• Enviroguard Technologies has introduced a new anti-terrorism security device that offers a barrier against unauthorized access to underground fuel storage tanks and sub-surface openings. The security device locks and secures vulnerable areas. It can be retrofitted to gasoline fill ports, which currently are unsecured at gas stations across the country. It can also be utilized for other anti-terrorism applications such as manhole covers, groundwater monitoring wells and existing critical infrastructure subsurface ground openings.
• Gage, a unified communications provider, is deploying softphones to help small to midsize businesses increase their mobility and flexibility. Softphones are software programs that enable users to make phone calls over the Internet using their laptop or home computer, eliminating the need for a separate physical instrument.
• Investar Bank has purchased property in Metairie, where it plans to open its first banking location in the New Orleans area. The company will renovate the 8,300-square-foot, three-story building at 500 Veterans Blvd. to provide full-service banking, including consumer, business, mortgage and commercial banking. Construction is expected to begin in May and open in the third quarter of this year. Investar expects to hire approximately 15 employees at the new location. After raising $2.3 million in capital in Louisiana, Investar also plans to open a new banking center in Lafayette on property it purchased last year. In 2011, Investar opened locations in Prairieville, Baton Rouge and Denham Springs. The Metairie and Lafayette locations will bring the total number of Investar banking centers to seven.
• Powell Broadcasting of Baton Rouge is purchasing radio stations WAKT, WASJ, WPFM and WRBA of Panama City, Fla., from Double O Radio Corp. of Charleston, S.C. The four stations range from 50,000 to 100,000 watts of power. The sale is pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. These are the first acquisitions for Powell Broadcasting since 2007 and will increase the total number of stations owned by the company to 10.
• Michael Grace of BancorpSouth Insurance Services/Wright & Percy Insurance has been re-elected to a one-year term as an officer in the American Insurance Marketing & Sales Society, a professional organization dedicated to building insurance sales, marketing and technical expertise.
• Laura Claverie Poché has been named chair of the HOPE Ministries Board of Directors. The New Orleans native is a vice president and banker with J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management in Baton Rouge. An active community leader, Poché serves on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations. Her commitments include the Junior League of Baton Rouge, City Year Baton Rouge, the Association of Junior Leagues International, St. Aloysius Church, where she is chairwoman of the Social Justice ministry and a member of the Social Responsibility Commission; and the Catholic High School Mothers' Club, of which she will serve as president in the 2012-13 academic year.
• Stephanie Anderson, senior vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer at Woman's Hospital, has received the LSU Women's Center Esprit de Femme Award. Each year during Women's History Month, the LSU Women's Center acknowledges women who have made exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women. At the hospital, Anderson has guided the Woman's Center for Wellness and the construction of the new Woman's Hospital, which will open in June. Other programs she has implemented include outreach to hospitals without on-site maternal fetal medicine physicians and the establishment of a Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Prevention Program.
• BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' independent Accreditation Commission. This places the Baton Rouge Zoo among the top 10% of zoos in the nation. Accreditation requires a thorough review to ensure the zoo meets standards in animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety. Zoos and aquariums must undergo this process every five years to remain accredited.The Baton Rouge Zoo was first accredited in September 1977.
• Baton Rouge General Medical Center has been named a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project award recipient. The project, created by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, will bring proven cancer support programs to 90 communities across the United States. Baton Rouge General will use the $19,000 award to support bringing the arts to patients with cancer and chronic illness through the development of the new Arts in Medicine program. The award will fund an artist in residence, supplies and education resources, and consultation for a year.
• Nicole DesOrmeaux recently passed her fourth and final exam to become a certified public accountant. DesOrmeaux specializes in financial accounting and reporting. A team member of Fenstermaker since December 2003, she currently serves as a senior accountant.
• Alex Garn, an assistant professor in the LSU College of Education's Department of Kinesiology, has received the Michael Pyryt Collaboration Award from the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Research on Giftedness, Talent and Creativity. The award recognizes an influential collaborator and scholar of giftedness, creativity or talent development who has not previously published scholarship in these areas. Garn was selected based on the paper “Parental influences on the academic motivation of gifted students: A self-determination perspective,” which was published in Gifted Child Quarterly.
• Buddy C. “Bob” Johnson posthumously received the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication's second Courage and Justice Award. Johnson worked at WBRZ-TV from 1964 to Jan. 10, 1972, when he was severely beaten while covering a downtown civil rights protest against racial discrimination that briefly turned into a violent riot when police moved in to disperse the crowd. Five people were killed and 31 injured, including Johnson, whose cameraman, Henry Baptiste, removed him from the scene when order in the city finally was restored with the arrival of the National Guard. Johnson was in a coma for two years and spent his remaining years confined, for the most part, to a long-term care facility, unable to speak or walk due to his brain injuries. He died Jan. 30, 2011, at the age of 77.
• Xin Li, assistant professor of the LSU Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, was one of 24 award recipients to receive the IBM Faculty Award. He received the maximum award amount of $40,000. The competitive international program fosters collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and service organizations. Li received the award based on his research of geometric information analysis and processing and its application on computational medicine.
• The Louisiana Art & Science Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums. AAM began accrediting museums in 1971, and LASM was initially accredited in 1972. It has now been accredited four times. To earn accreditation, a museum must conduct multiple years of self-study and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers.
• Louisiana Radio Network has won three national awards for journalistic excellence in an annual competition sponsored by StateNets, an association composed of 31 state radio news networks. LRN News Director Jeff Palermo and his staff were awarded first place honors for best newscast and sportscast as well as second place in the “Story of the Year” category. Founded in 1974, Louisiana Radio Network provides 71 radio stations throughout Louisiana and parts of Mississippi with news, sports and agri-news. LRN also publishes Tiger Rag and presents the annual Louisiana Farmer of the Year award.
• Eric Monday, the vice chancellor for finance and administrative services and chief financial officer at LSU, has been named the Master of Public Administration Alumnus of the Year by the LSU Public Administration Institute. In his current role, Monday's responsibilities include a wide range of business services and auxiliary enterprises that provide for the financial, administrative and operational responsibilities for the university.
• Spartan Building Corporation, a local general contractor specializing in commercial construction, has been named one of Louisiana's “Safest 70” companies by the Louisiana Workman's Compensation Corporation. This marks the company's fifth consecutive year to garner such recognition and places Spartan in the top one-third of 1% of LWCC policyholders. The award recognizes efforts in preventing injuries, controlling costs, and loss prevention.
• BASF employees in Geismar are helping to establish a mobile emergency response kitchen in Ascension Parish. BASF has already pledged a $9,000 donation for the Leadership Ascension Response Kitchen. The kitchen will assist volunteers during disasters with food and other provisions. The fully functioning mobile kitchen will be able to feed up to 500 first-responder relief workers three meals a day.
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Number of failing schools in EBR doubles