4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review

Highest profile apology: Albemarle School Board Vice Chair Eric Strucko apologizes for a December 9 vote to keep a controversial eight-period high school schedule, despite teacher complaints of staggering workloads and parental concerns. He also expresses regret that the matter was buried on the agenda,  Brandon Shulleeta reports in the Daily Progress.

Least  repentant: Lame duck School Board Chair Ron Price, for whom the December 9 meeting was his last, says retreating from the eight-period schedule would be a "knee jerk reaction" and that critics are a vocal minority. The heavier workload from teaching six classes a year instead of five is something teachers "have got to adapt to," says Price. He also objects to "baby feeding our community" to make sure they're informed of important issues coming before the board, when the information is in the School Board packets. The Progress notes that the 34 items listed on the December 9 agenda do not mention class schedules.

Best news for concerned parents: The School Board appears to back off from semesterization, in which students meet every day for a class for one semester rather than spreading it throughout the year.

Biggest victory for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: Eastern District federal Judge Henry Hudson rules December 13 that the health care mandate passed earlier this year is unconstitutional. 

Biggest throw down: Albemarle supes refuse to meet with the DEQ to discuss alternatives to the 50-year water plan, as proposed by the city, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports. Chair Ann Mallek pens a letter to the DEQ December 8 that says, "We support no compromise of the approved and permitted water plan in the belief that to do so would compromise the county's future."

First weighing in on water by UVA: Chief operating officer Leonard Sandridge says the university favors a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain, the option favored by Albemarle County.

Latest for the UVA student who killed his father: Echols scholar Alan Y. Chang, 19, who was convicted of manslaughter in September for bludgeoning his abusive father with a bowling pin, is sentenced to four years in prison December 9.

Latest UVA coed to be groped: Early December 12 on the Corner, a black male, 5'10" wearing a black hoodie allegedly fondled the 19-year-old student. Police say there is no connection to earlier reported gropings of UVA students, the Daily Progress reports.

Latest accidental hunter shooting: Paul Arnold, 50, of Virginia Beach is blasted in the thigh December 9 while walking away from his Nelson County stand by another member of his party, Johnny Edmonds, 58, of Alberta.

Saddest loss: Developer Mark Fried, 78, who helped found Innisfree Village in Crozet, dies December 12.

Worst child abuse case: UVA grad Christopher Lee Alexander, 22, is sentenced December 9 to seven years in prison for forcible sodomy and taking indecent liberties while in a custodial position with an eight-year-old girl. 

Smallest but widest inside job: The Salvation Army bell ringer who said he was pushed and robbed at Sam's Club November 30 has been charged with giving a false report. Lawrence Egnor, 43, also is charged with embezzlement under $200, both misdemeanors. Emory Sliger, 52, believed to be the pusher who snatched the bucket, gets two misdemeanor larceny counts, and alleged getaway driver James Shifflett, 44, picks up a felony larceny charge. Rhonda Johnson, 46, is charged with misdemeanor receiving stolen goods.

Most dubious top ranking: The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina has the most suicides– 15– of any national park between 2003 and 2009, according to the Center for Disease Control. The Grand Canyon has the most attempted suicides– 10 during that period– while the Parkway had 6.