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Around Ascension – October

Nucor production delayed by dome collapse

Nucor Steel Louisiana in Convent said late September it will delay start of production until the end of the year after one of the three storage domes collapsed last month and remains under investigation.

Nucor had planned to start production within a few weeks and ramp up in the fourth quarter of this year.

The plant will be the world’s largest producer of direct-reduced iron, which uses natural gas to process iron ore so that it can be used in electric furnaces. The $750 million plant is expected to produce 2.5 million tons of DRI a year.

No one was injured and no pollution was caused by the collapse of the dome, used to store iron ore pellets, authorities said.

Prairieville ranked No. 2 suburb by Coldwell Banker

Of the roughly 1,500 communities it surveyed for its series “Best Places to Live,” Coldwell Banker ranked Prairieville at No. 2, coming behind Cottage Lake, Wash., a suburb of Seattle.

The communities were ranked based on increased year-over-year levels in employment and unemployment percentages below the national norm, along with a range of attributes that include access to grocery stores, banks, proximity to good schools, ease of commuting by car and community safety.

Prairieville, noted as one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, was commended by Coldwell Banker for its proximity to “more than 25 specialty chemical and petrochemical flagship plants clustered along the Mississippi River. With more reciprocal industries populating the town and forming an individual supply chain for products, it captures a strong resident labor force specializing in manufacturing, education, health and social services.”

“These communities have the American ideals we love, the suburban dream intact and a population that is finding jobs at a better rate than the national average,”  said Budge Huskey, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “That is the definition of a thriving community.”

M.P. Evans tract rezoned for commercial and residential uses

The controversial rezoning of the 341-acre M.P. Evans tract on the south side of Interstate 10 near La. 44 went back and forth between the Gonzales City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission for months, but on Sept. 23 the City Council unanimously rezoned the land to a mix of commercial and residential uses for retail, office, housing and apartment space.

The city had annexed the site in March 2012, resetting the zoning to three houses per acre from the previous zoning of one house per acre.

Owned by the heirs of Merritt P. and Ruth Walker Evans Jr., the land has long been a cow pasture dotted with pecan trees and oak trees.

Many nearby residents had argued that a rezoning for commercial uses would create too much traffic and change their quality of life in the area, but councilmembers and city officials also argued that the estate made concessions to their original intentions for the site.

Evans named principal of Donaldsonville High School

Marvin Evans, a former associate principal at Donaldsonville High School, was named the school’s principal in September.

Evans replaces outgoing Principal Esrom Pitre and had served as interim principal since Pitre announced his departure in August.

Evans joined the Donaldsonville campus in 2011. He had previously worked in the Dallas Independent and East Baton Rouge Parish and the New Orleans Recovery School District.

Dawson hired as parish chief administrative officer

Ken Dawson, who had worked as the chief executive assistant to Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez since March 2012, was hired as the parish’s chief administrative officer in September.

Dawson, a mechanical engineer by trade, is the parish’s first chief administrative officer in more than three years. The position puts him second in command to Martinez, he said.

Dawson’s duties are wide-ranging, including work in planning and zoning, public works and taking a lead on big projects such as building new sewerage infrastructure.

Dawson is the former president of the West Feliciana Police Jury.

Eatel acquires Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions Inc.

Eatel of Gonzales bought Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions Inc. last month in a move the telecommunications company said will allow it to provide more services to business clients.

Terms of the deal with Venyu, a national data center provider, were not disclosed.

As a subsidiary of Eatel, Venyu will keep its name, employees and location in the Bon Carre Business Center on Florida Boulevard.

Eatel, which had $135.6 million in revenue in 2012, according to The Advocate, is now positioned to offer cloud-based Internet services to businesses and provide the data center for storage of information and hosting Web services.

Crown Crafts does deal to distribute UK-based baby products

Crown Crafts Inc. of Gonzales reached a deal last month with Gro Co. of the United Kingdom to distribute nursery and sleeping products.

Crown Crafts, based in the Regions bank building at 916 S. Burnside Ave., will distribute Gro’s goods through Crown subsidiary Crown Crafts Infant Products, according to The Advocate. Those products include swaddles that come without snaps and and travel blinds that block sunlight from entering car windows.

Crown Crafts is a publicly traded company with a distribution warehouse in California. In August it reported its first fiscal quarter earnings dipped to $822,000, or 8 cents a share, from $897,000 a year ago, The Advocate reported.

Premier Lanes movie theater expected to open for Easter

Premier Lanes Entertainment Center has Easter weekend marked as its target date for opening the movie theater side of its complex on Airline Highway.

The new theater will host 11 movie screens, four of which will be 40 feet tall and capable of showing 3D movies.

The movie theater will have a total seating capacity of 1,700, according to general manager Stuart Moss.

Malco Theatres Inc. opened Premier Lanes in December of 2012; it also owns Metro Bowl and Circle Bowl in Baton Rouge.

“So this will be our first theater in Louisiana,” Moss said.

In fact, Moss said the Gonzales entertainment center will be the first of Malco Theatres’ to have bowling alleys, a gaming center and movie theater in the same facility.

‘Take Back the Night’

The Iris Domestic Violence Center for domestic family violence in the Capital Region is hosting its annual Take Back the Night event on Oct. 7 at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales.

The 6:30 to 8 p.m. event is free.

For more information, call (225) 389-3001.

Alzheimer’s support group

St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area support group on Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23 as part of an educational series for newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.

The 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. classes take place in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room; attendance is free.

The series is held twice a year, in April and October. Seating is limited.

For more information, call (225) 621-2906.

Loss and grief support meeting

St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a grief and support meeting on Oct. 3 for those who have suffered any kind of loss — a loved one, a job or even a dream.

Mary Ann Abel, a licensed social worker, conducts the meetings, which take place every Thursday.

The 6 to 7 p.m. meeting takes place in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room.

For more information, call (225) 621-2906.

Breast cancer survivor celebration 

St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a breast cancer survivor celebration on Oct. 4 in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room.

The 2:30 to 4 p.m. event includes guest speakers and doctors specializing in medical oncology and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Attendance is free.

For more information, call (225) 621-2906.

Total joint replacement education class

St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting an education class on Oct. 7 for those who have undergone are about to undergo a surgery for knee or hip replacement.

The 9:30 to 11 a.m. class takes place in the Sr. Linda Conference Room. It provides patients a chance to talk to others who have undergone similar procedures and learn what to expect in recovery. Attendance is free.

For more information, call (225) 621-2906.

Growing up: class for pre-teen girls

St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a conference for mothers and daughters to learn how to cope with the emotional challenges preteen girls often face while going through puberty.

This matter-of-fact discussion — designed for girls ages 9 to 11 — is on Oct. 8 in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The cost for attendance is $15; pre-registration is required.

For more information and registration, call (225) 621-2906.

CrossFit competition

A CrossFit competition will be held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on Oct. 19 and 20 — it’s the second annual Deep South Shootout, powered by Progenex.

Individual events will take place on Saturday of the event; team events will take place that Sunday. Up to 300 individual positions and 150 team positions are available.

For questions regarding judging, sponsoring, or volunteering, event sponsors say contact CrossFit 225, CrossFit NOLA or CrossFit Lafayette.

Carson and Barnes Circus

The Carson and Barnes Circus is coming Oct. 21 to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

The circus will hold two shows at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Admission at the gate is $16 for adults and $10 for children.

For more information, visit carsonbarnescircus.com <http://carsonbarnescircus.com> .

Soc Hop in October

The Ascension Senior Citizen Soc Hop will get jumping on Oct. 25 in the Ascension Gym at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

The Soc Hop begins at noon and ends at 3 p.m.

The Soc Hop was originally scheduled to take place in late September, but Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez pushed it back a month to avoid any potential conflict with the Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship and festival.

Cajun Village Fall Fest

The Cajun Village and C&C Treasures are hosting the annual Fall Fest in Sorrento Oct. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The event is free and located near the intersection of La. 22 and La. 70.

Cajun musicians are also invited to play at Fall Fest. For more information, call (225) 675-6313.