Morning Roundup: Oct. 27

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Opening arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Brittany Norwood, charged in the horrific killing of her co-worker, provided the most dramatic account yet of a crime that shocked the region for its viciousness and for the twists and turns of an investigation that ultimately revealed a morbidly staged crime scene. They also offered the first indications of how attorneys for the 29-year-old woman accused in the killing plan to defend her, according to The Washington Times.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new jobs-creation package ranges from ordering top-ranking agency officials to review regulations to asking Marylanders for their input on making the state more business-friendly — and he’s already gotten an earful. At least 183 people have posted suggestions to a state website since Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, made the request last week. Many of the comments detail how posters became tangled in red tape while trying to start a business or apply for a job, according to The Times.

D.C. Council members on Wednesday took on the awkward task of addressing their own mechanisms for policing themselves and their colleagues in government, engaging in hours of debate on a slew of proposals aimed at overhauling city ethics laws. The debate, expected to result in the crafting and consideration of a comprehensive ethics-reform bill by the end of the year, comes as the public’s faith in city lawmakers has been damaged by a shaky year for Washington’s elected officials, The Times reports.

Funding for the department that oversees Medicaid in Virginia has swelled by 143 percent over the past decade as the state grapples with increased health care costs and the prospect of dramatically expanded participation starting in 2014 as a result of federal reforms. Appropriations to Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services, which oversees the federal-state health care program for low-income residents, ballooned from $3.2 billion in 2002 to $7.5 billion in 2011, The Times reports.

An outbreak of mold at St. Mary’s College of Maryland this fall presented a logistical nightmare: There was nowhere to put the students. Hotels are scarce around the remote campus. Then, an alumnus of this sailing-intensive school had an idea: Put them in a cruise ship. The Sea Voyager, described as having three bars, a restaurant and a gift shop, was on the block, and it was being moved from Maine to Virginia. St. Mary’s President Joseph Urgo made some phone calls. The Sea Voyager is now headed to his campus, where it will serve as an off-shore dormitory for 250 students until the end of the semester, according to The Washington Post.

Washington officials are finding a way to make gridlocked traffic a moneymaker. The Washington Examiner reports that the city in the 2011 budget year issued more than 1,500 citations to drivers for “failure to clear an intersection.” The city’s Department of Motor Vehicles says that number topped the 1,080 gridlock tickets issued the year before. Over the past two years, tickets from gridlock have generated more than $263,000.

The Richmond Tea Party is lashing out at Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones for what it sees as the city’s preferential treatment of the “Occupy Richmond” protesters encamped at Kanawha Plaza. The tea party group is sending Mr. Jones an invoice for the charges incurred for the Tax Day rallies it has held at the plaza the past three years, arguing that the Occupy Wall Street offshoot group squatting there has been using the park illegally and free of charge since Oct. 15. Richmond Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens said her group has shelled out about $10,000 for the three rallies held there, including a rental fee for use of the park, various permits and other expenses, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

A 24-year-old Howard University student was shot and killed early Tuesday morning in Mount Rainier. The student was identified as Alonzo Guyton. Police said Mr. Guyton was found shot on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building in the 4200 block of Kaywood Drive at about 12 a.m. Tuesday. Police think the 24-year-old sophomore was the victim of a botched robbery trolling the apartment complex Wednesday night. Mr. Guyton played in the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a member of Howard’s football and baseball teams, according to WJLA-TV.

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