To 2018 Rants&Raves
Aggressive task force takedown or what???
RANTS to having a quiet, relaxing evening stroll on your sleepy, little street quickly turn into high-level drama because an impaired driver in his truck with his
woman and 2 young children made a wrong turn, ignoring state police and out of county sheriff vehicles with flashing lights and intermittent sirens on his tail.
RANTS to getting the sweet bejesus and dickens scared out of you, just a few feet away, as one from the group of badges gets the driver out of the car and
screams, "Don't do anything f***ing stupid or this will be your worst day!" to a drunk or addict who already demonstrated an inability to think and reason.
RAVES that nobody got hurt and that maybe there's one less impaired driver on the road tonight. RANTS, though, that the take down couldn't have waited till
the truck exited the sleepy, little street, away from homes and residents out taking a sweet stroll. (12 Dec 17)
Initially, claimed only fresh water use
Chevron seeks approval for Luzerne frac water storage, redistribution
A special exception zoning hearing is scheduled in 3 days, on Wednesday, December 13, to hear from Chevron about its plans to add 6 one-million-gallon
storage tanks for storage and processing of flowback, produced water, brine and fresh water in Luzerne Township that would establish a clear hydrological
pathway between it and the Monongahela River, protected only by an “intake valve” at the Mon.
As per a news release from Fayette Marcellus Watch, "Completely missing from its notifications to Fayette County is the crucial information that Chevron
intends to connect the tank farm to its existing network of water pipelines in Luzerne Township."
Chevron, the release continued, "has shown in its application materials to DEP that it intends to run frackwater through pipelines in both directions" and
"initially reported to Fayette County that these pipelines would only be transporting 'water' — no mention at all that they will be transporting residual waste
from fracking operations."
The DEP requires Chevron to submit information describing the precautions they will take to avoid exposing the public to radioactivity. However, today's
release from the Fayette Marcellus Watch group said the information Chevron has submitted for the Luzerne Township "is seriously incomplete because it
does not describe the project as an integrated system detailing the full extent of both storage tanks and water lines."
Please read the full release for more information on the matter to come before the Zoning Hearing Board at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, at the Public Safety
Building. RANTS because a mere "intake valve" on the river to protect the Mon is a very scary thought or comfort. (10 Dec 17)
Duck Whisperer's day in court: Case dismissed!
RAVES that a no-nonsense Fayette County magistrate judge dismissed charges against a disabled Fairchance veteran for raising her voice from a distance
to middle-school-age minors and their inattentive parents at the town park, reportedly after observing one of the minors kicking the ducks. Please click to
read "Duck Whisper's day in court: Case dismissed!"
Warden tenders resignation
Fayette County Prison Warden Brian Miller tendered his letter of resignation to county officials this week to leave his long-time position in two weeks.
Email was sent early this morning asking for comment from Miller and the prison board members to confirm or deny the news first sent this way one week
ago by a dependable source with personal and non-professional ties to the warden.
Today was not that proverbial Cold Day In Hell that we had hoped it would be. No comment back was received, of course. But RAVES that one later in the
day did confirm that Human Resources forwarded his letter of resignation to the officials.
Though he probably would not believe it, Rants&Raves truly wishes the departing warden the best. Ranted basically only over a few different matters -- i.e.,
delaying the writing to prison policies that resulted in deficient state DOC inspection reports for a few years and continuing with the jail ad hoc committee
meetings after the proposed new industrial prison plans were scrapped by a majority of commissioners, etc. -- he was ranted the most because this column
knew he really could get the policies written, as he eventually proved he could. (8 Dec 17)
Editor's Note: In response to reader mail curious about a 2017 inspection of the jail, R&R obtained a copy of the inspection schedule. Fayette's county
lock up will not be inspected until late 2018. Thanks to the update forwarded here by jail staff.
Superintendent: lost $120K gig over pocket change misuse of public funds
RANTS of the shameful kind that students in the Connellsville School District this evening learned that the county district attorney cut a deal one week ago
with the district superintendent to resign immediately to avoid prosecution for misusing district funds for his personal use.
RANTS that kids who receive detention or consequences for lying or swiping someone else's property learned that the now former superintendent and
school board president lied to everyone in the media stories about the sudden sever of ties five days ago as being nothing more than one man's desire to
return to work in the private sector. The president of the board specifically told the media then that the superintendent had "done nothing wrong."
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a county detective concluded that the superintendent bought about $150 worth of rebar and concrete with school funds for
his election signs in his failed race for a seat there on his hometown Elizabeth-Forward School District's board. Fay's DA agreed not to prosecute if he
resigned and made restitution for the unauthorized purchase.
While some in attendance at tonight's board reorganization meeting told WTAE TV cameras after the meeting that other possible illegal purchases may have
been made with public funds and they were unhappy with the "sweet deal" offered to avoid criminal prosecution, Fay's DA said he will look into those other
RANTS that Fay's DA allowed last week's media circus or fake news to circulate, only tonight to paint a completely different picture for the kids and public
about what really happened. RAVES of hope, however, that the now former superintendent may actually have taught the students a most valuable lesson in
the long run.
RAVES of hope, too, that the now outed former superintendent, hailed for turning over a huge district deficit into a supposedly impressive surplus of funds in
2 years, wasn't stupid enough to have claimed the cost of the rebar and concrete on his election campaign expense reports for tomorrow's civics class
lesson. The district and students have been embarrassed enough. (6 Dec 17)
Blue restroom lighting added to deter addicts from finding veins
RANTS of the saddest kind that convenience store and business restrooms have become such known heroin shooting gallery spaces that a Westmoreland
Sheetz installed blue restroom lighting to try to make it harder for addicts to find their veins.
Today's Trib article, "New Kensington Sheetz tests anti-drug blue hue for restroom lights," shows the desperation that businesses with public restrooms
experience because police just can't seem to stop or even put a real dent in the region's heroin supply.
While Westmoreland's drug task force and rehabilitation program leaders are quoted in the article saying the blue restroom lighting likely won't deter addicts,
who, in their opinions, can find their veins in the dark, the convenience store management hopes the lighting change will be a deterrent to keep their staff
and customers safer.
RANTS, nonetheless, that it has come to this desperate act to darken the lighting to try to deter addicts from finding their veins and make the rest of us feel
safer inside the business. It's a chilling hope to swallow reading today's morning paper with coffee. (6 Dec 17)
"Quotes Of The Day" on key resignations, whopper faywest.com lies
"I see the Herald Standard covered the last county prison board meeting and reported for -- what is it now, the second or third time? -- that the warden says
no jail sewage spilled into the creek. That's wonderful, but why hasn't the paper asked the UMWA why it published in its newsletter to its 71,341 members a
picture of an ice machine leaking and claimed it was raw sewage on the jail floor?
Dave, this morning at the diner, back in town from a long holiday trip to his in-laws, catching up on local news
"I see the Connellsville school superintendent resigned or retired abruptly, seeing the writing on the wall that the new board will soon be in office and
probably booting him out of his job. What will that make now? Six or 7 superintendents in 7 or 8 years?
Pete, chiming in on what he was reading online from his tablet before him
"I see Michael D. McCumber still doesn't give a rat's behind that horrible lies are published and published again and again on one of his websites."
Dave's wife, referring to a few items on the faywest.com site that never get deleted, including false statements about R&R editor/publisher being a lush,
false statement that this editor was the subject of fictitious suits from work in the private sector that never happened and false statement posted there
anonymously that this editor lost EEOC action against 2 mid-level county management staff once upon a time
"You let me read the EEOC complaint and determination, but didn't you offer to meet with McCumber to show him the EEOC paperwork to prove that
anonymous jerks post lies?
"Yep. Offered more than once."
Moi, replying before bidding everyone a good day -- one which a source predicts will bring a resignation of a key public figure in local government
The Barna survey, AM talk radio, HSBS & Mr. Lauer
RANTS that 1 in 4 men do not think that unzipping and exposing himself constitutes sexual harassment. The surreal statistic of workplace drama comes from
a survey of 1,000 Americans last month by the Barna Group. The religious-based polling and research firm asked those surveyed to list acts which did or did
not, in their opinion, constitute sexual harassment.
Three in 10 American adults (29% of those surveyed) tell Barna they have been sexually harassed. Women in this group report experiencing workplace
sexual harassment almost three times more often than men (42% vs 16% of those surveyed).
RANTS, too, that the younger generations also reported harassment at a higher rate than those older who were surveyed. As per the survey, Millennials
(31%) and Generation X (35%) are twice as likely as Elders (16%) to say they have been sexually harassed, with Boomers somewhere in the middle (26%).
A further 15 percent of all adults say they have witnessed sexual harassment, and almost one-quarter (23%) says someone they know well was sexually
RAVES of hope that the stats improve from the recent media explosion of political, entertainment and media kings, who have very publicly fallen from grace
after misusing their positions, roles and power to exploit others simply for sexual kicks.
Oh, and while we're on the subject...
RANTS to the insensitive male AM radio talk show host who refers to grown, adult women in elected, professional, row office courthouse positions as "girls."
RAVES of hope that he grows up quickly and realizes he insults all female listeners and female advertisers with the use of that word.
And, lastly, RANTS to the Herald Standard for not ending today's editorial, "Next! Growing series of misconduct allegations may lead to witch hunt," after
the fourth paragraph.
RANTS, after another network news anchor's termination for improper sexual behavior, that the editorial went on to paragraphs five through twelve
minimizing the problem, essentially blaming the women for not speaking up immediately, when they first became uncomfortable with the unwanted attention.
RANTS that the male writer assumed wrongly that most persons of any gender targeted did not say no at least once. What is the value or impact of saying
the word no to one of four men (and who knows what percentage of women) who believe it's OK to flash his privates to attract a lover at work? (1 Dec 17)
Bullskin tax increase?
RANTS to the Bullskin Township Supervisors for holding a meeting to double property taxes without a copy of the budget in hand to support the need for the
While the first increase in over 40 years may really be required to fund the township's next year of business, supervisors lost credibility by appearing at the
public meeting without a projected budget in hand to discuss with citizens. Another meeting, nonetheless, will be held soon to review line items, revenue and
expenses. (1 Dec 17)
Blackout Wednesday: Tomorrow's newest DUI stats
RANTS on this hectic Thanksgiving Eve that more drunks end up driving drunk on this day than do on New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day.
As per today's Trib piece, "Blackout Wednesday' tops St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve for drunken driving, police say," year-round, alcohol-related
crashes made up about 8 percent of all crashes in 2016. During the Thanksgiving period, alcohol-related crashes made up about 13 percent of all crashes.
While police theorize that more drunks may plan ahead the rest of the year to have a designated driver, police feel that some people this Blackout
Wednesday through the Thanksgiving weekend may wrongly presume, starting out, that they will drink less than they actually do.
RAVES of hope that at least more of the drunks this time around tonight, tomorrow and the day after will be smarter than those who came before them last
year and the year before that. (22 Nov 17)
Social media comments: muse again to latest defamation lawsuit
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but news of another lawsuit filed over harsh words posted on social media about others. This one we saw coming since before
the heated spring primary election.
As per today's heraldstandard.com, a Connellsville School District board member and his wife hired Uniontown attorney Sam Davis and filed a suit against
the school district superintendent and his wife, over anonymous posts about the board member and his wife on faywest.com and similar or duplicate posts
made on not so anonymous Facebook.
The couple seeks damages starting at $50,000 from the superintendent and his wife. RANTS if one penny of public funds is spent on legal or court fees for
any of this matter. (20 Nov 17)
BHA director to appear in court Wednesday
RAVES of hope that criminal charges of simple assault and harassment against the county's behavioral health director will be dropped at a hearing on __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Wednesday, stemming from incidents on October 6. A fingerprint order, first issued on October 13, was re-issued today through the courts.
RAVES of hope that the whole embarrassing mess goes away quickly. The finger-print order adds a surreal sense of seriousness to the matter, though. (13
"So the county prison board hasn't written the UMWA to say the warden says a photo the union newsletter published in an article about sewage leaks at the
jail is ice machine condensation or clear water on the floor?
"Did the union ever tell you why they published the photo other than to try to gross out their union members reading the article?
"Nope. One would think they would have at least one real file photo of sewage backed up in the basement of the jail that they could replace it with online."
Moi, adding that not too many people care that the recent UMWA's Journal newsletter misidentified an old file photo as a recent sewage waste back up
on the jail floor because, well, they know the union sometimes lies.
County delays another RTK answer
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a mention that the County of Fayette was unable to respond within the allowed 5-day period to a Right To Know request, to
obtain correspondences between/among the warden, the county maintenance officer, the county prison board members, about sewage leaks, interruptions
of water service, etc, in September and October.
The RTK answer received today requests another 30 day extension to collect what probably amounts to a handful of emails or memos. To appeal to the
state Office of Open Records. (13 Nov 17)
Could Kentucky's no-bail program work in Fay?
70-percent in county jails in U.S. have not been found guilty of a crime
RANTS to hearing that seventy-percent of people sitting in county jails in the U.S. have not been found guilty of the crime.
The story, published by the Associated Press, made its way to most large and small newspapers in the country. We're all in the same miserable boat, in
other words, with so many clogging up the county jail cells, waiting for court dates and not being able to post bail.
Well, not everyone really is in the same boat, the story said.
Inmates charged with offenses in Kentucky have other options, for instance. Over half are determined after assessment within 12 hours of arrest that they
can participate in community-based treatment services and be trusted to continue participation. Kentucky's rate of success is about ninety-percent for
releasing inmates to supervision instead of being required to post bail.
While this column doesn't necessarily agree with Kentucky on which charges are victimless, non-violent crimes, the trend for nation-wide county jail
populations to be assessed and addressed and found to have similar issues is good to know. There's only one gnawing concern with this news release.
Past Right To Know inquiries here at R&R found that Fayette County answered that it doesn't know how many inmates it has incarcerated who would qualify
for specialized courts such as Veterans' Court, Mental Health Court and Drug and Alcohol Court.
Since that time, when any public discussion focused on determining these statistics, nobody still knew. Any movement towards identifying those inmates, as
well as anyone who could qualify to participate in the Day Reporting Center, has to become a county priority, if it hasn't already.
In the meantime, since Fay didn't have accurate counts, we'll just have to accept the feds' claims that seventy-percent of all those incarcerated in county jails
in the U.S. have not been convicted of crimes and do something about it.
Why are Fay's charged but not tried inmates staying incarcerated instead of going out on bail until court dates arrive?
If it's just the money issue and no bail bondsman would commit to serve someone, and Kentucky has had ninety-percent success with no-bail
programs for the poor, why not try it here, for some who are assessed and found to qualify as low flight risk for participation?
Fay definitely has to become more familiar faster with its incoming prisoners as they arrive at the jail and move as many out as possible to
these kinds of programs Fay already has and to see what Kentucky and other places have that's also working to reduce recidivism for the rest.
Some in Kentucky quipped that the no-bail method, with all its community based treatments and therapies, cost the public too much, or even
more than incarceration costs. Counties are supposed to be tracking their own recidivism rates and be pro-active to revamp specialized court
programs, if one or more isn't lowering recidivism and changing lives.
Critics of the critics there believe, though, that recidivism will decrease with many of those ninety-percent who succeed in the no-bail plan
who are actively involved in treatment, drug testing, therapies monitored by the courts during the time that they would have otherwise sat in
the county jail without bail waiting for a court date. RAVES to Kentucky county jails for thinking outside the box and coming up with the only
real type of logic to reduce recidivism.
What would the inside of the Fayette County Prison look like with fifty-percent less inmates there? We need to see. (6 Nov 17).
Goof in Fay lies about R&R editor in social media
RANTS, as a few dozen, ages 5 to 73, in church in Texas so sadly get ambushed by a gunman, and that many more were injured, that some \"All the national chains want to be on Route 40!"
misguided, manicky soul here in Fay took with hysterical vengeance and hatred to a local blog to criticize this editor and this column with a
slew of lies.
Why lie anonymously about everything so easily disproven?
Why be, well, such an ass? (6 Nov 17)
Mt. Macrina may sell off some land
RAVES to the sisters at Mt. Macrina for deciding to consider taking proposals to sell off some of its land and buildings to fund the organization's top priorities,
the continuance of the annual pilgrimages. The news is bittersweet, reading about it in The Trib's, "Mount St. Macrina an economic asset for Fayette
County," since new young women aren't becoming nuns and the sisters there are aging.
The sisters' decision to consider taking proposals for some of its land is a practical one, and we're sure the ladies will be smart about it all. In the new story,
the director of the Redevelopment Authority said his discussions with the sisters have centered on housing for the county's older population. The large
mansion in the front yard, the former home of J.V. Thompson, may be on the market, too.
Restaurant chains, that redevelopment director said, continue to express interest in the retail hub in North Union and South Union townships.
"All the national chains want to be on Route 40. I'm sure (the sisters) would probably get some interest in that type of use,” he told the Trib.
RAVES of hope that if the sisters must parcel off and sell some of the land or buildings, they get a fair mansion price for the historical site and highly desired
commercial properties and buildings, in an otherwise pretty landlocked area.
Lets remember those words in case in the future we hear that tax breaks are needed to entice iffy businesses into the region. (6 Nov 17)
Will Fay tell UMWA about the photo?
While the county jail warden did not reply back with any other statement to answer other questions asked, county prison board members are being asked
whether they plan on asking or demanding that a possible old file photo placed in a union newsletter section detailing recent sewage issues at the county jail
be removed from the online Union Journal. RAVES if the prison board does so and the union complies.
Meanwhile, the union formally has not addressed the photo authenticity issue since asked three days ago for comment. If the photo is a fake, RAVES of
hope that its publication in the recent union newsletter was an honest mistake some editor or union Journal staff made without bifocals and not some
intentional move to disgust its readers. (5 Nov 17)
Warden: UMWA photo merely depicts ice machine draining
Fayette County Prison Warden Brian Miller this early afternoon got in touch to dispute the authenticity of the UMWA photo describing sewage on the prison
In reply, Miller explains that the photo, seen on the right column of this web page after being published and circulated in the official UMWA Journal
newsletter, in reality merely shows condensation and clear water draining from the white tube on the ice machine. As per Miller, the machine produces
condensation when it is making ice.
"As you can see the water on the floor is clear, NOT SEWAGE WATER," Miller said today, adding, "therefore you was AGAIN misinformed by someone !!"
Miller yesterday was asked for comment about the UMWA newsletter and photo but did not offer input. Please see the emails in the right column of this
page. More to come. (2 Nov 17)
With some help from Vicites
Prison Staff: Warden misinformed prison board, media, public
RANTS that Fayette County Prison Warden Brian Miller had some help from County Commission Chairman Vince Vicites in misinforming the
prison board, media and public five weeks ago about just how bad things got at the county jail when a plumber's snake trying to unclog a
stuffed mattress busted a sewage line and flooded the prison basement.
Conflicting accounts of what really followed next for several days was remarkable. While families and friends of inmates took to social media
with concern that inmates for several days to one week had no tap water to drink or shower with, Miller and Vicites were quoted in The Daily
Courier on September 26 painting a different or rosier picture.
"I brought in some port-a-johns just in case we needed them, but we didn't have to use them," Miller told the Courier that day. Vicites in the
same article said that he did a few walk throughs to check on things and "everything appears to be OK."
Prison staff, however, disputed Miller's claim early this morning to Rants&Raves and had email record of alternate shift staff to staff -- or
informal friend to friend -- communication dated September 7 that the "yard team was taking six guys (inmates) at a time out to the yard to use
The port-a-johns, the prison staff said today, were used only a day or so at the very beginning of the sewage problem, but were used, contrary
to what the warden told the paper.
In regard to the photograph (See right column) which the prison union included in its recent newsletter showing sewage on the basement floor
and drain, the staff speaking here this morning said he had no idea when the photograph was taken, "but it doesn't even show when it was
bad." The back up of sewage into the prison basement, in other words, got considerably worse than as shown in the photograph.
As per the prison staff this morning, "At one point officers and inmate workers were sweeping sewage out of that garage door" shown in the
Because the maintenance officer's office is located in the basement and the maintenance officer knew right away that there was a clogged
pipe, then a burst pipe from the plumber's snake and soon noisy jackhammers brought in to break up the floor to get to the busted pipe, the
prison staff speaking to this column today said nobody needed to complete a work maintenance order.
Readers here all too vividly recall the warden being quoted one month later, in the October 26 edition of the Daily Courier as saying "no
sewage was in the basement...no water was turned off except for one afternoon in the prison annex to install a valve."
Miller, likewise, provided the infamous same-day quote in the Herald Standard, that there was no sewage in the prison basement, because if
there were, someone would have filed a report.
Meanwhile, as per the alternate shift staff's emails dated September 6 to one another, "D Range wasn't given drinking water until midnight
shift last night." The correspondence continued to update with information that two other staff went to Lowe's and bought "all the ranges"
"Fayette County Prison is ready for nothing," the staff concluded this morning when offering up his documented account of the several days
to a week in September when the Prison Board cancelled its monthly meeting and its spokesmen gave some factual but also some
misleading information out to the media and public as fact.
See, and here we were with Miller's bogus Right To Know answer, shown in the right column, thinking it was just us. (2 Nov 17)
Who's truthful? Who's not? Who's simply clueless?
RANTS, with the publication of the UMWA's recent newsletter and photo said to be raw sewage on the county jail floor, that controversy still
exists whether the union and community activist's claims at the last county Prison Board meeting are factual or not.
To help clear up the matter, members of the union local, county commissioners, the warden and sheriff were asked today to comment on the
authenticity of the photo and date it was taken. Union reps, also, were asked why the photo, if authentic and recent, was not presented to the
county prison board members at its October meeting.
Readers here are well aware that the union rep at that meeting claimed that jail staff and inmates had to walk through a mess of sewage waste
in the jail and that he requested that new boots be bought for those guards. The jail warden, meanwhile, told the media that nobody reported
any such mess and sewage back up if it happened. More to come. (1 Nov 17)
Time for union to feed widows instead of PACs
Time for Fay to farm out the county inmates, lay off staff
Editor's Note: In light of the county jail union's recent swipe in its newsletter at Fay County officials for not building a new county prison, a re-
print of a 15-month-old RANT follows. At that time, the union filed its case with the feds, saying the civil rights of inmates and staff were
violated for what it called "intolerable" jail conditions.
At that time, when nobody but the cheerleaders pushing for an all-new industrial prison seemed to agree that the current jail was collapsing,
this column op-ed recommended shuttering the jail, farming out the inmates to other counties and laying off the prison staff. If being
incarcerated in or working in the county lock up truly violated the civil rights of inmates and staff, it seemed to be sound and practical logic. It
Given that the warden just said again last week that he had no reports of raw sewage leaking inside the jail and that politicians who receive
that union's campaign contributions are joining in the union to support an all-new industrial jail, R&R again advocates for the county to shut the
jail down, send the inmates to other jails and lay off the staff for their own safety.
If only the union paid as much attention to grandma and other widows living on its $800 monthly pensions, its need -- in part through
inefficient leadership -- to hope for a one-percent interest government loan for $600 million dollars to save its pension might not be so urgent.
The quality of life for the pension widows scrimping to exist surely could have been brighter, for instance, if the union hadn't dumped nearly
$1 million dollars annually from workers' wages into its Political Action Committee (PAC) to feed political campaign contributions.
That all said, here's the re-print of the 15-month-old Rant.
1 Nov 17
Jail union files DOJ civil rights case... now?
RANTS that the local union representing county jail staff fail to have a clear understanding of what little work that the former
county jail ad hoc committee and former majority commissioners actually accomplished in over two years of planning, as the
union filed a formal complaint of civil rights violations with the U.S. Department of Justice on poor conditions at the jail.
In today's heraldstandard.com piece, "UMWA files complaint with DOJ over Fayette prison conditions," union reps, ironically,
praise the work of the former commissioners and work committee, when in reality, as various Right To Know answers proved,
very little was accomplished -- i.e., except for paying for a drawing of an industrial jail complex that ended up costing a few
million dollars. Planning for a new jail complex in Dunbar Township came to a halt after the former commissioners Al Ambrosini
and Vince Zapotosky accused one another of bid rigging, as readers here well know.
Equally ironic, the filing of the civil rights case with the DOJ comes on the heels of the current board of county commissioners
poised to open bids and award contracts for roof repairs and to acquire the former Army Reserve building near Uniontown
Hospital on Rt. 21 for a jail. It's almost as though the union isn't listening and feels that an all-new jail could be built magically
The only thing sensible for the union to do at this time is to insist that county jail staff do their work, report problems promptly,
insist, for instance, that leaking sinks and pipes are not allowed to leak onto floors for weeks before they're repaired and
demand the firing of any employee who prevents repairs from being made. The can really isn't being kicked down the road and
union reps should really know that.
If that's not good enough, then perhaps the county commissioners can improve the civil rights of most of the inmates by laying
off most of the staff, closing parts of the building and sending to other jails all of the inmates already through the courts.
Given that daily costs to house inmates outside of Fayette is relatively comparable to the cost that jail administrative staff has
quoted it costs to maintain inmates in the Fayette County Prison, that might be the wisest alternative until the building on Rt. 21
is ready, if civil rights are being violated. (21 Aug 16)
Al's RTK Answer that took the cake
Al needs another road trip to Franklin
Is it stupidity or bid rigging?
Audacious Al's geo-technical wasteland survey RTK: Part I
In Killinger's Own Words
An all-new jail won't fix these problems
Audacious Al: Take 3
Ode Keefe: The many different meanings of the word troubling
County delay of womens' jail: most of $1M in rentals didn't need to be...
Audacious Al: Take 2
"Quotes Of The Day"
"So Vince and Tim have kissed and made up and these two Dems have taken to the radio, even though their county party chairman unequivalently
said "no" at the party meeting to the hourly radio show."
Dave, Sunday morning at the diner, catching up on the antics of Fay County politics
"I couldn't help notice that all the individual names of the radio hour sponsors have been deleted from the piece about the show on the
station's social media page. Wonder why?"
Dave's wife, commenting on what she found -- or didn't find -- on a new online read of the station's social media page
"So does that mean the official Dem Chairman Jimmy D. put his foot down, the decent Dems in office put theirs down... or the station removed
the list of sponsors for whatever reason?"
Pete, just asking and trying to qualify options
"Now are these the same Dems in Fay who in recent times called themselves the New Deal Dems?"
"No. The New Deal Dems are led by the psychologist on record at a state psychiatric hospital commitment hearing as saying he can cure
Moi, in response, hoping to help them sort it all out
"As f'd up as Fay politics is, how about Greene County commissioners, in a no-bid move outside a public meeting, hiring a convicted
felon* as a consultant and delaying the start of her job till the day after her 5-year-long probation ended?"
Dave's wife, referring to former legislative aide Sharon Rodavich, who testified against former State House Speaker William DeWeese and
pled guilty herself to felony counts of conspiracy and conflict of interest, for her admitted role in helping him use state-paid staff and
public resources to run his political campaigns from 2001-06
New Dem weekly radio hour: good time to take a nap
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of a note of confusion reading the social media post for a New Democratic AM radio show that
premiered locally a few days ago.
The long list of sponsors of what is planned to be a weekly radio presentation of Dem candidates includes a couple big losers of the last
general election, a few names of some newbies who never before ran for office and a couple very familiar names of current row officers with
two more years to serve on their current terms.
While there certainly is nothing new about politicians and parties using paid advertising to campaign for office and nothing new about trying to
resurrect a dead political party for the next election, it's the included names of some current row officers, who appear to have a sense of
moral decency and integrity, allowing their names to be part of a nightmare mix to support, well, a few well known liars amongst them, that is
RAVES of hope that some of those Dems with any inkling of integrity won't allow their names or personal funds to be used in sponsorship of
any advertisement or endorsement of those listed among them known to promote corruption and oppression.
RAVES of hope that they realize they'll get votes from all parties down the road if they opt instead to distance themselves from the Desperate
Dems among them. (30 Oct 17)
Union, warden differ on interior prison sewage leak
RAVES that some 200-feet of sewage lines will soon replace the county jail's original pipes, leaking enough outside in a few places to have
formed two stinky sink holes a month or so ago. RANTS, though, that the warden and the prison union leader speaking during and after
yesterday's county prison board aren't on the same page as to whether or not sewage actually flowed onto the basement or prison interior
and staff and inmates had to tramp through it.
The union rep says yes, while the warden says no.
Six weeks ago, a Right To Know request was sent asking if the water at the prison indeed was turned off most of the time for about a week, as
visitors reported on social media that inmates could not shower regularly and were to flush toilets only a few times daily. The RTK answer
(See column to the right of this page.) quoted the warden as saying that there was no disruption of water service to the nearly 130-year-old
Since that time, stories continued to circulate that raw sewage was leaking in the prison basement and into a nearby creek. Yesterday, the
warden disputed the statements made by the union rep and a citizen to the contrary. The EPA, he said, assessed the creek a couple times and
found no waste escaping into the creek.
Given that union reps and the warden previously have misinformed the public with identical false claims or gross exaggerations, RANTS that
it's difficult to know exactly who is sharing accurate information in this matter since the two disagree now. For instance, both the union and
warden previously told the media and public that sturdy exterior prison walls were caving in when they were not and holes in the mortar and
brick were such an overwhelmingly unfixable problem, large enough and loose enough for inmates to fit through and escape with little effort.
RAVES, at least this time that the warden's claims that rumor mill tales of sewage leaking into the creek are false and confirmed with a couple
EPA inspections of the nearby creek.
RANTS, however, that the warden could have gone a step further in putting the matter to rest when assuring reporters from both local papers
after the meeting that no sewage spilled out onto the basement floor. As per the Herald Standard*, the warden reasoned that no sewage
leaked onto the basement floor where inmates and staff walked regularly because someone would have reported it.
Somehow, his statement and faith in staff reporting problems makes nobody here feel better, given that he and staff failed for years to request
repairs or formally report repair needs. RANTS, since we'd feel better if the warden had assured reporters during or even after the meeting
that he knew for certain no sewage leaked inside the basement because he actually checked the basement himself. (26 Oct 17)
* Sewer line repair set to take place behind Fayette County Prison
No proof reading at the courthouse?
DA's letter typo wrongly promised a proper investigation
RANTS that a supposed typographical error in a letter from our former county district attorney to the family of a man, who died five years ago
of a single gunshot wound to his head, only added to the frustration of grieving relatives, still unsure if the death was homicide or suicide.
RAVES to WPXI's investigative look today into the 2012 death of a Perryopolis man, whose wife and step-son home at the time who claimed
not to have heard any shots fired. Although a 2014 coroner's inquest jury recommended a year after the death that there be a police
investigation, none followed. Specifically, the coroner's jury recommended that police submit the gun for ballistics and fingerprints, further
question people in the home at the time, examine computer and telephone records, and question neighbors about suspicious cars, noises and
activities that day.
While the man's siblings and friends waited for new details to come to light, however, not much investigating was done. The former county
district attorney and the local police opted to close the case.
"I find that there is sufficient evidence to justify any prosecution in this matter," wrote Jack Heneks, former county district attorney, in a
letter he wrote to the man's brother in late December of 2015, during the prosecutor's last few days in office after losing re-election.
RANTS that today's aired piece tracked Heneks down to explain that the letter contained a typo and should have stated that he thought
there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute anyone for homicide. He explained to the television station with the largest ratings share
of burgh evening news viewers that he chose not to pursue the case.
RAVES of hope that the sorted mess, now dumped into the lap of the current district attorney to follow up on the 5-year-old death and 4-
year-old corner's inquest recommendations, finds closure for the dead man's entire family. (24 Oct 17)
Fayette's next employee lawsuit?
RANTS that the County of Fayette County, poised to formally ratify the termination of a county staff tomorrow for driving a county car to a local
tavern during work hours, puts taxpayers at risk of another lawsuit for its inconsistent disciplinary practices.
Last week, a county employee drinking alcohol in a bar during her shift while driving a county-owned vehicle, was fired, when others
previously caught in that same situation instead were suspended and offered a chance to seek help through an employee addictions
RANTS, most certainly, that county staff violate employee policies and that some people, in general, disregard the law to drive with alcohol in
their system. This column for 12 years has stood firmly on the take that nobody should engage in that type of dangerous behavior.
But, lets be frank.
On record here are old EEOC files in which some county leaders vehemently supported an entire county department drinking and driving to
multiple bars on paid evening work time and spanked staff who opted not to participate. County administrators are on EEOC record calling the
bar hopping nighttime training a "morale building exercise." Since that surreal time, the county has allowed some staff drinking on work time
to be suspended and receive alcohol treatment offered treatment.
But that didn't happen last week. Why not?
RANTS that county staff and administrators on work time sometimes stupidly drink and drive and drink and drive while having a signed-out
Bigger RANTS, though, that county administrators inconsistently fire some but allow others a chance to be suspended and seek help. RAVES
of hope that the county didn't buy taxpayers another lawsuit over last week's firing. (18 Oct 17)
"Quotes Of The Day" as state police head honchos meet in executive session with Fay prison board
"So the county spent $174,000 in 2015 to house county prisoners out of county, $150,000 in 2016, and will soon exhaust the $250,000 budgeted
amount for this year."
Pete, this morning at the diner, reading today's Daily Courier's piece, "FC exceeds out of county inmate budget," adding that officials
attribute the situation to an increase in females being charged and a spike, in general, in drug charges
"No, you missed the real story. Look at the second to the last paragraph. It says that the prison board met in executive session with two
state police head honchos. Now why would that be unless a county employee is being arrested, was arrested or is the subject of some
kind of criminal investigation?"
Dave, in response, referring to the unexplained executive session with one present commissioner, sheriff, county controller, district
attorney, the Uniontown PSP station commander and PSP sargent
"Could be that they just need a drug snitch released for another sting."
"Nah, they do that routinely without sending in the state police head honchos to a private prison board meeting executive session."
"What does Vince or Dave have to say about it?"
Joe, asking out of curiosity, from a nearby counter seat, referring to two county commissioners by first name
"Story says they were absent."
Married elected official posts ramblings of girlfriend on social media
RANTS that at least one legally married elected official from Fayette County is so out of touch with Right To Know and Office of Open Records
decisions and foolishly created quite the buzz with recent TMI (Too Much Information) ramblings and shared photo on social media of his
Normally, Rants&Raves wouldn't go there, on a personal life item, but given the negative impact that his social and personal life had on Fay's
reputation on national news wires one year ago, a RANT for his latest gaffe and lapse in judgment is well earned. Make no mistake; nobody
hijacked his personal email and learned of the relationship in any underhanded fashion. His friends, you see, got the information and photo
directly from him on Internet social media.
RAVES, however, that the still married elected official quickly came to his senses and deleted the shared information on social media. RANTS,
though, that he should have never shared the information on social media in the first place.
Oblivious to the fact that the OOR this month issued a final determination granting a request for the Borough of Chambersburg to provide
posts and associated comment threads, including deleted comments, that appeared on Mayor Darren Brown's official Facebook page, our Fay
official has created quite the buzz among his pals for his lapse in judgment. Was he drunk? Was he just so happy that he could not contain
himself? Doesn't matter.
RANTS because Fay depends on an official such as this to make sound government decisions, when he clearly demonstrates that he cannot
make them at home or on vacation with the new squeeze. (31 Aug 17)
One year since Conn flooding, Texas has unprecedented flooding
RANTS that 365 days later, some Connellsville area residents remain still out of their flood-damaged homes or waiting for federal funds to
compensate their loss when the Dutch Bottom area of town, parts of Breakneck Road and other surrounding areas quickly flooded. RAVES if
recent talks between local officials and the feds can speed up the embarrassingly long wait those citizens have endured in getting reimbursed
for their loss.
While Connellsville area remembers the solemn first-year anniversary of the local flood that leaves some still out of their Dutch Bottom
homes or just getting personal funds together to complete their bridges back to their homes off Breakneck, please try to help the tens of
thousands of people displaced and still in harm's way in Texas. Unprecedented amounts of rain and flooding that started three days ago with a
hurricane, followed by tornadoes, are expected to be the norm for at least another few days.
Please donate to the American Red Cross, Global Giving, the Salvation Army of Texas, Global Giving or Samantha's Purse, to help those in
Texas. The American Red Cross also is need of blood in Texas. Please help. (28 Aug 17)
RAVES to stupid criminals...
RAVES to stupid criminals who don't change clothes in between burglaries, allowing police to easily link them to other break ins or attempted
break ins captured on clear video.
RAVES that Uniontown city cops captured one such man in an orange hoodie breaking into a convenience store after he was interrupted
trying unsuccessfully to break in the front door and then the back door of Pappy's in Hopwood and fled.
RAVES that police believe the same suspect in custody also is responsible for several other burglaries in the area. RAVES that no cash was
stolen in either of these two cases and that the potato salad, fried green tomatoes and other great dishes at Pappy's are safe! (24 Aug 17)
...&Rants to way stupid cops
RANTS that an as of yet unnamed male, donned only in boxer shorts, was able to get into a parked state police cruiser at the Brierwood Acres
Housing Project in Uniontown and drive like a maniac for 10 miles -- including some travel on the wrong side of the road -- before totalling the
cruiser in the mountains.
Fortunately, the car thief in his guchies hit, injured or killed no innocent drivers or pedestrians before police pulled a pit maneuver, forcing him
to crash and overturn the stolen cruiser.
Reportedly, however, state police in pursuit of him in Uniontown are said to have been not so lucky. Reportedly, two troopers first in pursuit of
the stolen cruiser did hit something along the way in the high-speed chase. As of midnight, no other formal details have been released.
RANTS because Fayette County seems to have more of its fair share per capita of high-speed police pursuits and crashes. Yes, we know
sometimes those high-speed chases are absolutely necessary. No argument there.
In this case, however, RANTS that the stupid car thief in his guchies today was able to steal and total a pricey vehicle because cops were
stupid first on the scene. (24 Aug 17)
County's next civil suit?
Vicites, Lohr can county director of public works
In a surprise move, Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr terminated Bob Carson from his position as the county's
director of public works on July 28, 2017. No reason for the termination was given publicly. At yesterday's county agenda planning meeting,
the subject of ratifying the approval of Carson's termination and replacement hiring was forwarded to the agenda for tomorrow's regular
Carson's hiring in May of 2012, as readers here can easily recall, was then viewed by critics of former commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince
Zapotosky as nothing more than Ambrosini's hiring of a political campaign supporter and friend. Carson was and still is a full-time, elected
Connellsville Township supervisor.
He, however, seemed to serve the county well, appearing to know what he was doing, with no doe eyes in the headlights look when asked for
clarification or updates on different issues at public meetings. His sudden termination is surprising, to say the least.
Commissioners have been asked for comment. (16 Aug 17)
Coming soon: the Duck Whisper's defense
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a reminder that some of us acquire our passion from an underlying drive, say, for instance, from The Music
Sickness, or an obsession with sports, the arts, the love of and for our families and friends... and some of us grow up to serve our country in
the military, get honorably discharged, and become senior, disabled veterans ridiculed sometimes for demanding basic, common sense
things such transparency in government and that defenseless animals not to be mistreated, maimed or killed for kicks.
Of those in that last mentioned group, maybe a few, or less, or maybe just one becomes known as The Duck Whisper -- and gets charged for
raising her voice while protecting the flock or just one specific animal, say, for instance, that others have physically attacked, killed or
maimed... all the while being followed home by a health care professional carrying a scary exotic animal and, reportedly, calling the veteran a
Rants that this is not satire, but what regional tv news likely will jaunt to Fayette County to cover soon. (16 Aug 17)
Fay Penn owes delinquent property taxes?
RANTS that Fayette County's "premier economic development organization" seems to be delinquent some $3,868.44 in property taxes on two
land parcels scheduled for public sale next month.
As per the delinquent property tax list prepared recently by the Fayette County Tax Claim Bureau, the county's economical development
guru, Fay Penn Economical Development Council, is in arrears for not paying county property tax on two parcels of land in Georges Township.
While the group's website hails Fay Penn as "the pre-eminent 'first stop shop' economic development organization in Fayette County by
providing comprehensive, second-to-none business development services through our staff or partners to make our clients more competitive
in a global marketplace," we have to wonder what type of an example the organization sets by potential new businesses wanting to move
here, by making the property tax sale list.
"We will provide unparalleled client service and satisfaction, using whatever knowledge, skills, and abilities are available, whether they be
within or external to the Fay-Penn organization," the organization says and adds that its "ultimate objective is to sustain a supportive
environment for business start-up, expansion, and attraction."
RANTS that the giant organization, which is said to have handled $25 million in development dollars and low interest business loans, owes
county coffers a little under four grand. Seriously, could someone over there please cut a check and pay poor Fayette County coffers the
sum? (14 Aug 17)
RANTS of the most horrid kind that Charlottsville, Virginia loses its wholesome image as the next big city to Walton's Mountain, to today
become the surreal scene of murder, terrorism and racial unrest.
RANTS that a blogger calling for a white supremacist rally there could have organized such a rally of pure hatred in present-day America.
RANTS that history taught some absolutely nothing in regard to racism that should have been put to rest in the 60s. One is dead in
Charlottesville and five critically injured, after an Ohio white supremacist terrorist drove a vehicle into a crowd to score points for his side that
seems to want to take their country back to the days of slavery.
RANTS because it's hard to imagine that even John Boy Walton, never at a loss for words, would be able to make sense of the madness in his
back yard and explain it to little Elizabeth today, without her coming back each time asking, no, but why? (12 Aug 17)
"Radio Camelot" loses Mad Dog
Editor's Note: Sympathies are extended to the family and friends of Doug "Mad Dog" Malone, who helped write burgh Album Oriented Rock
(AOR) history as part of "Radio Camelot" days, at the old WYDD studio. Malone worked at WYDD the 1970s and returned briefly in the 80s.
Thanks to the Post-Gazette writer for getting in touch to help track down other former WYDD powerhouse voices, who, collectively, since
those early days of free-form AOR radio, went on to be instantly recognized voices behind syndicated rock and music programming,
electronic game voices and commercials -- and in Malone's case, also critically acclaimed music performance, jazz recording and production
Malone died at 61 from complications of amyloidosis and spent his final days at a friend's quiet Scottdale farm.
Can we see a show of hands of those recalling the guitar of Norman Nardini playing in the old WYDD promo ad while reading this, as
condolences are sent to Malone's family and friends? (13 Aug 17)
Why not Fairchance?
South Park, burgh police have zero tolerance for animal abuse
RAVES to Pittsburgh Police for beefing up patrols of South Park to catch heartless idiots hurling large rocks at goats clearing park brush and
the donkey protecting the goats from other wild animals. Who would have thought that the donkey would have needed human protection from
teen park vandals?
Meanwhile, RANTS that animal abuse seems to run rampant and goes unchecked at a Fayette County park in Fairchance, where several
infrared cameras, surely by now, should have captured images of one or two kids or adults hurling rocks at park ducks or kicking them over
the years. A quick internet search confirms that some citizens have been complaining for a few decades about the allowed animal abuse there.
RANTS that the Fay park and town police, instead, chose to file charges against a private citizen, who's an honorably discharged, disabled
military veteran, who attempted to stop the Fairchance animal abuse with verbal requests to stop. Lets hope that the charges are quickly
withdrawn. Nobody should be charged for telling the bad seeds of Fairchance or adults to stop hurting defenseless park animals. More on this
later. (12 Aug 17)
Could, should Fay copy the move?
640,000 NYC warrants for unpaid summonses tossed in 1 day
Neither a RANT nor a full-fledged RAVE, but a wonder what if a knock-off reaction to this NYC gutsy move played out here in Fay. Officials in
NYC opted to reduce court costs and lighten an already overworked court system in a big way, creatively under the guise of promoting a more
fair and workable approach to low-level offenses, by throwing out 640,000 warrants written over a decade ago, for minor offenses such as
walking an unleashed dog, jay walking and being in a city park after hours.
Before anyone blows a gasket -- especially among those a few years ago who played the trump card rounding up decade-old Fay warrants to
build a false need to build a massive industrial county prison -- lets be clear that NYC officials selected 640,000 warrants for minor, non-violent
offenses for persons who were never in any trouble since. It seems that a pattern in recent years there became established that so many on
the NYC warrant list of old, minor offenses were unaware there were warrants out until they were stopped for traffic violations or reported a
So 640,000 warrants there disappeared today in a New York minute.
RAVES, though, to NYC officials for knowing their stats. Here in Fay, of course, we after years of jail planning still know so embarrassingly
little about our county's jail population, let alone persons sitting here with outstanding warrants. Does Fay have enough of wanted individuals
on minor offenses, who have not been in trouble since, to consider making a similar move here?
Perhaps after someone actually gets around to compile a list of currently incarcerated inmates who qualify for Fay's under-utilized specialized
courts and Day Reporting Center funded to divert incarcerations, Fay can start pulling decades-old warrants as NYC did today -- that is, if Fay
really isn't still reserving the almighty warrants lists as another trump card in cue yet to play, to try to pack the county lock up and declare the
sky is falling again. (9 Aug 17)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"Don't you think you were a bit harsh with your adieu to Marko?"
Dave, today at the diner, referring to the "Quote Of The Day" piece one week ago
Moi, shaking my head and reaching over to feel Dave's forehead for fever
"Yes, but he also knew for 9 days before he published it that it was propaganda, still published it anyway out of bias towards the two
slandered, took 16 long, lazy days to address the lie in his publication, in an editorial comment, in one brief sentence, only because the
bashed and lied about ones forced his hand to do so."
Moi, explaining why the last "QOTD" was really more of a good riddance feeling than an adieu, before asking Dave's wife in a whisper if
he might have bumped his head recently
Former Trib staff still out there
RAVES, sweet RAVES, that the powerful political cartoons by Randy Bish will return "occasionally" to the Trib's current-day dismal and
boring editorial page, after the paper's massive lay off nearly one year ago of its full-time staff. In the meantime, his toons can be
purchased or viewed at no charge on his facebook page.
RAVES, too, that former Trib state political investigative journalist Brad Bumsted, who launched his own weekly news outlet, The Caucus,
earlier this year, is still out there digging into the public's right to know about back door government deals and shenanigans. His is an
independent news source well worth subscribing to and supporting.
RAVES that these talented people -- including their former Trib writer Salena Zito, who's everywhere from CNN, The NY Post and DC
Examiner -- survived and did not disappear, as did their former Pittsburgh Trib paper, no longer published. (4 Aug 17)
Quote Of The Day" from the former local editorial page editor, terminated after 36 years
"What will they cover or more importantly what will they not cover. In the end, this is a serious blow to our democracy..."
Mark O'Keefe, former local paper editor, commenting in an exert of an unedited post, on WPXI-TV's social media web page, about last
month's mass layoffs at the newly sold Herald-Standard newspaper, asking how a down-sized newsroom from 13 to six writers can
properly cover news;
O'Keefe, posting low opinion of the paper's new owners, taking no responsibility for censoring Fayette County news in unforgivable bias
for years against his least favorite elected officials and any member of the public who dared differ with his most favorite elected gods;
O'Keefe, in the exert above, seeming to have forgotten that Democracy means a system of government by the whole population or all the
eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives, and that he took biased, personal aim at a group of thousands of
registered voters who opposed The Machine that tossed a needy reporter there $25 to buy lunch and sometimes bought pricey
newspaper ads and dramatic full-page testimonials promoting special public-funded projects in the tens of millions of dollars price range
that too rarely were actually good ideas, though he eagerly backed the fools' grand plans in likewise political editorial opinion columns;
O;Keefe, in the above referenced exert from the entire post available by clicking on the blue link, overlooking, in benign neglect, a
forgotten journalistic integrity pledge to report amazing real newsworthy news stories, such as two county commissioners accusing one
another of contract bid rigging during a public meeting... along with a bunch of other real news items allowed to fall shamelessly through
the cracks and be hidden under a pile of dirt ;
O'Keefe, otherwise, ranting the very same rant previously expressed here:
that it's always genuinely sad when some really good people anywhere suddenly are furloughed -- and especially sad to those
of us who grew up reading papers or worked at papers or grew to miss favorite writers, photographers and cartoonists, when
papers stop being papers, were downsized or sold... to say nothing of hating that too many good journalists and paper people
are freelancing themselves ragged most days as independents
Nobody here, though, is ready to include O'Keefe in that respected group of writers, editors and paper people we'll ever sorely miss. He
wrote with bias and omitted known facts that changed a story too often to excuse the spin to pure, unintended error or even sheer
stupidity. We know better. That he took to burgh social media today to express his sentiments speaks embarrassing volumes. (31 Jul 17)
Other related reading:
Ode Keefe: The many different meanings of the word troubling
Do papers generate more lies than anonymous blogs?
O'Keefe's awkward, extended silence
Decorum of da crowd ain't da serious problem ...
Bid rigging or lies?
Each time it rains
Fay can never thank the Zs enough
RAVES of the most respectful kind, once again, as so much of Uniontown flooded two days ago, to Fayette County Commissioner Angela
Zimmerlink and former commissioner Vince Zapotosky, for applying the brakes three years ago to the warped county plan to house female
prisoners on flood-prone Iowa Street and build an industrial jail on pyrite in Dunbar Township.
At the time in 2014, both former commissioner Al Ambrosini and the Iowa Street building owner mistakenly balked to media that 32 Iowa Street had
never flooded, except for some minor basement run off water caused by leaves clogging a drain.
In turn, a former employee of the unemployment office once housed at 32 Iowa took strong exception in letter to the newspaper editor to the
nonsense spin, as those folks knew all too well that the building did flood on at least six occasions and that the former commissioner and owner
were either misinformed or knowingly lied to the public. The controversy over whether the building had flooded or had not flooded prompted a
former high school student who once walked that route to school to dig successfully through archived newspapers for clippings of recalled
flooding there over the decades.
RAVES that no county jail staff were ever assigned to work there and that no inmates were ever housed at 32 Iowa Street. Had Zimmerlink and
Zapotosky not stopped Ambrosini's industrial jail plan, the safety of staff and inmates would have been in serious jeopardy two evenings ago when
Uniontown streams made rivers of city streets. Imagine the added crisis two evenings ago if emergency efforts had to be made to rescue 50
inmates and jail staff and possibly, round up inmates who may have been able to get away in the chaos.
RAVES that no county money for actual remodeling or construction was ever sunk into 32 Iowa Street, given that the building owner is quoted
today on heraldstandard.com* as saying the water very quickly rose some 40 inches inside the building, preventing a door from being
opened. "We just watched the water rise, and there was nothing we could do," the owner said in the paper's photo cut line today.
It's bad enough that the county was robbed paying for pricey interior design plans for a women's jail annex there. It was a huge blessing,
however, that Zimmerlink and Zapotosky stopped Ambrosini's plan to spin a flood zone and open a women's jail annex at 32 Iowa. (30 Jul 17)
* "Heavy rains cause some major flooding in areas"
"Quotes Of The Day" on the Methadone Clinic mystery
"Well, I see the former Queen of the closed methadone clinic is sentenced to one year in jail for distributing pain pills and other drugs that
weren’t for a legitimate medical purpose."
"Did they ever learn what happened to those 8,000 missing dosages that were unaccounted for?"
Dave, asking about the drugs that the Feds said were not on site nor documented as being dispensed at the time of the raid, as heads
around him shook no.
"What about that mysterious Larry Greene, who supposedly was a patient without a chart, who the doctor wrote scripts for? Was he the
one who tipped the Grand Jury to indict the clinic's staff? Was he a real person?"
Pete's wife, asking about a mysterious person mentioned in the indictments that came down the pike before the clinic was shuttered;
Pete's wife, continuing to comment, after a deep sigh, that it seems to her that this mysterious patient or staff deserves a medal for
bringing down the clinic's operation
Fay Prison Board missed the boat, stranding some inmates
RANTS of the most surreal kind, that years into planning county jail problem resolution, that county officials still have no idea how many
inmates sitting behind county lock up bars qualify for specialized courts designed to reduce jail population and provide specialized supports to
While a Right To Know request from this column in past years to learn those details came back with a surprising "we don't know" reply and an
invitation from a jail administrator to review court records and do the counting for the county, this column had hoped someone actually did the
counting and referring for the county by now.
RANTS, reading on heraldstandard.com*, that the county prison board still has no clue how many inmates today qualify for those specialized
veteran, mental health, and drug and alcohol courts for non-violent offenders.
Apparently, that all-important task was once temporarily dumped on a probation officer, who was not Superman, but still expected to do his
regular full-time job as well as monitor and refer those cases off for specialized courts.
Just how stupid can the county be to have negligently forgotten about this important matter, only until jail population increased and out of
county jail rentals climbed?
RANTS that non-budgeted jobs and promotions have been whipped up without second thought, and that county money flew right out the door
with retroactive pay raises back to most of a previous year, while nobody bothered to care to re-assign those key duties of monitoring new
inmates for possible target to the specialized courts and nobody bothered to yip about it until population rose.
Now if that isn't Plain Stupid, what in the world is? (27 Jul 17)
* "Prison Population and community service discussed at Fayette prison board"
Southern jail offering early release for sterilization
RANTS that the drug problem is so terrifyingly horrible these days that the White County Prison in Tennessee is offering inmates an early release
if they volunteer not to reproduce and have children. Surely, we do not jest.
The Tennessee Department of Health is to perform vasectomies on 38 male volunteers and provide Nexplanon, a three-year birth control implant
into the arms of 32 volunteer female inmates, in exchange for a one-month early release from jail. While the district attorney and ACLU oppose the
program, the program is underway, supposedly, to help inmates get back on their feet without being overwhelmed by children. Surely, we do not
jest about this, either.
Critics call the month-early release program unconstitutional. The jail administrators and county judge, however, say it's a move in the right
direction to help addicts overcome addiction and become responsible for their actions and themselves.
From this vantage point, some 600 miles north, is the feeling that addicts most hell-bent on using when they get out of jail probably had their
arms raised first to volunteer. (21 Jul 17)
Airport Authority gets Alfred a bronze memorial marker
RAVES that one of the new county airport hangers will be named after Alfred Ambrosini, former one-term county commissioner, for all his due
diligence and hard work getting Daddy Warbucks to donate one million dollars towards new airport hanger construction there.
While Ambrosini, basically, did absolutely nothing positive for the County of Fayette during his four-year drain on the county payroll and left
the county in such pitiful financial dire straits, it seems his efforts to get indoor plumbing and new digs at the airport hangers paid off in the
RAVES that Ambrosini's Sunshine Law gaffes and back room efforts to get his name on a bronze plaque across the street from the airport
miserably failed, at his once proposed 480-bed industrial jail -- or the Alfred&Vincent Memorial Shire and Rehabilitation Center, as we called it
We're tickled pink, though, that finally, finally, the man, who so genuinely seemed to need it, will be memorialized somehow. (20 Jul 17)
VA director tells social media
Vicites, Lohr misinform media, public
RAVES to Fayette County's Veteran Affairs Director, Madonna Nicklow, for taking to social media today to contradict statements about the
collapsed county employee parking lot that Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr made to Pittsburgh television, local
print media and the local AM station.
While Vicites told the local paper that the lot, partially built of concrete suspended over Redstone Creek, was closed for one year and Lohr
said to television and radio audiences that the parking lot was closed for two years, Nicklow told the local AM radio station's online readers
that the lot was, in fact, never closed.
"The parking lot WAS NOT closed. Fortunately, I don't park there, but most employees do. Thank God no one was hurt," she wrote.
In a subsequent post, the county's VA director said that a "very small area" in the back of the parking lot was closed prior to today's collapse
in the wee hours, but that "ninety percent" of the parking lot was always open.
RANTS, embarrassing RANTS, that the two commissioners were unaware that the lot was not closed prior to today's collapse.
The parking lot area was scheduled for improvements in recent months, however, as Pittsburgh media today rolls its eyes and says, "the
county knew for years but did nothing" about the deteriorating lot because the county couldn't afford the repair financially.
RANTS that the county was pictured so horribly broke on television news today, when earlier this year Vicites and Lohr voted graciously to
give non-budgeted pay raises to non-union county workers retroactively back to March of 2016, provided 2017 non-budgeted job re-
classifications and sweet pay raises to a select few, contracted non-budgeted fiscal monitoring services with Susquehanna at $235 per hour
with paid expenses when locals could have been contracted for about $15,000, and hired a non-budgeted administrative assistant for Lohr.
RANTS that Fay dodged a bullet today over a stalled $18,000 repair only because the large cracked sections of concrete and steel beams
collapsed into the creek hours before the work day began. (19 Jul 17)
More local print media jobs gone?
RANTS -- honest to goodness, in spite of what is written 15 days ago below -- if rumor mill today is accurate and another local newspaper laid
off many of its writers. It's never a good day when news rooms shrink from just barely skeletal to almost non-existent size.
In spite of the fact that this column has served up RANTS to the paper for cranking out often biased, one-sided political nonsense stories by
not writing full stories, RAVES of hope that today's hot gossip is just gossip. That way, there's always at least a small morsel of hope that the
lunatics running the asylum might realize they might sell more papers, more subscriptions, more ads and more photo orders if they sold
unbiased, honest copy called news, rather than PR fluff unworthy to be called journalism.
RANTS -- you know, if it's true -- because it's always a sad day when writers in groups lose their jobs. Even bloggers, who 12 years ago swore
off writing for another publisher, editor or commercial publisher of daily news, are hoping the usually reliable sources are wrong this time. (17
Geeeeez! Local editor spanks elderly citizens again!
RANTS to the local editor at heraldstandard.com for trying to re-write history while editorializing in "Deja vu?" and causing some of us to
choke over breakfast. Certainly, it's deja vu, that this misrepresentation of facts is on the stands.
It's OK to disagree, but so unprofessional to try to mislead the public.
RANTS that memory recall is so poor there to recall the full story of why an industrial prison built on pyrite did not get built. RANTS that the
editor cowardly blamed rude citizens for stopping the project with unkind comments at public meetings, and for failing once again to mention
to his readers that one county commissioner a few years ago accused another of bid rigging and that second one turned around and, likewise,
accused the first of the very same crime as well.
To date, the proposed land for that shelved prison project goes unsold. On the market, also, are all adjoining lots in the still empty industrial
park built a few years ago. Why is that?
RAVES, one last time, to the citizens who spoke out against the proposed 2013 industrial prison, to the thousands, who signed a petition to
allow voters to decide whether a new industrial prison on pyrite costing $40-60 million should be built, and to the handful of private citizens
who spent tens of thousands of legal fees to successfully stop zoning approval of the proposed industrial prison.
RANTS to the local editor, who bitch-slapped all those thousands of people this morning in a cheap editorial which reeks of bias and hate.
How would the County of Fayette have started paying for that industrial prison had it been built? Given the financial disaster for a budget that
the current county commissioners inherited in 2016, where would the county be today, financially, with payments that would have now been
due, had that industrial prison been built a few years ago? Why aren't papers interested in making those kinds of serious inquiries? (2 Jul 17)
Fed court slams Fay pillars of courthouse community
RANTS that the financially strapped County of Fayette has dolled out a little under $400,000 to date and likely will spend tens of millions more
for legal representation and legal costs over two aging pillars of the local courthouse community. The duo, once upon a time, are said to have
destroyed key evidence and coached a witness to lie, in a sensational murder and sodomy case that sent the wrong man to prison for 27
Yeah, so much for being pillars, we know.
RANTS because some $400,000 or so later, a civil court judge in the former inmate's civil suit against the county concluded that the two former
prosecutors intentionally withheld potentially exculpatory evidence in the case. It's one thing when we say it here, or when a brave editor
editorializes on Fay's prosecutorial misconduct, or when the think tank at the diner thinks or says it.
It's another thing, though, entirely, and extremely embarrassing to hear an outsider, such as this outsider Federal judge, speak of men who
investigated and prosecuted crimes for decades in various capacities, including one who's still actively employed in his mid-70s as a senior
judge at the courthouse.
How will the county coffers be affected if the former inmate gets one or two million dollars per each of those 27 years he was incarcerated?
Given that the county was not covered by liability insurance when the evil genius duo supposedly needed to win a case so badly that they
rigged the courts, county coffers may not ever recover from the hit of a sizeable settlement or civil case award.
Then, add to the astronomical sum that the former inmate may receive the amount of court costs to pay legal fees of his long-time lawyer.
In the real world, the rest of us, no doubt, would have long ago been exiled up the river, at the very least, for obstruction of justice, if we did
what this latest federal judge and other courts before his has said the two Fayette pillars did. We'll be angry and embarrassed for some time
longer about this case. (29 Jun 17)
"Quote Of The Day"
"The courts have ruled both ways on OOR decisions; I've seen them upheld and overturned."
Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania News Paper Association, commenting to Rants&Raves this week on the
frequency of state Right To Know appeal decisions from the OOR being upheld versus overturned
"Casey Mullooly, UMWA District 2 representative, said the study reiterated what the Crabtree study outlined and the view of the UMWA and
the county prison corrections officers."
Heraldstandard.com, "Fayette County Prison assessment study results revealed by agency," detailing some of the presentation meeting
of the prison study to members of the county's Criminal Justice Advisory Board and UMWA members;
Mullooly seemingly mistaken here, as the former county prison architect Crabtree promoted a new industrial county prison the size of
Texas with so few staff (pssssst, means less union membership dues, less UMWA cash flow, Casey), to house what Crabtree wrongly
insisted would be a constantly growing number of inmates, in spite of county specialized courts and a Day Reporting Center;
Mullooly, seeming not to understand that the former architect/jail developer can draw pretty prisons, but otherwise got everything else
miserably wrong about Fay's particular prison needs and missed the boat entirely with what has come to be grossly incorrect predictions
in general of prison population trends nation-wide
County jail repairs: a bit of Fay really moving forward
RAVES in an almost warm, fuzzy way reading on heraldstandard.com that the Swiss cheese roof atop the county jail finally, finally no
longer leaks rain and muck into the interior of the jail. We have grown old waiting for this simple miracle.
RAVES, too, that the same online story revealed that a jail basement door, that a jail administrator stated was jammed lock shut for years
by the weight or movement from a supposedly caving foundation wall, was pried open with the strength of one ordinary man in county
maintenance. RAVES that the door and wall will finally be replaced with a new concrete wall. (15 Jun 17)
* "Commissioners approve contract for repair work at county lock up"
1980 Menallen murder case, allegations of misconduct come back around
RANTS that the allegation of prosecutorial misconduct raised its ugly head again in Fayette County, as the Daily Courier* reports today that all
county judges recused themselves from hearing arguments from the SCI inmate serving time for a 1980 murder of a Menallen Township man. The
74-year-old serving time for that murder contends that former county prosecutors withheld evidence from the jury. He wants a new trial.
The county judges, as per the article, recused themselves because of their relationship with the two former prosecutors, including one who still
sits on the bench in county court.
While the man's case was previously dismissed by higher courts and may not result in another trial or a conviction being overturned, RANTS that
past prosecutorial misconduct by Fay prosecutors came up again in topic in the news and ultimately could influence a new court's ruling in this
RANTS, too, that this case, like the infamous Munchinski case, occurred before the county was covered with liability insurance. (14 Jun 17)
* "F.C. judges refuse to hear 1980 murder case"
Penguins on parade
RAVES that some 650,000 or so people in the city of Pittsburgh today were able to flock to the Point to safely gather and celebrate Sunday's
stunning Stanley Cup victory. RANTS that the key word in that last sentence has to be 'safely,' given the tumultuous and unsafe times for
crowds to gather without a massacre unfolding.
RAVES that no harm came to those in attendance today, a day that started with the political shootings in Virginia and progressed into a West
Coast workplace shooting, all in the news.
RAVES that Penguin fans got to take a healthy breather from all the horrible news in the real world and party the morning away, in grand
parade style, without a hitch. (14 Jun 17)
Fireworks season is on!
RAVES to the start of another fireworks season, with a splendid patio comfort view of the light show in the sky coming from the close of the
Fun Festival atop Crawford hill tonight. RAVES that nobody in these parts buys into that practice of celebrating only once per year on the 4th.
RAVES that surprise firework displays such as tonight's always seem to happen here in the country when patio lounging is on the agenda.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, on tv can compare -- unless, of course, it's a U2 or E Street Band show set to fireworks! (10 Jun 17)
RAVES and Yippie to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning the NHL Conference Finals against Ottawa Senators and heading into the race for
another Stanley Cup.
Centerman Sidney Crosby provided the set up for that amazing winning goal in double overtime and left the exhausted, die hard Penguins
hockey fan upstairs in bed with an incredible smile on his face that he will always remember having on the eve before his last day of high
school. (25 May 17)
Vicites' angst over a rainy day
RAVES and a chuckle that Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince Vicites exercised caution in not wanting to approve a contribution to
the long-neglected county pension fund out of concern that the money might be needed for other things that come up in 2017.
Funny, that thought or possibility did not seem to cross his mind four months ago when he:
- graciously in 2017 gave non-budgeted pay raises to non-union county workers retroactively back to March of 2016,
- provided 2017 non-budgeted job re-classifications and sweet pay raises to a select few,
- contracted non-budgeted fiscal monitoring services with Susquehanna at $235 per hour with paid expenses when locals could have been
contracted for about $15,000, and
- hired an additional non-budgeted administrative assistant for his right hand second vote.
While the current board of commissioners approved and made a contribution in 2016 to the pension fund, past administrations did not contribute to it.
Readers here easily recall that in 2015, Alfred of Alfred&Vincent fame blamed the previous Vicites-Zapotosky-Zimmerlink board and pension board for
not feeding the pension fund, while Alfred's own public promise to contribute didn't ever materialize to being an actual deposit during his one term in
Yes, readers here also know way too well that $500,000 in 2015 earmarked for the pension fund never was transferred to the retirement fund.
RAVES that there should be a pension fund contribution in 2017 -- you know, that is, if someone this time actually remembers to transfer the promised
allocation to the pension fund. (24 May 17)
Pray for the Manchester massacred, traumatized survivors
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but another chilling mass slaying of innocents at the evil hands of heartless, sociopathic lunatics who truly
deserve to painfully burn and rot in Hell for all eternity. Amen. (22 May 17)
Please, no more donations!
RAVES to the kindness and generosity of readers with awesomely good intentions here who took it upon themselves to send checks, money
orders and cash cards for Commonwealth Court legal expenses in light of the County's double filings to set aside this column's last two state
Office Of Open Records Right to Know appeal wins. Seriously, readers, your kindness and generosity is amazing!
However, we must ask readers to please stop sending donations, as this column cannot accept the well intended generosity and has returned
those envelopes to the senders. All anonymous senders are asked to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide instructions on how
to retrieve those envelopes. Any unclaimed will be donated to charity.
Thank you all so much, though, for wanting to help right the County's cowardly wrong. From the bottoms of our hearts, your thoughtfulness
means the world! (11 May 17)
"Quote Of The Day" confirming that we're losing the war on opioids
“Gray Death is one of the scariest combinations that I have ever seen in nearly 20 years of forensic chemistry drug analysis.”
Deneen Kilcrease, manager of the chemistry section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, speaking of the discovery of "Gray Death," a
newer and even more lethal mix of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and a synthetic called U-47700, which brought fatalities galore in Georgia
and now known to be on the streets of Ohio and PA
"Meanwhile, we're losing the (expletive) war on opioids here, with the (expletive) Fed's blessing!"
Pete, this morning at the diner, reading up on "Gray Death," still fuming that the big FBI heroin and money laundering bust two years and
five days ago resulted in no charges being filed to date yet against one local businessman taken into custody, who has since filed to
retrieve his $900K seized in the bust
BHA group home man beat with a broom, staff jailed
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a whole lot of rage reading heraldstandard.com's online article*, about a Uniontown man with mental
retardation being beat on his head with a broom by a paid caregiver in his public-funded group home agency monitored by the Fayette County
Behavioral Health Administration Office.
RAVES that the staff who bent a broom beating Billy's head is in jail for the attack. WAAAAAAAAAAAVES of shame, however, that the woman
was permitted to continue working with Billy for a few weeks after staff heard her say she hates Billy. Why wasn't she fired weeks ago?
RANTS that the group home agency really could have and should have terminated the jailed staff last month when she verbalized having
hateful thoughts about him. Billy would have been spared this tragic physical and emotional beating that resulted in his getting seven staple
stitches to close a cut on his head that measured one to two inches long.
RAVES of hope that the beating does not cause any long-term emotional upsets for Billy T. (5 May 17)
* "Caregiver charged with beating mentally disabled man with broom in North Union"
County takes another Rants&Raves OOR state RTK appeal win to court
RANTS that the County of Fayette on April 26 filed a petition to the Court of Common Pleas, to reverse a second of two state appeals won in
March by Rants&Raves to obtain denied county fiscal and operational information involving the spending of public funds.
Much of today's 18-page snail-mail BS bundle is identical to the 18-page petition filed in a different appeal on April 11. Noted, however, is that
today's bundle of court filings and docs also was sent to the PA Office of Open Records, while the petition filed on April 11, for whatever
reason, was not issued to the state office. The state OOR intervenes to examine and determine outcomes of appeals that media, private
citizens, companies, public entities and other sources file with the state OOR after access to public records is denied.
RANTS that nowhere, in what now amounts to be 38 pages of paper issued to Rants&Raves by a county solicitor, does the solicitor attempt to
clarify why the county said in legal affidavits it had no records that the county actually issued previously.
Nor does the solicitor in any of the now 38 pages sent here even attempt to explain why the county would have divulged and blabbed one
provider's "proprietary" expenses and stats last year, but got on its close-lipped high horse about sharing the same "proprietary" information
about other favored providers in these RTK appeals that this column filed with the state OOR and rightfully won.
Again, RAVES of hope that the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County decides it has no right to overturn the state OOR appeal wins. (4 May
County takes Rants&Raves OOR state RTK appeal wins to court
RANTS that the County of Fayette defies a state Office of Open Records appeal to release county behavioral health Medicaid information to
Rants&Raves and opts to ask the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County to reverse the state's Right To Know appeal decision.
Readers here know that initially the information was denied for being "proprietary" and private. Then the County said no such information was kept
in County records, as the Right To Know appeal went on like a bad toothache for months.
Only the County did, indeed, have the information. Not only did the County have the information, it said it didn't have the information that it
previously had released. How did the County "forget" that it previously had and released the information?
As per the County's petition to the courts 14 days ago, honoring the state OOR's RTK appeal decision in Rants&Raves' favor would cause
overwhelming problems, not just here, mind you. This, particularly, is where the County's court action to stop the release of information gets
to be a real hoot.
The County's ambitious solicitors contend that "the OOR's incorrect ruling will result in adverse consequences that will extend beyond the
Program in Fayette County, as it will negatively impact the Program in all of the other counties in Pennsylvania..."
That notion can't be anything but a hoot.
The County also reaches and brings a chuckle to hear it's contention to the Court that "the OOR erred in failing to consider or apply the
Federal Antitrust Laws."
If the County's opposition to honor a state OOR appeal really is all that, and if the County still contends in the filing with the Court that it does
not even have such records, then how can the County with a straight face even begin to explain to a Court how it was able to release the
same non-existent but private information a few months earlier?
Public funds alone pay the bills Rants&Raves requested. Fayette should not be allowed to selectively discriminate which or whose operating
cost information to release and whose duplicate operating cost information to hide. That was the reason for this column's two Right To Know
appeals filed earlier in the year and won with the state's Office of Open Records last month.
RAVES of hope that the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County honors the state OOR appeal decisions. RAVES of hope that the Court
might see that RTK questions started going unanswered after those monitoring behavioral health Medicaid inpatient care costs answered that
they had no clue if any or how many behavioral health patients on behavioral health medications in behavioral health hospitals get discharged
to outpatient behavioral health professionals and also might be involved in opioid medication treatment. More to come. (25 Apr 17)
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
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 services."
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 costs us.
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 message seriously.
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
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
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 improvement funding.
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 use.
"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
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 enough.
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. Sound familiar?
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 Feb 17)
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 Authority.
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 worth asking.
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
"...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
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 office.
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 directors.
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 last administration.
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
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
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
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
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 Glenn Pavone.
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 17)
County jail sewage line RTK
Amy Revak <email@example.com>
Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 12:25 PM
To: Julie Toye
Pursuant to the RTK you submitted on September 13, 2017
(attached), in which you were seeking, “An answer to my email sent
4 days ago. Was water turned off for days and days (inmate’s family
posted by name of social media 5-6 days) at the county jail? (Email
sent 9/12 to warden.),” you have not identified a document to be
However, after inquiry with the warden, there was no disruption in
the water service to the Fayette County Jail.
Chief Clerk of Fayette County
Photograph identified in the UMWA Journal as
sewage waste inside the Fayette County Prison in