of the most horribly, frightening kind that substance abuse professionals, police and the courts
name heroin as the illegal drug of choice in Southwestern PA. As per an
article in today's paper, the
substance is now said to be up to 90% pure on the streets, enabling it to be snorted. The drug, that
previously was about 8% pure, historically was injected, and once accounted for less than 10% of
arrests. Today, Pittsburgh police state 80% of drug arrests involve heroin. Just 12 years ago, only 4% of
those seeking treatment at an area detox center were for heroin addictions, while today, over half of
those receiving help or on a waiting list for an inpatient detox/rehab bed are heroin addicts. Health care
experts attribute heroin's increase to the region's dependency on pain medication and an increasing need
for something stronger.
RAVES that some do overcome their addictions with support, but that the drug
is taking the lives people of all ages in all communities.
RANTS, too, that there are still pieces of
sporadic incoming mail here from outraged archieve
R&R readers, over this column's past support of an
area treatment center two years ago.

RAVES that regional acoustic folk blues guitar legend Ernie Hawkins will perform at a fundraiser for
the Washington County Historical Society, on July 24, at Scenery Hill's elegant Century Inn.  Ernie has
performed for decades as a solo and group act and recorded and toured with the late Maria Muldaur on
her grammy-winning record tour 10 years ago. What a class act he is! A personal note of appreciation
also goes out to Ernie for confirming this week that past accounts on this site accurately stated that the
late James King was,
indeed, once Ernie's harp player, in the Blues Beat. For reservations for the
Scenery Hill fundraiser, please call 724-225-6740.   

Neither a
Rant nor a Rave, but a respectful fond farewell to former U.S. Representative/Washington
County Commissioner Frank Mascara is noted in this link to
expanded commentary.

that anti-teacher sentiment is so high that so many area residents have automatically jumped
the gun and labeled possible cheating on PSSA testing results --  as noted in last week's state report
about schools in Connellsville and Uniontown school -- as official confirmation of wrong doing,
the benefit of an investigation. See expanded commentary on this item by
clicking here.

and a few rounds of respectable applause to the annonymous blog writer, the Fayette Patch
Hunky, for continuing to bring "news" to think by on rapid boil on the front burner. RAVES for asking
questions that the local papers plum miss. Who else is pointing out that the Uniontown Hospital CEO,
who laid off many this year,  pulls in a cool half-million dollar annual salary package, at an institution
that takes in 80% of its revenue from medicaid and medicare billings? Or that the county's
redevelopment authority got to select 7 lucky single homeowners with annual incomes of $57K and
families of four or less with annual incomes of $78K for
subsidized loans -- really, honest! -- and a large
gift give-aways of $10K downpayments for new homes valued over $140K?  The blogger is on a roll! A
RANT to the blogger, though, for criticizing former state Rep. Larry Roberts for penning a letter
to the editor, critical and cautious of state Rep. Tim Mahoney's tossed around school district
consolidation plan. Larry's heart,
clearly, was in the right place on that one. All else considered, though,
RAVES to the patch hunky for pointing out what we're missing in traditional daily news... and while
we're on the subject...

RANTS that the economy is so bad that the Herald-Standard has begun to charge for online reading of
current news. Ten free hits per month, then the paper must charge.  It previously charged for news
archieved over 2 weeks. Albeit a minimal amount, the charge likely will result in even less readership
and less paid ads to keep the paper going. Oh, if only the publisher and editor would
listen to the patch
hunky and ask the questions that the blogger is giving them... hardcopies could still be flying off the

RAVES that news this week seems to vindicate both the Connellsville and Uniontown school districts of
implied possible PSSA cheating.
RAVES of thanks to readers who wrote to thank this column for
supporting the notion that some administrators have way too much integrity to cheat.

RAVES to the federal judge Nora Barry Fischer for ruling that the discrimination case filed by former
election bureau chief Laurie Lint will not be postponed until after election day. The two commissioners
being sued, Vince Zapotosky and Vince Vicites, had asked for a delay in the trial.  The case will be held
in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh starting on Oct. 31 as scheduled. Lint claims she was fired because
she switched from being a Democrat to Repubican and fell out of their graces, while the two Democratic
Vinces claim that she was fired for poor job performance. Zapotosky will be on the ballot in the
November general election, while Vicites lost the primary election three months ago and will be out of
office in four months. Can we see a show of hands of those who believe this one might be settled out of
before Oct. 31?

RANTS that an accused killer could have been sprung free from jail this week because his court
mandated inpatient psychiatric evaluation has gone unscheduled
for  over three years... yet county mental
and behavioral health staff still partied the work day away on the public's huge dime.
Full Story

to Uniontown native, "Little Jimmy Delligatti," being so referenced in the t.v. commercial now
shown internationally, telling the story of his creation of McDonald's famous "Big Mac" sandwich.
RANTS, however, that the commercial fails to mention that the bigger burger debuted in the Uniontown
restaurant on Morgantown Street in 1967 and credits Pittsburgh as the bigger burger's hometown. The
Big Mac, sold here for one year prior to being included on the chain's national menu, first sold at the old
shopping center restaurant for 47 cents.
RANTS to the person(s) who put video from local government bosses and employees drinking alcohol on
work time on the web.
Not that they didn't deserve to be exposed. But those innocents around them in
the scenes -- i.e., minor children, non-employee family members and other employees clearly bored by
being forced to blow off work to watch bosses drink during the day on the clock -- did
not deserve to be
part of the web show.
RANTS that the person(s) did not attempt to blurr the innocents' images from the

Neither a
RANT nor a RAVE... but a warm thanks to Buster Maxwell, who sent Kuddos for this site's
local music articles. Buster wrote the original lyrics to one of the burgh's most popular rock tunes,
"Sidewalk Romeo," recorded by the mighty Silencers and was a DJ back in the day on WYDD. Buster
and former Silencers' keys man,
Dennis "DT"  Takos, started collaborating more recently on some new
things that we look forward to hearing as this progresses. Click on Buster's name above to check out
his musical comedy site and learn more about what he's doing these days as a singer, writer and
producer. And for anyone keeping track, the 2005 article on
Frank Czuri, former Silencers' singer,
remains the most popular or most frequently read music article here. I can never thank Frank enough
for doing the interview, letting me fill a Sunday Lively Arts page with the article and for crediting me in
his online biographical information and reference sources...
nor can I thank mega-talented people such
as Buster enough, who take time out to say thanks for doing it. The pleasure is all mine.  

RAVES of applause to Howard "Bubblebee Slim" Kozy, for giving WYEP radio listeners his weekly
Saturday 5-8 PM best, over 25 years of playing
great music on his "Blues&Rhythm" show.  Thank you,
Howard, for the dedication of volunteering and all the music, background information and
entertainment that you tirelessly provided.
RANTS that today starts the first Bumblebeeless Saturday
evening... but only the best of wishes are sent his way. What an asset and supportive friend of the
Pittsburgh blues artists and music community!
Applause, applause!

Neither a Rant nor a Rave, but acknowledgement of two pieces of specific reader mail criticizing this
column's stand on loafing government workers. They both referred to this
blurp of a story promoting
recreational internet work time to increase productivity.  
Forget that the story refers to a Singapore
study where workers must actually work 6-8 continuous hours prior to receiving
any break and work
8-12-14 hour days to receive one "rest day" usually once every 12 days. The Singapore government
worker who gets that one 40-minute break per long shift to eat and update his Facebook gets
no free
paid day off to drink at Shady Grove, in other words, to picnic and party. All that said, there's no
whatsoever to some Fayette County government workers. In sharp contrast, Singapore
workers obey and respect strict policies -- i.e., they
don't sneak desktop puter time in before breaks and
do not sit on personal or government-issued phones for recreational internet reading to stay under the
radar -- whereas,
here some of our brazen government staff continue to breach county policies. Case in
point, today's website traffic data shows clearly that the same public-funded county mental health
department, sometimes criticized for drinking on the job and breaching Fayette County's zero tolerance
internet policy, wasted part of yet another late afternoon at work on recreational reading here,
as shown
here on this data link. A small Rave to Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky today
for contacting county HR about yesterday's recreational internet usage and not leaving the minority
commish to be red-faced embarrassed alone to reply, as he did with the alcohol picnic on work time
RAVES to the minority  Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for publicaly ranting recently about
the majority of commissioners not doing their jobs in regard to personnel matters with the zoning office.
Seems that she just might have got someone's attention. And, as usual,
RAVES to the majority of
Fayette County's government staff who work hard and deserve to have bosses all the way up the chain
of command worthy of respect.
RAVES, too, to the rest of the reader email from those who truly get our

RAVES to the joy of having fine new music appear ahead of scheduled release dates from the classiest
musicians behind the mighty
Bill Toms and Hard Rain band. For more information about the upcoming
CD release party later this month, go to billtoms.com and for an entertaining break
right now with a
great new homegrown song, check out
the new video. Sitting in for Scooter Tamulimas on bass while his
shoulder and arm heal is one of the burgh's legendary bass players, Tom Valentine. If ever there was a
band with pure talent, egos always,
always checked at the door and level-headed, down to earth pure
energy this side of Springsteen's E Street Band, it's Billy's band.
RAVES! And speaking of bones on the

RAVES to Mr. Colin McNickle, the editorial page director of the Pgh Trib, for penning yesterday's red
hot editorial,
"Obama's Drivel: Empty Suit," just as the newsboy gleefully prepares to shed his
burdensome cast from a horrific fall and ankle surgery a few months back. Best wishes for a speedy,
full recovery to him!

RAVES of respect to some of this site's 2006 Charter Members, a trio of former NYC firemen and
policeman, who stumbled in this cyber door with sheer amazement that their beloved St. Paul's Chapel
meant so much to a writer in the sticks of PA. Another 5 years later, another 5 years sicker from the
World Trade Center dust that they breathed, they focus on making sure that nobody forgets 9-11. They
can't work their jobs anymore, but volunteer to raise money for so many 9-11 causes and help surviving
family members and fellow first responders any way they can. Every day really has been September 12th
for them. St. Paul's next to Ground Zero and these 3 men survived for a reason. They tirelessly dedicate
the rest of their lives to helping first responders and families from all 3 sites. They raise money for
monuments, persuade movie stars to pair with unknown film makers to memorialize those lost or those
who helped save lives in NYC. It is such an honor to know them and to know that we shall meet again to
share a bench in the yard outside St. Paul's Chapel in Lower Manhattan.
Homepage                                    Older Rants                  FAYETTE COUNTY
copyright protected                                                         Continue                                    COMMENTARY