RANTS & RAVES 2020
"Quotes Of The Day"
"What could be more evil or sad to witness than peaceful demonstrators getting smoked or
gassed and attacked with rubber bullets so that a president and his advisors can clear a path to
take a photo op and film a political campaign ad in front of a historic church damaged in the
rioting following the murder of Mr. Floyd?"
"Nothing, except possibly that there have to be some Democrats out there who would have
gleefully gone along for the walk and photo op had they been asked, regardless if they knew the
truth about the shocking clearing of the path."
used for props
RAVES to the smaller victory -- i.e., that PA State Rep Ryan Warner got a retraction of sorts on
heraldstandard.com's "Cheers and Jeers" -- to convey that he previously spoke of the perils of
"social isolation" and did not mean "social distancing" at all, as the paper stated in previous
But it, getting that retraction or clarification, no doubt, is only a teeny, tiny, small victory.
RANTS that the paper, in its retraction or update today assumed no ownership of the
misunderstanding. It was still his fault that he typed the word "isolation" in a letter to the editor
piece, which eyes at the paper, a few days later in editorial, misread or intentionally misquoted to
be the word "distancing."
The paper never apologized for putting words in Warner's mouth that he did not say.
Then, there's the other shameful reason that the paper's retraction or clarification of sorts is
considered a small victory.
Sources stated here that the paper initially said no to any clarification, and days later, bowed to
pressure by reader protest email to the paper and a threat or two from businesses to pull paid
advertising dollars, unless the clarification was made.
That said, a shallow victory the retraction must be.
Any publication to bow to that kind of pressure, undoubtedly, will bow again the next time the
next guy's write-in protest follows, even if that future pressure to retract and retract might not be
the right things to do. (29 Jun 20)
RANTS for Jeers
RANTS to heraldstandard.com* for showing its own possible bias or bipartisan colors, pointing
fingers at PA State Rep. Ryan Warner for introducing legislation and ranting about the governor
keeping some small businesses shuttered.
Seems that the think tank at the paper thinks that Warner's time in recent weeks, instead, should
have been spent "praising our local heroes and preaching safety instead of spewing negativity
and pointing fingers."
While Rants&Raves loves to RAVE the nurses, the ambulance workers, doctors and food
giveaway volunteers, we know what kind of mail comes in first.
It's pretty silly of the paper to ignore the fact that a minute after any online publication allowing
public comment posts an announcement or reporting on a food distribution giveaway, someone
always quickly asks, "Yes, but where are our jobs, the Unemployment Compensation, the never
Three days ago, Warner and some of his peers in Harrisburg attempted to override the governor's
veto of House Bill 2388, which would have allowed the reopening of manufacturing businesses,
barbershops and salons, garden centers, vehicle dealers, messenger and agent services, and
animal grooming services.
Joining Warner in that vote, however, were a few Democrats, including PA State Rep. Pam
Snyder. Yes, we're serious.
Apparently, nobody at the paper knew Snyder felt so strongly that her district, largely in next-
door Greene County, should also be fully open and was so disappointed the veto vote fell short.
Hark, though, because a local Democrat voted to override the governor, too!
A local Democrat joined in with the local GOP lawmaker-led vote to open all businesses. Not only
that, but that Democrat was ticked off enough to post this video ranting the governor's choice
yesterday to keep some businesses in her 54th District closed.
So much, right, for the bipartisan propaganda and hsbs? (22 May 29)
*heraldstandard.com "Cheers & Jeers"
Is Fay liable if Lohr's radio guests get sick?
RAVES of hope that Fay Commission Chairman Dave Lohr, his radio guests and talk show host
are all healthy, healthy folks ignoring social distancing, with no asymptomatic Covid-19 virus
As shown in the photo to the right, taken at one point in today's "What's Working In Fayette
County" talk show segment, hosted by Lohr's assistant's spouse, Lohr and his one guest hold the
radio station's studio microphone at the same time.
He and his two guests in the small room likely were six feet -- or close to it -- from the show's
At another point in the live segment, Lohr's bare face and head popped again into the screen
even closer to the guest, when the commissioner leaned in toward the microphone to speak.
They, otherwise, sat on chairs set about 2-feet in distance apart for the interview. The
commissioner and his one guest moved the shared microphone toward the other as the two
spoke about the man's Fay business.
Meanwhile, a mile or so away in every which direction, some county workers returning to work
this week (working from home next week) are required at their desks to wear masks when
anyone approaches to engage them in conversation, from six feet away.
Not their boss, though. (20 May 20)
RANTS because it appears another civil suit is brewing downtown.
This time around, filing is one, who previously requested to learn through a Right To Know
request the names of all citizens banned over a two-year period, from 2017 through 2019, from
reading or commenting on the political web page of Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites,
on which he titled himself as county commission chairman.
has not released that information and list.
RANTS that Vicites did not release the information -- or didn't simply unblock those he blocked,
whose posts were not advertising spam or commentary that was vulgar, crude, overly
disrespectful or exceptionally inappropriate.
RANTS, though, that Vicites isn't as thick-skinned as he should be by this time. Why does he care
if someone respectfully states a different opinion or questions motives or decisions?
Vicites shouldn't mind criticism, even on his social media page, on which he identified himself as
the county chairman.
No citizen behaving respectfully and posting under his or her own real name should be banned
from reading any page and commenting on any page containing announcements of often
breaking, key county business and industrial development news, sometimes even before the
county public relations writers had their crack at it.
RANTS because this suit probably will be settled out of court to make it go away, just to stop the
release of the information.
Vicites should have known better. (20 May 20)
Can someone loan Fay a dime... for election poll
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a chuckle over this morning's hot beverage reading on
heraldstandard.com of the county's plea for donated masks for 35% of its county election day poll
"While the Department of State's Bureau of Elections and Notaries is providing every county with
COVID-19 safety kits including masks, wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer to cover 65% of their
voting precincts, more will be needed," said the paper's story, "Fayette Election Bureau looking
for additional protective supplies."
No, it was more than just a chuckle hearing that plea. It was a laugh out loud, heard way upstairs.
RANTS that long-time financially strapped Fay could afford not to lay off staff over this pandemic
-- as so many other government officials did -- but goes to the media to ask for donated masks for
No matter how much Fay officials pay writers to write fluff public relation pieces, publicity such
as this silly, needy plea in the paper for relatively inexpensive masks for 35% of its poll workers
speaks shameful volumes.
Why would anyone want to invest in or move a company here if she or he heard that? (20 May
Fay cancels staff return to work Monday order?
RANTS this late Friday afternoon that the county staff that were to return to work on Monday now
are told they'll work from home until a plan is devised for that return.
Your staff are home working for weeks and nobody thought of this till this late Friday afternoon,
three days before the return date?
Meanwhile, outside sources relay that other nearby counties are phasing back in their staff to the
county offices over the next month or two period of time.
Some Fay staff have told Rants&Raves that they previously were told to return to work Monday
or take vacation or personal time. (15 May 20)
How many in daily count are antibody positive, not ill?
RAVES that we know a little more than last month, but RANTS that we do not know if government-
issued daily stats on new cases of Covid-19 include new positive diagnoses today or additions to
the count of positive antibody tests for those who previously had infections, but are now healthy
Not that those antibody tests should not count.
But daily changes in the count of positive Covid-19 cases should include a note of the number of
those that came from antibody detections and not from those tested who are currently ill.
This distinction in the total numbers of positive Covid-19 must be emphasized as more people
may seek antibody tests before feeling safe enough to return to work.
Plus, RANTS because there's too little trust that the governor wouldn't use those positive
antibody tests of now healthy again people to add up in the future to shut down a section of the
state or to continue to keep an area closed or in the red.
And that of some of her critics
PA Secretary of Health's hypocrisy
RANTS that the state secretary of health in one breath assures us that our elderly are safe in
nursing homes, but in another does not explain why she moved her own mother out of one as
Covid-19 has killed so many in those settings.
That said, RANTS to all the current pillars of the community, including some women who once
had sex with other women and Fido on video, and some men, possibly still strongly denying
latent homosexual ideation, who act as moral compass, taking such shocking, easy aim on local
social media at the secretary's sexual reassignment surgery and trans gender status.
RANTS because there's so much a worthy opponent or critic could take issue with, with her job
performance, if they want to take a swipe that doesn't violate moral and general hate law.
She might not quite be the gal many of us would want our sons to bring home with them, but she
is still a human being who needs fired for other sound reasons. (14 May 20)
exception to operate during the pandemic, please check out the following pieces:
PA gov plays hardball
RANTS that the commonwealth's governor opts to play hardball by withholding funds under the
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) to any county or region whose
elected or appointed officials encourage businesses under the governor's lock down to open
RANTS that the governor opts not to talk about it, as some businesses ordered closed in mid-
April surely could have operated safely -- possibly even much safer than Walmart and grocery
stores have operated in the pandemic.
The hypocrisy of allowing curbside liquor pick ups from state liquor stores, but not allowing
places such as Colebrook Chocolates or Gene and Boots to do the same, to move their Easter
stock, leaves too many resentful of the political divide.
RANTS that so many businesses that applied for exceptions to be open never heard back or were
flatly denied, when similar businesses got permission to stay open or re-open. RANTS that the
governor would not engage in communications with elected officials from outside his political
The initial closure order in April was to buy scientists time and to reduce chances that hospitals
would be overwhelmed. The initial closure order was based on the belief that we should work in
our essential, life-sustaining businesses, shelter at home, go out only to buy necessary groceries
and medications to reduce the chance of carrying home the Covid-19 virus on purchased items or
from catching the highly contagious virus in the air in a store or pharmacy.
We get that.
RANTS that a pandemic over eight weeks, however, did not stop kitchen appliances from
breaking down beyond repair or jagged mattress springs from popping through the top. The
governor did mandate unfairly that the replacement purchases could not be made at the
preferred local furniture stores, such as Cheslers or Craig's Appliance.
No, the governor's order required that we went without the essentially needed household items,
rented them or purchase them only at the big box stores, or through QVC or online ordering and
RAVES that on Friday, more of the area businesses will be permitted to open. Enter the specialty
store owners and staff, area manual laborers, lawyers and miners, deemed by the governor as
non-essential, allowed to return to work.
Except for the specialty stores opening -- if they can still afford to re-open, that is -- or some
construction sites, many of us won't see much difference driving through town Friday that we
have seen since the lock down began in April.
On paper, the governor's plan seems logical. Had Unemployment Compensation for the masses
and Small Business loan applications gone smoothly, perhaps there would not have been such
despair and discontent. The plan on paper, sure, seemed logical, but in reality, bites.
For ignoring opportunities to respond respectfully to the proposed plan that a Fay commissioner
sent him last month or the umpteen letters and emails that the public and our other elected
officials sent since mid-April, the governor draws shameful RANTS for playing politics at the
He completely ignored the fact that his secret list of businesses granted operational waivers
created a sense of mistrust and disrespect. He also ignored the dark reality that his online
unemployment benefit registration system, even today, has still failed 30% of those who applied
and have not yet received benefits or an answer.
It is the governor's chat with God as to why he ignored those pleas to talk with or negotiate with
any official from a different political party to re-open some businesses, since the governor claims
to represent all of the state. (13 May 20)
Fay fires prison warden's son
RANTS that the adult child of the county prison warden was ever hired to work there in the first
Bigger RANTS, though, that the son returned what seems to have been a pure political favor and
nepotism by getting fired for unspecified reasons that drew negative media attention this week to
the situation and county.
While county officials cannot disclose specifics about this week's firing, sources in 2019 told
Rants&Raves that the then newly hired son reportedly had sex in an elevator with a corrections
He, reportedly, later received promotion to a lateral or higher paying position closer to
management before this last disciplinary action and firing.
That all said, yes, RANTS that the warden's adult child was hired at the county prison in the first
The 2019 hiring was wrong. The 2020 firing just might have been long overdue. (10 May 20)
New red flag: Covid related coming for Fay kids?
RANTS that Covid-19 may be fatally harming the young, the very young thought previously to be
spared from serious harm.
RANTS that most media and too many people held up at home for nearly two months are too
eager for Chinese buffet or to bump beer bellies and ignore a new red flag because, well, gee, it
only kills -- or has to date - a small, small percentage of other peoples' kids.
RANTS because social distancing hasn't got the full respect it deserves. Kids are impacted.
Speakeasy patrons, in other words, should not be swaying shoulder to shoulder, bear hugging,
arm wrestling or going outside to share a joint or three. Pop up kitchens with sit down patrons
shouldn't be jammed into small rooms that probably won't get cleaned again till next week, if
Almost 80 kids in New York have become critically ill and five have died. Health experts don't
believe kids are at any greater risk than adults are of contracting Covid-19, but some healthy kids
are still dying or surviving only after being close to death for some time, from different types of
medical nightmares, such as toxic shock or Kawassaki Disease, thought to be Covid-19 related.
RANTS because this can't be happening just in New York, right? (10 May 20)
Happy Mother's Day!Rants&Raves wishes all
moms out there a truly wonderful day. This includes all who also acted as
moms for those of us who lost ours.
As higher courts dismiss similar suits
Fay to try to sue governor
Two Fayette County commissioners voted today in a special meeting to join in state senators,
legislators, other county commissioners and private company owners, to try to sue the governor
for shutting down businesses during this Covid-19 pandemic.
While Fay's minority Dem commissioner opposed suing, he said he wants businesses to open
and felt confident that it would happen tomorrow in a press announcement from the governor.
Why piss off the governor, in other words, he reasoned, in his own different words, of course.
Perhaps -- especially if it's really true that staff recently smuggled out a concealed business
meeting recording of the highest ranking state officials nixing Stimulus funds for small business
in favor of their favored businesses -- the minority Dem commissioner may believe, even more
strongly than some Fay Republicans might, that it was a political, personal dig last week to keep
Fay on the governor's red or closed list this week.
After arriving a few minutes late for the meeting, the minority commissioner did remind and warn
the other two today that the state decides when and if to doll out money to the counties. The
minority commissioner, not used to being a minority and not having his automatic second vote,
touted that he has always tried to "be the voice of sense and reason."
Unswayed by his pitch, the majority opted to join in on the lawsuit after saying the governor and
state ignored all of their letters and emails about non-essential businesses being closed.
RANTS that the county commission chairman reasoned aloud that the lawsuit might prevent a
second shut down in the fall, when Covid-19 may become more of a problem again. He has to
know the higher courts will toss this suit right out and that it in itself won't have any impact on a
possible second shut down from happening in the fall -- or anytime in the meantime if more
Covid-19 cases pop up.
RANTS that none of the government officials who signed off on the lawsuit and none of those the
minority commissioner listed today opposed to the lawsuit, screamed loudly enough weeks ago
to allow more businesses that could operate safely to open and operate safely since government
loans that could be forgiven were not coming their way.
RANTS that earlier grumbling might have saved more shuttered, small businesses and offered
more healthy, laid off residents a lifeline of wages to stay afloat these past 7 weeks. Tonight's
news says 9 million kids in America tonight will go to bed hungry, and we know there has to be
some here in Fay or could be soon, if things don't change.
RAVES of hope, too, that today's unrelated positive test result with the presidential valet might
inspire more masks to be worn and social distancing to be a necessary given to many who
believe they're special and immune, too. (7 May 20)
Happy National Nurses' Day!
30% of PA UC claims still waiting
RANTS that 30 percent of Pennsylvanians who filed for Unemployment Compensation (UC) seven
long weeks ago at the start of the Covid-19 business shut downs still have not received one cent
of their UC funds to pay their bills and buy food.
RANTS because this is America and people should not have to be sitting in parked cars for hours
to wait for a box of much appreciated food to feed their families.
RAVES to all the volunteers out there gathering, boxing and distributing food to those who need
it. It's time to stop pretending that the people in cars are all addicts, traveling from one food
giveaway to another, waiting to swap the box for drugs down the road.
It's also time that the state catches up with the 30 percent of UC recipients still waiting for their
checks to start. (6 May 20)
Failed UC system years beyond targeted
2018 replacement date
RANTS, all these weeks since the Covid-19 business shut down, that tens of thousands
Pennsylvanians daily still are unable to get through to file their Unemployment Compensation
(UC) information to receive payments.
RANTS that state government so stupidly allowed a now 50-some-year-old UC computer system
to go two years past its contracted replacement date, with a company paid long ago to update.
Under the circumstances, they still require another six months to fix the problem?
RANTS that the antiquated system, that so correctly accepted employee and employer UC
contributions all these years to be paid to the state, crashed when people needed it the most.
Video nails scary Fay perv in municipal uniform
RAVES that a young woman in the Fay media had surveillance camera video that showed a
Uniontown municipal parking ticket officer breaking into her home to stalk her and learn more
about her -- in the creepiest, most twisted way possible -- from rooting through her belongings.
He, apparently, broke in a few times, too.
RANTS if anyone in authority pulls strings to minimize the man's serious issues, to make it all go
RAVES that he was caught on video and never had an opportunity to return through a window he
previously left unlocked when she was home. (28 Apr 20)
Covid-19 traces in Seine's water
RANTS of the most heartbreaking kind that traces of Covid-19 have been found in Paris' Seine
River, a water source used to clean the city streets, water the greenery in the city’s parks and
gardens, as well as supply the magic to Paris' massive ornamental fountains.
No, this particular water source from the Seine is not water that feeds into the city's drinking
water supply, but the news that traces of the dreaded virus were identified in the Seine's water
threw us for a loop.
RANTS that the surreal news about the Seine wasn't in the network news today, with attention
and air time focusing on various demonstrations in a few cities, with shoulder to shoulder
Pennsylvanians, few with face masks, hell bent, foolishly, on daring Covid-19 to go home with
Pandemic feeding some Fay restaurants well
RAVES that so many area restaurants forced last month to close for customers dining in and to
sell food only by take out or delivery have been doing much better business these days than
they ever did.
RAVES that some of Fay's take out restaurants these days profiting more than they did prior to
the Covid-19 shut downs seem to be coming through the ordeal far better than some Pittsburgh
eateries "down about 70-80 percent," as per those owners on television news.
RAVES, too, of the happiest kind, that two area dairies about to spill their milk and lose a lot of
money -- due to Covid-19 shut downs and no milk being sold to schools and some restaurants --
quickly sold out after their situations came to light through social media.
Granted, some, no doubt, who heard about the dairies in trouble may have jumped up quickly to
help more so out of boredom and a need for distraction from being sheltered in place so long at
home and sheer excitement over learning of another type of store to visit.
But RAVES that cabin fever of some might have helped fuel the trip out with the rest for some
local milk or ice cream to help out two local dairies. RAVES that those owners will never forget
these days and that they made such an unexpected, wonderful, little profit.
Redstone Township's Jackson Farms told the local paper it was the busiest day there in 60 years
of business. That's special.
Herald Standard cans more staff
RANTS, as the publisher of the local rag announces a million-dollar giveaway of matching
advertising dollars for companies rebounding from the Covid-19 business shut downs, that
Ogden Newspapers, reportedly, at the same time, laid off even more of its Uniontown paper's
writers last week.
RANTS that so little local news actually is mentioned in the paper anymore. With even less staff
now than what the paper had a month ago, RANTS that we'll likely get even less and less news
RIP Vince Zapotosky
Rants&Raves' readers are asked to keep in their prayers the family of Vince Zapotosky, former
county commissioner and legislative aide, who passed away from undisclosed cause today at
Zapotosky leaves behind a wife and son at home.
Hark! DA spends public money wisely
RAVES that we finally witness a rare, righteous spending of public funds that legally can be spent
without prior public meeting discussion and approval. This may very well be a first.
RAVES to Fay's newest county commissioner and emergency service chief for shaking down the
district attorney for $32,000 to buy two viral decontamination machines -- one for the prison and
one for ambulances and municipalities, to use to kill any Covid-19 virus that might be present in
RANTS that delivery of the wonderful tool to the prison and first responders may take up to two
Burg scientists discover Covid-19 vaccine?
RAVES, from the folks who brought us the Salk Polio vaccine, that scientists from the University of
Pittsburgh believe they've discovered a Covid-19 vaccine.
While we hear a lot in the news of numerous labs and companies shifting to manufacturing 3D prints of
face masks and shields, hand sanitizer and ventilators, Pitt's wonderful announcement today gave many
praying for a vaccine goose bumps.
May all that work out.
Blog delivers much needed humor
RAVES to the mysterious folks over at Fayettenam Times for the satire and that elusive laugh
that nobody at this column thought was possible this otherwise somber April Fools Day.
RAVES to them for the unexpected and much appreciated laugh today. Rants&Raves has taken
issue in the past with any Nam references to Fay, but, nah, just this one time the much needed
laugh today draws respectful RAVES and oodles upon oodles of sincere thanks. (1 Apr 20)
Westmoreland Pastor, wife, children, knocking
on Bullskin doors during Covid-19 pandemic
RANTS to the Ruffsdale area pastor of Mendon Baptist Church, Greg Leonard, who ignored the
commonwealth's stay at home order for Westmoreland County yesterday, to venture 15 miles
into Bullskin with his young daughter, wife and three sons to work, knocking on doors during the
Corona Virus pandemic.
Even bigger RANTS to the pastor working the township with his young daughter, for ignoring the
caution of one Fay resident, a nurse, who answered the pounding on her door and relayed that
she had contact with someone who tested positive and was waiting on her own test results.
RANTS that Leonard and his sons vehemently argued for about 15 minutes what they felt was
their twisted, inherent right to refuse 17 recorded directives to leave privately owned, posted
property with no solicitation or trespassing allowed.
Even without the pandemic and even without threatening to sue as they did because they were
put off the privately owned property, their behavior still would have been ridiculously illegal.
Add the pandemic and the nurse's ignored caution to the mix when the pastor and his little girl
stood at her door and he announced he was not afraid of Covid-19, their behavior was just plain
crazy. (1 Apr 20)
More "Quotes Of The Day" on social distancing, the virus,
business closures, and the run on toilet paper
"We have lost more already than Italy or China."
dazed, thrown for a real loop, by the grim statistic that more have died in America in a few recent weeks
than have died in Italy and China since the pandemic started.
"I like the two physicians on the president's task force, but I love Dr. Oz chiming in. I trust the two
but Dr. Oz made them more credible to me by speaking out that social distancing must continue
and hospital supplies have to get where they're needed."
words, publicly spouting off about supplies and supporting city shut downs, given that New York and New
Orleans' tragic crisis keeps escalating and experts are now warning of another mean, viral round to pass
through in about a month
60s or impatient young moms with babies and toddlers in the cart not waiting to wait a few
seconds to pass safely six-feet away in super market shopping aisles or turns
"Some in those two groups -- some older males and young moms packing cart kids -- might need
those Sumo costumes, too!"
Cruel Corona's wallop on The Courier
RANTS for Cruel Corona's domino, walloping impact on us and our community employers and
That said, RANTS that Corona seems to have brought one of Fay's two hard-copy, daily
newspapers to change or close more than just its lobby or office to the public.
RANTS that the Daily Courier will cease six-day hard-copy publication and six-day online
publishing and opt for hard-copy publication only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and
online reading only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Additionally, the parent company owner of The Courier will stop publishing its Mount Pleasant
and Scottdale papers entirely.
Minus paid ads for closed restaurants, stores and non-essential businesses or specialty shops,
minus sports news, minus school articles and school pictures, minus social group meeting and
photos, it can't be easy to put a small daily paper on newsstands or outside front doors.
daily newspaper goes out of business. We didn't just take it hard when three of the four other
papers this editor's work appeared in over the decades closed.
Anyone who ever wrote for any paper for any length of time feels the pain when the presses stop
No, no, we're not there yet with the Connellsville paper and so hope that the paper long outlives
There needs to be a second paper in the county for many reasons, but, mainly, to report news
without bias and force the other paper sometimes to cover news it would rather ignore or edit.
This column can't always do that alone. (23 Mar 20)
Hiring second shift at Berkley Surgical Supplies
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the below mentioned Uniontown company that
manufactures medical supplies put out an urgent need today through county development to hire
additional staff for its Fairchance factory.
Anyone needing a job is strongly urged to apply. Please see the following link for more
Can masks be made again in Fay?
RAVES of hope that the Uniontown company that once manufactured surgical masks -- or the
corporation or subsidiary of it still in town manufacturing other surgical supplies -- can reboot the
old product production or point someone in the right direction to pursue the idea.
RAVES of hope that Fay Penn beats a quick path over to Virginia Avenue to give away every free
funding cent to make someone an offer he can't refuse. Rants&Raves reached out for comment
to the company producing surgical equipment. More to come. (21 Mar 20)
"Quote Of The Day" that must include an expletive
Moi, reacting to the expected, but still painful to hear news, that Fayette County today has seen its first
resident to test positive for Corona Virus
RAVES to the wonderful diversion to the viral nightmare, with a blessing of a 73-degree, often
sunny afternoon, this first full day of spring.
"Quotes Of The Day" on social distancing, the virus, business
closures, and the run on toilet paper
"We're all O.K. at home so far and hope we all still stay that way."
lunch buds standing by or still in their vehicles, six feet apart from one another in the parking lot, could hear
"I was getting a little anxious, but I found toilet paper yesterday."
someone with impossible to find or buy aloe vera oil, to mix with her rare find, rubbing alcohol, drawing a
laugh from Dave listening from home on speaker phone, who estimated they drove 60 miles to find it
"On Saturday, the shopping got easier by the third or fourth store just asking customers coming
out if the store had meat, toilet paper and bleach products. If not, we didn't go in and just kept
hear people in stores sharing with others which stores did have meat, anti-bacterial cleaning products,
paper towels, etc.
"We should be going. We have to keep ordering take out from these small restaurants as often as
we can or buy giftcards for their businesses to help them stay in business. This is all so surreal!"
then suggesting tomorrow that his group of diner pals count on skipping coffee due to rainy and windy
Defense says Kez stole less than $550K
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that things really can get weirder than we thought
possible in the case of former funeral home owner Stephen Kezmarsky, recently sentenced to
four to eight years in prison for the theft of $550K from sweet old people.
This week's new twist to the district attorney's request for the judge to consider a longer
sentence is that the defense now says Kezmarsky stole way less than that and wants restitution
amounts lowered to reflect that unspecified difference. Read More.
"Quote Of The Day" from Michael D. McCumber's faywest.
com that should be of interest to investigators to disprove or confirm
they prepaid for funeral services in fact only invested in the business of the funeral home
and should lose their investment money as part of a failed business just like the good
funeral director did."
communication board, faywest.com, supposing that some supposed crime victims were actually
greedy investors from a failed business once known to do "record breaking business"
RANTS the earliest date that a Fay judge has to hear a motion on the sentencing of former funeral
director Steven Kezmarsky is three months away, on June 11.
The county DA, as we all know, disputes the four to eight year sentence that Judge Steve
Leskenin handed down to Kezmarsky last month, and, additionally, is burned up that a check for
$50K towards restitution bounced from a former funeral home investor/relative. Read More.
caught helping with kids' 2020 theatrical play** in Southmoreland
"He is under the court's jurisdiction and supervision for the next three years. We are satisfied
with the way this case resolved."
months ago, in "Former Connellsville councilman receives probation in sexual assault case,"
discussing the dropping of 11 counts of sexual assault and some corruption of minors
charges from 2018, against former Connellsville councilman Brad Geyer, for shamefully
plying a 14-year-old girl with liquor on multiple occasions and inappropriately touching the
child sexually on multiple occasions;
Dellarose, at the former councilman's sentencing last year, during which Geyer, essentially,
was given probation and was not made to register on Megan's List
* "Former Connellsville councilman receives probation in sexual assault case," heraldstandard.com
** "Norwin officials identify Connellsville man as musical volunteer with criminal record," Tribune
PNA media newsletter mentions Vicites'
Facebook blocking of Fay citizen
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the case of a Fay citizen reportedly blocked from
County Commissioner Vince Vicites' social media page and lawyered up is included in the
weekly newsletter of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, sent throughout the state to
media outlets, newspapers, and citizens involved in obtaining Right To Know documents from
public funded offices or agencies.
"The PNA Legal Update," the weekly newsletter, informed its subscribers in "Office of Open
Records rules in favor of request seeking names of those blocked by Fayette commissioner" that
the Herald Standard wrote an article about the Fay citizen who recently won a Right To Know
appeal with the state Office of Open Records, to learn the names of all others Vicites blocked
from that same social media account.
The local case against the commissioner was one of four that the PNA newsletter featured in its
"Legal Issues Around The Commonwealth" weekly run down. (1 Mar 20)
RANTS that the Fayette County Commissioners, two months into a new annual budget and tax
hike, are still trying to distance themselves from the county deficits and dismal financial status,
crying the blues in a letter to the editor, "Tax hike was unavoidable," appearing on
They said nothing new in today's letter. We've heard it umpteen times.
Maybe we'd respect them more if they admit the true deficit numbers were hidden from the
public. The 2020 county budget did not include a several million dollar transfer from the general
fund to the tax claim fund to pay off that debt.
Till we hear the whole story, RANTS that today's letter to the editor was mostly just more wasted
newspaper copy space. (1 Mar 20)
Four donate $160K to Kez crime
victim restitution fund
RAVES to the generosity -- and what appears to be a genuine compassion for former funeral
director Stephen Kezmarsky -- of his family and friends that at least $160 of the $500K he swiped
from elderly customers was put down at the courthouse, to allow some restitution to begin to
victims. Read More.
RANTS of the disappointing kind, to the Courier, for shamefully allowing two Fay commissioners
so much press to whine and wrongly blame Fay's 2016 debt for a 2020 tax increase.
From 2019 primary election and campaign photos out there, we know that the Courier was around
to hear incumbent candidates brag about Fay's financial stability under their leadership.
Yet, the paper today gave both now re-elected and sitting commissioners a pass to blame 2016
debt that caused a 2017 tax increase to be brought up again, these four years later, as the reason
the commissioners raised taxes again in 2020.
RANTS that the Courier opted to skip the truth and, instead, only feed the propaganda machine
today to protect the "integrity" of two commissioners, who truly knew how financially strapped
the county is -- even when everyone's ignoring the $2-5 Million owed from the county's general
fund to the county tax claim sale fund -- but still planned a $1.4 million commissioner office
redecoration project as of late 2019.
We expected better, and today's journalism did nothing to make the two officials accountable or
better officials. (25 Feb 20)
DA to appeal Kez case
RAVES to the county district attorney for vowing to appeal the case of former funeral home
operator Steven Kezmarsky in light of a weak sentence passed down today, of four to eight years
in prison and 10 years of probation, for stealing over $500K from customers purchasing pre-paid
funerals. Read More.
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of a big lump in the throat request for readers to be
especially sensitive to the truly gut-wrenchingly awful day at work that first responders had here
in the Connellsville area today.
With tragic news of a young man everyone knew taking his own life and then the horrible head on
collision a few miles away that took two lives on Route 201, today has been overwhelmingly
rough for first responders.
Three people shouldn't have died today but did.
Please, yes, say a prayer for those lost, their families and friends, but also include the men and
women who arrived first on the nightmare scenes, to do whatever they could to try to save lives.
When they can't help, that feeling of helplessness has to be most overwhelming. (28 JAN 20)
Update on the missing, misspent $1-5 million Fay
property tax claim funds
RAVES that Uniontown resident and Laurel Highlands School Board Director Randy Raymond
continues to pursue his push for full payment of $1-5 million owed for up to 10 years to school
districts from the county property tax claim sales.
Raymond began to request Right To Know documents about six months ago to obtain financial
records of property tax claim sales, transfers of money and payments to school districts,
creditors and municipalities once it became known that only about half of the $5+ Million taken in
during property tax claim sales was properly transferred to the tax claim account.
Fayette County commissioners misspent the remaining $1-2.5 funds for county general fund
expenses and did not distribute any payments in 2018, in spite of putting $600,000 on a county
budget into the tax claim fund.
Raymond told Rants&Raves on Saturday that his 12-hour workday during the busy holiday
season slowed him down a bit, but that he's resuming the push for transparency and payments
owed from the county property tax claim sales.
"I’ve recruited some help this time," Raymond explained, adding that it has "been tough without
To date, neither the state attorney general nor state auditor general has intervened in the matter,
in spite of getting a few signed complaints and requests for action.
The debt owed to the county property tax claim sale fund was not addressed in any recent year
county budgets, with the exception of the 2018 funding of $600,000 previously mentioned. All
three current county commissioners signed off on the 2020 budget that did not address this huge,
County commissioners, as readers here know, have not issued any additional refunds since the
single distribution of $300,000 in payments was made last year after the controversy surfaced in
the media. Current commissioner Vince Vicites and the county solicitor told their pre-election
audience last summer that the county had several years of payments "knocked out."
Again, however, no subsequent checks were inked and cut.
"There’s got to be something done," Raymond concluded Saturday. We couldn't agree more!
RAVES that Raymond got some help with his push for the misspent funds to be distributed to
school districts and others owed for such a shamefully long time. Only the Laurel Highlands and
Albert Gallatin districts have notified the county that legal action will follow if prompt payments
are not made.
RAVES of hope that the other districts in the county jump on the band wagon as well and hold the
county leaders responsible for misspending the funds targeted for payments to school districts,
municipalities and creditors. (28 JAN 20)
The kids in the shiny red Honda
RANTS, given the new law banning smoking and vaping of tobacco by those under 21, that there
seems to be an increase in cars of teens parking on country roads, secluded private driveways
and large parking lots where they think they can surely go unnoticed long enough to vape.
RANTS, seeing how quickly in that couple minute park and vape session -- i.e., till an adult goes
out and asks them to leave -- that the kids' car windows were covered inside from white vape
film, even with some car windows partially or fully down.
It goes without saying, RAVES of hope that the kids are vaping nothing more the run of the mill,
potentially harmful tobacco vaping products, and not black market street drug mixed oils, or
whatever else goes in those vaping devices. (23 JAN 20)
Fay pays Z&A another $80K for audits
RANTS that county commissioners are poised to spend about another $80K on audits to
Zelenkofske & Axelrod, for 2019 audits for the magisterial judges and tax collectors and a 2018
audit of the county prison's inmate fund.
Fay's 2018 county audit released only in recent months, largely criticized the county controller
and district attorney for poor management. The 2018 county audit pointed out stupidity at its
finest example of not knowing which county contract is the current one and not following County
Code which requires that current contracts be maintained on file with the controller.
The 2018 county audit also was critical that audits of the county tax claim fund, district justice,
row offices and tax collectors were not timely audited.
RAVES of hope this time around, though, that Fay doesn't pay for the audits a year or two before
actually receiving the audit reports, as what inevitably happened with the long awaited 2018
county audit that Z&A conducted. (15 JAN 20)
Grand Jury to convene
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the county district attorney wants to convene a Grand
Jury to investigate criminal activity.
Given the umpteen legitimate possibilities, and endless other topics which we may never have
even considered to be issues, it's anyone's guess where he'll lead the investigation.
We just hope that the effort makes Fay a better place, where new industry and business want to
call home instead of avoid. (9 Jan 20)
FBI: Uniontown second most dangerous PA city
RANTS -- almost to the point of tears -- that the feds, in a recent FBI listing, officially cited
Uniontown, Fay's county seat, as the state's second most dangerous city.
Only McKees Rocks, as per the feds' list, is worse off in first place, with rampant murders, cases
of nonnegligent manslaughter, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, property crime, burglary,
larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, etc.
Not that McKees Rocks' crime stat numbers across the board were much higher than Uniontown's.
McKees Rocks' numbers were lower in some categories, actually, but topped the Worst list due
to having 3,000 less residents than Uniontown has, when crime statistics based on population
percentages were calculated. The report, though just recently released, highlighted two-year-old
data of criminal crimes brought through arrests and courts in 2018.
Approximately 9,751 Pennsylvanians live in Uniontown, as per the feds, a city which saw a total
of 136 violent crimes – 111 aggravated assaults, 22 robberies, two rapes, and one murder.
Property crimes were significantly higher, coming in at 455, of which 369 were larceny/thefts.
RANTS that the city, whose downtown streets were once this editor's comfortably safe 10-20 mile
bike path at the crack of dawn, now made its way to the second worst city list in the state.
RANTS that we're more likely to be a victim of crime here than we would in the big city of
Philadephia. (9 Jan 20)
Editor's Note: The below RAVE was written in the wee hours of New Years Day, carefully
placed on hold till the strike of midnight as not to jinx the record as 2019 came to an end.
Then, as the day started and shocked sources began relaying horribly tragic news, the
below piece was quickly pulled out of respect for everyone whose hearts broke that day
when Fay's first homicide of 2020 became known.
Fay had no 2019 homicides
RAVES reading heraldstandard.com's, "The news that impacted our communities in 2019," and
learning the wonderful news that there were no homicides in Fayette County this past year.
RAVES for no homicides, no false arrests for homicide in 2019, no 2019 homicide charges to be
dropped for a lack of evidence months in the future... because in Fay there just were no 2019
homicides, and we're tickled as pink for that. (1 JAN 20)
WMBS radio news kicking newspaper butts
RAVES to WMBS radio news for its live coverage of the heated Uniontown City Council meeting
yesterday, during which the treasurer-elect, her lawyer and a bunch of angry townsfolk jammed
the room, questioning why a councilman allegedly interfered with the treasurer-elect's process of
getting bonded for her new position.
The councilman, supposedly, made an inappropriate racial comment when he contacted a
bonding company that then cancelled the newly issued bond in the elected woman's name.
As a result of whatever their reason, council did not permit the treasurer-elect to be sworn into
office, and, in her lawyer's opinion, violated law which says that she should have been sworn
into office and been given a required 14-day period to get bonded.
RAVES to the radio coverage live stream of the meeting -- especially since some 24 or more
hours later and the local newspaper right in Uniontown still has not written one word about the
meeting or the court injunction that the treasurer-elect's lawyer is filing to have a judge override
the city and install the treasurer-elect into office.
RAVES to WMBS for making this council meeting video available online and for informing the
public with a link for a first-hand look at what actually was said and happened. (7 Jan 20)