MARYLAND

Duncan May Draft Breathalyzer Rule Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said yesterday that he is considering instituting a policy that would require those using county cars to submit to a breathalyzer test if they are asked to do so by police.

Failure to comply would terminate the person's right to use a county vehicle, Duncan said.

The proposal comes in response to last weekend's arrest of Katherine S. Winfree, a top-ranking county prosecutor who was charged with drunken driving after police saw her going unusually slowly in Bethesda. She was driving a county car at the time.

An officer said he smelled alcohol on Winfree's breath and asked her to submit to a breathalyzer, which she declined, according to county officials.

Winfree's attorney said she was driving erratically because her car had a flat tire.

Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday that Winfree will continue to prosecute the county's highest-profile cases and have access to a county car, despite the charge.

No disciplinary action will be taken unless she is found guilty, he added.

Gas Leak Closes Roads Into BWI A gas leak at a construction site near Baltimore-Washington International Airport yesterday closed roads into the airport for 45 minutes, leading to backups just before the afternoon rush.

No one was hurt, and no flights were affected, BWI spokeswoman Tracy Newman said. No passengers complained of missing their flights, she said.

Newman said that shortly before 2 p.m., an excavation crew accidentally hit the gas line in a construction site between a new garage and the headquarters building for the Maryland Department of Transportation, which is on airport property.

While firefighters responded to the gas leak, police closed Interstate 195 and Elm Road about 2:30 p.m. The airport's light-rail line also was stopped as a precaution. No roads leading out of the airport were affected. I-195 and Elm Road were reopened before 3:15 p.m., Newman said.

River Restoration Plan Announced

Federal, state and Pepco officials announced a $2.7 million final plan yesterday to restore natural habitat damaged by a massive oil spill more than two years ago at the former Pepco power plant in Aquasco.

The final plan calls for seven recreational improvement projects at sites along the Patuxent River and its tributaries beginning in the spring.

The work also will include the creation of several acres of intertidal marsh wetland near the Chalk Point power plant and an oyster reef sanctuary and repairs to migratory ducks' nesting habitats.

THE REGION

New Giraffe Arrives at Zoo

The National Zoo got a new giraffe yesterday to replace two who died this year. The new animal, a female named Malaika, is nearly 2 1/2 and comes from Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, a zoo spokesman said.

The giraffe was delivered to the zoo about 7:30 a.m. She will live in the Elephant House, which has been closed to give her time to adjust to her surroundings. She joins another female giraffe, Jana, who is nearly 2.

Jana's parents, Ryma, 17, and Griff, 19, died in February and September, respectively, from age-related digestive problems.

GAO to Review Mail Workers' Safety The General Accounting Office next month will begin looking into how U.S. Postal Service employees were treated during last year's anthrax attacks at mail facilities in Washington and New Jersey.

The GAO review, requested by Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), will explore when and how the postal employees were informed of anthrax-laced mail and what arrangements were made for their health care, among other issues, a GAO official said.

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, was already looking into an earlier request concerning treatment of Connecticut postal workers.

THE DISTRICT

Enrollment Dip Prompts Layoffs

The D.C. public school system sent pink slips to 20 teachers yesterday, the result of budget cuts because of enrollment that was lower than expected.

Enrollment is at about 67,500, down about 900 from last school year. Officials said the teachers being dismissed were certified to teach subjects -- including cosmetology and graphic arts -- for which fewer instructors were needed.

Ten of the dismissed teachers were being paid but had not been working.

Request for Restraining Order Dropped A D.C. Superior Court hearing, scheduled for yesterday, to review a temporary restraining order that a city employee sought against her boss was canceled after she withdrew her request.

Virginia Daisley, 39, requested a restraining order against Herbert J. Huff, 60, who was deputy chief financial officer in the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, on Nov. 18, two days after she said she received two telephone calls at her home from Huff and a woman who identified herself as his wife, Lavita.

Daisley, the communications director for the office, said that the Huffs accused her of harassing them and threatened her life. Neither Huff, who resigned last week, nor his wife returned telephone messages left at their home.

Daisley said she withdrew the request for the restraining order after an assistant to Daniel Black, the acting deputy chief financial officer, said it was unnecessary because Huff was no longer a city employee and the police were investigating the matter.

"I want him to succeed. I've instructed all of my people in this office to work closely with him. He's got to succeed for the state -- that's very important."

-- Democratic State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer,

pledging to help Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the state's

first Republican governor in more than 30 years. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Matthew Mosk, Katherine Shaver, Karlyn Barker, Justin Blum, Raymond McCaffrey, Manny Fernandez and Yolanda Woodlee.