The week in review
Worst homecoming: The space shuttle Columbia, with a crew of seven, 15 minutes from a scheduled landing in Florida, disintegrates over Texas February 1.
Best outcome for Foxfield from the ABC's hearing to revoke its license: Faced with revocation, suspension, or a fine, the racing association is on probation for the next 18 months. It also gets slapped with an $8,000 charge to cover the cost of the ABC's investigation.
Worst week for teen privacy: The House of Delegates votes that medical personnel must notify parents when teenagers seek treatment for pregnancy, depression, or sexually transmitted diseases.
Best news for cockfighters: The House of Delegates proves that at least one constituency is untouchable, when it refuses to outlaw cockfighting.
Best quote after cockfighting is deleted from Del. Rob Bell's dogfighting bill: "The dog thing was giving chicken people a bad rep," says Eddie Colmer, a cockfighting supporter, in Bob Gibson's report in the Daily Progress.
Worst flag controversy: As if the Confederate battle flag isn't divisive enough, a House Rules Committee votes to display the flag of the defeated Republic of Vietnam at public functions, rather than the official communist government banner, thus provoking an international incident, reports the Washington Post.
Best state for smokers: Three bills to increase Virginia's 2.5 cents cigarette tax, the lowest in the nation, die in the Senate.
Best state for concealed gun toters: The House of Delegates passes a bill to allow concealed weapons in bars where alcohol sales do not exceed 30 percent of the establishment's total sales.
Best General Assembly report from a local delegate: "This week we micro-managed the regulations for hair braiders," writes Mitch Van Yahres. "We also devoted time to missile defense systems. Of course, the last time I checked, Virginia's General Assembly has nothing to do with national defense."
Best city for peaceniks: Charlottesville City Council approves 4-1 a resolution against a unilateral war with Iraq, despite vocal opposition to the resolution.
Worst tax reduction: City Council proposes a 1.8% cut (two pennies per $100 valuation) in property tax rates, to slightly counteract the average 12.8 percent increase in city real estate assessments.
Worst news for Albemarle County School Board member Gary Grant: Brian Wheeler, an Ivy education activist and creator of an email list called "SchoolMatters," declares his candidacy for Grant's at-large seat.
Worst indication the serial rapist is still around: A woman is attacked on her Camelia Drive front porch February 3 around 2pm. The description of the attacker– a black male between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches weighing between 180 and 200 pounds– and the MO– a blow to the head of the victim– are similar to those of the man wanted by police for at least five other assaults.
Best decision for public housing activist Joy Johnson: A Charlottesville judge throws out an eviction case against Johnson that stemmed from drugs and a gun allegedly belonging to her two sons being found in her apartment, reports Reed Williams in the Progress.
Worst I-64 accident: A tractor-trailer driver is killed January 31 when a pickup truck driver swerves into him, causing two big rigs to overturn, according to the Progress.
Worst train-meets-vehicle accident: On February 1, a Norfolk Southern freight train crunches an all-terrain-vehicle, whose driver jumps off just before impact.
Worst furloughs: Sperry Marine cuts hours temporarily for 140 employees, according to David Dadurka in the Progress.
Best art gallery grant: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts bestows $40,000 upon Second Street Gallery.
Worst threat of a lawsuit? The February 3 Daily Progress carries an unprecedented front-page retraction and apology for "inaccuracies" in a story on a dispute about Yogaville's Internet domain name. The correction names just one minor factual error, but the Progress inexplicably states twice that it "does not vouch" for allegations made by Yogaville critics in the story that had already been denied by Yogaville sources in the original story.