HOTSEATED- Secrets of the 2006 HotSeat sitters

Each week we get the Charlottesville area's most prominent citizens to sit on the HotSeat and tell their secrets. From the school superintendent who's handy with an M16 to the torrid romances of a Pulitzer Prize winner, our HotSeat sitters did not disappoint in 2006.

She may look cool, calm, and collected, but NBC 29 anchor Kristina Cruise once got a case of the giggles on the air while announcing a man's death. The man's name? "Toot." (504)

Jazz trumpeter John D'earth is as gentle on spiders as he is on the ears. He doesn't kill arachnids because he says he empathizes with the eight-legged critters. (505)

Landscape architect Will Rieley has been playing around in the dirt for years– he got muddy at the original Woodstock festival in 1969! (506)

Ask WINA radio host Coy Barefoot what his Walter Mitty fantasy is, and he'll tell you, "I rent the Omni ballroom for a black-tie celebration in honor of my son's full recovery from autism. A capacity crowd turns out to hear Whitman give a riveting speech about how he overcame this hideous illness." (508)

So is he Butch Cassidy or the Sundance Kid? Albemarle County Executive Bob Tucker says either Robert Redford or Paul Newman could play him in the movie. (509)

Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove didn't win any laurels from her parents when she got caught faking an illness to skip church and romp in the grass with her boyfriend.  (512)

As a city councilor, Dave Norris can be a persuasive talker. That skill came in handy when KGB agents detained him at Leningrad Airport in 1987, worried that his "boring tourist footage" was actually reconnaissance of secret Soviet facilities. (514)

In her dreams, UVA creative writing prof Lisa Russ Spaar would drive a vintage Jaguar. In reality, she drives a "perfectly sexy" Subaru Legacy wagon. (515)

Bluesman Corey Harris says he dreads an oil industry crash for its economic implications. But he's not completely blue about such a scenario because he'd be delighted to see all the new bike riders. (516)

Richard Nixon wasn't known as the snappiest dresser, but the new director of his presidential library, Timothy Naftali, says he's a fan of TV's Project Runway. (518)

As an educator, George Conway wouldn't encourage such rhetorical lapses from his students, but this former St. Anne's Belfield headmaster says his favorite bumper sticker is "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." (519)

Speaking as a literary expert, Virginia Quarterly Review editor Ted Genoways feels confident when he calls HBO's Deadwood "the Shakespeare of our period." (520)

Most of the reading Ella Carey does as Albemarle County Board of Supervisors clerk can be pretty dry, so she admits that every once in a while she picks up a Harlequin Romance Club book. (524)

Heritage Repertory Theater director Bob Chapel confesses he doesn't command the poker table the way he does the stage. He says that in his regular game with some librarians, "They consistently take my money." (525)

Though he doesn't look like a Wild and Crazy Guy, and doesn't think he's a Jerk, Albemarle Fire Chief Dan Eggleston says Steve Martin would play him in the movie of his life story. (526)

Construction supervisor for the John Paul Jones Arena Richard Laurence knows a thing or two about what can happen when everything isn't in the right place. He once landed a Cessna airplane with the wings on the runway and the landing gear pointing skyward– instead of the other way around. (529)

Greene County Board of Supervisors Chair Steve Catalano might seem driven, but that's not the half of it. His Walter Mitty fantasy is to zoom down the Autobahn in a Porsche 911. (532)

The dance clubs and high-priced restaurants of Manhattan might be fine and dandy, but New York Mets' closer Billy Wagner says his favorite hangout is the Great Valu in Crozet. (533)

Scarpa founder Amy Gardner is in the footwear business nowadays, but once she let her fists do the talking. "I tried to punch a 6'3" guy at the Sugar Bowl in 1991 after we 'exchanged words,'" she recalls. "Needless to say, there was a little alcohol involved." (534)

Few people know that harmless-looking Charlottesville school superintendent Rosa Atkins is actually an Army reservist who's an "expert with an M16." (536)

UVA athletic director Craig Littlepage would like the "uninformed talk show callers and uninformed bloggers" who rant about him to know that the feeling is mutual. (537)

When buying edible treats for the Dave Matthews Band's road crew, don't try to foist a popsicle or chopsticks on light designer Fenton Williams. To him, "the wood is like someone scratching their fingernails down a chalkboard." (538)

Cats might have nine lives, but Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA director Susanne Kogut is only on her second. Before working with animals, she was a high-powered D.C. attorney who finished at the top of her law school class. (541)

She holds the record for most hours spent in space by a woman, but UVA prof Kathryn Thornton says her proudest accomplishment is the award she won from AAA for her work on the Hubble Space Telescope. "I'm an honorary AAA technician who only works in zero-g," she says. (542)

Asked about his Walter Mitty fantasy, Swedish Auto director Derek Sieg confesses he doesn't know who Walter Mitty is. His most embarrassing moment? "Not knowing who Walter Mitty is." (543)

Folk legend, draft-resister, and Charlottesville newcomer Jesse Winchester has kept some unexpected company in his day. Conservative commentator William Bennett was his fraternity brother. (544)

When casting the movie about his life as a veteran political reporter, Bob Gibson says, the casting director won't have to look far. Gibson wants local blogger and media analyst Waldo Jaquith to play him. (546)