Patent royalties can mean big bucks for universities, but typically only three out of every 100 patent applications become licensed. That figure could be higher, Andrew Maas, an LSU expert on developing successful grants, told the LSU Faculty and Staff Retirees Club on Oct. 14.

“A patent proposal may be good science, and it may be published, but if it lacks a commercial application, its chances of funding are slim,” Maas said. Instead, he said he advises scientists to ask themselves, “What is the business impact of my analytical studies?” He tells them to “think like an entrepreneur.” He noted that businesses are eager to back a proposal if they see it benefiting them.

Maas also addressed the red tape that universities impose. His streamlining efforts have helped seven patents become licensed. Patents have yielded millions of dollars over the years for LSU, he said, adding that currently 40 active licenses bring in nearly $1 million annually to the main campus. One notable success story, Maas said, is Clearfield rice, which is planted worldwide.

Mary Adcock, Patti Exner, Judy Lithgoe and Robin Montgomery provided refreshments. The LSU Retirees Club holds meetings, tours and social events through the academic year and is open to all retirees and their spouses. Contact lsu.faculty.staff.ret.club@gmail.com.

Amateur Radio Club learns about GPS

Tony Cavell, professional sand surveyor and certified federal surveyor, spoke to the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club on Sept. 26 on the development of the global positioning system, better known as GPS.

Determining land boundaries as well as one’s location on Earth has evolved from using physical landmarks, such as rivers and mountains to the use of the chronometer, sextant and the clock, Cavell said. Satellite technology during the past 50 years provides the capability to determine locations within centimeters on the earth, as well as its elevation, he said.

Cavell introduced a number of navigational concepts such as the Global Navigation Satellite System, which includes the GPS. Geodetic surveying is a relatively new term in which up to 32 earth orbiting satellites are used to factor in the curvature of the Earth to achieve a much higher degree of accuracy and precision in measuring points on the earth, he said. This technique also provides more accurate measurements of land elevations and is being used for measuring elevation changes along the Gulf Coast.

More information about amateur radio can be found at brarc.org.

Portrait painter speaks to Art League

Tom Quaid, retired cardiologist and portrait painter, did a live painting of Baton Rouge Art League President Elaine Atkinson while giving step-by-step instructions on the art of capturing a likeness in oils to the group on Oct. 16 at the LSU Rural Life Museum.

Atkinson welcomed new members Debbie Denstorff and Melissa Guilbeau. Catherine Mungall presented a donation from the Mungall estate of a painting called "The Cotswalds" by Lorraine Mungall in honor of her 90th birthday. It will be displayed with the BRAL art collection at the Louisiana State Archives.

The Baton Rouge Art League has been part of the Baton Rouge community since 1934. To learn more about BRAL, visit batonrougeartleague.org.

UCP Garden Club tours Afton Villa

University Club Plantation Garden Club members toured Afton Villa gardens in St. Francisville on Oct. 17.

Head gardener Ivy Jones has worked on the property for 49 years. The owner, 98-year-old Genevieve Munson Trimble, bought the neglected property in 1972. Assisted by landscape architect Neil Odenwald and Jones, the gardens have been preserved and rejuvenated.

Trimble wrote a book, "Afton Villa: Birth and Rebirth of a 19th-Century Louisiana Garden" published by LSU Press in 2016. After touring the garden, the group had a lunch at the St. Francisville Inn.

LaFont receives national award

Dustin LaFont, of Baton Rouge, is one of five national honorees of the annual Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership. His honor was announced Oct. 18 by NeighborWorks America.

The award recognizes tremendous contributions from community leaders to create vibrant and welcoming places everyone wants to call home.

LaFont was volunteering at a community garden nine years ago when he met a boy with a beat-up bike who asked for help repairing it, according to a news release. Together, they repaired the bike, and the boy rode off. LaFont founded Front Yard Bikes in 2010, which serves ages 6 to 22 in Mid City and South Baton Rouge. In addition to learning how to repair and rebuild bicycles, participants also gain valuable workforce skills like welding.

Last year, the organization served 303 youth and 313 bikes were earned. Overall, more than 1,000 bikes have been repaired. The program has gained a wide coalition of support from parents, nonprofits, small businesses, neighborhood groups and the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, a NeighborWorks network organization.


Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate Living section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to people@theadvocate.com. Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.

Email George Morris at gmorris@theadvocate.com.