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The Best and the Worst of the Week

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BOUQUETS

Carlos Del Castillo, an aerospace technician from Slidell, was one of three national winners of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers -- the highest government honor bestowed on young scientists, selected by the National Science and Technology Council. The honor allows the Stennis Space Center employee to work for one year at NASA&185;s Ocean Biology and Biochemistry Program in Washington, D.C.

BRICKBATS

Hurricane opportunists were a stark contrast to the general spirit of cooperation last week during Ivan, as some people looted evacuated buildings and committed &179;price-gouging,&178; the illegal practice of inflating the cost of goods and services during a state of emergency. New Orleans officials reported at least five looting arrests and were investigating charges of price-gouging, most notably a gas station near the I-10 twin spans that allegedly charged desperate evacuees $10 per gallon.

Former East Jefferson Community Health Center officials in 2002 paid technology contractor Global Information Services $2,000 over market rate for services, plus $10,508 for services not performed, a state legislative audit found. The report noted that two Global staffers are the daughters of ex-EJCHC board member Larry Barnett. It also blasted EJCHC for being unable to account for laptops and financial documents. EJCHC responded that it has new board members, a new executive director, and no longer contracts with Global.

Jefferson Parish officials charged exonerated former inmate Ryan Matthews $100 to remove his electronic monitoring ankle cuff. The insult-to-injury action came after Matthews spent five years on death row for the shooting death of a Bridge City grocery-store owner. Once condemned to death by lethal injection, Matthews was placed on house arrest in June when new DNA evidence showed he was not present at the crime scene. He was completely exonerated in subsequent hearings.

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