special guest at a Boyd fundraiser February 16 in Goode's hometown, Rocky Mount, according to a Boyd release.
Most lumpen proletariat: The Tea Parties of the 5th District rank the GOP candidates with "lumps," as in, "the more lumps the sweeter the tea." Leading the lump report is Laurence Verga with 3.5 lumps, Mike McPadden with 3, Feda Morton gets 2, Robert Hurt 1.5, Ken Boyd has 1, Ron Ferrin gets 1/2 lump and Jim McKelvey has zero lumps.
Biggest threat to a college newspaper: Virginia Tech threatens to pull the plug on Collegiate Times to the tune of $70,000 in funding and free office space because the paper allows offensive, anonymous online comments. That is censorship, says the ACLU, and a First Amendment violation.
Biggest turkey spill: A tractor-trailer carrying 800 of the large fowl overturns on Route 151 near Afton February 10 and closes the road for an hour, the News Virginian reports. The truck was traveling from Monroe, North Carolina, to Harrisonburg when it hit ice. Most of the 30-pound birds were unharmed, but there were some casualties.
Best idea for a mock-umentary: The Mount Chipotle National Research Observatory tracks the gigantic snowpile at Barracks Road. The UVA grad students who came up with the observatory also have turned a betting pool on when the pile will melt into a fundraiser for the environmental science department's graduate student association. Ted Strong has the story in the DP, and Megan Lovett has the hilarious 1960s National Geographic-style photo.