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The Best and the Worst of the Week


The state Department of Social Services
earned a $1.4 million federal bonus as a reward for accuracy in the way it administers food stamps. It's the fifth such payment for the state department, which has earned more than $10 million in bonuses since 1994. The federal money is distributed to state agencies with an error rate of 5.9 percent or below; Louisiana reports its latest error rate as 5.8 percent. Twelve other states also received bonuses for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

STEP Together New Orleans,
a project formed by a unique city-state coalition, won a multi-million-dollar federal grant to fight asthma, diabetes and obesity. Partners in the program are the city Health Department, the state Office of Public Health, LSU School of Medicine, Daughters of Charity, the Louisiana Public Health Institute and New Orleans Public Schools. The five-year grant -- one of seven chosen from 146 proposals -- will be worth between $12 million and $15 million.

Wayne Rovaris,
a former produce department worker at a Sav-A-Center store in Metairie, admitted he inserted razor blades into fresh strawberries twice last June in an attempt to sabotage his employer. No one was hurt by the criminal tampering, which led the supermarket to recall its strawberries and offer refunds to customers who bought strawberries there. Rovaris faces up to 15 years in jail and a $500,000 fine.

Opelousas police
staged a simulated "terrorist attack" this past Sept. 11 in front of the St. Landry Parish Courthouse that starred a "terrorist" wearing a traditional Middle Eastern head covering. Police Chief Larry Caillier said the simulation was part of local preparedness training and not intended to single out any particular ethnic group. For a police department to perpetuate such a stereotype on a particularly sensitive day showed extremely poor judgment.

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