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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Ruth Asher,
a civilian employee of the New Orleans Police Department and the city since 1955, joins other government workers honored for exemplary public service this week by the Bureau of Governmental Research. For years, Asher worked as NOPD's unofficial archivist and curator. Police Chief Eddie Compass presented her with NOPD badge No. 1, designating her as the department's first and only historian.

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana
was honored with the "Most Effective Education" and "Policy Achievement" merit awards recently by the national Governmental Research Association. The awards commended PAR's eye-opening 2001 study on national, state and local education funding for K-12 students in Louisiana and for its efforts in 2001 to promote, protect and improve Louisiana's "sunshine laws."

State Sen. Lynn Dean
displayed an appalling lack of sensitivity last week when he told a federal courtroom he thinks it can be appropriate to use a racial slur and that he had in fact used the term himself recently. Dean went on to say he had voted for ex-Klan leader David Duke for governor in 1991 because Duke was "the lesser of two evils." Dean later told outraged constituents he's not a racist, just a guy who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

Orion Refining Corp.
excessively violated the Clean Air Act over a two-year period, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA recently charged the New Sarpy refinery with a long list of infractions, such as 82 flaring incidents that emitted about 1,300 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air. Orion officials blamed the violations, which also included leaking equipment and operating some machinery without permits, on "start-up issues."

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