+8 Olympians with Richmond connections help kick off the 2012 Summer Games in London, including Quanitra Hollingsworth, Nina Ligon, Reid Priddy, Shannon Taylor and Kellie Wells. Good luck, athletes! We'll be tuned in while going for the gold in Pizza-Delivery Dialing.
+2 Richmond lawyer and media go-to Steven D. Benjamin becomes president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. But his swearing-in is called into question when he pleads the Fifth.
-5 After more than two decades as Henrico County manager, Virgil Hazelett announces that he'll retire in January. Hazelett's inconsolable fans beg him for just one more wild night of budget negotiations before he hangs up the calculator.
-4 The board of the Virginia Holocaust Museum makes it final: Co-founder and former executive director Jay Ipson will lose his title and office, though he may continue his involvement in an honorary capacity. Next on the board's agenda: What do we do now?
-6 Citing the uncertainty of lead singer Randy Blythe's release from a Czech Republic prison, metal band Lamb of God cancels its tour with Dethklok, scheduled to begin this week. Sounds like it's time to assemble Gwar Team 6 for a rescue mission.
+3 U.S. Senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine meet for their first official debate, squaring off during the Virginia Bar Association's annual meeting at the Homestead. There were so many lawyers in town that Hot Springs finally experienced a cold front.
+2 Winning his sixth consecutive race, Silver Max claims victory in the $600,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, running 1.25 miles in just over 2:04 minutes. All that's left on his bucket list is to someday dominate the fancy-hat contest.
-4 Citing poor rental- and homeowner-vacancy statistics, CNBC ranks Richmond fourth in a list of the 10 Emptiest U.S. Cities, right behind Detroit and just ahead of Las Vegas. New tourism slogan: We're still not Pittsburgh!
-1 Atlanta-based Cox Media Group announces a corporate realignment, putting radio and television stations on the block in several markets, including K-95, 103.7 The River, 96.5 KLR and Hot 100.9. As a special incentive, the top bidder wins a no-questions-asked night in the hot tub with Catfish and Lori.
+2 Purple martins by the thousands begin flying into Shockoe Bottom, descending into trees around the 17th Street Farmers' Market, where the Gone to the Birds festival on Aug. 4 will celebrate their arrival. Festivities and bird poop for all!
+6 An estimated 31,000 people turn out for the annual Hanover Tomato Festival at Pole Green Park, featuring music, costumes and naturally, tomatoes. And after a day in that heat, let's just say a few of those festival goers were smelling pretty ripe.
+3 Production begins in Richmond's backyard on the National Geographic documentary "Killing Lincoln," based on a bestselling book by Bill O'Reilly. Nobody tell him that today's Lincoln would be a Democrat.
+4 Officials announce a $10 million deal to turn the Landmark Theater — formerly the controversially named Mosque — into the Altria Theater, named after the parent company of Philip Morris USA. So to recap on the politically correct scale: Reaping the rewards of cigarette money beats out Islamic insensitivity.
+2 Adding what it calls a "mature and masterful" new star to its collection, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announces its acquisition of the 1930 oil painting "Franconia Notch" by Marsden Hartley. As far as art budgets go, we finally got our Farrah Fawcett poster framed.
-1 A Greater Richmond Chamber-sponsored billboard with the slogan, "Get Off in Richmond," comes down after two days over concerns that its double-entendre might be too risqué. Disgruntled copywriters scrap plans for the follow-up campaign, "Richmond: Some Attractive Hookers, If You Know Where to Look."
+5 Local prosecutors and Virginia Commonwealth University police announce the arrest of three men in a massive marijuana bust seven years in the making, hauling in 267 pounds of high-quality pot worth more than $1 million, along with more than $600,000. And lots and lots of Fritos.
-7 More soul-crushing, record-setting heat hits Richmond on the tail end of storms and power outages. The next person in line at Starbucks who asks if it's hot enough for me is getting an arabica bean shoved up their steam valve.
0 President Obama's team announces that he's making a two-day visit to Virginia this week, while reports estimate the millions of dollars in ad spending from both campaigns hitting us as a swing state. Who are these people who can't make up their minds?
+2 Fans rally to show support for Lamb of God lead singer Randy Blythe, jailed in the Czech Republic after being arrested on suspicion of manslaughter for an alleged incident at a concert two years ago. Now we just need Gwar's alien super strength to bend some iron bars.
+6 Chesterfield County native Kellie Wells takes off for London, heading to compete in the 100-meter women's hurdles at the Summer Olympics. See? It isn't so difficult for South Siders to cross the river.
-6 The Fizzler: Like the city mayoral election, this comet never quite takes off. A sidewalk spinner that provides low-key fun close to the ground. Safe, unremarkable: Perfect for families with school-age children who have fled for the suburbs.
-4 Short Pump Discharge: With simulated, tornadolike action, this rocket is strong enough to knock the most comfortable suburbanite off his game. Blasts away hot water and good spirits. Creates a whining sound. Available only at national chains.
+3 Flying Fish Spectacular: For use only over the Huguenot Bridge. Leaves no sentiment or regret behind as it starts out wobbly and finishes strong, sending a smooth crossing over the river and into the night. Sparkles. Caution: May leave potholes.
+6 Flaming Boomerang: Created in honor of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, this rocket takes off, crashes, then sets flight again. Streaks through the sky with orange and blue trails. Effective at shaking up silent vigils.
-5 The Gates of Helen: Inspired by University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas, this ticking time bomb is silent but deadly. Simmers quietly before setting off a series of unnecessary explosions. Now available with scented feature as the Stink Spectacular.