DAYBREAK DAILY: Puckett's resignation under federal scrutiny

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs near 90; late-afternoon thunderstorms.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Charles Severance focus of Alexandria homicide probe; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

THERE ONCE WAS A MAN NAMED PUCKETT: Or something like that, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the circumstances surrounding the recent resignation of state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, including his alleged consideration for a job on the state tobacco commission and the pending judicial appointment of his daughter in Southwest Virginia. Sources familiar with the probe, speaking on condition of anonymity, said representatives of the FBI and United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia have been conducting interviews, including with elected officials who may have knowledge of the chain of events.

“One source said a grand jury will convene in Abingdon next week to hear testimony on the matter. Puckett chose to leave office before his term expired and in the midst of a protracted partisan stalemate in the General Assembly over the budget and Medicaid expansion.

“Puckett's resignation, effective Monday, June 9, came at a pivotal time, effectively tilting the balance of power in the Virginia Senate to Republicans. The GOP’s new 20-19 edge paved the way for the Senate to join GOP-controlled House to pass a budget last week with an amendment that could scuttle Democrats' hopes of expanding Medicaid.”

IMMIGRATION: And Maryland, per the Baltimore Sun, “Days after the federal government abandoned plans to house immigrant children in a Baltimore office building, the Obama administration has begun to explore other sites in Maryland, including one in Prince George's County, documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun show.

“On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services evaluated a former residential drug treatment facility in Upper Marlboro with a storied past as the administration struggles to find enough shelter space to contain the recent surge in unaccompanied children crossing the nation's Southwest border. The agency has also considered a boarding school in Montgomery County, but has dropped that idea.”

TERRY TIME: Hello, China, per the Washington Post, “Gov. Terry McAuliffe scored an economic coup and expanded Virginia’s already substantial business ties with China on Wednesday as he unveiled plans for a major manufacturing facility in the Richmond suburbs. The announcement caps a string of recent economic development deals involving China and Virginia, highlighting the country’s growing importance in the commonwealth’s economy as both a trading partner and an investor.

“Under a deal that state officials called the largest ever between a Chinese investor and Virginia, Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. will create 2,000 jobs with a $2 billion plant that makes paper from corn stalks and other agricultural field waste. McAuliffe (D) approved a $5 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help lure the company, reflecting the former entrepreneur’s push to expand and diversify the state’s defense-heavy economy.”{ }

CHARLES SEVERANCE: Just the facts, per WJLA-ABC7, “According to a media advisory released on June 18, Alexandria Police have narrowed the focus of their homicide investigation involved the three high-profile murders of Ruthanne Lodato, Ron Kirby, and Nancy Dunning. No arrests have yet been made regarding the case, but the department has confirmed Charles Severance to be their primary focus.

“Upon hearing the news, Janet Powers summed up the mood of Alexandria residents: "Oh, definitely a sense of relief,” she says. Prominent realtor Nancy Dunning was gunned down in 2003, transportation official Ron Kirby was shot and killed last November, and beloved piano teacher Ruthanne Lodato was also shot and killed a few months later in February.”

CHESAPEAKE BAY: And Virginia, per the Daily Press, “. . . According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's late April Blue Crab Winter Dredge survey — an ecological census of the bay's crustacean wildlife — the number of female blue crabs has reached a 12-year low. Female crabs are needed to repopulate and replenish the pot of the Chesapeake Bay's overall blue crab population, forcing officials to propose additional restrictions on the amount of female blue crabs that can be harvested along the commonwealth's waterways.

“The proposal, however, is not being well received by some area crabbers, many of whom call the proposed measures unnecessary and potentially damaging to the future of the state's blue crab industry. Blue crab industry leaders also are concerned about what the additional regulations could mean for the cost of blue crab to consumers, especially if the baywide delicacy rebounds next spring.”

CURE FOR HEART ATTACKS?: Iffy, per the New York Times, “Two major studies by leading research groups published on Wednesday independently identified mutations in a single gene that protect against heart attacks by keeping levels of triglycerides — a kind of fat in the blood — very low for a lifetime.

“The findings are expected to lead to a push to develop drugs that mimic the effect of the mutations, potentially offering the first new class of drugs to combat heart disease in decades, experts say. Statins, which reduce LDL cholesterol, another cause of heart disease, became blockbusters in the late 1980s. Since then, there have been no major new drugs approved for lowering heart disease risk. But experts caution that drug development takes years and that there are no guarantees that new treatments will work as hoped.”

IRAQ: The latest, per The Hill, “President Obama is not close to seeking congressional authorization for airstrikes in Iraq. After a White House meeting between Obama and the top four leaders in Congress, all sides involved signaled they want to leave options open for handling a politically delicate and fluid crisis that threatens to leave jihadist terrorists in control of Iraq.

“Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reportedly seized control Wednesday of Iraq’s largest domestic oil refinery, prompting a bloody showdown with Iraqi security forces that underscored the instability. The refinery represents more than a quarter of Iraq’s domestic refining capability, and could prompt fuel and power shortages across the country. With that violence as the backdrop, Democratic leaders offered support for Obama to use a 2002 law authorizing President George W. Bush to take action in Iraq as the legal authority for new strikes.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” caused barely a ripple when her aides sent an early copy to the White House. Privately, President Barack Obama’s aides shrugged when asked what they thought about the book. Some didn’t even crack it open. But one anecdote showed the strains just below the surface.

“Within hours of the release of Clinton’s book last week, some Obama campaign veterans quietly pushed back on a claim that they considered downright false: Clinton’s contention that the Obama team had wanted to attack vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin for, essentially, being a woman.”

MARION BARRY: Of zingers, per City Paper, “Marion Barry's new autobiography isn't just about the effect of illicit drugs on the four-term mayor's nether-regions. It's also an occasion for some score-settling.”

FUZZY EXPENSES: And raised eyebrows, per Gazette.Net, “The Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor has subpoenaed Montgomery County school board expense records to investigate the possibility of criminal activity after the office received an allegation related to the expenses. James Cabezas, chief investigator for the state prosecutor office, said that the office does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.

“Cabezas said the office received an allegation related to the county school board’s expenses. “When an allegation comes in, at that point, all we have is information. We don’t know what’s factual and what’s not,” he said, speaking generally. “An investigative tool is to obtain copies of books and records in order to determine what the truth might be.” ’’

HOUSING: And other stuff, per the Frederick News-Post, “Roads and sensitive watershed areas dominated Wednesday's discussion of a proposed 20-year agreement between the county and owners of a New Market property planned for development.

“The drafted agreement would require participants in the 1,017-home project to make a variety of contributions toward improving the county's roads, schools, and water and sewer systems. In exchange, the project partners would gain assurance from the county that their zoning and development approvals and regulations would remain unchanged for two decades.”

REDSKINS: Of a name, per DCist, “. . . The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington football team's trademark registration, saying the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”

“In the landmark case, Blackhorse v. Pro -Football, Inc., the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board filed in favor of the petitioners, finding that the name of Washington's professional football team is a racial slur and disparages Native Americans. Law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath originally filed the suit in 2006 on behalf of petitioners Amanda Blackhorse, Phillip Glover, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Jillian Pappan and Courtney Tsotigh, who were seeking "the cancellation of six different trademarks associated with the Washington NFL team." ’’

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Houston 6-5.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Congratulations to Lela Babb Burden! The 111-year-old woman from Virginia received her honorary high school diploma as part of the Class of 2014.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is outgoing D.C. Mayor Vince Gray.

--Skip Wood