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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The Arts Council of New Orleans
was chosen by the Yale School of Management and Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership to compete with 19 other finalists in the National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. The council was chosen out of 655 entries, based on its business plan for the retail shops that will be part of its Louisiana ArtWorks project. The May contest will award $100,000 to four grand prize winners and $25,000 to four semi-finalists.

Yunfeng Lu
, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Tulane University, has been selected for the Young Investigator Program by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. Lu was one of 26 researchers nationwide to receive the designation. He was chosen based on his research, which develops high-efficiency solar cells that could be used for a wide variety of functions. The honor comes with a $300,000 grant to help fund Lu's work.

Louisiana Steps to Success
won the Aaron Stein Memorial Award for its "Hands On Parenting" program from the national Group Psychotherapy Foundation. The foundation said the nonprofit's program has achieved remarkable growth and accomplishments in the four years it has been in existence. Hands On Parenting is a comprehensive free program that teaches parenting skills to young mothers and fathers across the state.

Anthony Touchard and Rebecca Touchard
, the former fire chief and treasurer, respectively, of the Des Allemands Volunteer Fire Department, admitted they stole thousands of dollars from the department for their personal use. The married couple from Bourg pleaded guilty to theft charges in state court last week. They had resigned from their positions in 2001 after a state audit showed irregularities in the department's finances.

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