RANTS that so many employees and fed up taxpayers feel that Fayette County Commissioners have not
reacted or reacted strongly enough to county workers drinking on the job. RANTS that they feel the
only recourse is to enlist the help of this column or Mr. and Mrs. Mazza, frequent speakers at
commissioner meetings, for action. Read more here.
RANTS to the Fayette County leaders again for being so gosh-darned gullible or for thinking the rest of
us are or for covering someone's behind in regard to county workers violating the county's zero
tolerance recreational internet usage policy. Data from this website's web provider clearly shows that
someone from the county mental health department spent 40 minutes on St. Patrick's Day, 17Mar11,
reading rants37 and catching up on current Pittsburgh music news and then reading the same
information again four days later. The last paragraph on that page mentioning county mental health was
not yet written and was not published until 6Apr11. While it's really nice that someone at the county
mental health office seems to care about Norm, Joe, Ricky and Billy, it is recreational reading,
Through all their emails from April through September about recreational reading on paid worktime, it
is painfully clear that at least two county commissioners, the county human resource director and the
county computer tech director were quite unaware -- and, gee, shouldn't at least one of them have been
aware? - - that a recreational reading ban was lifted for a specific mental health employee to research
internet sites. That is the official reason that Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink was given for internet
usage on paid work time also on 6Sept11, when someone wasted another 40 minutes reviewing fiction
story titles and reading primarily about -- drumroll please! -- the mental health office's August 19th
picnic on work time with alcohol. Note that the paragraph on rants40 about the county IP reading online
was published after the 6Sept11 taxpayer-funded recreational reading that day as well... Click here to
read the actual emails from the county reps and decide: (1) they're gullible, (2) they think we're gullible
or (3) someone's behind got covered with a laughable excuse of doing research.
RAVES to the two drivers of many, on several runs from Uniotown to Connellsville and back on 119,
who actually obeyed the speed limit. Set the cruise control for 55 and everyone else just dusted us,
speeding on through the left lane, smoking us. Even going 60, we saw them passing on the left, one after
another. Where's the fire? RAVES to the state police who nabbed a few of them!
RANTS to adults who provide liquor and make it available to minors to drink. Period.
RAVES of best wishes to Pittsburgh musician Norman Nardini, who's finally getting to head to Nashville
for some shows next month. His last little tour had to be postponed due to medical issues and a
hospitalization a few months ago. Nothing too serious to keep him down long, fortunately. His latest CD,
"Bone A Fide," is available at normannardini.com and features the always stunning Connellsville native,
Vinny Q., on guitar.
Neither a Rant nor a Rave but a note of appreciation to all who have written in response to one county
department getting a day off to party and breach the county's ban on alcohol on the job. "It's so sad,"
one reader writes," that so called professionals have that much time on their hands at one agency, while
next door at county Children and Youth, there isn't enough money to hire more staff and kids die of
abuse." Writes another, "I'm glad to hear that the investigation into the picnic is not over. It should not
take a new board of commissioners to stop this foolishness!" On the flip side, there are a few party
"sympathizers," who say that civil servants need more free days off to party and drink on paid work
time. So far, there has been no reply to email sent back asking if they are taxpayers or employees.
RANTS that people steal in the first place, but RANTS of the truly weird kind when they lug an
800-pound stuffed bear from the second floor of an area tavern, for God knows what reasons -- other,
possibly, than to prove that they could do it as a prank. Somewhere out there is the bear that probably
got sections of its face or body damaged. Lets hope it makes its way back home soon. Should this be a
result of a certain government department's latest scavenger hunt or "team building" training held in
bars, please, please do not send video here!
RANTS of the angriest kind that all the people paid well over the years with federal and state public funds
to monitor his quality of life, just might have miserably failed Tony F. of Connellsville. As seen on all
Pittsburgh television station news shows last evening and today, he was being arrested at his home
reportedly for inappropriately touching a 12-year-old boy five days ago, when police found his home full
of dead and barely alive animals, fleas, snakes, birds and incapacitating stench, on top of several inches
of feces throughout both floors of the home. Just a little over a week ago, he was seen around town with
someone he introduced as his staff. Email was sent this morning to this county's mental health director
asking how developmental services could have allowed these extreme conditions to snowball so
pathetically. What we saw on tv and smelled from the curb didn't just happen in a week, a month or
even a year. Local police report that mental health staff accompanied Tony to court when he was last
arrested and promised supports and monitoring of those supports to keep him from being incarcerated.
Whether he still had those same supports -- i.e., whether those supports were the ones sending him that
staff recently -- is unknown but believed to be the same. So until more is known, we'll give the mental
health unit the benefit of the doubt and kick the can instead. However, we fear that options were not
explored to contact the health department, petition the courts for guardianship, find him supervised
living, etc., and that all who should have been monitoring his quality of life, health and safety just might
have miserably failed him. If so, they should be held accountable, because there would be no acceptable
excuse. More on this later. For now, here's something else about Tony.
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE but a welcome to new readers from O.C. Cluss and those regular new
readers, all the way from the Federation of Russia. No kidding! Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, again, but
acknowledgement of oodles of mail critical of CYS in light of another child's abusive death and county
mental health/mental retardation services for taking no action to involve the health department in
Tony's case. This column thought long and hard before exposing the dialogue of an attempted CYS
intake in the past, but published it (click here to read) in January of 2009 because a child's life was at
stake... and CYS was wrong to assume that the general public needed to continue monitoring that child
rather than visit themselves and open a case. Likewise, it is our sincere hope that the folks at mental
health in the future assume ownership of the responsibility as technical advisors and service funding
agents, for the sake of the consumer, to attempt to hand deliver a termination of services notice if
nobody can get in another door. How hard would it be to ask a mom to come outside to sign a paper? It's
a sign of benign neglect to say, oh, but we didn't know! They should have known. Anyone on the
perimeter of that property smelled and knew something was horribly wrong. Why didn't they?
RAVES that one of Pittsburgh's top singers/performers, Erin Burkett, is performing at the mountain top
Christian W. Klay Winery in Chalk Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 8, starting at 1 PM. She will be joined by
Virgil Walters on bass and Victor Garzotto on keys for what, undoubtedly, will be a great show. Erin has
shared stages with John Mayall, Savoy Brown, Koko Taylor, Anders Osborne, Susan Tedeschi, and many
of this column's favorite Pittsburgh blues and jazz musicians. She is such a talented vocalist and writer.
Stop by, enjoy the show, buy her three CDs and become a fan if you aren't already.
RANTS that county judges brought a shameful cloud of corruption again over the area and made
national and international news wire stories and big news everywhere. Read more here.
NOTE: The Fall Newsletter was sent recently to everyone who has sent feedback and mail our way. We hope
to resume mailing those more often, and appreciate the fact that some readers have missed getting them
enough to inquire why none was mailed to readers in the past 9 months. Thanks for the patience and interest.
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a mention of the creation of the Fayette County Treatment Court
Program, designed to address and reduce the number of repeat non-violent criminal court cases
involving persons with mental illness. While this added support can seem to be only a good thing, the
youngest attorney Davis seemed to be reading minds when he stated that the Treatment Court Program
will not become a "get out of jail free card" for some. This column's note of concern -- or even
skepticism mixed into this morning's tea -- is shared around many other breakfast tables, if early
morning website email is any fair indication. The Treatment Court Program, run through the Fayette
County Behavioral Health Administration department (formerly known as Mental Health/Mental
Retardation Program) and criminal court staff, has its work cut out for itself, simply put. Also in today's
paper is word that 39 counts of animal cruelty were filed this week against a mentally retarded man very
well known to that same agency for two decades. FCBHA coordinated services and had the
administrative responsibility and job to monitor federally funded home based services provided for that
man by Fayette County ARC... but, so sadly, neither FCBHA nor ARC seemed to know about the 39
dead or emaciated animals, prior to the man's latest arrest for Megan's Law violations, or the extreme
filthy conditions (urine and inches of feces through two floors) that led to the home immediately deemed
being uninhabitable by humans by the city's code enforcement officer. Lets hope that the Treatment
Court Program takes a far more pro-active approach and does not ignore signs that something more
than just the morning tea is brewing. May the newest venture to serve mentally ill in the county be
RAAAAVES that Bruce Springsteen is coming back to town again to play two shows at Soldiers & Sailors
in early November with Joe Grushecky and the mighty Houserockers. If you attended last year, you felt
the sheer goose bump magic, unique even in comparison to any of their prior shows together. It was
special -- and so these shows will be as well. Four months have passed since the death of Clarence
Clemmons rocked the music world... and where does the Jersey rocker want to come out to play? NYC?
LA? London? Nope! He's coming back to the burgh and we're smiling the big smiles already! Thank you,
Bruce. Thank you, Joe. And thank you band, for being so good and so much fun that Bruce wants to
share your stage and our little worlds once again!
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RAVES to the life of one of Uniontown's most famous sons, Tom Wilson, creator of the popular and
lovable "Ziggy" cartoon character. Tom passed away late last week at the age of 80. He was also the
creative force behind the also popular Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears characters. In the early
1980s, we met when his mom and my grandmother shared a hospital room. All he had to hear was that
the youngest in the family was Ziggy's all adoring, biggest fan, and he immediately pulled out a tablet
and drew a personalized Ziggy greeting for Tracie, then about 6. His son, Tom, Jr. continues to draw
Ziggy these days. Condolences to him and his family for the loss of the quiet, nice man who made a little
girl's day in such a big, wonderful way with the one of a kind drawing that she so cherished.