RANTS  &  RAVES  2019             Older R&R

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    Early Election morning "Quotes Of The Day"
    "In some uncontested races where I don't respect the name on the ballot, I will write in names to amuse myself and those at the election bureau who
    tabulate votes."
    Pete's grandmother, possibly the oldest voting Fay resident around, naming her picks

    "Jake Ely for county commissioner. He seems capable of doing the job and unlikely to tolerate shenanigans like this (expletives galore) $3 million
    dollars in payments the county held onto and absorbed into its general fund instead of paying schools and small, struggling boroughs their share of
    the $5 million total they're long overdue."
    Grandma, on a roll, stopping to ask whether anything panned out on the claim late last week that someone on today's ballot for a county office was
    pulled over for DUI and quietly let go... not believing it appears to be a vicious rumor, incidentally... then returning to her election picks

    "Jake doesn't seem that he would tolerate a female commissioner being excluded from a county agreement like the one that Vicites and Lohr drew up
    last week for the loan for Mt. Macrina. Out of all of them, Jake and Ms. Glad seem that they could work well together to make Fayette an honest and
    better county. I hope neither of them gets corrupt if they win."
    Grandma, returning to her election picks, but refusing to discuss those comical names she'll write in in uncontested races where she wishes she had a
    choice...  confirming, when asked, that she is not Jake or Elise Glad's grandma, and turning her attention to a Dave Lohr supporter to ask if he realizes
    how funny it is that Lohr's dream for Fay relies so much on expansion of the local airport

    School districts, municipalities left waiting
    Commish: Fay keeps property sale funds, misuses $3 Million of it
    RANTS, as a county commissioner states that the county misspent $3 Million dollars, targeted from the sale of property at tax claim sales to be
    distributed to school districts and municipalities, instead, by funnelling the money into the county's general fund.

    "A county should not sell properties and retain the proceeds from the sales," Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said on her blog, "$5
    million tax sale fund needs distributed but where’s $3 million of it?"

    She said that an internal audit done by the Controllers Office reported that the $3 million dollar balance was used for General Fund tax sale purposes.


    "It was not supposed to be used in that manner.  Why was it used in that manner?  The county offices followed the procedure outlined by the paid
    financial consultant who has been the paid financial consultant for years," Zimmerlink said.

    Despite repeated meetings and emails, distributions of the property sale funds are not timely made.

    "I have the documentation. I have also sought outside assistance to help me," she said of the stalled dispersal of funds that she wants dispersed.  

    "No wonder the two commissioners (Vince) Vicites and (Dave) Lohr report to the voters, the taxpayers, that they have 'balanced the budget' and work
    'diligently daily on the budget' and 'review line item by line item'... They use and still use monies from the sales fund for other sales fund expenses
    which is not permitted, as per the commissioner.

    Zimmerlink was asked for more details, including any documentation that she said she has asking for the property tax sale funds to be dispersed to
    the school districts. More to come. (20 May 19)  

    DA political sign on the bypass?
    RAVES that all other candidates with signs did not join Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower in parking one next to his in the grass  along the
    four-lane Rt. 119 bypass, right behind PennDOT, on public owned property.

    RAVES that only he and another incumbent, with signs in the middle of highway divider islands, fail to understand the basic rules. (21 May 19)


    While mountain EMS station closed
    Pennies short: $1 M county tax dollars paid to financial consultant
    RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTS!

    Since the voting public was well aware that two county commissioners filed bankruptcies one or more times in their personal businesses or personal
    lives, it was a given that the financially challenged duo should trust finance planning and budgeting to more fiscally sound minds.  

    However, given that the bankrupt commissioners have in a little over three years -- i.e., the duo of Commissioner Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr,
    through March of 2019 -- paid their consultant nearly $1 million dollars for budget preparation, as per Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink in her blog
    piece, "Nearly $1 million of county tax dollars paid to the financial consultant," the public now realizes the duo's need for help was sadly
    underestimated.


    RANTS that so much county money is wasted when Fay cannot provide a mountain based emergency medical service station, requiring mountain
    residents, mountain tourism businesses and tourists to have delays in receiving ambulances and emergency medical help in a crisis.

    We knew Vicites and Lohr needed close financial guidance, but the outrageous tab paid to the financial guru is unreal and, unfortunately, probably
    nowhere near the max it will grow to, through the end of 2019. (19 May 19)


    "Quote Of The Day"from a former Catholic school student who doesn't want the nuns one day to
    be taken to the cleaners by possible county development
    "I hope the Sisters have a good planner working for their best interests. I understand this loan they want with tax exemption is to refinance their
    nursing home mortgage, possibly save a good bit on monthly payments, possibly use some for upgrades, etc...but I wonder if they in the future would
    be wiser to lease part of their land instead of sell a section. I would hate to see the nuns get snookered."
    Pete, earlier at the diner, reacting to the request from the Mt. Macrina nuns to seek a $10 million dollar refinance loan, using financing lingo such as
    "balloon" to explain that all large mortgages like that require refinancing every couple years;
    Pete, long story short, hoping that the Sisters get their refinance and later realize they are sitting pretty, essentially in control of controlling a landlock, if
    and when they ever decide to sell or lease any part of their highly desired land for possible industrial park expansions


    Or just doing her job?
    Zimmerlink acting more like a candidate?
    RAVES to Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for acting more like a candidate herself fighting corruption than an official in office her last
    year not seeking re-election.

    Please check out "Pay to Play – campaign contributions,"  and "How Vicites & Lohr spend your tax $$$," informing us that a fellow
    commish bills Fay for postage for his Christmas holiday cards and wanted reimbursed for the cost of candy he tossed to kids from parade cars. No
    kidding!


    RAVES to Zimmerlink for not spending her last year in office missing in action, as an entitled period of personal time off, as did others before her who
    did not seek re-election or lost re-election and mysteriously disappeared from the daily workforce downtown.  

    RANTS that candidates trying to oust the incumbents, on the other hand, so far seem too content with status quo or just too timid to confront it. (15
    May 19)   


    As New Season controversy continues
    DoubleV&Lohr campaigns get boost from Greene methadone clinic chiefs
    RANTS that incumbent Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr, in just the last election campaign expense and donation
    reporting period, raked in some $5,000 in campaign contributions from businessmen operating a Greene County methadone clinic with a county
    business contract.

    These campaign donations include those from its medical director, who previously faced disciplinary action in four states.

    RANTS, that it's even worse that the duo seems to be wasting at least $50-75,000 needlessly transporting some county residents for their daily
    methadone. It is unknown whether citizens utilizing FACT bus transportation to the Greene County clinic are concerned about the added time spent
    riding out of county. With an extended major highway expansion project being planned for Route 21, however, it's time to realize residents eventually
    will start to be impacted more and frustrated.

    Either way, RANTS that persons with addictions going to Greene County now for treatment have no choice.

    They say in this video that their behavioral health staff and county insurance piece, Value Behavioral Health, do not wish to provide a new
    Uniontown clinic, New Season, a county Medicaid billing provider number to become eligible to receive payment when treating Fay residents with
    Medicaid for addiction services.


    Campaign Donations should be returned
    Whether New Season really is as bad a place as Vicites and Lohr say it is or not, their political campaign donations should be returned to the
    Highmark PAC and to the Greene County contracted Methadone business owner and employees.   

    Same with the donations from their contracted county business guru, Sam Lynch, paid some $112,000 in the first three months of 2019 for guru
    budget planning services that they say that they, nor county fiscal staff, are skilled enough to prepare.   

    Please see the announcement on the right for a forum about New Season to be held today. Please click to
    review the Greene County clinic's last inspection report. (15 May 19)


    Todays agenda: hold hearing, consider $10M tax-free Mount Macrina note
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the county will hold a hearing in 48 hours to hear public input on a proposed $10 million dollar, tax-free
    loan to Mount Saint Macrina, to pay off a current mortgage on its nursing home.

    RANTS that the matter to date has not been known publicly.

    Please click on the above blue link to read the legal notice that just didn't originate from thin air for Thursday's hearing and the county commissioners
    meeting agenda for today's monthly planning meeting.

    RANTS that Fay is even more so secretly involved in back door meetings with this current board of commissioners in 2019 than it was in the horrible
    past, when two commissioners accused one another of bid rigging in a failed prison construction deal.  (14 May 19)


    "Quote Of The Day" on DoubleV&Dave's dark transparency
    "I finally got to watch video from that candidate forum at Penn State from last month. I got a kick out of (Commissioner Vince) Vicites and
    (Commissioner Dave) Lohr so proud that they brought supposed order and professionalism to county meetings and business... Nah, they got darn
    lucky that Mrs. Mazza's health failed and that other watch dogs stopped going to the meetings out of disgust for their sexist male leaders."
    Pete's wife, yesterday evening at the diner, reading up on the proposed hearing in 48 hours to discuss issuing a $10 million dollar tax-exempt loan
    to Mt. Macrina, adding that she'll be back later to gripe about the criminal background of a methadone clinic doctor currently serving Fay residents
    in Greene since the county refuses to allow a new Fay provider to have Fay insurance Medicaid billing provider status



    Lohr replacement sign even closer to traffic
    RANTS that a replacement political sign for an incumbent county commissioner is even closer to traffic, at the busy intersection of Routes 119 and
    982, in Bullskin Township, than was the politician's earlier placed sign, taken away by wind. Read More.

    Will CRA take back phantom restaurant land?
    RANTS that a restaurant that was supposed to be built and operating in the next few months in Connellsville has not been built and that the proposed
    owners, instead, chose to open a restaurant soon in Morgantown.

    The riverfront property sold, from the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, for $15K in 2017,  without a bidding process, for a fraction of its
    supposed value of $200K or more.

    At the time, the CRA claimed it struck up a deal with Marilyn Cellurale to buy the land and build a restaurant because she wanted to create jobs and
    business here in Connellsville.

    Nonetheless, with the clock ticking and the land untouched with no construction, it's time that the CRA officially reclaims ownership of the land and
    puts it out there for others for possible development. The CRA should also hold on to the $15K purchase funds, in forfeit, as allowed in the signed
    land agreement.  

    RANTS that the area's just too much a financial risk for even local natives to invest in these days. A restaurant next door might have helped boost
    business at the bankrupt hotel next door.

    RANTS that the area might not be able to support a hotel without tourism, but, surely, Connellsville and Fay locals could support another restaurant
    rather nicely, year-round. God knows we could have used all those promised jobs. (11 May 19)

    GOP Challenger: not running with Lohr
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of a chuckle over reading that a candidate in the upcoming primary election took out an ad to say he is NOT
    running for election with an incumbent commissioner as his running mate.

    On his social media page, a challenger, after receiving the endorsement of one of local GOP sub-groups which put out a flyer with the bios and
    photos of its endorsed two men, wasted no time distancing himself from the incumbent Dave Lohr in his own ad declaring he has no running mate.  


    DA wasted three years, county funds, court's time, our patience
    RANTS that the county district attorney foolishly wasted three years and court costs, including services of a death penalty mitigation specialist, hell-
    bent on his focus to seek the death penalty against Uniontown parents, in the 2016 death of their daughter, when there was no legal basis to have
    sought the death penalty.

    Why was the death penalty pursuit suddenly dropped last month without explanation? We here at Rants&Raves clearly still doubt that the poor lost
    child weighed only 10 pounds when she died. Clearly, the district attorney was right to pursue the death penalty if the child had been starved down,
    intentionally, from normal weight range down to 10 pounds.

    A photo of a 22-month-old child weighing 10 pounds, brought to the hospital wearing a size 5 diaper for cruising toddlers, would have guaranteed a
    death penalty verdict in a New York minute in Fay. Some on the jury, as well as some of the rest of us, might have even volunteered to administer
    lethal injections to anyone who intentionally withheld food and starved a child to death.



    RANTS that after all of the drama, a third-degree homicide verdict was returned, after the judge instructed the jury that the third-degree homicide
    conviction is justified when there's extreme indifference to the value of human life, without an intent to kill.

    Too bad the district attorney wasted three years fixated on seeking the death penalty. Something happened here, readers, that the death penalty was
    dropped last month, quietly, without comment, and that the county prosecutors at trial not once mentioned malice and criminal intent to the jury.

    As was the case with another homicide in a filthy, dirty home that was dropped, the county prosecutors got a third-degree murder conviction in a case
    that probably will come back under appeal. At best, prosecutors after four years presented enough to have received a justified involuntary homicide
    conviction.

    RANTS that it may take higher courts to clean up the mess. (10 May 19)


    Editor's Note: The reporter from the Herald Standard responded to Rants&Raves' question, that she read in an autopsy report the weight at the time of the
    child's death to be 10 pounds. She stands behind her news report. Advocates for Michael Wright, meanwhile, state that the child weighed 10 kilograms,
    or about 22 pounds, and wore a size 5 baby diaper. They claim that the word 'pounds' was wrongly inserted, instead of 'kilograms,' in what advocates say
    was a known clerical error, into the child's autopsy or formal forensic file.    


    Herald Standard's way wrong?
    RANTS that a reporter continues to write incorrect statements as fact in print media accounts in the current homicide trial of Michael Wright.

    RANTS that the weight of Lydia Wright, the 22-month-old who died weighing 10 Kilograms or 22 pounds, is published wrongly in the media as 10
    pounds, or about half the normal body weight.

    Until last month, Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower intended to seek the death penalty in the case. He in early March also banned
    relatives who were not testifying from attending a pre-trial status conference.

    No reason was given for the sudden decision last month not to seek the death penalty.

    Email was sent to the Herald Standard reporter, who a few years ago became the first news site to state the incorrect body weight, asking if she
    actually saw the death certificate and noted the weight was listed in kilograms, not pounds or ounces. The news report also said the child died from
    starvation.

    During an interim period when another reporter from that paper covered Wright's case, cause of death was malnutrition and dehydration and no
    weight was given.  Those are the correct diagnoses on the child's autopsy report.


    RANTS that television media picks up local stories, and, in turn, continues to spread the incorrect facts. Nobody here advocates for the criminal case
    to be dismissed against Wright or Andrea Dusha, but just for his case to be presented factually in reporting. (7 May 19)


    DoubleV subject of mud slinging robocalls?
    RANTS that someone, supposedly, paid for robocalls to be made to spread "lies" about Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites.

    "In this mean-spirited negative campaign technique, the person called is “pushed” to adapting a negative attitude by telling lies about me. They tend
    to be short and disguise themselves as legitimate polling. It’s a shame how low people will go to smear an opponent to try to win an election,"
    Vicites commented on his social media page.

    RANTS, if Vicites is truthful about the robocalls, that lies may have been told to try to smear his character.

    Why someone would need to invent lies in DoubleV's case is beyond us here.

    There are, after all, so many truthful, bonafide facts on record that someone could have taken issue with, to show his truthful incompetence. To name
    a few, there are the non-budgeted raises given, his ignorance of $150M of federal revitalization funds sitting, his taste for private meetings and sexism
    that kept the meetings secret from a female commissioner elected just like him by the people. (8 May 19)

    Jones: Law Day reflection on free speech, protest of Fay DA
    RAVES to Fay resident Kathryn Jones for celebrating Law Day in peaceful protest of the county district attorney outside the Fayette
    County Courthouse today.. Read More.



    Hark!
    Timmy, Lassie, in the middle of the road  
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but note of a much needed chuckle over morning coffee, reading a commentary from former state house
    representative Tim Mahoney, confirming at least the first part of recent weeks rumor mill, that he kissed the Democratic Party goodbye
    and now is an Independent voter. Read More.

    "Quote Of The Day" as an incumbent miserably flunks "Available Funding 101,"  flunks public re-test by
    refuting a challenger's fact... or tries to hide $150 million of opportunity for favored supporters   
    "It is sad that an elected commissioner cannot correctly state the correct amount of opportunity zones in our county. Each zone carries
    the worth of $150 million. We have two, Mr. Vicites. The difference between the reality and what Mr. Vicites said is $150 million versus
    $300 million in federal monies for investments. Does he not care? Does Mr. Lohr not care? It would appear so, as they misstated facts,
    played politics as usual, and pushed their double down agenda that has failed."
    Jacob Ely, in social media statement made following the candidate's debate, sponsored by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, held at Penn
    State Fay Campus, in which Ely spoke of the two federally funded, separate tracts of land targeted for federal funds and Vicites later criticized in
    incorrect correction that there's just one federally designated Opportunity Zone in the county

    "Must be one subject -- Trump's Opportunity Zone funding last year -- that (Fayette County Commissioner Angela) Zimmerlink didn't
    mentor the boys in."
    Pete's mom, in from Florida, commenting on Vicite's apparent ignorance of another possible $150 million in federal revitalization monies available, while
    waiting for her breakfast at the diner


    FRI staff has friends in high places?
    RANTS that charges were dropped on staff at a Fayette Resources group home, charged recently with a few hundred counts of
    aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and other charges while bathing a woman who requires total care.

    At arrest, the staff, who has beaucoup courthouse and political pull, reportedly, told police he touched the woman indecently to promote
    bowel movements. It is unknown whether another disabled resident reported the man, whether a co-worker reported him, or whether he
    initiated disclosure to the state police.

    RANTS to any person who helped get the matter dropped. RANTS that no advocates for the defenseless woman cared to bother the
    courts. Where are all those professional advocates who just a few months ago wanted to tar and feather someone for kissing the cheek
    of a man with cerebral palsy? (25 Apr 19)


    In death penalty case
    DA running unopposed for re-election, flunks Metric Measurements
    101
    RANTS, again, that the county district attorney for three years sought the death penalty for parents of a two-year-old because he,
    apparently, did not understand metric measurements and responded as though the child was tortured down from 30 pounds to 10
    pounds before she passed.

    RANTS because three years passed with the couple being denied bail and public believing that the parents willfully, intentionally and
    deliberately withheld food and tortured their child, who died at 28 pounds, within the normal body weight range for a child her age.

    RANTS that, again, the county district attorney willfully and intentionally filed a notice three years ago to the courts that he would seek
    the death penalty out of inexcusable ignorance, because he didn't know the difference between grams and pounds.

    Even bigger RANTS, yes, that it took him three years after filing the notice to seek the death penalty to review all the paperwork and
    realize his shameful mistake. (19 Apr 19)

    DA folds on 2-year vow to seek death penalty
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but acknowledgement that wide-spread regional shock was felt today when the Fayette County District
    Attorney sent his assistant to court to cancel his 2017 notice to seek the death penalty in the already now three-year-long homicide case
    of Michael Wright, set to go to trial next month. Read More.



    Group home staff charged with sexual assault
    RANTS that trusted, long-time staff at a county group home agency is charged with sexual assaulting a disabled elderly woman with
    mental retardation and cerebral palsy, regularly, for over six years.

    RANTS that someone so trusted "told investigators he massaged the woman to help stimulate her to have a bowel movement," as per
    the Trib's piece, "Uniontown man charged with indecent assault of disabled woman."

    Yes, the accused has a family now suffering because of his actions, but nobody who victimizes someone so vulnerable for his own sick
    kicks, over such a long period of time, deserves a pass.

    RAVES of hope that his strong political connections in Fay don't pull strings to conveniently make this all go away. (17 Apr 19)

    Lohr's signs defy state requirements, common sense
    RANTS that at least one political candidate just can't seem to grasp the meaning of basic, straight forward state transportation
    requirements for the placement of election campaign signs outside restricted state right of way areas. Read More.

    Autistic 18-year-old restrained at jail
    RANTS that county jail sources state that an 18-year-old disabled male with Autism, who came to jail after an argument at his personal
    care living home,  is incarcerated under suicide watch in a turtle suit.

    RANTS that it happened again to someone with developmental disabilities... and that it, in all likelihood, will happen again in the future
    with another. RANTS that disabled ones such as this 18-year-old living in supervised personal care homes end up on a bad day tossed
    out and into the basement of the county jail in turtle suits so quickly and so pitifully. (12 Apr 19)  

    Fay judge sued for civil right's violation as former DA
    RANTS hearing a federal court's strong words in denying a current Fayette County judge's motion to dismiss a civil suit against her for
    improper prosecution and civil right's violations from when she was a district attorney, in a 2006 homicide trial.

    As per The Daily Courier's "F.C., judge to appeal federal court decision," a woman who served 11 years in prison for homicide before
    being released and supported with a case review and appeals by The Innocence Project, in the federal court's opinion, "makes multiple
    allegations of (Fayette County Judge Nancy) Vernon's involvement in the police investigation and her awareness of conflicting stories in
    that investigation."

    The civil suit, filed two years ago against Vernon, the county and some still current and former Connellsville police officers, was filed
    two years after the woman won her release in 2015 from prison.

    Her release from prison resulted, inevitably, from lawyers at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project digging and learning that the key,
    damaging information, falsely linking the then defendant to the homicide, presented to the jury from a supposed dental forensics expert
    witness in 2006, in reality, was "junk science."


    The recent federal civil court decided in part not to dismiss the piece of the woman's suit against Vernon and to allow it to proceed, as
    per the paper, because "these allegations are sufficient to support a plausible claim of Vernon's involvement in a civil rights conspiracy."

    RANTS if that is true and Fay is left with only one, or maybe just two, judges with smarts and integrity, beyond reproach. (12 Apr 19)
    Additional source: https://innocenceprojectpa.org/cases/crystal-weimer/



    Quotes Of The Day" on the 8,000 Fay jobs DoubleV created or maintained
    "Does he mean he got 8,000 political favor jobs created and maintained in his decades campaigning for office? Or does he mean he
    himself exclusively had everything to do with attracting new businesses or helping businesses expand that much?"   
    Pete, last night at the diner, recalling bits of a speech from an incumbent political candidate at a fund raiser and relaying his thoughts on the
    speech he heard

    "I rode the elevator daily with people from Advanced Acoustics, when it was a tiny little place in a few cubic feet of room in the
    downtown bank building. The company's impressive growth over the years and its upcoming additional expansion that (Fayette County
    Commissioner Vince) Vicites spoke of might have something to do with him, but it's success since it opened is most likely due only to
    the skills of its own internal, Advanced Acoustics company staff."
    Moi

    "Do you think he counted the same couple hundred of people or same jobs multiple times, each time the Grindstone
    telecommunications company closed and reopened as a new company?"
    Pete's wife, guessing that about 3,000 of the claimed 8,000 jobs the incumbent says he created or maintained could possibly be inflated by multiple
    regroupings and company closures, affecting about an actual 100-200 maximum number of jobs ever open at any time at that location




    Moving Fay forward with empty pockets for mountain emergency
    services
    RANTS that ambulance and emergency response time will increase substantially in the mountain, with the closure of the mountain
    ambulance station that served some 6,000 residents and additional tourists from the top of the summit to the Somerset County line.

    RANTS that a region so focused on attracting tourist dollars undermines its ownself so ridiculously by allowing this situation to occur.
    Fay can't afford to have a mountain base station for emergency medical services? Really?

    Fay can afford thousands of dollars in non-budgeted raises and oodles of other non-essential perks, but cannot afford to cough up more
    funds for shorter response times, of 20 or more minutes, for emergency medical response, for those living and paying taxes or
    vacationing on the mountain?

    Oh, please!


    RANTS that Fay is dying because of such sheer stupidity. (8 Apr 19)


    "Quote Of The Day" on the wrong way to try to eliminate an election competitor
    "During a brief period of time, maybe five to seven minutes, (Fayette County Commissioner Dave) Lohr made a veiled attack on my
    pregnant wife. Speaking of the challenges a political race raises, his almost divorce with his wife, the ugly slander and attacks.
    Remember, this was the longest portion of any topic in his candidacy speech. Very cowardly in my opinion. Attack your opponent, instill
    a lack of conviction in his pregnant wife. For what? To win a local political race?"
    Jacob Ely, county commissioner candidate, from an exert on his recent blog at this link, expressing opinion of incumbent opponent Lohr and
    his take on the infamous free dirt Lohr exclaims he discovered for a future airport expansion project



    Fay baby needs prayers
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a serious request to put all political thoughts aside for a moment and say a prayer for a Uniontown baby,
    healthy till last week, now fighting to breathe on her own in a pediatric intensive care unit.

    Please keep her, her parents and their extended families in your thoughts and prayers that she starts to improve and breathe
    unassisted.  Not much else matters when a baby is so ill. (26 Mar 19)

    \
    AG to move criminal case of Bullskin Dem committee man to
    AG Consumer Protection Act violation investigation, civil court
    At a hearing tomorrow, a state attorney general investigator is expected to drop a remaining misdemeanor charge against a Bullskin
    Dem party committee man, whose three felonies over not doing work for a $4,500 home excavation job previously were dropped by the
    county district attorney last fall. Instead, the state attorney general's office will proceed with a consumer protection investigation and
    civil case against the self-employed contractor.

    Today, the state attorney general investigator released the area couple, who last August filed a Writ of Mandamus against the county
    district attorney for not wanting to prosecute the Bullskin Dem party committee man and contractor, from their subpoena issued by the
    county district attorney to appear tomorrow for a hearing at the Fayette County courthouse.

    The district attorney in early February came under a court order from Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen to recuse himself from the
    case and turn it over to the state attorney general's office. A few weeks later, the state attorney general investigator went to Leskinen's
    court and then to get the case investigation file that the district attorney still held.

    So, RANTS, that after all that drama, today, the same investigator opted not to prosecute the Bullskin Dem committee man on criminal
    charges at all and focus on the consumer protection investigation and civil case against him.

    While the area couple duped out of $4,500 by the Bullskin Dem party committee man, reportedly, was told in person and by phone by
    the state attorney general investigator that the county district attorney's delay in recusing himself and turning the case file over to her
    hinders her ability to re-file or prosecute criminally now, the investigator in writing wrote nothing about the district attorney hindering
    her ability to prosecute the  man criminally now.

    The couple's separate civil case against the Fay Dem party committee man contractor will  continue.

    "The same evidence does support the violations of the Consumer Protection Act," Deputy Attorney General Alicia Werner wrote today.



    RANTS that the courts jerk people around this much. (25 Mar 19)



    "Quote Of The Day" of the most frustrating kind
    "Solomon said because Shellhammer has never testified to those events other than his statements made on that night, he has to go on
    circumstantial evidence to support the self-defense claim and denied the motion."
    heraldstandard.com, "Judge denies suppression motions in Masontown homicide case," making it almost sound as though Judge Gerald
    Solomon is ready to dismiss a homicide case if he heard defendant Chris Shellhammer, lodged in the county jail without bail for 14 months, testify
    in court on the stand that he acted in self defense in a fatal Masontown shooting that occurred after Shellhammer, reportedly, was blocked from
    leaving a home, beaten, suffered a closed head injury brain concussion, a broken jaw and broken nose AND THEN, reportedly, shot one of two
    people beating him, as he fought to maintain consciousness and the duo's talk turned to the gun one knew Shellhammer carried on him  


    Retired feds making Fay their concern
    RAVES of respect and welcome to some retired federal investigators, offering to help their already involved colleague, to monitor some
    criminal matters in Fay drawing their impressive attention and concern.

    RAVES of hope that investigative instincts of these seasoned feds shine spot on in acknowledging any red flags they may see. More to
    come after their findings become available. (24 Mar 19)  



    "Quote Of The Day" from another who formerly served on the Fayette County Airport Authority
    "This board has been in violation of a lot of issues for a bit of time now. No published listing of meetings, no published accounting of the
    money, no accounting of grants, no formal anything on bids and there are things that have been done. No following of historical
    guidelines for several buildings. It is a pity that I had to wait to say anything but the airport needs a good pair of eyes looking at it. Keep
    in mind that they can make it miserable for some people."
    Myrna Giannopoulis, chiming in on social media ongoing chatter, about two county commissioners meeting privately with state political aides and
    airport authority staff or authority or operational board members, to discuss a generous offer by a contractor to donate dirt from its projects to the
    airport;
    Giannopoulis, possibly the most bullied volunteer -- or possibly running neck to neck for that title with Bev Beal on the housing authority -- to serve
    on any county board or authority and -- again, like Beal -- still not fold to intimidation efforts during public meetings


    Credentialed professional passed over for county board seat
    RANTS that a nurse practitioner, assistant professor of nursing and grant writer was passed over for a seat on a newly formed county
    hospital authority today due to politics.

    Instead of placing a highly qualified health professional on the new authority, Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave
    Lohr named one of their political campaign managers and a relative of a big labor union head to serve.

    "I recognize how important our small community hospitals are to the health of our communities," rejected applicant Melany Chrash
    wrote tonight on social media, calling the hospitals a "neglected resource."


    Chrash, as readers here know, wrote a dandy of a letter to the editor last month after attending and speaking at a county meeting with
    concern about the new voting machines required to be in place by the 2020 presidential elections.

    "I didn't expect Lohr to vote for me since I caught him sneaking around the back of my house and I yelled at him to get off my property,"
    she added tonight.


    Regardless of what that might have been about, RANTS that politics played such a dirty hand today at the table. Lets hope, somehow,
    that a  campaign manager and union head's relative end up bringing more than their campaign buttons to the new authority board and
    that their motivation to serve continues if their guys are not re-elected. (21 Mar 19)   



    Welcome, Spring!


    Nobody knew about the statute of limitations?
    One of DA's rare convictions vacated for improper prosecution
    RANTS that a victim of a child sexual predator and families of his other victims got royally jerked around by the negligent courts of
    Fayette County, with a trial, 2018 conviction and January sentencing, only to today have the conviction vacated and the offender
    awaiting retrial released from home monitoring a free man.

    RANTS that all of the victims in this case suffered again all these years later, needlessly, because the district attorney didn't know the
    law and prosecuted the offender after statute of limitations had actually expired. RANTS that no judge paid enough attention during the
    proceedings to notice.

    RANTS that this kind of surreal stupidity from the courts affects real people so sadly. There is no excuse.

    RANTS because the incompetence of county prosecution probably just handed an admitted child sexual predator an easy out of court
    settlement for the violation of his rights for improper prosecution.  (20 Mar 19)


    "Quote Of The Day," in a must read, excellent commentary, on social media, from a former airport authority
    board member on the amazing free dirt for a $57-million airport project... and the spin of the matter in the paper

    "The Airport, is a mom and pop, consistently negative revenue, business disguised as an Airport Authority. The 'non public' meeting is
    a standard operating practice designed to deceive, conceal, and make decisions behind closed doors. Who are the Air Transportation
    and Facilities Consultants? No web site to be found. Don’t be surprised if the group is composed of local airport cronies.

    "...The FAA and Pa Dot provide excellent guidance for Airport expansion i.e.. runway extensions. They provide a required sequence of
    events that must be satisfied long before the ‘obtain free dirt” phase of construction.

    "A copy of the mandatory Benefit Cost Analysis would be useful to determine the economics of runway extension and is a prerequisite
    prior to FAA / Pa Dot approval. Where is that Analysis?"
    John Cofchin, former airport authority board member, in an exert from his written comment this week in social media discussion, on
    zimmerlink's blog, of the donated dirt which Commissioner Dave Lohr obtained free for a $57 million dollar airport project that may or may not
    begin in our lifetimes;
    Cofchin, who left the authority board without public comment several months before his term expired last year, and brought smiles this week to
    readers happy to hear what's on his mind these days.


    "Completing the runway extension is another piece in Lohr’s plan to build business in Fayette County. Materials make up half the cost of
    the project, and Lohr has developed a plan for securing those materials at no cost to taxpayers."
    heraldstandard.com, "Lohr to seek re-election to county commissioner seat," quoting the incumbent's plan to have free, donated dirt for a
    $57,000,000 to $59,000,000 airport project that possibly still needs funding for loading, transporting, delivery, and then, spreading the free dirt, for
    an airport project yet to begin after several years of planning   

    Vicites, Lohr arranged private meeting over airport dirt
    RAVES to Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, honestly, for being a much better person than most of the rest of us would
    be in her situation. Most of the rest of us, surely, at least once each administration, would have banged two heads together by now, if we
    were sometimes in her chair and shoes. Read More.


    Creditors jockeying in line for Cobblestone profits, repayments
    RANTS that another news story runs of another creditor or partner or investor suing another or entering motions to stop some payments
    in the ongoing saga of Connellsville's Cobblestone Hotel. Today's Daily Courier* tells us that Cobblestone now wants to stop a loan from
    being issued to sustain the hotel day to day now. This follows recent motions from Fay Penn Economical Development Council to
    secure its funding in the project in light of the owner's recent decision to try to sell the hotel.

    RANTS because everyone but the kitchen sink seems to be awaiting repayments or returns on investments. Rants&Raves is told that
    the county is owed hotel tax money from the Cobblestone.

    Additionally to all funds owed already mentioned in newspapers, bankruptcy papers document that another interesting loan or line of
    credit for $200,000, signed for by former commissioner Al Ambrosini, through the Slovak Savings Bank, remains due nearly in full,
    after repayment was made for only about $5,000 of it since 2016.

    RAVES of hope that the players, somehow, overcome the hurdles and one another... and turn the business around in a community that
    needs jobs. (16 Mar 19)
    *"Cobblestone Hotels files objections in city hotel bankruptcy"


    Fay official about to be sued, ACLU asking about others
    RANTS that a former employee's civil suit, in the works for several months, appears nearly filed against one Fayette County courthouse
    official seeking re-election.

    No other county official is expected to be named.  


    If that's not bad enough, Rants&Raves, in an unrelated matter, has received word that the ACLU is reaching out and asking about alleged
    serious civil rights violations of others incarcerated, or formerly incarcerated at the county jail, not already part of a civil rights suit filed
    last year on behalf of a few formerly incarcerated there.

    RANTS that situations get so bad, even without newspaper coverage, that the advocates call in. (10 Mar 19)


    "Quote Of The Day" from both sides of the same mouth
    "Assistant District Attorney Sean Lementowski, in his closing arguments, noted that (Nathan) Yasek showed 'no brusing, no swelling' on
    his body after the confrontation."
    The Daily Courier, "Jury: Nathan Yasek not guilty of all charges," quoting ADA Lementowski in exclamation that Yasek showed no visible injuries
    prior to shooting, supposedly in self-defense, in a fatal 2017 shooting, before the jury acquitted Yasek this week

    "Why does Lementowski make an issue, since (Chris) Shellhammer sustained a broken jaw, a broken nose and a closed head injury
    concussion before he shot in self-defense...  and the county is still prosecuting him!"
    Dave, this morning at the diner, reacting to the above referenced article in the paper, shaking his head and going on about how the county
    prosecutors talk out of both sides of their mouths and should arm volunteers from that office to test their theories -- i.e., allow someone to beat the
    crap out of them, to break their jaws, their noses and give them concussions, to test and see when they reach for a gun, loaded without their
    knowledge with blanks, in self-defense to shoot




    Can DA be gagged from hallway scream drama?
    RANTS because, apparently, it got way uglier than we first thought, in a courthouse hallway Monday, when the district attorney
    prevented some out of state family members of a defendant from entering the courtroom, even though none were to be witnesses in
    the case.  

    While the turned away family members did not cause a disturbance, the district attorney, Rants&Raves is told, "was cursing and calling
    someone a d***head associated with (the) case. Read More.


    Not guilty on all charges
    Fayette County jury tosses DA's 2017 homicide case out
    courthouse window in 'about 15 minutes'
    RANTS that a Fayette County jury needed only about 15 minutes to deliberate and find the defendant in a 2017 homicide not guilty on all
    charges, including criminal homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, today in Judge Steve Leskinen's courtroom.
    Read More.


    2016 gag order keeps defendant's family out of court?
    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that concerns were voiced today here that family members of defendant Michael Wright were not
    permitted to enter a Fayette County courtroom today for one of his scheduled court dates. Reportedly, nobody stopped from entering
    the courtroom was scheduled to be called as witnesses in the trial, which is said to be tried as a death penalty case.

    As per sources, the county prosecutors cited the reason attendance was restricted was a 2016 gag order placed on witnesses and
    lawyers in the case twice discussed on "The Nancy Grace Show" on television.

    Wright and Andrea Dusha were charged three years ago with the starvation and dehydration death of their two-year-old daughter, Lydia
    Wright. Dusha and the child returned to Wright's home after a 12-day absence two days prior to the child's death, feeding the child a
    liquid bottle feeding of a Pedialyte mixture. Dusha accepted a controversial plea deal last fall with the county district attorney to testify
    against Wright. (4 Mar 19)


    DA does a good thing
    RAVES to Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower for offering the same exact plea deals to two men of different races charged
    in a fatal heroin death of the one's cousin -- especially since the newspapers early on sometimes referred to only one as the defendant
    and that some cautiously feared the case could create racial tension that the area just did not need. (2 Mar 19)


    Staff violate client privacy in process?
    County staff stab one another in back, take political jabs
    RANTS to anonymous snail mailers not quite up to snuff on meeting even near minimal requirements for this column to take their call for
    advocacy cause to heart. This is one of those times. Read More.



    To Rants&Raves, January-February, 2019