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BUMPER STICKER seen on a car on...


BUMPER STICKER seen on a car on Charles Street last Friday: "Hold on Maryland, the Republicans are coming."

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REMEMBER all the fuss over where the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration's headquarters would be built -- city or county? Well, all of that's behind us now as some federal government workers have already begun to settle into the agency's $126 million new building in Woodlawn.

However, the 960,000-square-foot building won't be officially dedicated until fall; that's when all of the construction work will be done.

Some facts about the new building: it will house 3,100 of HCFA's 4,000-plus employees. It has 51 conference rooms, 21 elevators, 60 bathrooms and an equal number of water fountains. Its "full-service" cafeteria will serve 424 diners inside and 180 outside. There's a 576-seat auditorium, too.

The tall, red brick and concrete building with green-tinted glass is a rather startling sight to folks used to just seeing rolling fields or housing developments along Rolling Road.

Early reports are that employees are generally pleased with the new location, which includes a day care center and a "wellness center," which offers exercise classes.

Speaking of exercise, that's something the workers may want to participate in with even more vigor than usual, considering that their new location is in the shadow of the Ms. Desserts Factory and its outlet store. After a morning of wrangling with Medicaid and Medicare issues, some workers may be tempted to try such treats as New York-style cheesecake and something called a chocolate volcano (chocolate mousse heaped on a brownie). Go on, it's far less than the retail price.

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