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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Jamie Bergeron,
an accordionist with the Kickin' Cajuns zydeco band, dazzled fans with his recent performance at a rural Louisiana dance hall -- but he wasn't onstage at the time. When an elderly audience member went into cardiac arrest, Bergeron, a paramedic, dropped his accordion and began performing CPR. The victim, Girlie Thibodaux, is recovering at the Lafayette General Medical Center.

JRL Enterprises,
a New Orleans firm specializing in educational software, has won top honors from the U.S. Department of Education for its 'I Can Learn' algebra program. The federal agency's What Works Clearinghouse determined that students using 'I Can Learn' demonstrated a 16-point jump in math testing scores, the highest of any of the 800-plus software programs the agency reviewed.

Deborah Johnson
of Abita Springs is among 10 nurses nationwide to be recognized as a 'Nurse Hero' by the American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum magazine. Johnson, a pediatric staff nurse at Tulane University Hospital, was watching a Mardi Gras parade when gunmen fired into the crowd, striking four people. The magazine noted that Johnson provided lifesaving aid to the victims at great risk to her own safety.

Sen. Joe McPherson,
chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, launched a predictable tirade against a reform panel's recent recommendation that Louisiana finally shift a substantial part of its Medicaid dollars into home-based care and out of nursing homes. Louisiana spends about 19 percent of its funding on home-based care, far short of the 33 percent national average. McPherson, a nursing home owner, called the plan "punitive" to the powerful nursing-home industry.

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