The week in review

Worst downward trend: The water level of local reservoirs, despite last weekend's rain, continues to fall.

Best NIMBY story of the week: John Grisham, keynote speaker at a September 14 Piedmont Environmental Council meeting, says it was a mobile-home dealership that sprang up next door to his Oxford, Mississippi, house that sent him scurrying to buy property in Albemarle and spurred him and his wife into environmental activism, according to a Kate Andrews report in the Daily Progress.

Worst capitalizing on post-9/11 goodwill: Local firefighters block cars on 250 West and slow traffic on other public roads to solicit funds from passersby on September 14.

Best carpenter for Habitat for Humanity: Mary Chapin Carpenter lends her name and expertise with a hammer to Habitat's "Woman Build" project near Esmont.

Next best public university: U.S. News and World Report names UVA the second best public university after University of California-Berkeley. Overall, UVA ranks 23 among the nation's top 50 universities, down from number 21 last year.

Best accumulation of wealth: Among Forbes magazine's 400 richest Americans are Albemarle property owner John Kluge, number 12, and Darden benefactor Frank Batten Sr., number 209.

Best defense of Albemarle County public schools: In a September 16 letter to the editor, school board members Diantha McKeel and Gordon Walker complain that the Daily Progress' education section in its August 23 Welcome Edition focused almost entirely on private schools and ignored the strengths of the county system.

Worst appeal of a firing: Former detective K.W. Robinson, who's been fired twice from the Albemarle County police department for excessive use of force, contests his latest dismissal, despite a videotape that captures him punching a suspect and earning an assault and battery conviction from a Lynchburg judge.

Best news for Superman actor: Christopher Reeve, who's been paralyzed from the neck down since he fell from a horse at a show near Culpeper in 1995, reports regaining some movement and physical sensation, according to the Washington Post.

Best photo of a city planner in a wedding dress: The September 14 nuptials of Sarah Tarpley Vest and William Scott Gillespie are announced in the Progress.

Worst break for Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas: Adelphia is withholding Rigas' three-year, $1.4 million-a-year severance pay. Rigas was indicted in July for taking $2.3 billion in off-the-books loans and using the company as his "personal piggybank."

Best invention to meet demand for dog treats: Pamela Peterson, founder of Sammy Snacks, invents a new machine that will triple production of the fancy, all-natural dog biscuits.

Best accolades for local public access show: Inside Charlottesville, the City of Charlottesville's television newsmagazine, wins a Savvy Award from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association, whatever that is.