The week in review
Worst case of armed and dangerous: SWAT teams arrest four men who are suspects in a crime rampage that includes a burglary, rape, and the shooting of two men on U.S. 29 north. According to Reed Williams in the Daily Progress, the four had boasted they'd have a shootout if captured by police, but they're arrested without incident December 11.
Worst Friday the 13th: Fifty-three cars and trucks smash into each other on Afton Mountain, closing I-64 for over five hours and injuring 23.
Best rescue: Three men– Mark Peverill, Nelson Ham, and a man who identified himself only as Kevin– pull UVA student John Quinn Hall III from a burning SUV early December 14 right before the car goes up in flames, David Dadurka reports in the Daily Progress.
Best timing for a gaping hole on U.S. 250 bypass: A broken waterline closes both westbound lanes December 15, but crews working all night have the road open by Monday's rush hour.
Worst stateside case foot-in-mouth disease: Senator Trent Lott continues damage control as questions arise about his fitness to serve as majority leader after his ill-chosen comment that if the rest of the country had voted for then-segregationist Strom Thurmond in 1948, "We wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."
Best attempt to interest future voters: Rep. Virgil Goode, state Senator Creigh Deeds, and delegates Mitch Van Yahres and Steve Landes are among the elected officials Larry Sabato's Center for Politics brings to Western Albemarle High School to talk to students December 13.
Best case of strange bedfellows: The ACLU goes before the Supreme Court to argue for a racist's right to burn a cross, despite a Virginia law prohibiting such acts.
Best topic to get normally taciturn Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to speak up: Cross burning.
Worst addition to the college transcript: Arson, with which 19-year-old UVA student Justin Wilson is charged after burning paper on a door at Page House dormitory, reports the Progress.
Best portent for Virginia winemakers: A federal judge in New York blocks enforcement of that state's ban on shipping wine out of state in a suit brought by Virginia winemaker Juanita Swedenburg. A similar case will be heard by the Fourth Circuit Court in Virginia next year.
Worst SUV vandalism that hasn't hit Charlottesville yet: Police are looking for what the Washington Post's Reliable Source calls a "miscreant" or a "crude environmental bioterrorist" who is smearing dog excrement on the handles of sport utility vehicles in Georgetown.
Best way to grab a piece of Jeffersonian style: Madison Square Furniture has introduced a 30-piece Jefferson collection inspired by pieces TJ used at Monticello and licensed by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, according to the Foundation.
Best way to grab a bottle of Jeffersonian wine: The third vintage of Monticello Sangiovese 1,053 bottles– goes on sale January 6. Last year's release of 744 bottles sold out in two days.
Best photo of Gov. Mark Warner: Progress photographer Andrew Shurtleff catches the Guv, with meat cleaver in hand, plugging bison meat at the opening of Georgetown Farms Market at Albemarle Square on December 13.
Best plug for Mark Linkous' new record: The January Esquire calls the Sparklehorse frontman's collaboration with Daniel Johnston, due in stores mid-January, "lush but not overproduced."
Best David Maurer piece in the Daily Progress : The secret life of Albemarle Sheriff Ed Robb, who was married to the mob as an undercover FBI agent in the 1970s.
Best tool in the search for Jack the Ripper: DNA testing, which forensic mystery writer Patricia Cornwall uses, thanks to Dr. Paul Ferrara, director of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, to support her theory that the Ripper was Victorian artist Walter Sickert. Her musings appear in the December Vanity Fair.