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Alex Vogel, chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), has pulled his name from consideration for an open GOP slot at the Federal Election Commission.

Last month, Democrats announced that Robert Lenhard, associate general counsel at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, would fill outgoing Commissioner Scott Thomas’ place. Republicans have not yet announced a name for outgoing GOP Commissioner Dave Mason’s spot.

[IMGCAP(1)] Vogel could not be reached for comment, but friends say he loves his current job and is staying put because there is simply too much going on in the Senate for him to leave at this time.

Open and Shut. The Government Printing Office closed the doors of its four remaining beyond-the-Beltway book stores last week, shutting down operations in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., Houston and Pittsburgh.

GPO, which once operated 24 stores nationwide, began closing those outlets in 2001. As the agency offered more of its publications at in recent years, sales in its stores had declined.

The agency will maintain a shop at its headquarters on North Capitol Street and a warehouse in Laurel, Md., used primarily by book dealers.

GPO publications are also available by telephone, (866) 512-1800, fax, (202) 512-2250, and via mail, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954.

Traffic Advisory. District officials are warning area employees to anticipate heavy traffic Thursday as a result of “NFL Kickoff Live from the National Mall.”

With more than 100,000 people expected to attend the celebration of the opening of the NFL season, the city will shut down Fourth Street where it crosses the Mall and possibly Seventh Street as well. The free performance will begin at 6 p.m. with activities on the Mall during the day.

The federal government is encouraging employees to use public transportation and allow extra time for commuting to work.

New Poet Laureate. Librarian of Congress James Billington last week announced that Louise Gl ck has been appointed the newest U.S. poet laureate.

Gl ck, a senior lecturer in English at Williams College, is the author of nine books of poetry, including “The Wild Iris,” for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1993.

Among her many honors, Gl ck is the recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, a prestigious lifetime achievement award, as well as Guggenheim, Rockefeller and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

As poet laureate, Gl ck will receive a $35,000 stipend for her one-year appointment. The 60-year-old Cambridge, Mass., resident succeeds Billy Collins, who served in the post since 2001.

— Amy Keller, Jennifer Yachnin, John McArdle and Bree Hocking

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