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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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News in Brief- January 15, 2020

News in Brief- January 15, 2020

Louisiana setting rules for island where pelicans nest

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana is setting rules for a barrier island that's being restored to greatly increase the number of pelicans and other seabirds that can nest there.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission made the island a wildlife refuge in November and approved rules for it last Thursday.

It's taking comments through March 2 on the rules, which include no hunting, nighttime activities or vehicles ever and no public access during nesting season, from February through September.

Nearly $10 million in BP oil spill money is restoring the island, which had dwindled to about 5 acres. Work increasing that to 37 acres should be completed by mid-February.

Queen Bess Island was the first place brown pelicans were returned to Louisiana after the pesticide DDT wiped out Louisiana's state bird in the 1960s.

Despite its small size, it's been Louisiana's fourth largest brown pelican rookery, producing 15% to 20% of its nests, eggs and chicks, the department said. About 10 species of colonial water birds, including tricolored herons, great egrets and royal terns, nest there. In all, wildlife officials say, the island has averaged about 4,400 nests a year.

People who want to comment can either attend a commission meeting or call, mail, or email Tommy Tuma at LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA. 70898-9000, phone 225-765-2349 or email


Danos awarded Delaware Basin contracts

GRAY, La. – Danos has been awarded two major contracts with a leading Texas-based natural gas and oil production company for projects in the Delaware Basin. One contract is for fabrication, construction and installation of central tank batteries. The second is for the fabrication, construction and installation of saltwater disposal facilities. 

While the facilities are being constructed on site in New Mexico, Danos will pre-fabricate most of the piping in its Larose, La., facility, which is particularly helpful during the winter months when harsh weather can cause project delays, quality concerns and increased driving risks.

Danos’ fabrication, construction, and instrumentation and electrical service lines will be utilized for the contracts, the first of which began in early October. Combined, the projects will enlist over 80 Danos employees across the three service lines to complete the work.


Federal minimum age to purchase tobacco and vapor smoking products is now 21

BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it is against the law to sell tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other vapor smoking products to anyone under the age of 21. An amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, signed by the president on Dec. 20, raises the minimum age for purchasing those products from 18 to 21 nationwide.

Louisiana law has not been amended to address this change. However, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control advises Louisiana retailers that federal agencies may enforce this change in federal law.

Visit the Retail Sales of Tobacco Products page at for more information.


McKaskle named interim athletic director at Nicholls State

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Nicholls State University has named an interim director of athletics.

In a news release last Wednesday, the university announced Lindsey McKaskle, executive associate athletics director for internal affairs, will replace Matt Roan, who has been named the vice president and director of athletics at Eastern Kentucky University. Roan will remain at Nicholls through the end of the month.

President Dr. Jay Clune said, "We are going to conduct a national search to find the individual who meets our university values and can continue to build upon the positive momentum in the classroom and on the field."

McKaskle, who also serves as senior woman administrator, oversees internal affairs including compliance, reporting, academic services, game day experience, sports performance, facilities and equipment. She joined the Nicholls athletics department in June 2017.

A native of West Monroe, she came to Nicholls after working with Roan at Eastern Kentucky. While at Eastern Kentucky, she served as assistant athletic director for compliance and student success, and senior woman administrator.


White stepping down as Louisiana education chief

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — John White, who helped strengthen the role of charter schools, backed a taxpayer-funded tuition voucher program for private schools and oversaw overhauls of the state's school accountability efforts, announced last Wednesday that he is stepping down as Louisiana's education superintendent.

He told state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members in a letter that he will leave the job March 11. He did not state his reasons. The board said a search for his replacement would begin immediately and the process will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

White can point to numerous improvements made during his eight years as education chief, including improved graduation rates and better performance on college preparation tests.

His tenure was also marked by a rocky relationship with teacher unions and Gov. John Bel Edwards. And the state continues to lag others in nationwide education rankings.

Still, his departure comes as his job seemed secure, following the election last year of a slate of state education board members who were backed by the state's business lobby, which was supportive of White.