The week in review

First snow: The threat of precipitation closes local schools before the first snowflake hits the ground December 5, much to the delight of children and chagrin of their parents.

Biggest death watch: Governor Mark Warner commutes the sentence of Robin Lovitt November 29 to life– 24 hours before the convicted killer is to receive a lethal injection and become the 1000th person to be executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed in 1976.

Biggest blab: A mistrial is declared November 30 just before jury deliberations begin in the three-week racketeering trial of four Charlottesville men because a juror read a newspaper article on the case and discussed it with two other jurors. Liesel Nowak has the story in the Daily Progress, as well as the "Defense: RICO witnesses bribed" article the juror couldn't resist peeking at and discussing.

Latest in the why-doesn't-Ivy-want-me saga: Faulconer Construction's lawsuit against Albemarle County for denying its site plan on narrow Morgantown Road in Ivy because of traffic safety concerns is heard November 30. Judge Paul Peatross earlier ruled against the Ivy Community Association, which has been grappling with Faulconer ever since 2001 when it first floated the idea of a heavy-equipment storage yard near Murray Elementary School.

Smoothest school superintendent search: Albemarle will announce its new superintendent December 9 before current school chief Kevin Castner retires December 31. Meanwhile, Charlottesville still searches for a successor to Scottie Griffin.

Worst Hampton University press: Seven students associated with Amnesty International face disciplinary action for handing out leaflets, and the ACLU rides in to advise them at their December 2 hearing.

Most like Florida: A gaping sinkhole takes out a southbound lane of U.S. 29 south of Airport Road November 29.

Best coach: Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer is named ACC coach of the year for the second year in a row.

Latest UVA football player bust: Tony Franklin is charged with misdemeanor pot possession December 4 when a police officer catches the scent of reefer emanating from his Eagles Landing apartment, according to Sarah Barry in the DP. Franklin was suspended from the team for one game for an unspecified violation in November.

Best purple reign: Virginia offensive coordinator Ron Prince departs to become head coach of the Wildcats, Kansas State's purple-jerseyed football team.

Biggest exodus: Prince is one of three UVA football brass who may be getting a bigger job. Associate head coach Danny Rocco is leaving to become head coach at Liberty, while defensive coordinator Al Golden is a candidate for the top spot at Temple.

Best saving face: French doctors perform a partial face transplant November 27 on a 38-year-old woman who was mauled by her Labrador retriever. Her doctors deny she'd tried to commit suicide. The donor was a 38-year-old brain-dead woman who had attempted to hang herself, according to the Sunday Times.

Best Internet web store: Consumer Reports puts Albemarle-based Crutchfield at the top of the list ahead of Amazon, Circuit City, and Best Buy.

Worst side effect of Crutchfield's success: If the company continues to grow, it may not do so in Albemarle, citing prohibitive housing costs as one factor, according to a David Hendrick article in the Progress.

Best sale: Christie's is set to auction off the furnishings of billionaire John Kluge's Albemarle estate, Morven, December 16 in New York.

Dimmest lights: After 20 years and nearly $200,000 in debt, Lexington's renowned outdoor venue, Theater at Lime Kiln, closes its doors.