The week in review

Best alternative to Monday Night Wrestling: The Charlottesville City Council public hearing on November 21 pits Rob "I care about African Americans" Schilling against Kendra "I am black" Hamilton in a brawl over whether the School Board should be elected at-large or by ward, with Mayor David "I email the Justice Department" Brown futilely gaveling for order, according to John Yellig's report in the Daily Progress.

Worst omen for ward fans: City Council votes "nay," so it won't happen in May, if ever.

Closest but no cigar: The State Board of Elections certifies the attorney general race November 28 with Republican Bob McDonnell leading Dem Creigh Deeds by 323 votes out of 1.9 million cast. Deeds requests a recount over the .0017 percent difference.

Biggest tumult: UVA fires vociferous critic of the "Charter" movement Dena Bowers for her email use.

Second biggest tumult: UVA spokeswoman Carol Wood tears into Progress reporter Liesel Nowak's account of the firing– "UVA fires charter critic"– in a widely distributed letter.

Most burglaries: Nine are reported November 21 in Airport Road, Dobleann Drive, and Grand Forks Boulevard businesses.

Best makeover: Piedmont Virginia Community College is set for $5.4 million worth of renovations, including new classrooms, cafeteria, bookstore, coffee bar, and other improvements, the first major upgrade since 1973.

Earliest opening: The $4.1 million North Grounds Connector will open in January, five months ahead of schedule.

Best deja-vu  for Williamsburg: Tim Kaine will take the oath there in January, the first governor to do so since Jefferson in 1779 when it was the capital of the colony soon to become a state.

Best park: Albemarle's own Walnut Creek is named one of the top five urban parks in the Southeast, according to Outdoors magazine.

Best second act: The Clifton Inn scores membership in the elite Relais and Chateaux– whatever that is– only two years after a tragic fire closed the inn, David Hendrick reports in the DP.

Least reason to be thankful: GM announces it will cut 30,000 jobs and close 12 facilities by 2008, while Merck slices 7,000 jobs and five production plants.

Worst news for Albemarle First shareholders: Its sale to Millennium Bankshares falls through, and shares plunge 23 percent, reports.

Biggest hero for beleaguered air travelers: New York lawyer/UVA law prof Thatcher Stone sues Continental Airlines after it bumps him and his daughter from an overbooked flight to Telluride on Christmas Day 2004. A Manhattan judge awards Stone $3,110, the AP reports.

Best literary award you've never heard of: The Tulsa Library Trust's Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. John Grisham is named the 2005 winner after the original pick, mystery writer Tony Hillerman, can't make the December 2 awards dinner, according to the Greater Tulsa Reporter. The winner gets $25,000 cash and a crystal book.

Most unexpected visitor: NBC superstar Katie Couric knocks on Jenni Allen's Lawn room door over the weekend to show her two daughters where their mom, a Class of '79 alum, once lived, according to the Washington Post's Reliable Source.

Best Charlottesville plug: The Post covers our music scene, along with Chapel Hill's and Athens', in the November 27 travel piece, "U Rock, U Roll."

Best O. Winston Link plug: The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover– a film about how Link's wife, Conchita, stole his black-and-white train photographs– opens the Amsterdam Film Festival  November 25.