Hose Road Is It Anyway?
* After an unidentified man chauffeuring Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) drove over a fire hose in use at Connecticut Avenue and K Street NW around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, a D.C. police officer wrote him a ticket. The Post's Ray Lustig -- who took these photos -- reports that when police tried to halt the late-model Ford Mustang in the northbound lane on Connecticut Avenue, Millender-McDonald's driver flashed a congressional tag, shot past and then hit the hose -- which was being used at the time by firefighters trying to extinguish a burning taxi. The congresswoman didn't return our phone call.
A Painful Connection
* Among the eulogists at Wednesday's memorial service for romance novelist Nancy Richards-Akers and her estranged husband, Jeremy Ray Akers -- who killed her and then himself last Saturday amid an acrimonious divorce battle -- was longtime friend Patricia Duff. Duff -- who was a staffer 23 years ago, along with Jeremy Akers, on the House Assassinations Committee -- grew especially close to Nancy Akers as both confronted the angry men in their lives. Duff, who's dating Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), is in a nasty child custody battle with Revlon billionaire Ronald Perelman. "Only 20 minutes before I heard the news, I was reading her last e-mail," an emotional Duff told a capacity crowd at Washington's Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. "She was . . . looking forward to spending two weeks with her children in Georgia."
BIG HAIR, BIG THINKING
Say what you will about Newt Gingrich, he treats his head right. The deposed Republican House speaker -- who these days is offering himself as a high-dollar speechmaker and visionary consultant to corporate America -- gets that brain of his humming with a five-minute massage of his power helmet during monthly visits to the Bubbles salon on Capitol Hill. "It relaxes him, and the Ice Cap conditioner gives his hair that minty feeling," hairdresser Hannah Hailu tells us.
Vanquished would-be Redskins owner John Kent Cooke, planning a self-imposed exile in Bermuda, will either rent or sell this Georgetown town house at 2804 Q St. NW. At 4,400 square feet, it has has six bedrooms, four baths, two powder rooms, a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a wine cellar and -- reports The Post's Beth Berselli -- a fire pole. We can't explain it, either. Local real estate agents guess the property will bring $2 million from a buyer, or $10,000 to $15,000 monthly as a rental.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice -- until now a hero of the religious right -- is dumping his wife of 44 years, Pat, to marry Ann G. Creson, his junior high school sweetheart, with whom he just returned from a European vacation. Local Republicans are furious with the 65-year-old Fordice, who's national co-chair of Dan Quayle's presidential campaign, and some are demanding that he leave office immediately instead of when his term ends six months from now.
* Elvi Moore, general director of the Washington Ballet for the past 16 years, has quit effective next September, reports The Post's Sarah Kaufman.
* Does Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) have a Y2K problem? That's the question posed on invitations to Wednesday's fund-raiser for defeated Democratic House member Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a victim of the 1994 election who wants to challenge Santorum in next year's Senate race. Washington pooh-bahs Elizabeth and Smith Bagley are hosting.
* John F. Kennedy Jr. is staging a "Politicians vs. Pundits" auto race Thursday at US Airways Arena -- "a unique means to channel their obvious frustrations with one another," the editor of George says. Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), among others, will race BMW sedans against the likes of Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Juan Williams to raise money for breast cancer research.
* New York's Rockefeller Center is bracing for 15,000 shrieking fans at hip-swiveling heartthrob Ricky Martin's "Today" show appearance this morning. "I think there are probably gonna be more teenage girls than I've ever seen in my life," NBC producer Jeff Zucker tells us. Some 250 extra cops will be on hand; no word yet on whether any will be detailed to restrain that loca Katie Couric.
CAPTION: Duff, remembering a friend.