By Erik Sine
Vic sign company to be tried on fatal wall
A Melbourne sign company will face trial over the fatal collapse of a wall on Swanston Street in the CBD which killed three people.
A magistrate has committed a Melbourne sign company to stand trial over the fatal collapse of a brick wall, but denied a request to have the matter heard in the Victorian Supreme Court.
Aussie Signs Pty Ltd will be tried on two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to the collapse at the Swanston Street site that killed three people last year.
Defence barrister Nick Pappas told the court he was "gobsmacked" when prosecutors asked that the case against Aussie Signs be heard in the Supreme Court.
Prosecutor Greg Lyon had two days earlier made an application to have a charge against co-accused Grocon Victoria Street Pty Ltd, an entity of building giant Grocon, heard in the Magistrates Court where the penalties are lower than if it were to be heard in the Victorian County Court.
Grocon Victoria Street pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure a safe workplace after the application was granted, and two charges each against two other Grocon entities were dropped.
Dr Lyon, who prosecuted the case against Grocon Victoria Street on behalf of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday he had been instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask for the Aussie Signs trial to be committed to the Supreme Court.
Aussie Signs Pty Ltd was contracted by site controller Grocon Victoria Street to attach advertising hoarding to the wall which the prosecution says increased the risk it would collapse, but did not cause it.
Magistrate Charles Rozencwajg asked how the prosecution could call for the Aussie Signs matter to be heard in the Supreme Court when it had been willing to have the Grocon matter resolved in the Magistrates Court.
Dr Lyon said the DPP felt the case was of sufficient importance to be heard in the Supreme Court.
Teenage siblings Alexander and Bridget Jones, of Melbourne, and Frenchwoman Marie-Faith Fiawoo, 33, were killed when a 15-metre-long section of brick wall fell onto Swanston Street in the CBD in March last year.
Mr Pappas formally entered pleas of not guilty to the two charges against Aussie Signs and opposed the submission for the matter to go to the higher court.
Aussie Signs Pty Ltd will appear in the County Court on Monday for a directions hearing.
A plea hearing will be held on Thursday for Grocon Victoria Street in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
By Erik Sine
Electrician fixing neon sign electrocuted
MANILA, Philippines — A jolt of electricity killed early Sunday a man fixing a neon sign in Quezon City.
Bryan Abdon, an electrician, of Lucena City, was replacing a busted light in the signage of a restaurant along Timog Avenue in Barangay (village) Sacred Heart, when he was electrocuted.
Abdon was declared dead on arrival by attending doctors of the East Avenue Medical Center.
Police Officer 2 Louie Serbito, of the Quezon City Police District Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU), said that accident happened at around 2:30 a.m.
Serbito said that before the accident, Abdon had crawled inside the tube-shaped neon sign of the restaurant to replace a burned-out light.
The electrician was still working on the neon sign when his co-worker James Kevin Silvallana saw a pair of pliers fall from the signage.
According to the case investigator, Silvallana looked up to ask about the pliers but instead saw Abdon shaking violently. Silvallana immediately turned off the electricity and sought the help of barangay peace and security officers (BSPOs) and other restaurant employees.
The BPSOs took time to remove the body of the electrician from the signage before taking him to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
By Erik Sine
Carbon monoxide suspected in death of Jamestown sign magnate
By: WDAZ TV, Forum News Service
JAMESTOWN -– An accidental carbon monoxide poisoning killed Harold Newman, the founder of the sign company here that bears his name, police say.
The 80-year-old accidentally left his car running in his Jamestown home’s attached garage before he went to bed Feb. 19, said Sgt. Thomas Nagel, a Jamestown police detective. He was found the next day in his bed, having apparently succumbed to the carbon monoxide that built up as he slept, Nagel said.
“We could still smell the gas fumes,” Nagel said.
Police were responding to a call made after Newman failed to show up for a dentist appointment earlier in the day, Nagel said.
Officers determined that Newman accidentally left the car running before going into his home the night before. The door from the garage to the home was closed, and Newman left no note or anything else to indicate the act was deliberate, Nagel said.
“In our carbon monoxide readings, it was quite high when we were there,” he said.
Some family members had arrived at the home by the time police arrived, he said. Newman lived in the home alone, Nagel said.
Newman appeared to have been in good health, but may have been suffering some memory lapses at the time, given his age, Nagel said.
“It’s sad,” he said. “He was a very good man. He was a very good part of the community.”
“Very sad,” his daughter, Kari Newman Ness, said Friday. “As people get older, these things happen.”
Newman’s body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Bismarck, which found the preliminary cause of death to be an accident, police said. Nagel said the final results of the medical examiner’s autopsy are expected to take another six weeks or so.
Newman Ness in 2008 became CEO of Newman Signs, the company her father started nearly 60 years ago in his mother-in-law’s garage. It’s since grown into one of the largest sign companies in the U.S., making billboards, traffic signs and banners, among other products.
A longtime community booster in Jamestown, Harold Newman’s name also graces Newman Outdoor Field, home to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and the North Dakota State University baseball team.
“It’s been a month and we’re still missing him,” Newman Ness said.
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