RANTS  &  RAVES  2018


    Carson's new suit: can the county courthouse
    drama, Sansone cases get any weirder than this?

    RANTS, because when you think it can't possibly get any weirder at the courthouse, it does. This, we just don't comprehend. Read More.

    In case of asthmatic inhaler perhaps walked too slowly to inmate
    OOR asks senior lawyers to decide Fay's denial to view
    RTK prison surveillance video
    RAVES that the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has called in its senior legal minds to decide Rants&Raves' appeal of Fayette County's
    denial to allow the viewing of prison surveillance video of an inmate in medical distress, bleeding from the mouth, while his asthma inhaler,
    reportedly, was too slowly walked to him.  Read more.

    DA: MIA for 7 months from county prison board meetings

    RANTS that Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower apparently is way too busy to attend county prison board meetings now for 7 months.
    Bower, the county controller, sheriff, the three county commissioners and Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen comprise the county prison board.

    While Bower and Leskinen apparently had business two days ago -- sealing an affidavit of probable cause in a Vanderbilt murder case -- it is
    unknown why Bower was again absent from yesterday's prison board meeting.  

    RAVES of hope that the DA is keeping up on the prison matters and, somehow, staying in the loop and contributing ideas.

    Yeah, we know they've all probably had too much forced bonding time together in the past year, in Pittsburgh legal meetings over prison death and
    civil rights law suits.

    But a no-show for seven consecutive monthly prison board meetings? Not even one instance of him running in late and leaving a prison board
    meeting early since February?

    RANTS that Fay's DA apparently is too busy for him to actively perform in his role on the county prison board, a seat which county code requires him
    to hold. His insights into any patterns or new issues, which only he as lead county criminal prosecutor may encounter, is valuable to the other prison
    board members at this time.

    RANTS that he's just way too busy. Reading draft meeting minutes later isn't the same. (27 Sept 18)

    Thursday's recommended read: Fayette Searchlight, "60 Days vs. 45 Months: Sealed Affidavit Will Not Remain Sealed As Long
    As Fifth Presentment"


    "Quote Of The Day"
    "(She) died slowly overnight in an unmonitored jail cell, deliberately ignored and neglected while screaming in pain and increasingly unable to
    A heartbreaking exert from a court complaint, written by Attorney Stephen Stallings, representing the estate of a former Fayette County
    Prison inmate, who died in 2015 after being taken to Uniontown Hospital and back to the prison, which resulted in an out of court settlement
    for $400,000 for the woman's family;
    An exert from a wrongful death lawsuit, which prison sources previously told Rants&Raves resulted after prison staff fell asleep and another
    staff tried to cover for the asleep staff

    Weak PFA behind Wednesday's mass shooting in Masontown

    RAVES that a small town policeman was able to take his shot to stop a mass shooting at the district magistrate's office before it got any worse.

    In the aftermath of Wednesday's shooting in the Masontown magistrate's office, Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower was heard trying to
    rationalize to WPXI television viewers why the shooter was allowed to keep ownership of his weapons when his wife requested his weapons be
    removed under a protection from abuse order due to his homicidal threats to shoot her.

    Because both parties and their lawyers agreed to the man being allowed to keep his weapons, Bower told the media.

    RANTS that those four and Fayette County Judge Joseph M. George, Jr. agreed to write such a loosely written protection from abuse order, whether
    this mass shooting occurred or not.   

    But that it did occur, however, leaves us with a major weakness in the security link that goes beyond having no metal detectors and searches at the
    doors to the magisterial courts. RANTS to a breakdown in common sense behind the writing of this particular PFA. (21 Sept 18)

    Another Broken Record "Quote Of The Day," causing a rapid rise in reader neck injuries, from so many shaking
    their heads in disbelief, as well as a few reported cases of accompanying shoulder pain and trauma, from those also extending their arms in disbelief,
    asking why  

    "Please take notice that Plaintiff hereby appeals the Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order of Court dated August 21, 2018, denying Plaintiff’s
    motion for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint and granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss the amended Complaint."
    Case 2:18-cv-00087-JFC, Document 55, Filed 09/19/18, Joey's Auto Repair & Body, filing final appeal allowed by law, as 30-day limit
    wound down for Joey Cellurale and his businesses to appeal last month's civil court's loss, still trying again to sue the county, a county
    commissioner and the Cellurale neighbors, as filed yesterday in U.S. District Court

    "If this weren't so sad, it might even be funny!"
    Public opinion, for the most part


    Ditto for the formal written complaint filed afterwards!
    Papers, radio mum on complaint to unsealed grand jury presentment

    RANTS that it has been nine days and neither area newspaper nor local radio station covering the September 10th reconvened Voter Registration
    Commission and Fayette County Election Board hearings noted to their readers and listeners that a citizen spoke of the need for Fayette County to
    open the still sealed -- and seemingly forgotten about Fifth Presentment of Grand Jury No. 2.  

    Rob Frasconi told those gathered that he was filing the complaint with the election bureau immediately after he left the hearing and did so. The Fifth
    Presentment was sealed by Judge Steve P. Leskinen.

    While Frasconi publishes the positively fine blog, "Fayette Searchlight," he has not blogged about  filing with the county election bureau after
    speaking at the public hearing nine days ago.

    For all the background on Franconi's complaint and all of the incredible investigative pieces of local government that he and Fayette Searchlight stun
    us, please click on the link above  (19 Sept 18)


    DA: Expect recusal, referral to AG in Fairgate investigations next week

    Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower told Rants&Raves on Thursday that he plans next week to recuse himself from the investigation into
    a voter registration prize drawing held by the Fayette Democratic Party.

    At this time, Bower said he anticipates soon receiving the referral from the county's Voter Registration Commission asking for an investigation and the
    transcript of the commission's hearing four days ago. He then will refer the matter to the state attorney general for investigation.

    "I  have talked with Mark Rowan, Esquire, about when I will receive the referral letter and transcript of the hearing," Bower said, adding that he was
    told next week.

    Bower indicated that he intends to send all the materials to the attorney general to investigate the matters at that time.

    Reportedly, Bower previously told the Trib in mid-August that he had recused himself from investigating the matter. He was quoted in the media last
    week that he had already referred one of the two Fairgate matters to the attorney general.

    After the PA GOP filed a complaint about the Fayette Democratic Party's voter registration booth and prize contest drawing, the Dems filed complaint
    a few weeks later alleging that Dave Show, a former county GOP chairman, sold tickets -- perhaps illegal tickets -- a couple tables away from the
    county GOP candidate table.  

    ...oh, and then there's what else Mahoney said Monday
    At the hearing four days ago held by the county's voter registration and election boards, candidate and former state legislator Tim Mahoney told the
    board that proceeds from Show's raffle tickets, printed as a social organization's fund raiser, actually funded the county Republican Party committee.

    No, it wasn't said while Mahoney was under oath to testify and was said later during the final public comment before the hearing adjourned, but it
    was said publicly and in the presence of the attentive PA GOP lawyer.

    Mahoney's  shocking comments deserve investigation by the attorney general as well.  (14 Sept 18)


    The broken record "Quote Of The Day" from Pittsburgh print media about Fay

    "Fayette County continued to have the highest poverty rate and lowest income levels in the metropolitan area..."
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Census data show region's income levels up but poverty improvement stalling," a piece summarizing stats and data
    from seven regional counties, data and stats that haven't changed for the positive in more than half a century...the only change, being the slip
    from Fay's long-time status as the region's second poorest county to being the region's poorest

    "If we're tired of hearing Fayette County has the highest poverty rate and the lowest income levels in seven regional counties, how can some
    elected officials be so happy about the PG's mass readership hearing Fay's rankings again that the officials post the story on social media so
    Pete, in email from a Kentucky diner  


    What? No recusal?
    Bower donated to Mahoney, now heads investigation against him
    RANTS that Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower has not recused himself from the Fairgate investigation since Bower contributed to the
    political campaign of someone he's investigating, as per 2016 campaign expense reports filed by former state legislator and current candidate Tim

    Bower donated to Mahoney's campaign less than two years ago.

    Mahoney testified at Monday's hearing of the county voter registration commission and election board that the county Democratic committee
    headquarters were housed until very recently in his own real estate leasing office and that his is the resort condo offered in the drawing for an
    overnight complimentary stay.

    Mahoney also identified a mystery man as his personal lawyer, who apparently misled three different election bureau employees on three trips to
    the bureau dropping off voter registrations, by saying the 16 registrations completed at the Dem fair booth were not part of any organized
    registration drive.

    While the district attorney was not present during the voter registration and election board hearing yesterday, he was present in spirit, as Bower's
    political sign was captured in this photograph of the Dems' fair booth that were presented as evidence to the commission. Until very recently, as
    well, Bower was listed as a paid sponsor of a weekly AM talk radio show, as heard at this link.  

    RANTS that Bower hasn't recused himself. Mahoney and Fay citizens deserve an unbiased, fair investigation of Fairgate. That won't happen with a
    friend and campaign contributor leading the way. (11 Sept 18)


Fairgate: investigation underway or about to snowed over?
RANTS that the Fayette County Voter Registration Commission had no choice but to refer the matter of the Fay Democratic Party's voter registration prize
giveaway at the county fair for investigation to the district attorney.

RANTS, too, that George Rattay, the chairman of the county Dem party, took the Fifth so many times, refusing to answer any questions about who got and
hung the prize giveaway contest signs and who bought or donated prizes that were to be awarded.

Before adjourning, the commission today also agreed to issue subpoenas to obtain the following information from the county Dem party committee:

    a list of all voter registrations collected during the fair registration drive; any registrations not yet submitted from the fair drive; a list of all
    persons who volunteered at the fair booth; the two duplicate signs that hung at the fair booth listing the prizes; the 2018 financial expense
    report for the political party group; the group's bylaws; minutes of 2018 party committee meeting minutes; address of Tim Mahoney's
    personal lawyer said to have dropped off fair registrations to the election bureau; drop cards completed to enter contestants into the
    drawing and the very box itself used to hold the completed entry forms.

    During testimony and statements made at today's hearing, conflicting information was heard about the status of the voter registrations completed at
    the fair. While Rattay and candidate Mahoney said the registrations were taken to the election bureau, Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser
    stated that the registrations in question were not submitted.

    However, it was later learned that Mahoney's personal lawyer, said not to be affiliated with the county political committee, reportedly dropped off
    the fair registrations, and, as per Blosser, told three county employees the registrations were not part of a registration drive.

    As a result, the bureau did not accordingly code the registrations as they normally do for those taken in through a formal registration drive.  

    In regard to the other complaint before the county voter registration and election board today -- i.e., the Dem party's complaint that a former GOP
    county chair, sitting a few tables away from the county GOP fair table, sold tickets for a rod and gun club drawing possibly without proper permit for
    small games of chance -- the commission dismissed the claim, saying the complaint does not fall within its jurisdiction.

    Instead, the Dems, after being given a break to brain storm to come up with some specific applicable section of the Election Code which they felt
    was violated and coming back empty handed, were told they can file complaints with the county treasurer, the state police or district attorney. The
    commission also left them an option to refile with the election board if the Dems can come up with a specific section of election or election
    registration law that's applicable to their complaint.

    Rattay said the Dems complaint already was sent to several investigating entities when he submitted the complaint on August 16 to the Election
    Bureau. (10 Sept 18)

    Charleroi got GE; fickle Fay gets another chain restaurant

    RAVES, of course, that Uniontown is getting a new chain restaurant, as per social media posts from an elected official claim. Ongoing fickle tastes
    of the public often comes in a slow motion wave of big hurrahs, as we all remember when first we heard back then that there's a Red Lobster
    coming, then an Olive Garden coming. Now a steakhouse.

    RANTS, though, that Fay isn't attracting the big companies in, with decent paying entry-level jobs for average citizens without higher education that
    won't require their families to exist only with food stamps and other dependence on government and public funds for insurances, as the restaurant
    chains normally do.

    While nearby Charleroi, for instance, got General Electric to move in a few years ago, Fayette County residents who drive out of county there to
    work make enough money to support their families.

    Inevitably, those employees plan to relocate closer to work in Washington County if the future continues to be as bright with GE as they now
    believe it will be.

    RANTS that politicians too often depend on the big hurrahs of fickle restaurant goers to get votes, when they should have been vigilantly pursuing
    the corporations which pay a fair wage to their workers. Fay residents shouldn't have to depend on Charleroi, Washington, Westmoreland or
    Allegheny County officials to bring them real jobs that make people want to buy homes, raise their families here and remain in Fay. (8 Sept 18))

    Peduto: It's 'Norman Nardini Day' in Pittsburgh

    RAVES that the official blacksheep of the Pittsburgh music family, Norman Nardini, gets his due today, after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto formally
    declared today as Norman Nardini Day. No kidding!

    The honor pays homage to Norman for his 50 years writing, making, producing, thinking, eating and sleeping music. An all day music festival is
    underway today, starting at 2 PM, at the Syria Shrine in Harmerville, to honor his dedication to Pittsburgh music.

    Last our paths crossed, he was still playing his usual bar gigs, but had been volunteering his time in dementia units playing piano and singing
    standard tunes. He wasn't opening up for Aerosmith, ZZ Top or any of the others he used to open for, but he was genuinely happy reaching minds
    with music who may have not remembered anything else from their past 50 years.

    Today's show also features Bill Toms and others. Tickets are available at the event.

    Rants&Raves is assured the event is under cover in the event of rain. So please go, raise a beverage to toast Norman to thank him for all the
    music, all the laughs and all of the great stories over all the years.

    Also said to be joining in will be Sean McDowell of WDVE fame, just back to work from his cardiac emergency and surgery.

    RAVES again to Peduto for officially recognizing the blacksheep and giving him his redemption. (8 Sept 18)

    Fairgate: Election Board hearings come Monday

    Election board hearings into whether election law was violated at political party events at the county fair are scheduled on Monday, September 10,
    starting at 9 a.m., as per an announcement on the county' Election Bureau's official webpage.

    As per the agenda posted online, the board will hear the complaint filed by the PA GOP early last month, that election code was violated with the
    county Democrat's prize giveaway signs at the county fair booth's voter registration drive, pictured to the right.

    While the Dems' ignorance of -- or deliberate defiance of -- election code seemed to amuse major media news outlets, as one by one they carried
    the story in print, on radio, on satellite radio, on television, on network television, not one Fay Dem incumbent or candidate working or visiting the
    booth afterwards thought anything wrong had happened.

    When the election board convened on August 20, 2018, to address the GOP complaint about the county Dem party's contest open to anyone who
    registered to vote at the fair booth or changed his party to Democrat, two commissioners, or two-thirds of the county election board, recused

    Meanwhile, that same morning, the county Dems filed a complaint with local authorities, alleging that a former county GOP chair sold tickets to a
    rod and gun club drawing at a table nearby an official GOP table. That complaint, as per the agenda for Monday's hearing, will be heard after the
    GOP's complaint. (7 Sept 18)


    "Quotes Of The Day" on the delivery of news

    "How long did it take for the Herald Standard to publish when the zoning suit was filed against Zimmerlink and the Krisses?
    Pete, asking, yesterday at the diner

    "Same day"
    Me, in response

    How long did it take the Herald Standard to publish when the suit was thrown out of court?"
    Pete, wanting to know

    "Six days"

    "How long did the Courier take last January to report Zimmerlink and the Krisses were being sued?"

    "Six days"

    "How long did the Courier take to report the suit was dismissed?"
    Pete, asking away

    "Eleven days"
    Me, answering while googling papers for details

    "Sounds about right!"


    Blog: Official Oppression used to stop Mahoney-Cavanagh election fraud investigation

    RANTS reading Fayette Searchlight's latest piece, "Bower Decision on 3rd Referral Mimics Heneks' Non-Investigation, Part II," that mentions a blog
    editor receiving an unannounced home visit in West Virginia from the Pennsylvania State Police transporting a PA state employee of the PA Attorney
    General's office, to hand deliver a cease and desist order to the Not Enough Said blog editor, ordering her to stop calling every 4 to 6 weeks asking
    for an update into the investigation into Fayette election issues.

    Please click on the above purple link to Fayette Searchlight for more mouth dropping information. (1 Sept 18)


    Over new business park at Mt. Macrina
    Mahoney b slaps Dem gov, Dem commish to get in weak jab at GOP opponent

    RANTS of confusion today reading Tim Mahoney's latest letter to the editor, trying to understand either his misunderstanding of the situation, or his
    deliberate bitch slap of a Dem governor, Dem county commission chairman and past Dem officials, to take a cheap shot at the Republican who beat
    him in the last election and two other area first-term, GOP state lawmakers.

    Mahoney said he didn't want to brag, but he still tried, by reminding us -- as though we could ever forget -- that he once obtained a $1.5 million state
    grant, "with the governor’s help, to assist job creation at Argon-Boeing in the Fairchance Business Park.

    "That’s three times the $500,000 announced this year for expansion of a similar business park near Mt. Macrina, for which some credited the entire
    local legislative delegation," Mahoney wrote in one up mode to the paper.

    Mahoney said he thinks that "voters need to look at a candidate’s track record of delivering for the people he or she represents."

    Respectfully, we ask, what is Mahoney talking about and who is he talking about? Whose track record? Vicites'? That is whose baby the
    professional park appeared to be, as per comments made to Rants&Raves that big announcement day by a state legislator.

    The bottom line is that Mahoney's whining about Republicans being in legislative offices in 2018 when the grant from a Democratic governor was
    announced reeks of sour grapes from his 2016 loss at the polls and that the decision to release the $500,000 didn't come before his 2016 defeat.
    The grant was said to be in the works for a few years, likely before Mahoney lost re-election in 2016.

    In mid-August, when the papers carried the big story of the $500,000 grant for the development of a new business park in Uniontown through the
    pending acquisition of 220 acres of land from the religious order at Mount Saint Macrina, State Rep Matt Dowling, PA-51, told Rants&Raves, "This
    new proposed park was one of the top legislative priorities for the county commissioners. We were told the majority of this park’s use would be
    medical. There was bipartisan support with Commissioner Vicities requesting the park and the governor supporting the project."

    That comment didn't sound as though Dowling seemed to be stealing or trying to steal Vicites' thunder, right? Only Mahoney seemed to see it that
    way with his 'I'll one up you" boast.

    With the bad blood, of course, between Mahoney and Dowling, it's understandable that Mahoney is biased. RANTS, however, that Mahoney must
    have missed those social media updates from his good pal, Vicites, taking credit for acquiring the grant to get the business park project moving.

    "This past June, I arranged a meeting with the State Department of Community and Economic Development Officials to discuss obtaining
    Redevelopment Capital Assistance Funding to complete the final phase of our Fayette County Business Park on Route 40," Vicites wrote on social

    As a result, Vicites wrote on August 17 on social media, "This week the County and the Redevelopment Authority obtained 1/2 Million dollars from
    the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to start the final phase of the project at Mt Saint Macrina."

    That Mahoney compared the types of grants that the Uniontown project will receive to the $1.5 million of public funds that he secured specifically
    for Boeing and smugly concluded there's no comparison of his level of greatness to the puny $500,000 grant that Vicites helped get, is all so
    disappointing to read and unfortunate for Fayette County. It's never a good day when fellow Democrats with fragile egos have to one up each
    another just to take an ego jab at a Republican.

    What Mahoney's letter to the editor does not include is the fact that campaign donations affiliated with Boeing officials and the company's Policical
    Action Committee (PAC) still make their way to Mahoney's campaign to help him regain his legislative seat. There's not just one company donation.
    There's the company donation, the PAC donation, the landlord's donation, the landlord's retired Boeing pal and cycles of ongoing donations year-

    There is much added incentive, in other words, for Mahoney to sniff out big grants to help specific, individual companies which contribute through
    multiple sources to his very own political campaign.

    Perhaps it's the only way he knows to attract industry. (31 Aug 18))

    Dismissed: Cellurale vs The Usual Suspects

    Editor's note: Yesterday, U.S. District Court threw out a civil case filed by the owner of Joe's Auto Repair and Body Shop and On-Par Turf, Joe
    Cellurale, against the county, County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, and Terry and Diane Kriss, the Cellurales' neighbors.

    Cellurale alleged in his suit filed earlier this year that the commissioner used her position to influence county zoning office decisions and impose
    zoning violations against him, resulting from supposed complaints from his neighbors. This was the third lawsuit filed over zoning issues on those
    same properties against the county over the years.  

    RANTS that a lawyer so familiar with the Fay political climate could encourage a citizen to pay to file a suit, alleging that the black sheep of Fay
    politics, known not to do or owe political favors, could have such powerful influence over an entire department of county employees -- to speak
    nothing of a large zoning hearing board comprised largely of political appointments by some who would oppose Zimmerlink if she said white is
    white or two plus two is four.

    Cellurale has 30 days to appeal the federal court's call on this zoning matter. (22 Aug 18)

    Meanwhile, this about the zoning case, never mentioned again since 2016?

    Readers here recall two years ago, the director of the county zoning office stated publicly that former commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince
    Zapotosky stopped her from issuing fines and violations to Cellurale in the case.

    About a week later, Ambrosini denied the statement made by the zoning office director to heraldstandard.com, in "Ambrosini denies allegations of
    interference in Kriss, Cellurale zoning issue."

    Other than that instance against Ambrosini and Zapotosky, reportedly, stopping the zoning office to enforce a cease and desist order to one of the
    Cellurale businesses, no other claims were ever stated about any county officials interfering with county business for a political favor or support.

    "Quote Of The Day"    on all -- or how very little -- it takes in Fay to say in public to get attacked            
    leaving a public meeting

    "As the secretary pro temp of the Green Party of Fayette County, I urge (the Election Board) to dismiss the complaint by the Democrats
    against the Fayette GOP..."
    Kathryn Jones, to today's Election Board, at its meeting to discuss the PA GOP complaint against the Fayette County Democratic
    Party giving prize contest chances with voter registrations;

    Jones, later saying nothing to any of the county Democratic party office holders, candidates or campaign directors outside, but
    receiving a verbal shout out dis from the second in command at the county Dem party office, mayor of Newell and former head
    of the county's crime/victim/witness director, Ms. Niki Todaro, who hurled personal insults at Jones leaving the building, so
    inappropriately, about Jones' adult son.

    "I'm proud of you! ... I'm proud of you!... I'm proud of you!"

    Dowling responds to Dem's complaint of gaming violation at GOP county fair

    PA Rep  Matt Dowling of the 51st District weighed in to Rants&Raves today on the complaint filed by the Fayette County
    Democratic Party chairman against the County GOP for possible state gaming violations and PA Ethics violations.

    On Thursday, the Dems alleged that tickets were sold at the county GOP table at the fair for gun raffles by non-existent groups or real groups without legal permits.
    At one point, the complaint from the Democratic party chairman stated that the selling of gun raffle tickets appeared to be an illegal raffle promoted by Mr. Show,"
    referring to Dave Show, former Republican county chairman and current party committee man.  

    Dowling disagreed this afternoon to any claim that gun raffle tickets were sold at his table.

    "The tickets being sold were being sold two tents from where the GOP was housing my campaign promotional supplies, under the banner of the Fayette Patriots," he

    His understanding, Dowling said, was "that the ticket was being put off by a local gun club and not the GOP."

    The county election board is scheduled to meet later in the month to hear the Democrats' complaint, and is scheduled to meet in three
    days, on Monday, August 20, 2018, at 9 AM, to hear the complaint from the county GOP filed last week against the Dem's county fair booth
    which entered anyone who registered to vote or changed party registrations into prize drawings.  

    Searchlight's spot on take on anonymous attack of jail reform activist

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but another strong push to read "Anonymous Legal "Guru" Botches Law Interpretation in Shellhammer
    Case," from Fayette Searchlight.

    Shellhammer, as readers here know, is charged in a self-defense shooting case and held without bond in the Fayette County Prison. He is
    also known for his video recordings of county commissioner and prison board meetings under the nic "Chuck U. Farley." He is also the
    son of county citizen jail reform advocates, Kathryn and Bill Jones. The above link is to Searchlight's reaction to a poison pen letter that
    Mrs. Jones received that left, in Searchlight's opinion, doubt that he is being rightfully charged and held incarcerated.

    Prior to his arrest for homicide, the man, who supposedly went in shooting a man who supposedly immediately spun, fell and died,
    sustained significant physical injuries. Shellhammer's written account of the shooting is chilling and a difficult read knowing the outcome.
    RANTS that Masontown police and the DA seem to be the only ones who read along, put themselves in Shellhammer's shoes and fail to
    recognize that there is absolutely no other way out of this attack unless I pull my gun out and shoot before I'm killed.

    Nobody enters a room shooting a man who died almost instantly and staggers out with a beaten up face, broken jaw, pounding head
    concussion and injured shoulder. Shellhammer shot as a last resort. RANTS that he was ever charged with homicide with no convincing
    evidence and a case against him which, to date, includes the key witness and police changing stories from the time of arrest through
    giving testimony against him at his kangaroo court arraignment.

    RAVES of hope that the county district attorney really knows what he's doing in this case, because it doesn't seem as though reason and
    logic applied here. Certainly, it's tragic that someone, charged not long before with selling heroin, chose to brutally attack Shellhammer
    and died, but we're awfully glad Shellhammer shot and is still here.

    Please read Searchlight's take on the harassment that Shellhammer's mother received by mail.  (17 Aug 18)

    Timeline disputes Cardinal's 30-year-old zero tolerance claim
    Everson mayor 3x caught, didn't charge priest in cemetery with kids

    RANTS that an area mayor and police force that caught a former Catholic priest parked three different times with three different boys in a
    cemetery at night did not criminally charge the priest.

    Instead, as per the grand jury report on child sexual abuse by the commonwealth's priests released this week, the mayor of Everson chose
    to meet with church leaders in the Greensburg Dioceses over then Father Joe Sredzinski i's actions in the cemetery.

    While the mayor of Everson tried to get the priest removed from the Everson parish, the mayor wasted his first chance, then a second
    opportunity to stop the abuse by charging the priest. RANTS that at least two more kids were abused and didn't have to be, until the mayor
    at least took some kind of action by meeting with the diocese to remove the priest from Everson.

    From the attorney general's news conference and released grand jury report, this Everson mention was especially heartbreaking because
    the cemetery abuses were rare occasion when someone outside the church's chain of command knew about the abuses. Witnessed by a
    town mayor and police on three separate occasions over what seems to be a six-year-period with no criminal charges filed is horrible. The
    grand jury report stated the abuse started in 1991 in Everson and ended not through criminal prosecution of the priest, but only after he
    transferred from Everson in 1999.

    It's inexcusable for a mayor or the police not to file criminal charges when the mayor and police witness first hand the crimes being
    committed against children. By the early 1990s when this happened, there already was increased awareness in the public of designated
    mandated reporting. Surely, the police and mayor should have charged the priest. They were the witnesses. That was half the battle of
    preparing that kind of case for trial. There was no worry that a witness would cave from pressure or intimidation or out of feelings for the

    This priest who couldn't stay out of the Everson cemetery at night with young boys from his church, as per the report, went on to serve at
    a few other churches for 16 more years. Sredzinski's case contradicts Cardinal Wuerl's statements this week that no offenses against
    children went unpunished by the church diocese for the past 30 years.

    The diocese of Greensburg, as per the Grand Jury report, knew in 1991 about the mayor's concerns in the cemetery. Sredzinski served in
    Everson through 1999 and went to other churches  in the diocese to lead parishes for another 16 years. He also served as chaplain at State
    Correctional Institute in Greensburg and nursing homes in Greensburg in addition to pastoral assignments in Jeanette and hosted a
    religious radio program ,“That You May Believe.’’

    The Grand Jury report states that he continued to serve as a priest in the diocese through 2007 even though the diocese had full
    knowledge of what he did in the cemetery on at least three nights in the 1990s in Everson, caught each time by the mayor and police.  

    While the report stated that he was removed from the priesthood, his obituary and feature story on heraldstandard.com three years ago,
    called him Father and contained accolades from a bishop and his nun biological sister. RANTS that the diocese let that happen.

    Note: The above discussed former priest was first introduced to Rants&Raves readers in a below piece, "Evil Wilma, Republic priests
    share space in Hell together." (17 Aug 18))

    Fay Dems counter-file complaint against Fay GOP for gun raffle

    The county Democratic party head filed a formal complaint today that a former Republican county party chairman/GOP committee man
    sold tickets to an illegal gun raffle at the county fair.

    As per the complaint, the former GOP chairman sold "illegal raffle tickets in violation of the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act, and,
    perhaps, The Election Code."

    No signs announcing a raffle are visible in the accompanying blurry photos and no party connection wording is seen on the photos
    attached to the complaint.

    Written by George Rattay, the complaint and accompanying photographs were delivered to the county election bureau office by a current
    state office candidate/former state representative Tim Mahoney. He later said on AM talk radio today that the complaint was sent to several
    different agencies or entities to investigate.

    The complaint asks for an investigation to determine whether Dave Show, former GOP chairman/GOP committee man, sold tickets for a
    legitimate non-profit organization named on the tickets or his own personal benefit, or whether the gun raffle, indeed, was authorized by
    the county GOP committee.

    Email was sent to the state and county GOP party chairs for comment. (16 Aug 18)


    Evil Wilma, Republic priests share space in Hell together

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but an incredibly sad mention that out there are a former elementary schoolmate and scores of other victims
    of the sickest, most putrid kind of organized ring of child sexual predators, in the priests that we as kids fully trusted.

    Back then, as per dates when the sexual abuse seemed to start in Republic in the long-awaited Grand Jury report released yesterday, little
    kids in that neighborhood parish and school were barely over nightmares of two young boys being murdered a few years earlier, their 7
    and 10-year-old bodies found in Evil Wilma Eperjesi's Main Street refrigerator, after disappearing while playing.

    RANTS that Evil Wilma wasn't the only thing about that parish and school that would traumatize kids so horribly. It's just that none of us
    ever dreamed that Evil Wilma and Fathers Henry, Oris and Joe would come to share the same space in Hell together for their unspeakable
    crimes against children. (15 Aug 18)

    Fay Election Board to meet, no hearing announced
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that a notice announcing a meeting of the Fayette County Election Board (August 20, 2018, at 9 AM,
    in the Pubic Safety Building), is posted on the county's website.   

    As per the notice, the board will discuss a Bullskin Township polling location at an elementary school and the complaint, now known as
    Fairgate, that Democratic party leaders violated election code in their booth at the county fair, by enticing voters to register or change parties
    to be entered into prize contests. (14 Aug 18)

    Fayette Searchlight, from, "Sealed Fifth Presentment Reaches 44 Months," a must read


    Specialized courts keep proving 2013 jail planners wrong

    RAVES to the fact that specialized courts are working in Fay to help reduce county prison recidivism and improve the quality of life to
    its participants.

    Today's heraldstandard.com feature, "Fayette County Problem-Solving Courts reducing recidivism and increasing treatment," looks
    at the value of the specialized courts to help veterans and those suffering from mental illness and drug and alcohol issues turn their
    lives around without future arrest.

    RAVES that these specialized courts are getting positive feature. Specialized courts, after all, were said to be of no value to keep jail
    census down by 2013 county prison developers who were a few million dollar waste of public money.

    Today's data, however, continues to prove that the 2013 county prison developers and their county ad hoc work groups missed the boat
    by a long shot projecting snowballing annual increases in incarcerations, when, in fact, they were so wrong. (13 Aug 18)


    Code officer: New Connellsvile hotel has "major code violations"

    RANTS that during an inspection to approve a permit for the installation of a fence that was already installed around a retention pond,
    a Connellsville code and zoning officer reported to the local planning commission this week that the Cobblestone Hotel has "major
    code violations" and that the authority should table granting approval for now.  

    As per heraldstandard.com's "Code violations delay Connellsville hotel’s permit approval," the zoning and code officer did not
    publicly list any other types of specific violations, but commented they were significant and that "it wasn't something simple like
    peeling paint."

    Connellsville's Act 90, implemented by city council two months ago, allows the planning commission to deny permits in cases where
    owners owe back taxes or have outstanding code violations.

    "Rejection of an application would require the applicant to put the property back to its regular state -- or take the fence down," the
    article continued.

    Dismantling the fence, as shown in this link, however, reportedly, would result in the loss of property insurance and the issuance of
    violations from the Department of Environmental Protection.

    RANTS that the day to day operations of a private business, built in part with some public funds to help the local economy and
    community development to create jobs and regional economic growth, remains so problem-ridden.

    Readers here are well aware of the legal suits brought by some investors against other investors, including a former county
    commissioner, over an unspecified amount of profits some owners feel they are owed. In their as of yet unresolved civil lawsuit, those
    plaintiffs alleged that other investors pressured the group to use funds for reasons other than the agreed upon expenses.


    RANTS that the lack of following legal codes and regulations has left the troubled hotel in more trouble at a time when the area needs jobs
    and economic growth so badly. (12 Aug 18)


    "Quote Of The Day" he said, after 15 years in office and umpteen campaigns, way long enough to have
    read, learned election code regs that prohibit gifts or prizes to entice voters

    "Big crowd at the Fayette County Fair last night! Democrat booth has been really busy registering new Democrats in Fayette County!"
    Fayette County Commission Chairman and Democrat Committee man Vince Vicites, writing on social media on July 29, as seen in a
    saved copy of his quickly deleted social media posts, saved, as shown in this link,  to the social media page of the Republican Party
    of Fayette County


Fayette Searchlight blog resumes publication

RAVES to having a good, early morning read, in the return of the Fayette Searchlight blog.

Please click to read, "The Alleged Election Fraud and Perjuries of the Current 51st Legislative District Democrat Nominee and ex-State Rep. Timothy
S. Mahoney," and follow its various links throughout.

    Also, for in depth background information on other Mahoney-related issues, please dig into the archieves of the old Not Enough Said blog, formerly written by a
    second writer/editor and the Searchlight editor.     

    No matter which candidates voters chose in upcoming elections, RAVES that Searchlight and the former NES site offer information that gives citizens "warts and all"
    details to make an informed decision at the polls.

    RAVES to Fayette Searchlight for the new read over today's morning coffee. (10 Aug 18)


    Will Vicites recuse self?
    Will Election Board convene hearing about voter registration

    Although the state's county election boards ultimately are to schedule hearings when allegations of voter irregularities are made, there
    has been no word yet whether Fay's election board will convene a hearing to talk about the drive at the Dem party booth at the county fair
    to register new Democrats to vote in the fall general election.

    But, as per a Bullskin area poll worker, the election board still hasn't advertised a meeting or hearing to change a polling location, so we
    shouldn't hold our breath waiting. The election board is comprised of the three county commissioners, who were asked for comment.

    Mixed are reactions coming in since this story first appeared in the Trib. That the story drew so much negative attention across major
    news outlets because voters were enticed to register to vote or change their party to Democrat with chances to win prizes.

    Even if not one person took the Dems up on their offer at the fair booth to register, the Election Board needs to convene to address the
    issue. Either dismiss it or address it through the criminal courts.

    After all, if state officials bothered to write election regulations not allowing gifts or money exchanged for votes and voter registrations and
    penalties for violations, shouldn't the election board seriously address the complaint?

    To the outside world, which sees photographs on social media posted by one elected official posing at the fair booth with the readable
    signs around him with three candidates in the fall election, what happened is significant.

    What's worse than having the world's main media outlets calling a county political party committee chairman for comment, as what
    happened with the Fay Dem committee chair? How about the same big guys calling back prison board members or a district attorney to
    ask why the board did not convene a hearing when the photo of the signage at the fair booth speaks as truth?

    It happened. Nobody knows yet how many people -- could be zero or many -- registered through the Dem fair booth the days it operated
    the contest. But it happened. Politicians with decades in office who should thoroughly know election law hung around that booth oblivious
    to election code. It happened.

    RAVES of hope that county officials address the state GOP complaint before the stupidity of the local party becomes topic thrown out at a
    future presidential news conference or rally. Given that our beautiful mountain area finally got a few real shots in recent months at
    exposure for tourism in articles by a popular political writer from CNN, the D.C. Examiner and NY Post, who also appears on Sunday
    political news shows, RAVES of hope that no Fay officials try to make light of it.

    RAVES of hope, too, that Fay Commish Vince Vicites recuses himself, if the election board on which he sits convenes a hearing. He
    himself posed for photos at the fair with the sign clearly visible in backdrop in photographs he published on social media.

    RANTS that with all his years in office, he did not know better. He apparently helped create the situation that he should not be allowed to
    judge as one of three election board members -- that is, if the election board is smart enough to convene a hearing. (9 Aug 18)

    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "Fayette County Democratic chairman George Rattay says when his group learned it might not be legal to link the giveaway with
    voter registration it was expanded to let anyone sign up who stopped by their booth, then they canceled the giveaway altogether."
    The Associated Press, as quoted directly from the news wire service's reporting on the unlawful election shenanigans at a
    Fayette County Fair political booth last week that caught the attention of the AP, Fox News, MSN and other large news
    organizations amazed that the locals claim ignorance of election codes for holding the contest

    "So the AP story alone was shared in 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters?"
    Dave, this afternoon at west coast diner, asking by phone how the story about the local Dems ended up on his satellite radio
    broadcast, which gets news from the AP Radio Network  


    As Dem party cancels resort prize
    Photo of county fair election registration prize giveaways

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note for clarification about the below item.

    The question mark that ran yesterday at the end of the below blue banner is officially removed, as it no longer is a question of whether the
    booth and its Dem operators and hangerson violated the law, but a statement of fact that elections law indeed was violated.

    As per a letter dated today, from the state GOP chair, to Larry Blosser, county elections bureau director, the giveaway over politics is
    confirmed. A photographed sign posted at the Fay Democrat Party booth at the county fair clearly contains wording that those who
    register to vote or change parties to become Democrats were entered for chances to win a Steelers gift basket and a conceal and carry
    purse for the armed gal on the go, with a grand prize of a weekend stay at Nemacolin Woodlands and dinner and a bottle of champagne
    from the Stone House Restaurant.

    RANTS for the ignorance of the law or the arrogance and genuine disrespect of the law from decades-long politicians who were fixtures at
    the booth all week and did not shut down the unlawful contest. That action alone speaks volumes about the integrity of those who want to
    serve us in office. (8 Aug 18)


    Fay Dem fair booth violates elections law with giveaways
    RANTS that corruption or alleged corruption in Fayette County elections raised its ugly head tonight, as per the Trib's, "Republicans
    charge Democrats with skulduggery at the Fayette County Fair."

    As per the article and formal press release from the state party, the state Republican Chairman contends that "members working its
    registration table at the fair offered prizes such as Pittsburgh Steelers gear and a trip to Nemacolin Woodlands to entice fair-goers to
    register as Democrats or, worse yet, change their registration to Democrat."

    Given that election law strongly prohibits the offering and giving of money or goods in exchange for someone registering to vote or
    changing one's political party, the state GOP chair asked the district attorney and Fay elections board members to investigate whether or
    not Pittsburgh Steeler Terrible Towels and trips to the area resort were illegally offered to entice unregistered residents or Republicans to
    register as Fay Dems.

    RANTS that this type of bad press keeps kicking Fay's butt reputation-wise across the state, as the Trib piece on its state reporting page found
    its way online tonight. (7 Aug 18)


    "Quote Of The Day"
    "Yeah, but I bet today those jail officials and prison board members scrambled to watch jail video of the inmate suicide attempt!"
    Pete, earlier today at the diner, commenting on the ambulances outside the Fay County Prison mid-day, after an inmate attempted
    suicide by hanging


    RTK appeal filed with OOR to view video
    Did Prison Board view this surveillance video, talk with inmates?
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that an appeal was filed today at Rants&Raves to the PA Office of Open Records, as the
    County of Fayette denied a Right To Know request to view county prison surveillance video of a specific cell area of an inmate
    bleeding from the mouth during an asthma attack. The inmate experienced medical distress following the use of pepper spray to
    subdue another inmate removed and taken by four guards to the basement.

    Written consent for the viewing of the video was obtained from the inmate in medical distress bleeding from the mouth from the
    asthma attack brought on by breathing all of the pepper spray in the air.

    On July 16, Rants&Raves filed the RTK to view the video. We asked prison board members to allow the viewing and come watch, too.
    They were informed that first day of the RTK, that the inmate would allow the viewing with a written release.

    In the County's formal denial to Rants&Raves to view the prison surveillance video -- received quickly by County standards, in just
    three business days later, too -- the Answer stated that prison management staff viewed surveillance video of an incident occurring
    on July 13, 2018, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon in which pepper spray had been released in the environment.  

    "The review of the video surveillance confirmed that prison Corrections staff handled all events related to this incident appropriately
    and professionally," as per the RTK Answer.

    Did prison management who watched the video talk to inmates or other staff about whether the guard made his way as quickly or
    slowly as possible to get the inmate bleeding from the mouth in an asthmatic crisis his medication inhaler?

    Did prison board members ask prison management to talk to inmates?

    Did prison board members talk to inmates directly to ask if they heard others raising their voices asking the guard to hurry with the
    inhaler medication?

    Perhaps this latest RTK should have included the disclaimer that Rants&Raves was not digging for details about the incident that
    prompted the pepper spraying of that other inmate and whether or not a guard who was ordered legally to stay away from him had
    violated that order out of stupidity or just for kicks. That particular inmate, we trust, knows how to effectively self advocate and does
    not need external advocacy.

    In denying the recent RTK, the County is correct in one area of thinking, given that in recent years lawyers have smuggled in drugs to
    their clients in booking areas.

    Contraband is a serious matter that nobody here at this column takes lightly. In a way, yes, it's almost laughable, given the number of
    times this editor once made emergency mental health assessments of inmates from right outside their cells. In this day and age, it's
    almost understandable to say it's OK to deny entrance even to someone at Rants&Raves, who represented the county for years in
    county mental health courts and had access to this county's youngest murderers for those prison assessments.

    These days, anyone can smuggle in or try to. Look at how many of the prison's own staff and contracted staff have carried in bags of
    pills and were caught!

    But they knew, had to deep down know, that this editor would've agreed to be put in a straight jacket with no access to use my arms
    or hands to watch that video.

    Given that nearly every person who has ever worked at or out of the prison, nearly every person ever incarcerated there and anyone
    who ever watched those scary prison propaganda videos all know the layout of the joint, the County's RTK Answer just took too
    goofy of a tangent saying that allowing a civilian in to view a video of the cell area constitutes a safety risk.

    Oh, please! The longer the RTK Answer went, the more difficult it was to keep separate the two different inmate incidents that day.

    The longer the long RTK Answer became, the more likely it seemed that the first incident of the inmate being pepper sprayed, reportedly, for
    asking that the guard ordered formally to avoid him comply, will probably be a bigger problem for county officials down the road than some
    inmate bleeding from the mouth who eventually got his medication inhaler before the pepper spray killed him.  (6 Aug 18)


    Inmates get 2 extra hours per week for Skype psychiatrist

    RANTS that the Fay Prison Board took only one ity bity, baby step forward today, yet some officials still broke arms their arms patting
    themselves on the back, by doubling Skype video psychiatric appointment time, for up to 100-200 or more inmates, from two measly hours
    weekly, to four almost as measly hours per week.

    Big frigging woop, when you have inmates with severe mental health problems, well known for decades to community mental health programs,
    sitting in turtle suits, in a dimly lit basement county jail cell covered in sections with smeared and caked feces.    

    Where, o just where, in private practice would a group of 100 or more patients be limited to two, three or four hours per week -- or about 16
    hours per month -- for all of them via Skype to talk with their psychiatrists prescribing their psych medications?

    Where in private practice -- except possibly doctors from 1940s era snake pit psychiatric hospital units -- would any reputable doctor even be
    willing to be involved in any operation to cover 100 patients via Skype, in just eight hours per month and perform medication management and
    after only 24 mere quarterly work hours, to write about 500 heavy duty psychiatric prescriptions,  135 doses of the heroin detox Buprenorphine,
    2,070 doses of the opioid Acetaminophen with Codeine, and 1,620 doses of various muscle relaxers?

    In the real world, that all just might be called insurance fraud, no?

    At the least, the sad situation at the Fay County Prison is one, that even improved with a few more hours each week of direct contact time with
    real Skype video psychiatrists, still reeks of benign neglect of the chronically mentally ill decompensating and doing nothing but
    decompensating incarcerated.


    The doubling of the two hours to four weekly hours of Skype availability for inmates to chat with their psychiatrists and for the psychiatrists to
    see the inmates cost about an additional $20,000 annually.

    As previously stated, the gesture to double the amount of time to four hours per week for Skype psychiatric appointments for inmates with
    mental illness is only a small baby step taken in the right direction, but nothing really of significance to rave about.

    Not when mentally ill inmates scream for hours, oblivious to any efforts to redirect them to calm and get hosed down with cold water by
    frustrated and/or sadistic paid staff who are not reprimanded, fired, reassigned or charged with assault. (2 Aug 18)


    Fay inmate files misconduct complaint against attorney
    to the Disciplinary Board of PA Supreme Court

    RANTS that it had to come to this.

    As per copies of documents and information sent to Rants&Raves, an inmate at the Fayette County Prison filed a formal misconduct complaint
    with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania because the Fayette County Public Defender Office has ignored his four
    written requests since June and multiple prison communication form requests to his attorney to file a few motions in his criminal case.

    Equally negligent, in his complaint is the Public Defenders Office for not investigating information that he provided and not obtaining Discovery
    evidence that the defendant requested for his defense.

    Filing formal complaints with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, apparently, is the only option for those accused of
    crimes pining in jail, wanting and receiving no contact from their Public Defender legal defense attorney to request bond or file motions.  

    As per the copies of the four letters and the formal complaint dated July 23, 2018, the inmate reported problems receiving feedback and contact
    to prepare for trial. His family previously reported problems the problems to the county prison board and county officials.

    The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, however, now is asked to intervene due to misconduct which the inmate feels
    has happened in his case. Readers here know that the Fayette County Public Defenders Office, without consequence, too often misses court
    ordered deadlines to prepare indigent inmates with legal representation for trial.

    RANTS that the complaint had to be filed.

    Bigger RANTS, too, because this complaint started what likely will be a flood of additional defendants filing with the Disciplinary Board of the
    Supreme Court of Pennsylvania over their public defender attorneys seeming also to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

    RANTS because Fay really did not need this added drama that must end. (1 Aug 18)  


    Oils, pills and cream users banned
    Westmoreland Housing Authority to evict medical marijuana users

    RANTS, after all of the time, effort and frustration of lobbying state officials to get medical marijuana oil available to help kids with cluster
    seizures -- especially followed by all of the sheer joy when incapacitating seizures decreased to nil with a type of reversing cure that
    became magically available -- some residents of Westmoreland County Housing Authority are being forced to relocate or stop using the
    medical marijuana oils, creams or pills because marijuana is still illegal in the commonwealth.

    RANTS because the law and the exceptions divide right versus wrong so cruelly. How could any parent of a child who received an almost
    instant medical cure like that ever want to stop the medication to keep a roof over the family's head in Westmoreland?

    RAVES of hope that the decision to evict non complying residents who use prescribed oils, pills or creams from state licensed
    dispensaries is reversed.

    In a day when no state driving, housing or weapon ownership restrictions exist for methadone and other anti-opioid narcotic users, the
    authority's stand on cleaning house of oil, pill and cream users of medical marijuana seems nothing but asinine. (18 Jul 18)

    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

    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

    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

    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
  • 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

    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

    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 18)

    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 themselves."

    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

    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 speaking.

    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 glass.

    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 source.

    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 bridge.

    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,

    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

    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)  

    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 treatment.

    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 pardon."

    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 18)


    "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 pleasantries.

    "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 treated   

    "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

    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 disruptive.

    "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

    "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

    "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

    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


    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

    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

    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 sentence."

    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 pew.

    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 say

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


    Fay, sadly, all over state-wide poverty list

    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 18)


    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

    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)
    636 days... since
    Rants&Raves requested A
    Right To Know to obtain
    records of county
    contracting rates and the
    spending of public funds
546 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
"At the fair, I did not participate in promoting or handling the raffle," Vince
Vicites, Fayette County Commissioner and member of the Election Board,
told the Election Board and public gathered at the August 20th meeting .
Vicites, as shown above working the fair booth, but not actively participating
in promoting or handling the raffle, oblivious to the fact that his mere
presence under the raffle sign there is promoting the raffle.