The week in review

Worst fire: In Richmond on March 26 when fire breaks out in a construction dumpster, ignites a student housing project, and leaps over Broad Street. When the ashes clear, over 24 buildings are damaged or destroyed, and one woman is dead after her oxygen supply quits when the electricity is cut off.

Best quote: "It was like looking into the gaping maw of hell," VCU student Tom Petzwinkler tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Best news for Albemarle teachers and public safety employees: The Board of Supervisors rejects a property tax cut of two cents per $100 that would have impaled the county's efforts to pay competitive salaries to teachers, as well as a laundry list of other services, including keeping libraries open.

Worst news for Albemarle property owners: Your 76 cents tax rate is not going to drop, and the hot real estate market guarantees assessments will go up again in 2005.

Most costly manicure: Jessica Lynn Stuple is convicted March 23 of two counts of felony child neglect for leaving her one- and two-year-old sons in a cold unlocked car while she had her nails done, Liesel Nowak reports in the Daily Progress. Stuple faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine at her June 18 sentencing.

Best coverage on the homeless: Elizabeth Nelson visits the area's river-bank and under-bridge campsites in the March 28 Progress.

Best jailhouse interview: The Progress' Reed Williams talks to stabbing victim Glenn Snow, who claims the wrong man was charged in his attack.

Best get for UVA libraries: The papers of the late state Senator Emily Couric, donated by her husband, Dr. George A. Beller.

Best company: According to the write-up in the Progress, the Couric papers join those of other famous legislators including Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.

Most ferocious photograph: That scowling shot of Condoleeza Rice, who will talk to the press but not testify publicly to the 9/11 Commission.

Newest addition to the list of buildings bearing the Smith name: The new Monticello history center will be named for Hunter and Carl Smith and their $5 million donation.

Most surprising Greek outcome: Sigma Chi brothers Kurt P. Rupprecht and John P. Selph, who were arrested for a November 1 attack upon second-year football player Carson Ward that left him in a coma, have their misdemeanor assault charges dropped March 29, the Cavalier Daily reports.

Worst break-ins: Residence halls on Alderman Road are burglarized March 27. According to the Cav Daily, $5,700 worth of electronic equipment is taken, in some cases from occupied suites.

Worst name change: Hampton University and Hollins University are tolerable, but "University of Mary Washington"? Mon dieu!

 Best civil disobedience in Fredericksburg: Four gay couples apply for and are denied– marriage licenses March 24, escorted by an entourage of 100.

Best Patricia Kluge quote in the Washington Post: When asked in a Los Angeles Times interview about nude pictures taken by her first husband, Russell Gay, owner of Knave magazine, Kluge responds, "Why not? I have a great body."

Best "bitch slap": Exercise guru Richard Simmons says he had to smack a man at the Phoenix Airport March 24 and is charged with misdemeanor assault, according to the Post.

Best place: Here. Travel book publisher Frommer's, in its latest Cities Ranked & Rated, released March 30, considers over 400 communities, including ever-popular Santa Fe and Asheville, but Charlottesville earns the #1 spot.