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    Jail maintenance 101: somebody's gotta do it!
    No matter what type of problem solving plan Fayette takes with its jail, one thing for
    certain is that in the future, whatever jail we end up with, needs to be maintained.

    As shown below, a source sends a photograph of a cell in his county's "new" jail. It's
    one that Commissioner Al Ambrosini and the former controller discussed at a
    Connellsville bar 20 months ago with architectural and engineering firm, L.R. Kimball
    and Associates of Pittsburgh and New Jersey.  

    As per the jail ad hoc committee architectural group report from Jim Killinger from
    February 20, 2013, they met to discuss criminal justice statistics, alternatives to
    incarceration programs and a 2001 county jail "draft 500-bed core" developed for

    Nonetheless, the new jail that they were looking to copy or learn from in that county
    doesn't look so new and spiffy clean anymore. The rust and peeling paint on the bars or
    doors, as shown in the lower right section of the photo, don't take long to accumulate
    when nobody is maintaining the joint.

    That's a lesson, however, that nobody needed to travel any real distance to see first-
    hand. All one has to do is to take a walk or short jaunt downtown Uniontown.




    Zap: says months ago told
    who would build jail

    At today's county commission agenda planning
    meeting, Commissioner Vince Zapotosky disclosed
    that he was told months ago which architectural and
    construction firms would build the once-proposed
    Dunbar Township county jail.

    Zapotosky, in mid-August, withdrew his support for
    building an all-new jail in Dunbar Township, saying
    simply that he no longer supported the project.

    At the time, the project had been put out to bid
    illegally, with only the support of Commissioner Al
    Ambrosini, when a notice of solicitation of bids was
    published in the building trades.

    The notice, which appeared to be a genuine article,
    bore county bidding project numbers and the name of
    the interim county controller, who was unaware that
    any such notice was published until checks started
    arriving from prospective contractors wanting the
    project specs.

    Today, Zapotosky said at the public meeting that
    someone from the firm of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and
    Associates, the company hired to do Fayette's
    feasibility study for the jail in 2013, and who
    completed the drawings for the once-proposed all-
    new jail, informed him that the entire project would
    stay with that firm and Sleighter Engineering. The
    construction project was never legally put out for bid.

    As per Zapotosky at today's meeting, he, reportedly,
    was told that the two firms would remain with the
    project and build the jail.

    Now how do you suppose the two companies
    would've been guaranteed the job and would have
    been able to submit the lowest bids before bidding
    was allowed?

    RAVES that Zapotosky stopped the project to work
    with the minority commissioner to keep the jail
    project legal and within the confines of downtown.

    By votes of 2-1, the commissioners today agreed to
    forward onto next week's agenda plans to transfer an
    unused building from ownership of the city to the
    county, for possible jail usage and to seek a project
    manager for the downtown jail plans.

    Also, jail related, next week the commissioners will
    vote to accept or reject plans to start borrowing on a
    line of credit up to $10 million dollars.

    Of that amount, the county could spend up to roughly
    $6.8 million of it for jail purposes, after repaying
    $2.5 million borrowed from the 2014 general fund
    and funding the $700,000 CYS building addition.

    Next week, the first order of business should be to
    remove Ambrosini from the chairman role and
    remove that damn gavel from his hand.  (14 Oct 14)


    "Alfie's Most Arrogant, Audacious Quote Yet"

    "I'm the only one sitting up here who doesn't need a job."
    Al Ambrosini, at today's county commissioner agenda meeting, making a most
    unprofessional, inappropriate comment to his fellow commissioners and public.

    Was he boasting that his significantly younger fellow commissioners don't have his
    assets and he doesn't need to work? Or did he mean he doesn't care if he loses an
    election for his prison cause? Or is it just a simple, pathetic cry for help, that he's in
    over his head? Or all 3 possibilities?

    Annual Thanksgiving Eve Benefit Show

    RAVES to Pittsburgh musician Bill Toms and his lovely wife, Joyce, as they are
    gearing up for their 9th Annual Thanksgiving Benefit Concert.

    This time around, they are playing for proceeds to benefit The Down Syndrome
    Association of Pittsburgh, on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, at 8 pm, at the Hard
    Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh (Station Square).

    This event will feature an evening filled with Blues, Soul, and Rock and Roll, from
    Jimmy Adler and Band, Bill Toms and Hard Rain (with special guests Shari Richards
    and Helene Milan), and Jill Simmons & Friends (featuring Jill Simmons, Bill Toms,
    Pat Scanga, Jeanie Shook, James Franciscus, Andrea Pearl, Jack Sanso, Marcy Brown,
    and many more). There will also be a table with auction items.

    Sean McDowell of WDVE and Rob O’Friel of WYEP will emcee. Ticket price is $12 in
    advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at The Hard Rock, or online at

    Dirty politics, stealing and stupidity

    RANTS to the sad state of things in area political and public service news today.

    Front and center, dirty politics plays out in television ads for the 32nd state senate
    race. Regardless of whether someone considers himself a politician or not, he's
    playing dirty politics, oblivious to the fact that he or she, who throws the first
    instigating,  cheap slap, ends up losing the public's respect and the race long before
    Election Day.

    Moving then along, outside the 32nd state senate district, we have the almost
    certainty -- i.e., at least, based on huddles at some obviously not private enough
    gatherings -- that the upcoming county commissioner race will become the most
    downright dirtiest political campaign that this county has seen.

    In between today's latest television political ads, we shake our heads learning that an
    area chief probation officer was charged with misusing public funds and that a
    respected pharmacy owner is behind bars for stealing about $350,000 from
    government and private insurances with lots of bogus prescription opioid refills.

    It is unknown whether the pharmacy owner is an addict and did so to feed his own
    habit or if he sold the tens of thousands of pain meds to create or maintain other
    addicts. If he sold the opioid pills, the street value of the proceeds needs to be added
    to the $350,000 that insurances lost to give a full picture of what he did. (10 Oct 14)

    Opponent of all-new jail to tour old jail

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of anticipation for a possible newspaper report
    or story of one citizen's first-time tour of the county jail tomorrow.

    It's hard to imagine a student of Uniontown High School of the '70s not ever touring the
    jail with Mr. Boyle's sociology classes. Perhaps she was absent from school that day.

    Nonetheless, tomorrow, sometimes photographer here and always outspoken county
    government watchdog, Ms. Marybeth Homistek, will tour the inside of the county jail.

    RAVES that she's touring the lock up. While some are content doing nothing today to
    improve the conditions for today's inmates and content to wait two years till an all-new
    jail is built over a pyrite cesspool, it's easy to predict that Homistek will become an
    even bigger thorn in some of those sides after  she tours.

    For instance, when she is shown the old piece of discarded, replaced water pipe, nearly
    grossly corroded shut inside, you just know that she likely will rattle off prices of pipe
    and cost analysis comparisons of what it would cost for county maintenance staff to
    replace pipes (single or multiple phase repairs/replacement), versus the cost if the
    whole project were contracted to a plumber.

    Either that, or she'll have all that info the next morning.

    This two-year wait to improve the quality of life of the inmates isn't going to sit well
    with Homistek, once she sees how the upkeep of the jail has been neglected.  It's one
    thing to hear about it, but another to see first hand the impact of the prison upkeep
    being neglected for so long. I'm betting that her long list of fast-track fixes, prioritized
    with what I'm sure will be the most intricate detail, will reach from the podium to the
    floor at future county meetings.

    I hear that area bookies are placing bets on whether inmates and staff at the county jail
    soon will receive bottled drinking water, after hearing that she is touring the jail. It's a
    wiser bet to bet that it won't end with just the water. (6 Oct 14)  
    RAVES to Jim Killinger of Uniontown for complaining to the press about smoking
    restrictions not being enforced 30 feet from the courthouse doors.

    While it's easy to understand why the uninformed public might not enforce the ban -- i.
    e.,  without yet to be purchased visible reminder signs banning smoking --  RANTS that
    employees pictured smoking in the newspaper spread disregard a county policy.  (6 Oct

    County seeks proposals for downtown jail property    
    The county's ad seeking sealed proposals for property in downtown Uniontown for a
    county jail started publication in the paper today. There is to be a separate notice
    elsewhere for proposals for the pre-constructed jail pods.

    Meanwhile, RANTS that the county's website was not prepared for the notice today to
    run, apparently. The notice in the paper says that interested persons may obtain specs
    and proposal sheets from the county's website. However, mail started flowing in earlier
    from readers asking why no information is found today on the website. Email is sent to
    the commissioners asking when that information will be available online. Hopefully,
    tomorrow, readers! (5 Oct 14)
    Editor's Note: info is now online on the county's website. (6 Oct 14)

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a chuckle wondering why someone from Castle
    Shannon gives a rat's behind about Al's jail plan enough to write to the paper about it.
    Some of us are still wondering when the county opted to change its $28-30 million
    Crabtree design to a two-story jail and expand county services to include a kids' jail for
    the 4 kids we house in detention elsewhere. Please read "What happened to Al
    and Tom's $28-30 million budget?" (5 Oct 14)
"Quotes Of The Day"
    "I don't know how much experience you have in construction, but the cost of
    renovating the old structure AND building vertical structures is without a
    doubt greater than the cost of building new and flat. "
    Unnamed newspaper writer, in email recently to me, as we discussed the
    county's situation with the jail

    "There's no way that the all-new plan in Dunbar Twp was coming in in that
    $28-32 million range that Al and Tom Crabtree repeated last year so many
    times as a solemn promise.

    "Don't forget that that 9/13 estimate was before they changed plans and didn't
    tell anyone for months that they were adding a second floor and kids
    detention services.

    "That said, I think Al's redesign makes his point of horizontal vs vertical
    build costs a moot point."
    Me, in response, wondering how such a reasonably intelligent person writing
    in support of an all-new facility seemed so genuinely unaware that the last
    minute jail redesign slid through to zoning had a second story and would
    include a teen jail for the 4 kids we send out of county for services

    Contest to guess when all the pictures
    will match the correct online inmate records

    Readers are asked to submit guesses when the county jail's online inmate
    search records will be corrected. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to
    the restaurant, gym, shooting range or tire store of choice.

  • One entry per reader will be accepted through 12 noon on October 4. In the
    case of duplicate entries, the one recorded first by email time will win.

  • Entries must include name, email and the full date when you think the
    online inmate search records will be fully corrected.

  • Entries can be sent to

    Lets be positive. Guesses saying, "It will never be corrected" will be

    Warden asked to explain online county
    inmate search screw ups

    A concerned citizen today stopped by the court house to relay to the
    commissioners the errors that he is finding on the online county inmate
    search records mentioned previously here.   

    After he spoke with one of the commissioner's administrative assistants
    and provided her with an email of his concerns, a commissioner wrote to
    the warden asking for an explanation and a resolution.

    The request for an explanation and a resolution from the commissioner to
    the warden was carbon copied to the other prison board members. (1 Oct


    County jail inmate search photos: just 1 of 7 correct, so far

    An informal search underway of online county jail inmate incarceration
    information and photos so far documents 6 of 7 incorrect inmate identifying
    photographs -- i.e., contains someone else's picture, in other words.

    Whether or not this inexcusable mistake on the county's website jail inmate
    search records contributed to a wrong prisoner being released in recent times
    is unknown.

    However, it's outright shameful, that, right off the bat, a new search underway
    of only 7 so far different known prisoners pulled up 6 of 7 wrong inmate

    One inmate of 7 searched today, on a positive note, had all 15 of his
    identifying photos correct over 15 different sentences and stays in the jail.
    More on this later. (1 Oct 14)


    Paper allows attack to continue

    RANTS to the editorial page editor at the Herald Standard for allowing all of
    the comments in a letter to the editor from Jim Killinger to stand
    unaddressed, without at least a brief editorial comment written to readers
    with the letter.

    Killinger has every right -- i.e., because this is America -- to make silly
    remarks, such as calling anyone opposed to an all-new jail in Dunbar
    Township "anarchists." He's such a hoot that way.

    RANTS, however, that Killinger once again tossed out there the childish,
    incorrect comment that another commissioner or two could have, should have
    attended the unadvertised Ambrosini jail ad hoc committee group meetings,
    but chose not to do so.

    It's getting old.

    RANTS that the paper allows his legally incorrect comment to repeat time
    after time, without adding an editorial comment such as "Our newspaper
    attorney disagrees with Killinger and offered legal opinion that the
    unadvertised monthly meetings of Ambrosini's jail ad hoc committee violated
    the Sunshine Law."

    If, by now, the former architectural ad hoc group leader can't get it through
    his head that it would have been a Sunshine breach for 2 commissioners to
    have been present at those meetings, the paper had and ignored its editorial
    obligation to tack on a comment to educate him and its readers of its own
    attorney's ignored legal opinion. (1 Oct 14)

    Where's the ad?
    While 2 commissioners voted 2 weeks ago to publish public notice soliciting
    prices on pre-constructed jail pod buildings and downtown property, the
    notice has yet to be published in the paper.

    Today, those commissioners had some discussion about the matter, as
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said she spent time earlier today getting
    basic info for specs.  (30 Sept 14)  

    Why don't some common sense jail
    repairs get done?

    RANTS that the county prison board (3 commissioners, district attorney,
    controller, sheriff) has taken no action to mandate that repairs be made to the
    county jail's leaking pipes and to replace or reinforce wooden exterior doors
    vulnerable to inmate escape.

    Talk to this one and he'll say that higher ups stop repairs from being made.
    Talk to someone else and he'll laugh it off and say it's nonsense. Talk to yet
    someone else and he'll say some are afraid to speak openly at a public
    meeting. Others even offer empathy and a supportive pass to staff who say
    one thing one day and recant the next day out of fear of losing their jobs.

    The bottom line is that the whole situation sucks and doesn't need to keep
    sucking until two completely opposites sides of an issue battle it out.

    Regardless of whether the Dunbar Township all-new facility is built or if pods
    go in downtown, there's an emergency situation that is being neglected right

    The negligence of the prison board for not mandating that leaking pipes and
    drains be fixed can only cause county real estate or assets to decrease in
    value. It also poses a health risk for anyone housed or working in sitting
    water or sewage.

    The games, utter nonsense and leaking pipes need to stop. Whoever stops
    repairs from being made to add to the drama of an overcrowded, old facility
    needs to be fired or removed from office.

    The jail warden this week is supposed to get with his staff and address the
    matters in the staff's complaints to the newspaper and then report back to the
    prison board.  Yes, we've heard that before. Cue the violins.

    RANTS that government is comfortable with and has chosen the much slower
    path to problem solving.  (30 Sept 14)

"Quotes Of The Day"

    "The Xinhua Signal has not acted as the watchdog of government, as those in
    the field of journalism are so fond of saying. The Xinhua Signal has not been
    a fourth independent estate in Fayette County; it has acted as an arm of those
    corrupt officials in the local government. It is their propaganda arm, and as
    such, the Xinhua Signal and its staff are the main reason for the corruption in
    our beloved county."
    Neuman, exert from "The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent Part 12"


    When will dep warden's pipes be fixed & what about those

    County commissioners today were asked if there is any plan to fast track
    repairs to pipes in the deputy warden's office and to reinforce/replace wooden
    rear doors at the jail.

    Readers recall that a union rep at the last prison board meeting pointed out
    that the doors are vulnerable for inmate escape. These 2 items should fall into
    the "emergency needs" category, no? More to follow.  (29 Sept 14)


    Why did the warden give conflicting answers?

    RANTS that we seem to have two conflicting statements to go on from the
    county jail warden, in regard to sewage back ups at the historic facility.

    At Friday's reconvened prison board meeting, the warden, at about 18:35
    into the video from Chuck U. Farley, was asked to comment on staff's
    complaints that staff must walk through human waste 2-3 hours daily at the
    county lock up, due to daily sewage back ups inside the old jail.

    "It don't. If it backs up on a daily basis, I'm unaware of it,"  the warden
    answered Friday at the public meeting."

    That said, why then does today's Herald Standard contain the following
    photo cut line:

    "Warden Brian Miller looks over the aging sewage pipe system of the
    Fayette County Prison. Sewage backups are a constant occurrence, says
    Miller, as inmates stuff bedding and other items down the cell block
    toilets. "


    When is the full truth going to be told here?

    RANTS that the county maintenance director/public works director has
    received no work repair requests, yet the paper today says that the deputy
    warden "has a plastic garbage can near his desk that is used to confine
    sewerage from the floor above and not spread across his cramped office


    RANTS that repair requests are not being made for these issues and that
    staff not reporting the problems through proper channels go

    In the real world, tenants with residential or commercial leases are held
    accountable, if structural damage results from delaying or not reporting at
    all a need for a repair to the owner.

    Logic and common sense dictate that the longer a leak goes without repair,
    the more damage there is to plaster, dry wall from water, mold, warping,
    and rotting of structural support beams and flooring, including
    complications with wiring if it gets wet, etc.

    Add to the mix complaints from the public, including a former inmate, that
    mold is a problem in at least one area prisoners use, logic and common
    sense dictate that the jail be thoroughly cleaned and that emergency
    repairs be made immediately. Nobody should have to be suggesting that
    these corrective measures be coordinated. Nobody should have to be told
    to do his or her job.

    RANTS, most of all, that most opinions shared to date about the jail's
    plumbing seem to be oblivious of these obvious facts:

  • There is a big, big difference between a broken water pipe and an
    intentionally clogged toilet.

  • Unsupervised inmates can and will intentionally block toilets with items
    and materials and do so even in all of the other brand new county,
    state and federal facilities built elsewhere.

  • The county's director of maintenance and public works has received
    no verbal or written requests for repairs or replacement of broken
    water or drain pipes in the jail.  

    Seriously, if inmates who commit suicide can remain hanging for 30
    minutes undetected with current day video monitoring, do these downtown
    folks really believe that inmates in an all-new facility stuffing toilets will be
    stopped, in record time, with a reduced number of staff monitoring them?

    With the plan that Commissioner Al Ambrosini has in mind, to employ less
    staff per shift to guard more inmates in a new facility, shouldn't we,
    logically and realistically then, expect even more stuffed toilets in an all-
    new facility then? You betcha!

    Even in an all-new facility, the whining, bitching and moaning about all of
    the intentionally stuffed toilets would still be a common complaint.  (28
    Sept 14)

                                  "Quote Of The Day"

    "You can have a prison in the city, but the problem is there has to be an
    outside perimeter that just a citizen off the street can't walk up to. The fence
    or something has to be there."
    Frank Rutherford, UMWA District 2 rep, in a new video, "Recipe for
    disaster," produced by the Herald Standard, talking about the need for a fence
    or barrier from keeping the public at bay from getting illegal contraband to

    Developers of the once-proposed, all-new Dunbar Township jail, however,
    sought and received zoning approval to plant less trees and not to build a
    fence surrounding the facility. After mild initial haggling, the county threw in
    an offer to put up a fence in a small area near a public walking trail along
    railroad tracks.

    Planners of the once-proposed all-new jail in Dunbar said the facility would
    be so pretty, it would be a shame for people on surrounding properties and
    public roads not to see it. They debated the need for a fence that Rutherford
    must still believe was included in the jail perimeter design.

    The building itself, they said, would look like a school. No need to hide it
    with a fence and tree perimeter, the architect and engineer adamantly stressed
    at a zoning hearing and county planning commission meeting.


    Editor's Note: To access video from Chuck U. Farley of the below discussed
    meeting, please click here. Although the audio is at times distorted, it clearly
    documents that Commissioner Al Ambrosini was annoyed that Commissioner
    Angela Zimmerlink questioned the jail warden about staff complaints given to
    a local paper. RAVES to Chuck U. Farley for posting the meeting video and
    for doing so so promptly.

    Warden disproves jail staff complaints

    At today's prison board meeting, the county jail warden disagreed with a
    written list of statements, reportedly given to the media and written from
    the standpoint of jail correctional staff.

    The list of complaints about the old jail was sent via email to the county
    commissioners, as the local paper is said to be planning a two-day media
    blitz on the information.

    One by one, as the complaints were read, the warden pretty much
    disagreed with, well, pretty much all of the statements. As per the email
    sent to the commissioners, the complaints claim there's no security at the
    jail, no weapons for staff to use, raw sewage on the floor daily and
    deteriorated walls that can be broken through for inmate escapes.

    The written complaints given to the newspaper also included the supposed
    fear staff have with what was said to be an increase in the number of
    knives obtained by inmates.

    As per the warden at today's meeting, yes, there is security. There are
    locked weapons on site. Any plumbing mess causing raw sewage to leak
    was repaired. The walls cannot be broken through. Knives, as per the
    warden, have not increased as contraband.   

    A quarter of a RAVE must go out to a union rep who attended today and
    emotionally reacted to the warden's dismissal of the bulk of the written

    In spite of needing a time out, the union rep still scores a quarter RAVE for
    screeching the grain of truth to the complaint given to the paper that
    inmates can break through the walls.

    A quarter RAVE because that union rep informed the board at a public
    meeting on video that some rear wooden doors need immediate attention.

    RAVES, O, RAVES, however, that the historic, old jail walls are structurally
    sound and not crumbling, as some want us to believe.

    RANTS if we have to read this crap in Sunday and Monday's papers.
    There's one more water pipe leaking that needs fixed, as per the union rep
    at today's meeting. Hold the presses! (26 Sept 14)


    Prison board reconvenes in public meeting

    Today the county prison board reconvened in a public meeting. No
    disciplinary action was taken in the matter of unspecified issues with the
    county jail warden or any other jail employee.

    Board members opted to investigate further before taking action. The
    meeting was continued two days ago, when citizens voiced various
    concerns about prisoners sleeping on concrete, black mold in the booking
    cells, dirty conditions which could be cleaned but aren't.

    Later today, Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said that "disciplinary
    action/performance review should have been taken and it was not." (26
    Sept 14)

    Staff oblivious to plans for jail 2nd story?
    When will Alfie be removed as chairman?

    RANTS that Al Ambrosini has not been removed as county commission
    chairman of Fayette County.  Yesterday, he continued to meet with his jail
    ad hoc committee to press for the Dunbar Township jail and memorial
    shrine to himself to be built.

    RANTS that Ambrosini and his dwindling group of supporters may even
    consider filing a federal law suit to get the current jail closed down,
    foolishly thinking that a court order as such would better guarantee that
    the all-new Dunbar Township jail will be built.

    Such a filing likely only would cause the downtown plans to move more

    While Ambrosini's jail plans ultimately included plans for a second story for
    the new jail, today's Herald Standard's article, "Prison working group to
    study staffing, policy needs for new lock up,"   contains this following
    uncontested statement: "While some have advocated the working group be
    dismantled, the attending members said that anything short of a single-
    story, one location correctional facility would not meet the current or
    future needs of the county."

    RANTS that a majority of commissioners stopped all work on a new jail to
    explore alternatives, but that the jail ad hoc committee and Ambrosini
    demonstrate that they are unwilling to explore alternatives.

    Ambrosini cannot be removed quickly enough as chairman of the board of
    commissioners. It's a symbolic move, yes, but one that is long overdue in

    Likewise, the commissioners themselves also cannot act quickly enough to
    ban county employees from meeting with Ambrosini on paid work time to
    hold these jail ad hoc committee work group meetings. Surely, they have
    other more pressing county work that needs to be completed. (26 Sept 14)


    Cost savings ideas presented to prison board

    At today's county prison board meeting, the board heard a few common
    sense cost savings ideas that deserve its prompt consideration. RANTS
    that overworked jail staff had to come to ask that several job vacancies be
    filled immediately and RANTS that citizens seem to do a better job than the
    county does tracking and counting inmate's by the severity of crimes

    RAVES, first, to those staff for pointing out that the long, drawn-out hiring
    process seems ridiculous, given that many who applied for the jobs are
    already trained on the job part-timers.

    RANTS that the budget for the jail is hit hard by staff over time costs when
    it doesn't seem to need to be. RANTS that even one or two of the six or
    seven openings aren't filled immediately. RANTS to the unnecessary costs
    and the emotional and physical toll that working ongoing over-time takes
    on staff.

    RAVES, also, to citizen Kathryn Jones of Uniontown for informing the
    prison board that she tallied the list of inmate charges and convictions and
    believes that 10 percent of them should not be in jail.

    As per her count, Jones said 10 percent of the inmates were involved in
    victimless, non-violent criminal cases. RANTS that the courts can't do more
    to revisit these cases and release some who shouldn't be incarcerated.

    RANTS that during the Dunbar Township jail planning drama -- i.e., really
    since the fall of 2012 -- that RTK answers from the county were always "we
    don't know," when asked for a percentage or number of inmates
    incarcerated for non-violent crimes.

    RAVES that people such as Jones can pour over lists and determine rough
    statistics to prove that these possibly time-consuming tasks of reviewing
    and comprising lists or categories of criminal severity are, nonetheless,
    easily completed tasks.

    The county should feel ashamed.  (24 Sept 14)


    Prison board to reconvene Friday in executive

    The county's prison board meeting today was continued and is to
    reconvene in private session in 2 days to discuss jail administrative staff

    At today's short meeting, Commissioner Vince Zapotosky questioned
    whether Commissioner Al Ambrosini, the jail warden and two guard union
    members met for a press interview yesterday in the warden's office. Two
    union staff who attended today's public meeting said they were not

    Following an executive session today, the upcoming scheduled private
    meeting was announced to discuss more about jail administrative staff
    issues. (24 Sept 14)


    Farley stands ground, records county meeting

    RAVES to Chuck U. Farley of Uniontown for standing his ground and
    demanding that he be allowed to record today's county prison board

    Upon arrival at the county jail for the meeting, the young video documenter
    objected to being stopped from recording the meeting. Farley persisted
    and was given his checked phone/camera back to record the brief meeting.

    RAVES to Farley, once again, for volunteering his time and energy to
    preserve a public meeting by recording it and quickly releasing the video to
    the public. Here is a link to today's county prison board meeting. (24 Sept

    Security breach, exaggeration, delusion and/or lie?
    Alfie cites contraband as reason to
    build all-new jail

    RAVES of chuckles reading today's letter to the editor from the county
    commish chair, Al Ambrosini, to the Herald Standard.

    Exactly what does he mean when he refers to the current jail and current
    jail annex and says that "we already experience contraband problems with
    just two buildings because of a lack of supervision." Does Ambrosini
    realize the full impact of what he just said? How does contraband just
    magically appear in those restricted areas? It doesn't.

    RANTS that Ambrosini doesn't seem to realize that he described a major
    security breach is happening inside restricted jail areas. Contraband
    doesn't just rain down from the sky, right?

    RANTS, also, that Ambrosini seems to have forgotten that his plan
    presented for the once-proposed, tossed aside new justice center also
    expanded at the last dramatic minute to include a second story.  Why then
    does he, in today's paper, bash one of the alternate jail plans that includes
    a second story? Surely, he forgot that his plan included a second story,

    Did Ambrosini also forget that his county jail ad hoc committee also
    produced several opinions from engineers, architects and building
    professionals that the old jail could be upgraded?

    RANTS that Ambrosini, instead, hasn't produced solid proof from the real
    world to support his often-touted claim from his fantasy, spin and
    delusional world that the total costs for housing out of county inmates is a
    solid $200,000 per month expense.

    Gee, why is it that Ambrosini hasn't produced such proof? Why is it that he
    will never, never, never be able to produce such factual documentation?

    Why is it that nobody should take anything he says seriously, until he
    produces such proof many times requested of him?  (22 Sept 14)

                                           "Quotes Of The Day"

    "... most of the people behind the bars are violent and should not be out
    on the streets for everyone in the community's safety."
    Fayette County Prison staff, posting this week on Al Ambrosini's election Facebook
    page, stressing that the county needs a jail with solid cell doors to prevent
    prisoners from spitting in his face again. The staff described two separate attacks
    two days ago on him and two other jail staff because, in his opinion, there are no
    solid cell doors.

    "Make no mistake we know what our daily risks could be but we also know
    that there are people in positions of power that can give us the support
    and respect to authorize the building of a new prison having our health
    and safety in mind.

    "How many of us have to be assaulted before someone does the right
    thing? It's totally out of control and not the fault of anyone that works in
    the prison. It lies on the shoulders of people that head up Fayette county
    that refuse to respect the Correction Officers and do the right thing and
    build a new prison for the officers safety and well being of all that work

    RANTS that the staff feels that persons opposed to an all-new jail do not
    care about the safety of jail staff. (18 Sept 14)


    Unanimous vote to get bids for downtown jail space

    RAVES to Commissioner Al Ambrosini for being part of a unanimous vote,
    to seek bids for costs of prison pre-constructed pod buildings and also to
    seek bids/costs from downtown building/property owners for an alternative
    idea than the pods.

    There is nothing at all smart-ass about this, readers, please be assured.

    The RAVES to Ambrosini for voting unanimously for the county to perform
    due diligence are genuinely sincere RAVES.

    Readers are encouraged to pray -- again, not being a smart ass -- that
    tomorrow or the day after, we don't hear that he misunderstood the full
    meaning of the motion and vote. (16 Sept 14)

    Editor's Note: To view tomorrow's agenda for the meeting of the county
    board of commissioners, please click here.

    Included on the agenda is an item for commissioners to "consider
    discussion and possible action on Resolutions passed prior to August 19,
    2014 concerning any and all matters pertaining to new construction of the
    Justice & Rehabilitation Center."  (15 Sept 14)
                                                 "Quote Of The Day"
    "The anonymous blogger is calling for time sheets for Zap's assistant to
    see if she clocked out for the radio interview a few Fridays ago. Did the
    blogger ask if the assistant punched off the clock or took vacation time to
    be interviewed by Al and the reporter for the paper? What's the difference?"
    Pete, today at the diner


    Zimmerlink repeats alternative jail plan in HS

    RAVES that she seemed to be reading our minds, as just recently a buzz
    question of the day was did anyone have a link to the minority
    commissioner's 2013 plan to resolve county jail problems and keep the jail
    downtown Uniontown.  

    Today, Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink penned some commentary very
    worth reading, again outlining those ideas  in the Herald Standard.

    Her commentary today was in response to a recent editorial claiming that
    her only solution to jail overcrowding is to find vacant space in downtown
    Uniontown and parade prisoners to their locations.

    RAVES to her for not letting that unkind, untrue, biased comment to go
    ignored and for repeating the ideas that she outlined last year around the
    time of the Crabtree road show jail public meetings. (14 Sept 14)


    Ground breaking photo op recreated for

    RAVES for photo opportunities and hotels springing up in the middle of
    nowhere. If you're a public official running late for a ground breaking
    ceremony, public gathering and photo op, there's no real need to rush. As
    these photos from different sources indicate, the Connellsville hotel
    ground breaking yesterday was re-inacted with some different folks
    manning the shovels.

    Please note that Commissioner Al Ambrosini did not make it into the Trib's
    ground breaking photo, but he is pictured in a promotional photo series
    from hotel developers in this You Tube video.

    County Commissioner Vince Zapotosky, shown in the group of spectators
    in the series of pictures on You Tube, did not man a shovel to turn over
    some dirt in either of the sources' pictures. (13 Sept 14)


    Editor's Note: Due to problems in publishing, the entire below piece was not
    published originally.

    Zap lobbies city council for downtown jail
    RAVES to Commissioner Vince Zapotosky for lobbying the Uniontown City
    Council to support keeping the jail downtown. No kidding; this was an
    awesomely brilliant move on his part.

    While we may want to shake our heads, laugh and ask what took
    Zapotosky so long to see through the flimsy jail plans that he strongly
    supported for over a year, I still must send RAVES that he had the you
    know what to appear at the city council meeting and ask for the council's

    While Zapotosky has drawn his share of RANTS here over his years in
    office, he is RAVED for calling the county back to the planning table in the
    jail matter.  Throughout the process, his has always been the second
    needed vote. It cost the county to spend a few million dollars already,
    possibly unnecessarily.

    He says he thinks the county can spend about $20 million to correct all
    that's wrong with the county jail. The minority commissioner's past ideas
    came also with a much lower estimate than did the all-new jail in the
    Crabtree design.

    There are still supporters out there of the Ambrosini state of the art prison
    in Dunbar Township, you know, who ignore the two preliminary geo-
    technical land surveys and the fact that an illegal public bid notice was
    illegally published in the building trades and $450 checks from duped
    contractors were received.

    Those facts alone prove that some in the county are not as smart as

    He may pay at the polls, if he runs for re-election, for helping to waste over
    $2 million dollars on Ambrosini's jail. That's beside the point here, now.

    In the meantime, though, lets move on. Lets hear what he has to say and
    see how well he and the minority commissioner can problem solve.

    We're betting they will resolve the jail overcrowding problem sooner than
    the once-proposed Ambrosini jail would take to be built.  (11 Sept 14)
"Favorite Quotes Of 2014 So Far"
    "Believe me, you need all the help you can get, partner, so you should
    John Cofchin, to Commissioner Al Ambrosini, at the special meeting,
    February 26, 2014, in a cramped room to announce the purchase of the
    $1.25 million land in Dunbar Township, when Ambrosini tried to stop
    Cofchin from speaking again, as seen at 3:09 into the video at this link.

    The same speaker a little later, at 3:57, in the same link above of part 6 of
    Chuck U. Farley's video recording, provides another favorite quote of 2014
    so far,  during the exchange and mention of quantum physics.


                                      "Quotes Of The Day"

    "So a former magistrate is charged with perjury and obstructing of law
    over the new judge's nephew's DUI case being bounced out of court."
    Pete, today at the diner, reacting to television news that the state attorney
    general's office charged the former magistrate for his role in the 2011 now
    infamous case

    "Better tell the grand jury to reconvene. They're not done yet here with this
    Dave, in response, indicating that at least one other individual needs also
    to be charged, possibly 2


    13 years ago...

    RANTS that an anniversary, now 13 times passed, still is overwhelmingly
    painful for many to observe. RAVES of ongoing respect to the group of NYC
    firefighters and police, who became charter readers here 9 years ago, because
    of the St. Paul's Chapel piece written here once upon a time.

    RAVES to Ed and his guys, who were part of the original first responders in
    NYC, for continuing to offer support to kids who lost parents 13 years ago in
    the Twin Towers. Ed once shared such unforgettable words here, that every
    day since the terrorist attacks is September 12th for him. He was not
    exaggerating in the least. And to update, nothing that way has changed.

    RAVES to some of the finest people imaginable, as they, no doubt, will at
    some point today meet again on the bench in Lower Manhattan, outside St.
    Paul's Chapel, to quietly remember the friends, co-workers and thousands of
    other lives lost 13 years ago today. (11 Sept 14)
    County to advertise for downtown property,
    downtown construction  

    RAVES that the county commissioners will have on their next agenda
    whether to advertise for a downtown building for a jail and whether to get
    bids on adding on to the current jail or building an all-new jail facility.

    Can a blogger declare a county holiday?

    Warden: Unaware of Crabtree
    drawing specifics?

    The county jail warden, who has been quoted as saying that he spent a
    considerable amount of time jail planning with the county-contracted jail
    architect, today was unable to state something so basic as how many
    adolescent cells were planned in Crabtree's proposed Dunbar Township jail


    1 of 3 jail sewage aps
    County jail sewage grant rejected

    RANTS for added confusion created to an already confusing enough situation.
    More specifically, I'm talking about what a big difference a day made to news
    of the status of grants in process for county jail sewage installation.

    On Friday, the local paper, the Herald Standard, told it's readers ("Future
    uncertain for in-place prison sewerage plans, grants and land purchase") that
    the county's grant writer was confused, in the dark, because he had "yet to
    learn from the commissioners whether he should notify the agencies that he
    intends to" cancel the grant applications.

    RANTS that he took his frustration out by contacting the paper instead of the
    commissioners to ask a simple question.

    Instead, he whined in the paper Friday that the "Appalachian Regional
    Commission rated Fayette County’s grant application for the construction of
    an access road to the proposed prison as the number one priority, putting it in
    line for the available $500,000 federal grant.

    “With the support of the 10-county region, Fayette County is in a good
    position to receive the grant,” he said in Friday's paper.

    Meanwhile, in today's Trib, we learn that the same county staff wrote to the
    county commissioners on Friday that the U.S. Department of Commerce
    denied Fayette County's application for a $587,289 jail sewage grant.

    RANTS that it nearly is 3 weeks since the commissioners halted the plans in
    motion for the once proposed all-new jail in Dunbar Township and nobody
    connected seems on the same page.

    Commissioners should have already met at least once or twice in the past 2
    weeks to talk about the jail.

    RANTS, too, that the legal public notice advertising the scheduling of the
    commissioners' work group sessions to be on an "as needed" basis those
    Tuesdays and Thursdays we mentioned below two days ago. Yes, there is a
    purpose to the inclusion of the "as needed" status in the ad, but developing a
    plan of action and discussing ideas and new concepts takes time.

    Should the other 2 jail-related sewage grant applications ($852,000 grant for
    the development of sewage service to the proposed prison site and a $78,000
    grant application to the state Department of Community Economic
    Development towards costs ) be formally cancelled at this time?

    Shouldn't something as important as deciding whether to formally cancel the
    grant applications or to allow the grant applications already filed to run their
    course -- be subjects that the county commissioners and their grant writer
    should have discussed already, one way or another? Do the applications
    legally have to be cancelled under the circumstances?

    While it sounds as though this is a subject that the county solicitor might
    need to be consulted over, the county commissioners apparently still need
    improved communication between them and their department heads or
    administrative staff, when the out-of-the-ordinary, high priority, local
    government situations happen.

    If halting plans for a new county jail and major county project isn't example
    of an out-of-the-ordinary, high priority, local government situation, nothing
    else likely ever will be. (7 Sept 14)   

    County schedules jail work sessions

    RAVES, finally, that county jail work sessions have been scheduled.

    As per a courthouse source, the legal notice will be advertised in Sunday's
    paper. Commissioners are to meet on the second Tuesday of a month at 2
    PM and on the fourth Tuesday at 10 AM for the purpose of addressing the
    county jail overcrowding problem. These meetings are scheduled to be
    held in the county commissioners' conference room in the courthouse. (5
    Sept 14)

"Quotes Of The Day"

    "Seriously, I have a hard time with Zap stopping the jail plans and then
    going this long, a few weeks now, without scheduling a county
    commissioner work session together.
    Pete, today, so curious why there has been no work session scheduled yet
    for the 3 county commissioners to meet and talk about jail options.

    "I like Zimmerlink's plan last year with the pre-constructed buidings. Six
    months operational.
    Pete's former co-worker, wondering aloud if the commissioner has given
    any more thought to the ideas she kicked around last year, or whether
    she's comfortable leaving her ideas from last year to stand on their own at
    this time with little or no change.

    "Don't forget; (Commissioner Al) Ambrosini says we can move a lot of
    prisoners out to group homes. The Veterans' Court is starting up. The
    chaplain's residential program is going to start up. Day Reporting Center
    has to have helped some with recidivism in a year.

    "We should move Ambrosini's group home people out of the county jail
    ASAP. Let Ambrosini lead the way to funding all that or let him shut up and
    stop making ridiculous statements or reasons why we need an all-new
    county jail."
    Dave, to anyone listening

    "It's interesting that Al told radio listeners that a high percentage of
    inmates could be in supervised group homes. I say interesting because it
    hasn't really been that long ago that RTK answers were "I/we don't know,"
    when asked how many inmates qualified for the Day Reporting Center,
    Veterans' Court, Mental Health Court, etc.  I'm glad Al's so enlightened


    Another Ambrosini snafu?
    New point raised in jail zoning matter

    An attorney, representing one of the two groups of citizen challenging the
    county zoning decisions about the proposed Dunbar Township jail, filed a
    new motion, previously referenced 2 days ago in the "Another Ambrosini
    snafu..." piece below.

    The group contends that the county had never passed any motions or
    resolutions authorizing application for zoning on the jail land and project.

    The attorney representing the group maintains that Fayette County
    Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini acted without the approval of fellow
    commissioners when he applied for zoning variances for property for the
    purposed jail. (3 Sept 14)


    Jail zoning land use appeals continued till Nov. 12

    A hearing on the jail zoning motion to strike intervention from the county,
    scheduled to be heard in 2 days, will not be held. Other parts of the case
    have been rescheduled to be heard in November.

    Visiting Westmoreland County Senior Judge William Ober has given the
    appellants in the case, two groups of citizens appealing the county zoning
    decisions in the matter of the proposed new Dunbar Township jail land,
    until September 26 to file their briefs in support of their land use appeals.

    Ober has given the county zoning board until October 27 then to respond.
    (2 Sept 14)


    Group contends SCI Fayette toxic coal waste killing inmates

    Human rights activists contend that SCI Fayette was built in the midst of 40
    million tons of coal toxic waste and is killing its inmates at an alarming rate.

    To read the complete one-year investigation into the health issues of
    inmates and residents of the coal town in which the prison is located, "No
    escape: Exposure to coal toxic waste at SCI Fayette, please click here.

    SCI Fayette, the 2,000 bed, $125 million maximum security prison where all
    of the state’s vehicle license plates are made, opened in LaBelle in 2003. It
    was built on part of the old strip mine site that has been used for coal
    combustion waste disposal for 60 years.  (2 Sept 14)


"Quotes Of The Day"
    "The question isn't why (a person's real name Pete uses when he refers to
    the blog FCPH) is dising Zap again...  For me, the question is why is that
    blogger giving Ambrosini a free pass?"
    Pete, today, reading the blogger's latest trash Zapotosky piece

    "He writes what he is told to write."

    "I'm running out of heroes."


    Another Ambrosini snafu making it to court

    RANTS because it seems another infamous procedural snafu from the
    county commish chair will prompt another court case appeal to be filed in
    the morning.

    Goodness gracious, is this man seriously considering a run at re-election
    when he never seriously attempted to learn the basics of ethics and county

    Why is he still the county commish chairman? RANTS that the other two
    have not de-throwned him yet. More to come tomorrow. (1 Sept 14)

    Old burgh music videos released

    RAVES to people such as Sasha Koledin, for releasing previously unseen
    video of some priceless live Pittsburgh music acts.

    Take a moment to see a young Glen Pavone on fire, backing James King
    on fairly decent quality video, from Gene's Blues Bar, before Eminent
    Domain took that hole in a wall, fun place off the map for the Rt. 51/Liberty
    Bridge intersection expansion.

    RAVES to Sasha for giving up this recording, in impressive black and white
    video from Gene's. It brought a lump to throats and smiles to those who
    knew those two gentlemen and miss them.

    Sasha also gives us a live version of the Silencer's "Cry Tough."  Thank
    you, Sasha, very, very much. (31 Aug 14)

    Ambrosini crying the blues in letter to ed

    RAVES of chuckles this Sunday morning reading the commish chair's letter to
    the editor of the Herald Standard, rehashing how the jail ad hoc committee
    came to exisit and why.

    RAVES of chuckles that he brings out the big guns -- i.e., a 14-month-old
    editorial starting with, "Let's be clear about one thing, Fayette County must
    build a new prison as soon as possible."       

    RANTS because the commish chair is still whining in a letter to the editor
    today about losing his second vote on an all-new jail in Dunbar Township.  

    RANTS because his letter praises the work of his volunteer jail work group,
    but also makes no mention of all of the different professional opinions that he
    gathered himself and then buried on the current jail's ability to be redone.  
    (Please see items 6-9 in this link.).   

    RANTS because the commish chair is still blaming others and refuses
    to accept responsibility for withholding a second dismal geo-technical
    land survey for a few months and for allowing illegal ads requesting a
    solicitation of bids be published in building trade publications.  (31
    Aug 14)
                                              "Quotes Of The Day"
    "I see Golddigger is back in the news. Why hasn't the county defense hit
    on Golddigger's social media comments that she published during this time
    of supposed anguish?"
    Pete, today, in email from his vacation at the shore, stressing that his
    concern is about what's right versus what isn't right.  He also stressed that
    he does not minimize the overall anguish typical that anyone in
    Golddigger's position with a CYS complaint is expected to experience.

    "I see Golddigger had herself removed from the suit because she says she
    was too easy a target to discredit. Imagine that!"
    Dave, replying, emailing from a different vacation at a nearby shore,
    situating his fishing seat, getting ready for a leisurely spent Labor Day
    weekend with his extended family, including his future son-in-law, who
    dislikes sports, politics, fishing, visiting small social clubs with older men
    and tip boards, bowling in alleys and on machines, sitting at diners and
    doing most other things that Dave holds sacred and dear to his heart.  

    County planning jail work session meeting(s)?

    Since announcing to AM radio talk show listeners 15 days ago that he
    wants to explore other options before committing to continue with the
    proposed Dunbar Township county jail construction plans, Commissioner
    Vince Zapotosky hasn't announced that a commissioners work session
    meeting is scheduled. Neither has Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink.  

    Both commissioners had been asked two days ago for comment on
    whether such a work session is being scheduled. Lets hope so.  Shouldn't
    we be hearing something?  (30 Aug 14)


    Zap refused to sign for July down payment
    Are we stuck with the $1.25 million
    dollar land deal from Hell?

    While we know that some pending zoning appeal hearings address that
    notion that the land deal is dependent on zoning processes going
    smoothly, it is a comfort to know that the county has not signed off on
    payment for any part of the $1.25 million dollars to the seller.

    When asked what's up with the land deal -- i.e., does the county end up
    saddled with the land -- Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said today that a
    payment of $125,000 was to have been made toward the total purchase
    price of $1.25 million dollars, at the timing of the signing of the agreement
    of sale, which was in April.

    In July when the  internal requisition was processed, Zimmerlink said that
    "Commissioner Zapotosky refused to sign the requisition to process the

    To her knowledge, Zimmerlink said that the requisition to purchase or pay
    a $125,000 down payment for the land still has not received a needed
    second commissioner signature.

    RAVES to Zapotosky for not signing that requisition in July. RAVES, RAVES.

    RANTS, though, that the agreement of sale was signed by all parties before
    all possible paths of due diligence were thoroughly explored.

    County yet to advertise for land, property for a jail

    Once upon a time, the county advertised for land for a temporary womens'
    jail last year, but the county never advertised for land for a jail.

    To date, anyone wanting to include his or her property for consideration
    for becoming a jail were required to get in touch with and go through the
    county commission chairman or his representative, the jail ad hoc
    committee architectural group leader.

    Commissioner Al Ambrosini kept reassuring all that his process of
    acquiring names and addresses was perfectly fine and dandy and declared
    all possible and accounted for, without running an ad seeking proposals or
    prices from interested property owners.  

    The county's initial search for 150 acres of land narrowed considerably, to
    about 18 acres in the final zoning plans, for the new jail.

    Commissioners were asked today whether a work group session has been
    scheduled for them yet to discuss options to jail over crowding. (28 Aug 14)


    No editorial when a board member berated her
    Board member put attack of
    reporter on meeting agenda
    As to be expected, the local paper was quick to defend its reporter in the
    matter of the county commissioner assistant interview in the paper one
    day, then as the incident was featured on local AM talk radio the second

    Besides pointing out negative comments said to the reporter during a
    public county meeting, the editorial board there took additional blows at
    the audience at county meetings.

    The editorial, also, completely overlooks another incident, when the same
    reporter was chastised by an airport authority board member, in a public
    meeting, for something she wrote.

    We've not heard too much of the exchange that occurred at that May
    meeting of the county airport authority board.

    It was an awkward, uncomfortable moment for me personally, to have been
    in the same room, when that unfortunate exchange was going on.

    This wasn't a member of the public complaining. The venom was coming
    from an airport authority board member, during a public meeting, directed
    at one reporter.  

    Fayette County Airport Authority Board Member Joe Maher was certainly
    upset that evening with the reporter. He brought along to the meeting his
    copy of the newspaper article that the reporter wrote.

    Maher berated her something awful. He also berated a fellow authority
    board member, for speaking to the reporter in the article that he disliked
    and took issue with, in the middle of the public meeting. He was on a roll.

    Maher's nasty-toned speech to the reporter followed reaching the meeting
    agenda item, "Newspaper Article."

    "Newspaper Article," following the infamous agenda item, "Homeland
    Security Letter," discussion involved Maher chastising the reporter in a
    stern, nasty tone.

    The reporter, however, impressively held her own with him that evening. He
    didn't rattle her and should have been ashamed for trying to intimidate or
    rattle her.

    Her story that he criticized, referenced a well-respected professional at a
    well-respected state aeronautic office.

    Likewise, the airport authority board member quoted in the story, also
    brought credibility to the story.

    Maher's grilling of the reporter, as part of a time-coordinated meeting
    agenda item at the May meeting, was unfortunate, mean, out of line and
    most unprofessional.

    His behavior deserved to have been discussed in a critical editorial that
    should have been written.  (26 Aug 14)  

                         "Quotes Of The Day"
    "..this is Fayette County where ignorance and hatred reign undefeated over reason and
    common sense. Opponents of the project filled the commissioners’ meeting room, chastising
    and hollering at anyone who talked favorably about the project. Civility and common courtesy
    went out the window as everyone and anyone was fair game, including our reporter who was
    merely doing her job covering the meetings..."

    "It’s interesting that while Zapotosky and Zimmerlink talked about saving money for taxpayers,
    they didn’t have a problem watching the $2 million already spent on prison plans go down the
    drain. "
    Herald Standard, editorial, highly critical of the Commissioners Z and people who participate in
    and/or attend county meetings, also minimizing Al Ambrosini's role in the jail matter as one
    "hampered by his inexperience as an elected official."

    Zimmerlink's 2013 jail expansion idea:
    could be operational quickly?

    What the above-referenced newspaper editorial does not say is that it
    knows that Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink last year proposed an
    alternate plan to building an all-new jail.

    Her plan, within 6 months of being implemented, could have put functional
    temporary or permanent pre-built jails/buildings parked out back of the
    current county jail.

    Viola! All of a sudden, there would be room for therapies, classrooms, sick
    rooms, AA, NA, church services, visitors, etc.  

    Also, within 6 months, most inmates housed out of county would have
    been able to return to serve their sentences at the county jail.  

    The time frame of 6 months is referenced because that is the length of time
    that the pre-constructed buildings take to be ordered and delivered.

    County leaders are urged to hold those work session meetings that were
    discussed, approved but never advertised by public notice in the paper and
    never held.  It will be interesting to hear alternative options discussed.

    Zimmerlink's plan deserves further exploration at a public presentation. So
    do the plans developed by John Buchanon, Dr. Evelyn Hovanec and their
    group, and any plans that Commissioner Vince Zapotosky wants to
    contribute for consideration.  

    Solutions can become available much quicker than late 2016-2017. That is
    the estimated time period that Ambrosini planned to have the once-
    proposed Dunbar Township jail open.

    Do we really need an all-new jail?
  • We have to spend money on the old jail anyway.
  • We have sewage out back of the courthouse/jail.
  • All utilities are in most places downtown.
  • We don't need a parking garage, as the one option in Crabtree's 2013 feasibility study stated
    we needed, if the jail expanded downtown.


    Why hasn't Ambrosini provided it?
    Proof requested in mid-July?

    Where is Commissioner Al Ambrosini's  documentation of proof that the
    minority commissioner last month requested, to support his claims, that the
    county spends $200,000 total per month, on all combined costs
    associated with housing and transporting inmates for incarceration at out
    of county jails?

    At last month's county meeting, the minority commissioner asked
    Ambrosini to show such proof, that staff costs and transportation costs
    associated with out of county rented jail cells were about $112,000 in one

    That is, after all, exactly what he is saying when he claims that it costs
    $200,000 per month to keep inmates out of county.

    Did the minority commissioner ever get this proof or documentation of
    costs? Did Ambrosini ever provide it?

    If he didn't want to comply with the minority commissioner's request to
    document his claims, lets hope soon that he goes to the paper to talk
    about such solid documentation of his alleged facts.

    While monthly cage rental fees to other counties recently totaled about
    $80,000 for the actual cage rental fees, Ambrosini stuck to his mind
    boggling claim last month that the county still paid $200,000 per month on
    all combined costs associated with out of county cage rentals.

    If he has such fantastic proof, then he needs to show proof. Please,
    please, show us.

    If he has no such proof, then Ambrosini needs quickly to grow up and stop
    promoting his fictional type of fuzzy math.

    If his revelations were true, and facts were documented in all the required,
    usual places, by now, the minority commissioner would easily have found
    jail fiscal records to support Ambrosini's new math numbers.

    Does Ambrosini have proof that out of county cage rentals actually cost
    $200,000 per month?

    Or is this another exaggeration, tid bit of misinformation, or a lie?

    Ambrosini needs to stop blaming other people because he led a group of
    jail planners to walk aimlessly amok, instead of problem solve effectively.  

    And, for goodness sake, he needs to stop avoiding answering real
    questions. (24 Aug 14)


    When one can't call in...
    Thoughts on AM talk radio
    On Friday, my phone rang twice, from people who were listening to a discussion of a
    local AM radio talk show host and a caller,  about the "rift" between the two sitting
    Dem county commissioners.

    No doubt, yes, there is a "rift."

    But the breakdown of  a relationship between the two Dem county commissioners
    seems to be a lot more complex than a mere rift. There seems to be  a lot more to it.  

    Almost always in transit at those times of day, and not one to like to talk on the
    phone while driving, I was able to catch a bit of the on air discussion, but unable to
    call in.  

    So, respectfully, I later sent the talk show host this next email.

    To follow, came the realization that I forgot to mention to him that I disagreed with
    the on-air broadcasted  opinion on a "third" group...  or,  more specifically,  
    narrowed to be what those on-air perceived  to be a passive-type involvement in jail
    planning, on the part of the minority commissioner.

    I just didn't get it. Those added thoughts are on the left, at the above blue email link.


    To take in, spend money on out of county fun raiser
    Alfie: announcing his re-election plans?

    Unless he announced his candidacy in the building trades publications that I missed,
    Commissioner Al Ambrosini hasn't yet officially announced that he will seek re-
    election for a second term in office.

    But if it's any clue, he is said to be holding a pricey admission fund raiser next month
    out of county. "Success through proven leadership," appears to be his re-election
    political campaign catch-phrase slogan.

    RAVES that he has friends at a time like this, who will pay $250-$5,000 to have a
    casual jean dress dinner with him, in a tucked away Westmoreland
    mountain private social club.  

                                             "Quotes Of The Day"

    "You know, they're going to build that jail behind Laurel Mall
    before it's all said and done."
    Woman in Sheetz parking lot, asking a familiar stranger

    "Think so?"

    "Oh, yes!"
    Her, pausing a moment, very confidently, to awkwardly lean
    forward to speak in an almost whisper... the horrible woof of
    what had to be a breath mixture of last night's liquor and
    sometime overnight's rancid vomit, quickly starting to remind me
    of what I ate at my last meal.
    Her breath overpowered the woof from the small amount of gasoline she
    spilled while filling her car...

    I was going to let it go -- this notion of hers that Zap would
    align himself again behind Ambrosini on the Dunbar Township
    super duper hall of justice. If there is no cheaper alternative
    that is practical, she could be right. That might be exactly
    what ends up happening.

    Since this woman before me, getting her printed receipt from the
    gas pump, seemed at the moment to be reasonably sober, I
    addressed her whisper and asked her this.

    "Don't you think that most people already have heard the
    absolutely very worst possible thing that anyone can say about
    Zap?" I asked.

    Sometimes, answers take a while.  

    Her facial expression about 5 seconds later seemed to indicate a
    faint smile and the response that she was shaking her head yes,
    in agreement.

    "Are you going to write about me?" she asked after a minute of

    "Yes, but I have no interest in mentioning who that is in your
    car with you trying to hide."  (23 Aug 14)

    RAVES that someone on the outstanding warrants list is in custody after committing
    another crime on video. One of yesterday's shopping center bank robbers, a
    female, was previously being sought for 10 months on other charges,
    driving with a suspended license. If apprehended last week, she would've
    been destined to stay at the county jail or be transferred to another
    county's rented cage bill.

    RAVES that yesterday's events and incarceration took care of 2 matters, and that she
    now should end up with a sentence to the state prison system instead of the county

    Thank you, Alice, for turning yourself in to police and making it easier. (23 Aug 14)  


    County withdraws motion in jail zoning
    appeal cases

    Citizen John Cofchin of Uniontown sent word early this morning that the county
    solicitor withdrew the county's court motion to intervene as a county in the jail
    zoning land use appeals that he and 5 others filed.  

    At Tuesday's county meeting, another citizen, Terry Kriss, questioned whether any
    of the 3 commissioners or the lead county solicitor directed the second
    solicitor to file the county's motion to intervene as a county.
    Commissioners three said he/she/they did not give any approval for a
    solicitor to file a motion to intervene as a county in the two groups zoning

    This all resulted because the Cofchin group and the Kriss couple appealed the zoning
    decision, partly based on the belief that Al Ambrosini filed the original zoning
    paperwork as a private citizen, representing himself and not the county.

    More to come on September 4, when the visiting Westmoreland Senior Judge
    William Ober returns to Uniontown to hear the other items of the citizens' appeals.
    (22 Aug 14)


    Patch Hunky blog returns to slam Zap,
    meeting audience          

    RANTS that the Fayette County Patch Hunky blogger came out of
    hibernation, after nearly a year of saying virtually nothing, to dis the
    audience of the last county commissioners' meeting and the second chair
    for changing his mind on Alfie's jail.

    While everyone certainly is entitled to his or her own opinions, the PH let
    us all down when he ignored the last challenges of election nominating
    petitions and the county chair's Sunshine Law violations.

    The PH let us all down when he looked away, as the county chair selected
    a $1.25 million dollar tract of pyrite city land for a new jail and lied, one
    after another shameful time to the public.

    The PH disappointed us so when he ignored the commish chair's decision
    not to share documents and to let an illegal notice go out for publication in
    building trades soliciting jail construction bids.  

    Had the anonymous -- well not really anonymous -- PH been plugging away
    writing all these last months, no matter which side of the new jail debate he
    took, he would not be RANTED here today.

    He has every right to say that he felt the audience was unkind to the
    reporter, because it very well was unkind to her.

    He has every right to say a shameful amount of money was wasted by all of
    the 2:1 votes on the new jail because that is a sorely undeniable fact.

    He has every right, too, to defend the Herald Standard, even after making a
    hobby of establishing a blog that ridiculed that publication, its writers and
    editors for so long.


"Quotes Of The Night"
    " No longer under Dim and Alfred’s control, Vincent has released himself from
    the chains that held him down. The threats of maintaining control are nothing but
    veiled at this point. For every claim against Vincent by Alfred and Dim, Vincent
    has stronger counter claims of his own against those villains.

    Truth is power, Vincent, use it wisely!"
    Neuman, an exert from "The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent, Part 11"

    But otherwise has lots to say
    DA silent on building trades notice

    RANTS that the DA and others in today's paper knocked Commissioner Vince
    Zapotosky for getting a second opinion on the jail drawings, pulling out da big
    guns at Duquesne University for a legal opinion on it without providing all the

    Fact of the matter is that da big guns weren't asked what the county's liability
    would be if a contractor not chosen for the jail project took legal issue with
    the bogus, illegal and unauthorized Public Notice, bearing a county
    controller's name without her knowledge, county bid numbers, welcoming
    contractors to send $450 weeks ago to obtain project specs that
    Commissioner Al Ambrosini alone authorized for publication in the building

    RANTS that nobody speaking out today in the paper seems to mind that real
    life contractors saw the trades publication notice and responded by sending
    a check before the county had legal right by County Code to publish a
    controller's name in an ad saying the project was already out for bid.

    RANTS that they still whine in delusion that "Obstructionists" want no
    changes. Where the hell have they been all this time to believe such

    Given that these gentlemen don't want to step up the Day Reporting Center
    and alternate sentencing programs, don't give a rat's behind to provide
    treatment today and hinge it all solely on being feasible only if an all-new jail
    is built out in a mine field, who really are the true Obstructionists in this
    picture?  (19 Aug 14)    

    The Trib: MIA on Alfie's apparent loss of second
    vote on all-new jail

    RANTS that the Trib is MIA, providing no coverage yet on the big Fayette
    news that Commissioner Al Ambrosini seems to have lost his second "yes"
    vote, from Commissioner Vince Zapotosky, to build the all-new jail in
    Dunbar Township.
    Zapotosky took to the air on radio talk show last week to say that he will not
    sign off as a needed second commissioner behind Ambrosini to get the jail
    construction project out to bid and that he's aiming to keep the jail downtown.
    Depending on the source or where one reads, costs are said to be from $28
    million to $40 million for Ambrosini's planned state of the arts jail.
    Also MIA in the Trib's coverage is the news that Ambrosini says that he
    reported Zapotosky to the state Ethics Commission, for getting a second
    opinion on the Crabtree jail architectural drawings.
    Tomorrow's another day, however. We can only hope that a paper, that prides
    itself in television commercials as being the "watchdog of the community,"
    will take its shot at catching up and reporting Fay news, right?  (18 Aug 14)

    should never happen again, if this project proceeds in a different location."

    Nobody here could agree more. (16 Aug 14)
                                               "Quotes Of The Day"  

    "I see the new reader poll question online at the Herald Standard asks readers
    if  Vince was right to give a professional a copy of Crabtree's design for a
    second opinion."
    Dave, reading online, this afternoon at the diner

    "Let me know when they ask for readers to guess how many times Al has lied
    to the public and withheld information from his peers and public."
    Pete's opinionated wife

    "Let me know if and when they ask if their writer was out of line double
    teaming the assistant."

    "Will you people stop talking about this? The jail is being built in Dunbar
    Township, so get over it already!"
    Unnamed guy, sometimes seen hanging out elsewhere with Commissioner Al

    "Guess someone hasn't heard, huh?"
    Dave, replying to a visibly stunned Unnamed, but looking at Pete while
    speaking, as Pete's opinionated wife then brought Unnamed up to speed


    IT Director resigns
    County meeting agenda online
    The agenda for Tuesday's county commission meeting is posted online for
    anyone wishing to review it.

    Nothing jail related appears. A good number of routine social and behavioral
    service contracts will be discussed.

    Also, on the agenda is that the commissioners are being asked to accept the
    resignation of the county director of Informational Technology, effective 6
    days from today. Lets hope that he was planning to depart for a wonderful,
    new job and that his being placed in the spotlight recently, after following
    directives from Commissioner Al Ambrosini to allow the fiscal contractor
    access to the county's financial and staff records, has nothing to do with his

    Not on the agenda is an item many so wish is included on Tuesday:
    replacement of the county commission chairman.

    More lawsuits coming Alfie's way?

    While word was received here that a powerhouse lawyer has been obtained
    to file another jail-related lawsuit against the County of Fayette, readers,
    naturally, are also curious about a much different matter -- i.e., whether
    Thursday's alleged actions of the county commish chair against another
    commissioner's assistant will draw an employee harassment suit against

    Readers by the score, empathetic to the assistant, have written in to
    express their outrage in Thursday's matter. No matter the political party or
    side of an issue anyone calling the county office, readers always
    commented that the assistants to the two commissioners have always
    been most respectful and professionally polite.

    That said, RANTS that it does not appear that common courtesy and
    respect were in the air two days ago. Overwhelming public opinion, so far,
    is that the assistant reportedly put through the grinder Thursday in the
    commish chair's office should take legal action against him. Some also feel
    that the paper is equally at fault.

    Whether the assistant ends up filing grievances or a lawsuit against the
    commish chair is unknown. If the paper has an audio recording of the two-
    hour interview, it's time to publish that link for us to hear.

    Whether readers threatening to cancel subscriptions or chose to advertise
    elsewhere over the matter actually do as they say they will is not the point.

    Publishing an audio link to the interview, if one such exists, would be the
    right thing to do. (16 Aug 14)


    Zap: doesn't believe Alfie's jail
    is the one Fay needs
    Commissioner Vince Zapotosky told WMBS talk radio listeners today that
    he is now willing to explore other jail options, including keeping the
    location of the jail downtown.

    "We need to come up with a plan that fits the needs of Fayette County," he

    While he acknowledged that he voted all along for Ambrosini's jail plan,
    Zapotosky said he previously "did what I thought was in the best interests
    of the county at the time."

    At the current time, however, he no longer is convinced that the plan that
    Ambrosini wants built is what the county needs.

    Undoubtedly, his live statements aired today had to have caused after
    lunch heartburn for some. That's OK; they'll get over it. (15 Aug 14)


    Alfie bullies Vince's assistant
    for 2-hour "interrogation"
    This afternoon Commissioner Vince Zapotosky and his assistant, Kathy
    Winkler, took to the air on the WMBS radio talk show to explain what
    Commissioner Al Ambrosini shamefully did yesterday to her.

    According to Winkler, she was asked yesterday to enter Ambrosini's office to
    speak to him. When she entered, she said that she found Ambrosini and
    Herald Standard writer, Patty Yauger, inside, asking her if she knew a man in
    a courthouse security video leaving the building on July 30, with what we've
    learned were drawings of the proposed new jail.

    When Winkler wanted to leave the room, she said that Ambrosini reportedly
    said that "he would take care of me with my job...I wouldn't lose my job."

    During what Zapotosky told radio listeners was a two-hour long period of
    "interrogation" of his assistant by Ambrosini and the writer, Winkler
    reportedly was repeatedly asked about the plans that Zapotosky freely admits
    he obtained for a West Virginia man to offer a second opinion on the jail

    Zapotosky described the two-hour ordeal in Ambrosini's office and the
    emotional impact it had on his assistant as "a form of harassment." He said to
    the radio audience that he does not approve of the "approach of journalism"
    that his assistant felt pressured to endure.

    RANTS that Winkler was bullied in such a pathetically bold way for a
    sensational type of story that appeared in today's paper. RAVES of hope that
    she tells him to 'shove it' if he ever tries that kind of crap again.

    Because Ambrosini's term can't end soon enough for this writer, may the
    other 2 commissioners unseat him on Tuesday from the commission chair. A
    message was left for Ms. Yauger at the paper, requesting comment. To follow.
    (15 Aug 14)

                      "Quotes Of The Day"
    "It's official now! Alfie turned Vince into the Ethics Commission. Wow!"
    Pete, this morning at the diner, reading the Herald Standard online that the
    commish chair cut loose the second seat commissioner for giving a set of jail
    building drawings to a West Virginia contractor who donated to both their
    campaigns... thus, confirming rumors circulating for a week that this pay back
    was coming, following the second commissioner's public disagreement that
    the chair had leaked the county's unpublished and unauthorized legal notice to
    seek jail construction bids to regional construction publications ahead of time

    "Figures! The first scoop the paper got with Right To Know lead had to come
    from a directive or tip from Alfie to cut Vince off at the knees."
    Dave, in response, commenting as he read that the two male commissioners
    previously met twice for lunch with that same West Virginia contractor


    Inferior products used in Crabtree's $50 M
    Connellsville High School renovation/addition

    RANTS that inferior quality building supply products were used in the $50
    million dollar 2013 renovation and new addition to the Connellsville Area
    High School.

    With the new school year starting in just 11 days,  the district will move
    quickly to have the top level of concrete surfaces that softened in the rear
    of the building ground down, replaced with a product 5 times stronger than
    concrete and topped with a sealer coat.

    Also needing redone is the repainting of the ceiling over a 1-year-old
    swimming pool with a better quality paint. This is horribly sickening news,

    Nobody's saying just yet whether the district or the builders will have to
    fund the projects do-overs. RANTS if more public money is used to fund
    any corrections for problems that should not have happened in the first
    place. Shouldn't someone have known in 2013 that a product 5 times
    stronger than concrete was needed when the plans were developed?

    Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates of  Mechanicsburg designed and
    constructed the $50 million dollar project last year, as per that company's
    website. CenterPoint Engineering, coincidentally (wink, wink), also of
    Mechanicsburg, was the project engineer.  

    Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, of course, is quite a familiar name
    with readers, as it is the firm that has been paid over $1 million dollars to
    date for designs for the proposed new Fayette County jail.  (14 Aug 14)
    Alfie's central court: why wouldn't
    the judge comment?

    RANTS that red flags must be raised when hearing that the county president
    judge won't comment until plans are actually developed on Commissioner Al
    Ambrosini's plan to create a central court to begin operating as early as

    Given that Ambrosini's plan is to have county preliminary hearings held in
    a matter of a few weeks in a yet to be renovated downtown building for the
    next 2 years, and given how poorly the last 2 years of jail planning has
    gone, one can't help but understand why the judge deferred comment.

    While Fayette has 7 designated and 6 operating (1 vacancy) district
    magistrate offices where county preliminary hearings are held, Ambrosini's
    plan is to move preliminary hearings downtown. Preliminary hearings, as
    per the state's website, are held from 3-10 days after an arrest, unless
    continued, or unless the defendant wavies that hearing to go straight to
    commonwealth court.

    Does Ambrosini's plan include moving all  preliminary hearings to that
    central court? Or will this affect only the cases involving incarcerated
    defendants who did not post bail? Or will Ambrosini's court only be held
    for defendants who were charged by state police and not by township or
    city police?

    Will driving to a central court from outlying areas of the county cause some
    witnesses not to want to bother to offer testimony unless under subpoena?
    Will district magistrates be included to offer input in this change? Will one
    court be able to coordinate and handle a workload that 7 district courts now
    process? Are all 3 county commissioners involved in making this change?

    Red flags, yes, can't help but be raised in this matter that plans couldn't
    have been discussed thoroughly enough if a president judge isn't
    comfortable enough to offer any comment. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
    have central courts, but have any other counties pursued this concept?

    Hopefully, better minds than Ambrosini's are providing input and planning.
    The public has little to no faith that anything he imagines and develops is
    feasible.  (13 Aug 14)

    Editor's Note: While a correction came in late afternoon from the minority
    commissioner that 4 of those 6 below mentioned counties polled by the
    county chief clerk employ no controller, 4 out of 6 in our book here still
    makes the statement worthy of the designation of being noted as a "Best
    Laugh Of The Day."
       "Best Laugh Of The Day"
    "The other statement made by (Commissioner Al) Ambrosini is that he had
    (Chief Clerk Amy) Revak poll other counties... 6 of the 67 counties
    responded... all 6 counties do not have their controller perform this function.
    Those 6 counties do not have Controllers!"
    Commissioner Zimmerlink, again today, commenting online at the local
    paper, adding that one employee, who Ambrosini named yesterday as having
    access removed to the county fiscal information, wrote today to the
    commissioners that she had only one single instance  of being blocked out of
    the system because she was working from at home in the evening.
               "Quotes Of The Day"

    "Perhaps the question should be why does Ambrosini (and he says Zapotosky
    agrees) want sole discretion on who has access to the financial ledgers of the

    "Ambrosini maintained that he did not make an arbitrary decision that would
    allow Lynch unrestricted access to the system, but instead to have Holbert
    restore his access that was withdrawn by Wrona."
    Herald Standard article, "Fayette County acting controller, commissioner
    allege breach of financial system"

    "Mr. Ambrosini told me to give (Lynch) what he needs. He just said he did
    not have access and he needed access to do something. I should have asked
    the other two commissioners.”
    County Information Technology Director Kebin Holbert, commenting to the

    “The system should be secure. (Employees) changing a light bulb is one
    thing. If it's the financial store, that's something different. ... Kebin was taken
    advantage of because he was told to do something. He listened to a boss,
    instead of bosses.”
    Commissioner Vince Zapotosky, commenting in the Trib piece, "Investigation
    urged of security breach in Fayette County computer system"


    Allowed fiscal planner access to staff records
    Audacious Al puts county at
    risk of staff lawsuits
    RANTS that Commission Al Ambrosini audaciously made the unwise decision
    to designate full access permission to the county's contracted financial
    planner without approval of a commission majority.

    RAVES to the acting controller for jumping on the issue, bringing it to the
    attention of the minority commissioner. The contracted fiscal planner,
    reportedly, thus had access to county employee files, courtesy of
    Ambrosini's poorly made decision a few months ago.

    RANTS that Ambrosini, without commission majority approval, reportedly
    gave the sole go ahead to remove access control from the acting controller
    and assign it to the county informational tech staff. Why? Because he had
    the county chief clerk poll 6 other counties to learn who performs those
    duties elsewhere. No kidding!

    RANTS that this latest back room decision made audaciously by one man
    has potential to put the county at risk from lawsuits from county workers.
    RANTS that this real possibility never once crossed Ambrosini's mind.

    RANTS because January of 2016 cannot come soon enough. Ambrosini is
    waaaay  too much of a liability for this county. He simply does not think
    clearly. (12 Aug 14)

    Audacious Al attempts to add
    last minute jail agenda items

    RANTS that Commissioner Al Ambrosini didn't have much to say yesterday at
    the Election Board meeting, but today had the brazen audacity to try to sneak
    non-emergency, jail-related items onto the county agenda list for the next

    Given that the commish pulled out 1990s speaking time limits and pre-
    registration requirements days ahead to speak for mere citizens to abide
    by -- and especially given that he childishly pounded his gavel, abruptly left
    a county meeting and whined and didn't want to return to finish the
    meeting because he felt citizens weren't playing by his rules -- his actions
    today prove, once again, how out of touch he arrogantly is with the people
    he serves.

    Some mail critical of this column came in back then, blasting opinion here
    that Ambrosini would not be able to live by and with the same, strict rules
    that he commanded of the public to pre-register to speak. I was plum
    wrong, one said. Ha!

    Why is it that his now dwindled-down, bare bones number of fan club
    members still can't admit that he is out of control? He proved us right
    again here today by trying unsuccessfully to pull such an arrogant fast one
    with the agenda.  

    RAVES to a new majority that did not allow him to succeed today. RAVES,
    RAVES! (12 Aug 14)

    Masontown didn't matter much, it seems

    RANTS that a former county administrative assistant and Masontown council
    member is charged with thieving $1,600 from Masontown Matters, a
    volunteer community improvement group. RANTS also that a second person
    reportedly helped her out by generating a bogus bank statement to hide the
    missing funds.

    RANTS that so many incidents such as this one happen. Even if full
    restitution is made, it's still a crime.


    County goes to court unprepared for
    jail land use appeal

    Visiting Senior Judge William Ober sent those gathered today in the matter of
    citizens wishing to combine their zoning land use appeals and to stop the
    county from intervening in its appeal home early since the county came to
    court with incomplete paperwork . The latter part of that case, of course,
    resulted when the two groups of citizens raised the issue that the county
    commish chair, alone as a private citizen, filed for the zoning special
    exception and usage 3 months ago.

    While there were no objections for the two groups of citizens to combine
    their cases, Ober took no action on the county's intervention motion since
    he found that the county solicitors had not completed all of the county's
    court paperwork.

    As per John Cofchin, one of four individuals comprising the first zoning
    appeal group, the judge opted for a public Status Hearing today instead of
    a traditional private meeting because the case is of great interest to the

    Ober will continue and reschedule after the county does its paperwork. No
    kidding. How embarrassing, eh?  (11 Aug 14)

                             "Quotes Of The Day"
    "Pretty odd that the Dem commissioners followed the law by scheduling an
    election board hearing today to hear Connellsville's request to put a
    referendum on the ballot, but, like scared bullies, blew off the Referendum
    Pete, back on solid foods now after dental surgery, this morning at the diner,
    referring to the request of the city council to have a referendum to allow
    voters decide to keep a paid (1 person) fire department

    "Maybe the two learned from past mistakes?"
    Waitress, who isn't registered to vote but signed candidate nominating
    petitions in the past election for two unsuccessful wannabe candidates


    Gas up the car!
    Al  needs another road trip to Franklin  
    With delusional dollar signs in his eyes, Fayette County Commission
    Chairman Al Ambrosini blindly leads the jail debate with his hyped but weak
    stand that Fayette can rent its extra cells to other counties. He, realistically,
    needs to take a long look at Franklin County's situation prior to counting his
    chickens before they hatch.  

    Last we checked in with Franklin County at the end of 2013, that relatively
    new county jail had 80 empty spaces, even though it opened its doors to
    renting out cages to other counties. In 2010, that county had taken in
    about $900,000 in cage rentals.

    Today, a count of Franklin's prisoners in its 468-bed facility is 437,
    including 11 from other counties and 11 more waiting for a transfer to state

    If there's such an open market for renting out cages, as Ambrosini deludes
    himself into thinking there is, why isn't Franklin full to capacity with
    revenue generating rentals?

    Why wasn't it full another 80 more prisoners then in late 2013? Franklin's
    Crabtree-designed new jail is certainly pretty enough that other counties
    should be flocking to its doors with their excess prisoners. Why hasn't that
    consistently happened to a greater extent, however?

    Also, it must be emphasized that there are online comments documented
    that bringing in prisoners from way outside the county jail system there
    hurt the jail's budget because its staff was transporting across state for
    hearings. With Ambrosini and  other making such stink about the liability
    with driving our inmates to other jails, how would it sit with them if they
    had to drive to the eastern part of the state for hearings as Franklin has

    While Ambrosini took a bus load of county reps with him to tour Franklin 2
    years ago, he blindly ignored the warden's primary messages. Franklin
    County ignored developers' suggestions to build a larger jail for 600
    prisoners, and instead started a Day Reporting Center for 129 admissions.
    This is over twice the number that Fayette opted to serve when our DRC
    opened last year. Why was that?

    Building smaller -- and not building a larger jail for 600 that planners
    recommended -- saved Franklin County over $10 million dollars in
    construction and $3 million in annual operation costs, as per this referenced
    case study. The Franklin warden had nothing but praise for its alternative
    sentencing program when he commented here.

    With its DRC opened now for 8 years, Franklin's own jail population has
    been  consistently around or under 400, the number of prisoners its
    crowded, old jail housed before the new jail opened.

    Franklin County made a wise decision to serve the needs of its own
    citizens by starting a large DRC to reduce recidivism down to about 18
    percent, as compared to 47.8 percent with those with traditional parole

    Expansion of the DRC continues to be what Fayette needs instead of an all-
    new 480 bed jail and memorial shrine to the Dem commissioners.

    Franklin County's numbers prove that Ambrosini's delusional, eccentric
    money-making scheme and planning process, indeed, all ran pathetically

    Likewise, our other 2 commissioners need to tackle and stop him.  (10 Aug


    Parvo epidemic at the pound

    While we were thrilled to learn recently that all 300+ animals made it out of
    the disastrous fire that swept through Living Treasurers, RANTS that now the
    pooches at the county SPCA are pitifully dying, or have already died from
    parvo. RANTS that the situation is so bleak that the kennel was placed under
    a quarantine order, unable to take in or adopt out any animals, for the time

    Readers without any pooches at home thinking of adopting a pet are urged
    to step up and adopt a pooch who survives parvo treatment, should those
    pets become available for adoption.

    Pooh Dog, a stray pup found off Gallatin Avenue in an extreme snow
    storm, came to my home that way, once upon a time. The twitch he had in
    his shoulder as a result of the parvo almost disappeared a few years later,
    when the frail doberwoman, Lady, also joined our family.

    Pooh and Lady made a great, comical Mutt and Jeff team together,
    standing guard at the crib for the new baby back then, who came after
    them. Both pets bounced back with care and treatment. They were sweet,
    awesome pets, who both lived to the old age of 16.  (10 Aug 14)

    $1.25 M land purchase price not included
    Ambrosini misinforms radio listeners

    While the 2013 Crabtree Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study did make
    allowances of $2,700,000 - $3,000,000 dollars for site preparation, contrary to
    what the commish chair thought and expressed yesterday on the radio
    interview, page 5 of the study quite clearly states that the estimated
    $27,116,049 - $31,802,774 project cost does not include site acquisition.

    In other words, once again the commish chair failed to know important, key
    facts of the plan that he, by now, should be so familiar with in detail that he
    should be able to rattle them off in his sleep.  He told radio listeners
    (advance this link to 28:35 for audio) that he thought some of the land
    purchase funds were included in Crabtree's assessment.

    RANTS that listeners in the know wanted to bang their heads listening to
    the misinformation that he passed along. RANTS, too, that the interviewer
    was even less familiar with the plans as was the commish chair. (8 Aug 14)

    Yoi! Local paper says bids haven't yet been

    RANTS  to the local paper for stating in today's story, "Geotechnical study
    recommends soil compaction for new prison site," that "the county has yet to
    solicit bids for the construction."

    As we all know, the solicitation for bids was published in building trades
    publications, bore the name of the county controller without her knowledge
    and solicited $450 from contractors who responded to receive project specs.

    As for the proposed, then cancelled, pre-bid conference that the notice
    stated was to be held yesterday morning at the airport, more than one
    source today reports that there still was a meeting with one contractor off
    site. Why does that not surprise anyone?

    RAVES, however, to the local paper for finally mentioning the dreaded "c"
    word, Caissons, in print, in relation to the type of extraordinary
    construction means necessary to build a heavy 2-story building on such
    inferior ground and wetlands. (8 Aug 14)

    FCPB meeting minutes: no mention of
    adolescent jail, 2nd story added

    RANTS that it seems the first public mention of the new jail having a second
    story and additional other space for a juvenile detention truly was at the
    county planning commission meeting on May 8.

    None of the long-withheld 2014 county prison board meeting minutes,
    published just this week on the county's website, mention that the county
    had opted to add a second story to the adult jail and space to take on kids'
    services at the proposed Dunbar Township facility.

    One would think that information about those important developments
    would have been shared with county prison board members prior to the
    May 8 planning commission meeting.

    Why wasn't it shared?

    That the county did not disclose these significant pieces of information
    prior to the planning commission meeting 3 months ago, and hasn't
    mentioned any further information about developing kids' services seems
    more than a bit odd to one nearby county's juvenile justice staff.

    "If your county thinks it can merely warehouse kids, it's badly mistaken,"
    the administrator said.  (8 Aug 14)
                                          "Quotes Of The Day"
    "Alfie said on the radio today that it was all kosher with the ad in the trades
    rooms because  no specs were published -- you know, as though the real legal
    notice, when it's published, will have that information. You don't get that
    information unless you're a contractor who pays the $450 fee."
    Pete, today from home, nursing a tooth root canal

    "He thinks people are stupid."
    Pete's grandson, turning 18 soon and very eager to vote, referring to the
    commish chair

    "Maybe they will release the specs in the real legal notice in the paper, you
    know, just to make it look good!"
    Pete's older grandson
    Jail zoning appeals: Monday, 1 PM, Courtroom 3

    For those curious as to when the court is going to be in session on the jail
    zoning land use appeals, one party involved this morning said that it appears
    there may be some movement on this early next week. More later.

    What's on Al's mind?

    RANTS that Commissioner Al Ambrosini continues to ignore the immediate
    needs of the county jail inmates by stubbornly refusing to implement
    treatment programs NOW. His attitude is a real slap in the face to the inmates
    currently held in the downtown jail and also to the professionals who could be
    helping now.

    For instance, does it really matter if a chaplain or therapist is trying to
    reach an inmate in a new room or old one? Maybe in Ambrosini's mind, but
    not in the real world.    

    RANTS most of all, though, that Ambrosini stupidly continues to see the
    problem as an all or nothing situation. Is he the only person breathing air
    simple enough, who believes that even 1 person out there exists who
    wants to "do nothing" about the current overcrowding issue?

    Oh, please!

    What a waste of radio time today hearing the same BS! With all the
    planning going into the hour, I would have hoped that he would have said
    something worthwhile.

    To listen to the hour-long WMBS interview and hear first hand all of the
    hoopla, please click on the yellow colored banner at the top of this piece to
    learn of more incorrect information floating around inside Ambrosini's mind.

    He's a real hoot and handful, folks -- especially concerning his ever changing,
    exaggerated numbers for transportation costs for prisoners and his piss-poor
    regurgitation of an excuse, about why a notice published without a
    controller's knowledge and without 2-3 commissioners approving its
    advertisement is legal.

    Can January of 2016 come soon enough? (7 Aug 14)

    Another heroin addict in the county jail?

    A good thing that state police noted in media reports that a man arrested,
    after eluding police and going into a stand off before being captured, had in
    his possession a hypodermic needle and a spoon. He's now said to be in the
    county lock up. Lets hope that his possible withdrawl soon from drugs will be
    noted in his jail processing record.  (7 Aug 14)

    Fayette lock up: so many staff issues

    RANTS that the long withheld, newly published county prison board meeting
    minutes from March-June make reference to what seems to be an excessive
    number of  instances of staff problems, disciplinary action taken and
    employees needing employee assistance programs (mental health/D&A).

    Reading through those minutes, and considering how small the overall
    staff size is, it's easy to wonder if we shouldn't be shutting down Fayette's
    current jail completely tomorrow and sending all inmates out?

    The $12-17 per day per inmate we're "saving" for housing inmates in the
    county jail here really cannot be worth keeping it open, with its same
    ongoing, internal problems.  (6 Aug 14)

    More on Alfie's fuzzy math

    RAVES to readers, who often ask the question here, about the actual cost to
    keep an inmate housed inside our Fayette lock up. At the April county prison
    board meeting, a commissioner asked the jail warden that very question.

    That a commissioner had to ask that question, in itself, is quite unsettling,
    given that these are the minds  -- i.e., the commissioners -- making
    important decisions about Fayette's huge debt coming down the pike with
    a new jail.

    RANTS of the ever most disappointing kind that at this point in time
    spending public money, a commissioner needed to ask that question. It's
    absolutely mind boggling.

    Nonetheless, as per the April meeting minutes, the cost given per day to
    house an inmate at the 126-year-old jail is $48. We pay up to $60-65 per day
    to other counties to house those inmates we can't accommodate because the
    current jail is full.

    Hypothetically speaking, if the current jail magically could house all of
    Fayette's inmates and none needed to be transferred to other jails, we're
    saving $12-17 per day per inmate. Big woop, since more staff would have
    to be hired to accommodate the needs of 40-50 prisoners at home.

    RANTS because all we hear is it's costing $200,000 per month for those we
    ship out to other counties. Wrong. Way wrong!   (5 Aug 14)

    Alfie blames everyone but himself... film at 11

    RANTS that Commissioner Alfie Ambrosini whines a blue streak and blames
    others for his own stupid mistakes. He whines about being stopped in his
    tracks and now having to delay to advertise bids properly. Who but Alfie was
    responsible for publishing a notice with a controller's name attached, county
    project bid numbers without legal approval from 2-3 commissioners? Who
    gave that info with county bid numbers on it and the prepared legal notice to
    Crabtree for publication in building trade sites without a second signature?
    Sure wasn't the other 2 commissioners.

    RANTS, 30 months now into the job, that Alfie still hasn't taken time to read
    county codes yet and still has no clue how to do things legally, properly and
    ethically for this county.

    RANTS that Alfie accepts no ownership of his own wrong doings and
    mistakes.  (5 Aug 14)
                                                 "Quote Of The Day"
    "I've heard alot of legal double talk in my time, but this one takes the cake."
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, commenting on statements released from
    the county jail architect and county commish chair, defending their placement
    in building trade publications of the notice seeking bids without prior
    approval from 2 commissioners

    Editor's Note: In the wee hours, an email came in from Commissioner Vince
    Zapotosky. Below is the unedited, actual  comment:

    vzapotosky <>
    Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    I did not attend Prison Advisory Group for more than 5 minutes in fact the
    last meeting my colleague commissioner joined me I did the speaking but it
    was brief. It can months more but want to get right now and 10,20 years
    from. To heck with politics let's get it done. I know this won't read or plat
    well with your readers but I am just trying to do my best. Take care and
    God Bless you and your family and readers.

                                        "More Quotes Of The Day"

    "No, you're wrong. I would vote for Zapotosky next year if he halts the jail
    from being built there and looks again at those 2 other jail alternatives as
    viable options. Not because it's a political thing, but it's the right thing....
    They say Zimmerlink doesn't want to build a jail. Her idea would have solved
    the problem of farming out inmates 6 months after she proposed it last fall."
    Pete, to someone from a labor union, on the other side of the counter

    "So if he changed his mind from building an all new jail in Dunbar Township,
    you would vote for him?"
    That guy across the counter, to Pete

    Pete, replying, with a serious, straight face... and dropping mouths of a few
    regulars, who, clearly, clearly, were shocked and silently stunned, by Pete's
    admission his first few words into it

    "It was more than some of them could handle," Dave's wife later wrote to me.
    She was amazed by the number of people who agreed with Pete. With
    limitations, though. She stressed that none are willing to wait till after
    elections for alternative jail plans within Fayette's fiscal means to be
    discussed.  There were other considerations, too. More on that to come.
    Does this mean we'll get a foot of snow?
    FCPB 2014 meeting minutes finally published

    RAVES that 6-month-old county prison board meeting minutes have finally,
    finally become available for public reading on the county's website. Thanks to
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for sending the directive to have those
    meeting minutes published today. None had been posted to the county site
    since January's meeting minutes were approved.

    Read away, folks.
                                         "Quotes Of The Day"
    "So I wonder if Ambrosini will still hold that 'pre-bid conference' on
    Thursday at 10 AM at the airport for the jail bids?
    Pete, today at the diner, regarding the fact that the county commish chair
    advertised a notice in building trades publications, against county code
    without the blessing and prior approval of 2-3 commissioners, seeking bids
    and offering a conference for potential construction company staff wanting to
    bid on the job

    "Wouldn't it be interesting if someone from the Attorney General's office
    dropped by to meet and greet them?"
    Dave, in response

    "The 'notice' bears a date of July 1 on it and says bidders may obtain bidding
    information from Tom Crabtree, starting on or after July 25. Why didn't the
    commissioners discuss this publicly at July's meeting? How long has the
    notice been published with the trades groups? I'm surprised the acting
    controller hasn't screamed about her name being attached to that unofficial,
    illegal notice."
    Pete's wife

    "I would be calling the Attorney General myself if I were her."
    Dave's wife

    Transporting inmates: FACT says no

    Today Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink stated here that she received written
    confirmation from the Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation that no
    prisoners are transported to or from out of county jails in that agency's

    However, other sources insist that this did occur. More to come. (4 Aug 14)

    Jail construction bid info
    Is it stupidity or bid rigging?

    That he allowed the notice required by law to have approval of 2-3
    commissioners to be leaked for publication without proper approval and
    proper advertisement is probably the most stupid thing that Commissioner Al
    Ambrosini has done in office.

    That the county already is receiving checks from contractors without legal
    bids being sought properly reeks to high heaven.

    Why should professional contractors in Florida, Maryland, Altoona,
    Harrisburg, Arkansas and Georgia be privy to project details before the
    authorization to seek bids and legally advertise the proper way was given?
    Why the compulsion to rush the proper process?

    Commissioner Ambrosini said long ago that he knows who he wants to
    build the jail. Was he just speaking in terms of the architect and engineer,
    whose services are considered to be professional services exempt from

    Perhaps he has no specific contractor in mind and will end up doing things
    the proper way.

    Right now, however, the situation reeks of contamination from attempts to
    allow bid rigging. May that cloud of disgusting possibilities soon be gone,
    by having the county back paddle and seek bids the proper way. (4 Aug 14)

    Editor's Note: Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink confirmed today that one
    contractor has already submitted a non-refundable $450 check to the
    architect to announce that he intends to bid some of the jail construction

    So much for contractors waiting for the legal bid notice to be published the
    right way, so much for the commish chair  doing things properly and so
    much for the press not calling him out on it. For her email here today, we
    thank her, and, thus, include part of her released comment to the paper

                                                       "Quotes of the Day"
    "Too often lies are said, false information is stated and subsequently printed
    without confirmation about their new jail and this is another one of those
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, reacting to consequences of the draft legal
    notice sent to publications without proper county approval and the media's
    take on it. She referenced emails circulated with a public legal notice
    attached without proper county approval. While the county commish chair,
    chief county clerk, solicitor, architect, jail warden and deputy warden were
    included in that decision, and contents of the unauthorized notice were stated
    in the paper, she and the second commissioner were excluded from the
    information sharing process.

    "The question is was this reporter told the contents of the Notice and by
    whom? If I am correct, and I believe I am, then the person or persons who
    told the reporter the contents of the Notice did so without full disclosure and
    actually falsely because as I said the Notice states the date, time and place of
    the bid opening."
    Zimmerlink, continuing in her previously referenced thoughts

    Alfie alone knew jail preview leaked to contractors

    RANTS -- with all of the public meetings and the ability with modern
    technology to notify someone instantly with messaging, emails, faxes and an
    old communication tool called the telephone -- that only the county commish
    chair was aware that the jail project architect and engineer leaked advance
    notice to contractors in contractor trade publications that the bidding process
    will be underway shortly.


    And why is it that Commissioner Vince Zapotosky just now is getting ticked
    off that he and the minority commissioner are left out of the informational
    loop? Had the commish chair informed him, would the second commish
    still be annoyed that the minority commish alone might not have known?
    There's a well established chain of documented proof that he never cared
    before that she was ignored in communications with the jail project.

    So why does he now, 21 months into the jail talks, remind the commish
    chair that there are 3 commissioners, not just 1?

    He chose not to take an active part in the past 21 months. He chose not to
    attend the jail ad hoc work group meetings and to make sure he prefaced
    any conversation about why 2 commissioners signed in on a jail ad hoc
    committee sign in sheet -- you know, when possible Sunshine Act
    violations were discussed -- by saying he signed in, said hi and quickly left
    the meeting and provided no input.

    The rest of us know he's there only for the second needed vote on
    anything jail related. By now, he should be used to and quite comfortable in
    the wimpy position that he allowed to be created for him. RANTS that he
    protests now.

    Bids for jail construction still have to be advertised in the newspaper. The
    preview leaked out to the building trades with one commissioner's
    knowledge and approval just notifies the contractors that the bidding
    process is almost set to go. Why can't they wait, however, for the legal
    standard greeting in newspaper ad form?

    Does the architect normally go this preview route for privately funded, large
    construction projects?

    Or is it done only in preview for large public-funded projects? If so, why? To
    get the most bang out of kickback funds possible? Will they ever learn when
    they do things ass backwards, that's exactly what we're bound to assume. (3
    Aug 14)


    RAVES of chuckles from reading the latest online reader poll question in a
    local paper, asking whether county commissioners should fund and build a
    municipal swimming pool for county residents. Surely, they jest!

    Will a full-page pictorial paid ad from politicians and 'citizens for a better
    swimming Fayette' be next?

    County Prison Meeting Minutes: MIA for 7 months!

    RANTS that no county prison board meeting minutes have been published to
    the county's website for 7 months. Why is that? One would think that with the
    big push for the county to spend so much public money on an all new jail that
    these types of meeting minutes would be published just as soon as they are
    approved at the following monthly meeting.

    RANTS because so many readers ask if the county is trying to hide things.
    That is, after all, how reasonable people tend to think when government
    isn't as open as it should be. Seven months, yes, that's awfully shameful.

    50,000 gallons of raw sewage per day expected
    Dunbar Twp taking public comments on new jail

    Fayette County is submitting a Sewage Facilities Planning Module for the
    construction of the proposed new county jail.
    A legal notice in the paper today states that the facility is "projected to
    generate a maximum flow of 48,900 gallons per day at full capacity that will
    be conveyed to the Dunbar Boro/Twp Sanitary Authority Sewage Treatment
    The project will include a connection to the Dunbar Borough/Township
    Sanitary Authority collection system and a sanitary sewer line extension to
    the jail. A public notice is required since this work will result in a public
    expenditure in excess of $100,000 -- otherwise, would any public notice have
    been published?  
    Publication of the notice kicks off a 30-day public comment and review
    period. A copy of the Sewage Facilities Planning Module can be reviewed
    during regular business hours at the Dunbar Township Municipal Building,
    128 Township Drive, Dunbar and at the county courthouse. Written comments
    will be accepted at the Dunbar Township Municipal Building until Saturday,
    August 30, 2014.
    FACT transports Fay inmates to, from other jails?

    Since the below piece was published questioning the commish chair's math
    skills, a few sources have been in touch to say that county jail staff have
    driven Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation buses with  shackled inmates
    in street clothes to out of county jails for his or her incarcerations.
    Commissioners have been asked to comment and clarify if the county jail
    needs to have, or already has a contract with FACT to drive and use the buses.
    More on this later. (1 Aug 14)

    Why is Alfie so mathematically challenged?

    RAVES to County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for telling the county
    commish chair that she would like to see documentation that out of county
    cage rentals cost $200,000 per month. Given that about $87,000 was spent last
    month on out of county cage rentals, the commish chair's math would put
    transportation costs for those prisoners housed elsewhere at a staggering rate
    of $112,600.

    Possibly, all of the rest of us are in the wrong business and should be
    bolting to price vans and the cost of rented armed guards. All 54 prisoners
    housed elsewhere can't possibly be costing us that much in
    transportation.  Not even by Alfie's gross math miscalculations or his gross
    exaggerations can this be remotely true.

    Hypothetically, lets pretend that all 54 prisoners were transported out (or
    back, or just one way) all in the same month. A jail source says that has
    never happened, but lets pretend it's the norm. That would put the 54 runs
    at an average cost of $2,085, for anywhere from an hour to 6-7 hours of
    work per staff, depending on whether prisoners are en route to the next
    county or a few hours distance.

    Now lets also pretend that all 54 housed elsewhere needed two-way or
    return transportation all in the same month. Gas up the van for 108 trips at
    an average cost then of $1,042.50.

    As per Alfie's math, the county last month spent a whopping $3,753 daily for
    transportation out, back or both. Why doesn't he see that this "fact" is so off
    the wall, ridiculously exaggerated?  

    Yes, Alfie needs to show the minority commissioner and the rest of us proof
    that it cost $3,753 per day last month for transportation. Courthouse staff
    should expect an exceptionally long line outside Alfie's office tomorrow of
    private transportation reps willing to travel with armed guards for far less.  (1
    Aug 14)

    RANTS to having to hand pick 2-hour-old, unmelted hail from the garden
    and plants following this evening's rare summer hail storm. While the hail
    more rapidly melted from stone patio and concrete sidewalk areas, its
    damage was limited to the plants and pinged vehicles. RAVES, however,
    that this Wednesday evening hail storm was not strong enough to topple
    trees or rip roofs.  (30 Jul 14)

    County took 1 year to fix AC in metal jail annex

    RANTS to one of the most disgusting pieces of 100 percent factual county
    information to come down the pike in a while or three.

    RANTS that it took one year to replace a $12,000 air conditioning system in
    a 100-degree jail annex.

    For a county government, so often infamously known by reputation for its
    asinine-made, snap decisions that waste beaucoup bucks without real logic
    or due diligence, all involved county officials aware of this pathetic year-
    long situation should be ashamed.

    Why, it was nearly one year ago when we started hearing about how
    uncomfortably hot and stifling the historic stone jail is in the summer. How
    could anyone, in good conscience, involved in the day to day operations of
    the metal jail annex, not react sooner than one year to fix the problem?

    Not to piss anyone off, but the question must be asked where was the
    guard union in all this? Why didn't the union rep attend a county meeting
    to complain about the air conditioning in the metal jail annex being broke
    down for one year?

    Next, does the chaplain visit the annex? Then there's Commissioner Vince
    Zapotosky, who said he was inside the jail annex several times in the past
    month. Did he inform his fellow commissioners that county workers were
    too busy to tend to the broken down jail annex air conditioning system for
    the last year?

    The situation also begs to ask whether the county maintenance head
    complained to the commissioners that his current number of staff couldn't
    get to all key repair jobs.

    The county majority made the conscious decision last year not to improve
    conditions of the historic stone county jail. That's a whole different story,

    Anyone in the last year, who was aware of the situation at the metal jail
    annex and took no action, is at fault for allowing it to continue to a
    ridiculously long time.

    So far, that group is known to include the warden and the one

    Why the big deal to spend a little under $12,000 for an outside repairman to
    tend to the metal structure's air conditioning?

    Why did anyone charged with the safety of staff and prisoners allow the
    problem to go on inside a 100-degree metal jail building for one year?  (30
    Jul 14)

    Editor's notes: Three things to pass along... The county airport engineer
    from Baker Engineering confirmed today that the projected goal in the
    master plan is to increase the number of take offs and landings at the local
    airport by 4,000 per month over the next 20 years. We thank her for
    clarifying that goal.

    Secondly, for those Dems concerned that you won't have alternatives in the
    next county commish race, please take some comfort in knowing that some
    are stepping forward and organizing with campaign managers to seek office.
    More on this when they are ready to make their formal announcements.

    Lastly, for clarification sake: The recent RTK answer provided an airport
    grant application for $2 million, signed in 2012 by the commish chair. The
    recent $1 million gift from Daddy Warbucks is the match for that other $1
    million of that OLD grant money that the former airport manager applied for
    two years ago. The county's $1 million part of that grant was funded through a
    state budget line item and is to be used specifically for the purposes intended.
    That money sits available through 2015 before it would have magically
    disappeared if unused. The new gift offer as a match makes it possible now to
    use the OLD money lying around for the intended purposes. (30 Jul 14)

    RAVES that public access to Protection From Abuse order information is
    again open -- i.e., except to restrictive cases protected by special court
    order, which is the way it is supposed to be. If a Trib writer hadn't asked
    about why the PFA information had suddenly last week become off limits
    information in hardcopy form in the courthouse, would we have even
    known this change had ever happened?

    RANTS because all the reasoning behind the on, off, then on again reversal
    of the information being available to the public doesn't seem to matter
    much. Many people will tend, of course, to imagine that the information
    suddenly was kept from reporters or the general public to hide a particular
    name or two from the public.

    Even if it genuinely is not the case here, all of the moves only reinforce
    that suspicion and distrust in the integrity of government and the lack of
    wisdom and reasoning in flawed, paid legal advice. (30 Jul 14)     
             "Quotes Of The Night"
    "Are you entering the county's contest to "Name the street" for the jail?"
    Dave, to a high school teen sitting with his mother at the diner

    "No. I'm moving away after college. I'm not paying for that jail!"
    17-year-old future economics and business major

    Jail geo-technical land survey: final
    copy same as draft

    Today confirmation was sent here of emails between the county jail
    engineering firm and the minority county commissioner, stating that there
    were no changes in the dismal draft land survey and the final version.

    In other words, the nasty pyrite levels remain at a whopping 4 times the
    preferred level for building without first sinking a fortune into the land to
    stabilize it and make it solid.

    RANTS that the majority doesn't work as hard as the minority
    commissioner does for the public. Can you imagine how pretty Fayette
    might be sitting at this point in time if only they did? (29 Jul 14)

                     "Quote Of The Day"

    "You shouldn't criticize the airport's master plan goal to have 4,000 more take
    offs and landings in 20 years than it has today. Sure they can -- please hear
    me out -- extend a runway to 4,400 feet and extend a taxiway to accommodate
    larger aircraft, build and fill more T-hangers and corporate hangers, acquire
    property in the FAA runway protection zone, replace lighting, upgrade the
    fuel pump facility to 24-hour service and improve perimeter security. Geez,
    that's really the easy part. They got over the stubborn hurdle, by ignoring or
    swaying some tenants who didn't want to lose their current hangers to
    progress and be displaced."
    Pete, today at the diner, commenting to a skeptic seated in Dave's usual spot

    Editor's note: clarification was requested from the county airport engineer
    about that 4,000 more number targeted with the master plan. Clarification was
    requested to learn if that refers to 4,000 more per month or year, or is it a
    projected total increase overall in 20 years, etc.

    What? Terrorists have no fake IDs?

    Belated RAVES to the courthouse staff, who passed our test 4 days ago by
    accepting a dropped off envelope for someone without requiring the new
    security form to be completed. Yes, yes, yes, all too well, we know that there
    are evil and cowardly anonymous people out there, who threaten or intend

    However, lets cut to the real Fayette chase and call the new security
    procedure what it really is -- i.e., a means of tracking messages or
    envelopes to a certain courthouse official.

    RANTS, overall, though, because the naive new policy overlooks the
    simple, basic fact that real terrorists or evil minds so unlikely would walk
    into a courthouse with their real photo ID in the first place.  (27 Jul 14)

    But why are jails the new asylums?

    RANTS, as today's Herald Standard reports, that today's jails are considered to be the
    "new asylums," as about 60 percent of our county jail population has some type of
    behavioral health issues.

    RANTS, however, that there's one important fact unmentioned in that assessment.

    The same county behavioral health office, now pushing for a $60 million jail, is the
    very same office that took the state's money, starting in the mid-1990s, to reduce
    state hospital beds and, instead, develop county outpatient services to keep
    people from needing state psych hospital admissions.  

    Prior to that reduction of Fayette's state hospital beds, from 100-120,  down to
    what is about 20 or under in more recent times, it was easier to be admitted to a
    state hospital, whether someone had criminal charges or not.
    Prior to that reduction of Fayette's state hospital beds, from 100-120,  down to
    what is about 20 or under in more recent times, it was easier to be admitted to a
    state hospital, whether someone had criminal charges or not.

    Everyone, back then, involved in the downsizing of some state hospitals and
    transfer of money to the counties to manage their own mentally ill persons in the
    community, knew that jails would become the new asylums if counties did not
    develop, implement and monitor the right programs to target patients from
    becoming lost in the criminal justice system.  

    Everyone.  (27 Jul 14)
    Woman seeks signatures to get on 51st state district race ballot

    Besides readers expressing their appreciation of area musicians and some locals
    sharing their frustration with public officials who lie, cheat and make public
    spectacles of themselves in circus form, the most common complain or thought
    shared here is some people's upset because so few with good public service
    ability want to enter politics.

    For those in the 51st state legislative district who don't even feel like voting
    anymore, perhaps it's worth your while to jaunt over to Byers' Market on Main
    Street in Uniontown to learn more about someone new who wants to be that
    district's next state representative.

    Kathryn Jones of  Uniontown is seeking signatures to get on the ballot. Anyone
    wishing to sign her petition or learn more is asked to do so at the above
    mentioned convenience store or to stop by her home headquarters at 137 Union
    Street, Uniontown, to learn more. The deadline for her to submit her petitions is
    Tuesday. (26 Jul 14)

                        "Quote Of The Day"
    "The county should have sent the senior geotechnical engineer a 'draft' check
    for that report!"
    Pete, at the diner today, listening to the local talk radio show conversation
    about the jail property geo report. The county paid nearly $10,000 for the
    study, which is linked to the county website (and given out in RTK here), still
    in "draft" form.

    "Doesn't matter, Pete. Nothing can change the pyrite levels and important,
    dismal facts. It's a wasteland, no matter how they try to spin it!"
    Dave, in response

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While he has given several
reasons in public meetings why he
withdrew support for the all-new
jail project in Dunbar Township 2
months ago, we
don't hear about those reasons in
many circles.

It would help, certainly, if people
could read about it in the paper.

This week, the commissioner who
withdrew his support for the
Dunbar Township jail project,
commented critically about the
5-month-old geotechnical
engineering report, prepared for
Sleighter Engineering, by
Geo-Mechanics, Inc.

Commissioner Vince Zapotosky's
concern over GMI conducting a
less thorough core sample test
"randomly instead of (core
samples taken by a) grid" is
understandable. An absence of his
stated concern over the
geotechnical survey in the media
is remarkable!

As per page 3 of the GMI report, 31
"standard" test borings were
drilled on the property that the
county wanted to purchase from
Fay Penn for $1.25 million dollars.
Only 9 of those 31 core samples
were drilled on the exact site
where the one-story that became a
proposed 2-story jail was to go.

Feedback received here from
contractors of large, heavy,
multiple-floor industrial buildings
has been a hoot, with most
wondering why the county
would want to proceed on such
troubled land without a "grid"
report and then additional reports.

Readers unsure of the differences
between standard or random core
samples and samples taken on a
grid fashion, please refer to
easy to follow explanation with
diagrams to see how more
thoroughy land is tested by grid.

Is it fair for supporters of the
all-new Dunbar Township jail to
criticize Zapotosky and
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink
for stopping the Dunbar Township
jail and for not wanting to put that
project out to bid legally?

You can't blame the public,
though, if it has not been informed
of very good reasons why this
project in Dunbar Township was
stopped. (15 Oct 14)
A cell at the Beaver County Jail, pictured recently, shows rust and chipped
paint on the bars on the lower right. The jail is about 10 years old.
Something else left out of the papers
about the county agenda planning