The week in review
Most surprising finale to 24-year career: Dem Delegate Mitch Van Yahres faces a Republican-requested investigation into whether he violated a prohibition against raising money when the General Assembly is in session, Bob Gibson reports in the Daily Progress. Last February, the Democratic Road Back PAC, founded by Van Yahres, hosted a fundraiser that listed his legislative aide, Connie Jorgensen, as the contact. Van Yahres contends he did not attend the event or solicit money, and is not a voting member of the PAC's board.
Best bias ban: Governor Mark Warner bars state agencies from discrimination based on sexual orientation in his 2006-07 budget.
Least surprising reaction: Conservatives in the General Assembly vow to fight it.
Best Christmas present for Faulconer Construction: Judge Paul Peatross rules that Albemarle County can't deny approval of Faulconer's heavy-equipment storage facility just because the road it's on may be inadequate and unsafe.
Most lawsuit-shy: University of Pittsburgh lawyers, citing liability concerns, ditch the college's Semester at Sea program that then falls into UVA's eager lap.
Most puzzling: Will what happens on the high seas stay on the high seas?
Biggest country doctor scandal: A widely regarded Free Union doctor, Bruce Campbell, is reprimanded by the Virginia Board of Medicine for having sexual contact with at least five patients between 1986 and 2003 and for prescribing medications to two of the patients without proper documentation, Sarah Barry reports in the DP. Campbell signs a consent order December 12, but does not admit guilt to the allegations, according to his lawyer, and will continue to practice medicine.
Worst addition to a pediatrician's resume: Eighteen months in jail for child abuse, the sentence former UVA doc Iain Gainov received December 21 for squirting water up his infant daughter's nose in an alleged attempt to kill her.
Worst addition to a cop's resume: Grand larceny, the charges filed against former UVA police officer Barry Franklin Thompson December 22 for allegedly taking a camera while on duty, the Progress reports.
Worst week for cop car crashes: Albemarle Police Officer Greg Davis rolls his cruiser on Scottsville Road around 1am December 26. And early December 30, a Waynesboro patrol vehicle with two officers is totaled during pursuit of an alleged hit-and-run driver.
Latest pizza delivery robbery: A handgun-toting male robs a Papa John's Pizza driver New Year's Eve at Wilton Farm apartments.
Biggest haul: Billionaire John Kluge rakes in $3.2 million from the sale of the contents of Morven, his Albemarle County home, at a December 17 Christie's auction, Carlos Santos reports in the Times-Dispatch.
Biggest ticket: A custom-made giant picnic hamper, which could be pulled into the woods by horse or tractor to provide sit-down meals for 16, complete with china, silver, and mahogany table and chairs, was estimated to bring up to $30,000 and sold for $140,000. (According to another media account, Kluge commissioned it from Asprey of London for $450,000.)
Best friend to have at vacation time: Albemarle resident James B. Murray Jr., Governor Warner's co-founder in Columbia Capital, treats Governor-elect Tim Kaine and his family to a week in Mustique at Princess Margaret's old digs, which Murray owns.
Best international recognition: Albemarle-based producer Ric Preve's Tango: A Strange Turn earns nominations for best documentary, best script, and best music in Argentina's equivalent of the Oscars, the 2005 Condor Awards.
Best appearance of a Hook columnist: On December 21, Fearless Consumer Barbara Nordin makes the scene on Court TV's new series, Haunted Evidence, to discuss the unsolved 1996 slayings of two women in the Shenandoah National Park.