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Saturday News, April 28

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says his office plans to conduct an investigation into the gas pipeline explosion that happened near Hinton on Wednesday. The investigation will focus on whether or not the workers notified Iowa One Call prior to the digging of a trench. Spokesman, David Sheridan says the Iowa Attorney General could fine violators $10,000 a day up to a maximum fine of one half million dollars.  A spokesman for Northern Natural Gas, which owns the pipeline, claims no one called.
 

(Le Mars) -- Two recent events could have been prevented if only prior contact was made with Iowa One Call, the agency that helps locate underground utility services.  The two events are the Wednesday's gas pipeline explosion east of Hinton, and last month's severing of a fiber optic cable near Orange City that left thousands of customers in Le Mars without cable, internet and even phone service.  Ben Booth is the spokesperson for Iowa One Call.  He says the system is set up for "damage prevention". Booth says it is the law to notify Iowa One Call before any excavating is done.

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Booth says failure to notify Iowa One Call could cost you some money, both in terms of fines and penalaties, and in terms of civil liability lawsuits, and even businesses injunctions.

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The One Call spokesman says he doesn't understand why people don't use the service, especially since it is a free service.

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Booth says no one is exempt from the law, from backyards to backfields, everyone must call before they dig.

 

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa woman charged with drowning her 15-month-old son has been formally charged with first-degree murder.
 
     The Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/IXK9rJ ) says the Monona County attorney's office filed the charge against 24-year-old Ashley Cameron, of Onawa, on Thursday. She's scheduled to be arraigned May 14.
 
     Cameron is charged in the Feb. 11 death of Markis Dahms. She was arrested on April 18.  Police say Cameron held the toddler under a running faucet in the bathtub in their home until he drowned.
 
     The boy was found dead after officers responded to an emergency call about a child who wasn't breathing. An autopsy later determined the boy had drowned and his death was a homicide.
 
     Cameron is represented by the state public defender's office in Sioux City.  A telephone message to the office wasn't returned late Friday afternoon.
 
     ---

(Le Mars) -- Work crews will begin widening Highway 3 on the west end of Le Mars beginning Monday.  Highway 3 traffic will be routed to the north exchange of Highway 75.

 

 
(Pierson) -- Feeling like Bill Murray from the movie Groundhog Day, when everything seemed to repeat itself, Iowa Republican State Senator Bill Anderson says this session "feels just like last year."

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A year ago, the state legislature wasn't able to end the session until hours before the fiscal year had ended on June 30th.  The state legislature is already two weeks past its deadline, and according to Anderson, he remains hopeful for some resolution on key issues, but he is not as optimistic as he once was.

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The Pierson lawmaker says it may be that the legislature won't be able to complete its work, and in fact they may leave major pieces of legislation unresolved.

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa economic development officials are reviewing whether to continue a $2.5 million investment in a startup company pitching a groundbreaking fertilizer technology after learning jurors once found its chairman had misused investor money in another energy project.
 
     Court records reviewed by The Associated Press show SynGest Chairman Serge Randhava was found in 2008 by a jury in Illinois to have committed civil racketeering and fraud in connection with $500,000 invested to develop a fertilizer technology. A judge vacated the verdict in 2009 when the case was settled.
 
     Randhava denies any wrongdoing and says the case was one part of a messy, high-stakes business litigation.
 
     Two Iowa Power Fund Board members who voted to invest in SynGest say they were unaware of the case and would have investigated the details.
 

 



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