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Current gas prices in BR area.

Turner Industries opens equipment repair facility

A 50,000-square-foot Turner Industries Equipment Repair Facility has opened at 2865 Mason Ave. in north Baton Rouge near the intersection of Interstate 110 and Airline Highway. The $7.5 million facility, at the original site of Turner Industries, will maintain, service and perform repairs for a fleet of nearly 2,000 motor vehicles and pieces of equipment. The… Continue reading →

Mexican sugar ruling gets praise

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Sugar cane is harvested from a field along last year in Youngsville. The U.S. Commerce Department issued a prelimary finding Tuesday that the Mexican government illegally subsidized sugar exported to the United States.

Representatives of the Louisiana sugar cane industry and elected officials praised a preliminary finding of the U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday that the Mexican government illegally subsidized sugar exported to the United States. As a result of the preliminary ruling, a duty deposit will be collected on sugar imports from Mexico until the government can complete its… Continue reading →

Summit Electric Supply starts Gonzales construction

Summit Electric Supply has begun construction on a facility at 3348 S. Burnside in Gonzales. The facility will include 50,000 square feet of warehouse space — nearly twice the capacity of Summit’s current Gonzales location on West Orice Roth Road. The move also allows Summit to expand its counter sales area, offer additional customer service support… Continue reading →

Hanley’s Foods hires co-packer to increase production

LSU AgCenter Food Incubator tenant Richard Hanley of Hanley’s Foods has hired a co-packer to make his Sensation salad dressing. The deal will allow Hanley to produce 650 gallons of salad dressing a day, helping him meet demand for his product. “This is a huge accomplishment,” Food Incubator Director Gaye Sandoz said. “Reaching the level of… Continue reading →

Larose teen gets heart transplant, tests it by meeting Timberlake

Emily Sanchez and Justin Timberlake

A Larose teen got a heart transplant and then, thanks to Kids Wish Network, a Florida nonprofit, met heartthrob Justin Timberlake and attended his concert in New Orleans. Emily Sanchez’s wish also included a included a mother/daughter day before with lunch at Bravo! Cucina Italiana and a shopping excursion courtesy of Lakeside Shopping Center. Emily and her… Continue reading →

La. third-most tax-friendly state

Louisiana is the third-most tax-friendly state in the nation, personal finance forecaster Kiplinger reported Monday. In the Kiplinger-ranked order, the five most tax-friendly states were Delaware, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The five least tax-friendly states were listed by Kiplinger as California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Hawaii. Officials at Kiplinger, based in Washington,… Continue reading →

Home sales post gain in July

Home sales in metro Baton Rouge increased by 2 percent in July, thanks to increased sales in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes. There were 856 home sales that closed in July in the nine-parish area, according to figures released Monday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. That compares with 839 closed sales in July 2013. The… Continue reading →

‘Engster Show’ changing stations

Jim Engster

For the past decade, “The Jim Engster Show” has been Baton Rouge public radio’s place for local political and cultural discussion. Starting in November, the show will have a new home, a larger reach and, perhaps, an edgier tone. Engster, who has interviewed local and national personalities in the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot on WRKF-FM,… Continue reading →

EBR hotel tax revenues post gains

Tax receipts generated from local hotel occupancy in East Baton Rouge Parish jumped by more than 35 percent in May, and by 12 percent in June over the same periods in 2013. The occupancy tax is the sole source of funding for Visit Baton Rouge, which receives 3 percent of receipts. Visit Baton Rouge President and CEO… Continue reading →

Report: United Health seeks to sell health-exchange policies in Louisiana

UnitedHealth Group Inc. has applied to sell health coverage to Louisiana residents through the online federal marketplace in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal. Louisiana is one of two dozen states where UnitedHealth’s insurance arm, UnitedHealthcare, may make coverage available through the Affordable Care Act-created marketplace. The others include Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan… Continue reading →

Profit in prevention

The UnitedHealthcare-Ochsner Health System partnership is the latest of at least a half-dozen Accountable Care Organizations that have sprung up in Louisiana in the past few years. More of the coordinated-care groups are expected as insurers and providers shift to agreements that offer incentives for keeping patients healthy and lowering costs. Ochsner now has four… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Aug. 24, 2014

. Marketing, franchise seminars set by SCORE SCORE will be holding seminars this week on small-business marketing and on operating a franchise business. --The small-business marketing seminar will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. It will focus on offers and promotions, such as a simple coupon or a Facebook… Continue reading →

Business Honors for Aug. 24, 2014

Kevin Latiolais, MidSouth Bank’s Lafayette regional president, has been recognized among Top Lenders for 2014 by the Independent Community Bankers of America’s publication, Independent Banker. He is featured in its July issue. He is among eight lenders the publication calls “Main Street Sensations” because they are making a big difference for their banks,… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for Aug. 24, 2014

LIVINGSTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL WHEN: Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. WHERE: Forrest Grove Plantation, 8743 Stephenson Drive, Denham Springs SPEAKER: Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon, who is expected to discuss topics including the Affordable Care Act, escalating flood insurance rates… Continue reading →

N.O. gains 12,600 jobs in year

The New Orleans and Baton Rouge metro areas each gained 12,600 nonfarm jobs over the year ended July 31, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday. Seasonally adjusted numbers showed New Orleans had an uptick of 2.31 percent to boost its job total to 557,300. The service-providing sector was responsible for most of that… Continue reading →

Growth Coalition awards top developments

Thirteen of the top developments built locally over the past two years were recognized by the Baton Rouge Growth Coalition at the group’s Good Growth Awards Gala on Thursday night in the Renaissance Hotel. The awards honor developments that are “raising the bar” on development in Baton Rouge, through concepts such as smart growth principles and finding… Continue reading →

Port eyes deal with two tenants

Committees of the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission recommended approval Thursday of two tenant lease agreements worth a combined $294,000 over the next 28 months. If approved by the full commission next week, Stupp Coatings LLC would pay the port $156,000 for a 1-year lease on 24 acres at the port’s Inland Rivers Marine Terminal in Port… Continue reading →

BR riverboats post gain

A strong performance at the Belle of Baton Rouge helped Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos bring in slightly more money in July than they did the year before. The riverboats brought in just over $24.1 million in July, compared with $24 million in July 2013, an 0.4 percent gain, according to figures released Thursday by the… Continue reading →

Portico closes Coursey location

Portico, a casual dining restaurant, has closed its Coursey Boulevard location. An employee at the Portico location at 4205 Perkins Road said the decision was made to close the restaurant at 11777 Coursey Blvd. in order to concentrate on the Southdowns eatery. Portico, based in Monroe, entered the Baton Rouge market in 2012 with… Continue reading →

Harrah’s powers casino market

For the second month in a row, the New Orleans casino market brought in more money than the year before, thanks to a strong performance at Harrah’s New Orleans. The three riverboats, land-based casino and slots at the Fair Grounds brought in $53.9 million in July, a 1.9 percent gain, according to figures released Thursday by State… Continue reading →

Tools to help trade launched

The World Trade Center of New Orleans and the Louisiana Consular Corps have produced two new tools will help local and international businesses explore potential money-making relationships and find business-development assistance. The first informational tool is a country-by-country economic data booklet, researched and prepared by the Trade Center. The data includes country-specific exports from Louisiana,… Continue reading →

Danos will open Amelia fabrication yard

Danos, a Larose-based oil-and-gas service company, will expand its fabrication capabilities with a 120,000-square-foot facility in Amelia, a move that will eventually create 150 new jobs. The new facility, set to begin operations in October, sits on 45 acres of waterfront property on Bayou Boeuf. “The demand for our services is growing… Continue reading →

No cigarette tax hike in La. in decade

Louisiana is one of 13 states that have not raised taxes on cigarettes in 10 years.

Louisiana is one of 13 states that have not raised taxes on cigarettes in 10 years, even though the evidence clearly shows that regular and significant increases encourages users to quit or cut back and prevents kids from even starting to smoke. The finding is included in a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action… Continue reading →

Transformyx fastest-growing BR firm

A dozen Baton Rouge-area businesses, led by information technology firm Transformyx in the 697th spot, made Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies, along with four Lafayette firms. Transformyx grew its revenue from $1 million in 2010 to $8.1 million in 2013, an increase of 652 percent. The Inc. list measures revenue growth from… Continue reading →

Scott to retire from Blue Cross

Peggy Scott

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana executive Peggy Scott will retire from the company in July. Scott has served as executive vice president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and treasurer for the state’s largest health insurer. Blue Cross President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reitz said he was saddened by Scott’s retirement. “Peggy has played… Continue reading →

Taiwanese firm, Livingston Parish studio partnering

Photo provided by Oprah Winfrey Network -- Renee Lawless, left, as Katheryn Cryer, and John Schneider, as her husband, Jim Cryer, exchange words in an episode of  'The Haves and the Have Nots.'

CyberLink Corp., a Taipei, Taiwan-based multimedia software company, said Wednesday it is partnering with Livingston Parish’s John Schneider Studios to promote and support independent filmmakers. CyberLink has donated a complete editing workstation, which is equipped with the company’s DirectorSuite software package, to the studios. Alice H. Chang, chief executive officer of CyberLink, said the company’s mission… Continue reading →

Walk-On’s hires three franchising experts

Photo provided by Walk-On'sBaton Rouge-based Walk-On's Enterprises is poised to take its Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar concept throughout the state and Gulf Coast.

The parent company of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar has hired three executives to help prepare the Baton Rouge restaurant for franchising locations across the Gulf Coast from Texas to Georgia. Scott Taylor, president and COO of Walk-On’s Enterprises, said the company plans to file franchise disclosure documents by the end of the year. The plan is to… Continue reading →

Owner invests $41.5 million in West Monroe paper mill

Graphic Packaging International Inc. will spend $41.5 million to upgrade its paper mill in West Monroe, corporate officials and Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday. The paper mill manufactures paperboard for use in beverage and other product packaging at two other company sites in the Ouachita Parish city. Officials of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development said… Continue reading →

La. job-matching site launches

More than 700 job seekers visited the state’s new online service for matching employers’ needs with workers’ skills, officials said Tuesday in Baton Rouge. On Monday, LouisianaJob became available for the first time to job applicants. By that time, more than 600 employers had listed thousands of vacant jobs on the LJC website,… Continue reading →

Southern Aggregates’ parent company acquired

Advocate staff photo by HEIDI KINCHEN -- Arif Qureshi, a practicing physician from Watson, voices concerns about the health impacts of a proposed gravel pit that could be located next to his Oak Hills neighborhood. Southern Aggregates has applied for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for the pit.

A Houston company has acquired the parent company of Southern Aggregates, whose proposed gravel pit near homes in Watson has angered residents. Southern Aggregates is one of the VantaCore Partners LP properties that Houston-based Natural Resource Partners LP will acquire in deal for $205 million. Philadelphia-based VantaCore specializes in construction materials, with three rock quarries, six sand-and-gravel… Continue reading →

Rezoning for Time Out Lounge rejected

The buzzer went off for the Time Out Lounge on Monday after the city-parish Planning Commission denied a rezoning request that would have allowed the longtime Baton Rouge bar to rebuild off Perkins Road. Because commissioners rejected the request by a unanimous voice vote, the rezoning will not be heard by the Metro Council at… Continue reading →

La. gains 31,800 jobs in 1 year

Nonfarm employment reached a state record 1,981,300 in July, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported in preliminary numbers Monday. That was a gain of 31,800 over nonfarm employment a year earlier, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. State employment records also were set in July for the construction… Continue reading →

EBR spending increases in June

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish increased by 2.2 percent in June. Sales tax collection figures released Monday by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent $690.1 million in June. That compares with nearly $675.4 million in spending in June 2013. The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally… Continue reading →

LSU plans tech center

LSU will establish a technology and research center designed to attract $30 million in federal and commercial projects by July 2017, officials announced Monday. The LSU Transformational Technology and Cyber Research Center initially will be funded with $3 million in state money and $1.5 million from LSU, Gov. Bobby Jindal and LSU President F. King Alexander said.… Continue reading →

Planners picked to predevelop Government Street site

Duany Plater-Zyberk was selected Monday morning to create a plan to map out the redevelopment of a 100-acre section of midcity surrounding the former Entergy site on Government Street. The East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority chose DPZ after hearing presentations from its team and the other finalist, Architects Southwest of Lafayette. DPZ is… Continue reading →

Turner elected to LHC Group board of directors

Brent Turner, president of Acadia Healthcare Co., has been elected to the board of directors of Lafayette-based LHC Group Inc., one of the country’s largest home nursing companies. Turner will serve on LHC’s Audit and Corporate Development committees. Acadia provides psychiatric and chemical dependency services. The company, based in Franklin, Tennessee, operates 75 behavioral health facilities… Continue reading →

Investar looks beyond its IPO

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Investar has grown from humble beginnings in a trailer on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge to a headquarters building on Coursey Boulevard and a total of 11 locations in south Louisiana.

Last month, Investar Holding Corp. CEO John D’Angelo stood in the Nasdaq studio in Times Square, surrounded by the bank’s vice presidents and board members as they counted down the final seconds until he rang the opening bell. Outside the studio’s glass wall, the 29-member Investar contingent could see the Investar logo splashed seven stories… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Aug. 17, 2014

A forum on Louisiana’s new workforce incentive fund will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 19 at the LABI Conference Center, 3113 Valley Creek Drive, in Baton Rouge. The event is being hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Committee of 100 and… Continue reading →