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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Cheryl Frank
goers with orchestra music on violas, cellos and bass. Frank serves as director and instructor for the nonprofit String Project, which provides free lessons in stringed instruments to inner-city children aged 6 and up. The kids play for tips, which will be used to continue funding for the program.

Mayor Ray Nagin,
with St. Tammany and Jefferson Parish officials and private sector help, is offering $25,000 "staying bonuses" to try to keep ExxonMobil oil and gas engineers in town. Time will tell if Nagin is able to stem the tide of global economic forces, but his plan is innovative and a model for parish cooperation.

Rep. Joe Salter, D-Florien,
apparently didn't consider the dismal pay scale of teachers and other public servants before pushing a bill to hike the salary of six elected state officials by $23,000 and the governor's by $38,000. Rep. Mike Futrell, R-Baton Rouge, was the only House and Governmental Affairs Committee member to vote against higher pay for the lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and insurance and agriculture commissioners.

Sen. John Breaux, D-La.,
joined the sugar industry's strong-arm tactics to suppress a new nutrition and obesity study by the World Health Organization (WHO), which says healthy diets should not exceed 10 percent sugar. Breaux asked the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and Agriculture Secretary to block the report. The Sugar Association included Breaux's requests in a letter to WHO, in which it threatened to ask Congress to stop funding WHO unless it retracts the study.

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