The week in review

Worst ender to a bender: Escort service owner Paulus Irving Perkins is found guilty March 5 of rape, sodomy, and abduction of a 19-year-old woman. During the trial in Lovingston, Paulus admits smoking crack cocaine and says he can't remember his confession to authorities, according to Austin Graham's account in the Daily Progress. The jury recommends a minimum sentence of 35 years.

Best optimism by an incarcerated businessman: Perkins hopes his 35-year absence won't affect his business, Choice Entertainment.

Worst news for Dems eyeing the 57th District seat: Mitch Van Yahres announces he's running for reelection.

Best reason to rethink running a Ponzi scheme: U.S. District Court Judge James H. Michael Jr. throws Charlottesville resident Terry L. Dowdell– who pleaded guilty in December to 20 felony counts– in jail until he tells what happened to $850,000 of the $70 million he bilked from victims, Reed Williams reports in the Progress.

Best new gig for former congressman L.F. Payne: UVA's Board of Visitors, to which he was appointed by Governor Mark Warner, along with J.O. "Wubby" Winn, former head of Landmark Communications, IBM exec Susan Y. "Syd" Dorsey, and Georgia M. Willis, Virginia Heartland Bank senior VP.

Best description of how UVA's lack of funding affects its quality: "Lawn of Averages: Why UVA could become just any old school" by econ prof William R. Johnson in the March 9 Washington Post.

Best sign of a rising star: Virginia's junior U.S. Senator George Allen makes the list of Bush senior adviser Karl Rove's network of contacts; Virginia's other senator, John Warner, does not, according to the Post.

Worst reason to say the Pledge: It's the law. A federal judge upholds Virginia's requirement that public school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and schools to display "In God We Trust."

Worst economic indicator: The number of payroll jobs dropped by 308,000 in February, the largest drop since late 2001, while unemployment creeps up to 5.8 percent.

Worst Catch-22: Homeowners who file claims for house damage are likely to be canceled, especially if they've made two or three claims in the past two years.

Worst wig theft: Cher's black-and-teal wig, valued at between $8,000 and $10,000, is swiped at a sold-out Richmond concert and then returned.

Best break for Hardee's: A jury in Portsmouth rules that the restaurant doesn't have to pay $300,000 to a woman who claims maggot-infested chicken traumatized her four daughters, the AP reports.

Worst break for Jerry Falwell: The Reverend's lawsuit against the owner of www.jerryfalwell.com, which parodies the Lynchburg preacher, is thrown out of federal court in Richmond when the judge claims he doesn't have jurisdiction.

Best account of an exasperated judge: Liesel Nowak's coverage in the Progress of the Frederick Gray wrongful death suit, in which Gray's father is suing Albemarle County Police for $6 million, depicts Circuit Judge Lydia C. Taylor as peeved about the pace of the trial.

Best get for a keynote speaker: Edsel B. Ford II, great-grandson of Henry, will speak at the April 16 Salvation Army Annual Banquet.

Best double take: Crutchfield Corporation's new chief operating officer is David Mathews.

Best new store for European scooter enthusiasts: Vespa is opening a Charlottesville branch on Preston Avenue.

Best indication this year's Virginia Press Association's awards were held in a Bizarro world: Progress reporter Bob Gibson gets a third-place award for his column writing, while Bryan McKenzie wins first place.

Worst feeling of being in a bad dream while still awake: Has the war started yet?