Library bathroom heroin overdose
RANTS that someone was quietly overdosing and unconscious already in the restroom, a few feet from the kids' section at the local library this hectic but
carefree day before Easter.
RAVES, though, to observant library staff for noticing that a male had been in the restroom for what seemed to be an excessively long period of time. After
checking on the man's welfare, library staff contacted emergency medical services who revived the man.
That all said, restrooms in the historic Connellsville Carnegie Library will be kept locked and a fund raiser is underway to supplement grants to purchase a
surveillance recording system. Not that any of these measures will guarantee nobody again will use the historic bathroom to shoot heroin some future
Saturday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
Passing by cameras of grounds and doorways and having to ask for a bathroom key likely would not matter to someone, who, so likely, would still buy heroin
even if bags came stamped to be Carfentanil. RANTS if overdosing by the kids' section in the library isn't enough to get someone to enter a treatment
program. That scenario would have been the proverbial "rock bottom" at one time that might have motivated addicts of another era to seek help. (16 Apr 17)
RANTS that in January the County of Fayette freely released information in a Right To Know answer to Rants&Raves, and the next month, under several
sworn affidavits from two county administrators in appeals in two different RTK cases to the state Office of Open Records, twice denied ever having that
exact same information in house that it released in that January RTK answer.
With everyone county by March seemingly to be in unbelievably bold denial of existence of information freely added to that earlier January RTK answer,
another RTK was made to clarify who indeed actually wrote addendum notes on that earlier RTK seeking what amounted to be operating costs. Was it
someone who kept poor records who since resigned? Someone from another agency or department? Some contracted entity, perhaps? Someone with poor
memory recall or a poor record keeper? You know, a real burn out or a former temp with an ax to grind?
A RTK answer, however, confirmed the notes originated or were composed in house at the county, by a top administrator. The insightful but unrequested
notes in question added to a RTK answer in early January were written by a county department director, as per the county RTK officer/chief county clerk.
That director, meanwhile, weeks later, and another official, twice since mid-March, provided affidavits to the state OOR in the related two state appeals that
the stat-type information added in addendum note form to the early January RTK answer was never in their possession.
RANTS because this seems to be no mere mistake, no excusable error along the sweet lines that we're all human and make mistakes in what we do or what
we can or fail to recall doing or saying previously.
The added notes, sadly, seemed to reek of shocking unprofessionalism, of someone's uncontrolled need to gossip or inability to control a personal bias or
dislike for one specific provider targeted in the early January notes.
As stated in both state RTK appeals that this column has won since mid-March, the writer of those notes should not have been allowed to selectively
discriminate and release stats on one provider and deny release of the same information about other providers under a RTK "proprietary" exclusion rule.
We're so pleased that the state OOR agreed, but have to wonder if all this denial of something we know, as proven in the January 5 RTK answer, actually
does exist amounts to perjury on the parts of county administrators.
More specifically, we're wondering how all the denial cannot be perjury. (2 April 17)
Rants&Raves wins third state OOR appeal over denied county information
RAVES that the state Office of Open Records yesterday approved this column's state appeal of the county's denial to release information requested nearly
three months ago under Right To Know.
Yesterday's long-drawn-out announcement came from Appeals Officer Magdalene C. Zeppos, and becomes the third state appeal win for denied county
records. A different RTK state appeal for similar records was also won on March 13.
More on this later. At present, we're still too embarrassed for the county to get into the hurdles posed to get a small pieces of information from one foolishly
stubborn public entity, when every other single public-funded entity out there contacted on the subject has been so graciously pleasant about providing
information, usually even without a need for a Right To Know, to try to help document facts to present here. (1 Apr 17)
Uniontown business covered in newsmag geared to rich
RAVES that an international news service carried a recent piece about a Uniontown jeweler who immigrated here from Jordan to work at an upscale jewelry
store. RAVES to former Trib writer Salena Zito, currently writing for the Washington Examiner and a few other news outlets these days, for the local mention
in "What is the matter with small town America?"
While the above mentioned piece is more fluff, in contrast to the typical in depth signature Zito we've read from her road trips and writings across the political
and socio-economic lines with presidential candidates, legislators, movers and shakers and regular Joes at the corner lunch counter, RAVES that the article
contains this following quote from the Uniontown businessman who invested in his high-end jewelry store in one of the poorest counties in the state:
"Being in a small town is never a geographic burden for us. If you do superb work and you treat people well, folks will travel great distances for your
In a week when all we heard is Fayette's future is dependent upon expansion of a toll road a few counties away, Brandan Katzeff's quote was genuinely
refreshing to hear. (30 Mar 17))
Rants&Raves wins second state OOR appeal for denied records
RAVES that today's mail brought happy, sheer delight, with word that a fairly significant Right To Know appeal to the state was approved or granted our way,
to obtain previously denied county records.
This particular Right To Know request, the original denial of records issued from the county, and the subsequent appeal to the state Office Of Open Records
to force the county to release the requested records, grants R&R significant needed bits of information for a year-long tally of how much the opioid crisis
We trust that information should be on its way here shortly. (13 Mar 17)
Meanwhile, at a far less stressful forum
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, actually more of a chuckle.
While the county's politicos and officials gathered for a walk through of the new methadone clinic mentioned below and tried to act interested, two county
commissioners opted instead to meet with news agency reps in Connellsville. Today's Courier shows the two men sitting down at a less stressful event,
while two female news agency reps stand before them in jeans. The photograph seemed too eerily reminiscent of boys meeting girls at the mall to take the
Cash only methadone clinic opens
RANTS that a "cash only" new methadone clinic in Uniontown ever got zoning approval in Fayette County in the first place. Surely, they jest? No.
As per a spokesperson for the new clinic who answered the phone of the number on the company's website for the Uniontown site, patients are charged
anywhere from $16-25 dollars daily for their drug, depending on which of the three commonly prescribed chemicals are thought to be needed. A couple
dozen persons are said to be already receiving treatment there since it opened two months ago.
Insurance provider participation, she said, is hoped to be in place by the end of the year. Lets hope not.
This new clinic, of course, replaces in the same site another substance abuse clinic run by a different company that drew criminal indictments against
operators and medical staff for thousands of undocumented dosage exchanges and other illegal activities. The former clinic received a county Behavioral
Health Medicaid contract and, obviously, was not monitored closely enough by the many hands that fed it funding.
RANTS that a year-long effort here in 2016 to gather Right To Know information on the overall costs of the opioid crisis showed that one hand clearly does
not know what the other is doing. A RTK answer was received from the county behavioral health director that she had no idea how much money was spent
on psych hospitalizations for persons who receive both psychiatric and chemical addictions therapies.
Shouldn't the hands that write those checks be aware?
Given that the clinics keep popping up with county officials and leaders having slim to nil real insight into the populations they serve and the operations of
the operators of these "recovery" clinics, should the clinics be allowed to increase in number? We think not.
Given that no criminal charges were ever filed against one of the top names in a 2015 FBI raid of heroin and cocaine business in Fayette that was splashed
all over network television news, and given that the former lead U.S. Attorney said it was cheaper to educate the masses on the dangers of opioid addictions
than prosecute the top name, we have to ask when the solution is coming?
When, really? (10 Mar 17)
"Quote Of The Day"
"I just came to work every day and did the best I could."
Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, the father of organ transplantation, who revolutionized medicine with the first successful liver transplant and set the standard for
the life-saving surgery, who died yesterday at the age of 90, as quoted above from a 2008 interview with the Trib.
Commish's photo op with a racist
RANTS that Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince Vicites took such delight in being photographed in D.C. with a former television star who lost his
network show contract for using the N word to describe his daughter-in-law of mixed race.
Starstruck Vicites, reportedly, posted the photograph sent here on his social media -- perhaps unaware or perhaps not -- of the history of the racist bounty
hunter who was once incarcerated for a murder that happened during a botched drug deal in Texas. As a result, the premise of the reality show was that the
bounty hunter always captured the felons on the run without a gun, as he was not permitted to possess one.
For the time being, we'll give the Fay Chair the benefit of the doubt and assume he was unaware why the network axed the show and more interested in the
former television personality's support last month in federal court for reduced bond requirements for indigent inmates charged with minor, non-violent crimes.
RAVES, that way, if the Dog can help drastically reduce the population at the Fay lock up to single digits overnight. (4 Mar 17)
Bullet-proof panels placed at courthouse, public safety building
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but an admission of confusion reading today's Courier piece, "Bullet-proof shield installed at Fayette County Courthouse," that
detailed the county's gain of three bullet-proof shields of glass for $10,000, through a grant to protect courthouse guards at the entrance.
Two of the 800-pound mobile panels, however, were shown in a picture behind the two guards scanning articles at the courthouse entrance. While it seems
the panels could be effective to shield guards in the event a shooter is approaching them from behind -- i.e., if a weapon already inside the courthouse is
used to shoot at them -- the panels don't seem to have much other value if a shooter comes through the front door with a weapon drawn. Readers can only
hope that at least one panel protects the guards from the front.
May we never have to know for certain if the bullet proof panels protect the guards there or at the public safety building, where a fourth panel was also
placed. Lets hope that the state coughs up some more dough for the counties more affordably to buy more panels to form into a bullet-proof enclosure if it
views unprotected government building entrances as a danger.
Unfortunately, the sad fact remains that nobody has ever taken out a shooter in a public place before the first shot was heard. (2 Mar 17)
Commissioners take a D.C. lobby trip
RAVES to waking up to the refreshingly pleasant surprise news of the trio of county commissioners lobbying as a team unit in D.C. for Fayette County
As per today's heraldstandard.com*, commissioners bent the ears of regional senators in the hopes of gaining support to acquire ownership of the Army
Reserve building on Rt. 21 and obtain federal funds for the Sheepskin Trail completion and airport expansion.
In a 2013 Right To Know request, this column received copy of a letter from a former county controller to military brass, asking to help the county receive
"soul source bidding" on the vacant Army Reserve building, saying that Uniontown Hospital at that time also reportedly wanted to buy the building for its own
"The biggest hurdle will be to get a sole source consideration, this defined is that our needs are superlative to any other organization," wrote former
controller Sean Lally in 2013.
Lally then stated in the 2013 RTK answer that ownership of the building could leave the military only on an "in kind" type of deal with the Department of
Defense. A traditional type of property sale or transfer was not feasible, Lally said then. Apparently, four years later, the issue of sole source bidding to
obtain ownership of the vacant military building for county jail purposes continues to be a hurdle for county officials to overcome.
Whether the commissioners' road trip to D.C. this week ultimately pays off and funds roll in for the projects they want, is unknown. It was, however, again, a
most pleasant surprise to see the trio working together for the best interests of the county.
Seriously, lets hope that egos allow that to become a desperately needed norm and be more than just an illusion. (2 Mar 17)
*"Fayette County commissioners go to D.C"
As those in Hell are said to want ice water
Former trusted cop wants latest rape charges dropped
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but an admission of being uncomfortably surprised that a former head of the county drug task force/policeman/detective wants
his rape charges dropped because too much time has passed since the alleged rapes and his arrest.
Is he kidding?
Is he kidding, we ask? He and his lawyer maintain that police intentionally delayed filing charges to dim memories of witnesses and to lessen chances that
cell phone records would be available.
He must be kidding. After all, his arrests on multiple charges with multiple victims resulted only from 2015 indictments from a statewide Grand Jury convened
one year earlier. His preliminary hearing was almost one year ago. He started the first of his trials two months ago after motions filed delayed trial and was
convicted in the first of the cases involving a teen informant last month.
Why aren't the wheels of justice spinning quickly enough for him? Is he, in essence, whining because the former county district attorney terminated him from
the county drug task force four years ago for having sex with a different informant, didn't dig deeper, didn't arrest him and let it go till it snowballed into a
Grand Jury investigation that now requires state attorney prosecution?
Would the defendant out on bail really be happier if the former county district attorney had investigated and prosecuted him before losing re-election in 2015?
Probably not, but so many other of us might be. (27 Feb 17)
Prosecutorial misconduct keeps biting Fay in the behind
RANTS that such a self-admitted vicious, merciless killer, as the one recently found guilty again on re-trial, dares to try God's patience by asking for a third
trial. To think that if it were not for prosecutorial misconduct in his original trial decades ago, the self-admitted killer who received the death penalty might
have already been sentenced to death.
Recently, courts opted to let the man live in prison for the rest of his life because he claimed he was drunk at closing time in a bar when he stabbed a young
woman so many times it was one of the most brutal stabbings some investigators recall. RANTS that the courts too kind, sweet reprieve to live the rest of
his natural life in prison was not good enough. No. He wants a third trial. This would not be happening if, yes, it weren't for prosecutorial misconduct of a
former district attorney, who's now still presiding over county courts and trials today.
RANTS to any court who grants the self-admitted vicious, merciless killer his wish and third trial. His victim's family should not have to endure the pain a
third time around. No self-respecting, decent lawyer would take the new case voluntarily. The killer played his trump card of prosecutorial misconduct long
Now, may we move on to sentence the judge? (27 Feb 17)
Throw the book at the judge
Government staff jailed for playing on work time
RAVES -- and a hearty chuckle imagining if it happened here -- for the jailing of government funded staff who ditch work to play in Rome, Italy.
As per the AP wire, 45 employees at a Naples public hospital, including doctors and nurses, were taken into custody, now under house arrest, for allegedly
clocking in, then disappearing from their posts, including one physician spotted hopping a cab to play tennis.
Also rounded up was someone working as a hotel chef while technically on duty at the hospital, and others who slipped off on paid work time to go shopping.
Would we not actually hear the walls and floors of the Fayette County Prison crumbling from all the added weight if those round ups happened here? (27
Happy Big, Big Birthday #3 to Mason... the little dynamo kid with Barthe Syndrome who keeps defying odds. The rare genetic
disorder decreases the production of cardiolipins essential to the energy metabolism process, leading to heart damage, reduced muscle tone,
underdeveloped skeletal muscles, delayed growth, and physical disabilities.
RAVES to Mason, who suffered a horrible stroke a few months before his second birthday, for being such a trooper, as he and his family celebrate his third
and very special birthday. Barth Syndrome is said to become kinder to children who reach the age of three, when Barth becomes less of a mortal threat than
it is to infants and younger toddlers.
Please click on the blue link above to read more about Mason's progress. Mason, of course, is the son of Fayette County political and musical entertainment
videographer and producer Chuck U. Farley. Happy Birthday, Mason! (26 Feb 17)
Hotel creates 12 jobs
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a mention of confusion reading today's "Connellsville welcomes Cobblestone Hotel to town" in the Courier. Although talk
long linked a Connellsville former county employee/political publicist and former county commissioner as investors in the hotel, today's piece is the first
known public disclosure of that fact.
While the former one-term pyrite prison promoting county commissioner likely had no moral or legal requirement to have disclosed publicly while in office that
he was or had invested in the new 55-room hotel -- that is, if the investing happened before losing re-election -- his pal, on the other hand, possibly should
have, but failed to -- i.e., at least by what we read then in the paper -- disclose the investment while he sat on the board of the Connellsville Redevelopment
Was the former Redevelopment Authority member already on board, in active investment planning in the fall of 2015, when heraldstandard.com's
"Connellsville Redevelopment Authority pays bills for proposed hotel project," said the Authority was administering a $100,000 grant from a private Pittsburgh
foundation for hotel pre-development costs? Given hotel sewage and parking plans were approved in 2014 in a public city council meeting, it's a question
Five months earlier, in April of 2015, the same paper notes that Authority members voted unanimously to "become a limited partner" in the hotel by investing
the $100,000 grant in the hotel.
Meanwhile, in August of 2015, the investor abstained without stating a reason and other Authority members and, seemingly also citizens and the press,
failed to ask why. As per the Trib's "Purchase paves the way for razing of Connellsville building," (adjacent to the hotel) the Authority:
"...approved a motion to rework an agreement with Trailside Lodge LLP, the group hoping to build a hotel on Connellsville's West Side. Trailside has
a promissory note with the authority for $50,000, and payments on the note were due to start in 2015.
“We will redo the note with Trailside and with the Mc-Kenna Group,” said Michael Edwards, executive director of the authority. Authority member
Robert Flockvich made the motion to rework the agreements. It was seconded by Mancuso. Gallo abstained."
Rants&Raves so wishes the hotel much, much success, in spite of the former commissioner's involvement. This column will never rebound completely or
likely ever believe in any politician again enough to endorse another, for that immensely disappointing performance over four years and status as the worst
commissioner in county history.
His side-kick pal, whose company name was linked to nasty political graphics in the last mud-slinging election, certainly didn't score any points here, either,
by announcing now that he really is an investor, as sources a few years ago reported he was. Controversy only lessens the integrity of any public funded
entity, even when private grant money is involved.
Nobody wants to hold any of that against the success of the hotel, however. The city needs a hotel. The city needs jobs and more than just the 12 hotel
workers working now.
What the area does not need is another nuisance bar and investors not profiting enough to contemplate a return to public service. May it never, never come
to that. (24 Feb 17)
Paper error? Or did we all miss something?
RANTS that today's above mentioned Courier piece seems to contain incorrect information on one point. The article referenced hotel investor Geno Gallo
as the county airport's director.
A quick check with an airport authority member and county official, meanwhile, showed neither was aware of such title, appointment, hiring or airport re-
organization. (24 Feb 17)
RTK appeals increase across the state
RAVES for the significant number of private citizens who filed Right To Know appeals with the state's Office of Open Records after being denied information
by local government entities on goods and services funded with public money.
As per the Bucks County Courier Times' piece, "More people fighting to access public records in Pennsylvania," the number of RTK appeals has more than
doubled since the law was enacted in 2009. Private citizens filed about one-third, or 1,144 RTK appeals, while the other 2,926 appeals filed in 2015
included only 134 requests from media and 224 appeal requests from private companies. The state does not have statistics for 2016 available yet.
Inmates incarcerated across the commonwealth in 2015 filed 1,414 appeals, largely for court records and ridiculous information such as a pop star's high
school records, future prison menus, etc. The bulk of inmate appeals were denied, including more than 500 from one inmate. Government officials submitted
less than one percent of appeals.
The OOR tracks only appeals, not the original RTK requests that are filed around the state.
As per the investigative piece from Bucks County Courier Times, the OOR granted, at least partially, about 30 percent of those appeals. About 22 percent
were dismissed. Another eight percent are appeals that were pending, consolidated with other requests or transferred to another agency that had jurisdiction.
Nearly 40 percent of appeals were dismissed because of procedural errors -- the requester filed too early, too late or didn't fill out the correct form.
Nonetheless, RAVES to all of those who ask for information under RTK and file appeals when denied information.
Perhaps one day, those in charge of spending public money may actually "get it" -- i.e., that the public has a right to know how its tax dollars are spent --
and one day may just cheerfully provide the information or answers without nailing the door shut and being forced by law to release it. (17 Feb 17)
WTAE TV spanks Fay CYS
RANTS that an investigative news feature of children dying after abuse or neglect was reported brought Fayette County Children and Youth Services to the
spotlight on WTAE TV, in "Investigation finds child welfare system errors in child abuse deaths."
As per the television report, relatives of a child who died after being punched in the stomach advocated for her welfare weeks before her death, as they did
also for her sibling six months earlier.
However, CYS, as per a state Human Services official, failed to even call back the relative to inquire of the whereabouts of the children and their parents.
The family was said to be openly staying nearby in a parked car.
RANTS that with more staff added a few years ago, another child still died in Fayette after reports of abuse were made to the local child protective service
agency. There is no excuse for such negligence. None whatsoever. After all, these were not anonymous callers reporting nonsense.
While the turnover was high for lower level caseworkers and some were new staff at the time of the child's death, management has pretty much stayed the
same there. RANTS that management didn't keep up with assigning cases and getting their own behinds or those of new staff out the frigging door to look
for kids in trouble.
RANTS, too, that with two county commissioners already seeming to be running for re-election in 3 years and afraid of being sued by staff, we all know that
half-assed business as usual at the county child protective services will, yes, be allowed to continue as usual.
In other words, helpless kids in Fay are going to keep on being murdered or killed AFTER reports of abuse are made to the county department. (16 Feb 17)
Before hell freezes over?
Will Vicites apologize to Zimmerlink?
RANTS that Commissioner Vince Vicites, his assistant, or Vicites on behalf of the assistant, owes but probably won't ever provide Commissioner Angela
Zimmerlink with a public apology over her not being invited earlier this month to the round table discussion on opioid abuse, coordinated by the governor's
Possible RANTS, too, to Commissioner Dave Lohr and his assistant, if either or both were aware prior to the event that everyone but Zimmerlink was notified
to attend the governor's meeting and if they then chose not to tell her, either.
While on the subject, one-half of a RAVE for the heraldstandard.com ed opin piece, "Good visit," which talked about the governor's meeting and took issue
and laid blame on Vicites for not informing Zimmerlink of the event. One half a RAVE as opposed to a whole one, however, it shall be since the paper's
sentiment is "we're certain there was no ill intention on the part of Vicites" for the invitation mix up.
Why is the paper so certain?
Apparently, nobody at the paper read or believed the warden's filed county harassment complaint against Vicites, in which the warden claimed Vicites
referred to Zimmerlink in angry expletives as an "f'ing b." Apparently, also, is the fact that nobody in ed opin attends meetings or watches their own meeting
videos or maybe watches, but don't care to care when Zimmerlink states publicly that not all paperwork is shared with her.
Paperwork, invitations... it's all the same and all so wrong. (26 Jan 17)
Tale of same RTK sent to state, county
RANTS that the same Right To Know request -- to obtain copies of invitations sent to all three county commissioners to meet with the governor for a county-
wide opioid and heroin epidemic discussion -- drew such different responses.
As per Fayette County's RTK answer, a search of documents was conducted and no explanation is given as to why or how the snafu happened. "As a result,
the records you requested do not exist in Fayette County’s possession."
In sharp contrast, the professionally prepared Right To Know answer from the state, also received yesterday, at least attempts to try to locate an answer the
RTK. (25 Jan 17)
Second Worst Job Around: County Human Resource Rep
RAVES that so many of the rest of us have jobs we love and that we never, never have to drag our behinds to the courthouse to work as human resource
RANTS of genuine sadness that the county human resource reps have what must be the very worst or second worst job in the county. Our hearts truly go
out to them.
RANTS that the interim human resource reps, attorneys from a law office, have to get bogged down by handling and investigating what too often end up
being unfounded complaints of harassment or other offensive nature within the county employment system. RANTS that those human resource reps must
deal with frequent drama kings and queens overreacting and grandstanding with largely empty, bogus workplace complaints. Seriously, that job has to be
emotionally and physically draining.
Of course, there is only one other for whom we feel sorrier for than the county HR rep...
Worst Job Around: Commissioner Zimmerlink's
RANTS that a county commissioner has to go off in public in 2017 as Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink did, towards the end of the last county
commissioner's meeting, during public comment before adjournment. RAVES to her, however, for informing the public of the new wave of employee
grievances against her and that all correspondences are not being shared with her.
Whether it's an undelivered invitation to an important meeting with the governor or whether it's letters from citizens wanting to serve on county boards or
authorities that she says she did not receive, there's possibly that underhanded, inner office mail problem that did not go away with the shenanigans of the
RAVES of hope that the other two commissioners wise up quickly and start sharing all information with the third and insist that their staff do so in their
absences. The easiest way either can win re-election is to work cooperatively with Zimmerlink now. (25 Jan 17)
Airport has $13K in the bank!
RAVES of happiness and joy reading the piece on today's heraldstandard.com, "Fayette County airport operating with a budget surplus," which states that
the small municipal airport ended last year with about $13,000 in the bank.
As per the story, the airport anticipates increased revenue after the new corporate hangers are constructed and leased. RAVES of hope that the place
actually does become financially self-sustaining, as one authority member is quoted in the paper as saying it already is. How much, for instance, would be
left of $13K in the bank if the airport authority had to make payments on the $140,000 for a large door funded through county gaming funds? Currently, few
flights take off, land or buy fuel at the local airport.
As per 2015 newspaper articles about the proposed costs of the replacement airport hanger door, the airport authority was to put up and match the county's
kind gift of $120,000 in county gaming money with a $20,000 payment from airport authority funds expected, to pay for the $140,000 door.
The previous year, in November of 2014, the airport manager wrote to the county commissioners asking that an unused 2010 gift from the county of $50,000
be used for airport to pay off a few past due fuel invoices.
RAVES of hope that the airport leases all the new hangers and sells a lot of fuel so that it really does become self-sustaining in the true sense. (19 Jan 17)
FOX rejects 84's Superbowl tv ad
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a noted moment or three of embarrassment viewing KDKA television news earlier this evening with tourists, as the story
aired that FOX Television rejected 84 Lumber's proposed 90-second spot during the Superbowl for being politically offensive. The network airing the
Superbowl agreed to air only a revised or edited commercial from 84 Lumber, said to cost $10 million.
Apparently, a scene with a wall filmed in Mexico and California with the ad text talking about 84's desire to job search by spreading a wider net to those who
are outside the box.
FOX, reportedly, took offense to the unstated but implied notion that the ad was geared to appeal to applicants of questionable citizenship or forms of
identifications. What appeared to be a large group of online teens in restaurant-like booths were shown busy at work recreating the commercial changes.
We'll leave it at that. (18 Jan 17)
V. Vicites voted to hire investigator to investigate V. Vicites???
As per a Right To Know answer received, the investigation that resulted from the county jail warden's filing of a Harassment Complaint against
Commissioner Vince Vicites was handled by Investigations by King LLC, to the tune of a $1,011.42 fee.
Because the warden's complaint mentioned alleged negative comments from the commissioner about female attorneys named as interim county human
resource directors, an outside investigative entity was contracted to avoid a conflict of interest.
However, as per county commission online meeting minutes, all three commissioners voted unanimously to contract with Investigations by King, LLC on
October 20, 2016, for an unspecified human resource matter. In other words, readers, RANTS that Vicites did not show good sense to abstain or recuse
himself from voting to hire someone to investigate an employee's claim of harassment against him. If he claims ignorance, then even bigger RANTS are sent
his way, if he were to claim he didn't realize what the matter for vote before him was about and he cast a vote on any matter anyway.
RANTS that the commissioner, accused in the employee complaint of wanting to hire someone outside the regular hiring process, seemed to want to keep
quiet from the public the nature of the investigation in the motion last October at the time he voted to hire the investigator.
RANTS, because logic that flawed might have kept the warden's complaint against him under raps for a little longer, but eventually only creates controversy
and mistrust with the public and provides the warden's lawyer with ammo for civil cases against the county or appeals thereof. (18 Jan 17)
Who investigated warden's complaints about Vicites?
In follow up to the below piece from 12Jan17, "Warden accuses commish of trying to bypass hiring process for jail hire," RANTS that these types of
complaints cost the county in other ways, too.
For instance, since lawyers who are working as interim human resource reps were named in the complaint, an outside investigator seems likely to have been
contracted to interview Vicites and the warden.
There is no reason to doubt courthouse and jailhouse sources who say that the warden's complaint pretty much sat for a few months before any real action
to investigate his complaints were made.
Miller contended in his late June Harassment Complaint against Vicites that the commissioner wanted someone hired at the jail who hadn't properly gone
through a hiring process and that Vicites reportedly vowed to have fired the female lawyers working as the county's interim human resource piece for
somehow having a hand in that with the warden.
In response to Miller's complaint against him, Vicites is said to have denied cussing Miller out on the phone, denied hanging up on him and reportedly
claimed Miller's complaint of him was politically motivated.
To help support his claim that the warden's complaint against him was politically motivated, Vicites, as per snickering courthouse and jailhouse sources,
reportedly provided to the investigator a group photograph taken in a happy social setting of the warden, a former commissioner and spouse, two of that
former official's political hires, and a campaign contributor of that former commissioner who was suddenly given a big five-year county contract the last days
his friend was in office.
Meanwhile, the photo, just possibly, could have also been a same photo that the warden could have presented in his different case against the county for
picking on him for his political pals.
That all said, a Right To Know is sent to learn the name of the investigator contracted to investigate Miller's allegations against Commissioner Vince Vicites,
the cost of this investigation, and a copy of the report, if available yet. (16 Jan 17)
Airport former employee won $20K unfair labor civil suit
As per a Right To Know answer from the Connellsville Hardy Airport Authority, a former airport lineman who sued the airport last year after his termination for
unfair labor practices, was awarded a $20,000 settlement in 2016.
The Right To Know answer also notes that there were no other out of court or court ordered settlements made with former airport employees during the
years of 2010 through the original Right To Know request five months ago.
Readers here recall that the airport authority deferred making an immediate decision and opted to take another 30 days to reply to the Right To Know
request -- i.e., to learn the total dollar amount of any and all settlements paid to former airport employees, over formal grievances, or complaints of hostile
work environment or unfair labor practices.
"This inquiry can include any and settlements made out of court to stop a lawsuit from proceeding or any settlements made as a result of EEOC actions," the
Right To Know begged to know.
The Right To Know inquiry filed last August named two specific former airport employees, but also wanted to "address any complaints filed against current or
former management, not limited to" just those two named, from 2010 through August of 2016.
RAVES to the airport folks for doing the right thing and releasing the information. (16 Jan 17)
Thanks to nice people at Subaru for making sure that a large envelope of unopened mail made its way back here. Left by mistake in a car at trade-in on an
exciting new car purchase day, the manila envelope was packed that morning with unopened mail at the post office before sliding under the seat and
forgotten, when personal contents were transferred from one vehicle to the next.
Governor, Vince&Dave forget, intentionally forget that Fay has 3 commissioners?
RANTS to this commonwealth's governor for the noticeable absence of all three Fayette County commissioners at yesterday's sit down forum of area leaders
meeting with him at Highlands Hospital to talk about the opioid drug war going on around us.
As per a hospital source, the governor's office coordinated the sending of invitations for the event to area political and media members. Presumably, all three
county leaders were thought to be attending.
Given that the forum also focused on a possible opioid treatment plan for the county jail, RANTS that the top Republican vote getter in the last election was
not invited to participate.
Even bigger RANTS, however, are in order for Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr for failing to make sure all of Fayette voters were represented at
that meeting. Do these guys have the words "Lame Duck" written on their foreheads, or what? The governor's office has been asked for comment.
A Right To Know is sent to the state capital office to obtain the invitation list or to see if an invitation had been sent. RANTS galore if one were sent, but
possibly got intercepted and intentionally kept from the third commissioner. (14 Jan 17)
Warden accuses commish of trying to bypass hiring process for jail hire
RANTS that it appears that much of our current board of county commissioners could not have been paying close attention to the antics and wrongdoings of
the prior administration to have learned from past mistakes. A real pity, indeed, for Fayette County.
For instance, readers here are too familiar with public discontent over past officials returning favors with political hires who did not apply or interview formally
with the county.
Readers are too sickeningly familiar, too, with officials who would and do stab one another in the back instead of focus on working together productively for
Fayette residents. RANTS because it still appears to be going on in this changed and current board of commissioners as well.
In a copy of a Harassment Complaint that he filed seven months ago, Fayette County Warden Brian Miller and the target of Miller's complaint, Commission
Chairman Vince Vicites, seemingly both needed their mouths washed out with soap -- that is, if Miller's account of the heated exchange between him and
Vicites is accurate. The document was mailed here, supposedly, from jail staff, and is authenticated by two sources.
Due to the sexist and profane wording of the complaint, readers are cautioned, before clicking on the link above, that the alleged exchange between the two
professionals in Miller's account is plum nasty. Both Vicites and Miller have been asked for comment. (12 Jan 17)
Warbucks b slaps Fay, Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally
RANTS that Daddy Warbucks up the mountain packed quite the mighty bitch slap wallop to all area 20-something men, by plopping down about $10 Million
for a hiring plea to air as a Superbowl television commercial. The commercial is said to announce the possibly senile lumber company owner's job search to
locate 20-something men seeking a career, as opposed to those, for instance, seeking but a mere job.
RANTS, also, that Warbucks' slap in the face to area young men gave him the other free hand to deliver an equally powerful slap to area women. Media
stories about the Superbowl television commercial specifically are quoted as saying the locally bought ad clearly wants to appeal to 20-something men,
apparently in all areas of the world that view the Superbowl.
When Warbucks' hands were left stinging from slapping the local 20-somethings, RANTS that he then, naturally, reduced himself to another low, kicking
locals, 30 or older, in search of better employment, in the gut.
RAVES if the $10 million wager on Superbowl airtime works and his lumber company and resort become profitable enough that he won't ask for any
additional public or working tax payer funded tax breaks to keep his businesses financially operational. Warbucks or his companies have received tens and
tens of millions of dollars of low interest loans in bankroll, by borrowing into public funds from Fayette County, Washington County, state and federal fund
For instance, in 2011, his lumber company received $20 Million in Federal loans to pay off the remains of a crushing $195 million, 18-percent interest loan.
The following year, in 2012, Fayette County sponsored the same lumber company a $15 million loan request. Fayette's generosity to the lumber company
came at a time when monthly sales at Warbuck's lumber company decreased from $5 billion to about $1 billion. Those two huge low interest loans followed
an earlier $5 million low-interest loan from Washington County, as part of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program aimed at maintaining and
Meanwhile, today's local paper* online states that other smaller tax gifts were bestowed upon Warbucks' other business, a hotel, with three LERTA breaks
on new construction.
RANTS because after all that borrowing from public funds largely generated by working class people of all ages in this part of the state, Warbucks gambles
$10 million to attract 20-something males from all over the world. He seems to have drawn the same dismal conclusion as the late state representative who
declared at his last candidate's debate that we've lost this entire generation to heroin locally.
RANTS that Warbucks seemed to have had more of a grip on reality when he funded breast enlargements for pretty young area flat women and paid
$80,000 for Jimmy Page's handwritten "Stairway To Heaven" lyrics for one of the recipients of those said enlargements. (10 Jan 17)
*heraldstandard.com, "Uniontown Area grants tax exception"
Warden sued again, over case already heard by Grand Jury
RANTS that the county jail warden is getting sued again and it seems so unlikely that this particular case, already heard much in part before a Grand Jury,
will just go away through motions court.
RANTS since large court settlements usually go hand in hand with disgusting cases of jail staff-to-inmate abuse such as this. Readers here know that this
case resulted from the beating and stomping of a shackled inmate by one county jail guard while two other guards held the inmate, back in March of 2015. It
wasn't bad enough he beat the man silly, the county paid staff also pushed the inmate down a flight of jail stairs when the beating ended.
As previously stated here in "Well run county jails don't draw a Grand Jury, do they?" and in newspapers, the vicious physical assault was video-recorded.
Although the county warden certainly wasn't one of the men on video who beat or held the inmate that day, the warden is sued because he is said to have
known about the violent nature of the guard who beat and stomped the inmate but, reportedly, did not discipline the guard.
In fact, the guard kept working but later was fired. He was not charged until after other guards testified about the attack before the Grand Jury that followed.
While the others were not criminally charged along with the fired guard, they are also named in this new civil suit against the warden and the fired guard.
RANTS to think that a such a violent goon squad was obviously protected from immediate termination or charges until after a Grand Jury had to hear the
matter. That someone so once protected, by the way, now serves time on burglary charges in Greene County. (10 Jan 17)
A White Orthodox Christmas: a safer bet than rain on Rain Day
RAVES this very snowy overnight, leading into the first hours of Orthodox Christmas Eve, that some will get their white Christmas.
Locals who follow the Julian calendar, more often than not, get their wish for a snowy white Christmas to celebrate their religious holiday.
This time around, the snow started right on cue. (6 Jan 17)
Today's fix for The Great Music Sickness
RAVES to the Trib for bringing back music writer Rege Behe for occasional features, and to Behe for interviewing this column's favorite Pittsburgh song
writer, Norman Nardini, in today's piece, "Rocker Nardini better than ever after 50 years."
RAVES that those of us afflicted with The Music Sickness finally found something of quality in the papers to read and smile about today. Nary a week
passes here when someone is in touch to ask about Nardini and pass along one of his or her favorite Norm stories.
RAVES, especially, that when asked who among all musicians, past or present, whom he would like to have played with, he lists a few big time writers and
performers, but also is quick to state with pride that he got to play with former Diamond Reo mates Frank Czuri and the late Warren King, as well as the late
RAVES to Double N for still wanting to rock us in the few venues still left for live bands to perform and for all his efforts to entertain nursing home dementia
patients with Sinatra classics on piano. (4 Jan 17)
In regard to Bullskin auto thieves
Westmoreland County Prison gets a reprieve; Fay not so lucky
RANTS that Fayette County's jail population overnight grew by one, a Westmoreland heroin using car thief, packing a loaded stolen gun and leading more
state troopers than anyone here in Bullskin ever recalls seeing gathered, for a most difficult man hunt, in the rainy fog.
RAVES to the police for nabbing at least half of the toxic duo, who crashed one stolen truck into a home and caught on fire, crashed a stolen van through a
garage door and into a ditch and tried to steal a third vehicle owned by someone with a gun who shot at the suspect.
RAVES to the observant convenience store clerks for stalling the soaking wet man hours later with his fast food order to keep him inside until police returned
to take him into custody. RANTS, yes, that one is still on the run and that the Westmoreland junkie in custody in Fayette might not ever give up the identity of
his partner in crime. RANTS that entry doors and windows in these parts are still locked and double checked... and in many cases, guns or rifles remain
propped if needed.
RAVES, nonetheless, that the scary drama that played out here in Bullskin yesterday into the wee hours seems to have almost ended today. Almost. (4 Jan