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The Best and the Worst of the Week

New Orleans Police Detective Decynda Barnes
should be commended for attention to detail after the off-duty homicide detective spotted a fugitive wanted in New York for the murder of her son 25 years ago. Barnes was working a security detail at a supermarket when she recognized shopper Linda Cook from pictures supplied by police in New York, who believed she was living in New Orleans. Cook was arrested and charged with criminal negligent homicide.

The Entergy Charitable Foundation
recently awarded more than $780,000 in grants to organizations with programs aimed at helping low-income families and communities. Local groups receiving grants include the Foundation for the Mid South, Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids, the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, Mid Delta Workforce Alliance, the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program.

Orleans and Tangipahoa Parish jails
both dealt with escaped-inmate situations last week. At the Orleans Parish Prison, a woman apparently smuggled a loaded gun and bolt cutters through the unguarded handicapped entrance to her husband, inmate Lance Smith, who escaped and led officers on a high-speed chase before committing suicide. In Tangipahoa Parish, Terrence Washington and Dan Robertson Jr. apparently used a hacksaw to cut through a prison window. The two were at large at presstime.

Clyde Giordano,
former president of Plaquemines Parish, has been fined $1,000 by the state ethics board for accepting campaign loans that exceeded the maximum limits. Giordano accepted $7,500 loans from three contributors prior to his November 2002 runoff against Benny Rouselle; the maximum allowed for campaign loans is $2,500. Giordano, who ultimately lost the seat to Rouselle, called the impropriety an error and has repaid the money.

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