The week in review
Most widely decried Supreme Court decision: Virginia legislators scurry to get laws in place forbidding eminent domain seizures for developers like the one the high court upheld– Kelo v. City of New London– June 23.
Most confusing Supreme Court decision: The Ten Commandments may be displayed outside the Texas state capitol but not inside Kentucky courtrooms, the court rules 5-4 June 27 in two separate cases.
Newest appointees: Out of 13 original candidates, City Council names Peggy Van Yahres, the Rev. Alvin Edwards, and Louis Bograd to the Charlottesville School Board June 24, in a process some want to convert to an election.
Newest housing authority boss: Noah Schwartz, Monticello Area Community Action Agency director, takes over the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority reins, succeeding Paul Chedda, who lasted nine months in the job.
Oddest hearing: Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross hears arguments June 24 about whether he should recuse himself from some cases handled by the Public Defender's Office after that office and the Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney filed a complaint against him last year, Liesel Nowak reports in the Daily Progress. The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in April to keep Peatross on the bench.
Worst news for trainspotters (and riders): The House of Representatives could vote this week whether to cut Amtrak's budget, effectively closing Charlottesville's Amtrak service, which consists of the Chicago-to-New York Cardinal, and the New Orleans-to-New York Crescent, according to an Annie Johnson article in the Progress.
Biggest win: A $100,000 Cash 5 ticket purchased at the Pic & Pac on Stewart Street. The lucky numbers drawn June 18 were 2-5-16-18 and 21, and the winner has six months to claim the $68,000 after-taxes cash, WINA reports.
Lightest fine: Louisa school bus driver Lorrie Ann Batten, who was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving after 16-year-old Thomas Cameron died and seven others were injured in a February 9 accident, is convicted of improper driving June 21 and ordered to pay a $500 fine, according to Sarah Barry in the Progress. Cameron's family has filed a $10 million suit against Batten.
Worst death in Chilhowie: Five-year-old Rebecca Hope Wagoner dies inside a front-loading washing machine at a laundromat June 17 in the southwest Virginia town, and experts say the child couldn't have closed the door on herself.
Longest good behavior sentencing: Forty years for Joshua Torbick, on top of three and a half years in jail for a string of drug, weapons, and traffic charges, according to Nowak in the DP. Torbick racked up charges in Albemarle in July 2004, including a DUI, shooting into a Woodbrook home, and leaving the scene after backing into a neighbor's house. In October, police found cocaine, a gun, and bomb-making materials in his York Place apartment. Still pending: cocaine possession charges in Atlanta.
Worst constitutional tampering: The General Assembly must approve again a proposed amendment outlawing gay marriage, and a new group, Va4marriage.org, has launched a website to inform voters of the perils of gay marriage.
Worst Lance Armstrong impression: Governor Mark Warner breaks two bones in his hand in a spill in Goshen after a 22-mile ride June 27 through Rockbridge County to promote tourism.
Best news for cable-less viewers: WAHU Fox 27, Charlottesville's third new Gray TV station in the past year, begins broadcasting June 27.
Most interesting new option for fathers: A man's nipple may be as comforting to a crying baby as a pacifier, according to a story in the Times of London.