BRAC taking leadership class nominations

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is accepting applications for the Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program class of 2015.

The program was founded in 1985 to prepare a diverse group of professionals for leadership positions in the community. The program focuses on key areas of concern such as education, diversity, city and state government, health care and social concerns, economic development, the arts and media, and the criminal justice system.

Nominees are accepted from public and private agencies, corporations, civic and other organizations, and individual nominators. A selection committee recommends candidates, based on a cross-section of the community in terms of occupation, gender, race, age and affiliations.

The program starts with a weekend retreat in August, with one day each month from September to April for lectures, discussions, field trips and practical exercises pertinent to community issues. The program concludes with a weekend retreat in May and a June graduation ceremony.

The program is led by Mary Beth Chevalier. For information, go to

LSU AgCenter program links with Thailand

Members of the LSU AgCenter’s International Programs office recently hosted a delegation from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand as a future partner in research.

There is an agreement between the two organizations and the LSU Baton Rouge campus.

David Picha, director of the International Programs Office, said the agreement establishes a collaboration of faculty and staff between organizations that can result in a better understanding of other cultures and strengthens research programs. Thailand produces significant amounts of rice and sugar cane, and research collaborations involving these crops is one of the areas where the groups can work together.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to share ideas and to collaborate on projects with one of the premier universities in Thailand,” Picha said.

The agreement with Chulalongkorn University resulted from the leadership from one of its professors, Pongtharin Lotrakul, who received his Ph.D. in plant pathology from LSU in 2000. Hunsa Punnapayak, an assistant dean who was traveling with the group, also is a Louisiana graduate, receiving his degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

LocalMed launches dental appointments

LocalMed, a medical software company in Baton Rouge, has launched a service that allows patients to find and book local dental appointments online any time.

Patients can view available appointment times and book them, similar to the way people are able to book flights or hotels online also lets patients find a dentist in Baton Rouge, narrowing the search results using filters such as insurance accepted and gender, said LocalMed CEO Keith English.

Patients also have the option of creating a LocalMed profile. Profiles allow patients to manage appointments for their dependents, view appointment history and customize reminders via email or text.

LSU plans forensic accounting, fraud event

The LSU Department of Accounting will hold the 2014 Fraud & Forensic Accounting Conference July 28-29 at the Crowne Plaza, 4728 Constitution Ave., Baton Rouge.

The conference is designed for certified public accountants, certified fraud examiners, certified internal auditors, forensic accountants, governmental accountants and other accounting and auditing professionals or educators. Participants can earn up to 13.5 hours of continuing professional education credit.

Topics the first day include the behavioral side of forensic accounting; business valuations and effective management interviews; stopping health care fraud; government/university emphasis; interviewing; and how to tell if someone is lying.

Topics the second day include things that can go wrong building the billion-dollar company; identifying and investigating securities fraud; structured finance fraud; badges of fraud; tracing hidden assets; and the psychology of fraud.

The registration fee is $300 for both days or $150 for individual days.

To register, go to www.

LSU AgCenter joins Miss. River task force

The LSU AgCenter and 11 other land-grant universities recently joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Task Force.

The task force, which was established in 1997, consists of five federal agencies and the environmental and agricultural agencies of 12 states.

The land-grant universities are being brought aboard to help reduce pollution produced by nitrogen and phosphorus that help farmers improve yields, but can make their way into streams and rivers and also contribute to a low-oxygen, or hypoxic, zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although land-grant universities in the Mississippi River drainage basin have long been doing research on soil conservation, nutrient management and water quality, they were never included as formal members of the task force until now, said Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor for plant and soil science programs.

“This is the value of U.S. land-grant universities to the task force,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture. “Our scientists have a history of success in generating research needed for technology and science-based recommendations for environmental sustainability.”