DAYBREAK DAILY: Towson cheerleaders hazed with blindfolds, diapers

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the mid 80s. { }

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Trial for dump truck driver accused of fatal accident; D.C. fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe to resign; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

CHEERING HAZE: All in my brain, per the Baltimore Sun, “Towson University's top-ranked cheerleading team encouraged its new members to drink alcohol before they put on blindfolds, pulled adult diapers over their shorts and performed a dance described as a hazing ritual last summer, newly released documents show.

“The documents, obtained by The Baltimore Sun in a public records request, outline violations of the student code — including serving alcohol to those under 21 — and detail for the first time why Towson's cheerleading team was suspended by the university for the 2013-2014 academic year. The team appealed the punishment, which was later softened to one semester of probation that prevented them from performing.”

THE VA: Gets an assist, per the Virginian-Pilot, “A group of Northern Virginia technology firms is offering free assistance to the Department of Veterans Affairs in solving its faulty patient-appointment system - much the way the same group helped Arlington National Cemetery overcome its record-keeping scandal almost four years ago.

“U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who presented the proposal to President Barack Obama in a Tuesday letter, sought and received the offer from the Northern Virginia Technology Council, a 1,000-member trade group. Warner also brokered the council's assistance with the cemetery in 2010.”

REVERSE PEEP: A success, per the Washington Post, “With video recorders so widely available — on phones, on computer tablets, on tiny cameras — police are seeing a spate of cyber-peeping cases. But that same availability of cameras, according to Montgomery County police allegations made public Wednesday, produced an odd twist: The victim recorded the peeper.

“Darrien Lamont Tucker, 39, of Potomac was charged with five counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent, officials said, accusing him of using an Apple iPad to take inappropriate videos of an 18-year-old foreign-exchange student who was staying in his home. Tucker thought he was doing so furtively, by sliding an edge of the iPad under a bathroom door, according to charging documents. But the victim noticed the iPad, took images of it with her iPhone and eventually set up a video camera outside the bathroom that captured Tucker crouching on the ground outside the door, trying to make another video, detectives alleged.”

BOB MCDONNELL: Defense presents a twist, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Maureen McDonnell's former chief of staff says then-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. agreed to help her leave her state job by becoming her lead client at a consultancy, but he later reneged, according to a draft letter she wrote in January 2012 after leaving her state position.

“The four-page draft from Sutherland to Williams, filed as an exhibit in the former first couple’s corruption case, spells out how Sutherland carried out extensive communications with Williams through text messages, unbeknownst to then-Gov. Bob McDonnell and the first lady.”

BOWE BERGDAHL: Of background, per the New York Times, “Weeks before a Black Hawk helicopter lifted off in the dying light of eastern Afghanistan, carrying with it an American soldier who had spent five years in the hands of the Taliban, American officials grew increasingly worried that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s life might be in jeopardy.

“A video produced by his captors months earlier had shown him weak and dazed, and there was a growing fear that the Taliban — frustrated by the glacial pace of hostage negotiations — were beginning to rethink the value of continuing to hold an American prisoner.”

MEANWHILE: Plenty of skeptics, per the Los Angeles Times, “The White House struggled Wednesday to quell a political storm in Congress over the trade of five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and to repair relations with Democratic and Republican lawmakers outraged over the lack of consultation.

“The two-front battle on Capitol Hill deepened as a 17-minute video, shot and released by the Taliban, showed Bergdahl looking thin, pale and dazed before he was hustled onto a Black Hawk helicopter by U.S. special forces and flown to safety. The video did not answer questions about why Bergdahl left his outpost in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009, or whether any Americans died searching for him, as some former members of his unit have claimed.”

MISSISSIPPI: As expected, per The Hill, “Mississippi's GOP nominee for the Senate will be decided in a June 24 runoff between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. McDaniel held a 1,400-vote edge after Tuesday night's primary with nearly all precincts reporting and just a small portion of mail and provisional ballots still out.

“That was enough for The Associated Press to declare Wednesday that the contest would definitely need a runoff. Neither candidate topped the 50 percent vote threshold needed to win the nomination outright, with both getting 49 percent of the vote.”

POLITICO PLAY: “You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent. Moms and dads from across the political spectrum have mobilized into an unexpected political force in recent months to fight the data mining of their children. In a frenzy of activity, they’ve catapulted student privacy — an issue that was barely on anyone’s radar last spring — to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida to Wyoming.”

REMEMBER HIM?: Apparently not, per City Paper, “Mayor Vince Gray can’t get no respect.Not just in the Wilson Building, the District’s city hall—although he’s pulling an inadvertent Rodney Dangerfield there, too—but also out on the streets of Shaw, where he went on a potentially record-breaking ribbon-cutting tour Monday.

“Waiting to cut his sixth ribbon outside 9th Street NW’s Appioo restaurant, Gray arrived to discover that he’d outpaced much of his ribbon-cutting entourage. With no welcome committee in sight, Gray was left to cool his heels while he waited for more Shaw boosters to show up. Is this any way to treat a mayor?”

WHOA: Hate when this happens, per WJLA, “Two brick masons were rescued from a building on the National Institutes of Health campus after the scaffolding platform they were standing on partially collapsed.
Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, one of two metal arms drawing cables to the platform running alongside Building #10, reportedly snapped-off the roof. The platform consequently dropped from a horizontal to vertical position, leaving the men dangling from two ropes, some 80 feet in the air.”

DIRTY CLEANERS: Or something like that, per the Frederick News-Post, “Three men face theft and burglary charges after being caught Tuesday taking several items from a Myersville house they were hired to repair after a May fire, according to Frederick County District Court documents.

“Elder Garcia-Costillo, 24, of the 8200 block of Gorman Avenue in Laurel; Ludin Lucero Uziel-Gamez, 26, of the 5600 block of Quincy Street in Beltsville; and Jorge Joel Rodriguez-Cruz, 22, of the 1400 block of Langley Way in Hyattsville, each face trespassing, second-degree burglary, conspiracy and theft charges.”

LOOK OFFICIAL: Be a star, per DCist, “Are you prepared for House of Cards' third season? You better be, because casting is underway, and they need some people to dress like a Capitol Hill steretype and stand in the background. An open call for extras and day players will take place Saturday in Bel Air, Md.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Philadelphia 8-4.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “D.C.'s Fire and EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe, whose more than 30-year tenure in office has been marred by controversy, will step down next month. An official announcement is expected to be made on Thursday.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who will be asked about the court ruling requiring the District to allow voters to elect the Attorney General. Also, street car funding, the soccer stadium proposal and more.

--Skip Wood