The week in review

Worst St. Pat's Day: President George Bush gives Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq before the U.S. attacks at "a time of our choosing."

Next worst threat besides imminent war and terrorist attacks: A new, deadly flu-like disease kills nine and sickens 167, prompting the World Health Organization to issue a warning.

Best unexpected ending: Elizabeth Smart is returned to her family in Utah nine months after being kidnapped by excommunicated Mormon Brian David "Emmanuel" Mitchell.

Worst "hate crime": Albemarle County sheriff's deputy Steve Shifflett is shot March 13 when he questions a man near Pet Food Discounters on Berkmar Drive. Sheriff Ed Robb denounces the attack as a "hate crime."

Worst news for Belmont drug buyers: 18 alleged dealers are indicted and arrested for selling marijuana and cocaine.

Best news for Albemarle Police: Officer Amos Chiarappa is cleared in the wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Frederick Gray's family.

Worst check kiting scam: Albemarle First Bank is bilked of $2.4 million. (See News story.)

Best plan to come from Attorney General John Ashcroft in a while: He's looking for $1 billion to clear up a huge national backlog of 350,000 DNA samples from rape and murder cases.

Best way to alert library patrons of the Patriot Act: Some libraries in California post signs to warn that the government may be monitoring borrowers' reading materials in the war against terrorism.

Worst case of Congressional foot-in-the-mouth: Representative Jim Moran is booted as Democratic regional whip after saying that Jewish support is responsible for the war with Iraq.

Worst week for Virginia Tech: The university feels the wrath of Governor Mark Warner when it drops race and gender preferences in admissions, and it draws fire from the Rutherford Institute, which claims that free speech and assembly are threatened by a Board of Visitors resolution that all requests for meetings be approved by Tech's president at least 30 days in advance.

Worst news for Crutchfield and Circuit City: Best Buy announces plans to open a 45,000-square-foot store in Charlottesville on the Emmet Street site where Aunt Sarah's Pancake House and the Mount Vernon Motel are now located.

Worst move for local State Farm Insurance employees: The insurance behemoth, Charlottesville's largest private sector employer, which lost $2.8 billion in 2002 and $5 billion in 2001, is moving 151 jobs out of state.

Best move for tobacco-lovin' Richmond: Philip Morris USA is moving its headquarters from New York.

Worst book festival loss: Author Amanda Davis, 32, dies in a plane crash in the North Carolina mountains March 14. She had been scheduled to speak March 22 at the festival, and was promoting her first novel, Wonder When You'll Miss Me.

Worst reporting casualty: Ed Murphy of the News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, is struck by the propeller of a Cessna and dies at the Richmond International Airport March 15.

Worst victimization of fraternities: A joint frat party is robbed of between $200 and $300 early March 16 by gun-wielding masked robbers, the Cavalier Daily reports.

Best Progress  headline: "Cook arrested after grease incident" by Reed Williams details how China Jay Restaurant cook William Ho is arrested after allegedly slinging grease at a health inspector March 13.

Best reason for chefs at the Old Mill Room and Clifton, the Country Inn, to not commit suicide: Both restaurants keep their four-diamond ratings from AAA, as do the Boar's Head Inn, Keswick Hall, and Omni.

Worst civil rights violation: Some medical schools perform pelvic exams on women while they're under anesthesia. Fortunately, UVA is not one of them.

Worst place to be when lightning strikes: On a ski lift, which is why Wintergreen shut down its lifts last week for almost an hour when lightning was spotted. The lift was not hit, says Wintergreen.

Best way to cook a Boston butt: Low and slow, according to an AP report in the Progress.