RANTS  &  RAVES  2018


    Editor's Note: While starting to write this below piece, news came of a pepper spraying at the county prison of an inmate. During that episode
    where the inmate was hauled from his cell by 4 guards to go back to the basement, an asthmatic inmate this late morning was observed by
    inmates on the floor, coughing blood in need of his emergency medical inhaler. The incapacitated ill inmate on the floor, reportedly, was taunted
    by a guard who may be shown on prison video taking too long to get the inhaler to the inmate. A Right To Know request is made to view any
    such video in existence.

    Deliberate indifference: Fay Prison lawsuit
    response to 3 women suing

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note to take a note of this next piece of information for recall after some deliberately indifferent county row
    officers facing re-election next year have put the county in incredible debt of about $50 million or more for a new county prison.  Read more.

    No fine way to inflate prison population numbers
    Fay Public Defender fails again to prepare for court  

    RANTS today that another Fayette County Public Defender held up the courts once again and delayed another homicide trial date by not meeting
    for three months with the defendant. Since the defendant is jailed without bond, it's not as though the county paid public defender couldn't locate
    the man for goodness sakes.

    When today's case came before a county judge this morning for a pre-trial motions hearing and the defendant said he had not met for three
    months with his county public defender lawyer, the judge ordered the attorney to meet at lunch with the defendant and return together to an
    afternoon court.

    However, lunch wasn't enough time to prepare adequately and another continuance for another couple weeks was scheduled.

    In late April, the Rants&Raves piece below, "Public Defender Office: thumbing noses at court order deadlines," featured a different case, one in
    which the county prosecution intends to seek the death penalty. That case also involved an easily reachable defendant held without bond in the
    county prison.

    RANTS that no county official, no county human resource officer, no county commission board, no Fay anything can force the lead public
    defender and his office staff to meet court deadlines to get with their defendants to prepare for court.

    Nobody can force the office to meet deadlines? Really? Why must the only option be to file complaints with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme
    Court of Pennsylvania? The County of Fayette writes those paychecks, after all.  

    RAVES of hope that the next judge in the same situation decides it's really time to end the nonsense by jailing the attorney for contempt of court
    and ordering him to close quarters in the same cell to prepare his client for trial. (12 Jul 18)   


                                                                                           "Quote Of The Day"
    "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by
    succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to
    God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end
    of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
    John Adams, in a letter to his wife, written on the third of July, the day after the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the legal
    separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain and a day prior to the Declaration of Independence was edited and approved on the
    fourth day of July that year; Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, the only 2 signers of the Declaration to go on to become president, both
    died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe became the third president in a row to die on the holiday, in 1831.


    Sweet news, in midst of protests, chaos, heartbreak

    RAVES to reading good, happy feature stories in the news, such as, "Marine brings home bombing-sniffing dog he served with," in today's Trib. It's
    a sweet piece about a former marine who recently went through a mountain of red tape to adopt his former military side-kick, a bomb sniffing
    pooch ready to retire at age nine years.

    O.K., so the military stopped writing back for a while to the former marine about one day adopting the pooch, and his state senator helped pull
    strings for the vet. No RANTS for that.  

    Man and pooch served together in Afghanistan sniffing out improvised explosive devices until five years ago, when the former marine was
    honorably discharged and the pooch continued on in active duty with a new military assignment.

    In the meantime, the former marine even got a tattoo of the pooch's name and paw print on his calf. Maybe a bit much, but we cut some slack
    here. Not too many of us can say our lives literally depended on our dog keeping us alive.  

    RAVES for good news, such as this, though. A vet and his military dog reunited outside of Afghanistan to pal around.

    RANTS, though, that housemates pining for a pooch conveniently leave sweet, heartwarming stories such as this open on the browser to bait the
    undecided vote -- i.e., the doesn't-want-to-walk-a-dog-in-two-feet-of-snow vote -- still on the fence. (2 Jul 18)
    Armed man put into holding cell

    RANTS of the scary kind, reading heraldstandard.com* and learning that two constables didn't notice, but gathered up, drove to the magistrates
    and put an armed man inside a holding cell, on a bench warrant for unpaid child support.

    RAVES to God, seriously, and to that man picked up for failing to pay child support, that the worst he did was get in a tizzy inside the cell and later
    verbally threaten a state trooper, called in after constables noticed the gun "with three rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber," as per the
    paper's story.

    RANTS because as bad as it was, it could have been much worse, perhaps fatal, for he might have been able to get four shots off, from inside the
    cell or even from inside the county constable car.

    RAVES, though, that he never went for his gun. (27 Jun 18)

    * "Uniontown man charged with having a gun at magistrate."


    Never mind the real civil rights violations
    ACLU, PA Law Project sue Fay over prison conditions

    RANTS that the ACLU and the PA Law Project spent over two years interviewing inmates at the Fayette County Prison and this is the best suit
    they could come up with against the county for conditions at the downtown lock up?

    Never mind that inmates don't always get their mail or that they experience delays getting mail sent. Never mind that they don't have access to
    complaint forms. Never mind that severely mentally ill inmates too often are kept in turtle suits in general population. Never mind some cannot
    have private meetings with clergy.  

    Never mind the basement lighting is dark and some cells are lined with dried, caked feces. Never mind that a disabled inmate was hosed by staff
    who was not terminated. Never mind another only decompensated further in the basement, eating his own waste, when no outpatient or inpatient
    mental health staff who ever worked with him in past decades ever knew him to do such a thing.  

    Never mind all the absolutely horrible things wrong with the county prison due to county and staff negligence. A new building cannot fix those
    kinds of problems.

    RANTS that the ACLU and the PA Law Project's colossal waste of time, energy and pro-bona legal services with this suit seem only to benefit the
    union and those pushing for new digs and nothing more.

    No doubt, they will be laughed right out of court whining about the old building and nothing but the old building. The new roof installed last year
    keeps the rain water out and the sewage catches installed stop items stuffed in toilets and sinks from entering the main sewage system.

    What the suit isn't saying, however, is that some inmates contribute to sewage messes on the floors by using the toilet repeatedly without flushing.
    Most guards refuse to flush those along the way and refuse to remove items causing the blockage in the sewage "catches" when maintenance is
    not working.

    RANTS that this suit is the best that the ACLU and the PA Law Project came up with after two years of interviewing inmates. They should have
    just stayed home. (27 Jun 18)


    Fay RTK: glass in prison food "noncriminal" investigation

    RANTS that an internal investigation of a May 8 claim by four men incarcerated at the Fayette County Prison -- that three received dinner meals
    containing shreds of glass  -- is described in a Right To Know answer received yesterday by Uniontown citizens as a "noncriminal investigation."
    Read more.


    Allegheny issues bench warrant for Conn
    man jailed in fatal Fay heroin delivery

    RANTS that the 23-year-old man jailed six days ago for fatal heroin delivery to a friend made bail after an arrest earlier this month in Allegheny
    County for possession of drugs and driving drugged.

    While the Connellsville man began his first full day incarcerated in the Fayette County Prison last Thursday, Allegheny County issued a bench
    warrant in his name, following, of course, a no-show appearance at his scheduled noon hearing that day on drug charges filed by the North
    Versailles Police on June 1.

    RANTS, as we said, that he had no problem making bail the day after he was charged earlier this month in Allegheny County and that he spent
    days right up to his scheduled Allegheny court appearance actively pursuing drugs for himself and others home in Fayette.

    Big, big RANTS, my dears. (26 Jun 18)


    "Quotes Of The Day" of a judge ranting the prison board,
    & words from heartbroken parents burying a son from overdose

    "If I were... on the board (Fayette County Prison Board), I definitely would be asking questions and have the inmates interviewed."
    Fayette County Judge, off the courthouse bench for the day and on social media, chatting with a friend about claims from 4 men that
    some inmates received shards of glass in their county prison dinner meals on "B" range on May 8, that nobody spoke with any of them
    and nobody reviewed prison surveillance video to confirm or disprove inmate allegations

    "T's parents ask only that prayers be offered for their son, for all addicts suffering from this horrific disease, and for all the family and friends who
    care for their addicts, as the journey is long and hard."
    Obituary of a young man up the street, who left rehab one day before fatally overdosing on heroin purchased from a friend, now
    charged in the death


    Fourth, said to have witnessed tainted meal county denies happened
    Three in FCP on May 8: Yes, we got glass shards in our dinner

    Three men currently incarcerated at the Fayette County Prison and one former inmate, released recently to resume his life and job, have said that
    three of them received shards of glass in their prison dinner meals on May 8. The fourth man said he witnessed the three unknowingly reacting to
    having glass in their mouths as they started to chew. Read more.


    Westmoreland offers $1,800 shot to county jail inmates at release

    RAVES that Westmoreland County officials are developing a program to provide, as a parting gift to addicts being released from jail, a free dose of
    Vivitrol, a monthly injection to block a person from having drug cravings and from getting high.

    Volunteers who opt in also will receive ten counseling sessions the first four weeks after release from jail through the injection program sponsor,
    that county's Drug&Alcohol Commission.

    RANTS that this one monthly shot is so pricey. $1,800. This is some undertaking for the former Fay warden now in charge of Westmoreland
    County Prison. Last month, Warden John Walton took in 48 inmates addicted to heroin and another 159 who required detox from other opioids,
    cocaine, other drugs and alcohol.

    The free dose of Vivitrol, a non-addictive, non-narcotic drug, would be followed with monthly shots of it, likely paid for by medical assistance that
    inmates would be helped to apply for close to release. (19 Jun 18)


    Nobody viewed video in investigation of glass in prison food

    RANTS that the Fayette County Prison Board, in its investigation of food spiked with glass on May 8, did not require somebody to view
    surveillance video of dinner time in Range "B", to see whether three specifically named inmates did or did not receive shards of glass in the food.
    One, supposedly, had glass in his mouth. None were said to be injured, and all, reportedly, received replacement meals some forty minutes later.

    A Right To Know request sent to the county to ask if anyone actually cared to view the video, was answered today. No.

    Additionally, another Right To Know asking to schedule to view the county prison surveillance video from May 8, from a 50-minute span was
    denied. As per the county's Right To Know answer, fresh off the email inbox:

    "Video surveillance images captured on the Prison's closed circuit camera system (CCTV) recycles or loops over themselves
    approximately every 15 to 20 calendar days, thereby erasing and writing over footage previously captured.  

    "Given that, any surveillance footage captured on May 8, 2018, on the B-Range inmate housing unit is no longer available for review.  

    "A search on the CCTV system as part of the review of your Right to Know request confirmed that no video exists for the time period and
    housing location specified.  Accordingly, your request to view 50 minutes of B-Range inmate housing unit video from May 8, 2018, is
    denied because no such video is available."

    Last week, Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, told Rants&Raves that the county could or
    might not grant a request to view prison surveillance video.

    "You should file a formal, written RTKL request for the video," she said. Similar requests, she said, have been denied in other cases, "including
    decisions from the OOR (Office of Open Records)."

    Melewsky said, however, it was worth pursuing with a RTK request, since "it is the agency’s duty to provide a legal basis, if they deny access."

    After all, she said, "They can also grant access under the RTKL."

    A few days prior to the accusation that shards of glass were sent in food to a cell block of inmates in protective custody, largely charged with
    offenses against children, an inmate with severe mental illness was hosed by a corrections officer when the inmate screamed for an hour and
    would not stop. The corrections officer was not terminated.  

    Nonetheless, back to the RTK request to view the prison video...  can we see a show of hands  -- or hand -- of anyone who fully believes that
    Rants&Raves really would have been allowed to view this specific video, if the video were still available?  (18 Jun 18)


    Subutex detox for some, Codeine detox for most?
    Fay pays zip for meds for inmates housed outside county

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that another Right To Know answer was received today, clarifying that all of the tons of medications listed
    below on June 13 purchased from Pechin's Pharmacy for the first quarter of 2018 were prescribed for "for the medical needs of in-house inmates."

    Fay "neither purchases nor provides pharmaceuticals for its inmates who are being housed by other counties.  It is the responsibility of those
    counties who house our inmates to provide any pharmaceuticals necessary to meet their medical need," as per the RTK.

    As per the piece published here five days ago, of the total 1,095 prescriptions that the county bought for inmates for the first quarter of 2018:
  • 487 were for psychiatric medications
  • 4 were for 135 doses of Buprenorphine, a generic Suboxin used to detox from heroin and opioids
  • 24 were for 2,070 doses of the opioid Acetaminophen with Codeine3
  • 33 were for 1,620 doses of various muscle relaxers  
  • 547 were for medical health care (diabetes, cardiac, skin, respiratory, antibiotics, some medical supplies such as pregnancy kits,
    support hose, nail clippers, etc)

    Readers here recall that medications typically prescribed by Methadone Clinics were banned from the county prison by the former warden, who
    resigned in late 2017. The prison board at that time let the issue alone.

    Rants&Raves continues to receive comments from former inmates at the county prison who say that they were receiving treatment and were
    compliant with treatment at methadone clinics prior to arrest and incarceration, but did not receive Methadone, Suboxin, Subutex or any form of
    Buprenorphine that they claim they requested. (18 Jun 18)


    No excuses now
    Sunshine Law beefed up, demands 24-hour advance, agenda posting  

    RAVES to PA Rep Jim Christiana, 15th District, for introducing now passed legislation, House Bill No. 1531, that will force Fayette County to forget
    the excuses, force itself to do its duty, to ensure that complete public meeting agendas be posted on the county website no less than 24 hours
    prior to a meeting.

    Additionally, the new, passed legislation also mandates that each and every item to be discussed or voted on at any public meeting be listed on  
    that posted agenda on the county's website no less than 24 hours prior to the meeting. This revised Sunshine Law piece defines emergency and
    last minute exceptions to the rule.

    RAVES that full, detailed agendas of all public meetings must be posted one full day ahead of time on a public website, if the public entity has one,
    or at a public agency for public review.

    RAVES to Christiana and his sponsored bill for accomplishing something that county leaders just could not -- or would not -- get accomplished.
    Can a blogger declare a county holiday? (15 Jun 18)


    $25K quarterly county jail pharmacy tab
    Suboxon detox for some, Codeine detox for most?

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of sincere thanks and appreciation to the four physician assistants, seven psychiatric nurses and two
    addiction treatment professionals who reviewed a long list of all medications prescribed at the Fayette County Prison during the first quarter of
    2018.  Read more.


    Karen Sharpe: RIP

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a most respectful pause to ask readers to remember the life and contributions of the late Karen Sharpe of

    In addition to all of her personal career accomplishments and role as wife and mom, Karen very bravely penned a letter to the editor of the Herald
    Standard four years ago to stop the purchase of the flood zone property at 32 Iowa Street for a womens' temporary prison.

    Karen's letter packed a wallop that disproved false claims by former county commissioners, a downtown business owner and engineers that the
    building's main and upper floors never flooded. Karen's letter also forced the local paper to stop pretending that archive pictures of the past
    flooding did not exist and to write the truth for a change.

    Karen's letter kicked butt and kicked the lies to the curb with her factual, first person, historical account of all of the numerous floods in the building
    where she once worked for the state. Her letter to the ed was a powerful tool that helped take down the lies and stupidity of corrupt government
    and the media which promoted the propaganda.

    That Karen endured the loss of her adult daughter two months before her own life ended is absolutely heartbreaking. No parent should have to
    endure that kind of loss. Never.

    Please say a prayer for Karen's husband, family and friends, as she and her daughter are remembered in a memorial Mass on Saturday, June 16,
    at 1 PM at The Historic Church of St. Peter 300 Shaffner Avenue Brownsville.

    May everyone reading her letter to the editor again become inspired to follow suit writing factual letters of their own when local government
    propaganda is packaged and published as real news. (14 Jun 18)

    Missing from store shelves and menus

    RANTS that some area supermarkets and restaurants have ditched their healthier food options to the curb, as though there's no need for
    customers to want to try to follow low-fat or low-sugar diets.

    RANTS that area Walmarts carry less and less sugar-free or no sugar added food items (cake mixes, frosting, cookies, ice cream) and less and
    less fat-free or low-fat items (gravies). RANTS that Giant Eagle pitched its entire Pillsbury sugar-free muffin and bread mixes, but a half of a RAVE
    that Martin's and Walmart at least still stock the sugar-free brownie mix.

    RANTS, too, that earlier this year Long John Silvers stopped offering its baked cod meal over rice and green beans, and that KFC threw away its
    tasty rotisserie chicken choice to limit customers to selecting its regular high-fat, fried chicken or top shelf, extra fat, extra crispy blend known to
    have as much fat, calories and cholesterol as a chunk of fried liver.  (2 Jun 18)

    2018 lightning bugs

    RAVES for the sweet excitement that the first seasonal sighting of lightning bugs in the field still brings each year. Forget what the calendar says.
    Forget the season.

    RAVES that the lightning bugs are back and it really is safe now to push the snow shovels waaaaaaaaay to the back of the shed.

    RAVES, it really is summer when the lightning bugs return to Fay. (30 May 18)

    Over $40K raised for start-up costs for homeless vet housing  

    RAVES to hear that a new, 90-day, transitional housing option, designed to help homeless veterans regain their independence, will be available
    soon in Uniontown.

    Veterans who will live in the Lincoln Street home will be required to take care of it and look for a job or other benefits to sustain themselves. They
    will have computer access to aid in job searches and applications.

    RAVES that over $40,000 of private funds or goods were donated for the home expected to house up to six or eight residents.

    This type of community support is wonderful, with the cause receiving a donated kitchen from Lowe's, a heating system from Whitby, Inc.,
    electrical installation from Miller Electric and electrical wiring from Cardello Lighting.

    Also, the Jacobs Lutheran Church in Masontown collected donations to support the project, and Genesis House is helping with the home's
    exterior. (27 May 18)


    FCPB: no glass served with May 8 dinner

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the Fayette County Prison Board reportedly investigated and found complaints to be "unfounded"
    from some county prison inmates earlier this month that shards of glass were found in food on a few dinner meal trays.

    On May 8, three inmates, known to be in a prison "protective custody area," accused of crimes against children, reportedly, were intentionally
    targeted with meals laced with pieces of glass shreds.  The meals were said to have been delivered by inmate kitchen helpers.

    Two days later, board members were asked to comment. Reportedly, an investigation was conducted under the direction of the county sheriff.

    This investigation is said to have shown no proof to support the allegations that the shards of glass were found, that three replacement meals
    were ordered and received and that at least one inmate was said to have had ground glass in his mouth discovered before he swallowed. (24 May

    Fay EMS draws kuddos, raves, respect

    RAVES today that Fayette Emergency Medical Services (EMS) medical technicians, paramedics and chief were recognized in honor for the
    quality, professional service they provide us, during this 44th annual observance of national EMS Week.  

    On an average across the state, an ambulance is said to be dispatched to respond to emergency medical calls every two seconds. Those calls
    could take them speeding off to a horrible accident on the highways, a fire with injuries, gun shot victims, one medical crisis after another, drug
    overdoses or trips to wait for a coroner when the 911 calls aren't made in time.

    RAVES that Fay's EMS workers work so tirelessly to assist us as quickly as humanly possible. With so many ambulance companies closing
    across the country over the years due to financial reasons, the EMS providers deserve to be paid, even a minimal trip fee, when they are called to
    assist someone with insurance and end up treating but not transporting someone to a hospital.  

    RANTS for the sometimes heartache reasons we have to call 911 for EMS help.

    RAVES, though, that when we must, we in Fay in response have what a regional medical powerhouse, UPMC, calls the "perfect" EMS model for
    others to copy, coming to assist. (23 May 18)  

    "Quotes Of The Day"  of a counter-productive attempt to justify institutional staff bullying, hosing

    "Hey, you don't know s***!"
    Familiar stranger, today at the diner, directing his comment this a-way, quickly explaining that his relative and friend county prison correction
    officers have rough, thankless jobs, saying they complain to him that the county prison's mental health inmates were not problems before, but
    have cruel peers who egg on the mental health inmates to escalate to more physical violence, spit in retaliation and injure others and

    And without pausing, he went right into:

    "I don't know the guy who wet that mental health inmate with a hose to stop him from screaming, but it's not his fault he hosed the guy to shut him
    up. Those other prisoners bullying the poor guy into a scream fit for an hour drove the guard to get the hose."
    Familiar stranger, seemingly out of breath

    "He should have hosed them then."
    Moi, presenting an alternate outcome that one should imagine should have happened, instead of the inmate with part of his brain missing
    being hosed, if we follow the Familiar Stranger's logic


    Let the clergy in, for God's sake!

    RANTS that in these past five stagnant months since Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr gathered 50 of the areas
    religious leaders to help solve Fay's social problems and extended an invitation to the religious leaders to tour the county prison, inmates at the
    Fayette County Prison who requested spiritual visits with their clergy, reportedly, have not received them. Read more.


    How will Fay answer the next time a disabled inmate is hosed?
    A tale of two kinds of prison guards
    RAVES to some of the corrections officers at the county prison for being good, decent people who wouldn't hurt a fly. Read more.

    Write in votes for sale?

    RANTS to voting in the next election voting machine lane to someone who loudly exclaims from her voting machine that she doesn't know which
    names she's supposed to be writing in on her ballot and doesn't know where or in which race she's to electronically write them. This exact
    scenario played out at the Bullskin District 1 voting polls this morning.

    RANTS when candidates are that desperate to win that they round up such uninformed "voters" to write in names without at least a proper tutorial
    on how to appear to be on the up and up.   (15 May 18)


    RIP: Jeraldine Mazza

    RAVES of respect and appreciation for the life and memory of the late Jeraldine Mazza, who passed away at home, on Mother's Day, at age 88.

    Jerry and her late husband, Ralph Mazza, were well known attendees of public meetings for decades, always watching the spending, hirings,
    firings and day-to-day business and sometimes shenanigans of county government and some other public-funded entities.

    Neither Mazza was intimidated to speak his and her mind, even when county guards were summoned to remove them from the room for their
    comments that made a few different gavel pounders over the years too uncomfortably angry or just too plain scared to allow them to keep

    For their demanding that right to speak and question government's spending of public money, we all owe Jerry and Ralph big time. Rants&Raves
    extends the deepest sympathies to the Mazza family and Jerry's friends for their loss.

    Hers is a giggle these ears won't ever forget. (15 May 18)

    To discuss personnel matter May 14
    Fay Co Prison Board sets special meeting

    The Fayette County Prison Board of Directors will hold a special meeting at 2:30 PM, on Monday, May 14, at the commissioners conference room
    of the Fayette County Courthouse, "for the purpose of addressing a personnel matter." (10 May 18)


    Complaint forms said to be withheld
    Fay Co Prison Menu: Tuesday's Chipped beef & glass

    RANTS that meals two days ago served on dinner trays to at least three inmates at the Fayette County Prison, reportedly, contained shreds of

    One source told Rants&Raves today that one man in the "B Range" bit down on the glass while eating his prepared tray meal. No one is believed
    to have been seriously injured.

    Replacement dinner meal trays without glass for the three affected inmates, reportedly, took some 45 minutes to round up, as per the prison

    Following the alleged glass contaminated food incident Tuesday, the three inmates also are said to have complained to guards and requested
    prison "red letter" complaint forms to complete, for written record of their complaints.

    These complaint forms for inmates to record concerns and complaints and seek action, reportedly, were not made available to the inmates, as
    required by regulations, to be available.

    It is unknown if the three inmates, known to be in a protective custody area, accused of crimes against children, were intentionally targeted with
    meals laced with glass for their specific charges. It also is unknown at this time if meals to any other prison range or area were affected.

    Prison board members were asked to comment earlier today. The matter is said to be "under investigation." (10 May 18)

    Fay Prison Board investigating yesterday's hosing attack

    Editor's Note: While an inmate with a chunk of his cerebellum missing from his brain was taken yesterday to the city police station, he, reportedly,
    assumed responsibility for his bloody nose 13 days ago, for "acting stupid" and aggressively with guards, as per the city cop who interviewed him.

    In a written statement forwarded to Rants&Raves, the city cop said the inmate sustained a bloody nose while "being subdued while attacking a
    guard" on April 19.

    Consequently, the city cop wrote that the inmate's bloody nose last month "doesn't constitute an assault."

    Of the same mental health inmate with a chunk of his cerebellum missing, the city cop added that the inmate "made no report to me of an assault
    (hosing) that occurred yesterday" when they met at the police station around 3 PM.  

    RANTS if the investigation of the hosing yesterday of the inmate that the county prison board and jail administrators are said to be conducting fails
    to include viewing video of the alleged hosing, the inmate having his hands held and being calmed by a caring deputy warden and given dry
    clothes and bedding.  

    When at least one of them sees the hosing and the aftermath with the deputy warden on video, RAVES of hope that it is shared with the city police
    and someone advocates for even the PIA inmate with serious mental health issues and a chunk of his brain missing.   (2 May 18)


    Shut it down!
    Fay Co Prison guard shamelessly turns hose on mentally ill inmate

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of a most upsetting and disgusting type, from a most trusted source or two at the Fayette County Prison,
    that a corrections officer at the county prison today turned a cold water hose on a mentally ill inmate with half a cerebellum.

    Witnesses state today that the inmate had been "acting up" all day before the corrections officer removed the hose from the wall and turned on the
    water to spray the inmate with cold water.  

    Afterwards, a deputy warden came down and held the mentally ill inmate's hands to try to calm and soothe him. The deputy warden reportedly got
    the man dry clothes and a new cot mattress.

    Witnesses state that an another inmate commented to the deputy warden that it's illegal to house mentally ill inmates within the prison's general
    population. Where else can we keep them, the deputy warden reportedly replied.

    RANTS if the corrections officer involved is not held accountable. RAVES of hope that we don't hear a lame excuse that he lacked the proper
    training or was overwhelmed by the continual acting out.

    Maybe after the lumps in our throats are gone, we'll feel empathy for the corrections officer with the hose, but not today. (1 May 18)

    Or just miserably under-staffed?
    Public Defender Office: thumbing noses at court order
    deadlines, clogging up the county courts, prison on purpose?

    RANTS that the County of Fayette's Public Defender's Office missed another deadline of a court order to visit with an incarcerated inmate at the
    Fayette County Prison heading to court soon for a very serious death penalty case.
    "Defense counsel shall meet with the Def (defendant) in the place of Def's (defendant's) confinement within 45 days of the date of this
    Order to review all discovery with the Def (defendant)and to consult with the Def (defendant) about the plea offer that has been extended by
    the Comm (Commonwealth)," stated the court order issued last month, by Linda Cordaro, on March 9, 2018.

    Cordaro's court order also announced the appointment of a second counsel, Attorney Jeremy Davis, for mitigation to represent the accused in the
    penalty portion of the case, at an hourly rate of $75. Although the inmate has another pre-trial conference scheduled for this case on May 4 and
    the district attorney said he's planning to seek the dealt penalty, the inmate's lawyer missed the court-ordered deadline of April 23 to get with the
    inmate to prepare for court.

    In a recent interview with Jon Jones of Uniontown, published by Rants&Raves below on April 18, the inmate stated that he had seen a prison
    counselor once "for five minutes in two years," and said that he submitted written daily requests to see a counselor.

    RANTS, though, that we must note that the accused's public defender lawyer missed a judge's court ordered 45-day deadline six days ago to
    meet with the inmate who could start to go to trial to be put to death in just six days. (29 Apr 18)

    * It is noted that a county employee employed as a county prison counselor did meet with the inmate this week.


    Or ask Vicites, Lohr to pay half
    Coroner should return most of the $14,366.73 to county coffers

    RANTS that the County of Fayette allowed its financially strapped, meager coffers to pay a $14,366.73 hotel, airfare, cruise ticket for an elected
    official and staff, but has no money to fund additional public defenders to speed up inmate criminal motions and no money at all for some
    worthwhile community programs, such as libraries that increase our quality of life, or to fix a once heavily traveled, but now closed, small county

    RANTS that the controversy and courthouse whispering over the requisition form for that reimbursement is said to have raised upset and lowered
    employee moral in other departments. Total training costs for the 14 hours of training that each of the six coroner's office staff received on the
    seven day cruise was $2,995.

    Not that this specific $14,366.73 expense was approved recently at a public meeting. It wasn't. The reimbursement check was cut last December
    for the full amount. Commissioners approved non-specific training and travel funding at last year's budget sessions. Fayette County
    Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr and Fayette Head Clerk Amy Revak signed off on the requisition form privately and forwarded it to
    the controller's office to reimburse the full amount in late 2017 for the cruise training that set sail from Florida on January 7, 2018.

    While approval for travel and training expenses for elected officials is not subject to the same scrutiny by commissioners as expenses for county
    employees are, the coroner's cruise for his staff and family should not have been paid for from public funds. RANTS that commissioners thought
    nothing of the cost, paid it and never asked how related or appropriate the specific cruise training was to the jobs performed for the county.   

    RAVES of hope that the coroner reimburses the county for the sweet vacation, minus the training cost of $2,995. Certainly, the office of the public
    defender could use some more money, as well as the fund that needs boosted to fix a small county bridge closed for several years that affects
    four small Bullskin businesses.

    RANTS because there are just too, too many other worthy but neglected county obligations for Fay to be paying for a fluff cruise vacation that
    produced 14 hours of training that likely has not much to do with the actual work of a county coroner, office staff or deputy coroners. (28 Apr 18)

    Vicites, Lohr approved $14K training cruise for coroner's office

    RANTS that Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr approved reimbursement of $14,366.73 to the county coroner for a
    seven-day Caribbean cruise training seminar for the coroner, chief deputy coroner, assistant coroners, the coroner's office manager and clerk.

    The cruise seminar on the Holland America ship was sponsored by the American Board of Legal Medicine, a non-profit for lawyers who are
    doctors or doctors who work within the legal system. The ship sailed in early January of this year. A peek at a more recent cruise seminar included
    training on abortion, stem cell research, HIPPA, euthanasia, and medical malpractice, among others.

    While the PA Code does not address keeping costs of required continuing education credits at a minimal cost for seasoned staff, Section § 199.22
    of the PA Code addresses training costs for newly hired staff.

    "Costs for those persons statutorily required to attend the Basic Education Course will be the minimum necessary to pay the cost of instruction,
    required course materials, and room and board," as per the PA Code.

    RANTS that the County of Fayette cannot afford to pay for such sweet vacations for all of its elected officials, their families and departments. Yes,
    surely, we jest and have to wonder if Vicites and Lohr even read the requisition or considered asking the coroner to send his crew for training at a
    more reasonable venue and cost.  (25 Apr 18)

    Both papers' bias: black and white apparent

    RANTS for the obvious bias in news, as illustrated big as Texas in heraldstandard.com's "Fayette commissioner's attorney says lawsuit from
    business owner should be dismissed" as well as in the Courier's "Fayette County commissioner seeks dismissal of lawsuit."

    As readers here and even likely over at those two outlets, too, likely recall, a business owner filed a suit earlier this year, in January of 2018,
    against his two neighbors, a county commissioner and the county, claiming the commissioner threw a hissy fit a good decade or so ago that
    resulted in the county zoning office initiating the filing of a lawsuit against him in 2017 for ignoring zoning rulings.

    What even we're convinced here that the writers of the above referenced pieces surely must recall -- since at least one also wrote the initial story
    about the suit three months ago -- is that they failed to include the significant bit of information in the latest stories that the county of Fayette also
    was named in the suit as well.

    RANTS when the personal bias against one county commissioner in reporting is this black and white apparent. RANTS to both writers and their
    editors who allowed the bias to go to print. (22 Apr 18)


    Ringer's hypocritical take as campaign manager

    RANTS to political campaign manager Richard Ringer for taking the stupid, naive approach in print today, in his letter to the editor on
    heraldstandard.com. In the letter, Ringer exclaims that it's not routine or right for candidates to challenge nominating petitions of their competition
    because, well, in his opinion, they do so out of fear of competition.

    In "Stefano obviously scared of being opposed in election," Ringer presents as some naive soul witnessing his very first political campaign, with
    the hope that readers are too stupid to recognize some hypocrite trying to forget that the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC)
    routinely prepared legal challenges to all nominating petitions of opponents to incumbent Dems in office.

    Given that this is Fayette County and write in candidates have won office here before, nothing is taken for granted -- that is, except for some who
    chose to believe that voters are not as smart as or are not smarter than some candidates and some campaign managers may hope. (19 Apr 18)  


    Fay Co prisoners get wrong meds from nurse

    Two inmates at the Fayette County Prison last week reportedly received and swallowed each other's medications by mistake, as a nurse wrongly
    dispensed those two inmates prescribed medications.

    A trusted source at the county prison said inmate Randy R. got and ingested medications prescribed for inmate Mike B., who, in turn, wrongly
    received and swallowed medications prescribed for Randy R.

    "Each man ingested the medications prescribed to the other before the error was recognized," the source said. It is unknown what the
    medications were prescribed for, or what medical follow up was needed, if any, after the wrong medications were dispensed to the two inmates.

    RAVES that nobody died in the mix up that could have been just as deadly as delaying inhalers for two hours to those medically in need of them
    after pepper spray filled large areas of the prison.

    It is unknown whether county prison med staff must complete incident reports for medication errors at the prison. RANTS if nobody gives a rat's
    behind, even if such reports are made to the state about medication errors dealing with inmates. ( 18 Apr 18)


    Inmate interview with Jon Jones
    Medication errors out the wazoo at the Fay Co Prison

    As per an interview conducted 4 days ago, by Jon Jones of Uniontown, with an inmate incarcerated for nearly two years at the Fayette County
    Prison, serious medication errors reportedly occur on a regular basis at the county prison.

    These daily occurring medication errors, as per the source, includes:
  • prison staff bringing pills already previously crushed somewhere else to dispense to an inmate, when pills are to be dispensed whole, then
    crushed, in the inmate's presence

    As per this source, another very serious medication error reportedly occurred when prison staff withheld asthma inhalers for two hours to a 70-
    year-old with COPD and others in respiratory distress, after a pepper spray incident not directly involving those asking for their inhalers.

    Prison officials reportedly do not segregate inmates known by the population to be infected with MRSA, HIV, and possibly tuberculosis, whose
    waste mixes with that of others, when man-made sewage clogs are created to explode toilets and sinks with raw sewage and used toilet paper
    and remain in inmates' cells for hours or days before it is cleaned up with a lick and a prayer.

    As far as other violations go, the inmate also said that:
  • his religious rights are violated with no religious visitation being allowed
  • claims to have seen a counselor only once in two years incarcerated, although he claims he submits request slips "daily."
  • claims inmate mail is not opened in front of inmates as it is supposed to be opened
  • claims books are removed from inmates for "days at a time."

    Some of the county prison corrections officers, as per the source:
  • encourage some inmates to attack other inmates
  • pass through the ranges and housing areas for inspections with their heads down
  • reportedly told an inmate in isolation for suicidal ideation, "I don't care if you starve, die or kill yourself."

    Thanks to Jones for forwarding his interview notes to Rants&Raves and sharing.


    Shut it down!
    Fay Co Prison mental health prisoner, a few others, sit
    in inches of sewage for 12 hrs and counting
    RANTS that another Saturday sewage back up appears to be well underway, into its twelfth hour, affecting inmates in at least two cells at the
    Fayette County Prison. Inmates in those two cells, reportedly, are joined in their cells by urine-stained water inches deep and pieces of used toilet
    paper on the floors and toilet seats.   

    With what one prison source tells Rants&Raves is a mess again of used toilet paper, feces and urine, it is said that at least one known mental
    health inmate is wearing shoes and socks soaked in the sewage back up mess. It is unknown whether that particular inmate is responsible for
    clogging a toilet that caused the back up around 1 AM today.

    It is just known that 12 hours have passed, raw sewage remains clogged and at least one known mental health inmate still
    sits with a clogged toilet and inches of sewage on the floor, in a shared or adjacent cell with another inmate who refuses a
    tuberculosis test and, reportedly, has not spoken at least for a few months.

    RANTS that the Fayette County Prison administration and the union allow this pathetic crap and inhumane treatment of people well known to the
    community mental health system to continue. While nobody reported used tampons in today's sewage back up, that's hardly something to cheer

    Perhaps female staff and female inmates were schooled in personal care and started tossing those instead into the trash. Clearly, nothing else
    has changed. (14 Apr 18)

    Geyer charged with inappropriate touching of a teen, providing alcohol

    RANTS that another full-grown adult pillar of the community was charged with plying a 14-year-old female with wine and touching her on multiple
    times over three years in sexually inappropriate areas of her body in his bed, in a series of a dozen or so sleep overs in his Connellsville home
    and on a trip together to New York.

    Given that the accused also has run a popular Scottdale theatrical training and performing arts theater program involving child actors, singers and
    dancers, RAVES of hope that, if these shameful allegations are true, it at least is a twisted, isolated case, when he reportedly chose in his mid-30s
    to get a kid drunk and try to seduce her.

    RAVES of hope that no other kids were damaged and that no additional charges get filed against Geyer, a former Connellsville councilman and
    aide to a State Senator Pat Stefano.

    Not that anyone here thinks that Stefano should have sensed something very wrong might have been going on with Geyer -- i.e., no more than
    anyone here would say that people such as Phil Michael and former state legislator Tim Mahoney, with whom Geyer was seen publicly before
    Stefano was elected to office, should have sensed something was odd about their pal.

    No doubt, they are just as floored hearing about Geyer's arrest as the rest of us. (13 Apr 18)


    County ends it with extra meat
    Fay Co prisoners start hunger strike to protest small meal portions

    RAVES that the food pantry and freezer at the Fayette County Prison just happened to have an extra 200-some burgers on hand yesterday, when
    a large portion of inmates refused to accept and eat dinner, saying portions of food were so small, why bother.

    Then, those 200-some extra burgers just, sort of, magically appeared for everyone.

    At the county prison lunch hour today, Rants&Raves was told that "lunch trays were more robust than normal."    

    RAVES to the inmates for conducting a somewhat effective, short-lived, peaceful protest of the county prison's food service and meal portions.
    And RAVES to the county, one last time, for just having to have an extra 200-some burgers on hand yesterday for dinner.

    Another county prison source, meanwhile, reported some inmates may be launching a different kind of protest.  Some, Rants&Raves is told, say
    they want to appear "as dirty and smelly" in court as they feel they do typically most of the time in the prison. (9 Apr 18)


    Home on the range: another sewage mess day at Fay Co Prison

    RANTS that another inmate cell range at the Fayette County Prison remains flooded into the third hour today, with inmates and prison staff living
    and working on floors covered with raw sewage and used toilet paper and tampons.

    While it is unknown at this time if this situation is a result of another intentional clogging of a cell toilet with blankets or bedding matting, anyone
    familiar with the 2017 installation of 44 "clean out units" or "catches," attached to the metal pipes exiting cells with screens to catch materials not
    meant to be flushed, strongly suspects it's just another routine day at the prison with nobody willing or available to clear the clog.

    At the time of the installation of the "catches," the former warden was quoted by the Herald Standard* as saying that inmates deliberately clogging
    the sinks or toilets to overflow them would be charged to have the "catches" cleared.

    RANTS because by now, one would think that the prison must be raking in the dough from what seems to be almost daily occurrences, as per
    prison sources incarcerated at or employed by the county. Often, inmates with mental health or cognitive disabilities are said to be ones who
    typically create most clogs.

    By now, one would think that county officials would sternly insist there be a quicker response time to clear the clogs or face the reality of needing
    around the clock prison maintenance to clear the clogs quickly. RANTS because it's a disgusting situation that truly does not have to be as bad as
    it is. (7 Apr 18)   

    * "Sewer line repair set to take place behind Fayette County Prison," published October 25, 2017


    Jailed Fay guard: previously fired, then sued Uniontown School District

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the corrections officer at the Fayette County Prison taken out in handcuffs for bringing contraband
    and drugs into the prison for a female inmate he fancied, once filed suit against the Uniontown School District two years ago, after he was
    terminated from his job as a school security guard.

    While employed by the school district, Michael T. Slater of Connellsville scuffled on the floor with a junior high student after the 13-year-old
    punched Slater.

    In that case, Slater was charged in March of 2015 by Uniontown Police, only to have the charges dropped the following month by the county
    district attorney for a lack of evidence.

    However, after the district still chose to terminate him in May of 2015, Slater filed suit two years ago, in March of 2016, against the district for
    wrongful termination and defamation of character.

    RANTS if the district ended up or ends up paying him off for that suit. Given that an inmate currently incarcerated at the prison labeled the
    terminated corrections officer as a recent abuser of mentally ill or cognitively disabled inmates, RAVES of hope that the current charges of bringing
    in drugs to the prison do not get dropped. (6 Apr 18)   


    2 drug arrests this week at the Fay County Prison?

    RANTS of disappointment today hearing that a corrections officer, Michael Slater, at the Fayette County Prison is charged with providing drugs to
    an inmate, with whom he supposedly is involved in a personal relationship.

    Today's arrest follows another made earlier this week, as per a county prison source here. The arrest earlier this week, however, reportedly
    involved a contracted worker who is not a county employee.

    As for Slater being charged today, he was removed from the prison in his corrections uniform for booking and was returned to the prison as a
    charged inmate. The woman reportedly was found with a large amount of pills in a weekend shake down before the new county prison warden
    took over the following week.

    As per court records, the woman was jailed again in late January for failure to pay fines for allowing dogs to run loose. She was previously
    charged and did time in state prison for food stamp fraud. (5 Apr 18)


    Former funeral director tugs on heart strings for pity

    RANTS that the case of the former Uniontown funeral home director, arrested two months ago for stealing $300,000 from 51 elderly folks for their
    pre-paid funerals, made such a shameful tug on the hearts of newspaper readers today. He was let out of jail last month, after his $500,000 bond
    was reduced to $150,000 because of health reasons, even though an additional 80 others came forward when they heard about his arrest and the
    amount stolen so likely well exceeds that $300,000 sum.

    RANTS that court papers quoted in today's Herald Standard*, state that the former funeral home director spent $16,000 of the stolen money to
    fund a family member's opioid inpatient rehabilitation care, as though to draw pity for the defendant. RANTS for that, because $300,000 minus
    $16,000 equals $284,000 of other peoples' money stolen and not spend on opioid rehabilitation for a family member.  

    Given that there are at least 51 theft cases -- and possibly an additional 80 more -- it's pretty safe to assume that some of the 51 elderly that the
    former funeral director stole from also paid for opioid treatment for a child or grandchild. (30 Mar 18)  

    *"Former funeral director's license officially suspended," Herald Standard, 30Mar18


    Does the county have a prison sewage action plan?

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a question of whether or not the Fayette County Prison Board has an action plan developed to fix the real
    problems at the county prison once and for all.

    That some prison staff and even the casual observer of daily scuttlebutt about town can pin point a main problem is some prisoners stuff items into
    the toilet and sink and, routinely, there can be long delays in getting someone to clear the sewage "catches" installed last year to keep stuffed
    material from entering the main outgoing sewage line.

    In short, at one time corrections officers said they were told not to clear the catches of stuffed material that causes the toilets and sinks in some
    parts of the prison to explode with bursts of sewage that bubble upward in toilets and spill over onto the floors and out onto the catwalk.

    Not so long ago, at least two corrections officers told Rants&Raves that they will not clear catches or flush toilets after they've clogged.  The
    prison has one full-time maintenance worker weekdays who clears the catches during those times. Maintenance sometimes is called in at other
    times, but is not on site or called in enough, in opinion expressed by some prison staff.

    "We tried to get another maintenance worker, but got shot down," one corrections officer recently said here.

    "So if the prison had another maintenance worker or someone other than corrections officers to rely on, to clear sewage catches and to clean up
    other messes when prisoners throw or smear feces, your jobs would be easier and the quality of life for prisoners would improve significantly?" he
    was asked and quickly replied back in the affirmative.



    FC Prison
    Shut it down already!

    RANTS that current conditions at the Fayette County Prison are so bad that it needs to be shut down just as soon as transfers of
    current inmates to other jails can be arranged.

    In a hand-written statement  received from inmate Chris Shellhammer, he wrote of the county prison, "The utter neglect of this
    facility has taken its toll."  Shellhammer is jailed without bond for what he claims is a justifiable homicide of self defense. He
    recorded county prison board meetings and county commissioner meetings for a few years as Chuck U. Farley.

    As per his written statement:

  • Rats are seen on the prison catwalk, especially when sewage drains onto the catwalks.
  • Slime coats the shower and sewer flies come up from the shower drains.
  • There are daily instances of sewage backing up through toilets out onto the catwalks, with wet toilet paper pieces attaching to
    everything they come in contact with.
  • Yellow-tinted water carries bits of fecal matter with it. Even the occasional used tampon makes its way down the block.
  • Inmates' requests put into the Inmate Request Box are not picked up. The box is not regularly checked. This request drop off
    box is the sole means for inmates to send messages to therapists, file complaints, etc.
  • A deposit into the inmate commissary fund was short $11.50 from a $100 deposit.   

    RANTS that sewage "catch" bins installed to prevent intentionally stuffed materials into the toilets from going into the sewage
    system cannot clean themselves and that policies are still not followed in regard to maintaining the commissary fund accurately and
    establishing who exactly and when exactly are corrections officers or maintenance to clean the catches.

    Some things should have been "fixed" long ago.  While the use of pepper spray might have been warranted last night, RANTS that
    emergency inhalers for inmates with medical conditions were not available for two hours after the pepper spray was used on
    innocent bystanders affected in the surrounding prison areas.  (29 Mar 18)                 

    Fayette County Prison's overkill of pepper spray

    RANTS that excessive pepper spray reportedly got so out of control in the air last night inside the Fayette County Prison that it permeated a range
    and ended up affecting more than just the intended inmate target.

    While little else is known about the physical attack and subsequent release of pepper spray in the air on a county prison range, a trusted source
    said that two inmates with asthma and congestive heart failure, who were not at all involved in last night's incident, did not receive their breathing
    inhalers for two hours.

    As per a county prison source, the same corrections officer ordered the pepper spray to be used and is said to have later denied requests to open
    windows to help air out the range. Are prison windows allowed to be open?

    While toxic levels of pepper spray usually causes skin, breathing and eye irritants, toxic levels of pepper spray can also raise blood pressure to
    dangerous levels.

    It is unknown if additional prisoners or prison staff were affected. (28 Mar 18)

    Guard steals, returns inmate's stuff?
    On a positive note, but RANTS that a particular county prison staff reportedly returned items -- i.e., a ring, personal photos, paperwork, etc. -- to a
    county prison inmate, only after the inmate filed a formal complaint about the alleged theft and administrative staff reportedly warned charges
    would be filed if he did not return the jewelry and items.

    RANTS that the protected staff was not charged. More to follow. (28 Mar 18)  

    Recalling, ^missing NES, Fayette Searchlight blogs

    RANTS that the often raved Not Enough Said (NES) blog disappeared online completely sometime back, with no adieu goodbye to readers or
    reasons hinted at or disclosed for stopping publication. NES since is sorely missed for its serious, focused investigative pieces on local Fayette
    politics, education and community matters.

    RANTS that the absence or removal of the "warts and all" NES website from the web left an impressive size hole in county history. It was a
    favorite read. It's one thing, you know, that the two writers stopped writing NES, but its archieves contained some of the best investigative
    journalism Fayette County has ever known.

    While some often under the NES microscope surely must have danced a jig of happiness and joy when NES disappeared from the web, nobody
    who comes after us will be able to read so much intriguing information, recent time political history and work of the two gifted writers. Some of us,
    most definitely, got to read some things there that we won't ever forget.

    Another subsequently developed website from one of the two former NES editors popped up online from 2015 and 2016.

    Like NES before it, the second website, Fayette Searchlight, too, left readers hanging when publication ceased, during that writer's attempt to
    learn about expenditures of Tim Mahoney, former state representative.

    The new website questioned whether Mahoney billed the public for his trip to testify for leniency in federal court and release for a personal
    Uniontown friend, a twice-convicted, violent, drug felon on illegal possession of firearm charges who shot at police.

    A few days before Fayette Searchlight's last publication, the website also asked about the $90,000 that Mahoney accepted as
    payment for property that he sold to a well-known, otherwise not employed long-time drug and arms dealer and a car lot owner
    father of a county prison deputy warden.

    That real estate deal happened two years before the FBI stormed through 11 Fayette locations and busted the referenced above drug and arms
    dealer and the father of the county prison deputy warden for selling heroin and cocaine. The FBI raid found hundreds of thousands to one million
    dollars in cash, an Uzi sub machine gun and other weapons. (28 Mar 18)


    Retro "Quote Of The Day" from Fayette Searchlight

    "While Rep. Mahoney chastises “other elected officials” for being late to jump on their anti-drug soap boxes, in May 2015, in the
    wake of the May 5 drug raid (and subsequent indictments), when the rubber met the road, Rep. Tim Mahoney went more silent than
    a group of mimes at a marathon game of Quaker's Meeting."
    Fayette Searchlight, an exert from "Mahoney's Broken Soap Box," published in October of 2016, about one month before the
    website stopped publication

    A tale of two way different airport surveys

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a hope that readers will click on these links to see how two different entities operating with some public money
    compiled different surveys to determine the interests and need for possible expansion at the county airport.

    The first survey has been available on the county's website home page. It's a straight-forward, basic survey, asking tenants or perspective airport
    tenants about future services.

    The airport's own survey is in sharp contrast to a second one circulated by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce that lists pricey charter
    costs, such as $29,000 for a one-way flight for up to six passengers to Houston, Texas. (27 Mar 18)


    Dowling rips back

    RAVES that PA Rep Matt Dowling picked up his pen to answer the letter to the editor that his predecessor and current opponent from the 51st
    District sent to the area papers. In "Rep. Dowling questions why his opponent wishes to silence public," in today's Daily Courier, Dowling reminds
    readers that he "joined a bipartisan majority to pass new reforms" that limit the length of time opioids can be prescribed and provide funding for

    In short, Dowling wrote of his 15 months in office, "I have taken concrete steps forward in this fight -- more steps than Mr. (Tim) Mahoney ever
    took during the decade he had to take action."

    RAVES that Dowling took issue with the fact that Mahoney "used the power of his official office to seek a pardon" for a local doctor whose medical
    license was revoked after a conviction in the 1990s of Medicare fraud, only to be charged and jailed again following a 2015 FBI raid for "running a
    pill mill " at a largely Medicaid-funded Methadone clinic.

    Dowling wrote in today's letter to the editor that the doctor was "one of Mahoney's biggest campaign donors just months before he pushed for that

    RAVES because to date, only bloggers had the you know what to broach that particular topic. (27 Mar 18)


    Mahoney rips Dowling in letter to the editor

    RAVES, had today's letter to the editor in the Daily Courier, "Real help needed to combat opioids in Fayette County," been written by an Average
    Joe, a blue or white collar worker in private business during the years 2013-2016, when opioids, heroin and fentanyl definitely already made their
    cataclysmic presence known in Fayette County.

    At least, if Average Joe had penned the letter blasting current PA Rep Matt Dowling, we could say he's entitled to his opinion, biased or not, to
    fault Dowling for wanting to talk to citizens and offer community outreach.

    RANTS that the letter, however, was written by Tim Mahoney, former state representative for one long decade, from 2006-2016, who told a town
    meeting crowd a month before losing re-election, "We've lost this war with drugs this generation. There's just no doubt about it."

    RAVES, though, that at least now Mahoney seems to feel for parents or family members living today with an addict by not repeating his negative
    comment that drove a stake through some parents' hearts and offering pre-election hope that building treatment facilities are the answer. (26 Mar


    "Quotes Of The Day" on politicians hitting the group dinner circuit

    "Every day it seems the local paper has a front page story of school shooting threats, community-wide shootings or pictures of local politicians
    doing little newsworthy but getting free advertising to promote their next election."
    Bob, a new guy at the diner, reading and thinking aloud, grabbing the attention of this column's hosts, Dave and Pete, who accepted sizable
    bets 15 minutes earlier from their spouses that the duo could completely refrain from talking politics today and focus on family and

    "Why, take, for instance, the NRA banquet this week. The politicians came out in force, and in groups. The losers of previous elections... some
    who've already publicly announced running and some campaign workers, and that new kid -- I can't remember his name... You don't usually see
    too many politicians or candidates at the annual NRA fundraiser..."
    Bob, going on and on to the waitress and, ironically, to Pete and Dave's spouses, that "Gerard, Mahoney, Palumbo, a young guy and two of
    Ambrosini's crew" sat together, while "Stephano, Lohr, Lion were there together" and "Warner, and Dowling were at a table with others

    "I know Vicites wasn't there."
    Pete's wife, who said she wanted to ask if she could talk sometime soon to him about how inmates at the county jail on suicide watch are

    "She knows first hand admission and drinks were not free. She's really baiting us. Lets get out of here because I'm about to lose the bet!"
    Pete, leaning over to whisper to Dave, putting down his tab and tip, standing to put on his jacket to leave, telling the ladies they'd be outside
    waiting and wanting to take up smoking again

    For signing contract before getting board approval
    FC jail warden chastised while wearing his AG board pres hat

    RANTS that the new county jail warden signed a school district business contract in his role as president of the Albert Gallatin School Board prior
    to discussing the contract at a public school board meeting. This action prompted a fellow board member to call for his resignation.

    Jeff Myers, the president of the school board and newly named county prison warden, however, claimed he signed the agreement with the
    understanding that the school district contract with a contractor to use a vacant building as headquarters for a school construction project, was
    invalid unless approved formally by the board at a public meeting.

    Although Myers claimed he did nothing wrong, the school district, nonetheless, received keys back from the contractor for the building until things
    were done properly.

    RAVES of hope that Myer's actions in this nasty situation at the school district is not a sign of the way he will conduct official county business at
    the prison. (23 Mar 18)       


    County prison critic headed to trial

    RANTS that the homicide charge against Chris Shellhammer, also known as videographer Chuck U. Farley, is held for court after today's
    kangaroo court preliminary hearing in Masontown. Shellhammer has been held without bond in the county prison since a fatal shooting on
    January 15 that he claimed was self defense after being set up for robbery.

    RANTS that the court in the County of Fayette is denying bond and proceeding on with a murder case that's only witness has changed her story a
    couple times since the shooting and her television news interviews hours right after the shooting.

    RANTS that the court of Fayette really believes charges were rightfully filed in the first place. Police and the district attorney's office have copies
    of text messages sent between the accused and the female witness, from about one week before the shooting, when she promised the accused
    oral sex for $20 worth of pot, to a few minutes before the shooting, when she assured the accused she was home alone and ready for fun.

    RANTS that no forensic investigator worth his or her salt would believe that the accused burst into the couple's home, shot three times at a man
    who collapsed quickly, yet arrived at the police station beaten, with a concussion, broken nose, broken jaw and neck injury.

    Masontown Police, however, didn't buy the self-defense claim and booked the accused for murder. Now it's officially going to trial and really
    should not be.

    RANTS if this bond is continued to be denied in what ultimately might be only a case of possession of about .86 grams of pot. (Previous mention
    of the pot found in the accused's vehicle stated weight of 1.6 grams. However, that higher weight amount also included the weight of the plastic
    bag. As per a Google search, .86 grams of pot is about one joint of pot.)

    RANTS because nobody getting the shit kicked out of him, who shoots as a last resort in self defense, should be incarcerated now over two
    months without bond and unable to resume his role as primary care giver to two disabled children. (21 Mar 18)


    Editor's Note: Shortly after the below piece was published, an email was received from Mike Zavada, deputy warden, who said he could not
    locate anything on surveillance video to indicate the door was left unlocked.

    However, Zavada did state, "I do know that the prison's lock smith was working on the door in question around the time period that I was first
    made aware of the complaint."

    It is also noted here that card keys and keys do not open that door. Staff or visitors using the door must be buzzed in by someone inside.  R&R
    also thanks Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, who did acknowledge the request for information sent on 3-11-18 and on 3-20-18 stated she
    received no response from other prison board members and would ask again for confirmation on what any investigation since 3-11-18 showed.

    Update: FC Prison door

    While the Fayette County Prison Board has not responded to a complaint received here 11 days ago that the side jail door, as seen in a photo to
    the right, was left open for a lengthy period of time, an employee of the prison said the door appeared to be properly locked or closed, in his
    opinion. He said that the metal mesh cover is attached with screws to the glass door and is all one piece.

    As per that jail staff, there is no way to have the glass door left open or ajar with props, and have the mesh cover be closed to allow air flow into
    the building.  They are not two separate pieces and the vertical line, as seen to the left of the blue line in the second picture to the right, must be a
    reflection in the glass when the photo was taken.

    In response to hearing the original photographer's comments -- that he could tell the door was open and could hear noises inside the jail -- the jail
    source said if anyone walks, for instance, between the jail and courthouse during a football game, the walker would "swear you're in a room with
    them," referring to the inmates inside.

    The noise, he said, easily comes to the outside through the glass block windows. Anyone who doubts this, he said, should stand under the bridge
    between the jail and courthouse in the afternoon at 3 o'clock.

    As per that source, anyone standing outside there could easily overhear an officer inside the jail conducting 3 PM head count.  RAVES of
    appreciation to the peon guards who responded to clarify the matter. (21 Mar 10)

    RIP: Florence "Shutsy" Reynolds

    RAVES to the amazing life of Florence "Shutsy" Reynolds, a charter member of the World War II Women's Air Force Service Pilots, who passed
    away three days ago, at the age of 95.  

    That Reynolds and approximately 1,074 other young women of their day wanting to become military pilots paid for their own flight training,
    transportation to the Texas training base, and later, their own ticket home from Europe, is a simply incredible piece of history to recognize in itself.

    These young civilian women, who stepped up when the military experienced a shortage of male pilots at the start of the second World War, flew
    more than 60 million miles during the war.

    In some cases, they risked their lives to test fly repaired planes before male military pilots were allowed to fly them again, only to be denied their
    military veteran's status until 1977 by the Pentagon. Congress awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010 at a ceremony that Reynolds
    and 171 other surviving female pilots attended.  

    RAVES that this first female to fly in and out of the airport in Connellsville was honored during her lifetime with a new airport hanger named after
    her. RAVES that determined, young women such as Reynolds, born in 1923, pursued their dreams in spite of the sexist hurdles that the military
    and world in general created to stifle those dreams.  

    May real heroes such as Reynolds encourage not only today's young girls, but all with overwhelming obstacles, to still pursue their dreams. (18
    Mar 18)

    "Quote Of The Day" or hints that a new jail is coming

    "I'm primarily on the prison board as a... um... primarily, because I'm hoping to get a new prison built..."
    Judge  Steve P. Leskinen, at Friday's special prison board meeting, as heard here at this link at 0:35, discussing the need for the county to
    build a new jail to house mentally ill inmates in a humane way

    "New digs isn't the answer; a new building won't resolve the current problem or get you better staff unless you train them properly and reprimand
    them effectively."
    All of us, thinking to ourselves, when we cringed hearing the judge speak

    To watch the video of the entire special Prison Board Meeting from 16 Mar 18, please click on the links below.

    Part 1: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1622ea4824f1f253?projector=1   
    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZctG-XXIiiw                
    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dEqnAasYjU             
    Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-fL9E3_uJ4     
    Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcvVetWGCeQ         
    Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPniuj3GGG0   


    Inmate rants about county jail's mental health treatment, torture

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a highly serious note that written word is received here from an inmate at the Fayette County Prison, expressing
    concern about the jail in general, but specifically focusing on the tragic situation of a fellow inmate well-known for decades to the community
    behavioral health system.

    "I'm sure that my time in this hell pales in comparison to that of my neighbor," wrote inmate Chris S., about Bobby A., someone so mentally
    unstable he plays in and eats his own feces.

    Chris feels Bobby was placed in the Special Management Unit (SMU) or suicide unit at the jail "so he could be ignored."

    Saying that "no employee at this prison is prepared or trained to deal with such a case," Chris said of Bobby, who he describes as violent and

    "But it's not intentional. Bobby is incapable of comprehending what is going on," Chris explained. He should know. They spent about two weeks
    together, in the basement seclusion unit, in the extreme winter cold with windows open, lying on metal cots, naked, wet, living in feces and urine
    with lights broken in the basement of the county prison.   

    "Bed mats provided to him always end up torn open, covered in waste and stuffed into his non functioning sink and toilet," Chris said of Bobby.

    "From there, these items get tossed around the range," Chris said, adding that Bobby's tossed soiled mats landed and stayed for 10 hours into
    Chris' area before the mess was cleaned. With no mat, Bobby, a very large man, with sores over his body and very swollen legs, sleeps on a
    metal cot or small bench.

    "(Bobby) can't walk without doubling over in pain and getting threatened with petter spray for doing so. On top of all this, he is verbally abused by
    inmates and guards alike. Antagonizing him to his breaking point until he is screaming obscenities, banging around his cells, and eventually in
    tears talking to himself," Chris said.

    Chris, who denies suicidal ideation, said he himself was placed in the basement isolation unit because the jail staff thought he was suicidal.

    "The SMU has been over-utilized by prison staff for the smallest infraction," Chris said of the basement horror unit. To put suicidal or handicapped
    individuals in this unit is irresponsible and dangerous. Torture is not an inaccurate description of life down there." he said. (14 Mar 18)

    17-minute student walk-out teaches more than yesterday's history class

    RAVES to the school districts nationwide to allow its secondary school students to chose whether to take part in a 17-minute walk-out or protest of
    school violence, in memory of 17 lives lost in Florida one month ago. The walk out is also to demand stricter gun laws and school security.

    Besides the intended purpose of what is supposed to be a 10 AM movement across the country of students, RAVES that the 17 minutes of
    supervised movement, from school to outdoors, of what likely will be most students, teaches them how to protest an issue peacefully.

    RAVES to the younger generation who still want to go to school in spite of the school shootings and threats of violence. Hopefully, these types of
    activities help students cope a bit better with school violence reality. (14 Mar 18)


    Fay County jail door kept ajar?

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a mind boggling note with a photo of a Fayette County Prison door kept ajar yesterday that deserves to be

    As per the photographer, the door -- believed to be a staff entrance -- was kept ajar at least for several hours yesterday late afternoon and
    evening, when outdoor temperatures were in the lower 30s. The photo shows what appears to be a small piece of beam or chunk of something
    propping open an interior door.

    Email was sent to prison board members to confirm this is a staff entrance and to inquire why this security risk is allowed -- even if, say for
    instance, the jail furnace malfunctioned and it was overly hot inside.

    While the source did not attempt to touch, open or pass through either door pictured and did not get overly close to the entrance, the source notes
    that the door looked like this and was open at various times checked from approximately 5:30 PM through 9 PM yesterday.

    Surely, there had to be an armed guard stationed right inside the entrance in the event someone not allowed might attempt to enter or leave
    contraband? Right?

    Given the recent complaints that suicidal inmates are kept in a very cold basement and lie wet on cold, metal cots, the jail administration seriously
    does not need any additional controversy, such as a door kept ajar to let freezing cold air from outside into the structure. (11 Mar 18)


    2nd inmate: cruel and unusual punishment?

    RANTS because a second case of cruel and unusual punishment seems to go hand-in-hand with a second case of inmate isolation at the Fayette
    County Prison. This inmate is someone very well-known to the community mental health system for at least 20-30 years, and has been inpatient at
    state hospital psychiatric units.

    RANTS because even the worst of bullies don't deserve to be heckled by all around him, when he's in isolation for psychiatric restraint. Email was
    sent to the county prison board members asking when he will transfer to the state psychiatric hospital. (8 Mar 18)  


    Former public works director
    Sansone missed the boat on this lawsuit

    RANTS that the lawyer who has handled a few civil lawsuits for county workers finally has a case he should win based on political vendetta, but
    files, instead,  a suit for unlawful termination based on age discrimination.

    Back on August 16, 2017, this column asked if the sudden canning of the former director of county public works would become the county's next
    lawsuit. We thought it might be. Or should be.

    To be honest, we kind of hoped he would not just go away quietly. He earned the respect of this column by always knowing specific work details
    and having informative updates of his department's projects, without having to look at notes to guide him.

    As previously quoted here, his hiring in 2013 was one of the very few good things a former commissioner did in four years in office.  We meant
    that sincerely.     

    RANTS that his lawyer missed the boat and should have filed the suit that the man's termination was for political affiliation. From the public's point
    of view, the former director of public works seemed to be good staff who did the best he could under the circumstances. (6 Mar 18)


    Jailhouse critic: in isolation with no pencil  

    RANTS because mental health treatment hit a whole new, embarrassing low in Fayette County, as demonstrated in the case of an inmate at the
    county jail. He wrote something perceived by jail administrators to be suicidal ideation expression and was placed in isolation, into a Turtle Suit,
    with a one on one guard. His ability to make phone calls or write letter ended 10 days ago, as well.

    Since that time, he was seen on two subsequent Saturdays by family members. Last weekend, his father said the young man reeked of feces and
    was filthy, was kept in a room reeking of smeared feces and pepper spray.

    A few days after the young man wrote what others perceived as suicidal ideation, he met with an attorney who was very positive about his criminal
    case. The young man was not suicidal. His suicidal watch should have been lifted.

    Still, the attorney to date has filed no motions to judges to intervene in this man's isolation matter or criminal case. Meanwhile, he still has not
    phoned home yet in 10 days. His parents maintained this week that he must still be in suicidal prevention isolation or must still be denied phone
    privileges. His sons' mother, who visited him yesterday, confirmed he is still in isolation, in a Turtle suit and unable to write or phone home.

    Prior to writing what jail administrators perceived to be suicidal ideation, the inmate also wrote complaints about prison handbook violations
    published in social media and identified a prison guard, who, in the inmate's words, taunted another inmate wanting toilet paper that he could wipe
    with his discharge or release papers.

    His mail, reportedly, was tampered with against prison policy. Mail to him about his 4-year-old son's physical therapies was returned to sender,
    with the writing of the letters, "WTF" written on the opened and re-sealed envelope.  

    While the jail administration certainly had a responsibility to assess the young man for any suicidal ideation they thought he might have, they seem
    to have gone beyond reason with an undeserving stay of 10 days in isolation in a Turtle suit. That's hardly a positive psychiatric treatment -- i.e., if
    they're really trying to pass this whole 10 days of isolation as a necessary treatment course.

    Shame on Fayette County, if this is treatment. Prisoners of war know they were made to sit in and smell feces as part of the enemy's plan to
    brainwash them and break them. This isn't wartime in the 1930s and 1950s.

    If this is example of the best psychiatric care that inmates can have at the Fayette County Prison in 2018, then please close the place down today.
    Quickly, before they start using leaches.  (4 Mar 18)


    Westmoreland, Fayette sheriffs in court

    RANTS, as today is not a good day for area sheriffs. First, Westmoreland's is charged with having county workers politic for him on paid work
    time. He denies the charges based on claims by his three high-ranking deputies, however, saying the charges are nothing but a political vendetta
    against him by his political enemies.

    Just one question. Who would would ask his political enemies on the county's payroll to pick up and transport political campaign contributions?

    While the Westmoreland sheriff's troubles don't seem to be going away anytime soon, Fayette County Sheriff James Custer this week  -- as per
    heraldstandard.com's "Judge to rule in 1995 homicide" -- spent time in court trying to stop an appeal from a man convicted of murder during the
    sheriff's investigation, then years ago, as a state polic trooper from the Uniontown barracks. That investigation had Custer piecing together the
    details of the murder of a confidential drug informant.

    Hopefully, the Fay sheriff is out of this hot seat soon. RANTS that so many long-time cases have clogged recent courts only because
    prosecutorial misconduct in the same case or other cases involving the same county investigators turned judges seems to be the only needed
    thing in common to get an appeal for a new trial or convert death sentences into life in prison stays. (27 Feb 18)   

    Concerning inmate complaint of isolation for retaliation  
    Fay Co Prison Board email: 5 of 7 undeliverable

    RANTS that a brief email sent to 5 of 7 county prison board members bounced back this morning as being undeliverable because of full
    mailboxes. Given that this type of notice is sometimes attributed to glitches and not true full mailboxes, isn't it time the county fixed the problem?

    Electronic mail to 2 county commissioners, the district attorney, county controller and sheriff was undeliverable, while the same email to the court
    administrator for a judge and Commissioner Dave Lohr, so far, has not bounced back.

    In 2015, former lame duck commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky entered into a five-year contract with Ford Business Machine to
    manage the county's computer system for $170,000 per year. Prior to that, the county employed its own staff in-house to manage its own system.

    RANTS if Fay's officials continue to have glitches or other issues with their email accounts for another two years. (25 Feb 18)


    Conn school assembly: Not the usual fluff and circumstance

    RAVES that school district and county law officials so quickly pulled together assemblies for middle and senior high school students in
    Connellsville, in follow up to recent threats of school violence there and in Uniontown and, of course, last week's tragic mass killing of 17 in a
    Florida and this week's suicide in Ohio by a 7th grader who entered school, went immediately to the boy's restroom and shot himself.

    This action today -- to reach out to students to impress upon them that there are people who genuinely care, want to listen and help if they're
    being bullied or want to bully others -- went over well in opinion some of those teens expressed here this evening.  

    "We have metal detectors at school. I feel pretty safe there," one shared, but added that someone, reportedly, also today smuggled in alcohol.  
    Another worried, since an armed Florida school deputy officer failed for four minutes to enter the building to pursue that student shooter, if that
    kind of thing could happen here as well, if an active shooter were inside. Yet another added, in sad commentary of the times, that she now asks in
    daily prayers to keep her school a safe zone.  

    RAVES that the assemblies today reminded students that there are live, real people to reach out to for help, as an alternative to taking their
    frustrations unchecked to social media.

    Those teens polled here seem to think that their time spent in assembly was a good thing and feel comfortable participating in the "lock down"
    drills to follow. Most importantly, they also expressed agreement that they would "make sure" someone in authority did listen and act accordingly, if
    they saw posted threats or heard another student make threats to harm themselves or others.

    RAAAAAAAAAAAAVES for that! (22 Feb 18)  

    And do they care?
    Are Fay Co Prison Board members aware of judge's 2-month-old order?  

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of appreciation once again to the Post-Gazette for enlightening so many unaware citizens that the ACLU
    appears to be taking on Fayette County Debtors' Prison and that a Fayette County judge agreed to additional training of magistrates and ordered
    the release of all indigent inmates incarcerated for having unpaid fines and court costs not serving mandatory sentences.

    Since the publication 24 hours ago of the below piece, "Fayette magistrates sent back to class," this column's mailbag filled with inquiries as to
    whether the order to release some inmates has actually begun. Inquiring minds want to know how many or few this order may impact. Can we see
    a show of hands that no prison board members or just a select few are aware of the judge's order?

    Email was sent to prison board members for an update.  More to follow.  (22 Feb 18)


    "Quote Of The Day" from inside Fay Co Prison

    "In this overcrowded prison, there aren't enough cells for everyone. In turn, not enough toilet facilities for everyone. Usually one cell stays open to
    accommodate people on (unreadable) and those without functioning toilets. For some reason, CO DANNY CAMPBELL has all cells closed,
    denying restroom use to several inmates, myself included. Even going as far as to tell one inmate needing toilet paper that he'll get his release
    papers for him to wipe with. Along with the denial of restroom use is the denial of showers. The shower cell has been locked all evening. When
    the range is open during the day, people in cells have an open shower. In the evenings, people on cots have to shower. So this evening, it seems
    I will not be able to shower. I'll climb my stinky self into my cot tonight, lay down on a mat about as thick as the envelope this came in, CO
    "GUNNY", having taken the plastic off my mat, stripping over half the padding from the inside. So here I am...... Stuck indefinitely, no bathroom, no
    shower, might as well be sleeping on the floor. I'm not as mentally strong as I used to be. Love made me weak and vulnerable. I'm scared for the
    future. I just wanted to get home to my kids and now everything seems pointless. I should have just given up."
    Chris Shellhammer, AKA Chuck U Farley, in an unedited letter sent today, describing the scene from the inside at Fayette County Prison as
    he awaits another rescheduled preliminary hearing for shooting a man in self defense last month

    "So why the hell is he still in jail? Why the hell was court continued again?"
    Dave, yesterday at the diner, asking why Shellhammer isn't released when there's no evidence of murder, only evidence of a justified

    "There's no death certificate yet, is what I was told."
    Moi, in response, as mouths dropped in disbelief


    The Avenue: Tornado Alley

    RAVES that only one or two minor injuries resulted from the wide-spread tornado property damage that seemed to blow apart much of
    Uniontown's Gallatin Avenue section of town last night.

    RAVES that only a few minor injuries resulted when the wicked EF1 level tornado touched down, making it the first February tornado since 1950 in
    our south-western corner of the state. Photos of the destruction have seemed to make it to international news wires and news outlets just as soon
    as the sun started to rise this morning.

    RANTS, however, that now many roofs and buildings are destroyed and that more damage may result on the heels of what some tomorrow predict
    will bring torrential rain, ice and snow.

    Please say a prayer for those affected, as some interviewed on television news seem to be clearing, salvaging and staying put in what no longer
    can be considered safe structures. (16 Feb 18)   

    To learn the meaning of indigent
    Fayette's magistrates sent back to class

    RAVES to the Post-Gazette for informing Fay readers in its story, "Modern-day debtors’ prisons? The system that sends Pennsylvanians to jail
    over unpaid court costs and fines," that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last October intervened on behalf of an indigent Fay woman
    jailed for unpaid school truancy fines.

    As a result, Fayette County President Judge John Wagner released the woman from jail and agreed to allow the civil liberties group to train Fay's
    district magistrate judges not to send indigents to jail for missed court payments.

    Even more interesting is the story's statement that Wagner "also ordered people to be released from jail if they weren't there for a mandatory

    Whether or not that group release happened is another story, however. Email is sent to the county jail to see if the order was followed and to learn
    how many additional indigent Fay inmates were released for bench warrant arrests for overdue fines... that is, if the order actually was enforced.
    (16 Feb 18)


    Lohr, Vicites fail to practice what they preach

    RANTS to irony and hypocrisy anyway, but double RANTS when it all comes disguised, under the pretense of religion, in today's "Fayette Faith
    Initiative focuses on social conditions and role of the Church," piece on heraldstandard.com.

    While it seems first off as a noble effort for Fayette County Commissioners Dave Lohr and Vince Vicites to gather 60 or so of the county's religious
    leaders to put their hands on Lohr to pray together for the county, the almost comic hypocrisy takes center stage with Lohr's urging the religious
    leaders to "take a step forward and reach out’’ to help Fay "be a leader for revival across the world" with Vicites watching from the second row

    RANTS, however, that the photo op opportunity meeting ends up leaving too many readers with a bad taste in their mouths that morning coffee
    cannot wash away. RANTS that some will do just about anything to get votes these days. Organizing such a movement to urge pastors to visit
    county jail inmates and help parishioners fund adoptions and foster care most certainly is not a bad thing.  

    It only comes off as textbook hypocrisy once readers realize that the two grown men don't practice what they preach when they fail to inform and
    invite their third commissioner to the event. How smug can they be to preach unity and think that they can tackle all of Fay's problems without
    additional prayers from her and her supporters? (1 Feb 18)

    DA agrees to bond reduction
    80 new complaints against former funeral director

    RANTS there now are more concerning reports that authorities received an additional 80 complaints against a former local mortician since the big
    ta-du joint press conference 9 days ago, by the state attorney general and county district attorney, announcing the man's arrest for swindling 51
    elderly people of $300,000.

    Equally amazing, in today's news report of the man's criminal arraignment, WMBS stated that the county district attorney agreed to allow the
    reduction in the bond of the jailed former mortician, from $500,000 cash to $150,000, if he surrenders his mortician licenses, passes weekly drug
    tests and has no contact with those swindled.

    No criminal plea was entered at today's arraignment, as per the station's news report. Unsaid is that the case seems to be taking on the scent of
    an upcoming plea agreement to avoid the courts.

    The former mortician, at least for the time being, remains incarcerated in the county jail. He is expected to be released from the county jail soon.
    (31 Jan 18)

    oh, and while we're on the subject...

    WMBS exclusives!

    RAVES to WMBS radio news for providing what at times is the only media coverage of an newsworthy issue, arrest, situation, request for a
    reduction in bond, etc.

    Fay SAT score rankings

    RANTS that SAT scores overall in Fayette County aren't nearly as hot as they could be. Connellsville in 402nd place, was Fay's first school
    district to appear on the list, almost half-way down it. Its SAT average score is said to be 1044.

    In comparison, Brownsville came in lowest in Fay, at 566th place among the 705 school districts, with an SAT average score of 953.

    SAT averages in Frazier (1041 SAT, 409 place in 705), were a little better than Uniontown's SAT average of 1027, at 448th place in the standing
    of PA's 705 districts.

    Laurel Highlands student SAT average of 1035, meanwhile, came in at 429th place.  (31 Jan 18)

    Thanks, God!
    Not from Fay County

    RANTS that the disgusting mess ever happened... yet RAVES of relief and appreciation that this mess was not made in Fay.

    RANTS that an Allegheny County orphans court worker is facing felony witness intimidation charges, receiving stolen property, stalking and
    conspiracy, for plotting with her jailed boyfriend awaiting trial for rape, child rape and aggravated assault, to help scare silent his trial witness wife.

    This type of stomach-turning news from WTAE's website could have been worse, only if it happened here instead of there. (29 Jan 18)

    Former county prison developer, planner proven wrong again

    RAVES, once again such grateful RAVES, that Fay dodged the big bullet when it ran away from plans to build an industrial-size county prison
    and rehabilitation center on pyrite in Dunbar Township a few years ago.

    This particular new RAVE follows the state news release in the Post Gazette that state prison population numbers decreased again in 2017. The
    PG story at that link had the Wolf administration saying that the 2017 drop represents the fourth straight year that the total inmate population has
    gone down. In fact, administration officials call last year’s decrease the "largest on record."

    RAVES that former county prison designer and prison consultant Tom Crabtree has been proven wrong for the fourth consecutive year since he
    said, confidentaly in 2013, that county and state prison populations would rise, in spite of the implementation of specialized courts to divert
    incarcerations for those with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues or veterans status.

    As readers here recall all too well, Crabtree urged county leaders to proceed with the huge, industrial size prison he designed, because prison
    populations, in Crabtree's opinion, soon would swell more to demand incarceration space and rehabilitation space for almost 500 inmates on any
    given day.

    Since ground hasn't been broken yet on a county jail, it's safe to assume that the county really could not and still cannot afford the financial
    burden of the huge, all-new jail that Crabtree pitched, as one of a few options to the county, in his firms' pricey needs assessment report on Fay's
    current and future prison needs.

    RAVES of hope that any future jail planners never take anything but Crabtree's pretty drawings seriously again, since state data proved him wrong
    now, 4 years in a row, since the words first came from his mouth. (22 Jan 18)


    "Quote Of The Day"

    "I have not directed the county solicitor nor the county zoning office to cite him. This will be aggressively defended as I am not going to continue
    to be a scapegoat in lawsuits..."

    Angela Zimmerlink, Fayette County Commissioner, as said, or reported as having said to the Herald Standard, which sought reaction to the
    commissioner, the county and a Lemont Furnace couple being sued by an area man, over zoning issues in which the commissioner has no

    * from Jan. 22, 2018, Heraldstandard.com, "Lemont Furnace business owner files lawsuit against county and neighbors"


    Fay, sadly, all over state-wide poverty list

    RANTS that so much of beautiful Fayette County landed up on a sad list that PennLive compiled of the top 35 communities with the most poverty.

    Towns or areas named have 30 percent or more of their populations living in poverty, or on less than $25,000 a year incomes, including families of

    Masontown in the 33rd position, Uniontown at 28th place, Bownsville at 26th and German Towmship (McClellandtown, Edenborn, Leckrone,
    Ronco, Footedale, Adah, Palmer, Hibbs, and Lambert) at 21st place, all made PennLive's sad poverty list.

    RANTS because we just know it, that more of Fay towns, boroughs or cities would be named if PennLive's list went to, say 100 or more. (18 Jan


    Ironic "Quote Of The Day" from the employer of the food service vendor caught smuggling in toxic drugs thought to
    have sickened a dozen Allegheny County Jail officers during searches for contraband

    "Our efficient programs, procedures and protocols allow us to provide menus that positively impact inmate behavior, which allows your staff to
    remain focused on managing facility security."
    Summit Food Services, from its website page titled "Food That Drives Positive Behavior," boasting that the company "has the experience
    and resources to provide high quality and value-driven food service programs to meet the daily demands within correctional facilities"


    This 66-degree gift of a day

    RAVES for this glorious, sunny 66-degree gift of a day in between the last and next round of ice, snow, frigid temperatures and frozen pipes.

    Savour the day and any more that we're fortunate enough to get before the winter gear gets pulled back on and Spring really does arrive two
    months down the road. (11 Jan 18)  

    Audacious Al: still embarrassing Fay
    Some Connellsville hotel investors suing fellow investors

    RAVES with applause to the Daily Courier, for digging up an authentic, real news story, on some investors in Connellsville's Cobblestone Hotel
    accusing fellow investors of breach of contract, embezzlement and fraud, in a mouth-dropping, 17-count civil action suit.

    As per the Courier's "Cobblestone embroiled in controversy: F.C. judge orders principals to report hotel finances to limited partners," some hotel
    investors are at legal odds with another handful of other investors, including former county commissioner Al Ambrosini and his former campaign
    staff/courthouse assistant/former Connellsville Redevelopment Authority member Geno Gallo.

    The duo first was sued in Allegheny County courts three months ago, by the same fellow investors, in an action that was later dropped. The
    matter now, however, is in Fayette County courts. The investors suing fellow investors Ambrosini, Gallo and others seek $35,000 for most of the
    17 different counts, as per the Courier.    

    As per online information about the $5 million hotel, funding for its construction came from private sources and a significant amount of public funds
    as well.

    That said, RANTS that anyone would dare to disregard his or her signed group agreement to include each investor in key business decisions  --
    you know, such as borrowing $200,000, reportedly, to meet basic hotel operational costs.

    This time, after all, it wasn't Zimmerlink kept out of the loop in the next office who didn't get the papers. It was a handful of serious investors who
    deserve to have their investments returned -- i.e., if there was or still is a profit to be returned.  


    RANTS, at a time when Connellsville desperately needs all the jobs it can possibly get, that these ridiculous shenanigans are real but such surreal
    news. Again, we stress appreciation to The Courier for the story. That's not the problem. It should be in the news.

    It's just that the court's time should not have to be wasted insisting that Ambrosini's handful group of principal investors update limited investment
    partners with a monthly fiscal report. This really is ridiculous.

    Any Fay judge who hasn't had time yet in almost one year to hear the county's motions to overturn two of Rants&Raves' Office of Open Records
    appeal wins should be much, much too busy to waste time providing basic 101 business tutorials to Ambrosini and the other defendants. A judge
    should have to order that written advance consent be obtained for future loans or major expenses not previously agreed upon by the rest of the
    investors? Really?

    Does a quacking duck really not echo? (5 Jan 18)

    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "I don't feel sorry for those investors. They should have known not to go into business with someone who lied in a recorded public meeting that he
    created over 120 jobs with the power company on Route 201 paying $60,000-$120,000 salaries. I spent an hour driving 201 looking for the place."
    Pete, to all of us, this morning at the diner, as he read The Daily Courier's story referenced above, referencing past dialogue at a county commissioner
    meeting when citizens questioned the validity of the impressive but proven to be untrue whopper

    "I don't believe you! You're making this up!"
    Moi, violating the Think Tank's cardinal rule not to grab away a paper or read over someone's shoulder, needing to get a look at actual print, because Pete
    can jag anyone around convincingly for a while, before he starts to smile and give himself away;
    Moi, shaking my head in disbelief of what was in print before us

    "No (expletive) way!"
    Pete's wife, coming in for a closer read, too, since she, too, thought Pete was joshing

    Meanwhile, 15 minutes later...

    "Look, the paper sold out. Think the people at the paper realize that copies sell off the stands when there's real news on the front page?"
    Pete's observant grandson in his second year of college commenting on the empty newspaper shelf


    RAVES for a beautiful white Christmas after all.  (25 Dec 17)
    556 days... since
    Rants&Raves requested A
    Right To Know to obtain
    records of county
    contracting rates and the
    spending of public funds
    466 days... with no court date set yet, since the County filed in Court of
    Common Pleas to set aside this column's last 2 of 3 successful state Office of Open
    Records appeals to obtain information that the County denied under the Right To
    Know Law.

    Could it be that no county judge wants to set aside a state OOR decision? Could it be
    no judge wants to have to ask why the County gave sworn affidavits to the OOR that
    the information didn't exist, although previously obtained RTK answers proved that
    the County did have the information? Could it be no judge wants to open that can of
    Perjury Worms?

    Could it be that the County parked the matter in "legal" limbo by filing to set aside
    the OOR rulings until this column likewise files to dismiss the County's cowardly
    filed petition?  

    Could it be all of the above? jt