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Posted at 08:29 AM ET, 03/18/2011

Bad week for Vincent Gray, NPR; zoo says goodbye to a gorilla

Good morning. It’s Friday and the hits just keep coming for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Now a House panel says it plans to investigate allegations by a former mayoral candidate that Gray promised him a city job and that members of Gray’s campaign staff gave him money in exchange for attacks on Fenty during the mayoral race. Meanwhile, in Virginia, mental health officials are scrambling to find beds for patients amid cuts at the state psychiatric hospital that serves Northern Virginia. Montgomery County police continue to investigate an explosion that caused an estimated $25,000 in damage at a home in Potomac.

Countdown to spring:

A fabulous day. If you’re out and about today, you might find yourself checking the calendar. No, spring isn’t here yet, but today is going to feel very close to it. The Capital Weather Gang says it’ll be mostly sunny, but breezy, with temperatures in the high 70s. It might even hit 80 — yes 80 — in some parts of the region. Enjoy it because it looks like cooler temperatures and possibly rain this weekend.

Coming up.

Vigil for Lululemon victim Friends and family will gather tonight at a vigil to remember Jayna Murray, who was killed last week at the Lululemon Athletica store in downtown Bethesda. The vigil will be held at the Mindfulness Center on Elm Street in Bethesda beginning at 8 p.m. Murray had been a regular attendee of the center’s early morning yoga classes. (Wheaton Patch) Police are still searching for clues in the Friday night killing that has left the community stunned. A second worker, who was also at the store, survived the brutal attack. A $145,000 reward is being offered for information in the attack. (The Gazette)

Today’s headlines.

An expensive ride. Top city leaders said Thursday that Kwame Brown’s team requested the now infamous Lincoln Navigator SUV from city officials within hours of Brown winning the race to be D.C. Council chairman. And even though Brown only drove the SUV for a few weeks, taxpayers could still be stuck with a bill for more than $30,000.

D.C. elementary students hospitalized. A D.C. elementary school student has been charged with possession of a controlled substance in connection with a case in which the student brought cocaine to school on Thursday and shared it with classmates at Thomson Elementary School in Northwest. Four of the children who tried the cocaine fell ill and were taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment. Officials would not say how old the children were and are continuing to investigate how the student got ahold of the cocaine.

Prince George’s County police cleared. An audit by state officials has determined that more than 30 Prince George’s County police cadets caught up in a cheating scandal should not be removed because there were no “substantive issues” with their training. The audit did not address whether the recruits were given the test answers by an instructor — but investigations by both Prince George’s police internal affairs department and state auditors determined that even if they were given the answers, they still learned all the skills they would need to be certified.

In short. Skeletal remains found in Prince William County have been identified as those of a Woodbridge woman missing since 2004. (Post); National Zoo officials announced the death of their 44-year-old western lowland gorilla, Haloko. Zoo officials said she was suffering from heart failure. (Associated Press); an insider’s look at D.C.’s teacher evaluation system. (Post)

Other items.

NPR funding cuts? The House voted Thursday to cut federal funding to National Public Radio. The proposal passed 228 to 192, with one Republican, freshman Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), voting present. All Republicans except for Amash, and seven who voted no, supported the measure. All Democrats present voted against it. However, the vote may prove to be purely symbolic. The measure now moves to Senate, which is unlikely to take it up. The vote comes in the wake of a hidden-camera video sting by conservative activists that captured Ron Schiller making controversial remarks about Republicans and tea party members.

Real fame? Michael Ross, a 2010 University of Maryland graduate, wanted to get away from an ex-girlfriend. And so, he landed in Las Vegas, part of the cast of MTV’s 25th season of “The Real World,” which premiered this month. (Gazette)

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back with Post Local for more headlines and updates throughout the day. Will you really need an umbrella this weekend? What movies are worth seeing and what flicks are worth skipping? We’ll have those answers and more.

By  |  08:29 AM ET, 03/18/2011

 
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