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Pasco company faces L&I fines

PASCO - The Washington Department of Labor & Industries issued citations last week to Pasco's Paragon Construction Co. for six alleged work place safety violations at an underground utility installation project in the Tri-Cities. The citations carry a combined penalty of $245,700.

Five "willful" violations and one "serious" violation were issued on charges of exposing workers to serious injury or death from cave-in hazards while working in trenches as deep as 30 feet in "type C" soil. L&I officials maintain the company repeatedly failed to use proper shoring, sloping or shielding protections during work last October, November and December.

"This is the most dangerous trench work I've ever seen," said Reuel Paradis, L&I regional administrator for Central Washington. "We're very fortunate nobody was killed or seriously injured."

Paragon Construction Co. has 15 business days to appeal the citations.

Enticing investors topic of workshop

RICHLAND - Technology firms can learn how to present to investors at the Washington Technology Center's Tri-Cities Eye of the Investor Workshop.

The Wednesday, June 9, workshop will be held at Richland's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will learn from Alliance of Angels professionals about how to present to investors, with two local case studies included.

Those interested in attending the $35 workshop, lunch included, should contact the Small Business Development Center (509-735-6222).

‘Friends of Scouting’ breakfast this Thursday

Rob McKenna, a Metropolitan King County Council member, will be the guest speaker at the 2004 "Friends of Scouting" breakfast to be held in Sunnyside this Thursday, May 13. The 6:45 to 8 p.m. breakfast will be held at the newly constructed Sunnyside Community Center.

The annual event is designed to heighten the awareness of Scouting within the community, and provide an opportunity for community members to contribute to the fund-raising campaign. Those community members interested in attending Thursday's fund-raiser can reserve a seat by calling 839-8066.

McKenna, who has earned Eagle Scout status, has served on the King County Council since January 1996. He is also a sitting member of the Regional Transportation Investment District Executive Board, and was the co-founder of the King County Transportation Coalition.

The special honoree at this year's Sunnyside breakfast will be Dr. Rick Cole, superintendent of Sunnyside's public schools.

Open government topic of meeting set for Wednesday

YAKIMA - If open government in Washington state is important to you, Yakima is the place to be this Wednesday.

Government, media and legal experts will meet from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, to discuss and clarify Washington's open public meetings and open records laws. The meeting will be held at the Perry Technical Institute auditorium.

"Through legislation like the Open Public Meetings Act and our public records laws, Washington lawmakers have made it clear that the public's business needs to be conducted in an open manner," said Mike Balmelli, news director for KAPP-TV, one of the sponsors of the event.

"Unfortunately, these laws have sometimes set up confrontations between agencies and the public they serve.

"We hope this meeting will help all parties better understand their rights and responsibilities in this important arena," Balmelli said.

Yakima Herald-Republic Publisher Michael Shepard said he hopes this meeting will help demystify the state's very good, but sometimes tricky access laws. Shepard said the public is not only invited, but is being encouraged to attend Wednesday's meeting.

The May 12 meeting is being co-sponsored by several Yakima Valley news media agencies, including the Daily Sun News in Sunnyside.

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