4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Best look at the Freedom of Information Act: The Associated Press and Virginia newspapers survey local governments throughout the state for compliance with FOIA, and Charlottesville, Albemarle and Greene rank among the most responsive.
Worst FOIA results: 43 percent of the state's law enforcement agencies refuse to turn over weekend crime logs, 10 percent of municipalities deny requests for local government leaders' emails, and 13 percent don't release fire inspection reports, all of which are public documents that should be accessible to citizens.
Worst stabbing: A dispute that begins at Rapture December 29 leaves a 28-year-old man knifed in the thigh and Michelle Lakisha Scott charged with malicious wounding.
Worst year-end statistic: Tobyn Dion Ross, 29, becomes Charlottesville's third homicide victim for 2006 when he's found shot December 29 in the Friendship Court parking lot.
Most perplexing death: Former Darden dean Robert W. Haigh disappears from his Westminster Canterbury apartment December 23 and his body is discovered in a field across the street December 26. The Virginia Department of Social Services is investigating the case, Brian McNeill reports in the Daily Progress.
Most likely to hear from citizens: Albemarle County Supervisor Sally Thomas and Blair Williamson, president of S. L. Williamson paving company, are named by Governor Tim Kaine to the Transportation Accountability Commission, which makes sure taxpayers get their money's worth for their transportation needs.
Worst pit bull mauling: A 24-year-old Charlottesville woman is hospitalized after two pit bulls attack her on a walk December 26 in Nelson County and charges are pending against the dogs' owner, according to the DP.
Worst news for city scofflaws: Parking violators with three unpaid tickets get towed starting January 1. (Before, they could rack up five before the tow trucks were called.)
Worst jet lag side effect: Death, at least in older mice, according to a UVA study.
Least likely to offer bargain fares: The number of travelers flying out of Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport drops 5.49 percent in 2006, the Progress reports.
Best sign we're all in trouble: An AP article declares the majority of state agencies do an inadequate job of protecting personal information such as Social Security numbers, and names UVA, which has had at least three unauthorized releases of Social Security numbers in the past month, as having a "model" security system, along with the Virginia departments of Taxation and General Services, VCU and Virginia Tech.
Best Senate buzz: The Washington Post mentions Charlottesville's State Senator Creigh Deeds as a possible challenger to Senator John Warner in 2008, along with former governor Mark Warner, former lieutenant governor Donald Beyer, and Delegate Brian Moran.
Biggest ooze fest: The Baltimore Sun gushes about the charms of Charlottesville in a recent Travel section feature.
Luckiest scratch-off: Scottsville resident Donnie Ward wins $1 million from a scratch-off lottery ticket he bought at the BP Gas Station on East Rio Road December 19.
Biggest end-of-the-year deaths: Saddam Hussein is hanged December 30, former President Gerald Ford dies December 26 and Godfather of Soul James Brown checks out Christmas Day.
Worst death by boa constrictor: Cincinnati man Ted Dres is found in his pet snake's cage December 16 with the four-meter reptile wrapped around his neck, the Toronto Star reports.
Best story involving an out-of-control beauty queen: Donald Trump spares Miss USA, Tara Conner, who was on the verge of losing her crown December 19, instead sending her to rehab. Even better, Rosie O'Donnell steps in to castigate the Donald, and threats of lawsuits fly.