Morning Roundup, Nov. 9

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Virginia Republicans’ hopes for an effective majority in the state Senate and a historic power grab in Richmond were pinned late Tuesday on a central Virginia race in which a GOP challenger clung to an 86-vote lead with a final count not expected until later Wednesday. The battle for the 40-member state Senate was far tighter than the GOP had hoped and many political observers had expected, with Republicans who had identified as many as 10 winnable seats decisively winning just one, according to The Washington Times.

A 17-year-old D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services ward who was shot on Halloween night in Georgetown has died. The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Tuesday that Tyronn Vincent Garner, one of six people shot in five incidents on Halloween night, had died. He died Monday evening from his injuries after being shot in the midst of Halloween festivities on M Street in Georgetown. Charges related to the shooting have not been brought against the man. Multiple sources within DYRS confirmed that Tyronn, who The Washington Times identified in a previous article as Tyrone Garner, was under the agency’s watch, according to The Times.

The Prince George’s County town of Cheverly sent a letter in July to speed-camera vendor Optotraffic, informing the company that one of its cameras had caught a bicycle going 57 mph, an obvious error. The device also caught another bike going 38 mph and an “invisible vehicle” traveling 76 mph. Cheverly parted ways with Optotraffic in August and has since hired a new company. However, Optotraffic continues to provide speed cameras for more than a dozen Prince George’s municipalities and for the county, despite continuing charges that its equipment is inaccurate and used more to make money than increase safety, according to The Times.

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown will talk at 10 a.m. on NewsChannel 8 about ethics reform, jobs, voting rights and more, and Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney will discusses Virginia’s election results.

D.C.’s War Memorial is scheduled to reopen this week after being under restoration for more than a year. Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to attend Thursday’s ceremony south of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial on Independence Avenue was built in 1931 and honors local heroes who served in World War I. It lists all 499 D.C. residents who died during the war. It has been under restoration since August 2010, according to the Associated Press.

The Potomac Conservancy plans to release its State of the Nation’s River report tomorrow along with recommendations for the Potomac, which supplies most of the drinking water for Washington, D.C. The Silver Spring-based environmental group gave the Potomac a grade of D-plus in its first report in 2007 and has not graded the waterway since then, according to AP.

Former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino is scheduled Wednesday to make his candidacy to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland official. Mr. Bongino, a Republican, is set to file paper work in Annapolis at the Maryland State Board of Elections. The 36-year-old who lives in Severna Park resigned from his position with the Secret Service’s presidential protection division in May to pursue a bid against incumbent Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat, the AP reports.

A federal jury acquitted Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie on Tuesday in an alleged influence-peddling case, clearing the prominent lawmaker of all charges for accepting more than $245,000 in payments from a grocery store chain while he chaired a powerful budget committee. The jury found Mr. Currie, a Democrat, not guilty of conspiracy, bribery, extortion and making false statements. Mr. Currie, 74, was chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which steers billions of dollars in state spending. He became chairman in 2002, but he stepped down from the position last year after a grand jury handed up its indictment. He kept his Senate seat, however, and won re-election last year, according to AP.

Two companies vying for a state permit to bring up to 1,000 slot machines to a struggling resort inside Rocky Gap State Park used Willie Nelson and a water park Tuesday to try to sway the commission that will select the licensee next year. The Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in the Appalachian Mountains 130 miles west of Baltimore is one of five slots venues Maryland voters approved in 2008. The quasi-public Maryland Economic Development Corp., which owns the resort, hopes gambling will enable the scenic hotel complex to finally blossom into the tourist destination and economic anchor that planners envisioned when it opened in 1998. The licensee would have to buy the resort, which is about $60 million in debt, including about $40 million owed to bondholders, according to AP.

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