The week in review

Worst U.S. natural disaster– ever: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands are left homeless, seeking basics such as water and food. The nation's beloved New Orleans looks like a Third World country with people screaming for rescue and corpses floating in the flooded streets.

Best plug: A week after Katrina hits, engineers stanch the break in the Lake Pontchartrain levee that flooded New Orleans.

Biggest price jump: Already soaring gas prices top $3 a gallon in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Biggest flashback to WW2 and the 1970s: Gasoline supply interruptions lead to talk of the R-word. NBC29 reports panic buying that closes two gas stations in Waynesboro August 31.

More jobs: Up almost 19 percent in this area between 1995 and 2004– from 80,902 to 96,170– according to a recent Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce study.

Poorer: The U.S. poverty rate rises in 2004 from 12.7 percent to 13.1 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released August 30.

Closest but no cigar: Four Buckingham Branch railroad cars derail in the town of Louisa just 1,000 yards from where they were supposed to arrive, tying up traffic for most of the day, Jessica Kitchin reports in the Progress.

Worst week for the judiciary: U.S. District Court Judge Harry Michael, 86, dies August 29 after serving on the bench since 1980 and as a Virginia state senator before that. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court 33 years, dies September 2.

Worst downward spiral: Former Waynesboro Planning Commissioner Scott Coleman, 27, who was convicted of DUI and pot possession in May, is arrested for his third DUI in five years August 29, reports the News Virginian. A police officer recognized Coleman driving on a revoked license, and noticed the odor of alcohol when he pulled him over around 4pm.

Hottest seat: Alcoholic Beverage Control Officer Keith Davis' one-man crackdown on underage drinking on the Corner and in fraternities draws a blistering editorial in the Cav Daily that criticizes Davis' methods and lack of community outreach.

Least professional: Madison County Administrator Steve Utz is reprimanded for making a racial slur about a black county supervisor, Kate Andrews reports in the DP.

Most prolific bank robber: Anthony Troy Williams, 42, is arrested September 1 and charged with three bank robberies: the July 7 heist of the First Citizens Bank on Dominion Drive, the July 13 hit at the BB&T on Proffit Road, and the August 19 theft at the Wachovia on Emmet Street.

Best editorial headline in the September 2 Richmond Times-Dispatch : "Cretinism at UVA," over an article decrying both the latest rash of racial slurs– and the tizzy into which such behavior by "knuckle-draggers" has thrown the university.

Biggest reward: UVA Alumni Association offers $5,000 to any person with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those engaged in "racial acts of vandalism, threats or other criminal misconduct" on or adjacent to university property, directed against any minority student, Carlos Santos reports in the T-D.

Most eviscerating op-ed: Tim Naftali, presidential recordings chief at the Miller Center, pens "Department of Homeland Screw-up: What is the Bush administration doing?" for Slate, and takes to task federal preparedness for and response to the mass-casualty New Orleans disaster.

Most disappointing cancellation: The Fire Truck Pull at the Louisa County Airport to benefit the Special Olympics September 3 because not enough departments could commit their rigs over the busy Labor Day weekend.

Worst ride: An unnamed teenager pulls up in front of a Blacksburg hospital September 2 with a dead friend belted into the passenger seat of his car, according to the Roanoke Times. Richmonder Nelson Wiley Reed, 23, was on a multi-day road trip, and authorities surmise that he may have died in his sleep at a Charlottesville-area rest stop.