Carson's new suit: can the county courthouse
drama, Sansone cases get any weirder than this?
RANTS, because when you think it can't possibly get any weirder at the courthouse, it does. This, we just don't comprehend.
In case of asthmatic inhaler perhaps walked too slowly to inmate
OOR asks senior lawyers to decide Fay's denial to view
RTK prison surveillance video
RAVES that the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has called in its senior legal minds to decide Rants&Raves' appeal of Fayette County's
denial to allow the viewing of prison surveillance video of an inmate in medical distress, bleeding from the mouth, while his asthma inhaler,
reportedly, was too slowly walked to him. .
DA: MIA for 7 months from county prison board meetings
RANTS that Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower apparently is way too busy to attend county prison board meetings now for 7 months.
Bower, the county controller, sheriff, the three county commissioners and Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen comprise the county prison board.
While Bower and Leskinen apparently had business two days ago -- sealing an affidavit of probable cause in a Vanderbilt murder case -- it is
unknown why Bower was again absent from yesterday's prison board meeting.
RAVES of hope that the DA is keeping up on the prison matters and, somehow, staying in the loop and contributing ideas.
Yeah, we know they've all probably had too much forced bonding time together in the past year, in Pittsburgh legal meetings over prison death and
civil rights law suits.
But a no-show for seven consecutive monthly prison board meetings? Not even one instance of him running in late and leaving a prison board
meeting early since February?
RANTS that Fay's DA apparently is too busy for him to actively perform in his role on the county prison board, a seat which county code requires him
to hold. His insights into any patterns or new issues, which only he as lead county criminal prosecutor may encounter, is valuable to the other prison
board members at this time.
RANTS that he's just way too busy. Reading draft meeting minutes later isn't the same. (27 Sept 18)
Thursday's recommended read: "
"Quote Of The Day"
"(She) died slowly overnight in an unmonitored jail cell, deliberately ignored and neglected while screaming in pain and increasingly unable to
A heartbreaking exert from a court complaint, written by Attorney Stephen Stallings, representing the estate of a former Fayette County
Prison inmate, who died in 2015 after being taken to Uniontown Hospital and back to the prison, which resulted in an out of court settlement
for 0,000 for the woman's family;
An exert from a wrongful death lawsuit, which prison sources previously told Rants&Raves resulted after prison staff fell asleep and another
staff tried to cover for the asleep staff
Weak PFA behind Wednesday's mass shooting in Masontown
RAVES that a small town policeman was able to take his shot to stop a mass shooting at the district magistrate's office before it got any worse.
In the aftermath of Wednesday's shooting in the Masontown magistrate's office, Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower was heard trying to
rationalize to WPXI television viewers why the shooter was allowed to keep ownership of his weapons when his wife requested his weapons be
removed under a protection from abuse order due to his homicidal threats to shoot her.
Because both parties and their lawyers agreed to the man being allowed to keep his weapons, Bower told the media.
RANTS that those four and Fayette County Judge Joseph M. George, Jr. agreed to write such a loosely written protection from abuse order, whether
this mass shooting occurred or not.
But that it did occur, however, leaves us with a major weakness in the security link that goes beyond having no metal detectors and searches at the
doors to the magisterial courts. RANTS to a breakdown in common sense behind the writing of this particular PFA. (21 Sept 18)
Another Broken Record "Quote Of The Day," causing a rapid rise in reader neck injuries, from so many shaking
their heads in disbelief, as well as a few reported cases of accompanying shoulder pain and trauma, from those also extending their arms in disbelief,
"Please take notice that Plaintiff hereby appeals the Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order of Court dated August 21, 2018, denying Plaintiff’s
motion for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint and granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss the amended Complaint."
Case 2:18-cv-00087-JFC, Document 55, Filed 09/19/18, Joey's Auto Repair & Body, filing final appeal allowed by law, as 30-day limit
wound down for Joey Cellurale and his businesses to appeal last month's civil court's loss, still trying again to sue the county, a county
commissioner and the Cellurale neighbors, as filed yesterday in U.S. District Court
"If this weren't so sad, it might even be funny!"
Public opinion, for the most part
Ditto for the formal written complaint filed afterwards!
Papers, radio mum on complaint to unsealed grand jury presentment
RANTS that it has been nine days and neither area newspaper nor local radio station covering the September 10th reconvened Voter Registration
Commission and Fayette County Election Board hearings noted to their readers and listeners that a citizen spoke of the need for Fayette County to
open the still sealed -- and seemingly forgotten about Fifth Presentment of Grand Jury No. 2.
Rob Frasconi told those gathered that he was filing the complaint with the election bureau immediately after he left the hearing and did so. The Fifth
Presentment was sealed by Judge Steve P. Leskinen.
While Frasconi publishes the positively fine blog, "," he has not blogged about filing with the county election bureau after
speaking at the public hearing nine days ago.
For all the background on Franconi's complaint and all of the incredible investigative pieces of local government that he and Fayette Searchlight stun
us, please click on the link above (19 Sept 18)
DA: Expect recusal, referral to AG in Fairgate investigations next week
Fayette County District Attorney that he plans next week to recuse himself from the investigation into
a voter registration prize drawing held by the Fayette Democratic Party.
At this time, Bower said he anticipates soon receiving the referral from the county's Voter Registration Commission asking for an investigation and the
transcript of the commission's hearing four days ago. He then will refer the matter to the state attorney general for investigation.
"I have talked with Mark Rowan, Esquire, about when I will receive the referral letter and transcript of the hearing," Bower said, adding that he was
told next week.
Bower indicated that he intends to send all the materials to the attorney general to investigate the matters at that time.
Reportedly, Bower previously told the Trib in mid-August that he had recused himself from investigating the matter. He was quoted in the media last
week that he had already referred one of the two Fairgate matters to the attorney general.
After the PA GOP filed a complaint about the Fayette Democratic Party's voter registration booth and prize contest drawing, the Dems filed complaint
a few weeks later alleging that Dave Show, a former county GOP chairman, sold tickets -- perhaps illegal tickets -- a couple tables away from the
county GOP candidate table.
...oh, and then there's what else Mahoney said Monday
At the hearing four days ago held by the county's voter registration and election boards, candidate and former state legislator Tim Mahoney told the
board that proceeds from Show's raffle tickets, printed as a social organization's fund raiser, actually funded the county Republican Party committee.
No, it wasn't said while Mahoney was under oath to testify and was said later during the final public comment before the hearing adjourned, but it
was said publicly and in the presence of the attentive PA GOP lawyer.
Mahoney's shocking comments deserve investigation by the attorney general as well. (14 Sept 18)
The broken record "Quote Of The Day" from Pittsburgh print media about Fay
"Fayette County continued to have the highest poverty rate and lowest income levels in the metropolitan area..."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Census data show region's income levels up but poverty improvement stalling," a piece summarizing stats and data
from seven regional counties, data and stats that haven't changed for the positive in more than half a century...the only change, being the slip
from Fay's long-time status as the region's second poorest county to being the region's poorest
"If we're tired of hearing Fayette County has the highest poverty rate and the lowest income levels in seven regional counties, how can some
elected officials be so happy about the PG's mass readership hearing Fay's rankings again that the officials post the story on social media so
Pete, in email from a Kentucky diner
What? No recusal?
Bower donated to Mahoney, now heads investigation against him
RANTS that Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower has not recused himself from the Fairgate investigation since Bower contributed to the
political campaign of someone he's investigating, as per filed by former state legislator and current candidate Tim
Bower donated to Mahoney's campaign less than two years ago.
Mahoney testified at Monday's hearing of the county voter registration commission and election board that the county Democratic committee
headquarters were housed until very recently in his own real estate leasing office and that his is the resort condo offered in the drawing for an
overnight complimentary stay.
Mahoney also identified a mystery man as his personal lawyer, who apparently misled three different election bureau employees on three trips to
the bureau dropping off voter registrations, by saying the 16 registrations completed at the Dem fair booth were not part of any organized
While the district attorney was not present during the voter registration and election board hearing yesterday, he was present in spirit, as Bower's
of the Dems' fair booth that were presented as evidence to the commission. Until very recently, as
well, Bower was listed as a .
RANTS that Bower hasn't recused himself. Mahoney and Fay citizens deserve an unbiased, fair investigation of Fairgate. That won't happen with a
friend and campaign contributor leading the way. (11 Sept 18)
Fairgate: investigation underway or about to snowed over?
RANTS that the Fayette County Voter Registration Commission had no choice but to refer the matter of the Fay Democratic Party's voter registration prize
giveaway at the county fair for investigation to the district attorney.
RANTS, too, that George Rattay, the chairman of the county Dem party, took the Fifth so many times, refusing to answer any questions about who got and
hung the prize giveaway contest signs and who bought or donated prizes that were to be awarded.
Before adjourning, the commission today also agreed to issue subpoenas to obtain the following information from the county Dem party committee:
a list of all voter registrations collected during the fair registration drive; any registrations not yet submitted from the fair drive; a list of all
persons who volunteered at the fair booth; the two duplicate signs that hung at the fair booth listing the prizes; the 2018 financial expense
report for the political party group; the group's bylaws; minutes of 2018 party committee meeting minutes; address of Tim Mahoney's
personal lawyer said to have dropped off fair registrations to the election bureau; drop cards completed to enter contestants into the
drawing and the very box itself used to hold the completed entry forms.
During testimony and statements made at today's hearing, conflicting information was heard about the status of the voter registrations completed at
the fair. While Rattay and candidate Mahoney said the registrations were taken to the election bureau, Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser
stated that the registrations in question were not submitted.
However, it was later learned that Mahoney's personal lawyer, said not to be affiliated with the county political committee, reportedly dropped off
the fair registrations, and, as per Blosser, told three county employees the registrations were not part of a registration drive.
As a result, the bureau did not accordingly code the registrations as they normally do for those taken in through a formal registration drive.
In regard to the other complaint before the county voter registration and election board today -- i.e., the Dem party's complaint that a former GOP
county chair, sitting a few tables away from the county GOP fair table, sold tickets for a rod and gun club drawing possibly without proper permit for
small games of chance -- the commission dismissed the claim, saying the complaint does not fall within its jurisdiction.
Instead, the Dems, after being given a break to brain storm to come up with some specific applicable section of the Election Code which they felt
was violated and coming back empty handed, were told they can file complaints with the county treasurer, the state police or district attorney. The
commission also left them an option to refile with the election board if the Dems can come up with a specific section of election or election
registration law that's applicable to their complaint.
Rattay said the Dems complaint already was sent to several investigating entities when he submitted the complaint on August 16 to the Election
Bureau. (10 Sept 18)
Charleroi got GE; fickle Fay gets another chain restaurant
RAVES, of course, that Uniontown is getting a new chain restaurant, as per social media posts from an elected official claim. Ongoing fickle tastes
of the public often comes in a slow motion wave of big hurrahs, as we all remember when first we heard back then that there's a Red Lobster
coming, then an Olive Garden coming. Now a steakhouse.
RANTS, though, that Fay isn't attracting the big companies in, with decent paying entry-level jobs for average citizens without higher education that
won't require their families to exist only with food stamps and other dependence on government and public funds for insurances, as the restaurant
chains normally do.
While nearby Charleroi, for instance, got General Electric to move in a few years ago, Fayette County residents who drive out of county there to
work make enough money to support their families.
Inevitably, those employees plan to relocate closer to work in Washington County if the future continues to be as bright with GE as they now
believe it will be.
RANTS that politicians too often depend on the big hurrahs of fickle restaurant goers to get votes, when they should have been vigilantly pursuing
the corporations which pay a fair wage to their workers. Fay residents shouldn't have to depend on Charleroi, Washington, Westmoreland or
Allegheny County officials to bring them real jobs that make people want to buy homes, raise their families here and remain in Fay. (8 Sept 18))
Peduto: It's 'Norman Nardini Day' in Pittsburgh
RAVES that the official blacksheep of the Pittsburgh music family, Norman Nardini, gets his due today, after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto formally
declared today as Norman Nardini Day. No kidding!
The honor pays homage to Norman for his 50 years writing, making, producing, thinking, eating and sleeping music. An all day music festival is
underway today, starting at 2 PM, at the Syria Shrine in Harmerville, to honor his dedication to Pittsburgh music.
Last our paths crossed, he was still playing his usual bar gigs, but had been volunteering his time in dementia units playing piano and singing
standard tunes. He wasn't opening up for Aerosmith, ZZ Top or any of the others he used to open for, but he was genuinely happy reaching minds
with music who may have not remembered anything else from their past 50 years.
Today's show also features Bill Toms and others. Tickets are available at the event.
Rants&Raves is assured the event is under cover in the event of rain. So please go, raise a beverage to toast Norman to thank him for all the
music, all the laughs and all of the great stories over all the years.
Also said to be joining in will be Sean McDowell of WDVE fame, just back to work from his cardiac emergency and surgery.
RAVES again to Peduto for officially recognizing the blacksheep and giving him his redemption. (8 Sept 18)
Fairgate: Election Board hearings come Monday
Election board hearings into whether election law was violated at political party events at the county fair are scheduled on Monday, September 10,
starting at 9 a.m., as per on the county' Election Bureau's official webpage.
As per the posted online, the board will hear the complaint filed by the PA GOP early last month, that election code was violated with the
county Democrat's prize giveaway signs at the county fair booth's voter registration drive, pictured to the right.
While the Dems' ignorance of -- or deliberate defiance of -- election code seemed to amuse major media news outlets, as one by one they carried
the story in print, on radio, on satellite radio, on television, on network television, not one Fay Dem incumbent or candidate working or visiting the
booth afterwards thought anything wrong had happened.
When the election board convened on August 20, 2018, to address the GOP complaint about the county Dem party's contest open to anyone who
registered to vote at the fair booth or changed his party to Democrat, two commissioners, or two-thirds of the county election board, recused
Meanwhile, that same morning, the county Dems filed a complaint with local authorities, alleging that a former county GOP chair sold tickets to a
rod and gun club drawing at a table nearby an official GOP table. That complaint, as per the agenda for Monday's hearing, will be heard after the
GOP's complaint. (7 Sept 18)
"Quotes Of The Day" on the delivery of news
"How long did it take for the Herald Standard to publish when the zoning suit was filed against Zimmerlink and the Krisses?
Pete, asking, yesterday at the diner
Me, in response
How long did it take the Herald Standard to publish when the suit was thrown out of court?"
Pete, wanting to know
"How long did the Courier take last January to report Zimmerlink and the Krisses were being sued?"
"How long did the Courier take to report the suit was dismissed?"
Pete, asking away
Me, answering while googling papers for details
"Sounds about right!"
Blog: Official Oppression used to stop Mahoney-Cavanagh election fraud investigation
RANTS reading Fayette Searchlight's latest piece, "," that mentions a blog
editor receiving an unannounced home visit in West Virginia from the Pennsylvania State Police transporting a PA state employee of the PA Attorney
General's office, to hand deliver a cease and desist order to the Not Enough Said blog editor, ordering her to stop calling every 4 to 6 weeks asking
for an update into the investigation into Fayette election issues.
Please click on the above purple link to Fayette Searchlight for more mouth dropping information. (1 Sept 18)
Over new business park at Mt. Macrina
Mahoney b slaps Dem gov, Dem commish to get in weak jab at GOP opponent
RANTS of confusion today reading Tim Mahoney's latest letter to the editor, trying to understand either his misunderstanding of the situation, or his
deliberate bitch slap of a Dem governor, Dem county commission chairman and past Dem officials, to take a cheap shot at the Republican who beat
him in the last election and two other area first-term, GOP state lawmakers.
Mahoney said he didn't want to brag, but he still tried, by reminding us -- as though we could ever forget -- that he once obtained a .5 million state
grant, "with the governor’s help, to assist job creation at Argon-Boeing in the Fairchance Business Park.
"That’s three times the 0,000 announced this year for expansion of a similar business park near Mt. Macrina, for which some credited the entire
local legislative delegation," Mahoney wrote in one up mode to the paper.
Mahoney said he thinks that "voters need to look at a candidate’s track record of delivering for the people he or she represents."
Respectfully, we ask, what is Mahoney talking about and who is he talking about? Whose track record? Vicites'? That is whose baby the
professional park appeared to be, as per comments made to Rants&Raves that big announcement day by a state legislator.
The bottom line is that Mahoney's whining about Republicans being in legislative offices in 2018 when the grant from a Democratic governor was
announced reeks of sour grapes from his 2016 loss at the polls and that the decision to release the 0,000 didn't come before his 2016 defeat.
The grant was said to be in the works for a few years, likely before Mahoney lost re-election in 2016.
In mid-August, when the papers carried the big story of the 0,000 grant for the development of a new business park in Uniontown through the
pending acquisition of 220 acres of land from the religious order at Mount Saint Macrina, State Rep Matt Dowling, PA-51, told Rants&Raves, "This
new proposed park was one of the top legislative priorities for the county commissioners. We were told the majority of this park’s use would be
medical. There was bipartisan support with Commissioner Vicities requesting the park and the governor supporting the project."
That comment didn't sound as though Dowling seemed to be stealing or trying to steal Vicites' thunder, right? Only Mahoney seemed to see it that
way with his 'I'll one up you" boast.
With the bad blood, of course, between Mahoney and Dowling, it's understandable that Mahoney is biased. RANTS, however, that Mahoney must
have missed those social media updates from his good pal, Vicites, taking credit for acquiring the grant to get the business park project moving.
"This past June, I arranged a meeting with the State Department of Community and Economic Development Officials to discuss obtaining
Redevelopment Capital Assistance Funding to complete the final phase of our Fayette County Business Park on Route 40," Vicites wrote on social
As a result, Vicites wrote on August 17 on social media, "This week the County and the Redevelopment Authority obtained 1/2 Million dollars from
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to start the final phase of the project at Mt Saint Macrina."
That Mahoney compared the types of grants that the Uniontown project will receive to the .5 million of public funds that he secured specifically
for Boeing and smugly concluded there's no comparison of his level of greatness to the puny 0,000 grant that Vicites helped get, is all so
disappointing to read and unfortunate for Fayette County. It's never a good day when fellow Democrats with fragile egos have to one up each
another just to take an ego jab at a Republican.
What Mahoney's letter to the editor does not include is the fact that affiliated with Boeing officials and the company's Policical
Action Committee (PAC) still make their way to Mahoney's campaign to help him regain his legislative seat. There's not just one company donation.
There's the company donation, the PAC donation, the landlord's donation, the landlord's retired Boeing pal and cycles of ongoing donations year-
There is much added incentive, in other words, for Mahoney to sniff out big grants to help specific, individual companies which contribute through
multiple sources to his very own political campaign.
Perhaps it's the only way he knows to attract industry. (31 Aug 18))
Dismissed: Cellurale vs The Usual Suspects
Editor's note: Yesterday, U.S. District Court threw out a civil case filed by the owner of Joe's Auto Repair and Body Shop and On-Par Turf, Joe
Cellurale, against the county, County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, and Terry and Diane Kriss, the Cellurales' neighbors.
Cellurale alleged in his suit filed earlier this year that the commissioner used her position to influence county zoning office decisions and impose
zoning violations against him, resulting from supposed complaints from his neighbors. This was the third lawsuit filed over zoning issues on those
same properties against the county over the years.
RANTS that a lawyer so familiar with the Fay political climate could encourage a citizen to pay to file a suit, alleging that the black sheep of Fay
politics, known not to do or owe political favors, could have such powerful influence over an entire department of county employees -- to speak
nothing of a large zoning hearing board comprised largely of political appointments by some who would oppose Zimmerlink if she said white is
white or two plus two is four.
Cellurale has 30 days to appeal the federal court's call on this zoning matter. (22 Aug 18)
Meanwhile, this about the zoning case, never mentioned again since 2016?
Readers here recall two years ago, the director of the county zoning office stated publicly that former commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince
Zapotosky stopped her from issuing fines and violations to Cellurale in the case.
About a week later, Ambrosini denied the statement made by the zoning office director to heraldstandard.com, in "Ambrosini denies allegations of
interference in Kriss, Cellurale zoning issue."
Other than that instance against Ambrosini and Zapotosky, reportedly, stopping the zoning office to enforce a cease and desist order to one of the
Cellurale businesses, no other claims were ever stated about any county officials interfering with county business for a political favor or support.
"Quote Of The Day" on all -- or how very little -- it takes in Fay to say in public to get attacked
leaving a public meeting
"As the secretary pro temp of the Green Party of Fayette County, I urge (the Election Board) to dismiss the complaint by the Democrats
against the Fayette GOP..."
Kathryn Jones, to today's Election Board, at its meeting to discuss the PA GOP complaint against the Fayette County Democratic
Party giving prize contest chances with voter registrations;
Jones, later saying nothing to any of the county Democratic party office holders, candidates or campaign directors outside, but
receiving a verbal shout out dis from the second in command at the county Dem party office, mayor of Newell and former head
of the county's crime/victim/witness director, Ms. Niki Todaro, who hurled personal insults at Jones leaving the building, so
inappropriately, about Jones' adult son.
"I'm proud of you! ... I'm proud of you!... I'm proud of you!"
Tim Mahoney, candidate for state representative/former 51st District representative, beaming gleefully with happiness,
smiling, laughing, saying to Todaro as she got into a car to leave the parking lot, after Todaro, a key county Democratic party
office holder, outside after a county meeting, threw jaw-dropping, personal daggers at Jones, a political opponent, who had
the integrity to speak publicly inside
2014 voter fraud lessons forgotten?
RANTS that some snicker at the silliness of the complaints alleging possible elections violations that two political party leaders
have leveled against one another in recent Fay weeks.
Forget that they often then are speechless, suddenly without snicker, usually looking downward at this point, when asked why
then did the story of the Fay Dem fair booth prize contest give away air on televisions during network news in Los Angeles?
Dowling responds to Dem's complaint of gaming violation at GOP county fair
PA Rep Matt Dowling of the 51st District weighed in to Rants&Raves today on the complaint filed by the Fayette County
Democratic Party chairman against the County GOP for possible state gaming violations and PA Ethics violations.
On Thursday, the Dems alleged that tickets were sold at the county GOP table at the fair for gun raffles by non-existent groups or real groups without legal permits.
At one point, the complaint from the Democratic party chairman stated that the selling of gun raffle tickets appeared to be an illegal raffle promoted by Mr. Show,"
referring to Dave Show, former Republican county chairman and current party committee man.
Dowling disagreed this afternoon to any claim that gun raffle tickets were sold at his table.
"The tickets being sold were being sold two tents from where the GOP was housing my campaign promotional supplies, under the banner of the Fayette Patriots," he
His understanding, Dowling said, was "that the ticket was being put off by a local gun club and not the GOP."
The county election board is scheduled to meet later in the month to hear the Democrats' complaint, and is scheduled to meet in three
days, on Monday, August 20, 2018, at 9 AM, to hear the complaint from the county GOP filed last week against the Dem's county fair booth
which entered anyone who registered to vote or changed party registrations into prize drawings.
Searchlight's spot on take on anonymous attack of jail reform activist
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but another strong push to read " .
Shellhammer, as readers here know, is charged in a self-defense shooting case and held without bond in the Fayette County Prison. He is
also known for his video recordings of county commissioner and prison board meetings under the nic "Chuck U. Farley." He is also the
son of county citizen jail reform advocates, Kathryn and Bill Jones. The above link is to Searchlight's reaction to a poison pen letter that
Mrs. Jones received that left, in Searchlight's opinion, doubt that he is being rightfully charged and held incarcerated.
Prior to his arrest for homicide, the man, who supposedly went in shooting a man who supposedly immediately spun, fell and died,
sustained significant physical injuries. Shellhammer's written account of the shooting is chilling and a difficult read knowing the outcome.
RANTS that Masontown police and the DA seem to be the only ones who read along, put themselves in Shellhammer's shoes and fail to
recognize that there is absolutely no other way out of this attack unless I pull my gun out and shoot before I'm killed.
Nobody enters a room shooting a man who died almost instantly and staggers out with a beaten up face, broken jaw, pounding head
concussion and injured shoulder. Shellhammer shot as a last resort. RANTS that he was ever charged with homicide with no convincing
evidence and a case against him which, to date, includes the key witness and police changing stories from the time of arrest through
giving testimony against him at his kangaroo court arraignment.
RAVES of hope that the county district attorney really knows what he's doing in this case, because it doesn't seem as though reason and
logic applied here. Certainly, it's tragic that someone, charged not long before with selling heroin, chose to brutally attack Shellhammer
and died, but we're awfully glad Shellhammer shot and is still here.
Please read Searchlight's take on the harassment that Shellhammer's mother received by mail. (17 Aug 18)
Timeline disputes Cardinal's 30-year-old zero tolerance claim
Everson mayor 3x caught, didn't charge priest in cemetery with kids
RANTS that an area mayor and police force that caught a former Catholic priest parked three different times with three different boys in a
cemetery at night did not criminally charge the priest.
Instead, as per the grand jury report on child sexual abuse by the commonwealth's priests released this week, the mayor of Everson chose
to meet with church leaders in the Greensburg Dioceses over then Father Joe Sredzinski i's actions in the cemetery.
While the mayor of Everson tried to get the priest removed from the Everson parish, the mayor wasted his first chance, then a second
opportunity to stop the abuse by charging the priest. RANTS that at least two more kids were abused and didn't have to be, until the mayor
at least took some kind of action by meeting with the diocese to remove the priest from Everson.
From the attorney general's news conference and released grand jury report, this Everson mention was especially heartbreaking because
the cemetery abuses were rare occasion when someone outside the church's chain of command knew about the abuses. Witnessed by a
town mayor and police on three separate occasions over what seems to be a six-year-period with no criminal charges filed is horrible. The
grand jury report stated the abuse started in 1991 in Everson and ended not through criminal prosecution of the priest, but only after he
transferred from Everson in 1999.
It's inexcusable for a mayor or the police not to file criminal charges when the mayor and police witness first hand the crimes being
committed against children. By the early 1990s when this happened, there already was increased awareness in the public of designated
mandated reporting. Surely, the police and mayor should have charged the priest. They were the witnesses. That was half the battle of
preparing that kind of case for trial. There was no worry that a witness would cave from pressure or intimidation or out of feelings for the
This priest who couldn't stay out of the Everson cemetery at night with young boys from his church, as per the report, went on to serve at
a few other churches for 16 more years. Sredzinski's case contradicts Cardinal Wuerl's statements this week that no offenses against
children went unpunished by the church diocese for the past 30 years.
The diocese of Greensburg, as per the Grand Jury report, knew in 1991 about the mayor's concerns in the cemetery. Sredzinski served in
Everson through 1999 and went to other churches in the diocese to lead parishes for another 16 years. He also served as chaplain at State
Correctional Institute in Greensburg and nursing homes in Greensburg in addition to pastoral assignments in Jeanette and hosted a
religious radio program ,“That You May Believe.’’
The Grand Jury report states that he continued to serve as a priest in the diocese through 2007 even though the diocese had full
knowledge of what he did in the cemetery on at least three nights in the 1990s in Everson, caught each time by the mayor and police.
While the report stated that he was removed from the priesthood, his obituary and feature story on heraldstandard.com three years ago,
called him Father and contained accolades from a bishop and his nun biological sister. RANTS that the diocese let that happen.
Note: The above discussed former priest was first introduced to Rants&Raves readers in a below piece, "Evil Wilma, Republic priests
share space in Hell together." (17 Aug 18))
Fay Dems counter-file complaint against Fay GOP for gun raffle
The county Democratic party head filed a formal complaint today that a former Republican county party chairman/GOP committee man
sold tickets to an illegal gun raffle at the county fair.
As per the complaint, the former GOP chairman sold "illegal raffle tickets in violation of the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act, and,
perhaps, The Election Code."
No signs announcing a raffle are visible in the accompanying blurry photos and no party connection wording is seen on the photos
attached to the complaint.
Written by George Rattay, the complaint and accompanying photographs were delivered to the county election bureau office by a current
state office candidate/former state representative Tim Mahoney. He later said on AM talk radio today that the complaint was sent to several
different agencies or entities to investigate.
The complaint asks for an investigation to determine whether Dave Show, former GOP chairman/GOP committee man, sold tickets for a
legitimate non-profit organization named on the tickets or his own personal benefit, or whether the gun raffle, indeed, was authorized by
the county GOP committee.
Email was sent to the state and county GOP party chairs for comment. (16 Aug 18)
Evil Wilma, Republic priests share space in Hell together
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but an incredibly sad mention that out there are a former elementary schoolmate and scores of other victims
of the sickest, most putrid kind of organized ring of child sexual predators, in the priests that we as kids fully trusted.
Back then, as per dates when the sexual abuse seemed to start in Republic in the long-awaited Grand Jury report released yesterday, little
kids in that neighborhood parish and school were barely over nightmares of two young boys being murdered a few years earlier, their 7
and 10-year-old bodies found in Evil Wilma Eperjesi's Main Street refrigerator, after disappearing while playing.
RANTS that Evil Wilma wasn't the only thing about that parish and school that would traumatize kids so horribly. It's just that none of us
ever dreamed that Evil Wilma and Fathers Henry, Oris and Joe would come to share the same space in Hell together for their unspeakable
crimes against children. (15 Aug 18)
Fay Election Board to meet, no hearing announced
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that a announcing a meeting of the Fayette County Election Board (August 20, 2018, at 9 AM,
in the Pubic Safety Building), is posted on the county's website.
As per the notice, the board will discuss a Bullskin Township polling location at an elementary school and the complaint, now known as
Fairgate, that Democratic party leaders violated election code in their booth at the county fair, by enticing voters to register or change parties
to be entered into prize contests. (14 Aug 18)
More on the Democratic Party booth at the county fair
While the first order of business should be a simple acknowledgement of a possible change in polling location, the second order of
business for the Fayette County Election Board next week may be too far out of the range of comfort for the election board.
Photographs that started to be sent to Rants&Raves in late July taken at the county fair do bear the images of Vince Vicites, county
chairman, county election board member and county Democratic committee man, as well as some current Democratic row officers and
Democratic candidates in county and state Democratic races. on a forgotten grand jury presentment collecting dust against (Tim) Mahoney? Even if Cavanagh was not the subject,
again, why has the Fifth Presentment remained sealed for 44 months?
As Fayette Countians paid for that county investigating grand jury, the citizens of this county deserve answers from current Fayette
County District Attorney Richard E. Bower on why he has not asked Judge Steve P. Leskinen to unseal the Fifth Presentment and why no
formal charges ever resulted from it. More directly, Judge Steve P. Leskinen must be held to account for the lengthy sealing of the Fifth
Fayette Searchlight, from, "," a must read
Specialized courts keep proving 2013 jail planners wrong
RAVES to the fact that specialized courts are working in Fay to help reduce county prison recidivism and improve the quality of life to
Today's heraldstandard.com feature, "Fayette County Problem-Solving Courts reducing recidivism and increasing treatment," looks
at the value of the specialized courts to help veterans and those suffering from mental illness and drug and alcohol issues turn their
lives around without future arrest.
RAVES that these specialized courts are getting positive feature. Specialized courts, after all, were said to be of no value to keep jail
census down by 2013 county prison developers who were a few million dollar waste of public money.
Today's data, however, continues to prove that the 2013 county prison developers and their county ad hoc work groups missed the boat
by a long shot projecting snowballing annual increases in incarcerations, when, in fact, they were so wrong. (13 Aug 18)
Code officer: New Connellsvile hotel has "major code violations"
RANTS that during an inspection to approve a permit for the installation of a fence that was already installed around a retention pond,
a Connellsville code and zoning officer reported to the local planning commission this week that the Cobblestone Hotel has "major
code violations" and that the authority should table granting approval for now.
As per heraldstandard.com's "Code violations delay Connellsville hotel’s permit approval," the zoning and code officer did not
publicly list any other types of specific violations, but commented they were significant and that "it wasn't something simple like
Connellsville's Act 90, implemented by city council two months ago, allows the planning commission to deny permits in cases where
owners owe back taxes or have outstanding code violations.
"Rejection of an application would require the applicant to put the property back to its regular state -- or take the fence down," the
Dismantling the fence, , however, reportedly, would result in the loss of property insurance and the issuance of
violations from the Department of Environmental Protection.
RANTS that the day to day operations of a private business, built in part with some public funds to help the local economy and
community development to create jobs and regional economic growth, remains so problem-ridden.
Readers here are well aware of the legal suits brought by some investors against other investors, including a former county
commissioner, over an unspecified amount of profits some owners feel they are owed. In their as of yet unresolved civil lawsuit, those
plaintiffs alleged that other investors pressured the group to use funds for reasons other than the agreed upon expenses.
RANTS that the lack of following legal codes and regulations has left the troubled hotel in more trouble at a time when the area needs jobs
and economic growth so badly. (12 Aug 18)
"Quote Of The Day" he said, after 15 years in office and umpteen campaigns, way long enough to have
read, learned election code regs that prohibit gifts or prizes to entice voters
"Big crowd at the Fayette County Fair last night! Democrat booth has been really busy registering new Democrats in Fayette County!"
Fayette County Commission Chairman and Democrat Committee man , writing on social media on July 29, as seen in a
saved copy of his quickly deleted social media posts, saved, , to the social media page of the Republican Party
of Fayette County
RAVES to having a good, early morning read, in the return of the Fayette Searchlight blog.
Please click to read, " ," and follow its various links throughout.
Also, for in depth background information on other Mahoney-related issues, please dig into the archieves of the old blog, formerly written by a
second writer/editor and the Searchlight editor.
No matter which candidates voters chose in upcoming elections, RAVES that Searchlight and the former NES site offer information that gives citizens "warts and all"
details to make an informed decision at the polls.
RAVES to Fayette Searchlight for the new read over today's morning coffee. (10 Aug 18)
Will Vicites recuse self?
Will Election Board convene hearing about voter registration
Although the state's county election boards ultimately are to schedule hearings when allegations of voter irregularities are made, there
has been no word yet whether Fay's election board will convene a hearing to talk about the drive at the Dem party booth at the county fair
to register new Democrats to vote in the fall general election.
But, as per a Bullskin area poll worker, the election board still hasn't advertised a meeting or hearing to change a polling location, so we
shouldn't hold our breath waiting. The election board is comprised of the three county commissioners, who were asked for comment.
Mixed are reactions coming in since this story first appeared in the Trib. That the story drew so much negative attention across major
news outlets because voters were enticed to register to vote or change their party to Democrat with chances to win prizes.
Even if not one person took the Dems up on their offer at the fair booth to register, the Election Board needs to convene to address the
issue. Either dismiss it or address it through the criminal courts.
After all, if state officials bothered to write election regulations not allowing gifts or money exchanged for votes and voter registrations and
penalties for violations, shouldn't the election board seriously address the complaint?
To the outside world, which sees photographs on social media posted by one elected official posing at the fair booth with the readable
signs around him with three candidates in the fall election, what happened is significant.
What's worse than having the world's main media outlets calling a county political party committee chairman for comment, as what
happened with the Fay Dem committee chair? How about the same big guys calling back prison board members or a district attorney to
ask why the board did not convene a hearing when the photo of the signage at the fair booth speaks as truth?
It happened. Nobody knows yet how many people -- could be zero or many -- registered through the Dem fair booth the days it operated
the contest. But it happened. Politicians with decades in office who should thoroughly know election law hung around that booth oblivious
to election code. It happened.
RAVES of hope that county officials address the state GOP complaint before the stupidity of the local party becomes topic thrown out at a
future presidential news conference or rally. Given that our beautiful mountain area finally got a few real shots in recent months at
exposure for tourism in articles by a popular political writer from CNN, the D.C. Examiner and NY Post, who also appears on Sunday
political news shows, RAVES of hope that no Fay officials try to make light of it.
RAVES of hope, too, that Fay Commish Vince Vicites recuses himself, if the election board on which he sits convenes a hearing. He
himself posed for photos at the fair with the sign clearly visible in backdrop in photographs he published on social media.
RANTS that with all his years in office, he did not know better. He apparently helped create the situation that he should not be allowed to
judge as one of three election board members -- that is, if the election board is smart enough to convene a hearing. (9 Aug 18)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"Fayette County Democratic chairman George Rattay says when his group learned it might not be legal to link the giveaway with
voter registration it was expanded to let anyone sign up who stopped by their booth, then they canceled the giveaway altogether."
The Associated Press, as quoted directly from the news wire service's reporting on the unlawful election shenanigans at a
Fayette County Fair political booth last week that caught the attention of the AP, Fox News, MSN and other large news
organizations amazed that the locals claim ignorance of election codes for holding the contest
"So the AP story alone was shared in 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters?"
Dave, this afternoon at west coast diner, asking by phone how the story about the local Dems ended up on his satellite radio
broadcast, which gets news from the AP Radio Network
As Dem party cancels resort prize
Photo of county fair election registration prize giveaways
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note for clarification about the below item.
The question mark that ran yesterday at the end of the below blue banner is officially removed, as it no longer is a question of whether the
booth and its Dem operators and hangerson violated the law, but a statement of fact that elections law indeed was violated.
As per a , from the state GOP chair, to Larry Blosser, county elections bureau director, the giveaway over politics is
confirmed. A photographed sign posted at the Fay Democrat Party booth at the county fair clearly contains wording that those who
register to vote or change parties to become Democrats were entered for chances to win a Steelers gift basket and a conceal and carry
purse for the armed gal on the go, with a grand prize of a weekend stay at Nemacolin Woodlands and dinner and a bottle of champagne
from the Stone House Restaurant.
RANTS for the ignorance of the law or the arrogance and genuine disrespect of the law from decades-long politicians who were fixtures at
the booth all week and did not shut down the unlawful contest. That action alone speaks volumes about the integrity of those who want to
serve us in office. (8 Aug 18)
Fay Dem fair booth violates elections law with giveaways
RANTS that corruption or alleged corruption in Fayette County elections raised its ugly head tonight, as per the Trib's, "Republicans
charge Democrats with skulduggery at the Fayette County Fair."
As per the article and formal , the state Republican Chairman contends that "members working its
registration table at the fair offered prizes such as Pittsburgh Steelers gear and a trip to Nemacolin Woodlands to entice fair-goers to
register as Democrats or, worse yet, change their registration to Democrat."
Given that election law strongly prohibits the offering and giving of money or goods in exchange for someone registering to vote or
changing one's political party, the state GOP chair asked the district attorney and Fay elections board members to investigate whether or
not Pittsburgh Steeler Terrible Towels and trips to the area resort were illegally offered to entice unregistered residents or Republicans to
register as Fay Dems.
RANTS that this type of bad press keeps kicking Fay's butt reputation-wise across the state, as the Trib piece on its state reporting page found
its way online tonight. (7 Aug 18)
"Quote Of The Day"
"Yeah, but I bet today those jail officials and prison board members scrambled to watch jail video of the inmate suicide attempt!"
Pete, earlier today at the diner, commenting on the ambulances outside the Fay County Prison mid-day, after an inmate attempted
suicide by hanging
RTK appeal filed with OOR to view video
Did Prison Board view this surveillance video, talk with inmates?
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that an appeal was filed today at Rants&Raves to the PA Office of Open Records, as the
County of Fayette denied a Right To Know request to view county prison surveillance video of a specific cell area of an inmate
bleeding from the mouth during an asthma attack. The inmate experienced medical distress following the use of pepper spray to
subdue another inmate removed and taken by four guards to the basement.
Written consent for the viewing of the video was obtained from the inmate in medical distress bleeding from the mouth from the
asthma attack brought on by breathing all of the pepper spray in the air.
On July 16, Rants&Raves filed the RTK to view the video. We asked prison board members to allow the viewing and come watch, too.
They were informed that first day of the RTK, that the inmate would allow the viewing with a written release.
In the County's formal denial to Rants&Raves to view the prison surveillance video -- received quickly by County standards, in just
three business days later, too -- the Answer stated that prison management staff viewed surveillance video of an incident occurring
on July 13, 2018, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon in which pepper spray had been released in the environment.
"The review of the video surveillance confirmed that prison Corrections staff handled all events related to this incident appropriately
and professionally," as per the RTK Answer.
Did prison management who watched the video talk to inmates or other staff about whether the guard made his way as quickly or
slowly as possible to get the inmate bleeding from the mouth in an asthmatic crisis his medication inhaler?
Did prison board members ask prison management to talk to inmates?
Did prison board members talk to inmates directly to ask if they heard others raising their voices asking the guard to hurry with the
Perhaps this latest RTK should have included the disclaimer that Rants&Raves was not digging for details about the incident that
prompted the pepper spraying of that other inmate and whether or not a guard who was ordered legally to stay away from him had
violated that order out of stupidity or just for kicks. That particular inmate, we trust, knows how to effectively self advocate and does
not need external advocacy.
In denying the recent RTK, the County is correct in one area of thinking, given that in recent years lawyers have smuggled in drugs to
their clients in booking areas.
Contraband is a serious matter that nobody here at this column takes lightly. In a way, yes, it's almost laughable, given the number of
times this editor once made emergency mental health assessments of inmates from right outside their cells. In this day and age, it's
almost understandable to say it's OK to deny entrance even to someone at Rants&Raves, who represented the county for years in
county mental health courts and had access to this county's youngest murderers for those prison assessments.
These days, anyone can smuggle in or try to. Look at how many of the prison's own staff and contracted staff have carried in bags of
pills and were caught!
But they knew, had to deep down know, that this editor would've agreed to be put in a straight jacket with no access to use my arms
or hands to watch that video.
Given that nearly every person who has ever worked at or out of the prison, nearly every person ever incarcerated there and anyone
who ever watched those scary prison propaganda videos all know the layout of the joint, the County's RTK Answer just took too
goofy of a tangent saying that allowing a civilian in to view a video of the cell area constitutes a safety risk.
Oh, please! The longer the RTK Answer went, the more difficult it was to keep separate the two different inmate incidents that day.
The longer the long RTK Answer became, the more likely it seemed that the first incident of the inmate being pepper sprayed, reportedly, for
asking that the guard ordered formally to avoid him comply, will probably be a bigger problem for county officials down the road than some
inmate bleeding from the mouth who eventually got his medication inhaler before the pepper spray killed him. (6 Aug 18)
Inmates get 2 extra hours per week for Skype psychiatrist
RANTS that the Fay Prison Board took only one ity bity, baby step forward today, yet some officials still broke arms their arms patting
themselves on the back, by doubling Skype video psychiatric appointment time, for up to 100-200 or more inmates, from two measly hours
weekly, to four almost as measly hours per week.
Big frigging woop, when you have inmates with severe mental health problems, well known for decades to community mental health programs,
sitting in turtle suits, in a dimly lit basement county jail cell covered in sections with smeared and caked feces.
Where, o just where, in private practice would a group of 100 or more patients be limited to two, three or four hours per week -- or about 16
hours per month -- for all of them via Skype to talk with their psychiatrists prescribing their psych medications?
Where in private practice -- except possibly doctors from 1940s era snake pit psychiatric hospital units -- would any reputable doctor even be
willing to be involved in any operation to cover 100 patients via Skype, in just eight hours per month and perform medication management and
after only 24 mere quarterly work hours, to write about 500 heavy duty psychiatric prescriptions, 135 doses of the heroin detox Buprenorphine,
2,070 doses of the opioid Acetaminophen with Codeine, and 1,620 doses of various muscle relaxers?
In the real world, that all just might be called insurance fraud, no?
At the least, the sad situation at the Fay County Prison is one, that even improved with a few more hours each week of direct contact time with
real Skype video psychiatrists, still reeks of benign neglect of the chronically mentally ill decompensating and doing nothing but
The doubling of the two hours to four weekly hours of Skype availability for inmates to chat with their psychiatrists and for the psychiatrists to
see the inmates cost about an additional ,000 annually.
As previously stated, the gesture to double the amount of time to four hours per week for Skype psychiatric appointments for inmates with
mental illness is only a small baby step taken in the right direction, but nothing really of significance to rave about.
Not when mentally ill inmates scream for hours, oblivious to any efforts to redirect them to calm and get hosed down with cold water by
frustrated and/or sadistic paid staff who are not reprimanded, fired, reassigned or charged with assault. (2 Aug 18)
Fay inmate files misconduct complaint against attorney
to the Disciplinary Board of PA Supreme Court
RANTS that it had to come to this.
As per copies of documents and information sent to Rants&Raves, an inmate at the Fayette County Prison filed a formal misconduct complaint
with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania because the Fayette County Public Defender Office has ignored his four
written requests since June and multiple prison communication form requests to his attorney to file a few motions in his criminal case.
Equally negligent, in his complaint is the Public Defenders Office for not investigating information that he provided and not obtaining Discovery
evidence that the defendant requested for his defense.
Filing formal complaints with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, apparently, is the only option for those accused of
crimes pining in jail, wanting and receiving no contact from their Public Defender legal defense attorney to request bond or file motions.
As per the copies of the four letters and the formal complaint dated July 23, 2018, the inmate reported problems receiving feedback and contact
to prepare for trial. His family previously reported problems the problems to the county prison board and county officials.
The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, however, now is asked to intervene due to misconduct which the inmate feels
has happened in his case. Readers here know that the Fayette County Public Defenders Office, without consequence, too often misses court
ordered deadlines to prepare indigent inmates with legal representation for trial.
RANTS that the complaint had to be filed.
Bigger RANTS, too, because this complaint started what likely will be a flood of additional defendants filing with the Disciplinary Board of the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania over their public defender attorneys seeming also to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
RANTS because Fay really did not need this added drama that must end. (1 Aug 18)
Oils, pills and cream users banned
Westmoreland Housing Authority to evict medical marijuana users
RANTS, after all of the time, effort and frustration of lobbying state officials to get medical marijuana oil available to help kids with cluster
seizures -- especially followed by all of the sheer joy when incapacitating seizures decreased to nil with a type of reversing cure that
became magically available -- some residents of Westmoreland County Housing Authority are being forced to relocate or stop using the
medical marijuana oils, creams or pills because marijuana is still illegal in the commonwealth.
RANTS because the law and the exceptions divide right versus wrong so cruelly. How could any parent of a child who received an almost
instant medical cure like that ever want to stop the medication to keep a roof over the family's head in Westmoreland?
RAVES of hope that the decision to evict non complying residents who use prescribed oils, pills or creams from state licensed
dispensaries is reversed.
In a day when no state driving, housing or weapon ownership restrictions exist for methadone and other anti-opioid narcotic users, the
authority's stand on cleaning house of oil, pill and cream users of medical marijuana seems nothing but asinine. (18 Jul 18)
Editor's Note: While starting to write this below piece, news came of a pepper spraying at the county prison of an inmate. During that
episode where the inmate was hauled from his cell by 4 guards to go back to the basement, an asthmatic inmate this late morning was
observed by inmates on the floor, coughing blood in need of his emergency medical inhaler. The incapacitated ill inmate on the floor,
reportedly, was taunted by a guard who may be shown on prison video taking too long to get the inhaler to the inmate. A Right To Know
request is made to view any such video in existence.
Deliberate indifference: Fay Prison lawsuit
response to 3 women suing
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note to take a note of this next piece of information for recall after some deliberately indifferent county
row officers facing re-election next year have put the county in incredible debt of about million or more for a new county prison. .
No fine way to inflate prison population numbers
Fay Public Defender fails again to prepare for court
RANTS today that another Fayette County Public Defender held up the courts once again and delayed another homicide trial date by not
meeting for three months with the defendant. Since the defendant is jailed without bond, it's not as though the county paid public defender
couldn't locate the man for goodness sakes.
When today's case came before a county judge this morning for a pre-trial motions hearing and the defendant said he had not met for
three months with his county public defender lawyer, the judge ordered the attorney to meet at lunch with the defendant and return
together to an afternoon court.
However, lunch wasn't enough time to prepare adequately and another continuance for another couple weeks was scheduled.
In late April, the Rants&Raves piece below, "Public Defender Office: thumbing noses at court order deadlines," featured a different case,
one in which the county prosecution intends to seek the death penalty. That case also involved an easily reachable defendant held without
bond in the county prison.
RANTS that no county official, no county human resource officer, no county commission board, no Fay anything can force the lead public
defender and his office staff to meet court deadlines to get with their defendants to prepare for court.
Nobody can force the office to meet deadlines? Really? Why must the only option be to file complaints with the ? The County of Fayette writes those paychecks, after all.
RAVES of hope that the next judge in the same situation decides it's really time to end the nonsense by jailing the attorney for contempt of
court and ordering him to close quarters in the same cell to prepare his client for trial. (12 Jul 18)
"Quote Of The Day"
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by
succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of
devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and
illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
John Adams, in a letter to his wife, written on the third of July, the day after the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the
legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain and a day prior to the Declaration of Independence was edited and
approved on the fourth day of July that year; Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, the only 2 signers of the Declaration to go on to
become president, both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe became the third president in a row to die on the holiday, in 1831.
Sweet news, in midst of protests, chaos, heartbreak
RAVES to reading good, happy feature stories in the news, such as, "," in
today's Trib. It's a sweet piece about a former marine who recently went through a mountain of red tape to adopt his former military
side-kick, a bomb sniffing pooch ready to retire at age nine years.
O.K., so the military stopped writing back for a while to the former marine about one day adopting the pooch, and his state senator
helped pull strings for the vet. No RANTS for that.
Man and pooch served together in Afghanistan sniffing out improvised explosive devices until five years ago, when the former marine
was honorably discharged and the pooch continued on in active duty with a new military assignment.
In the meantime, the former marine even got a tattoo of the pooch's name and paw print on his calf. Maybe a bit much, but we cut
some slack here. Not too many of us can say our lives literally depended on our dog keeping us alive.
RAVES for good news, such as this, though. A vet and his military dog reunited outside of Afghanistan to pal around.
RANTS, though, that housemates pining for a pooch conveniently leave sweet, heartwarming stories such as this open on the
browser to bait the undecided vote -- i.e., the doesn't-want-to-walk-a-dog-in-two-feet-of-snow vote -- still on the fence. (2 Jul 18)
Armed man put into holding cell
RANTS of the scary kind, reading heraldstandard.com and learning that two constables didn't notice, but gathered up, drove to the
magistrates and put an armed man inside a holding cell, on a bench warrant for unpaid child support.
RAVES to God, seriously, and to that man picked up for failing to pay child support, that the worst he did was get in a tizzy inside the cell
and later verbally threaten a state trooper, called in after constables noticed the gun "with three rounds in the magazine and one in the
chamber," as per the paper's story.
RANTS because as bad as it was, it could have been much worse, perhaps fatal, for he might have been able to get four shots off, from
inside the cell or even from inside the county constable car.
RAVES, though, that he never went for his gun. (27 Jun 18)
"Uniontown man charged with having a gun at magistrate."
Never mind the real civil rights violations
ACLU, PA Law Project sue Fay over prison conditions
RANTS that the ACLU and the PA Law Project spent over two years interviewing inmates at the Fayette County Prison and this is the best
suit they could come up with against the county for conditions at the downtown lock up?
Never mind that inmates don't always get their mail or that they experience delays getting mail sent. Never mind that they don't have
access to complaint forms. Never mind that severely mentally ill inmates too often are kept in turtle suits in general population. Never mind
some cannot have private meetings with clergy.
Never mind the basement lighting is dark and some cells are lined with dried, caked feces. Never mind that a disabled inmate was hosed
by staff who was not terminated. Never mind another only decompensated further in the basement, eating his own waste, when no
outpatient or inpatient mental health staff who ever worked with him in past decades ever knew him to do such a thing.
Never mind all the absolutely horrible things wrong with the county prison due to county and staff negligence. A new building cannot fix
those kinds of problems.
RANTS that the ACLU and the PA Law Project's colossal waste of time, energy and pro-bona legal services with this suit seem only to
benefit the union and those pushing for new digs and nothing more.
No doubt, they will be laughed right out of court whining about the old building and nothing but the old building. The new roof installed
last year keeps the rain water out and the sewage catches installed stop items stuffed in toilets and sinks from entering the main sewage
What the suit isn't saying, however, is that some inmates contribute to sewage messes on the floors by using the toilet repeatedly without
flushing. Most guards refuse to flush those along the way and refuse to remove items causing the blockage in the sewage "catches" when
maintenance is not working.
RANTS that this suit is the best that the ACLU and the PA Law Project came up with after two years of interviewing inmates. They should
have just stayed home. (27 Jun 18)
Fay RTK: glass in prison food "noncriminal" investigation
RANTS that an internal investigation of a May 8 claim by four men incarcerated at the Fayette County Prison -- that three received dinner
meals containing shreds of glass -- is described in a Right To Know answer received yesterday by Uniontown citizens as a "noncriminal
Allegheny issues bench warrant for Conn
man jailed in fatal Fay heroin delivery
RANTS that the 23-year-old man jailed six days ago for fatal heroin delivery to a friend made bail after an arrest earlier this month in
Allegheny County for possession of drugs and driving drugged.
While the Connellsville man began his first full day incarcerated in the Fayette County Prison last Thursday, Allegheny County issued a
bench warrant in his name, following, of course, a no-show appearance at his scheduled noon hearing that day on drug charges filed by
the North Versailles Police on June 1.
RANTS, as we said, that he had no problem making bail the day after he was charged earlier this month in Allegheny County and that he
spent days right up to his scheduled Allegheny court appearance actively pursuing drugs for himself and others home in Fayette.
Big, big RANTS, my dears. (26 Jun 18)
"Quotes Of The Day" of a judge ranting the prison board,
& words from heartbroken parents burying a son from overdose
"If I were... on the board (Fayette County Prison Board), I definitely would be asking questions and have the inmates interviewed."
Fayette County Judge, off the courthouse bench for the day and on social media, chatting with a friend about claims from 4 men
that some inmates received shards of glass in their county prison dinner meals on "B" range on May 8, that nobody spoke with
any of them and nobody reviewed prison surveillance video to confirm or disprove inmate allegations
"T's parents ask only that prayers be offered for their son, for all addicts suffering from this horrific disease, and for all the family
and friends who care for their addicts, as the journey is long and hard."
Obituary of a young man up the street, who left rehab one day before fatally overdosing on heroin purchased from a friend, now
charged in the death
Fourth, said to have witnessed tainted meal county denies happened
Three in FCP on May 8: Yes, we got glass shards in our dinner
Three men currently incarcerated at the Fayette County Prison and one former inmate, released recently to resume his life and job, have said
that three of them received shards of glass in their prison dinner meals on May 8. The fourth man said he witnessed the three unknowingly
reacting to having glass in their mouths as they started to chew. .
Westmoreland offers ,800 shot to county jail inmates at release
RAVES that Westmoreland County officials are developing a program to provide, as a parting gift to addicts being released from jail, a free
dose of Vivitrol, a monthly injection to block a person from having drug cravings and from getting high.
Volunteers who opt in also will receive ten counseling sessions the first four weeks after release from jail through the injection program
sponsor, that county's Drug&Alcohol Commission.
RANTS that this one monthly shot is so pricey. ,800. This is some undertaking for the former Fay warden now in charge of
Westmoreland County Prison. Last month, Warden John Walton took in 48 inmates addicted to heroin and another 159 who required detox
from other opioids, cocaine, other drugs and alcohol.
The free dose of Vivitrol, a non-addictive, non-narcotic drug, would be followed with monthly shots of it, likely paid for by medical
assistance that inmates would be helped to apply for close to release. (19 Jun 18)
Nobody viewed video in investigation of glass in prison food
RANTS that the Fayette County Prison Board, in its investigation of food spiked with glass on May 8, did not require somebody to view
surveillance video of dinner time in Range "B", to see whether three specifically named inmates did or did not receive shards of glass in
the food. One, supposedly, had glass in his mouth. None were said to be injured, and all, reportedly, received replacement meals some
forty minutes later.
A Right To Know request sent to the county to ask if anyone actually cared to view the video, was answered today. No.
Additionally, another Right To Know asking to schedule to view the county prison surveillance video from May 8, from a 50-minute span
was denied. As per the county's Right To Know answer, fresh off the email inbox:
"Video surveillance images captured on the Prison's closed circuit camera system (CCTV) recycles or loops over themselves
approximately every 15 to 20 calendar days, thereby erasing and writing over footage previously captured.
"Given that, any surveillance footage captured on May 8, 2018, on the B-Range inmate housing unit is no longer available for review.
"A search on the CCTV system as part of the review of your Right to Know request confirmed that no video exists for the time period
and housing location specified. Accordingly, your request to view 50 minutes of B-Range inmate housing unit video from May 8,
2018, is denied because no such video is available."
Last week, Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, told Rants&Raves that the county could
or might not grant a request to view prison surveillance video.
"You should file a formal, written RTKL request for the video," she said. Similar requests, she said, have been denied in other cases,
"including decisions from the OOR (Office of Open Records)."
Melewsky said, however, it was worth pursuing with a RTK request, since "it is the agency’s duty to provide a legal basis, if they deny
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