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Leora Madden, Andreanecia Morris and Keith Twitchell were named 2016 Urban Heroes by New Orleans environmental organization the Urban Conservancy. The awards, in partnership with Stay Local, honored Madden, owner of Pearl Wine Co.; Morris, executive director of HousingNOLA; and Twitchell, president of Committee for a Better New Orleans. The 2016 Above and Beyond award went to Phyllis Cassidy, founder of the Good Work Network.

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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation awarded more than $700,000 in grants to 254 individuals and organizations. The foundation awarded grants in four categories: in-school education programs in music, arts and culture; after-school and summer school programs; festivals, concerts and performing arts events; and documentation and preservation.

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The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries misspent millions of dollars earmarked for fish testing in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, according to a November report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. The report concluded that the department used federal grant funds for cameras, iPads, a boat, a plane and other equipment, and didn't keep track of many items (which now are missing). Department Secretary Charlie Melancon, who recently took over the department,said he was disturbed by the findings and that the department is conducting an internal review.

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