RANTS  &  RAVES  2018


    2014 voter fraud lessons forgotten?
    RANTS that some snicker at the silliness of the complaints alleging possible elections violations that two political party leaders have leveled against
    one another in recent Fay weeks.

    Forget that they often then are speechless, suddenly without snicker, usually looking downward at this point, when asked why then did the story of
    the Fay Dem fair booth prize contest give away air on televisions during network news in Los Angeles?  Read more.

    On his radio talk show
    Show ignores, but not completely, Dem complaint against him

    Dave Show, former Fayette GOP chairman and current party committee man, vaguely eluded to something being up that he wasn't going to discuss
    at the start of his AM talk radio show Thursday and went into his interview with his scheduled guest.

    Only, Show ended up commenting before introducing his guest that he wasn't going to engage in discussion about some "hair pulling and eye rolling

    He was, of course, referring to the complaints filed against him by the county Democratic Party chairman accusing Show of selling gun raffle tickets
    from a political table at the county fair. Show went on then today to tell a local paper that he sold gun raffle tickets for a different group, but not for the
    GOP political party.

    The complaint filed yesterday against Show and the county GOP by the county Democratic Party chairman will be addressed by the state attorney
    general. (17 Aug 18)

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

    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 said.

    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 accused.    

    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

    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

    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)

    More on the Democratic Party booth at the county fair
    While the first order of business should be a simple acknowledgement of a possible change in polling location, the second order of business for the
    Fayette County Election Board next week may be too far out of the range of comfort for the election board.

    Photographs that started to be sent to Rants&Raves in late July taken at the county fair do bear the images of Vince Vicites, county chairman, county
    election board member and county Democratic committee man, as well as some current Democratic row officers and Democratic candidates in county
    and state Democratic races. Read More.

    Tourists note Dunbar industrial park still without tenants
    RANTS that tourists in Fayette, returning after a few years, noticed and commented tonight at a nearby restaurant that the industrial park in Dunbar
    Township still has no tenants and industry.

    "They held the opening over two years ago when we were here," Mr. New York said, with Mrs. New York commenting that she remembered being
    very happy to hear at that time at least one thousand jobs would come to Fay. She recalled being elated hearing the industrial park was expected to
    rake in $50 million dollars annually into local economy when she read the newspaper after the 2016 opening ceremony of speeches from area

    "What happened? Why isn't that land developed? The road is in. The utilities (for 11 tenants) and infrastructure are in, right?" she reasoned in asking.

    "Not even one tenant yet!" she exclaimed, with her spouse shaking his head in unison with her over the unsold lots. Not one tenant, she noticed.

    RANTS that area officials seem to have forgotten about the industrial park in Dunbar Township. Why is that? (13 Aug 18)

    "Quotes Of The Day" on a forgotten grand jury presentment collecting dust

    "If (Michael) Cavanagh was the subject of the sealed Fifth Presentment, why was the presentment never unsealed and the case prosecuted?  Was it
    to cover up the non-investigation of the Third Referral against (Tim) Mahoney?  Even if Cavanagh was not the subject, again, why has the Fifth
    Presentment remained sealed for 44 months?

    As Fayette Countians paid for that county investigating grand jury, the citizens of this county deserve answers from current Fayette County District
    Attorney Richard E. Bower on why he has not asked Judge Steve P. Leskinen to unseal the Fifth Presentment and why no formal charges ever
    resulted from it.  More directly, Judge Steve P. Leskinen must be held to account for the lengthy sealing of the Fifth Presentment.


    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 complaint?

    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

    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


    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

    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 appointments

    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


    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

    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

    Deliberate indifference: Fay Prison lawsuit
    response to 3 women suing

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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

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

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

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

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


    Fay RTK: glass in prison food "noncriminal" investigation

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


    Nobody viewed video in investigation of glass in prison food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


    Karen Sharpe: RIP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Missing from store shelves and menus

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

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

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

    2018 lightning bugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    FCPB: no glass served with May 8 dinner

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

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

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

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

    And without pausing, he went right into:

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

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


    Let the clergy in, for God's sake!

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


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

    Write in votes for sale?

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

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


    RIP: Jeraldine Mazza

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

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

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

    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, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Both papers' bias: black and white apparent

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

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

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

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


    Ringer's hypocritical take as campaign manager

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

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

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


    Fay Co prisoners get wrong meds from nurse

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Geyer charged with inappropriate touching of a teen, providing alcohol

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


    2 drug arrests this week at the Fay County Prison?

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

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

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

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


    Former funeral director tugs on heart strings for pity

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

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

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

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


    Does the county have a prison sewage action plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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



    FC Prison
    Shut it down already!

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

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

    As per his written statement:

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

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

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

    Fayette County Prison's overkill of pepper spray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recalling, ^missing NES, Fayette Searchlight blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Retro "Quote Of The Day" from Fayette Searchlight

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

    A tale of two way different airport surveys

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

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

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


    Dowling rips back

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

    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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    County prison critic headed to trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Update: FC Prison door

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

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

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

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

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

    RIP: Florence "Shutsy" Reynolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "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
    All of us, thinking to ourselves, when we cringed hearing the judge speak

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Fay County jail door kept ajar?

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

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

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

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

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

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


    2nd inmate: cruel and unusual punishment?

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

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


    Former public works director
    Sansone missed the boat on this lawsuit

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

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

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

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

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


    Jailhouse critic: in isolation with no pencil  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Westmoreland, Fayette sheriffs in court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Conn school assembly: Not the usual fluff and circumstance

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

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

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

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

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

    RAAAAAAAAAAAAVES for that! (22 Feb 18)  

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

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

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

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


    "Quote Of The Day" from inside Fay Co Prison

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

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

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


    The Avenue: Tornado Alley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Lohr, Vicites fail to practice what they preach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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)
    586 days... since
    Rants&Raves requested A
    Right To Know to obtain
    records of county
    contracting rates and the
    spending of public funds
496 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