The week in review

Published November 14, 2002, in issue #41 of The Hook

Best midterm election for Republicans: While Virginia's Republican incumbents were expected to win, the party claims enough elections across the country to regain control of the U.S. Senate and possibly put Virginia's senators in leadership positions– John Warner as chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and George Allen heading the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Worst election results for Mark Warner: The governor-supported regional sales tax referendum to build roads in northern Virginia is soundly defeated.

Best rebound for a battered governor: Two days after the election, Warner hosts a press event to announce a dry well replacement program for low-income residents.

Best results for construction companies: Passage of the $900 million education bond referendum will give UVA and Piedmont Virginia Community College nearly $74 million for capital projects.

Worst places for the bonds: New Kent, Patrick, and Rockingham (home to James Madison University) are the only three Virginia counties to reject the $900 million referendum.

Worst time to be a state employee: UVA classified workers haven't seen a raise in three years.

Worst budget results for Albemarle County: A $2.8 million deficit could lead to slicing spending for schools, and budget officials want to chop $400,000 from the county's Acquisition of Conservation Easements Program, according to Peter Savodnik in the Daily Progress.

Best quote from a losing candidate: "That guy slimed me. I'm not going to congratulate him," says Ben "Cooter" Jones of his opponent, Eric Cantor, in a Cavalier Daily report by Mary Pumphrey.

Best leap from a train by a 75-year-old senator: Virginia's John Warner jumps from an Amtrak train that starts moving before he can get off in Alexandria October 30. Warner, a strong supporter of the federally subsidized railroad, expresses his displeasure with the service to the Washington Post.

Worst morbid stunt: Desecrators move a concrete slab over the grave of Reuben Lewis, Meriwether Lewis' younger brother, and dig down three feet last week, according to David Dadurka in the Progress.

Best local economic stimulus: Fashion Square Mall celebrates its official reopening last weekend after its owner, Simon Property Group, pumps $8.5 million into renovating the 22-year-old shopping center. New attractions include J. Crew, Abercrombie and Fitch, and a Jefferson-themed play area.

Worst increase for history buffs: Monticello raises its adult admission from $11 to $13. Locals can still get in free if they bring a full-price-paying out-of-towner.

Best performance in a deficit: Virginia's ABC stores post a record $405 million in sales for fiscal year 2002, with net profits of over $46 million. That profitability doesn't spare the revenue-producing liquor stores from having to reduce hours. Starting in January, the stores will open at 11am instead of 10am.

Worst flea consequence: A man and woman in New York are diagnosed with bubonic plague, which is contracted from flea bites.

Best national publicity: Gourmet shop Feast! appears on the Food Network November 10 thanks to its selection of rare and handmade cheeses. The episode replays at 4pm November 16, 11am November 17, and 10pm Thanksgiving Day.

Worst time to nearly hit a police car: When you're smoking pot while driving on Rugby Road, as two men are caught doing Saturday night. Police charge the pair with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to the Daily Progress.

Best headline: "Winona Ryder: Shopper, Interrupted" on washingtonpost.com.

Worst streetscape additions: Towering gray plastic boxes for some new publications have begun appearing around town.

Best Post  scoop: The Hook has been reporting on the troubles in Schuyler between the Hamners– Waltons creator Earl and his brother Jim– and the Walton's Mountain Museum since June. The Post discovers the story November 9.