Fay to lower budget boom tomorrow
Neither A RANT nor a RAVE, but a rare twisted combination of the two, that tomorrow morning, we'll hopefully know just how set or bad off Fay's
coffers really are, as the fiscally challenged county commissioners almost comically, until then, refuse to address the budget, probable tax
increases or reductions in county services.
Until the last dramatic moment at tomorrow's meeting, when they intend to pass a 2020 annual budget and provide details, we'll undoubtedly hear
how bad the money situation really is, or as bad as county officials will allow the public to know it is.
So there's that partial RAVE that we'll finally have -- or should have -- a clearer picture after tomorrow's county meeting just how deeply that the last
three boards of commissioners secretly and knowingly dove into $1-3M of Fay's county tax claim funds withheld for a decade to school districts,
creditors and municipalities.
RAVES of hope, though, that officials cut the crap and stop saying all of the money taken in during tax sales over those years is actually on hand
and was not misspent. (18 Dec 19)
"Quote Of The Day" on Bing Crosby and Danny-f'ing-Kaye
"We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny-f***ing-Kaye."
Clark Griswald's stressed character from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, referring to Crosby and Kaye's performance in the classic
holiday movie, "White Christmas," playing on the big screen Friday, Dec. 20, at Uniontown's State Theater
Not the DA's E. Street bootleg tunes?
RANTS reading the Courier's "DA to turn over DVDs in homicide case," realizing that evidence in some cases going to trial seems to still being too
slowly turned over to the defense, or an unreasonable reason for court delays.
RAVES of hope that things improve and we stop hearing about these kinds of delays over evidence in homicides that happened nearly two years
ago. Seriously. (7 Dec 19)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"No, you cannot put up a collection jar on the counter to raise money to help demolish the old hospital and nursing school buildings in Brownsville."
Frank, the diner's owner, to Pete's mom, who lobbied unsuccessfully to help hurry along the much talked about plans to raze two large blighted
buildings in deplorable condition, that to date, have drawn promises only of $147,300 from Fayette County's county demolition funds being secured
for this huge demo project with multi-layer asbestos, masting, hazardous insulation and glue deposits, doors containing asbestos and tons of spray-
Fay spin writers to take a spin?
RANTS that the positive image writers the county has will have some work to do to undo the hit the recent grant from the Department of Agriculture
to Republic Food Enterprise Center took in an editorial,"A public policy cluster cluck," published by The Allegheny Institute. Read More.
Misspending tax claim money worse than previously thought
RANTS that the misspending really was worse than we thought. Read More.
County Code, state statutes don't grant decade-long delays
RAVES, for the sake of Fayette County, that it does not appear to be against the law to keep all proceeds for a decade from county
property tax claim dales. Read More.
Raymond continues delve into tax claims account
RAVES that Laurel Highlands School Board member Randy Raymond said that he will continue to delve into the business records of
Fayette County's property sale tax claim proceeds, ledgers and transfers, in spite of assurance from county officials and finance
contractor this week that school districts, creditors and municipalities will get all the money due them. Read More.
Below is an often requested repeat from 2006, from a drive in the wee hours, slowly from Washington County, across the
Lane Bane Bridge, where there was a hushed magical sight, only once a year. The many still burning luminary candles in
the breathtaking view towards the right, the downtown and south side areas, and in the view straight, towards the north
side and the castle, is simply remarkable among other goose bump moments.
Brownsville Light Up Night
RAVES to Brownsville, PA, as you sparkle and shine with beauty each Friday after Thanksgiving, when volunteers place luminary
candles on miles of your old streets throughout town that burn overnight. It's a great community tradition that brings people out and
kids by the score to talk to Santa and get their treats.
Long after other traditions on that night, such as the Charity Jam at the old Stanley, went by the wayside, your Light Up Night is one
that even those of us who moved 25 miles away still drive through to see and experience goose bumps at your site. It's a magical
night, old town, that used to be as hustle and bustle busy as you are on Light Up Night every weekend night.
I see your downtown, now a virtual ghost town, and want to cry, because even I in my 40s remember it differently as the happening
town my grandparents called home and I, too, called home for 23 years.
On Light Up Night, I can almost still see my grandparents taking me to Naples Restaurant in the Square and other long ago gone
places that I can't remember, that once had life in and occupied all your empty, boarded up buildings.
Borough and county officials should all hang their heads for allowing back door secret meetings to sell off old buildings for pipe
dream redevelopment and Brownsville, in the meantime, to die a slow death -- that can almost be forgiven, just this one night a year,
on Light Up Night, the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Brownsville is still one of most beautiful places around.
Fay's fiscal guru Lynch finds +$1M... but how?
RANTS that the thinking public today shook its collective head reading on heraldstandard.com about Randy Raymond's mind boggling
mission to get to the bottom of the couple of millions of dollars taken in during county property tax sales and never deposited into the
tax claim account. Read More.
"Quotes Of The Day" revisiting Vicites' June, 2004 comments on property tax claim mess,
wondering what happens if Munchinski settlement also comes due
"A letter from the state Department of Public Welfare dated Dec. 28, 2003, authorized the $600,000 loan from the domestic relations
office. Zimmerlink said she’s found no documentation approving the $500,000 borrowed from the tax claim office. Vicites said state
approval isn’t necessary because the tax claim office is a county office. Domestic relations receives a portion of its funding from the
Tribune Review, "Fayette County: ‘Routine’ fund transfers concern Zimmerlink," which discussed how common the practice in
Vicites' administrations has been for at least the past 15 years, to borrow from the county tax claim funds to cover county cash flow problems
and expenses and not have the loans documented
"So the two Slick Dick commissioners now say they must budget for the retirement account, buy the voting machines, pay for a new
jail and pay for all operating costs. That's their job!
"It is terrible not to believe a word officials say. From the looks of it, it shouldn't be too much longer till the county has to pay up for
David Munchinski's civil judgement (prosecutorial misconduct of Gerald Solomon and Ralph Warman) from the general fund, too. If
the county has been socking away some money for that, as we were led to believe they were since 2015, I wouldn't hold my breath
that they didn't bleed it dry, too!"
Pete's mom, at the diner this afternoon, reading for updates on the Munchinski civil case that leaves the county completely financially
liable for any settlement since the county had no liability insurance in the 1980s when he was tried and evidence was withheld that overturned
his conviction 27 years later and freed him from prison
Revisiting Vicites' June, 2019 comments on property tax claim mess
RANTS that Fayette County's fiscal books are such a nightmare piece of work, and that reimbursements for only one of three back
years that Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites told radio listeners five months ago "was ready to go" has been distributed.
Back in June, Vicites, heard at the radio link below, said that reimbursements from the county to school districts for the years 2011,
2012 and 2013 were "prepared and squared away."
Vicites also told radio listeners, when asked if the $1-3M taken in in sales not deposited into the tax claim account was there, that he
knew "for a fact" that funds were there for four such rounds of reimbursements before he handed the microphone over to his
To date, in spite of how well along the tax claim reimbursements were said to be going, only one distribution totalling $366K was
made last month from the county property tax claim sales to school districts owed taxes, from what was said to be the year 2011 --
only court orders later issued for another reimbursement in the works stated the reimbursement funds would be pulled from year
2009, when that year was presumed to be already reimbursed.
So much for having faith in the words of public officials, right?
To add more confusion, Laurel Highlands School Board member Randy Raymond checked in today with Rants&Raves to report that a
transfer in 2018 was made from the county general fund to the tax claim fund for "about $600,000."
A total of only half of the $5.5M taken in at property tax claim sales was properly deposited into the county tax claim office's account
from the county general fund. About $2.5M was in the account when this matter became a significant public concern last spring.
RAVES that someone like Raymond got Right To Know documents to try to sift through the mess. RANTS, however, that Raymond
said that he "still has not received full documentation of the account" as he requested.
That plain sucks. (24 Nov 19)
To hear the June radio comments referenced above, please click on the following link.
"Quotes Of The Day" wondering if the new commish will even sign a 2020 county budget that ignores, fails, perhaps even
criminally, to repay and reconcile $1-3M debt of the county general fund in deposits owed to the property tax claim sales fund
"No, I don't see Mr. (Fayette County Commissioner Scott) Dunn signing a 2020 budget that shows the county might be illegally
misusing or hiding $2.5 million dollars."
Pete's wife, last evening at the diner, sipping one of two to-die-for sugar-free cappuccinos, smuggled in from the Rt. 119 Speedway
"Well, if Dunn does not sign the budget because the $2.5M never deposited to tax claims isn't noted somewhere in there (the
proposed budget), the other two still will approve it, people will say he's the new Zimmerlink abstaining and the other two will
start hiding everything from him, too."
Pete, offering his two cents
"No, people wouldn't call him that. He's a man. He has got nothing to worry about..."
Moi, offering my two-cents, sipping the second smuggled in vanilla caramel sugar-free cappuccino, still unbelievably hot 25 minutes after being
poured at the Rt. 119 Speedway, adding that if they start hiding letters and business from him, that would seem only to strengthen a possible
criminal intent on their part, to knowingly want to keep the $2.5 million dollars never deposited properly as off the books interest-free loans to
cover their expenses and their conscious choice to stop distributions of the tax claim funds for four years, till this first one for $366K last month
"The proposed 2020 budget is not on the county website so I will have to go read it downtown, I guess."
For background on the Fayette County property tax sale matter, please see these links:
Former commish raises hateful head, enters R&R's graphic contest?
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of surprise that a former, one-term county commissioner booted from office in 2015, seemed
to go to extraordinary lengths, through others, to get his entry submitted here last night for the graphic contest (three posts below)
unveiled this week.
Since his submitted graphic did not depict our specific request, an image of a Bible melting in the hands of an official when he lies,
and contains well known images already under copyright, we must reject and not publish it.
Rants&Raves continues to seek entries which depict a Bible melting in the hands of an official. The former dazed and confused
commissioner's submitted image of little Dorothy and Toto's nemesis, who melted when water was tossed on her, throwing a party,
clearly does not meet criteria.
Given that the former official helped create the financial mess the county is in today and that he can't seem to send a text message
by 9:30 PM to the right person without assistance, RANTS that nobody can even try to pick his pickled or confused brain, to help find
any of the $1-3M misspent property tax sale funds that he refused to have transferred from the county general fund to reimburse
school districts while in office.
RANTS because a former official out of spite last night possibly is melting down himself today, like little Dorothy and Toto's nemesis
when splashed by the bucket of water, checking his phone, realizing who actually received that message by mistake. (22 Nov 19)
Editor's Correction Note: One distribution on record of tax claim funds was made in 2015. Above, Rants&Raves said no funds were
distributed during the years the above commissioner was in office.
Lohr tells radio audience why he contacted opposing side
in Fay's opioid verdict settlement talks
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a revisit to an August note here about Fayette County Commissioner Dave Lohr initiating contact with
the big pharmaceutical companies deep in settlement talks with paid lawyers handling negotiations in the opioid verdicts. Read More.
Dunn wisely abstained on 2020 budget vote
RAVES that Fayette County Commissioner Scott Dunn did the right thing and abstained from voting for a proposed 2020 county
budget with a $1.1M deficit on his second day in office.
Readers here are so painfully aware that Dave Lohr, commissioner, said on the radio yesterday that Dunn was voting today for the
budget to be accepted and posted for review.
Lohr also wrongly told radio listeners -- drawing no correction from the radio host, either -- that Dunn would not be able to re-open the
budget because it's "majority rule," or up to him and Vicites to decide if Dunn could have that option that all new commissioners in all
other state counties have as a right.
RAVES that the former borough councilman Dunn did not cave to team pressure yesterday or this morning to make it a unanimous
vote. We hope he continues to do his own thinking, because in reality, he's now the brains and conscience at that table. (21 Nov 19)
Budget info referenced above begins around 24 minutes into this following link:
See Page 27 at this link: https://dced.pa.gov/download/Manual%20for%20County%20Commissioners/?wpdmdl=56406
Graphic Design Contest
Rants&Raves is accepting entries in a contest for the best political illustration of a local official. Entries cannot contain nudity,
sexually inappropriate messages or vulgar language or images.
Applicants must be able to create a depiction of a Bible melting in the hands of a public official. No entry can contain any piece of
previously published illustration already under copyright .
The winning applicant would be required to accept a $50 restaurant gift card and artistic credit for the design as full prize for this
contest, and be agreeable to allow this site to have the illustration reappear in future publication, on what we fear will be too
numerous a number of occasions to even want to estimate or think about today.
Designs can be entered and sent to: email@example.com
"Quotes Of The Day" worth reading twice
"I wondered how fast one of the Slick Dicks would beat a path to the radio station to try to counter the paper's headline story. Didn't
have to wonder very long!"
Pete's mom, referring at the diner to Dave Lohr, county commissioner, as he, well, certainly did beat a hyper path to the AM station to counter a
township supervisor's stand in a Herald Standard headline story, "Traffic issues could derail new development projects in North, South Union
Townships," suggesting that commercial development planned around Walmart could be at risk, due to traffic congestion on Route 40, from the
former Jewish Community Center to the Walmart area intersection of Matthew Drive
"If this goes through... I will haunt you in your sleep!"
Angela Zimmerlink, former county commissioner, as per a most reputable source, who reported that Zimmerlink, at an October budget planning
meeting made the comment to Sam Lynch, contracted county fiscal guru, paid about $1M since 2016 to prepare Fay's budgets, concerning a
shocking $1.1M renovation project to the commissioners' office that someone, without Zimmerlink's knowledge, apparently planned and still may be
"I am currently going through over one hundred pages of ledger for the tax claims account."
Randy Raymond, Laurel Highlands school board member, telling Rants&Raves yesterday that he has "lots of questions" on the $1-3M missing and
likely misspent funds never transferred from the county general fund after property tax claim sales to the proper account for reimbursements to
school districts, as his district and Albert Gallatin school districts are poised to sue Fay for the remainder of funds long-owed them and Raymond
spends a considerable amount of time trying to make sense out of the many Right To Know documents he received about the county property tax
Will he abstain on budget vote?
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a respectful welcome to Fayette County Commissioner Scott Dunn, sworn in early, to begin his term
in office today.
RAVES of hope that Dunn tomorrow abstains on voting for the proposed 2020 budget, as he is rushed through the process and should
reserve his right as a new commissioner to carefully review and reopen the budget if he so wishes.
Had Dunn not submitted a letter of interest to start in his role before January, when he would have begun if former commissioner
Angela Zimmerlink finished her term, Dunn, as a new commissioner, would have had that right to reopen the budget, if he wanted to
Lohr misinforms radio audience... why, God, why, again!
Contrary to what Fayette County Commissioner Dave Lohr told AM talk radio listeners today, a new commissioner is able to
reopen a budget for 20 days.
Lohr wrongly misinformed his radio audience today saying that Dunn would not be able to re-open a budget because it's
"majority rule," or, in other words, solely up to him and the third commissioner to decide, if and when that situation happens.
However, a moment or so later, Lohr added that Dunn couldn't at some future date reopen a budget because Dunn, as per Lohr,
would be voting to pass the proposed budget tomorrow. Dunn, Lohr said, could not reopen something later that he will help pass
Lohr presumes so much, it's almost as though the board of commissioners had its meeting already, no?
RAVES of hope that Dunn takes his time reviewing the proposed 2020 budget that Lohr today said is a repeat of the 2018 budget
for county departmental spending.
Lohr refused to answer today whether there would be a tax increase, but went on about the "two major things we have to do, no
way around it," being funding a new jail and paying for mandated voting machine costs.
RANTS that Lohr did not mention a single word about the $1-3M of already misspent property tax claim reimbursements owed
from the general fund for up to a decade, to school districts.
RAVES of hope that Dunn does not let the other two commissioners boss him around tomorrow when it comes to a proposed
budget vote that he will have had less than a full day to consider.
RAVES of hope, too, that Dunn points out to them that they got by these past four years, and the last two years, on a
2018 budget only because they misspent up to $1-3M in property tax sale funds never transferred from the general
fund padding their spending. (20 Nov 19)
Budget info referenced above begins around 24 minutes into this following link:
See Page 27 at this link: https://dced.pa.gov/download/Manual%20for%20County%20Commissioners/?wpdmdl=56406
MIA: Fay commish meeting agenda
RANTS, heading into this Wednesday lunch hour, that no agenda is posted yet on the County of Fayette's website for the public to
read for tomorrow's monthly commissioners' meeting.
RANTS that officials care not to keep the public informed. We should not have to be psychic to know what advanced from an agenda
planning meeting if one were held or know what new items previously not discussed could be slipped in for the business meeting.
(20 Nov 19)
$1-3M Fayette County tax claim reimbursements still MIA?
With legal letters already sent to the county wanting prompt repayment of all monies owed to the school districts from decade-long
waits for property tax sale reimbursements, the Laurel Highlands and Albert Gallatin districts, so far, remain the only two poised to
sue the county, if needed, to receive the rest of the payments.
Why don't more school districts seem to mind waiting for what might be Hell freezing over, to receive reimbursements from 2009
through the current time property tax sales, to be made? Brownsville, Frazier and Uniontown School Districts don't need the money?
While over $5M was taken in during property tax sales over those years, only about half of the sum was properly transferred from the
county general fund over to the tax claim account for reimbursements. To date, only $366K has been reimbursed.
The rest of the missing funds was misspent on general fund expenses. Nobody but a few people are troubled by this fact? The state
attorney and auditor generals don't seem to care, or at least have pretended not to care prior to the general election.
For a quick overview of the situation, please click and read a June letter to the editor from a former county commissioner.
Except for $366 in reimbursements mailed last month, and the couple hundred thousand in new revenue from September 2019 sales
after the letter was published, nothing else about the scandalous situation, pathetically, has changed... well, except for more
concerning news that the 2009 reimbursements were not made as well in past years. (18 Nov 19)
Conn Thanksgiving Day dinner planned
RAVES to Connellsville area churches and their congregations for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for those in the community who
want to share a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28.
RAVES to the combined group of volunteers from those churches for providing door to door transportation and all of the fixings for
anyone who wants to participate. Some donations are still needed. Please click here to read more, for anyone interested in
attending or providing donated food.
RAVES to all of the organizations that provide a holiday meal for some who would not otherwise have one, but an extra special RAVE
to those volunteers hosting, donating supplies or cooking at home for the early morning drop off on the holiday itself.
Their kind efforts surely will make it a real Thanksgiving holiday dinner for those participating. (17 Nov 19)
Washington County gets GE expansion
Charleroi gets 200 more GE jobs; Fickle Fay, another chain
RAVES that about 200 more jobs for those with high school or GED diplomas, starting at $35K per year, are coming with a planned
expansion of Charleroi's General Electric operations, off Route 70 in the Twilight-Speers area.
RAVES that young adults, persons with disabilities and persons returning to the workforce, are urged to apply with this company to
assemble GE's electronics. The jobs include full benefits. Read More.
WPXI: Fay's EMS crisis worse off than the rest
RANTS that the paid county spin doctors, cranking out all those "positive" public relation pieces that helped campaigning incumbents
grandstand in deceptive claims that "everyone in Pittsburgh and across the state " and "even the governor" hear "only good things
about Fayette," probably can't spin quickly enough tonight to undo the damage to the myth that just one quick, real news story on real
tv had on the breakdown of Fay EMS services and what that actually means to those of us with a pulse.
RAVES to WPXI for highlighting Fay's EMS funding crisis and the facts that already Fay EMS here "is down paramedics and
ambulances" due to funding crunch unique to Fay.
While state-wide EMS funding is a problem, Fay's residents, tourists and guests, as per WPXI's interview with the Fay EMS chief,
possibly may not get an ambulance to arrive or get one in time.
EMS Chief Rick Abadato told WPXI that EMS will have about $1M in unpaid service fees by the end of the year, with $855K already
sitting on the books. Fayette County, in his opinion, must develop "a sustainable fix" to the funding problem.
About 70-percent of Fay's ambulance calls are for the uninsured or for indigents with Medicaid or Medicare that do not cover the cost
of ambulance transport.
Earlier this year, county and municipal officials worked out an agreement to keep the mountain EMS substation open, through June of
2020, after initially announcing its closure. It is unknown whether the county pledged any assistance to EMS from gaming or gas well
impact funds, but hope that necessity services got covered before money flowed to private companies seeking corporate welfare.
We said last spring that tourists and potential employers wouldn't want to come to Fay without assurance that the sheer basics, such
as EMS, are a given. It bears repeating now.
RAVE to WPXI for coming to town to bring us back to reality, from the deceptive spin by one of two incumbent politicians, whose re-
election sign is shown outside the Connellsville EMS station tonight in the news video.
And RAVES, and a sincere thanks to God, that nobody needed an ambulance tonight that might not have ever come. (13 Nov 19)
After attorney general, county judge agreed with ex-chief?
Ex-chief withdraws suit against DA, detective
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the Daily Courier* today reports that a former South Connellsville police chief withdrew
his civil suit filed this past summer against the county district attorney for unlawfully prosecuting the ex-chief for oppression.
The state attorney general and a Fay judge previously had dismissed the criminal oppression case against the ex-chief for a lack of
The former chief contended in his suit that the district attorney and lead county detective prosecuted him on official oppression
charges out of spite for the chief's DUI crackdown on vehicles and intoxicated drivers leaving the DA's personal social club. Those
DUI cases, the ex-chief contended in his suit, were not prosecuted or were dropped.
The paper today gave no real reason why the ex-chief withdrew his civil suit against the county district attorney and detective, but
referred to the DA's contention in answering the suit that he and the detective have prosecutorial immunity.
RANTS because there seems to be so much more unspoken that happened here than what the rest of us know or will ever know.
RANTS for that, since two others -- the attorney general and a county judge -- once agreed that the ex-chief was criminally charged
with oppression without evidence to support the DA's filing against him in the first place.
With the ex-chief withdrawing his suit, the federal judge then dismissed the case against the DA and detective. (13 Nov 19)
*"Ex-chief's suit against DA, detective dismissed"
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a most respectful adieu to Angela Zimmerlink on her time and service to Fayette County's taxpayers
and citizens this last official day in office. Props also to her for her time before that shaking things up as a volunteer board member
exposing six-digit contracts awarded through nepotism at the county housing authority.
That Zimmerlink, as a relatively unknown, won her first term as county commissioner, beating out former state house representative
and state senate Democratic Whip J. William Lincoln, all on a shoe string campaign fund, is probably Fay's most impressive political
win, short of former commissioner Sean Cavanagh's win without a spot on either party's ballot.
Zimmerlink brought transparency to government. That scared some players even into these more current days. She fought hard --
and should not have had to fight hard -- to allow the public to have a voice at pubic meetings. No matter whichever duo was beside
her on a county commission board, she was the brains at the table.
While Rants&Raves holds hope that the newest commissioner coming into office won't cross the line the others all did, and still do,
violating PA Code, county regs, Sunshine Law and ethics, we will miss Zimmerlink's input.
The best commissioner that Fay ever had just clocked out. Fay missed the boat to job development and real progress when voters
did not give us her and Cavanagh at the same time on the same board of commissioners. That really would have been something!
(12 Nov 19)
AG Solicitor: District poised to sue Fay over owed tax claim money
RANTS that the solicitor for the Albert Gallatin School District wrote this letter of intent for the district to sue the County of
Fayette if those long overdue reimbursement checks do not continue to come their way pronto from the county tax claim.
Bigger RANTS, too, that we're hearing that the court documents state that a next round of reimbursements will come from funds from
another earlier year, 2009, never previously mentioned in past county disclosures of the property tax sale mess.
To date, the two newly re-elected county commissioners and officials said the reimbursements were owed from 2011 on to the
present time. That tax claims refunds were owed to districts from 2009 never was disclosed.
RANTS that two commissioners promote themselves as professional businessmen running a business, when, in a New York minute,
both would be terminated from private sector employment for such a sloppy performance. Imagine if you misspent $2-3M of your
boss' money during lean times when creditors are knocking for payment.
Rants&Raves readers are urged to check in at Zimmerlink's Blog to view the court order to allow a 2009 reimbursement
to be prepared and other surprises... RAVES that the departing commissioner who did not seek re-election still gives a
rat's ass about Fay. (11 Nov 19)
"Quote Of The Day" this Veteran's Day
"I told you they were Slick Dicks!"
Pete's mom, this morning at the diner, to a political campaign worker two counter seats over, who did not believe that the Slick Dicks would omit the
year 2009 from the list of overdue reimbursement years or hide an audit from a third commissioner
"Come on, Mom, it's time to go to the Veteran's Day Parade."
Pete, trying to get his mom in gear for a drive to Uniontown to pay respect to all veterans who served their country
"I better not find out that the newspaper clipping is right and that one's dad could not have stormed the beach of Normandy as he put
on the internet, I will tell him at a public meeting that he owes vets who died on D Day an apology for lying!"
Pete's mom, still wound up from seeing an old newspaper clipping stating a date the young army soldier with a well known Fay last name shipped
out from the states by boat to England some 48 days after the storming of Omaha Beach began and a staggering number of Americans and Allied
troups died there on D Day.
"Happy Veteran's Day, Dad!"
Moi, in a whisper to myself, as the Think Tank exited and the space got quiet, raising my tea cup to my Dad, who never talked much about the war or
Nazi work camps that his infantry liberated, and died of natural causes at 44 on Veteran's Day, 50 years ago
As $1.1M renovation, redecoration of commish office is planned
About that $1-3M missing from Fayette County tax claims
RAVES that someone outside of the county courthouse is actively pursuing tracking down the $1-3M of the monies taken in at county
property tax claim sales, deposited over the years into the county general fund, apparently misused for general fund expenses, and
never deposited, as the sums should have been, into the tax claim account for reimbursements to school districts and creditors.
While we haven't heard much about the missing $1-3M in tax claim funds for a few months from incumbent commissioners who
wanted the subject buried during their re-election campaigns and heard no noise about the missing $1-3M from any of the challengers
campaigning against them, RAVES that Laurel Highlands School Board Member Randy Raymond has not forgotten the missing funds.
Not only that, but Raymond this week on social media proposed that entities owed reimbursements for too many years receive
interest on the sums and also questioned why bidding at property sales doesn't start at a higher amount to cover all tax monies owed,
not just the county's tax.
He used as example a $51K property with about $6K owed in county, school and local taxes, with a starting bid of $317, and sold at tax
claim sale for a mere $1,000. Please check out his social media page for more information.
RANTS that outside Raymond's district, a different Fay school district put the county on notice that it intends to sue the county for the
long over-due reimbursements it is owed. Didn't know that?
Please ask your local newspapers why not. (10 Nov 19)
Yes, it went to trial
DA argues, wins video recorded homicide case
RANTS -- and, most respectfully, please pardon the unintended slight this busy week -- that Rants&Raves failed more timely to RAVE
Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower for winning what may be his very first homicide or attempted homicide trial argued fully
in court before a jury since taking office 47 months ago.
While Bower's legal team in the DA office under him ever since has racked up a discredible number* of homicide or attempted
homicide cases being withdrawn for a lack of evidence before trial or for reasons undisclosed to the public, or homicide or attempted
homicide cases ending in jury trial acquittal, this week Bower convinced the jury there was evidence to convict the defendant with
first degree homicide.
For once in a blue moon, yes, there was!
RAVES that this week's homicide trial involved a fatal shooting completely captured and documented on video, showing the accused
aiming, firing, misfiring, adjusting the weapon, firing a second time at the deceased.
Bower, of course, easily also won re-election this week for a second four-year term, running unopposed in both the primary and
general election. (8 Nov 19)
* J.Brown, Wrote, Weimer, Colbert, A. Patterson, Yasek, 4 persons charged with Royster, Thorpe, a second caregiver, Shellhammer, etc.
"Quotes Of The Day" on that courthouse vacancy
Moi, asking for clarification on what specifically his inquiring mind wanted to learn this time
"Where's Zimmerlink going?"
Pete, getting specific, as his wife and mom chimed in to ask, talking over one another simultaneously and adding that they did not believe this
editor's sincere "I don't know" shrug of the shoulders answer
"I don't think I want to know."
Moi, finally saying something that shocked the Rants&Raves' think tank right into dead silence, noticing their odd glances at one another and Pete's
hand coming over to feel my forehead for fever
"I' prefer to think that she's going on, for example, to the Justice Department or some outside investigative entity that can come in
and clean up Fay's corruption and bullshit."
$1M+ suite renovation secretly kicked around
DoubleV calls ''dibs'' on Zimmerlink's office
RANTS that Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites wasted no time calling dibs on the office occupied for 16 years by former
county commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, who opted earlier this year not to seek re-election for a fifth term.
Zimmerlink, as readers here well know, asked the courts on Tuesday to declare her county commission seat vacant so she can leave
office before the end of 2019, when her term would have expired, to take advantage of a job offer that came her way.
Vicites, who spent a shameful amount of donated political contributions for campaigning and came in second in Tuesday's general
election, seemed to waste no time calling dibs on the office, said to be larger than his current space, and wasted no time saying he
wants new floor covering.
Meanwhile, the carpeting in that office is said to be in good condition and no county funds were available in this year's county budget
for any upgrades to that particular office, as well as other courthouse offices with buckets on the floor catching water.
RAVES of hope that the files that Zimmerlink prepared for the newly elected commissioner and left behind were kept and not quickly
tossed out as well, as soon as the departing Zimmerlink dropped off her keys at the sheriff's office.
RAVES of hope, too, that Vicites is happy in his new space without new floor covering until the courthouse offices with buckets of
sitting water on the floor are tended to first -- or happy with pulling out his own checkbook to pay for the removal of carpeting in good
condition and installation of laminate flooring.
RANTS, too, because we know that won't ever happen... and that a $1M+ upgrade to the commissioners' suite, whispered about
recently behind Zimmerlink's back, planned for 2020, probably will happen, in spite of the concerning facts that the county misspent
and must replace $1-3M property tax sale money from the general fund to the special tax reimbursement fund and the shameful
probability that Fay faces tax increases the way it is, due to fiscal mismanagement. (7 Nov 19)
Heaven help us!
Lohr gets top vote
RAVES to Scott Dunn for being elected with the third highest number of votes for a seat on the county board of commissioners.
While we so wish that he also were joined by challenger Kevin Jones, it didn't happen,
Rants&Raves wishes Dunn the very best in his new job. We're still floored in a big way that he returned a campaign contribution
to someone cruising for a county contract. He seems to be down to earth, intelligent, knowledgeable and exactly what Fayette
We so wish, however, that Dunn were joined on the next county board by at least another peer with integrity. That would have
been exactly what Fay desperately needs. Raves of hope that some of that rubs off him onto the other two.
If Dunn and Jones, or Dunn and departing commissioner Angela Zimmerlink had been on a board together these last four years,
it's easy to imagine that Fay really would be moving forward.
Rants&Raves thanks Jones for trying to help Fay, especially campaigning essentially with a relatively small amount of his own
money. Jones ran a positive campaign, as did Dunn, and impressed quite a few readers here, as did Dunn also again, by saying
he would not take contributions from county vendors or vote on contracts for businesses where family is employed.
Yes, these two contenders made Vicites spend a ton of money, said to be six digits, on advertising that produced only a 200-vote
lead over Dunn in the long run. We hope those donors take note and continue to monitor the county budget, see whether or not
taxes increase and learn whether the $1-2 million from the tax claim property sales that was misspent in the county general fund
Some races initially missing from county ballot results
Neither s RANT nor a RAVE, but a note as votes are tallied this evening that some races -- i.e., Connellsville School District and
Bullskin Township supervisors and possibly others -- were NOT listed on the main ballot tally on the county's website.
Links to a separate listing of the school board race posted to the county election bureau's website did eventually appear, but tallies
for the township supervisor's race -- and possibly others -- did not appear until the county's final count was made.
Television news reports earlier in the day mentioned a problem at Bullskin 1 getting into the school building to set up for elections,
but was operational when some reported they went to vote later in the morning.
We've asked for confirmation whether this issue early in the day somehow resulted in the two races being omitted from the main
ballot and vote stat listing. (5 Nov 19)
RAVES because it is finally Election Day! Please make your vote count for
significant change to the status quo of moving Fay forward off a cliff.
"Quote Of The Day" on yet more sexism in county politics
"I have nothing but the utmost appreciation for the job Janice Snyder has done. In regards to the rumors that my opponent is
circulating about me, they are just that, rumors to hurt me and discourage voters from supporting me. He needs to treat his
opponents and women with respect. I have run a positive and clean campaign."
Tina Shetler-Allen, candidate for Fayette County Clerk of Courts, as stated on her social media page, pretty quickly followed by rebuttal
comments elsewhere from opponent Tim Dye's campaign staff Rita Yantko that the challenger is just blowing smoke.
Jones, Dunn won't mix Fay business contracts
with political campaign donations
RAVES that both county commissioner candidates challenging incumbents have told Rants&Raves that neither would accept political
donations from county vendors and would abstain from any voting on any type of contract involving personal conflicts.
RAVES, and the most thanks to God that this editor didn't suffer a cardiac episode hearing that refreshing news, especially after
hearing that Dunn actually had already "returned a check undeposited to someone seeking a county contract."
We so hope that readers here, too, do not pass out or worse, hearing that refreshing news. We're just not used to hearing that from
politicians that often.
RAVES for the good news, because incumbents Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr on the ballot have accepted political campaign
donations from county vendors or owners of businesses with county contracts. They see nothing wrong with it.
Vicites, likewise, even previously voted for a contract for a business that employs an immediate family member, but abstained for a
different contract some time later for the same business.
RAVES of hope that Fay gets at least two new commissioners tomorrow with integrity who know it's wrong to mix business and
political campaign contributions. (4 Oct 19)
"Quotes Of The Day" on Sunshine Law Fay style
"At some point in Fayette County, we have to let the Sunshine in..."
Kevin Jones, candidate for Fayette County Commissioner, on WMBS talk radio today, referring to the Sunshine Law that requires transparency
of government to the public, and his apparent belief that the current board of commissioners is not transparent and honest with the public, as
stated in a radio interview that can be heard by clicking on this link
"Since the Dems are telling their Dem friends to vote for (Commissioner Dave) Lohr, I'm voting for Scott Dunn and Kevin Jones."
Pete's wife, today at the diner after showing her social media request from a long-time Dem Vicites cheerleader urging her to vote for
(Commissioner Vince) Vicites and Lohr
"The question is, who are (Commissioner Angela) Zimmerlink's supporters voting for on Tuesday? Whoever gets that bulk of votes
Tuesday can win."
Pete, guessing that those who voted for her in prior elections can control Tuesday's general election
Vince Vicites: the reason R&R turned political
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but an explanation for some newer readers that this Rants&Raves blog did not start out covering county
government news or writing editorial opinion on government or local politics.. Read More.
Dave Lohr: big red flag, liability
As for Fayette County Commissioner Dave Lohr seeking re-election for a second term, Rants&Raves notes that some of Vicites' long-
time Democrat friends are reaching out to their Dem friends to vote next week for Lohr.. Read More.
Anonymous hate posts running amok among public servants,
DoubleV campaign coordinator, trial critic?
RANTS of the worst kind to hateful, local anonymous web writers, who get their jollies being bullies, spinning often completely false
or highly, highly exaggerated tales, or telling nasty rumors or sociopathic-like, venomous, horribly unkind and irrational opinion of, or
representation of a situation or individual.
For consideration, please consider the hypocrisy and realities of these anonymous sources behind these three examples to follow.
They really forgot? Or just didn't want commish, public there?
Fay forgot to advertise 2020 budget meetings?
RANTS that county officials have been meeting in private for budget meetings that by law were required to begin 90 days before a
next year's budget is to be implemented. Read More.
"Quotes Of The Day" on election blues, Slick Dicks that screw duped public
"I can't vote for Vicites and Lohr because they paid $17,000 for a tax claim financial report that they didn't get or got and hid from the
public and a third commissioner."
"So should everyone request a copy under Right To Know? Report it to the auditor general? The attorney general? Call Vicites and
Lohr and ask for a copy? Call them to ask why they paid for a report or how many days after the fifth of November they plan on
releasing it or raising taxes?"
Pete's wife, asking, then answering her own questions by saying all are good options
"My generation called sneaky people like that Slick Dicks."
Pete's mom, quickly adding it's not a vulgar term and that she'll vote for Democrat challenger, Kevin Jones, and will write in a second name
No '18 investigation led to mom demanding resignation of cops
Please click here to see video of the mother of Chris Shellhammer speaking out before Masontown Borough Council this evening
because three of its officers, county investigators and county prosecutors did not investigate Shellhammer's statement that he was
beaten, shot a man in self-defense and was set up for robbery.
Fay Controller, DA slammed in 2018 audit
While the recently released 2018 county audit doesn't necessarily scream large enough red flags to have the state declare Fay
leaders brain dead and take over the management of county funds, the findings give a good impression that work ethics might be
pathetically enough compromised to require the below frequently mentioned departments derelict of their duties to account to the
state and public that pays for the whole downtown courthouse show. Read More.
$366K in 2011 Fay tax claim reimbursements finally mailed
RAVES of the sort of miraculous kind that checks for a few hundred thousand dollars in long-owed reimbursements to school districts
were in the mail recently, from the county tax claim office.
But RANTS that we do not know where that $366K in reimbursements came from, given that earlier this year we learned that
exorbitant sums, up to $2-3 Million in dollars from property tax sales, were never transferred from the general fund to the tax claim
account and, possibly, misspent as county general funds.
RANTS, for instance, that we do not know if this $366K in reimbursement checks mailed out came, in part from $231,609.68 new
money taken in during property tax sale in June and the second new sum that came in during a September property tax sale, or if this
$366K is part of the $2-3 million never deposited into the tax claim account and too likely misspent in the county's general fund.
Almost as importantly, then, the more difficult question, no doubt: when will the next round of tax claim reimbursement checks be
distributed? We hear county bookies have already stopped taking bets for the last half of October of 2020. (22 Oct 19)
Any write-ins for Fay commish seats?
RANTS that two county commissioners wanted to pass a motion without noting the cost to the public was $1.4 million dollars, didn't
know how to write a proper resolution and had to have a county solicitor verbally dictate it at the meeting this week.
RANTS, too, that Fay Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr are not truthful about county finances, as per Commissioner
Angela Zimmerlink. Please review highlights of the recently released county audit of 2018 that Zimmerlink posted online, by
clicking here. Please click on the list of audit section links in blue on that page as well.
RANTS that earlier challengers to this upcoming election didn't make the ballot because they didn't take a tough enough stand against
corruption and sexism that runs rampant in Fay politics.
RANTS, too, that people forget this is Fay where a write-in candidate won the office of county commissioner by campaigning on the
platform to end corruption and bring jobs.
RANTS this close to election, that nobody's stepping back up or in for a write in campaign to stop the in place motion to move Fay
forward right off the cliff. (19 Oct 19)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"I see the old Fayette County Patch Hungarian is writing again!"
Pete, exclaiming this morning at the diner reading the daily newspaper, seeing an old familiar byline, but admitting disappointment that there wasn't
more to the story, hoping that a follow up editorial commentary will be featured mentioning that two commissioners did not know how to properly
write a resolution for a $1.4 million purchase
"You're among friends and fellow Hungarians here, you can call him by his real name!"
Dave, laughing because he's not of Hungarian decent himself, but from another patch town where more Irish and Italians settled, then deciding it
really didn't matter since that blog stopped publication due to political pressure to stop writing the truth about antics of some of Fayette County's
elected officials and the slanted media that covered their behinds
No '18 investigation led to improved jail advocacy for disabled
RAVES that at least one positive came from all the hell caused when some cops, county investigators and county prosecutors jailed
an innocent man without bail for nearly two years, without ever investigating his statement that he shot a man beating him in self-
defense. Read More.
No '18 investigation led to citizen push for DA write-in challenger
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a serious note of a push by a Uniontown citizen to start a write in campaign for an attorney to
challenge the current district attorney in the upcoming general election on November 5.
Yesterday, Kathryn Jones started a social media spread-the-word announcement, asking the public to write in the name of Attorney
Michael Aubele at the polls to oust Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower.
Bower's office prosecuted the two-year-long homicide case against her son, found not guilty by a jury three days ago with Aubele as
his attorney. Bower's team of police, county investigators and county prosecutors did not investigate Shellhammer's self-defense
statement, resulting in an innocent man spending 22 months in jail awaiting trial without bail.
While Aubele has not publicly commented on Jones' push to get him elected and has not indicated whether or not he would take
office if elected, his wife, meanwhile, published his full impressive resume on social media today. Coincidence? More to come, no
doubt. RAVES of hope that this write-in campaign takes off. Bower has no challengers on the ballot. (13 Oct 19)
No '18 investigation led to huge waste of public funds
RANTS that police, county investigators and county prosecutors who ignored Chris Shellhammer's self-defense statement on January
15, 2018, following the Masontown Peach Street shooting, wasted a ton of pubic money on an innocent man's prison housing for
nearly two years that bail was denied and another ton, ridiculously, on legal costs and a trial. Read More.
No '18 investigation led to French's next victim in '19
Had police, county investigators and county prosecutors on January 16, 2018 walked a few steps past the crime scene at Kelly
French's Peach Street Masontown home, they very easily could have proven Chris Shellhammer was set up for robbery, taken
French off the online meat market dating scene and prevented her 2019 victim from ever having a chance to meet her and be held
captive in the basement and beaten for a few days before escaping.
RAVES of hope that French's 2019 victim, whose open head wound from being hit on his head with a gun required 72 stitches to
close, teams with a hungry lawyer to hold county prosecutors and municipal police responsible for not investigating Shellhammer's
2018 claim that the deceased man hid in the home and conspired with French to rob and assault him.
The decision to not investigate Shellhammer's statement in 2018 led to French not being charged and incarcerated for trying to rob
and possibly kill Shellhammer, and the decision to not investigate Shellhammer's statement in 2018 led to French's next victim one
year later needing intensive care treatment initially, after police in Masontown found him walking in an alley, bleeding from his head.
French's 2019 prisoner held and severely beaten for a few days in her home carried no weapon, needless to say.
She remains lodged in the Fayette County Prison, awaiting her trial for attempted homicide for the 2019 attack. The police, county
investigators and prosecutors who prosecuted Shellhammer without evidence, meanwhile, remain on the public payrolls and pillars
of the community.
No '18 investigation hurt more than Chris: Mr. H.
RAVES of hope that the elderly father of the man fatally shot in Kelly French's Masontown home 22 months ago can now begin to
make peace with his latest disturbing shock to absorb -- i.e., that police, county detectives and county prosecutors miserably failed
him, too, by not investigating Chris Shellhammer's statement in 2018 that he was set up for robbery or worse, when he agreed to
meet with Kelly French for that Monday night booty call. Read More.
Jury sends Shellhammer home!
RAVES that a Fayette County jury today did just as Chris Shellhammer's defense attorney, with a lump in his throat in the final words
of his passionate closing statement, asked them to do; the jury found Shellhammer not guilty of homicide and, indeed, sent him
home. Read More.
Shellhammer trial: Day 3
RAVES that the Keystones and Fayette County prosecutors finally rested their twisted homicide case against Chris Shellhammer
today and the defense stepped up to prove -- regardless of tomorrow's outcome -- that a defendant really can get a hard working
public defender downtown. Read More.
"Quote Of The Day" from 1-16-18 that still haunts us here at Rants&Raves
"This is all my fault!"
Kelly French, as heard saying, towards the end of her call to 911 to get emergency medical services to her home to treat her boyfriend bleeding
out on her floor after being shot
Shellhammer trial: Day 2
RANTS that real life Keystone Cops and Fayette County prosecutors kept up the foolishness in court today, still trying to maintain that
they had no good reason to investigate or believe Chris Shellhammer's claim 22 months ago that he shot a man in self defense, after
being held against his will and beaten. Read More.
Shellhammer homicide trial: Day 1
RANTS that a man who shot a goon in self defense sits without bail, in the county jail, now 22 months, in twisted build up for today
and this ridiculously goofy county prosecution squad's embarrassingly weak opening day at trial.
RANTS that the county district attorney, peeking in the door to see how county star prosecution witness Kelly French was doing on
the stand, pushed the Chris Shellhammer homicide charges so far on French's multiple versions of the story told from the time of the
shooting, through preliminary hearing testimony, through today.
RANTS of sadness watching that testimony from French today. Nobody on the prosecution side noticed she changed her story
multiple times? For goodness sake, nobody, from police through county detectives, through the district attorney, nobody along the
way these last 22 months told the woman she was full of crap?
Why did they support her twisted witness account that her time with Shellhammer, and then the shooting of her boyfriend, went on
only in her mind well past the documented five minutes known through phone records? She might not have known reality if it bit her,
but the investigators and prosecutors surely should have.
Why would an assistant district attorney go on to a jury, for instance, that the defendant had ample opportunity to escape French's
home after he was beaten, when prosecution's star witnessed testified at the preliminary hearing that the defendant tried and tried to
get out the door but couldn't escape? Was 22 months not long enough to prepare for court?
RANTS that French seemed genuinely shocked today to hear that Shellhammer's phone indicated he was in her home a total of less
than five minutes, and that he called 911 five minutes after he first arrived at her home and messaged her from outside that he was
there to hang out with her.
RANTS that this mismanaged case caused a man, defending himself after getting battered with a broken nose, broken jaw and
concussion before shooting, to sit in jail waiting for two years for this ridiculously produced trial.
Two years, and we get this kind of crap? Shame on Fay's lead prosecutors who have no excuse for this arrest and ridiculous
prosecution. None. None. None. (7 Oct 19)
"Quotes Of The Day" on why so few businesses in it for the long haul -- as opposed to a few years or as long as
the tax breaks apply -- want to set up shop in Uniontown
"Childhood poverty hovers near 50%, household income is half the nationwide average, and outside of the rejuvenated downtown
stretch, hope for better days ahead is noticeably absent...
"In its heyday, Uniontown was virtually overflowing with opulence, at one time boasting more millionaires per capita than any other
municipality in America."
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "Uniontown's downtown shows signs of life amidst deep poverty," focusing today on the illusion of downown revitalization,
based on a three new store fronts on a downtown block with the opening of a medical marijuana business, yoga shop and coffee shop, while the
article goes on to note to its readers that Uniontown's "median household income hovers around $30,000, and roughly 30% of residents live in
poverty, more than two and a half times the rate of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area."
"... outside of the rejuvenated downtown stretch, hope for better days ahead is noticeably absent..."
Powerful quote, excerpt from the same above mentioned PG article, worth repeating, as this writer choked on morning tea for the article's extreme
negative spin... hope for better days ahead is noticeably absent.
RANTS that a writer 50 miles away could pick up on that. (29 Sep 19)
As same violent offender hides out avoiding arrest on new violent offenses
Fay prosecution, 2017 courts shamefully blew off good cops
RANTS that Fayette County criminal prosecution and county courts in 2017 had so little respect for the lives of three good cops trying
to stop a drunken idiot speeding at 100 mph into traffic and yards and also put dozens of us others in jeopardy along the way.
Although said idiot aimed his car at one trooper on the road on foot putting down speed spikes, then used his vehicle again as a
weapon to intentionally strike a cruiser with two cops inside to disable the vehicle and ended up crashing another 15 miles away into
someone's living room, the madman driver that night with an already suspended license for DUI, spent only about a year in jail or off
RANTS that he got out for those aggravated assault-type and driving offenses and so quickly in March of 2019 drew another driving
DUI charge while under license suspension. He spent a few more days back in jail then in March. His court online documentation is
sketchy, showing a date and continuance in July, in Judge Cordaro's court, on those March DUI offenses.
Then, once again, just another few weeks later, at the end of August, the same madman once again led police on another ten-mile
chase, at speeds close to 100 mph. The Labor Day weekend chase, however, took place on narrow, back mountain roads. The cop
wisely stopped the pursuit, because the drunken man too likely would have gone off a cliff with his equally stupid middle-aged
girlfriend passenger, rather than give up. Equally stupid we must call her, because she must have really liked the chase, and
continues to help hide out her lunatic soulmate from police.
RANTS that county prosecution and courts in 2017 had so little respect for the lives of three good cops that a drunken idiot tried like a
true sociopath to kill. RANTS because the drunken idiot should have still been in jail from those 2017 charges, but got a deal for about
one year jail time. He should have still been in jail and should not have been released so soon to have been free to have committed
any of the subsequent offenses since Labor Day.
Lets hope that the drunken man at large who surely has to know by now that he is wanted on serious felony charges soon is caught,
finally stopped from driving without a license suspended more times than his graciously enabling friends with supplying him with gas
money and keys to their vehicles should be allowed to go without their loaned out vehicles being booted.
RAVES of hope that God continues to keep the rest of us driving on the fugitive's roadway safe and that he is apprehended without
incident to receive a stiff, new sentence that he truly deserves. County prosecutors and courts blew it by being so lax with this
particular fugitive in 2017. (22 Sept 19)
DA wants jury tour of homicide scene in move that can only help the defense
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of disbelief that Fayette County prosecutors not knowing when to fold now want to take a jury
on a fieldtrip to a Masontown home where Chris Shellhammer fatally shot a man 20 months ago.
True, we know the tour of the home won't include the basement or area where the Shellhammer trial's star witness, Kelly French, one
year later beat a man she met online dating, who escaped from her home with an open head wound after a few days of being detained
against his will and tortured.
This latest half-baked idea by the county district attorney's office to tour a jury of a scene where a death occurred, however, can only
help Shellhammer's defense.
For instance, the jury can then better visualize exactly where French says she and the dead man were in each of the couple different
versions of the story she and police told against Shellhammer. There's the story she told television news -- that Shellhammer came in
guns a blazing shooting.
Then there's the last formal account she gave -- that the dead man dressed in nothing but shorts on a winter day walked barefoot with
no clothes, no coat, no shoes, no socks, from some homeless shelter through the snow and ice, to her home, where he was shot by
More importantly, the jury in Shellhammer's upcoming homicide trial, after a tour of French's home, can better visualize exactly
where the accused was when he was beaten, where in French's home the accused got his broken jaw, where Shellhammer was when
he got his broken nose and where in French's home she and the dead man beat Shellhammer and gave Shellhammer his closed
wound head concussion before he shot French's boyfriend.
RAVES of hope that a jury touring French's Masontown home can only conclude that Shellhammer should have shot sooner and
would have still been justified in using force in a self-defense shooting to save himself. (19 Sept 19)
Fay: Grim Isle of Increasing Overdoses, when all counties surrounding the region of
Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland have shrinking numbers
RANTS of the most disappointing kind that what started out as a positive read in this morning's paper about declining numbers of
opioid overdoses, ended up, scrolled down mid-way through, being another painfully chilling reminder that too many of Fay's heroin
and opioid addicts tend to stay addicts. Read More.
To Rants&Raves, July - August, 2019
"Quotes Of The Day" revisiting the coroner's public funded training cruise
Young man from prison stoop returning to Michigan
"Cookout" fentanyl bust: enough to kill 14 million people
Why, God, why??? Lohr contacted opposing side in national opioid lawsuit?
but in the meantime...
Lohr draws RAVES for wanting to improve airport's rep from place where US' most infamous bio-terrorist left car, disappeared
Who picks jail over rehab?
Fay Prison Board cancels another meeting
Nuns closer to selling land for medical center
"Quote Of The Day" on next week's grand jury
Faygate: Fay officials delete emails
"Quotes Of The Day" speculating on the grand jury about to convene
Connellsville to start after hours tutorial program
Perryopolis cops credited in fed cocaine case tied to Mexican drug cartel
U'twn mayor fined for ethics violations
While shooter targets Dayton, Fay nut targets disabled vet
DA didn't know so last month? Cremains no longer corpses to abuse?
Kid on prison stoop finally gets meds
WHY? Fay extradited man in guardianship???
Gardens get break from humidity
Autistic man released from Fay Co Prison sits on stoop, stays
2019 Fay County Fair begins
"Quote Of The Day" on the definition of police oppression
DA, lead detective sued over S. Conn police oppression case
Conn mayor loses Woodruff race, stirs pot with possible adult curfew
Shaffer Boys Club: back open for business!
Imagine a womens prison at 32 Iowa today: 2014 'Obstructionists' thanked each, every time it rains
"Quotes Of The Day" you won't read in Fay news articles about the hiring of a prison architect
How much other counties pay Fay's fiscal guru SACS
"Quotes Of The Day" on two cases in Fay's oh soooooooooo slow court system, one grabbing attention of -- no, simply blowing
the minds of -- thoroughly shocked, retired fed investigators following our local Fay kangaroo court system with jaws dropped
Why can't they get it right for long? Fay prison commissary accounts frozen by glitch or staff neglect?
"Quotes Of The Day" on Fay's pitiful quality of life, this part of Appalachia
Happy Independence Day!
Fay court settlement that should not have ever happened
"Quotes Of The Day" in Fay today
Can Fay house Kez in a cheap storage locker?
Monday’s tax sale: $231,609.68 added to sales fund
Fay County Prison lock down lifted
Day 2: county prison lock down
About the tax sale proceeds: Is Zimmerlink right?
"Quote Of The Day" on a $1.7 million county ddddddddeficit?
Organ donors always needed
Now, D&A's letter to ed opposing New Seasons methadone contract
"Quote Of The Day" on PR spin to make commissioners appear more financially savvy than they are
Dippy eggs, bacon up
DoubleV: tax sale tab might be "far less" than $1.7 million
Proposed legislation ticks Fay administrators off
"Quote Of The Day" on an alleged political rival from a different race
Growing stink in the air? Hot Topic: Fay 's Property Tax Sale revenue
Fay's babies 3xs more likely born addicted
Posse needs another week to find $3 million? DoubleV, Lohr delay county meeting one week
"Quote Of The Day" on Zimmerlink's letter to the editor
Inmate tablets passed out at county jail
"Quotes Of The Day" as DoubleV's on long holiday
How much will Fay's bill be? Bucks County hit to pay $68M jail court verdict
Or delay to try even harder to influence an election?HSBS 13-day delay in this digital age
Posse search for missing $3 million tax sale money?DoubleV, Lohr et al cancel prison board meeting
Zimmerlink adds more on the MIA $3 million
Early Election morning "Quotes Of The Day"
Commish: Fay keeps property sale funds, misuses $3 Million of it
DA political sign on the bypass?
While mountain EMS station closed... Pennies short: $1 M county tax dollars paid to financial consultant
"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
Or just doing her job? Zimmerlink acting more like a candidate?
As New Season controversy continues, DoubleV&Lohr campaigns get boost from Greene methadone clinic chiefs
Campaign Donations should be returned
Todays agenda: hold hearing, consider $10M tax-free Mount Macrina note
"Quote Of The Day" on DoubleV&Dave's dark transparency
Lohr replacement sign even closer to traffic
Will CRA take back phantom restaurant land?
GOP Challenger: not running with Lohr
DA wasted three years, county funds, court's time, our patience
Herald Standard's way wrong?
DoubleV subject of mud slinging robocalls?
Jones: Law Day reflection on free speech, protest of Fay DA
Rants&Raves was denied under Right To Know a request to obtain records of county contracting rates and the spending of public funds
634 days... with no court date set for 2 years, since the County filed in Court of Common Pleas to set aside this column's
last 2 of 5 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 did not 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
April 15, 2019 Editor Note: The above information was published 634 days ago. The Fay County prothonotary issued a county solicitor
formal notice on April 15, 2019, that the courts would close the cases the county parked in legal limbo two years ago, to stop
Rants&Raves from receiving two packets of county documents concerning information on county behavioral health contracts, that
Rants&Raves won in state appeals to the Office of Open Records, to receive. Hence, the numbers in the box will not change.
32 Iowa Street, as shown below, photographed around 8:30
PM, 21 Jul 19, once again, is flooded.
Photo by Neuman
|724 days... since
under Right To Know
request to obtain
county contracting rates
and the spending of
Chris Shellhammer, as
shown on the right
leaving the Fayette
County Prison on
October 17, 2019,
following his acquittal
of homicide charges
and a 22-month
bail, because no police
or county investigators
or county prosecutors
investigated his claim
that he was set up and
shot in self defense.
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