LSU AgCenter signs Czech agreement

The LSU AgCenter has signed an agreement with the Czech Republic Ministry of Agriculture in Prague for academic and research collaboration in agriculture.

Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the LSU College of Agriculture, and Miroslav Toman, Czech minister of agriculture, signed the agreement. Pavel Sekáč, deputy minister, and Danuše Nerudová, rector of Mendel University, attended the signing.

The AgCenter has close ties with Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic. The two institutions have participated in more than 180 collaborations, including faculty and student exchanges, research partnerships and technology transfer joint agreements.

“There are many similarities between the LSU AgCenter and Mendel. We also face many of the same challenges,” Richardson said. “Strengthening our relationship can strengthen our institutions.”

Richardson and Nerudová discussed the possibility of hosting annual global food symposiums that would focus on food innovation, food security and food safety, starting in 2019.

eQHealth awarded fraud prevention grant

eQHealth Solutions has been awarded a new five-year grant by the Administration for Community Living to prevent Medicare health care fraud in Louisiana through outreach, counseling and education.

eQHealth Solutions, based in Baton Rouge, has held the Louisiana grant since 2009. The program was established by federal law in 1997 in an effort to prevent an estimated $60 billion to $100 billion nationally in Medicare losses to errors, fraud and abuse. Grant recipients work to disseminate fraud prevention information through the media, outreach campaigns, community events and local education sessions and encourages beneficiaries to file complaints regarding Medicare, Medicaid and other health care or related consumer issues.

AmeriHealth Caritas signs more providers

AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, a Medicaid managed care health plan, has signed contracts with several provider groups to expand its network of primary care providers, specialists and hospitals in the state.

Those in the area are:

• Louisiana Women’s Healthcare Association, serving the greater Baton Rouge area with 34 obstetrician-gynecologists.

• Urgent care centers, including Lake After Hours, Lake Urgent Care, Lake Urgent Care Northshore, Total Urgent Care, Lourdes After Hours and LCMC Health Urgent Care.

• Red Stick Pediatrics, Baton Rouge-based with seven pediatricians and four pediatric nurse practitioners.

Dupré Logistics opens in Sacramento area

Dupré Logistics in Lafayette, with services that include freight brokerage, intermodal and transportation management, has opened a branch in the Sacramento, California, area.

David Joiner, who was with USA Truck for seven years, will manage the new office, located in Roseville, about 20 miles east of Sacramento.

“The Sacramento area is one of the fastest-growing markets in the country and is a great place for Dupré to work from to serve Northern California and other West Coast markets,” said Mike Weindel, vice president of strategic capacity services at Dupré Logistics.

Joiner said Dupré is strategically positioned with offices now in Northern and Southern California.

Email marketing workshop planned

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Louisiana University will host a free event in Hammond designed to help businesses improve email marketing.

The seminar, co-sponsored by Northshore SCORE, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the Southeast Louisiana Business Center at 1514 Martens Drive.

Topics include how placement, pictures and colors can reinforce recognition and engagement; readability; image sizing, placement and links; tips to encourage sharing of content; clear messaging; effective calls to action; and tips to growing email lists.

Online registration is at www.lsbdc.org.

Southeast Engineers acquires Louisiana Land

Southeast Engineers LLC has acquired Louisiana Land Engineering LLC.

Louisiana Land will move its operations into the Southeast Engineers LLC corporate offices at 4915 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., in Baton Rouge.

Michael LeBas, a managing partner, said Southeast Engineers is enhancing its civil engineering services to complement its structural, forensic and aquatics design capabilities.

"The merging of the two firms will provide added value to our collective clients and the synergy will be beneficial to both our current and future clients,” he said.

UREC schedules homebuyer seminar

A free homebuyer seminar is being held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Greenwell Springs Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, in Baton Rouge.

The seminar is being held by the nonprofit Urban Restoration Enhancement Corp., in partnership with BancorpSouth Mortgage. Topics include strengthening credit to achieve home ownership.

Online preregistration is required at urecbr.com.

Abrom Kaplan starts renovation, expansion

Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital at 1310 W. Seventh St., in Kaplan, has broken ground on a $4.7 million expansion and renovation project.

The hospital has undergone renovations since opening June 2, 1960, but last expanded in 1984 when the emergency department was added. More than 7,000 square feet will be renovated, while 6,419 square feet will be added to the 38,784-square-foot hospital. The project is slated to be completed by December 2019.

“This expansion will create easier access for our patients, enhance services and create a better overall patient experience,” said Chief Executive Officer Bryce Quebodeaux.

The expansion includes a new business and patient registration and consultation area, new patient waiting area and conference room, new restrooms, new ultrasound room and a new pharmacy. Other features include consolidating all outpatient cardio procedures, such as EKG, Holter monitoring and home-based sleep studies, which were introduced in July.

Additionally, all phlebotomy will be located just off the lobby area, making lab work quick and accessible for patients. Other improvements include dedicated outpatient and inpatient entrances and dedicated space for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. All radiology services have been located together, featuring an improved, 64-slice CT scanner, and for the first time an MRI.

Lafayette General Health manages the hospital under a long-term lease reached in an agreement in 2015. The property still belongs to the Vermilion Parish Hospital Service District #1. Tax money from the district continues to be used to benefit AKMH only and is not absorbed by the health system.

Capital seminar set for Acadiana businesses

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority will host a free seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16 at 211 E. Devalcourt St. in Lafayette to help Acadiana businesses find the capital needed to grow and mature.

LEDA Business Retention and Expansion Director Mark Mouton will facilitate the seminar. Speakers include experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development, Home Bank, Farmer's State Bank and Trust and TruFund.

The seminar is the fourth in a seven-part LEDA Education Sessions created to help local business owners. The fifth session, scheduled for Sept. 20, will offer expert advice in quality management.

Information on the sessions is at www.Lafayette.org/ledaeducationsessions or call (337) 593-1400. Register at http://ledaeducationsessions.eventbrite.com.

CC's Coffee House opens in Broussard

CC’s Coffee House has opened a location at 109 St. Nazaire Road, in Broussard.

St. Nazaire will be the fourth corporate-operated location in Lafayette Parish, bringing the total number of locations in the area to nine. The newest licensee location on Dillard Drive held its ribbon cutting in June.

The Baton Rouge-based company plans to add 14 new locations this year. By 2020, the number of locations is expected to triple. There are currently more than 40 locations between Louisiana and Mississippi, with more planned in the Gulf South and beyond.

Investar Bank starts litigation financing

Investar Bank has started a litigation financing program, based in its Lafayette branch, that is designed exclusively for personal injury trial attorneys.

The Baton Rouge bank hired Linda O. Terry as a commercial relationship manager and vice president to develop and grow the program with two other employees. The Lafayette native was with MidSouth Bank and has 25 years of experience focused in litigation financing.

Starting business workshop scheduled 

A "Starting and Managing Your Business" workshop is being held by the Baton Rouge SCORE chapter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 in the Bon Carre Executive Conference Center, 7249 Florida Blvd., in Baton Rouge.

Topics include introduction to the business plan, business taxes, legal aspects of doing business, technology, advertising and marketing, insurance and banking requirements.

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door, with an associate paying a discounted $40. Register at batonrougearea.score.org.

Business forum set on health care

A Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions is being held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans for discussions about what Louisiana businesses can do to promote better health among employees and keep costs in line.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has partnered with Greater New Orleans Inc., the New Orleans Business Alliance and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce on the forum.

The forum features keynote speaker Adam Beck, vice president of employer health policy and initiatives at America’s Health Insurance Plans, on the role and value of the employer market in health care. Breakout sessions will address topics such as how innovation is improving care,  combating rising drug costs, how employers can protect their health care investments and the value of wellness in the workplace.

The forum concludes with a panel question-and-answer discussion with the CEOs of GNO Inc., Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, New Orleans Business Alliance and New Orleans Chamber.

The event is available to business leaders, community organizations, health care providers, insurance plan executives, government officials, advocates and other key health care stakeholders.

The B2B health forum is free, but space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance registration is at www.bcbsla.com/B2BHealthForum.

Comfort Inn Marrero sells for $4.6 million

The 73-room Comfort Inn Marrero at 6751 Westbank Expressway has been sold for $4.65 million to a group of unnamed private investors from Georgia.

The sale was handled by commercial real estate investment services firm Marcus & Millichap, according to Ryan Nee, vice president, regional manager of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, office.

The hotel was built in 2007 and recently underwent a major renovation before the sale. The three-story, limited-service hotel is located just off the Westbank Expressway, with proximity to downtown New Orleans, the French Quarter and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Fodor's Travel adds New Orleans to list

Fodor’s Travel has added New Orleans to the list of destinations included in its new Fodor’s Hotels initiative.

Fodor’s Hotels offers full-length, editorial reviews written for travelers. Since launching with coverage of eight major destinations last year, Fodor’s Hotels has expanded to cover more than 40 destinations around the world, including New Orleans.