The week in review

Amazing alloy: Local researchers say in an early July release that their new non-magnetic alloy– three times stronger than steel– could make taller buildings, broader bridges, and hardier hulls for ships– all thanks to UVA scientists Joseph Poon, Vijayabarathi Ponnambalam, and Gary Shiflet.

Biggest water surprise: Despite the amazingly dry summer of 2002, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority's consultant says we don't need any new reservoirs. However, we might want to tap into the James River or raise the dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir, according to WINA radio.

Worst hit for Clark Elementary: Its failing No Child Left Behind grade means 36 students– 12 percent of its population– may opt for other schools this fall.

Biggest alleged drug conspiracy: Eight men from the Westside Crew, aka "PJC" or "Project Crud," are charged in U.S. District Court July 21, including gang leader Louis Antonio "Trinio" Bryant, and his uncle, Charlottesville parks and rec employee John C. Bryant, Liesel Nowak reports in the Daily Progress.

Worst guitar theft: Tom Daly of the band Fountainhead awakes at 5am July 20 to find two men in his bedroom stealing his guitar, Reed Williams reports in the Progress. William Jonathan Wood is arrested when he walks back by Daly's apartment after fleeing police, and Beau Adam Moneymaker is arrested at his home July 21. Daly's roommate, Brett Jordan, apprehended after chasing the thieves, is arrested but then released.

Worst Cinderella story: A teen car thief in a '91 Ford Tempo leads city police Lt. Gary Pleasants on a low-speed chase July 20 before blowing out both front tires of the city schools-owned vehicle in the Amtrak parking lot. According to a story by Liz Nelson in the Progress, the youth flees on foot– literally– when he loses a size 9 1/2 black athletic shoe. Police are looking for a one-shoed perp.

Steepest hike: The median sales price for houses sold in the first six months was about $30,000 higher than the year before, according to figures release by the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors.

Earthiest-tasting water: Residents in Forest Lakes, Ednam Forest, and Glenmore complain about moldy-tasting water. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority says the water is safe and the taste is from algae and tiny fungi growing in the reservoirs.

Weirdest false credentials charges: For claiming to be a certified mammography equipment inspector for almost 15 years, Perry M. Beale gets slapped with 38 federal counts July 22.

Bestseller: The 9/11 Commission report.

Hardest line: UVA Football Coach Al Groh announces that incoming freshman defensive back Ahmad Bradshaw has been benched after allegedly possessing alcohol on the Corner and then allegedly obstructing justice by putting up a struggle during his arrest, according to NBC29. (Any role that getting outrun by police officers may have played in ousting this would-be Cav athlete was not addressed by Groh.)

Latest high-profile gigs for Governor Mark Warner: As chairman of the National Governors Association and speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

Biggest Scottsville benefactors: Patricia Kluge– although admittedly unfamiliar with the genre– and husband Bill Moses host a bluegrass festival at their Albemarle Farm estate July 24 to raise money for Scottsville.

Biggest Skyline Drive benefactors: The Nature Conservancy buys 703-acre Hightop Mountain in Greene County, thanks to $3 million from an anonymous donor, according to the Progress.

Best peddler: Lance Armstrong goes into the history books July 25 as the only six-time winner of the Tour de France.