The Baltimore Sun

Mikulski honored to be mentioned for Cabinet

WASHINGTON: Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is honored to have her name mentioned as a potential pick for secretary of health and human services, the senator's spokeswoman said yesterday. "It's really a big honor to have Senator Mikulski's name raised in connection with the HHS secretary's job," said Rachel MacKnight, the senator's communications director. "She's truly honored." The spokeswoman added that Mikulski "loves being the senior senator from Maryland, and she remains committed to her home state." Neither Mikulski's office nor the White House is confirming that she is under consideration for the job, speculation that began as an unsubstantiated rumor on Capitol Hill late Tuesday. President Barack Obama's original pick, former Sen. Tom Daschle, withdrew his name Tuesday after acknowledging that he failed to pay $128,000 in taxes for a chauffeur and car services.

Paul West

Ex-Gov. Mandel resigns from Board of Regents

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel has resigned from the state Board of Regents, which oversees 11 state universities, the system announced yesterday. In a statement, Mandel, who is 88, said he needed to devote more time to his law firm and consulting practice. Mandel has served on the 17-member board since July 2003 and was reappointed to a second five-year term last year. His replacement will be chosen by Gov. Martin O'Malley. Mandel, a Democrat, was governor of Maryland from 1969 to 1979.

Stephen Kiehl

Howard County Fire Chief Herr to retire March 1

Howard County Fire Chief Joseph Herr will retire March 1, ending a 38-year career in firefighting, county officials announced yesterday. Herr, 55, became chief in Howard just more than eight years ago after 26 years in the District of Columbia Fire Department, where he rose to assistant chief. Herr began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Beltsville. "You will be hard-pressed to find a more decent, honest public servant than Joe Herr," County Executive Ken Ulman said in a statement released yesterday. "Whether it was fighting fires, responding to emergencies or coordinating emergency preparedness, Joe has played a big part in bringing this department into the 21st century."

Don Markus

Baltimore County to save $6 million in '09 fuel costs

Baltimore County has locked in monthly gasoline prices with a fuel supplier that officials say will save about $6 million in fuel costs this year. The county will pay a fixed rate each month, depending on volume, for gasoline and diesel fuel, under a contract with Universal Marketing, officials said. The cost for the larger deliveries last month was $1.39 a gallon for gasoline and $1.93 a gallon for diesel. This month, it will be $1.43 and $1.95 per gallon, respectively. Deliveries of smaller amounts will cost slightly more. At peak demand this summer, costs will not exceed $1.70 for gasoline and $2.19 for diesel, with slight price adjustments according to volume. "The more we purchase, the less it will cost," Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman, said yesterday. "We were able to lock in prices when oil was selling for $36 a barrel," she said.


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