4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Worst "thumpin": For the first time since 1994, America wakes up November 8 to the prospect of a Democratic-controlled Congress, and Representative Nancy Pelosi is set to become the first female Speaker of the House. Senator George Allen concedes to Jim Webb November 9.

Latest changing of the guard: Virginia Republican Party chair Kate Obenshain Griffin resigns November 13 and will take on a two-month stint as Allen's chief of staff.

Worst day for Donald Rumsfeld: The controversial secretary of defense resigns November 8; George Bush nominates Robert Gates as his successor.

Worst day for gays in Virginia: November 7, when a majority of Virginians decide that the threat to hetero marriage– despite existing state laws– demands amending the state constitution to keep marriage (and divorce) between a man and a woman.

Most indictments for sexual assault: Former Madison County bus mechanic/driver Oscar Robert Lemen, 47, turns himself in November 6 and faces 18 felony charges for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Free Union between November 2004 and June 2005, Rob Seal reports in the Progress.

Latest teen party run amok: A female walking through the Woodbrook area yelling for help November 12 results in the arrests of nine juveniles for underage possession of alcohol at an Eastbrook Drive residence.

Most senseless crime: UVA grad and newlywed Elizabeth Kelly King Reilly, 25, is robbed and fatally shot coming out of Stein Mart in Virginia Beach November 11.

Worst clerical loss: The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Kennedy, longtime minister at First Presbyterian Church and advocate of will-based philanthropy, dies November 8 at age 71 following a fall.

Newest street moniker: Roosevelt Brown Boulevard becomes the official name of the Ninth-10th Street Connector November 8 at a Hampton Inn ceremony attended by Linda Brown, the widow of the Charlottesville native and football Hall of Famer.

Latest Spurzem/Albemarle skirmish: Developer Richard Spurzem dangles $3 million in road improvements to address a dangerous turn from Hansens Mountain Road onto U.S. Route 250, but Albemarle insists on a rezoning, and Spurzem refuses to go through the lengthy process, according to Jeremy Borden in the Progress.

Future gig for former Charlottesville deputy city attorney Lisa Kelley: County administrator for Madison, where Kelley is a native.

Newest UR president: Edward Ayers, UVA's arts and sciences dean, takes the top spot at heavily endowed University of Richmond, succeeding William E. Cooper. 

Worst hunting-related death: James Frank Schuey Jr., 42, falls out of a loft while on a hunting trip and is impaled on an ornate kitchen chair early November 11 in Pennsylvania while his 17-year-old son and three friends sleep below.

Best sign Waynesboreans just want to party down on New Year's Eve: Organizers cancel this year's family-oriented, alcohol-free First Night because of a severe volunteer shortage and because the manager of headliners Robin and Linda Williams cancels, fearing ticket sales for a December 18 gig in nearby Staunton would be affected by the cheaper Waynesboro festitivies, the News Virginian reports. 

Latest adventures of Claudius Crozet: The corpse of the Blue Ridge Tunnel engineer, VMI founder, and apple town eponym who died in 1864 is carted to Washington and examined by Smithsonian Institution forensic anthropologists before reburial at a new spot at VMI, according to Media General's Gil Klein. 

Most shrinkage: In the November 13 issue the Daily Progress gets a half-inch narrower in its latest redesign. The DP ditches its snappy USA Today-of-the-1980s-inspired blue border unveiled nearly four years ago for top 'o the masthead teasers. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, also owned by Media General, sports the new look as well.