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Bouquets and Brickbats

They get what they deserve


Ben Toler and Emile Frey,

students at Louisiana Tech University, won second prize in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' "How Engineers Make a World of Difference" video competition. The pair won first place in the inaugural IEEE contest last year, and this year will split $1,500 in scholarship awards for their achievement. Toler plans to study for a master's and doctorate in nuclear engineering; Frey is applying to the University of New Orleans to enter its film program.


Hoops 4 Humanity,

a group of high school basketball players, team managers and scorekeepers from the American School of The Hague, Netherlands, has donated $12,908 to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. The organization was formed in 2008 and began fundraising with events including a car wash, wine tastings, box lunch sales and T-shirt sales. The group, made up mostly of 16-18 year olds, traveled to New Orleans to present the check and spend a week volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. The money will be used to support Habitat's building activities.



Judith Zabalaoui,

a certified financial planner from Metairie, pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of mail fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme she operated for more than 15 years, tricking investors out of millions of dollars. Zabalaoui began the fraudulent operation in 1993 and used fake letterheads, billing statements and other phony materials to persuade backers their money was invested in legitimate companies. In reality, Zabalaoui spent the money on herself. She has agreed to pay back $3 million of the stolen money to her clients.


Gov. Bobby Jindal and state lawmakers

opted to allow "supplemental textbooks" to be used in public school science classes as part of a new law critics say opens the door to teaching creationism. Last week, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology canceled its 2011 convention in New Orleans to protest the anti-science measure. The Louisiana Coalition for Science noted the state is "now paying the price — literally — for [Jindal's] loyalty to his conservative Christian base."

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