The week in review

Worst disaster: A 9.0 earthquake hits Japan March 11, killing thousands of people in a tsunami afterward, leaving thousands more homeless, millions more without power, and damaging nuclear reactors to the brink of catastrophic radiation release.

Worst misuse of condiments: A Zeta Psi pledge ends up seizing and hospitalized March 1 after consuming dog food, matzo balls, and gefilte fish, and washing them down with a potentially fatal dose of sodium in the form of 12 to 18 ounces of soy sauce, according to the Newsplex's Jessica Jaglois . The 19-year-old was foaming at the mouth when he arrived at Martha Jefferson. UVA police are investigating possible hazing, which is illegal in Virginia.   

Lightest child-rape sentence: Judge Cheryl Higgins sentences 28-year-old Hector “Perez” Vazquez to 10 years and nine months for the rape and aggravated sexual battery of an eight-year-old girl, the DP reports. Vazquez gets an additional 30 years suspended. 

Biggest Downtown Mall drug bust: Two people are charged in a cocaine bust outside the Jefferson Theater around the time of the March 12 Baaba Seth concert, the Newsplex reports. Arrested are UVA student David Cameron Smith, 21, who's charged with intent to distribute, and Jacquelen Rae Pontious, charged with possession.

Biggest ad campaign: Virginia launches an $8-million, eight-city media blitz touting tourism in the commonwealth, with the state putting in $1 million and tourism groups picking up the rest of the tab, according to NBC29.

Most gruesome scene: Nelson County Animal Control officers find three dead dogs and plastic bags filled with canine body parts at 5282 Rockfish Valley Highway in Afton, the News Virginian reports. Living dogs and puppies are found in the house, which an official describes as having feces "three to four inches thick."

Costliest Ponzi: Imprisoned conspirators in Albemarle-based Terry Dowdell's bogus investment scheme, Birgit “Gitte” Mechlenburg and Kenneth G. Mason, have been ordered to pay $23 million by federal judge Norman Moon, according to the Progress.

Biggest NIMBY case: Charlottesville City Council decides March 7 to try to send the upgrade-needing Woolen Mills-befouling sewer treatment plant across the Rivanna River into Albemarle County, Charlottesville Tomorrow explains.

Latest in the Keswick Winery wedding music war: The Board of Supervisors sets a decibel standard of 60 during the day and 55 at night to be enforced by the zoning department March 9 after irate neighbors complain about the noise from winery events, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow. The winery's adjacent property owners would have preferred to call police if they could hear noise 100 feet past the winery's property line.

Latest high-speed chase: Albemarle police nab 19-year-old Kyle A. Young in Crozet March 14 after he allegedly speeds off when an officer tries to stop him, the Newsplex reports. Young is charged with misdemeanor attempt to elude, driving outside license restriction, and underage possession of alcohol.

Latest in the Mount Solon carnal knowledge case: Kim Crilley, 48, pleads guilty March 14 to having sex with the 14-year-old boy who was shot by her husband after the teen allegedly dove into the couple's house, according to the News Leader. Crilley could face additional charges for continuing to see the lad after being ordered not to, depending on DNA samples taken from a hunting cabin on her property. Part of the boy's leg was amputated, and he's being held in juvenile detention, with State Senator Creigh Deeds as his attorney.

Meanest girls: A 13-year-old girl is beaten by a group of female teens March 11 on Prospect Avenue, NBC29 reports. The victim is taken to the hospital with minor injuries, released, and is pressing charges against her assailants.

Biggest change for Sunrise Trailer Park: Habitat for Humanity breaks ground March 15 on its $12-million project to transform the property into a mixed-income, mixed-use community.

Best speller: Henley Middle schooler Eric Xu, 14, wins the regional Scripps spelling bee March 12 by spelling "Bolshevik" correctly, the Daily Progress reports. He heads to Washington to the national championship in June.



re:"Lightest child-rape sentence"

Cheryl Higgins routinely administers slaps on the wrist in these cases or even dismisses outright evidence of child sexual abuse. For whatever reason, she appears to not take these cases seriously nor punish them harshly.

The local community should decide whether or not punishing the rape of children is a serious crime that deserves a harsh punishment. If the local community decides that these crimes are serious and do deserve harsh punishment, then the only conclusion one could reasonably reach is that we have a judge that does not reflect the values of the community.

Judges can be removed. In fact, this is the only way a community can influence our local judicial system. We need a judge that believes that children being raped is a serious crime and that will punish these perpetrators appropriately. We need a judge that does not dismiss evidence of child sexual abuse on a whim. We need a judge that will not judge harshly those that bring these allegations, but rather that WILL judge harshly those that perpetrate these unspeakable crimes.

In short, Albemarle County needs a new judge.

speaking of worse, the Staunton Restaurant section looks like you spent about a total of 10 minutes putting it together, it's really sloppy and what's up with all the tweak eal & pastel colors in every issue? LAME!