4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest bust: Police arrest "the Ghost," William Frances Breckenridge, who slashed the throat of a UVA student in 1981, dodged a long prison sentence, and befuddled authorities in the 1980s by leaving no clues in a string of burglaries, according to Rob Seal in the Daily Progress. Breckenridge was arrested March 26 and is a suspect in 30 burglaries in the Canterbury Hills and Hessian Hills neighborhoods.
Biggest hit: Virginia's DNA databank makes its 4,000th hit, matching an offender profile with a 2002 rape in California.
Worst school news: Former Western Albemarle High teacher Richard Neal Willetts, 26, is being held on federal charges of sexually enticing minors over the Internet, Liesel Nowak reports in the DP. Willetts' alleged victims include two WAHS students, a Fluvanna County High student, and one from Hawaii. He taught social studies at Western during the 2005-06 school year.
Latest contenders: Former planning director Satyendra Huja, former School Board chair Linda Seaman, and public housing residents coordinator Holly Edwards join attorney Jennifer McKeever in announcing runs for Charlottesville City Council. Still unannounced at presstime: whether Mayor David Brown and Councilor Kevin Lynch will seek another term.
Worst Easter for farmers: Winemakers and orchard owners fret over subfreezing temperatures over the holiday weekend and wonder how that will affect grape, peach, and apple crops.
Newest visitor: Retired CarMax CEO and cofounder Austin Ligon is appointed to UVA's Board of Visitors, Bob Gibson reports in the Progress. Governor Tim Kaine also reappoints L.F. Payne, Susan Y. "Syd" Dorsey, and John O. "Dubby" Wynne.
Most shrinkage: The July 2006 bust of Gary Peck for 4,200 marijuana plants– with a street value of $4.8 million– was heralded by Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement as the largest-ever seizure in this area, even though the plants were crammed into a 10' by 10' enclosure. In court April 3, Peck pleads guilty to growing the plants as medical marijuana for his wife who has multiple sclerosis, and the value shrinks to $35,000, according to Nowak in the Progress.
Most felonious prank: UVA frat brothers confess to swiping "Farmer Hokie," a $7,500 fiberglass statue of the Tech mascot in Blacksburg, and could face felony charges as well as UVA Honor violations, Aaron Kessler reports in the DP.
Most tragic irony: Waynesboro resident Kathy Chesney, 54, who sued a trucking company for the deaths of her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren on Interstate 81 three years ago, dies in a crash on the same highway April 7, the AP reports.
Best sign of spring: City Market opens April 7 from 7am to noon, still in the Water Street parking lot. (But for how long?)
Best news for slug-a-beds: A new Farmers Market opens May 30 at Meade Park on Wednesdays from 3 to 7pm.
Boldest stance on underage drinking: Middlebury College president emeritus John M. McCardell Jr. pushes a national campaign to lower the drinking age to 18, arguing that having it at 21 has contributed to life-threatening binge drinking, a condition he alleges didn't exist until the drinking age was raised 21 years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Winningest: The Charlottesville High School Orchestra sweeps the London Heritage Music Festival April 5, taking gold medals for performance, Best Orchestra, the Maestro Award, and Sweepstakes Award. The young musicians raised $320,000 with help from the community so that all 120 orchestra members could cross the pond.
Best sign Jefferson's birthday is around the corner: City Hall will be closed Friday. Oh, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression releases its annual Muzzle Awards, with the Bush administration leading this year's "winners."