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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The ExxonMobil Foundation
has committed another $10 million to enhance public education in the New Orleans area, bringing the company's total Katrina relief and recovery efforts to more than $23 million. The latest donation will focus on programs to promote excellence in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and surrounding school districts affected by last year's hurricanes. Part of the funds will be used to recruit and train science and math teachers.

Global Green USA and actor Brad Pitt
last week announced six finalists for the organization's Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans' historic Holy Cross neighborhood. Three of the finalists have local offices. Finalists' designs showed how green building and intelligent architecture can be brought together in ways that respect the historical context of the Holy Cross neighborhood. The designs can be viewed and voted on at www.globalgreen.org.

Ochsner Health System,
which operates one of the few local hospitals that did not close after Hurricane Katrina, is acquiring three of Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s hospitals in the New Orleans area Ñ including Memorial Medical Center, which closed after the storm. Ochsner also plans to buy Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna and Kenner Regional Medical Center. The acquisitions should help stabilize the local medical community, which has been in flux since Katrina pushed many doctors out of New Orleans.

FEMA
deserves special disdain for being so slow in paying for badly needed repairs to the city's storm-damaged sewer, water and drainage systems. The Sewerage & Water Board said last week that as of mid-July, FEMA had reimbursed less than 10 percent of the estimated $447 million in damages to the systems Ñ and that the slow payments have delayed critical repairs. Meanwhile, returning residents must constantly contend with severe drops in water pressure from leaky water mains and broken pumps.

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