Bryon scores a first in contest

From Associated Press and staff reports.

Bryon scores a first in contest
Photographic Master Craftsman James Byron, of Calumet, took home the first place portrait award in the master division in the 65th Annual Professional Photographers of Louisiana Convention held the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel in New Orleans Aug. 2 and 3.
The award was presented for his portrait of Henry Elton Pipps titled, “Chief.” Byron also received two distinguished awards, first place judges ribbon and several American Society of Photographers distinguished awards for his five additional entries during the print competition.
Byron was one of 12 professionals recognized for their outstanding images. There were 130 images submitted from professionals throughout Louisiana.
He is recognized by the Professional Photographers of America as the only certified professional photographer in St. Mary Parish, according to Byron’s news release. Byron’s images are also on exhibit at Epcot in Disney World.
He is a national award photographic winner and has been presented with countless Fuji and Kodak awards throughout his career. Byron is also a certified photographic instructor with Professional Photographers of America.

Banking company declares dividend
METAIRIE — The board of directors of bank holding company Louisiana Bancorp Inc. has declared a dividend of 5 cents a share on common stock.
The dividend is payable Aug. 27 to shareholders of record Aug. 11.
The company is the parent of Bank of New Orleans.

Business forum planned at Nicholls
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University is planning a business forum Sept. 22 to 23 on the Thibodaux campus.
University officials say the program, called the Bayou Region Business Institute, will focus on the latest trends in business. Participants can earn continuing education-credit hours through the university’s college of business administration.
University officials say the forum is designed for attorneys, certified public accountants, insurance agents, financial planning professionals, controllers and business executives.
Speakers include Edison Chouest Offshore chief financial officer Charlie Comeaux and Bill Riviere, a partner with the law firm Phelps Dunbar LLC.
Participants can register for one or both days. Registration is $250 for a single day or $450 for both days. Breakfast and lunch are provided.
For more details or to register, contact Gina Lagrange at 985-448-4176 or

Board challenges law blocking
‘big oil’ lawsuit
NEW ORLEANS — A south Louisiana flood board has launched a legal fight against a new state law aimed at retroactively killing a lawsuit filed last year over coastal damage attributed to oil and gas drilling.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East argues in federal court papers filed Tuesday that the law cannot be used to block the lawsuit.
The flood authority filed the lawsuit last year against dozens of oil and gas companies over damage to coastal wetlands that protect New Orleans from hurricanes.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and oil industry supporters pushed a bill through the last legislative session aimed at killing the lawsuit.
The flood authority’s lawyers argue that the law incorrectly defines the flood authority as a local government entity. It also raises constitutional questions about the law.

Year-over-year U.S. home prices show a slowing gain
WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rose in June by the smallest year-over-year amount in 20 months, slowed by modest sales and more properties coming on the market.
Data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 7.5 percent in June compared with 12 months earlier. That’s a solid gain but less than the 8.3 percent year-over-year increase in May and a recent year-to-year peak of 11.9 percent in February.
On a month-to-month basis, June prices rose just 1 percent, down from 1.4 percent in May. But CoreLogic’s monthly figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as warmer spring weather.
The slowing price gains should make buying a house more affordable. Prices had risen sharply last year, along with mortgage rates. At the same time, Americans’ paychecks haven’t risen nearly as fast, having increased roughly 2 percent a year since the recession ended — about the same pace as inflation. Many would-be buyers, particularly younger ones, were priced out of the market as a result.
Sales of existing homes fell in the second half of last year and have only modestly recovered since then. They rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in June, the third straight increase. But that was still 2.3 percent fewer than the pace a year earlier.
And a measure of signed contracts slipped 1.1 percent in June, suggesting that sales might cool in coming months. It typically takes one to two months for a signed contract to become a completed sale.
More homes have been put up for sale, though the supply remains generally tight. There were 2.3 million homes for sale at the end of June, 6.5 percent higher than a year ago.

PetroQuest posts quarterly earnings
LAFAYETTE — PetroQuest Energy Inc. in Lafayette reports second-quarter earnings jumped to $9.6 million, or 15 cents per share, compared to $3.7 million, or 6 cents per share, for same period in 2013.
The company said its growth was driven by successful drilling programs in Oklahoma and Texas, its acquisition of certain Gulf of Mexico assets in July 2013 and stronger natural gas prices.
The company said oil production increased 99 percent and natural gas liquids production increased 32 percent.
For the first six months of 2014, the company had net income of $19.6 million, or 30 cents per share, compared to $6.3 million, or 10 cents per share, a year ago.

Pennington names business executive
BATON ROUGE — David Winwood has been named chief business development officer for LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
His job will be to commercialize research and technology developed at Pennington.
Pennington has a 234-acre LSU campus and a staff of more than 500, focused clinical and population research on causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It has 50 laboratories.
Winwood will be charged with identifying research institutions and private companies that would turn Pennington research into commercial ventures.
The practice of partnering research institutions with outside entities to help turn revolutionary discoveries into commercial ventures is not new.
“With this investment in Dr. Winwood and the team and resources he will assemble, we are growing our business model to meet today’s research challenges,” said Pennington executive director William Cefalu.
Grant support for creation of Pennington’s business development effort was provided by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, center officials said.
The practice of partnering research institutions with outside entities to help turn revolutionary discoveries into commercial ventures is not new.
The Johnson Space Center near Houston, for example, has a technology transfer and commercialization office. Commercial products such miniature antennas and new treatments for atherosclerosis have emerged through the effort.
Winwood has more than 20 years of experience in this field.
He comes to Pennington from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was senior associate vice president for economic development and innovation alliances, as well as chief executive officer of that school’s research foundation. Winwood also worked on commercialization ventures at North Carolina State University and Ohio State University.

Crown signs licensing deal, acquires product lines
GONZALES — A subsidiary of Crown Crafts Inc. has expanded its licensing agreement with Carter’s Inc. to offer infant bed sets and decor.
Gonzales-based Crown Crafts also is acquiring the Kidsline and CoCaLo brand names from subsidiaries of Kid Brands Inc. for $1.35 million.
Crown Crafts Infant Products’ acquisition of the Kidsline and CoCaLo brands must be approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New Jersey as part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings by Kid Brands Inc.
The company has held a licensing deal with Carter’s for toddler bedding products for two years.
The new agreement with Carter’s is part of Crown’s effort to expand its offerings in the infant and toddler bedding market, Crown CEO E. Randall Chestnut says.

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