dd’s Discounts opens location in Gretna

A dd’s Discounts store has opened in the Westside South Shopping Center in Gretna.

The Dublin, California, company, a division of Ross Stores Inc., features moderately-priced name-brand apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions.

The store gives dd’s Discounts about 150 locations in 14 states. The chain is on schedule to complete its expansion plan to open about 20 locations in 2014.

London Clayworks opens on Royal

The London Clayworks has opened a 750-square-foot pottery studio in the Bywater in a warehouse space at 3000 Royal St. in New Orleans.

Karin Burt, a London native and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts graduate, heads up the studio.

A grand opening is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 18.

The studio features three pottery wheels, large workbenches, slab rollers, a variety of glazes, clay and a kiln. It is designed for professionals to hobbyists, with prices for daily or open use and memberships. Classes are offered.

The studio’s website is www.TheLondonClayworks.com and phone number is (504) 313-8506.

Houston law firm expands into N.O.

A Houston firm has expanded into New Orleans to form Looper Goodwine & Ballew PC.

The Houston firm was founded earlier this year by tax and project finance attorney Don Looper and energy attorney J. Wayne Ballew Jr.

New Orleans offshore oil and gas lawyer Paul “P.J.” Goodwine and his legal team have joined the newly renamed firm, which has an office at 601 Poydras St., Suite 2200, in New Orleans.

The firm handles a range of services including domestic and international energy transactions, financings, commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory matters and tax structuring.

Farm bill education meetings scheduled

The LSU AgCenter and U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency will hold 13 educational meetings to help Louisiana farmers prepare for changes in the new farm bill.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 changes the way support payments are calculated. The law ends direct payment subsidies, so farmers must now choose between two income support programs — agriculture risk coverage and price loss coverage. The deadline for signing up for the 2014 crop will be sometime in early 2015.

Presentations will include information on projected economic outcomes and evaluation of farm bill decision options given current and projected commodity market prices as well as current crop yields in Louisiana.

The meeting locations in south Louisiana and dates are:

CROWLEY: Oct. 15, 8 a.m., Acadia Parish Extension Office, 157 Cherokee Drive.

WELSH: Oct. 15, 2 p.m., Welsh Community Center, 201 St. Elms St.

THIBODAUX: Oct. 16, 2 p.m., Envie, 207 East Bayou Road.

OPELOUSAS: Oct. 27, 8 a.m., Opelousas Civic Center, 1638 Creswell Lane Extension, Suite 2.

PORT ALLEN: Oct. 28, 8 a.m., West Baton Rouge Conference Center, 2750 North Westport Drive.

MANSURA: Oct. 30, 8 a.m., Avoyelles Parish Extension Office, 8592 Highway 1.

BAYOU VISTA: Nov. 3, 2 p.m., Bayou Vista Community Center, 1333 Belleview St.

For information, contact Mike Salassi at MSalassi@agcenter.lsu.edu or (225) 578-2713.

Arts businesses selected for training

Twelve Louisiana businesses with a focus on the arts have been selected as participants in the first Catapult Fund entrepreneurship training and funding program.

The Catapult Fund is a new program of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and four partners: the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, Capital One bank, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center.

The program consists of a six-week “boot camp,” with intensive instruction in accounting, marketing, insurance and other topics.

Participants also will write business plans, suitable for submitting to banks or other potential funders. The business plans will be evaluated by the Catapult Fund team, and the best ones will have access to a pool of $50,000 in grant funding provided by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Selected for participation in the training are Joie Petite Designs, Art Gallery and Studio LLC in Zachary; Lullaby Sound Design in Lafayette; and from New Orleans: Audiowood; Baller Quest Bicycles & Equipment; Blissett Textile; Catapult Theatrical Studio LLC; Elysian Post & Production LLC; Freddi W. Evans; New Orleans Book & Paper Lab; New Orleans Design, Development & Manufacture LLC; Passion Dance Center LLC; and Where Y’Art LLC.

Grant to help train dislocated workers

Business & Career Solutions Centers in the Baton Rouge area have received a federal grant to find workers and employers to help train dislocated workers in high-demand occupations in the industrial construction, oil/gas, chemical and shipbuilding industries.

The Workforce Investment Act/National Emergency Grant program provides apprenticeship, on-the-job and classroom training to high-priority groups of dislocated workers such as veterans who left military service within 48 months and long-term unemployed workers who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks and are unlikely to return to their previous field.

Employers may be reimbursed under the on-the-job training program for a portion of the trainee’s wages up to a maximum of 1,040 hours.

For more information, employers can contact any Business & Career Solutions Center. Dislocated workers can submit applications Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and Thursday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at any location.

ASCENSION PARISH: 1721 South Burnside, Gonzales; (225) 647-5557 or (225) 644-0335.

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH: 4523 Plank Road, Baton Rouge; (225) 358-4579; or 1991 Wooddale Blvd., Baton Rouge; (225) 925-4312.

EAST/WEST FELICIANA PARISHES: 5681 Commerce St., Suite E, St. Francisville; (225) 635-6635.

IBERVILLE/WEST BATON ROUGE PARISHES: 23425 Railroad Ave., Suite 1, Plaquemine; (225) 687-0969.

LIVINGSTON PARISH: 9384 Florida Blvd., Suite B, Walker; (225) 667-1874.

POINTE COUPEE PARISH: 206 Court St., New Roads; (225) 638-6852.

TANGIPAHOA/ST. HELENA PARISHES: 1745 SW Railroad Ave., Suite 201, Hammond; (985) 902-4200.

WASHINGTON PARISH: 420 Ave. B, Bogalusa; (985) 545-1050.

Mississippi River partnership formed

A national partnership has been formed with 18 community foundations serving communities along the Mississippi River.

The announcement was part of a recent two-day annual meeting of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, an effort comprised of 65 river mayors committed to creating a coordinated voice for the Mississippi River.

An agreement to work together toward sustainable river projects was signed by Dominik Knoll, chairman of the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance, and Don Hickman, chairman of the Mississippi River Partnership of Community Foundations.

The partnership aims at building investments around river-centric projects at the local level. The collaboration helps connect community foundations with local world trade centers that can assist with Mississippi River initiatives.

Officials noted that the river is the “ecological linchpin” to the 37-state Mississippi River Basin; is responsible for creating $200 billion worth of U.S. goods and services; provides drinking water for more than 18 million people; transports 62 percent of the nation’s agricultural output; and directly supports more than 1 million jobs.

Additionally, the alliance represents some of the nation’s largest exporters and export-related businesses, from banks to car manufacturers to oil and gas companies.

Charter school group conference scheduled

The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools will hold its seventh annual conference from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, 4728 Constitution Ave., in Baton Rouge.

The event, titled “7th Inning Stretch: Charters. Choice. Change,” features a keynote luncheon with Tim King, president and CEO of Urban Prep Academies.

Other activities include a breakfast panel with state Education Superintendent John White, Curt Eysink, of the Louisiana Workforce Commission; Michael Hecht, of Greater New Orleans Inc.; and Chief Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

There will be more than 20 breakout sessions.

To register for the conference, go to www.lacharterschools.org. Tickets are $175 for LAPCS members and $200 for nonmembers.

There is a buy three get one free special and individual or group tickets available for the power breakfast and keynote luncheon. For event details, contact nchatelain@lacharterschools.org.