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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Karla Buitrago
a Loyola University graduate from Metairie, has won a prestigious National Soros Graduate Fellowship, which awards $20,000 plus half tuition for up to two years of graduate study anywhere in the U.S. Soros Fellowships are awarded to new Americans, either immigrants or their children. Buitrago, a native of Nicaragua, has devoted her career to women's issues such as domestic violence and reproductive choice.

Gootee Construction Inc.
of Metairie has been handed a "Build America Award" by the national Association of General Contractors. The honor, one of the most notable in the construction industry, recognizes Gootee's work on the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. The company, owned by Kathleen and Elaine Gootee, won the award in the "Building Construction -- Renovation" category.

Baton Rouge Mayor Bobby Simpson
after declaring last year that he was happy with his 1999 Chevrolet Blazer, is now tooling around in a new Lincoln Navigator that costs taxpayers nearly $9,000 per year. The change in vehicles comes after Simpson told Gambit Weekly Baton Rouge that the city is suffering a 7 percent budget decrease and can't afford the $5,000-to-$10,000 annual cost of televising East Baton Rouge Planning Commission meetings.

U.S. Sen. John Breaux
has flip-flopped on his former support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, saying he will not support a measure that would curb unregulated or "soft" money. The Louisiana Democrat has in the past said that campaign finance reform should start by limiting soft money and had cast five procedural votes in favor of the bill. Breaux now says that after reading the bill fully, he opposes its soft-money regulations.

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