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Of Mice and Mayors: Vermin Hunt at City Hall

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Last week the city clerk's office sent an e-mail to staff about some unwelcome guests at City Hall:

"The Mayor's Office is having a problem with mice. If you see mice or signs of mice, please contact Buildings Management at X 3705. Immediately. Thanks."

An employee with the city's maintenance office declined to tell Style how many calls had been received on the mice's behalf — though one insider says a mouse actually ran across Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's desk and left him a present.

Wilder denies the insider's claims. "It's a bigger insider than I was, because I wasn't here when it happened," Wilder jokes, but reports that his executive assistant, Ruth Jones, recently saw a mouse in her office.

City spokesman Linwood Norman couldn't confirm the insider's claims, but he does say the critters have had their way lately at City Hall.

"I understand from maintenance there have been a few sightings," Norman says. It's unclear whether City Hall, in particular the mayor's office, has had a problem with mice before and, if so, whether this year is any worse.

Norman says vermin appearances are not uncommon given the size of the building, the time of year and all the holiday parties and leftover goodies lying around. "They like to come in where it's warm," Norman figures. And he says they probably enter through little cracks and grates at City Hall.

Nevertheless, the spirit of the season won't be spent on these furry friends. "We've put the word out to clean up" to employees in hopes that crumbs won't keep the mice coming around, Norman says.

Meantime, an exterminator has been called to take care of the problem — "with traps," he adds. The low-tech devices will be scattered around the first few floors.

"No vermin will be allowed in here," Norman says, "because the mayor's commitment to clean up City Hall surely includes these little critters."

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