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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Calvin Johnson
retired from the Criminal Court bench this past January but is now serving as the interim director at Metropolitan Human Services District, which oversees publicly funded mental health services in the metro area. During Johnson's 17 years as a judge, he established the state's first mental health court. The American Civil Liberties Union honored Johnson with the Benjamin E. Smith Award this past Saturday for his dedication to civil rights and improving legal defense for poor people.

College Freshmen
are increasingly choosing New Orleans as the setting for their college education. Local colleges and universities — University of New Orleans, Loyola University, Tulane University, Southern University, Xavier University and Dillard University — are reporting a boost in the number of new freshmen for the Fall 2008 semester over the previous year. Tulane University has enrolled 1,601 students for the upcoming semester, more than 200 above its goal of 1,400 new students.

Recovery School District Fourth Graders
performed much better on this year's LEAP and GEE tests compared to 2007 scores. The most significant gains, with double-digit percentage increases, occurred in English language arts, math, science, social studies and reading. RSD Superintendent Paul Vallas says the higher scores came despite the later start to this school year, a continual influx of new students and the arrival of 500 new teachers prior to the current academic year.

Mayor Ray Nagin
still has failed to deliver on the 200 working crime surveillance cameras that he promised throughout the city by the end of 2007. With the recent release of crime statistics that show violent crime rising, the cameras could serve as a deterrent to criminal acts, or at least provide a foolproof witness to such acts in locations with cameras. At a City Council meeting last week, administration representatives admitted there presently were only 85 cameras functioning.

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