4BETTER or worse: The week in review
Latest declines in property values: Albemarle County's reassessments mailed this week show an average 1.24 percent drop in home values, excluding new construction, compared to the previous year's 3.18 percent decline. Charlottesville clocks in with a .14 percent decline in existing residential following last year's 2.19 percent decrease in value.
Latest zero-tolerance run amok: Spotsylvania High expels 14-year-old honor student Andrew Mikelfor shooting spitballs using the body of a pen and small plastic balls, and officials refer the matter to police for criminal prosecution. The Rutherford Institute steps in to defend the lad, and its founder, John Whitehead, castigates school officials for "criminalizing childish behavior."
Biggest oops: UVA neglects to pay overtime estimated in the millions of dollars to UVA Health System employees during one of last winter's snowstorms, Ted Strong reports in the Daily Progress.
Biggest steel: The Charlottesville Fire Department acquires and welcomes January 27 a piece of 9/11 metal from the World Trade towers in New York.
Biggest alleged pyro: Mineral woman Felicia Armstrong, 51, is charged with felony arson for setting St. John Baptist Church on fire three times, NBC29 reports. Armstrong also picks up a B&E charge for entering the church to start two of the fires, another count of felony arson for setting a neighbor's shed on fire, and two counts of misdemeanor arson for burning a neighbor's woodpile and another's fence January 9.
Best retreat: Walmart drops plans to build a 143,000-square-foot Supercenter near the Wilderness Battlefield near Orange January 26 at a court hearing challenging the project, the AP reports. Historians consider the Battle of the Wilderness a turning point in the Civil War, which ended 11 months later. Approximately 30,000 soldiers were killed, injured, or missing in that fight.
Saddest loss in transportation: Yellow Cab owner Jay Graves, 64, dies January 28 from pancreatic cancer.
Saddest loss in lacrosse: Former UVA lacrosse coach Bob Sandell, 83, dies January 28. Active in local athletics for 30 years, he also was an official in basketball and ACC football, according to WINA.
Most castrating idea: State Senator Emmett Hanger carries a bill that gives violent sexual predators who have been civilly committed the option to go with castration and be released.
Most arrests in an Augusta underage sex/shooting scandal: Kimberley Crilley, 48, of Mount Solon is arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old boy. The teen, who was shot in the leg January 13 by Crilley's husband when he tried to get into the couple's house and is now hospitalized, faces felony charges for the attempted break in. And the boy's mother, Maria Schaffer, 43, is arrested January 30 for contributing to the delinquency of a minor for not keeping her son away from Crilley, according to the News Leader. Not arrested: Husband/shooter Philip Crilley.
Grimmest casualty in underage sex/shooting scandal: UVA Medical Center doctors remove the lower half of the teen's shot leg, the News Virginian reports.
Worst alleged kitty killer: Bruce Jamar Walston, 22, of Staunton, drops his appeal of a six-month sentence for misdemeanor animal cruelty. Walston allegedly threw his girlfriend's kitten into the wall May 31 after it disconnected his video game console, according to the News Leader.
Latest Tommy Garrett sighting: The Buckingham-raised publicist who sued the Hook for $10.7 million in 2008 claiming defamation for this paper's reporting about his 15 counts of check forgery, for which he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, is back in the area with January 25-27 Farmville screenings of Queen of the Lot, a Henry Jaglom film in which Garrett has a bit part as a reporter, according to a front-page story in the Farmville Herald.