DAYBREAK DAILY: U.Va. mulls becoming a private school

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the low 90s. { }

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Syria situation continues to evolve concerning the U.S.; At least four people shot in Northwest D.C.; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

CAVALIER THINKING: U.Va. mulls its future, per the Virginian-Pilot, “A University of Virginia panel has proposed that the institution break many of its ties with the state government and operate more like a private school. Such an arrangement - which would need state lawmakers' approval and likely would meet opposition - would allow Virginia's flagship public school the freedom to more easily increase tuition and accept more top-tier students from across the country and the world. Although it could increase the University of Virginia's prestige and shore up its finances, such a move could also make it more difficult for in-state students to win admission and could significantly raise their tuition.

“. . . Already, the preliminary proposal has drawn criticism and questions from the university community and state lawmakers, who said moving the school toward a private model could be contrary to the mission Thomas Jefferson laid out when he founded the university nearly two centuries ago.”

VIRGINIA TOLLS: Of backroom deals, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “A $2 billion deal between Virginia and a private road developer in Hampton Roads has cast a constitutional shadow over a landmark 1995 law that gave state transportation officials power to negotiate toll rates to pay for privately developed public transportation projects.

“An overflow crowd packed the Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear legal debate over whether the General Assembly improperly delegated the authority to set tolls under the Public-Private Transportation Act, used to build the Pocahontas Parkway in the Richmond area and other projects totaling nearly $3.5 billion around the state.”

MARYLAND GUNS: Checking the background, per the Baltimore Sun, “Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday that the state is mustering all necessary resources to complete tens of thousands of background checks for gun buyers by Oct. 1, when Maryland's new gun control law takes effect.

“The backlog of checks has put firearms in the hands of more than three dozen people barred from owning guns and complicated implementation of the state's new law. "The state police have all the support, whatever support they need," O'Malley said, confirming he hopes to clear the backlog by the end of the month. "That's our goal." The Baltimore Sun reported in June that the state police were months behind in completing the background checks — and that some dealers were releasing guns without waiting for results. By law, dealers must wait only seven days.”

SITUATION SYRIA: And the former KGB guy, per the New York Times, “President Vladimir V. Putin has been many things to President Obama: a partner at times, an irritant more often, the host of the elusive Edward J. Snowden and “the bored kid in the back of the classroom” who offered so little on the administration’s foreign policy goals that Mr. Obama canceled plans to hold a summit meeting in Moscow last week.

“Yet suddenly Mr. Putin has eclipsed Mr. Obama as the world leader driving the agenda in the Syria crisis. He is offering a potential, if still highly uncertain, alternative to what he has vocally criticized as America’s militarism and reasserted Russian interests in a region where it had been marginalized since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

MEANWHILE: Helping hands, per the Washington Post, “The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

“The arms shipments, which are limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked, began arriving in Syria at a moment of heightened tensions over threats by President Obama to order missile strikes to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons in a deadly attack near Damascus last month.”

AND THIS: Enter Iran, per the Los Angeles Times, “Signaling a possible thaw in long-frozen relations, the Obama administration and the new leadership in Iran are communicating about Syria and are moving behind the scenes toward direct talks that both governments hope can ease the escalating confrontation over Tehran's nuclear program.

“President Obama reportedly reached out to Iran's relatively moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, through an exchange of letters in recent weeks. The pragmatist cleric is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, and after years of the United States cold-shouldering his ultraconservative predecessor, U.S. officials say it's possible they will meet with Rouhani on the sidelines.”

FRISKY GOP: At a major cost, per The Hill, “The federal government moved closer to the brink of a shutdown on Wednesday as House Republicans failed to quell a conservative rebellion and were forced to delay a vote on a stopgap spending bill.

“The party leadership said it needed more time to build support for a complex legislative proposal it presented to its members on Tuesday. But senior Republicans acknowledged that the plan lacked support from conservatives who are demanding the GOP take a harder line against President Obama’s signature healthcare law.”

POLITICO PLAY: “An Arlington, Va.-based conservative group, whose existence until now was unknown to almost everyone in politics, raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide. The group, Freedom Partners, and its president, Marc Short, serve as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.”

COLORADO DELUGE: Rains go wild, per the Denver Post, “A long evening of rain turned into a full-fledged emergency early Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood emergency for Boulder County and northwest Jefferson County. A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Jamestown and the Fourmile burn scar area. The Boulder County Sheriff's dispatch confirmed at 1 a.m. that there had been at least one fatality. The National Weather Service said that county officials reported mutiple homes had collapsed in the Jamestown area.”

LAYOFFS: Just the facts, per the Roanoke Times, “The Roanoke Times eliminated the jobs of 31 employees Wednesday, as the newspaper’s new corporate owner announced a series of job reductions and restructuring aimed at improving the paper’s profitability while maintaining a local news focus.

"Like most American newspapers over the past decade, The Roanoke Times has suffered repeated blows of diminished circulation, dwindling print advertising revenue, a bad economy, competition from online news sources and slow-growing digital revenues. The terminations of 11 percent of its work force leave The Roanoke Times with a total of 253 employees. In 1986, the paper’s work force was an all-time high of 633.”

PAPERWORK: And healthcare, per Gazette.Net, “Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) wants to cover the debt of the county’s hospital operator to increase chances that the state will approve a new $645-million hospital at Largo Town Center.

“The county desires to refund an estimated $48.15 million of outstanding bonds issued by Dimensions Healthcare System, Inc., in 1994,” Baker wrote in a Sept. 6 letter. “This refunding transaction will improve the long-term financial condition of the healthcare system and assist in obtaining the approval of its Certificate of Need.”

D.C. POLITICS: A heavy hand, per City Paper, “The way some people in Adams Morgan talk about Councilmember Jim Graham, he sounds more like the neighborhood heavy than Ward 1’s elected representative. He gets things done, one man says, but no one ever promised Graham a lifetime appointment.

“Another man who says he’s thinking about voting against Graham concedes that he owes a lot of loyalty to him, then changes his mind. What he feels for Graham is more like a debt for how much Graham has helped him, he tells Ward 1 candidate Brianne Nadeau, who’s canvassing the neighborhood.”

METRO: Yawn, per ARLnow, “Work on the Metrorail system this weekend will affect all of the lines that travel through Arlington, including shutting down the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Disruptions begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and continue through closing on Sunday, September 15.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat N.Y. Mets 3-0.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Four D.C. high school girls who share a passion for helping others set out to make a difference by running their own non-profit organization called Feed DC. The group provided 450 brand new backpacks full of all kinds of school supplies to get disadvantaged students started on the new year.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Steven Cordi of the District's Office of Tax Revenue, who will be asked about the sale of tax liens.

--Skip Wood