The week in review

Clearest shot for David Toscano: Former vice-mayor Meredith Richards, former Albemarle County Democratic chair William Harvey, UVA clinical psych prof Peter Sheras, and even top-blogger Waldo Jaquith announce they won't challenge Toscano for Delegate Mitch Van Yahres' 57th District seat.

Best news for gay partners in Virginia: Businesses may extend health benefits to couples starting July 1, following Governor Mark Warner's signature on a bill endorsed by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Best grocery surprise: Come July, the state drops its portion of the sales tax on food 1.5 cents, saving a family of four about $83 a year.

Worst gas pump surprise: Gas prices soar up to an average of $2.02 in Virginia, up 20 cents from last month.

Worst rash of alleged embezzlements: Albemarle County police arrest four people for unrelated thefts totaling nearly $25,000 in cash and equipment from the County, Reed Williams reports in the Daily Progress.

Worst flooding: Heavy rain closes at least five county roads March 28 and a minivan has to be rescued on Watts Passage Road at Preddy Creek.

Worst week for pedestrians: Ruby T. Keffer is struck in the crosswalk outside Giant at Pantops March 28; Joe Hans Heltzel Jr. is charged with reckless driving. A seven-year-old boy is hit riding his bike March 25 in Wilton Farms. No charges are filed against driver Vilma Paredes. And Brandon Page Shifflett is arrested March 22 for a pedestrian hit and run March 18 on Seminole Trail.

Biggest reward: Family and friends offer $10,000 for information about Jesse Morgan Hicks, 47, a Fluvanna man who hasn't been seen since September 1.

Worst spilt chicken: A tractor trailer carrying 35,000 pounds of "poultry product," according to an Albemarle police release, overturns March 23 on U.S. 29 just south of Interstate 64.

Latest Meadowcreek Parkway study: City Council approves $1.5 million March 21 for an engineering study of an interchange Council insists be part of the parkway.

Highest infant mortality: Roanoke leads Virginia in 2003 with more than double the state's average of 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the Department of Health.

Fattest sandwich: Burger King offers the Enormous Omelet Sandwich– two eggs, sausage, bacon and cheese– weighing in with 730 calories and 47 grams of fat.

Fastest growing fat state: Virginia, which climbs from 9.9 percent of its adults being obese in 1990 to 23.7 percent in 2003, according to a survey by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. West Virginia is still the fattest state at 27.5 percent, followed by Mississippi and Texas.

Latest bubble? Real estate, according to the New York Times, which reports some economists find troubling the parallels in the current booming real estate market and the stock market of the late 1990s. Like investors who bought into unprofitable companies, experts worry about folks buying real estate with no intention of renting it, instead counting on the continuing rise in house prices.

Best combination of prep-meets-rap culture. UVA fourth years/twins Curtis and Otis Ofori spent spring break in Cancun filming an MTV spring break show with rapper Fat Joe that aired last week.