4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Deadliest family feud: Three are killed and four injured in an August 22 domestic dispute over a 1.5-acre family property containing multiple mobile homes and assessed at $52,000, according to Reed Williams in the Times-Dispatch. Deputies from the Louisa Sheriff's Office are called around 2pm to the Trevillians address, believe they've resolved the dispute and leave. Three hours later, one-armed Charles P. "Zeke" Steadman Sponaugle, 52, pulls out a .22-caliber target pistol and shoots six family members, killing his son, Charles P. Steadman Jr., 29, and his nephew, Mark A. Cooper Jr., 23. Sponaugle fires on police and sics his pit bull named Dixie on a K-9 cop. Police kill both Sponaugle and his dog.
Most vicious vandalism: Ruckersville Baptist Church burns early August 22 in what authorities are calling arson, the third time the 90-year-old church has been vandalized in two weeks, Sharon Fitzgerald reports in the Progress. The building's AC wires are cut August 8; a few days later, a stained-glass window is broken and sound system equipment damaged, and at the same time 22 tombstones are desecrated in the nearby Ruckersville Cemetery, which isn't connected to the church.
Best deal for carny fondler: Twenty-year-old Joseph Michael Fowler, 20, who admitted he inappropriately touched two girls on the Tornado ride that he operated, pleads guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse August 23 and is sentenced to three months in jail with all suspended but the six days he's already served, according to the DP.
Latest casualty at Crabtree Falls: A 60-year-old man, an apparent suicide, becomes the 26th to die at popular Nelson County attraction that has a 300-foot fall, the highest vertical drop waterfall east of the Mississippi, the News Virginian reports. The last death was a University of Richmond law student who fell in 2008.
Latest in the booze/freedom of the press debate: College newspapers can't advertise alcoholic beverages, according to a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, and the ACLU announces an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. UVA's Cavalier Daily and Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, petitioners in the case, say the Alcoholic Beverages Control ban violates freedom of the press. A U.S. District Court overturned the ban in 2008, and a similar law in Pennsylvania was found to be unconstitutional by the 32d Circuit Court of Appeals.
Latest HOA embezzlement sentence: Former Mill Creek treasurer Kevin O'Connor is sentenced August 18 to one year and 10 months in jail and restitution for the nearly $71,000 he stole from the homeowners association, Tasha Kates reports in the Progress. O'Connor pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement and one count of money laundering as part of a plea agreement, and is ordered to turn over 20 percent of his paycheck once he's employed again.
Most tantalizing idea for Scottsville: Applejack brandy producer Laird & Co., which has a North Garden distillery, eyes buying the 150,000-square-foot former Hyosung tire plant, which closed in November and took 100 jobs with it. Brandon Shulleeta has the story in the Progress.
Most tantalizing–- and oddly familiar–- idea for Crozet: A pedestrian mall like Charlottesville's Downtown Mall is proposed for the almost 15-acre J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Yard and CSX railroad property by the Crozet Community Advisory Council, which recommends rezoning the land in the heart of Crozet, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Best credit rating: Albemarle gets a AAA rating from Standard & Poor's and already had the top rating from Moody's.
Biggest windfall: Virginia turns up a $404 million surplus the same year it started with a $1.8 billion shortfall.
Biggest birthday: Charlottesville starts planning for its 250th in 2012, and the city sets aside $50K to pay for the party.