The week in review
Smallest tax cut: City Manager Gary O'Connell and Vice Mayor Kevin Lynch propose reducing Charlottesville's tax rate of $1.09 per $100 to $1.05– in the face of real estate assessments that have increased about 26 percent since the last rate reduction in 2003.
Newest road: On March 7, City Council approves the Hillsdale Drive Connector that will link Fashion Square Mall and Hydraulic Road without the need to get on U.S. 29.
Newest Visitors: Governor Mark Warner plans to name Alan Diamonstein from Newport News, A. Macdonald Caputo of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Vincent J. Mastracco of Norfolk to UVA's Board of Visitors, and reappoint Thomas F. Farrell II from Richmond, according to Bob Gibson in the Daily Progress.
Biggest lawsuit: The family of Thomas M. Cameron, the Louisa 10th grader killed February 9 when his school bus crashed, has filed a $10-million suit against the driver, Lorrie Ann Batten, and the Louisa School Board, Braxton Williams reports in the Progress.
Most competent: Jessica Fugett, 17, declares she's ready to stand trial for the February 2003 murders of her Crozet neighbors, Nola Charles and her three-year-old son. Fugett, who has undergone therapy for almost a year, faces first-degree murder and arson charges. Her brother, Rocky Fugett, who's already pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, is expected to be the chief witness against her, according to Liesel Nowak in the Progress.
Worst knock on the door: Two men pull a gun on a 67-year-old Crozet woman who'd invited them into her home March 4 after they asked for one of her sons. The men hold her for 10 minutes until she escapes.
Worst case of love gone sour: Amy Wharton is arrested for the June robbery of Dominion Square Bank & Trust in Culpeper when an ex-boyfriend turns her in to the police.
Most vicious chimpanzee attack: A California man, St. James Davis, loses all of his fingers, an eye, part of his nose, cheek, buttocks, and has his foot mutilated on a visit to an animal sanctuary. His wife, LaDonna, loses a thumb on the ill-fated visit to see Moe, a 39-year-old chimp they raised as their son. Two other male chimps, Ollie and Buddy, are blamed for the March 3 free-for-all, and experts speculate the apes were jealous of Moe's birthday cake.
Most startling revelation: That chimps, which stand about four feet high and may weigh around 100 pounds, are five to 10 times stronger than a human.
Best contracts: Ten-year agreements for losing basketball coaches at Virginia Military Institute and UVA. VMI dismisses Bart Bellairs with five years and more than $515,000 remaining, notes the Richmond Times-Dispatch. UVA could have been on the hook for $900,000 a year for Pete Gillen's remaining five years, but last year, the coach allegedly agreed to a lesser buyout in exchange for one more chance to produce a winning team.
Best simile: On UVA's last home basketball game of the season against N.C. State, the Progress' award-winning Jerry Ratcliffe writes, "The loss left Gillen's chances of returning as Virginia's coach about as thin as an Amish phone book."
Worst news for wild swimmers: Owners sell Shenandoah Acres Resort in Stuarts Draft– long known for its bold bounces, high wires, and other swimming sensations at its inland "beach"– possibly for a subdivision or religious retreat.
Biggest release: Martha Stewart leaves the slammer March 4.
Best publicity for a longtime Virginia band: The March 10 Rolling Stone features a photo of Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill wearing a Skip Castro t-shirt.