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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,
as part of its annual meeting in New Orleans in February, has initiated a project to donate and build a safe, disability-accessible playground in City Park. The group, with Friends of City Park and the local United Cerebral Palsy chapter, has so far amassed nearly 400 volunteers for play-area construction and beautification projects on Feb. 4.

Six members of Les Petites Chanteuses,
the New Orleans Public Schools' citywide elementary choir, were chosen to sing with the Louisiana Music Educators District VI Honor Chorus during its Jan. 25 concert at the Isidore Newman School. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, selected from hundreds of students who auditioned for the honor, were: Sharae Anderson, Rachel Battle, Alicia Butler, Brittany George, Trevor James and Brandy Walker.

Sens. John Breaux and Mary Landrieu
last week voted to relax parts of the federal Clean Air Act designed to curb pollution emitted by industrial plants. Their votes came the day the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group released a study rating Louisiana as second in the United States for industrial emissions of dioxin. The study ranked four Louisiana parishes -- Iberville, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge and Rapides -- in the nation's top 25 zip codes for dioxin releases.

Edward Valteau,
an electrical inspector for the city Department of Safety and Permits, had his December firing upheld last week by administrators who found he had shown consistent favoritism toward one contractor. A review board said Valteau gave the man price breaks on permits and ignored code violations the contractor had committed. Valteau was reprimanded in 2000 for similar complaints.

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