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Bad-News Break for Gray at Health Center Groundbreaking

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray helped break ground for a desperately needed health clinic in the city's poorest ward Thursday. News4's Tom Sherwood reports.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray helped break ground for a desperately needed health clinic in the city's poorest ward Thursday.

The good-news event also was a break from the crush of scandal news surrounding Gray’s 2010 campaign for mayor. For once in recent days, the mayor wasn't immediately surrounded by reporters asking about scandal when he got out of his car.

A $20 million Community of Hope health center will be built off South Capitol Street in a small slither of Southwest in Ward 8. The center is expected to bring health care to thousands living east of the Anacostia River who now have to travel to get it. Of about 750 primary care physicians in D.C., only 35 of them practice east of the river, Gray said.

Neighbors hope the health center will bring other retail jobs and opportunities to the area.

For Gray, who has a history of health care and nonprofit experience,  the upbeat clinic event was a contrast to days like Wednesday, when reporters pressed after him to ask scandal questions and his press secretary shouted at reporters for not attending other news conferences.

The media heat was off while citizens fanned themselves Thursday, focused on the promise of better health.

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