Most frightening time of year for Virginians: The General Assembly begins its 2005 session January 12.
Newest potential criminals in Virginia: Women who suffer miscarriages and fail to report them to police within 12 hours face a $2,500 fine and up to 12 months in jail under HB 1677.
Quickest change of heart: Delegate John Cosgrove, patron of HB 1677, drops the controversial bill January 10, according to Chris Graham at the Augusta Free Press.
Biggest issue for UVA: Charter status, which the General Assembly will consider this session.
Biggest spenders: The City of Charlottesville has the largest increase in per capita spending, according to the Free Enterprise Forum. City officials pooh-pooh that analysis in the Progress.
Newest chairs: Dennis Rooker is elected chairman of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors January 5, and Ken Boyd is elected vice chairman.
Best timed resignation: Susan Allen steps down from the Dominion Virginia Power board January 5, the same day her husband, Senator George Allen, takes a seat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Biggest indoor bust: Eighty-four pot plants are found growing in a Fluvanna County home that borders the Lake Monticello subdivision, Braxton Williams reports in the Progress. Police peg the plants at a value of $300,000, and arrest Phillip Fix and Cheryl Libbea.
Oddest Amber Alert: Meriwether Lewis, Hollymead Elementary and Burley Middle School are ordered to lockdown January 5 after a 10-year-old girl is abducted in North Baltimore, according to James Fernald in the Progress. "We made a mistake on this one," says Superintendent Kevin Castner. "We had some miscommunication and corrected it pretty fast."
Worst form of art criticism: Vandals destroy the Art in Place snowman on the U.S. 250 bypass January 8, and damage Bad Case of the Mondays, a former Art in Place sculpture that had been purchased by Charlottesville and was installed near the entrance to McIntire Park. Reed Williams has the story in the Progress.
Worst news for George Mason University students: Hackers abscond with Social Security numbers and other personal information for more than 30,000 student and staff earlier this month.
Best debunking: UVA prof Glenn Gaesser takes on fad diets in his new book, It's the Calories, Not the Carbs.
Most eye-catching headline in a story about a UVA doc: "Mothers who share breast milk" in the January 4 Wall Street Journal notes how surgery resident Shannon McElearney FedExed 150 ounces of her frozen milk to a woman (a web acquaintance) in New Jersey.
Trip most likely to interest Francophile and City Councilor Blake Caravati: The Chamber of Commerce is toying with the idea of a visit to Charlottesville's sister city in France, Besancon.
Most unusual missing pet: Joy, a three-year-old llama, jumps the fence at her Ivy home January 9 and is last spotted in Crozet, WINA reports.
Best way for Virginia pacifists to express their views: The legislature, which routinely devotes time to approving license plates, will likely give the go ahead to a peace license plate– unless it becomes too controversial.
Worst breakup since Tom and Nicole: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston announce their separation January 7.