Shaffer Boys Club: back open for business!
RAVES to Uniontown lawyer Tommy Shaffer for caring to dig so deeply into his own pocket to fund a gymnasium open at no cost to boys and girls
under 14 to use and where older wanna be athletes can train at a minimal cost to possibly become the world's next title winning boxer.
Shaffer's late father, of course, was a local legend boxing trainer by the same name, who ran his own gym and training program for more than 50
years, for well known former world title holders. In his later years, the elder Shaffer was a sweet fixture in the old bank building running his basement-
level barber shop.
To those of us who worked in that 2 W. Main bank and office building, the elder Shaffer was often a breath of fresh air in a sometimes tense, hectic,
downtown work atmosphere. RAVES that this new downtown gym pays tribute so poignantly to the elder Shaffer, who passed away six years ago at
the age of 81.
RAVES to his son who adored him, for making the new gym a reality. (23 Jul 19)
Imagine a womens prison at 32 Iowa today
2014 'Obstructionists' thanked each, every time it rains
RAVES that Fay once had citizens galore to challenge corruption and that the once proposed womens prison project at 32 Iowa Street, Uniontown,
RAVES, as that building flooded, as shown in a photo on the right, again today for what has to be the fifth or sixth time since county business
developers and elected officials swore falsely to the public that the building never flooded, that female inmates and staff never came to be housed and
working in that building, in a disaster waiting to happen.
RAVES, hearing Uniontown citizens on television news today comment about how quickly today's storm and flooding overtook their homes, that the
once proposed womens prison project in a flood zone never happened. Imagine, if in addition to having to perform all of the amazing rescue work
seen on today's televised news, if local emergency services had also to evacuate all those female inmates and staff on Iowa.
RAVES that Fay once upon a time had citizens galore who were not intimidated to challenge stupidity being promoted as sound business deals.
RANTS that these were the same people that two current county commissioners and an editorial page editor scrambled in 2016 to intimidate back into
Now, nearly four years later, we no longer just have to wonder why. (21 Jul 19)
"Quotes Of The Day" you won't read in Fay news articles about the hiring of a prison architect
"As all seven architects said, and, more specifically, the top-two ranked, there is some significant land work that may need done because of current
building, locations, slope, sewage, etc. Also, not all seven prison board members participated in all seven interviews and recalls and only one of the
non commissioner prison board members shared his opinion with everyone, so not certain where Lohr got his information unless the others just spoke
to him. All prison board members have been interested and participated in this process thus far. The key is continued open, shared information with all
commissioners & prison board and public. Estimated costs, etc., were discussed. This is not an inexpensive project."
Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, in online newspaper reader comments to heraldstandard.com's "Fayette County
Commissioners choose architectural firm for new prison," indicating that there is still too much county business being conducted in secrecy
behind closed doors
How much other counties pay Fay's fiscal guru SACS
While we in Fay know that the county commissioners have paid Susquehanna Accountants and Consulting Solutions, Inc., (SACS), nearly one million
dollars for professional services since 2016, we are curious how high or low tabs run up for other counties which use that same firm.
Fay's extensive assistance or dependence on the SACS financial consultants these last 43 months, as per the commission, is because the previous
2016-19 commission of Ambrosini-Zapotosky-Zimmerlink left the county in such pathetic fiscal shape at the close of 2015.
True, nobody can argue that the current three county commissioners scrambled and worked like a well oiled machine to re-do the 2016 budget. They
needed SACS then.
Problem is, of course, that the current three disagree on the level of dependence the county should have on SACS, since Fay inches closer to the
million dollar mark in spending with the Harrisburg firm. Instead of becoming less dependent, Fay keeps on wracking up the hours on the SACS tab.
Let it be stated clearly, that Rants&Raves isn't knocking anyone who works at that firm.
We just want to take a fair look at what other counties pay SACS, in comparison to Fay. We figure all who've turned to SACS over the years probably
were in dire or near-dire financial straits, or in dire need of consultants to step in and take over, due to staff vacancies or other reasons, including staff
negligence or incompetence.
More specifically, too, Rants&Raves would also like to learn if it's true or not that SACS has to remind all county staff outside of Fay, as, supposedly,
in Fay, SACS sometimes is said to have to remind staff to follow through on some type of previously agreed upon expectation or task.
While we know that news articles state that another county paid SACS about $240,000 in two years for basic county fiscal consultation and a
separate jail contract, Rants&Raves will try to find out what the other counties have paid in recent years, in comparison to Fay's total likely to exceed
$1 million before the end of this year.
Somehow, we doubt anyone else outside of Fay is such a high service utilizer or big spender. (18 Jul 19)
"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
“For the record, it is clear that Defendant has been held in pre-trial incarceration well in excess of 180 days from the date on which the
Complaint was filed in this matter after excluding the periods of delay caused by the Defendant.”
Fayette County Judge Gerald Solomon, waking up after taking nearly three months to conclude that Fayette County Assistant District Attorney
Christina A. DeMarco-Breeden in April needed a new calculator when asserting that the mandate for the defendant's right to trial in 180 days for
prosecution without bail was way kewl till August 11, 2019, but way wrong
"... the slow protracted adjudication of it is a national tragedy. It should be an indicting example of the state of 'in-justice' and
a citizen's constitutional rights in the greatest country in the world."
Retired federal criminal investigator, offering opinion this week on Fay's ridiculously unique system of chaos that we call the courts, while
continuing tp follow a different homicide case before Fay's too often illegally operated legal system
Why can't they get it right for long?
Fay prison commissary accounts frozen by glitch or staff neglect?
RANTS hearing first a few weeks ago about a prison lock down, then more recently that tension is so bad among some staff at Fay's county prison
that grievances or talk of grievances being written circulates even to the inmates.
Those preventable situations were bad enough, but now word has come in to Rants&Raves that Fay, once again, is failing to run the inmate
commissary account system properly.
"Inmate pay doesn't deposit on time, money orders aren't deposited in a timely manner, paper commissary orders are always messed up. Now, regular
commissary orders are not ordered," Rants&Raves was told today.
"These little things are important to inmate morale and they keep screwing up," an incarcerated man said of the disappointment experienced among
those incarcerated at the county prison who cannot access their personal funds.
RANTS that the commissary system experiences such nasty glitches, or is just not updated with deposits or funds because some staff is not doing his
or her job of making those transitions.
RANTS because word inside leans towards odds having the latter possibility be the case. (11 Jul 19)
"Quotes Of The Day" on Fay's pitiful quality of life, this part of Appalachia
"Relative to the national average, Fayette County worsened on all three of ARC’s economic indicators in the past year. While the county’s per capita
market income improved by 3.2 percent from $26,487 in 2016 to $27,345 in 2017, the national average improved at a greater rate (5.4 percent),
causing the county’s value relative to the national average to worsen from 65.1 percent to 63.8 percent of the U.S. rate."
China Riddle, communications specialist for Appalachian Regional Commission, as quoted above comparing the quality of life across 420 counties
in 12 Appalachian states, in today's Herald Standard piece, "Report shows Pennsylvania's Appalachia residents make $7,000 less than state
"There’s a lot of activity going on in Fayette. Recently there’s been a lot of growth with our businesses and it probably hasn’t shown in the reports
because those are taking numbers from 2017. Fayette will be considered transitional when the next report comes around again."
Bob Stark, executive director, Fay-Penn Economic Development Council for Fayette County, trying to comfort us with hopeful spin, in the same
referenced article, to reserve judgement since Fay "will be" considered transitional when the ARC releases economic status designations in the
Happy Independence Day!
Fay court settlement that should not have ever happened
RANTS that the county didn't litigate to defend, and didn't take more cases against one particular public official to court, but opted, way
too often, instead to settle out of court with the supposed persecuted staff.
RANTS, because according to the spouse of one of those civil case petitioners, that spouse claimed to have used unspecified personal
or political influence of some kind to get the spouse staff hired in the first place at the courthouse. Read More.
"Quotes Of The Day" in Fay today
"I didn't realize where the DA was going when I saw all those boxes. That presentation and Dollar General bag were surreal! We didn't
need to see the 21 boxes. I would've taken his word for it if he just showed us the big, empty container or a picture of it. Talk about
prejudicing a jury!"
Pete, who recently lost a brother and nephew, whose ashes have not yet arrived from out of state, for their memorial service, commenting on a
hard copy, headline news story on the day-old newspaper sitting folded on the diner counter of the former funeral home director who stole $600K
from customers and now is charged with hiding cremains for 21 customers in a storage locker
"We weren't told anything about those missing business documents found in that storage locker, huh?"
Dave, just asking, about the documents that the former funeral home director previously told police didn't exist to his knowledge, found with the
Can Fay house Kez in a cheap storage locker?
RANTS to the Fay courts for allowing a former funeral director to squeak out of prison last year on reduced bond for supposed health
reasons, shortly after being charged with stealing about $500,000 from customers, in a glorified press conference with the state attorney
general and county district attorney.
RANTS, because it was hard enough for some who were snookered of their cash, seeing the disgraced man out there mowing lawns last
summer and this summer, and seeing him obviously in much better physical condition than he was at arrest. Rants&Raves got no
answer when we caught up with Stephen Kezmarsky late last summer to ask if he paid any restitution yet to any victims.
RAVES of hope that this time around -- after today's horrifying news that hidden funeral home business documents and unmarked
cremated remains of 14 persons, and marked remains of some other former customers were found in a storage locker recently -- that
the former funeral director stays in jail. We can bet those 14 who previously pre-paid their final resting did not opt to sit unidentified in a
Tupperwear container in a storage locker through this June of 2019.
RANTS to the county courts and officials who allowed the former funeral home director to see the great outdoors these last 18 months.
It's not as though the man were jailed in a turtle suit in the basement of the county prison for the last 18 months and couldn't get a
message out that about 20 people he stole from deserved respectful final resting places. (27 JUN 19)
Monday’s tax sale: $231,609.68 added to sales fund
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that $231,609.68 was taken in at a county property tax sale held three days ago.
RANTS because, somehow, some of Fay's too easily impressed, naive and easily manipulated population will come to wrongly attribute
this deposit from this week's sale -- i.e., "new" money -- into the county's tax sale office account as a sure sign of officials leading Fay
RANTS that some of the easily duped will announce the "new" money going to the tax claim office this week is a sure sign of a direct
miracle, that Fay's pricey $1 million dollar, contracted fiscal gurus and the county commission majority, incapacitated at the wheel of
county business, with not a clue and only the duo's three personal bankruptcies sitting up in front seat between them, somehow,
brilliantly found this "new" money in with the old pile of $5 million, of which only $2.5 million was actually in the bank.
Wrong, it's "new" money that should go into the tax claim fund and be distributed, minus needed expense deductions, to the entities
who have been first in the nine-year-deep waiting line. Commissioners are allowing distribution, instead, to more monies owed from the
last few years.
To keep up with the ridiculous tax claim situation, please click here to read Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink's latest blog, "Monday’s
tax sale $231,609.68 added to sales fund."
The kind of "Quote Of The Day" that makes us wonder how some specific public figures might have reacted to
hearing about this proposed legislation to change how state gaming money is awarded and distributed within counties and casino
"Without establishing this type of reform, major concerns will remain regarding conflicts of interest, special interest earmarking of funds
or insider deliberation of projects in advance of the grant presentations...
"We owe it to the taxpayers we represent to ensure that LSA (Local Share Account) funding is allocated with integrity, transparency, and
above all, that projects are funded based upon their value to our communities and the opportunities to improve the quality of life for all.”
Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette), as quoted in "Cook LSA Reform Legislation Seeks to Deliver More Property Tax Relief for Washington County
Homeowners," in his quest to reform how LSA gaming money municipal proceeds is awarded and distributed in his home county, still most likely
causing lower level politicians -- i.e., county commissioners, row officers, township candidates, who eagerly accept donations from executives and
PACs of private companies and see to it that LSA money is sent back that company's way -- to panic at the thought of, perhaps, losing those campaign
donation dollars and corporate votes
Fay County Prison lock down lifted
Editor's Note: Rants&Raves has received word that the lock down that started over fighting early yesterday afternoon at the Fay County
Prison has ended.
Sources inside the prison said that inmates stuffing toilets caused sewage to back up and spill into occupied cells.
It is unknown how many inmates or staff may have been injured. Fighting was said to have broken out in three different instances.
Injured was inmate Kelly French, held since charged five months ago with severely beating and holding a man hostage for a few days in
her Masontown home. She is the county's star witness in the 2017 homicide case of Chris Shellhammer. The extent of her injuries is
unknown. (23 Jun 19)
On a serious note...
RAVES of hope that all reading can, at least momentarily, park their political views, their political favorites, scattered, differing opinions
and, if applicable, any overall indifference or negativity, at the door and please simply listen up with your hearts.
RANTS of the kind that bring some of us to cry or pray for other folks' grown kids, hurting so badly addicted to drugs. RANTS when it's
days, weeks since hearing unfortunate news that still gnaws away at times.
RAVES of hope that a young downtown professional -- who Rants&Raves and, apparently, a good many others, including some who
probably never, never agree on anything else -- knows that he has the respect and support of a lot of people he has helped or touched,
impressively, in some way by his strengths and accomplishments.
RAVES of hope that he feels the prayers and respect coming his way from a bunch of people, some who never, never agree on anything
else, who want him well and would do anything they could do to help him. (22 Jun 19)
Day 2: county prison lock down
RANTS that the entire Fayette County Prison had to be put on lock down yesterday afternoon, due to three separate fights that broke out
inside among inmates and detainees.
As per prison sources, surveillance video of the fights is being reviewed by Uniontown city police for possible filing of new charges
against those responsible.
The chaos, the warden said to county officials, is attributed to a "high turnaround" of new inmates perhaps unaware there's a different
warden in charge now who mandates consequences for fighting. The current warden, meanwhile, has been in his position for nearly 17
RAVES of hope that the situation calms and the lock down ends. (22 Jun 19)
About the tax sale proceeds
Is Zimmerlink right?
RANTS that it seems -- at least to the thinking public -- that two county commissioners are hoping that the public is actually stupid
enough to believe Fay's general fund, right now at this moment, has an extra $1.5-1.7 million it doesn't need -- or even just has that much
cash on hand, to transfer from the general budget fund to the county tax claim office, to distribute to school districts, municipalities and
creditors, some owed up to nine years. Read More.
"Quote Of The Day" on a $1.7 million county ddddddddeficit?
"Two commissioners do not want to replace these funds because doing so would mean allocating the estimated $1.7 million. which
means raise taxes or reduce overall costs. It is a debt of the General Fund and if the year end audit always performed by Zelenkofske
Axelrod fails to give the Finding they are not doing their job."
Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, in "$476,535 to be distributed – County General Fund still owes $1.7 million," in follow up to the
blinding snow job explanations and growing stink in the air this week at the courthouse, who includes a supplemental, easy to follow guide,
tracking the $5 million taken in during property tax sales and status, year-per-year, on the slow return of $3 million of it to the tax claim office fund,
from the county general fund, for distribution to creditors, school districts and municipalities
Organ donors always needed
RAVES of hope that the very brave and heartwrenching act of a devastated mother to donate her child's organs this week, to save
another child's life, will motivate more to become designated organ donors.
If a mom, whose precious four-year-old was killed in the gruesome wreck on Route 21, could decide to donate his organs, so can the
rest of us.
Please click here and become an organ donor.
Now, D&A's letter to ed opposing New Seasons methadone contract
RAVES of hope that after commissioners, the behavioral health director and now the drug and alcohol clinic director, say Fay does not
need a third methadone clinic, that they don't all end up talking out of the other sides of their mouths after the general election, by
announcing an overwhelming new need for a new third clinic.
More specifically, RAVES of hope that none of the mouthpieces don't later in the fall grant a second county Medicaid billing provider
number to the company which owns and operates a Perryopolis Methadone clinic, unless the group of county officials can first do a
much better job explaining its collective opposition to New Season.
Consumers of those services deserve the truth and to be able to compare facility inspection reports and any outcomes based data
available on the programs and providers. Those are the types of documents which the officials denying county Medicaid dollars to New
Season should be well familiar with and have readily available for open discussion.
Instead, they each take turns repeating the same incomplete stand and opposing legislation to reduce the transportation time to
methadone clinics from one hour to a 30-minute maximum standard. RANTS that the officials foolishly skirt the real issue here. (18 Jun
"Quote Of The Day" on PR spin to make commissioners appear more financially savvy than they are
"I listened to Vicites on the radio yesterday. I listened to Zimmerlink last week. Lohr stopped the distributions because he said figures
were wrong. They paid the firm a lot to audit 2017. The firm last week said their audit of 2017 will be completed in July... but Vicites said
the tax sales for 2017 and 2018 are squared away. Who are they kidding? They might have enough money to pay everything off only
because the county's solution is to deduct an extra 5 percent for county expenses. That's five percent less that creditors and school
districts get. Why? To make the commissioners appear more financially savvy than they are and get them out of a tax increase jam. "
Dave, rambling this morning at the diner
Dippy eggs, bacon up
RAVES to having no distractions, no phones ringing off the hook this morning, to thoroughly enjoy today's breakfast of twice annually
allowed dippy eggs and bacon. So what if it were still the same whole grain toast that usually tastes like cardboard!
It was still the long-anticipated, twice annually observed Dippy Eggs and Bacon Day here, before tomorrow's return of the cup of
veggies in an egg white or Egg Beaters fat-free cheese omelet.
RAVES to sometimes savoring the grease... every drop of it. (15 Jun 19)
DoubleV: tax sale tab might be "far less" than $1.7 million
Fayette Commissioner Vince Vicites told am talk radio today that the county's property tax sale account may actually be owed "far less"
than the previously mentioned $1.7 million dollars from the county's general fund. That's good news.
But, RANTS, because we still did not get assurance that 100% of the money for all the years that needs to be distributed to creditors,
school districts and municipalities sits in county accounts ready to be transferred to tax claims for the distribution. (14 Jun 19)
Proposed legislation ticks Fay administrators off
RAVES to Senator Pat Stefano for pushing again to humanize people, by reintroducing legislation to decrease travel time standard from
60 minutes to 30 minutes, for out-patient methadone treatment for both urban and rural areas. Read More.
"Quote Of The Day" on an alleged political rival from a different race
"Commissioner Vicities' personal hatred of me for refusing to 'help him out' regarding his wife's prior court ordered costs and fines,
which I have no authority to do, spilled out in "payback" as lies regarding my work ethic..."
Janice Snyder, Fayette County Clerk of Courts, ranting on social media today, about Vicites and the fact that the daughter of Tim Dye, the
democratic candidate for clerk of courts, is "recommended for a top non-union, higher salaried position," as Budget and Purchasing Manager;
Snyder, pointing out that, "coincidentally" the position was vacated over six weeks ago, but no interviews or recommendations were made until
after the primary election;
Snyder, not commenting why she hasn't commented sooner about her claim that Vicites asked for inappropriate manipulation of his wife's court
ordered costs or fines, as we assume this might have happened long ago... but, nonetheless, we still believe Snyder
Growing stink in the air?
Hot Topic: Fay 's Property Tax Sale revenue
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of serious caution that there seems to be a growing stink in the air in Fay that a quick breeze
from the north might not clear out any time soon. Read More.
Fay's babies 3xs more likely born addicted
RANTS, that what started out as good news, too quickly turned heartbreakingly sad for Fayette County.
In "Report: Fewer opioid babies," in today's Tribune Review, we learned that, state-wide, fewer babies are being born addicted to drugs
(14.4 per 1,000 births).
However, a few paragraphs into the story, RANTS for the crushing news that Fayette County alone has as many babies born addicted to
drugs (49.7 per 1,000 births) requiring ongoing hospitalization as the three nearby counties of Allegheny (16 per 1,000), Westmoreland
(17.3 per 1,000) and Washington (16.1 per 1,000) combined.
RANTS that babies born to Fay parents are nearly three times more likely born addicted to drugs than babies born to parents from
anywhere else in the state. How pathetically tragic and sad is that consequence of, or direct result of, political corruption? (4 Jun 19)
Posse needs another week to find $3 million?
DoubleV, Lohr delay county meeting one week
RANTS that the county agenda meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, will be delayed for one week and held on June 18, at
the commissioners tiny meeting room in the courthouse.
RAVES of hope that in the meantime, the well-paid county contracted fiscal gurus can figure out what's really up with county finances,
and if it's time to bite the bullet and announce tax increases.
We can dream, no? (4 Jun 19)
"Quote Of The Day" on Zimmerlink's letter to the editor
"Their claims of fiscal responsibility, efficiency, running county government like a business are just words. Taking vendor campaign
contributions and getting re-elected are their concerns."
Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, on social media introducing her published letter to the editor, addressing fellow Commissioners
Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr, still not telling us more about the "outside assistance" that she in a two-week old statement said she sought, to help her
get the $5 million from county property tax sales all into the right account, ready for distribution to school districts and municipalities;
Zimmerlink, introducing her letter to the editor, who 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," but still not telling us more about what those pricey expenses were;
Zimmerlink, possibly, keeping those details close because she must, or perhaps because she does not know specifics about expenses and only that $3
million hasn't been deposited into its special account by law... but, in the meantime, not putting minds to rest, since:
the controller said in April there was $1,620,873.93 in the county general fund, down from $7,719,785.37 in January of this year,
compared to $1,402,680.50 in March, and $3,020,875.30, in February
Inmate tablets passed out at county jail
RAVES that some of the tablets at the county jail have been passed out to inmates and detainees this past week. While none can access
local newspapers or local media, they can call their families and see everyone in the room for 15 minutes, at a cost of about $3.50.
RANTS that after one day, music was limited to listening with ear phones, so sharing music with others who cannot afford the cost came
to a stop. (1 Jun 19)
"Quotes Of The Day" as DoubleV's on long holiday
"So has that Million Dollar Accountant come across the $3 million dollars not deposited into the county tax sale account for the $5 million
in payments long overdue to school districts and municipalities?"
The gist of the emails in this blog's mailbag since Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink started blogging about her efforts over a few
years to get the county-issued checks mailed out, from proceeds of property tax sales tax sales mailed;
the gist of recent emails in R&R mailbag, referring, of course, to the nearly $1 million paid by Fayette County commissioners to the fiscal gurus at
Susquehanna Accountants since 2016
"They're good accountants but they're not magicians who can pull $3 million dollars from thin air and magically appear."
More of the mailbag gist
"DoubleV should ask each of those 7,556 who voted for him to donate $397.03 to the county's property tax sale fund to make up for the
$3 million he and his second vote probably misspent because of their poor budgeting and leadership skills."
The mailbag gist of possibly the only viable solution, since the psychic says the $3 million is gone
How much will Fay's bill be?
Bucks County hit to pay $68M jail court verdict
RAVES of sincere hope that the high courts this week were on crack or something, when Bucks County got slapped in damages with a
$68 Million dollar verdict over allowing public access to online inmate information.
In a class action suit over Bucks' online prison inmate locater service, allowing public access to browse mug shots, names, dates of
birth, charges, incarceration dates, etc., the high court ruled that the county violated privacy of 67,000 charged and housed at the county
jail from 1938 to 2013.
While we break out in happy dance to learn that one particular man, whose 1998 charges later were withdrawn and expunged, received
justice this week because he, a few years after his incarceration, was informed that his mug shot and information about the criminal
charges were never removed from the county jail's online inmate locater tool when his case was expunged.
We, too, would break out in happy dance, also, for the possible few more, who later found themselves in that man's shoes, outed when
applying for jobs or credit.
But how can we not think that the higher court is on crack when it ordered $1,000 to be paid to each of the 67,000 persons incarcerated in
Bucks County from 1938 to 2013?
Sure, we in Fay, on the other hand, can sit a bit prettier if slapped with such a class action suit, only because there's no way county staff
here ever worked quickly enough to duplicate prison records online back to a way back year of 1938, as Bucks' efficients did.
And, we in Fay, can also breathe a little easier that our online county prison inmate locater tool often did not work. The county could
easily track public comments on social media of how often people complained that they could not access the inmate locater tool.
The county, additionally, could have some documentation to fair better than Bucks did in a verdict against it, since even places such as
Rants&Raves, at one time, had a reader contest to guess how many days or months it would take for Fay to correct mug shots to match
the right inmate locater file.
Fay's inmate locater tool often did not work. That's the good news. (29 May 19)
"Quote Of The Day"
"So without getting the ability to bill county Medicaid, this newer clinic would have to have a rush of upwardly bound, professionals or
high earning laborers, who can afford to pay cash for their therapy sessions and Methadone or Suboxone treatment medication review
appointments and want to work toward being completely drug free without relapse?"
Dave's mom, asking at the diner and then gasping when she watched the video linked below
"Yes, Rants&Raves asked Vicites on May 19 to provide the documentation he has that (Stephen) Shaner no longer owns and/or no
longer is affiliated with Polaris Renewal. He's a Perryopolis clinic owner under federal indictment and arrest for business out of county...
And, no, Vicites has not provided that documentation."
Moi, replying to Dave's mom's next question
Or delay to try even harder to influence an election?
HSBS 13-day delay in this digital age
RANTS that heraldstandard.com just today published 13-day-old quotes and story about New Season*, a Uniontown methadone clinic
that Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr block from obtaining a county behavioral health Medicaid provider
number necessary to provide therapy and medications to treat opioid addiction.
These digital days, there's no good reason to delay publication of such a key issue. RANTS most of all, however, that even 13 days
delayed, the story offers no documentation which county officials claim justifies blocking New Season, in an issue which may have
swayed votes if published even, say, six days ago. Read More.
Posse search for missing $3 million tax sale money?
DoubleV, Lohr et al cancel prison board meeting
RANTS that two county commissioners, ignoring last week's flack about $3 million not deposited into the county property tax sale
account, are part of the vast majority of county prison board members unavailable to meet Wednesday.
Neither County Commissioners Vince Vicites nor Dave Lohr, and neither the county sheriff nor the district attorney, are available for the
monthly prison board meeting. As a result, the monthly prison board meeting is cancelled.
RAVES of hope that the four gentlemen seeking re-election and cancelling the prison board meeting, use the time to retrieve roadside
political signs or locate a good psychic to help Vicites and Lohr figure out what happened to the $3 million not deposited into the county
property tax sale account.
Over $5 million taken in during property sales was to be dispersed to school districts and municipalities, from 2010 through 2017. Only
$2.5 million of it is accounted for in a property tax claim department account. Speaking of which...
Zimmerlink adds more on the MIA $3 million
RANTS that two years have passed since Vicites and Lohr stopped the dispersal of funds collected during property tax sales, after the
first audit indicated correct amounts were to be dispersed to school districts and municipalities.
"It was then in Nov 2017 that commissioners Vicites and Lohr pulled the distribution, saying they believed there were miscalculations
done by the county solicitor and tax claim office," said Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink this week.
"An internal audit for years 2010-2011 was requested and completed (in) June of 2018," she said, adding for clarification that "a prior
audit was done for years 2006-2009 in March of 2011. "
Again, then, in June of 2018, Zimmerlink said she " broached the subject for distributions of 2011-2017."
"In Sept of 2018, the other 2 commissioners voted to have Zelenkofse & Axelrod do an audit for year 2017," although Zimmerlink added
that the duo's agreement "is actually dated Aug 24, 2018."
The cost for the Zelenkofske Axelrod audit for one year, as per the agreement, was $13,000-$17,000, she said. Although nine months
have passed, and the bill, undoubtedly, was presented long ago, the audit has still not been provided -- at least, not to Zimmerlink.
RAVES of hope that Vicites and Lohr soon come clean to the public about why the $3 million was not deposited into a special account
for dispersal to school districts and municipalities, and why none of the $5 million total collected was ever dispersed. Turn-around time
usually is about 18 months from the time of a property tax sale until dispersal.
Given that the county still must purchase pricey voting machines soon, that the jail project cries waiting, that newly named chiefs of
staff need needless jobs created under their titles... and that the $5 million in property tax sale money is certainly nothing new to them,
Lohr and Vicites need to explain to citizens how they plan on juggling it all.
RAVES of hope that the public turns up to ask about the $5 million or calls the commissioners unwilling to talk about it. God knows that,
to date, the media certainly hasn't formed a rush line to inquire about this matter. (26 May 19)
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
"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
"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
While mountain EMS station closed
Pennies short: $1 M county tax dollars paid to financial consultant
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
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
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
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
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
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.
To Rants&Raves, March-April, 2019
To Rants&Raves, January-February, 2019
Suit mix up at the dry cleaners?
907 days... since
Rants&Raves was denied
under Right To Know a
request to obtain records
of county contracting rates
and the spending of public
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
Could it be all of the above? jt
Editor's 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