4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Worst conditions looming on the horizon: Drought watch has been declared by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for the state because of a lack of rain, although local water authorities aren't quite ready to make it official here, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.
Worst news for travelers headed to the Motor City: Delta ditches its service to Detroit from Charlottesville August 1 for the rest of the year because its 50-seater jets can't handle the humidity and have to be sold at under capacity, reducing profitability, according to a CHO release.
Most unexpected budget news: After dire projections of a $1.8 billion shortfall, Virginia turns up a $220 million surplus. Officials caution it may not be a turnaround, but raise-strapped employees may see a bonus.
Most eye-popping statistics: A Virginia State Police sting operation dubbed Operation Air, Land, and Speed yields more than 6,200 summonses and arrests along I-81 and I-95 over a single weekend. The count includes 12 DUIs and 15 drug and felony arrests.
Most new voters: Governor Bob McDonnell restores the voting rights of 506 felons out of 1,080 who applied. Earlier this year, his staff required letters from felons explaining why they wanted to vote, and listing their church and community activities, a policy from which McDonnell quickly backed away.
Most spies: Approximately 854,000 people hold top-secret clearance, according to an explosive series in the Washington Post that reveals so many people are gathering intelligence, much of it is redundant, wildly expensive and the sheer volume prevents any one person or agency from having a handle on it. Among the 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies that work on counterterrorism intell in 10,000 locations across the country, the Post notes Charlottesville's new Joint-Use Intelligence Analysis Facility north of town that will consolidate 1,000 defense intelligence analysts on a secure campus.
Latest Paul Garrett glitch: The Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk's Office, which three years ago misplaced indictments resulting in a woman unnecessarily spending a month in jail, uses a bizarre filing method that makes it impossible to find records by using a first and last name unless the searcher adds in "in re"–- "in regards to"–- to a search, a practice unique to the city, at least according to three other circuit court clerks who say entering a name alone should be enough to find all records. Rachana Dixit has the story in the Progress.
Biggest HOA embezzling plea: Former Mill Creek Homeowners Association treasurer Kevin O'Connor proposes a plea that would have him spend a year and 10 months in prison and plead guilty to six counts of embezzlement and one count of money laundering, Tasha Kates reports in the DP.
Most unexpected testimony: An alleged rape victim changes her story on the stand about a 2000 assualt that she says took place between two buildings at what is now Friendship Court. George Felix Baskerville had charges of rape and forcible sodomy dismissed July 15 after the woman testifies she'd had consensual sex with him before he forcibly sodomized her, according to the DP.
Most debatable: State Senator Robert Hurt, Republican candidate for the 5th District Congressional seat, accuses incumbent Tom Perriello of declining to debate him in October. Perriello's team fires back that Hurt refuses to debate if independent candidate Jeff Clark is included. Meanwhile, Clark says he hasn't been informed that he's disinvited to the Lynchburg, Danville and Pittsylvania chambers of commerce-sponsored event, the Danville Register and Bee reports.
Most doomed trees: The Charlottesville Planning Commission okays the removal of 10 mature trees at the 110-home, 22-acre Huntley subdivision, despite protests from the Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.