DAYBREAK DAILY: GMU's Paul Hewitt tops Virginia salary scale

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy, thunderstorms, with highs in the low 80s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Deadly fires in Arizona; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m M-F.

MONEY: It’s a gas, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Jobs in higher education and higher finance yielded the largest paychecks for state employees last year, with officials from the University of Virginia and the Virginia Retirement System dominating the list of top-paid public positions. Paul Hewitt, men’s basketball coach at George Mason University, had the highest base salary at $659,750 and with bonuses earned $744,750. Ronald D. Schmitz, VRS chief investment officer, was second in earnings, with a base salary of $375,000 and $295,313 in bonuses for total compensation of $670,313.

“Those earnings are based on records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from state agencies. The Richmond Times-Dispatch sought salary data for the state’s fiscal year that lasted from July 1, 2012, through today.”

WILDFIRE: Just the facts, per the Los Angeles Times, “Nineteen firefighters died Sunday while battling a fast-moving wildfire northwest of Phoenix, the worst firefighter loss of life in a wildland blaze since 1933. The firefighters went missing while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, an out-of-control blaze that had engulfed the evacuated community of Yarnell, population 649, burning down much of the town, officials said. An estimated 200 structures were lost.”

MARYLAND DUES: Of the blues, per the Baltimore Sun, “Come Monday, driving around Maryland will cost more — both at the gas pump and the toll plaza. Marylanders will see a 3.5 cent rise in the state's gas tax — the first such increase in two decades — as well as toll rates that jump as much as 50 percent.”

MEANWHILE: Keep your eyes on the road, per the Virginian-Pilot, “It's true - a stricter law on texting while driving takes effect today. . .The General Assembly this year revved up the state's 4-year-old ban on typing or reading text behind the wheel, making the activity a primary offense and raising the fine for first-time offenders to $125 from $20. Subsequent violations are now punishable by a fine of $250, rather than $50. Before, police had to have another reason, such as speeding, to stop a driver and issue a ticket for texting. That no longer is required.”

EGYPTIAN UPRISING: Morsi on the brink, per the New York Times, “Millions of Egyptians streamed into the streets of cities across the country on Sunday to demand the ouster of their first elected head of state, President Mohamed Morsi, in an outpouring of anger at the political dominance of his Islamist backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The scale of the demonstrations, coming just one year after crowds in Tahrir Square cheered Mr. Morsi’s inauguration, appeared to exceed even the massive street protests in the heady final days of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. At a moment when Mr. Morsi is still struggling to control the bureaucracy and just beginning to build public support for painful economic reforms, the protests have raised new hurdles to his ability to lead the country as well as new questions about Egypt’s path to stability.”

METRO GETS POSITIVE PUB: No, really, per the Washington Post, “Even with poorly lit stations, chronically broken escalators, frequently late buses and near daily train delays, a large majority of Washington area residents continue to have favorable views of Metro, according to a new Washington Post poll. But riders have growing doubts about the value and reliability of the 37-year-old system, and transit advocates say such concerns could undermine Metro’s efforts to rally support for its plan to modernize the transit system.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters in California to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation's most populous state. Kennedy turned away the request on Sunday with no additional comment. Same-sex marriage opponents asked him to step in on Saturday, a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward. Numerous weddings were performed at San Francisco City Hall following the court decisions.”

PUPPY LOVE: Or not, per ABC7—WJLA, “The Logan Circle community is on alert after toxic dog treats were found in the neighborhood. At least one pup got very sick. The treats known as pill pockets are used to deliver medicine to dogs, but the ones that have been found contain high amounts of acetaminophen, the basic ingredient in drugs like Tylenol.”

THE SEEING. . .: Eye, per the Washington Times, “D.C. police are increasingly relying on video footage pulled from the city’s network of surveillance cameras in criminal investigations, as officers identify more effective ways to deploy the devices and detectives find new uses for them. Investigators retrieved video from the Metropolitan Police Department’s 123 closed-circuit television cameras and the District’s network of red light and Department of Transportation cameras 931 times in fiscal 2012 — an increase of 15 percent over the previous year, according to police department data. Police pulled video 796 times in fiscal 2011 and sought it 722 times in 2010.”

FRACKING: Or something like that, per Gazette.Net, “A draft of a state report on a controversial method of extracting underground reserves of natural gas has an opponent of the technique in Maryland wondering if it may be a done deal. Supporters, on the other hand, wonder if the report’s suggested regulations would smother the industry under an avalanche of oversight.

“The final version of the report released Tuesday by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources on the technique, called hydraulic fracturing, in Western Maryland’s Marcellus Shale formation isn’t scheduled to be released until the fall.”

WHEN A CITY ISN’T A CITY: Of going small, per the Roanoke Times, “. . .Bedford is the third city in Virginia to revert to a town. South Boston reverted and joined Halifax County in the mid-1990s, and Clifton Forge switched to a town and folded into Alleghany County a decade ago. In Virginia's code, cities with populations below 50,000 may initiate a reversion. Bedford city leaders approached county officials five years ago to express their intention and offer participation in hammering out a mutual agreement that was finalized last year.

“The measure has trimmed more than $7 million in the general fund in the town's new budget that starts Monday compared to the city's 2012-13 fiscal budget. According to a study the city had initiated, the town is expected to reap an annual net benefit of $1 million.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat the Mets 13-2.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “A small plane has crashed into the Atlantic in Ocean City, and Mayor Rick Meehan says the pilot is presumed dead. The plane went down around 4 p.m., about 500 yards offshore at 130th Street, about a mile from the Delaware state line. Meehan says witnesses told police that the aircraft began spinning out of control and crashed into the ocean. He says the plane became submerged, and there is no remaining debris. Meehan says it's believed that only the pilot was on board and that there are no survivors. He says it was small, single-engine or biplane-type aircraft.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells, who will be asked about a new report that is critical of the leadership of the city's fire department.

--Skip Wood

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