The week in review

Biggest jump at the pump: Local gas prices spike an average of four cents overnight to $2.45 for a gallon of regular, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic August 16. A month ago Charlottesville averaged $2.24 per gallon.

Biggest stampede: Thousands crash through the gates at the Richmond International Raceway August 16 to buy Apple laptops for $50. Several of those trampled are hurt, but at press time, no serious injuries have been reported.

Best news for flag wavers: A three-judge federal appeals court panel upholds the Virginia state law August 10 that mandates daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Virginia school children.

Best news for snowbirds: Delta announces it's beginning nonstop flights from Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport to Orlando on November 1.

Best news for developers: Albemarle supervisors discuss how to shorten the county's notoriously lengthy building-permit approval process August 10, according to Jessica Kitchin in the Daily Progress.

Biggest march: Prospect and Orangedale Avenue residents hit the streets August 9 in a police-sponsored event designed to pull the welcome mat out from under neighborhood drug dealers.

Biggest coup for the NRA: Nelson County's new noise ordinance is amended August 15 to allow exceptions for shooting ranges and any noise made when discharging a firearm, according to Megan Rowe in the Progress. Hunting was already allowed in the ordinance.

Worst timing for political candidates: Albemarle County begins a three-month crackdown on illegal signs in highway right of ways.

Most unusual path to artistic success: Painting portraits of Alan Greenspan by UVA grad Erin Crowe, which are selling like hotcakes.

Best invention: The Gator Getter, brainchild of Walt "Gator" Hopkins, is designed to scoop up tire treads, a.k.a. "gators," and road kill while driving at highway speeds. Hopkins pitched his $8,600 brainchild to VDOT August 11 at the Doubletree, Kitchin reports in the Daily Progress.

Best week for George Welsh: The former UVA head football coach is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame August 13.

Worst week for airplane crashes: A Helios Airways jet out of Cyprus crashes north of Athens August 14, killing 121. Then a West Caribbean Airways plane headed from Panama to Martinique crashes early August 16 in Venezuela, killing all 160 on board.

Most momentous week in Israel: The government orders Israeli settlers to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in anticipation of turning the territory over to Palestinian control.

Best chef: Cristeta Comerford is named White House executive chef, the first female to hold that position.

Most unusual twist on the millionth customer promotion: Macel Morris, 75, of Charleston, WVA, becomes the 5,000th patient to undergo Gamma Knife treatment at UVA Medical Center August 1. No word on whether she wins a prize.

Best moonlighting gig for a UVA law prof: Rosa Brooks signs on to write a column in the L.A. Times, and August 13, she urges liberals to join the military.

Best sign Albemarle is  turning into NoVa: A new sign on the U.S. 250 Bypass directs motorists to Interstate 66, a Northern Virginia highway, instead of I-64, Kate Andrews reports in the DP.

Best sign hell is freezing over: Liberty University in Lynchburg now allows students to wear jeans and flip-flops to class. Shorts are still strictly forbidden in class– except for physical fitness.

Best sign of a slow news week: The Virginia Lottery's Lady Luck comes to Fashion Square and poses for pictures with gamblers.

Luckiest pick for the Virginia Film Festival: Foxfield Racing Association makes the film fest the beneficiary of the fall race.