4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Biggest civil award against an Albemarle cop: A jury awards the family of Frederick Gray $4.5 million November 17, finding that Sergeant Amos Chiarappa was "grossly negligent" in the 1997 shooting of Gray at Squire Hill Apartments. Liesel Nowak has the story in the Daily Progress.

Most quickened pulses among attorneys with an eye on the bench: Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross announces his retirement, effective January 31, Bob Gibson reports in the Progress.

Worst take-your-medicine case: A 51-year-old Albemarle woman's felony child endangerment trial for withholding her 15-year-old son's HIV/AIDS medicine ends in a mistrial November 16, according to Rob Seal in the Progress. The son claims she hid his medications and gave him lame-o herbal remedies.

Latest Albemarle book controversy: Parent Susan Luekenbach protests a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale, Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper, for inappropriate sexual innuendo, Matt Deegan reports in the Progress. The School Board backs the book for sixth graders, but pushes its spot in the curriculum from supplemental summer reading for rising sixth graders to the second semester. 

Latest VDOT controversy: The Department of Transportation's plan to consolidate maintenance facilities and close the Free Union headquarters spurs angry residents to complain and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors to express concern about road-clearing capability in remote areas of the county.

Latest presumed Jeffersonian blessing: UVA teams up with Google to lend books to the mega search engine corporation for its on-line library. The university, which started putting some of its collection on line in 1992, will start shipping public-domain volumes for digitizing post haste. UVA President John Casteen says Thomas Jefferson would approve the project, according to WINA.

Most spamworthy: UVA installs new and improved spam-blocking software from IronPort for university email accounts, the Cav Daily reports.

Best-selling game: Ruckus, a family card game so hot that local shop Shenanigans is outselling New York's legendary F.A.O. Schwartz, according to a release.

Most parched: Governor Tim Kaine grants eight counties disaster status because of drought November 17. Albemarle farmers make the list of 34 contiguous cities and counties that may apply for low-interest emergency loans.

Most taxing: The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service publishes its 25th anniversary edition of Virginia Local Tax Rates, 2006.

Most eye-popping tax rate statistic: The city-county average 1982 per capita tax burden was $812 in today's dollars. In 2005, the most recent year available, per capita taxes were $1,474, an 82 percent increase.

Most chilling statistic: A UVA School of Nursing study finds that children in the United States are more likely to see a parent murdered than to contract leukemia, the Cape Cod Times reports. More than 3,000 children are estimated to be affected by the murder of a parent.

Worst roof failure: Two men doing repairs on a Triple C Camp cabin fall 10 to 12 feet when the roof collapses November 17. One of the men receives non-life-threatening lacerations, and no charges are pending, according to a county release.

Most exposed: Meteorologist Jamey Singleton at WSLS in Roanoke is fired November 16 after his nude photo is posted on the Internet, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Media General owns WSLS.

Latest OJ bombshell: His upcoming book, If I Did It, Here's How It Happened. An interview with publisher Judith Regan is supposed to air November 27 and 29 on Fox– until the News Corp., which owns both Fox and HarperCollins, abruptly pulls both the book and interview November 20.

Worst Mel Gibson moment: After being heckled, Seinfeld star Michael Richards repeatedly hurls the N-word at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles November 17.