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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Horns for Guns,
a gun buyback program spearheaded by Fr. Bill Terry of St. Anna's Episcopal Church in Tremé, held a community event Nov. 1 that brought in a dozen weapons and gave musical instruments to more than 20 children in need. Recipients of the instruments were also awarded mentorships in the arts. Budding musicians were offered a year's instruction with Derrick Tabb's Roots in Music program. According to Fr. Terry, the event was so successful that the church will repeat it in early 2009.

Mercy Family Center,
an outpatient mental health clinic dedicated to families, received an award Oct. 21 from the Medical Group Management Association for its Project Fleur-de-lis, a school-based mental health program for children who have been traumatized by disasters. The center received the group's Fred Graham Award, which honors organizations that have introduced innovative ways to improve community health. Project Fleur-de-lis now serves more than 70 schools in the greater New Orleans area.

St. Louis Hillel at Washington University
held a Crescent City-themed Shabbat service on Friday night. The food and fellowship served as a recruitment tool for the Missouri college's 2009 "alternative spring break" trip to New Orleans, an annual tradition of volunteerism in support of storm-damaged neighborhoods. The group has brought more than 2,500 students to the city since 2006, including a delegation last year that worked in St. Bernard Parish.

Donald Howard,
a former supervisor for the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to a charge of making a false statement to a federal agency. While a regional supervisor of the MMS Gulf of Mexico region, Howard failed to report a hunting trip paid for by an oil industry contractor in 2004. An August inspector general's report detailed how MMS employees accepted gifts and steered drilling contracts to energy firms overseen by the agency.

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