RANTS  &  RAVES  2018



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    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.
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    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)
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    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)
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    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)

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    "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"



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    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
    four.

    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)

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    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"


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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







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    RAVES for a beautiful white Christmas after all.  (25 Dec 17)
    394 days... since
    Rants&Raves requested A
    Right To Know to obtain
    records of county
    contracting rates and the
    spending of public funds
    304 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