Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cyber charter's former CEO agrees to plea deal in criminal case

Cyber charter's former CEO agrees to plea deal in criminal case
The disgraced former CEO and founder of Beaver County-based Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the state's largest cyber charter, reluctantly admitted in federal court Wednesday that he turned it into his personal ATM and withdrew about $8 million.
Nick Trombetta, 61, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service from collecting income taxes. He faces up to five years in prison.
Trombetta was charged in 2012. The school was audited and came under additional scrutiny. Former Mt. Lebanon School Board President and currently the Girls Volleyball coach, Joe Rodella was under fire as written in this article. PA Cyber connections prompt inquiry

Video connections
For help outfitting 735 Midland with videoconferencing technology, PA Cyber turned to Sharpsburg-based RoData Inc. That company's president is Joseph Rodella, who reported having a 40 percent interest in the firm on his financial disclosures filed with PA Cyber. Mr. Rodella was a PA Cyber board member from 2008 to 2011. 
Purchase orders provided by PA Cyber in response to the Post-Gazette's right-to-know request include four in which the charter school hired RoData to equip 735 Midland with videoconferencing technology, for a total of $92,733. That's a fraction of the $4 million in work RoData did for PA Cyber from 2005 through this year. 
No effort was made to conceal Mr. Rodella's involvement. Purchase orders from 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 list him as the contact person the school should call with any questions. 
"That's a pretty in-your-face approach," Mr. Weiss said.
No word on the outcome of that investigation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Look Out Lebo UPDATED 3X

When you aren't looking down at your Lebo parking spot app, or filming this video while driving the car, Look up Lebo!

Update August 24, 2016 9:44 AM The following was sent to our commissioners this morning. David raises excellent points.

Have you seen the new "Look Up Lebo" campaign logo?
The car is on the green light while the pedestrian is on the red light.
This means, pedestrians must wait for all vehicles to travel through the intersection from all directions before crossing the street, regardless of crosswalks or signals.
It means pedestrians halfway across the street must stop for vehicles that don't yield.
It sends the message that Mt. Lebanon is not a walking community, but it is the automobile community.
"Neighborhoods such as Mt. Lebanon's Mission Hills and Virginia Manor were among the first in the nation with long curving street layouts specifically designed with the automobile in mind. It was the era when suburban streets came to be named “Drives,” rather than “Streets” or “Avenues.”"

"Pittsburgh's premier automobile suburb" 

Residents who walk are not welcome here, but criminals who operate vehicles and don't yield to pedestrians are encouraged to drive on through.
As leaders of our town, you need to straighten out your attitude and correct your priorities.
David Huston

August 24, 2016 2:15 PM Susan Morgans has to go!

August 24, 2016 5:30 PM Even the governor is working with stakeholders, such as the Office of Open Records, to engage the public by launching PA's Open Data Program.
“Since day one of my administration, I have been committed to making state government more open and transparent,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “That’s why I signed an executive order to release agency data to the public in an open, accessible format, and today, am launching OpenDataPA. One of our most valuable and underutilized resources in state government is data. Our goal is to make data available in order to engage citizens, create economic opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, and develop innovative policy solutions that improve program delivery and streamline operations.”
Then there is the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon. We have to file RTKs to see what the monthly expenditures are, even though residents can't comment on them, let alone see them, until after the commissioners approve them. News flash - they don't look at them either. Why the municipality doesn't post them on their "Open Lebo" site, is beyond me.  I guess that is part of the new Susan Morgans/ Laura Lilley Engaging the Public Program that was enacted last year. I guess drinking beer at Hitchhiker with Keith McGill or having coffee at Panera and the local coffee house is all the engaging we're going to get.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Another win for Mt. Lebanon Commissioners UPDATED 3X

By court order, Mt. Lebanon will be permitted to kill deer in Twin Hills next month. Scott v MTL Court Order

This is yet another black mark against our commissioners. Killing deer in Twin Hills does not more than kill Scott Township deer. Barbara Logan must be thrilled.

August 19, 2016 11:52 AM Cowards! This is the latest LeboAlert.

This is an important notice from LeboALERT.

Commission discussion session/adjourned meeting for Mon, Aug. 22, are cancelled. Exec session only. Next regular Commission meeting is Sept.13.
August 20, 2016 8:18 AM So why were the commission discussion session and the commission meeting canceled?

There were no agenda items other than one that is not time sensitive. 
August 23, 2016 9:11 PM I stopped in at the end of the Scott Township meeting tonight and learned that Mt. Lebanon gave their 30 day notice to start archery in Twin Hills. Does that make it September 23, 2016?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The charlatan got us again UPDATED

Through a Right To Know, the White Buffalo (Tony DeNicola) archery program details were made public.

Tony DeNicola will be charging $9000 for supervising THREE days of archery. Here is the breakdown:

Hunting Organization and Management Budget 2016-17

Program management 3 person-days X $1,500/day       $4500

Supplies (Miscellaneous supplies)                                  $4500

TOTAL                                                                           $9000

What miscellaneous supplies could possibly cost $4500? It can't be bait. It is illegal to hunt over bait. Plastic bags?

Here are the records received:

Deer Management Agreement Year 2 Archery Proposal in Appendix A is missing. Appendix B pertains to the donation issue, at my expense. The way I read it, Shady Lane can't receive those tender fawns given to him again this year. That would be compensation, Greg.

Last year, there were more specifics; expectations. No minimum or maximum amount of deer killed this time. Why? Because he won't kill many. Remember, he got "the dumbest of the dumb deer last year." Tony's costs are not broken down. Are we paying for the tags? How many tags are we buying? Are we paying meat processing fees? Do we know about Twin Hills? Are food and lodging included? Mileage? 

That is the worst contract I have seen in a long time. It might make for good conversation tomorrow morning. "Chat with Lebo manager Keith MicGill* over coffee tomorrow, 8-10 am, at Panera in the Galleria. Stop for a minute or stay the whole time."

*Way to go, Susan. You can't even spell your boss' name correctly in the LeboAlert.

Update August 20, 2016 7:43 AM We can't get any answers to the questions above. Keith McGill provided the following breakdown of costs.
Thank you for you continued interest in the program. Miscellaneous supplies would cover items such as the bags to place the entrails in when the deer are field dressed, production and printing of the various forms such as the authorization forms that are required to be signed, hunting arrows and I am sure there are other items in addition to the ones I have listed that are required to allow the volunteer archers to provide this service to the municipality.

This is similar to other volunteer efforts that occur in the municipality such as Earth Day in which residents volunteer their time to clean up different areas of the community. For that particular event the municipality provides trash bags, gloves and safety vests to residents who will be working in areas that are proximate to traffic. Another example would be the numerous Eagle Scout projects that have been done throughout the community. The municipality provides the materials once the projects are approved and the scout(s) and other volunteers provide the labor to actually complete the project. 
Good afternoon, 
There is no breakdown for the miscellaneous supplies. None is required in the contract that was reviewed and approved. As I indicated in my prior email I am sure the are other items include in this item of which I am not aware. I believe the cost to be fair and reasonable. 
and finally
This is a professional services contract not a time and materials contract. The cost for the program will be $9000. 
How does this guy get off call himself a 501(c)(3)?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More government waste UPDATED

From the August 15, 2016 MLSD Agenda:
Air Conditioning ­ RESOLVED, That the Board approves an agreement with Trane to provide engineering services for air conditioning at Mt. Lebanon Middle and Elementary Schools in an amount not to exceed $260,000, such agreement to be in a form approved by the Solicitor and the Superintendent

 This is one week after this was in The Almanac. Mt. Lebanon School Board weighs costs, benefits of air conditioning

After receiving more information at Monday night’s meeting, the board decided to table discussions in hopes of clarity in the next few months, when board members will decide whether to go along with the project that would cost between $5.6 and $6.1 million, according to project estimates completed by the engineering firm CJL. 
One aspect the board will consider in the near future will be paying the $285,000 engineering fee associated with the project, which will then determine a more specific price point if the district follows through with the project. 
“We constantly need to balance the need to do what we can to enhance the educational experience of our kids,” said Lawrence Lebowitz, board president. “In this case, it means air conditioning in our buildings, so they can be comfortable and perform to their best ability, while recognizing it comes with a cost.”
We know the answer will be that the school board directors will move forward with the project, so why spend the $260,000? Who are they kidding?

August 20, 2016 10:30 AM

Monday, August 15, 2016

And the new school board director is... UPDATED 2X

Mr. Stephen Strotmeyer.

Update August 16, 2016 8:40 AM I hesitated about publishing the first comment since it was anonymous. It sounded like a personal attack. After doing some research, I find that "Kru Stephen" is well known for his Muay Thai skills. [Did I say that correctly?]

Update August 17, 2016 2:16 PM The District website announced the appointment of Mr. Stephen Strotmeyer. I have changed the original post and included the most recent photo of the new school board director.

Mr. Strotmeyer has plans to run for school board during next year's election. When interviews were taking place for Kristen Linfante's replacement, the commission ruled out the two candidates running for Ward 3, citing that it would give one of them an unfair advantage. Obviously, this is not the case since the election is not in the immediate future.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why do Mt. Lebanon drivers have so much trouble with deer?

Today's Letter to the Editor in the PG, Why do Mt. Lebanon drivers have so much trouble with deer?

The usual haters are commenting; ass Time, Hayley Greenberg.  Still waiting to hear from josh g, Maxwell, and Brennen Larkin. Such hateful people. Paul Vondra summed it up well. "Anyone who can summon such passion for hating a deer is not very well."

Where do the haters get their facts?

  • 90+% want the deer killed? Where and when was this poll taken?
  • The deer are starving to death? Merlin Benner, Jody Maddock and Tony DeNicola all said that our deer are not starving.
  • The main opposition to the cull is from a small cadre of Republicans? Uh, I don't think so. I think there are more Dems opposing this than R's. Remember R's are backed by the NRA.
  • Lyme Disease is from ticks on deer? Please read about that on the PA Game Commission and the Mt. Lebanon websites. and Please check the links. I am not making any of this up!
Has anyone asked the commissioners to justify their spending of $9000 so that DeNicola can supervise the same archers on the same 12 private properties?  

Very sloppy work

Getting a Right To Know request granted in the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon is becoming a joke, at the requestor's expense. A RTK was filed for all 2016 block party applications received from June 11, 2016 through July 20, 2016.

The 30 day extension was applied so that personal information could be redacted. Typical.

The requestor was charged 25¢ per copy and had to be paid up front, even though it would have been $5.00. Not so typical. Most agencies waive the fee if it is under $25.00.  To pay less than $5.00 upfront is ludicrous. Only Mt. Lebanon does that.

Fee was paid, but the RTK was not available after the thirty days. Not typical, in fact, illegal. It was MIA. A letter had to be sent to the manager, commissioners, and Open Records Officer (ORO) questioning the process. Not the first time this had to be done.

The information was emailed, even though it was requested in hard copy. Again, not typical. Commissioner Brumfield objects to scanned copies, when it suits him.

Finally, the information was released and available here.

Reviewing the RTK, I was happy to see that Rudy caught the one scheduled for Halloween and rejected it. Not typical. Last year, there was one in Mission Hills. Our former police chief had advised that all Halloween block parties not be permitted for safety concerns.

I do see that one application was reviewed and accepted for a collector street. They even requested a barricade for a Castle Shannon street. Sadly, this too, is typical. A Sleepy Hollow resident appeared at my door last year and told me to mind my own business regarding their two block parties.

State Representative Dan Miller's Right To Know event on September 15, 2016 can't come soon enough. I just hope that representatives from  the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon attend Dan's event.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Here is why we're spending $9000 UPDATED 2X

Our illustrious Public Information Office has published a list of FAQ (or the ones they want to answer) on the municipal website here. I now see why the commissioners are willing to shell out nine grand to Tony DeNicola to supervise the same archers kill deer on the same twelve private properties. That comes to $750 per property.

A few points to consider:

  • Are these properties really being donated? It has now gone to Commonwealth Court.
  • Twin Hills is NOT listed. Yay, Scott Township!
  • Archery season is not September 17 - January 28, 2017 as the PIO states. The PA Game Commission lists: DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 17- Nov. 26 and Dec. 26-Jan. 28, 2017. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.  Don't you just love how the PIO makes things up?
  •  "All hunters in Mt. Lebanon’s program will carry identification." Just don't ask them for ID or you will be cited for harassment or interfering with a hunt. Just ask Amy Castor. 
Mt. Lebanon paid White Buffalo $9,000 to supervise the same archers on the same twelve properties (Again, that's $750 per property) for this reason only:
Property owners contacted White Buffalo directly and made donations based on a condition of confidentiality. Mt. Lebanon does not have a list of the properties. 
If the people receive any meat, then it isn't a donation, is it? Are these people really doing this out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you think they have an ulterior motive? Of course they do.

Update August 11, 2016 7:03 PM Contacting the commission is futile. I sent this email as a followup to my last email. What do I get back? Keith McGill's out of office email.

Update August 15, 2016 7:15 PM The municipal website has been corrected. I sent out yet another email, after hearing back from my commissioner. I guess Keith McGill came back from his vacation as I received this from him this morning. And yes, I thanked Keith.

Four yeses. More deer to kill.

With Kelly Fraasch absent, four commissioners approved spending $9000 so that the charlatan can oversee the same archers kill deer in the same public and private properties as last year. After all, Tony DeNicola said that more deer need to be killed.

DeNicola's comment about killing the dumbest deer reveals his true character. In the comments section from yesterday's PG story:

this ignorant quote by DeNicola reveals the true character of the man. They didn't kill the dumbest deer, they killed the tame deer that trusted the humans who brought hunters and shooters on to their property to kill the doe and her fawns that apparently browsed on their tulips. This tame doe likely led her fawns right up to the bow hunters and shooters in complete trust to be slaughtered. What a cowardly and unethical act of killing defenseless and gentle animals. As far as I'm concerned, a man that gets his kicks from killing tame animals is a man with no honor or moral character, a coward. And they call this the "sport" of "hunting". I hold the same sentiments for the residents.

In that same story, the PG shows a poll with some interesting results:

In Janice Crompton's PG article*, Archers to cull deer again in Mt. LebanonCrompton points out the obvious.
Despite the cull, however, reported deer-vehicle collisions still are on the rise.
In the first half of this year, 47 crashes were reported — a significant increase over the 18 reported during the same time frame last year.
“I don’t understand how the accidents went up,” said resident Stacey Chick. “Calling this a safe program is fallacious.”
I understand a person, who wants deer dead, suggested that those who are anti-kill place bronze deer statues in our yards. No thank you. I placed my Not In My Yard sign in my yard again.

I have a few signs leftover from last year, but I am willing to place another order. Email me at if you want a Not In My Yard sign.

*Thank you PG for pulling Hayes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

And now, from the laziest "reporter"

John Hayes contacted me yesterday.

Hey Elaine,
I'm writing a short advance of the deer management vote that will happen at tomorrow's commission meeting. Care to provide an update of where your Right to Know case stands? 
- John

What an ass. I think he is the only "reporter" who doesn't know how to look up dockets. Instead he feeds off of Susan Morgans. Here is his latest biased report. Mt. Lebanon commissioners to take up deer issue once again.
“But don’t think it would be easier this year,” he [Tony DeNicola] said. “We had great support and the [property owners] were fabulous. But [archers] killed 100 deer and look around the municipality — you can’t see a difference. They’ll need to kill more this year. Also, last year they shot the dumbest of the dumb deer on the properties we had access to. This time the deer will be educated.”
Then there is what Susan Fleming Stroyd Morgans had to say.
Ms. Morgans said if commissioners approve the hunt, which would start in late September, parts of the public golf course, McNeilly Park and Robb Hollow Park likely would be included.
“There’s been very little drama in comparison to what we all endured last time,” she said, referring to street protests and meeting disruptions that occurred near the start of last year’s controlled archery hunt. “There’s been very little comment on it at all.”
No drama? Did she forget about Scott Township taking Mt. Lebanon to court over killing deer in Twin Hills? Nothing was said about promising anonymity, because they can't. My attorneys have taken that issue to Commonwealth Court. Of course, John Hayes would have known that, if he did some research.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Liened properties for the 2015 Tax Year

I filed a Right To Know over the weekend and the school district's Open Records Officer received my request this morning. Jeanine Szalinski granted my request and emailed six pages to me this afternoon. No charge for scanning, as it should be. Our municipality are thieves. I forwarded the liened properties list to the commission, Keith McGill, and Bonnie Cross asking why the district's ORO can do this, but the municipality ORO can't. I'll share their response here. Ha! Like I am going to get a response.

Here is the list of Liened Properties for the 2015 Tax Year. Many are repeat offenders. One repeat offender even gets paid for writing articles for the Public Information Office. Of course.

No LeboAlert

Our very busy LeboAlert staff has not issued an alert yet. Read this on Facebook. Thank you, Mt. Lebanon Fire Department for keeping us informed.

I hope that no one was injured.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Interviews Scheduled for School Board Director vacancy

On Monday, August 8, 2016, interviews for the school board vacancy will begin at 5:00 PM in Room D 205. The schedule is available here and below.

Elaine Cappucci resigned from the school board last month.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Get your scarves ready, Ladies

The commission will be approving another season of archery with patent holder of apples and corn, Tony DeNicola on Tuesday evening. August 9, 2016 Commission Meeting Agenda. This is when all the prokill ladies show up in their scarves, trying to distinguish themselves from us homeless-looking people who are against killing deer for various reasons.

Kelly Fraasch will not be attending, so it will definitely go through. It would have gone through anyway, since John Bendel is hell-bent on killing deer in Twin Hills Park, to appease his biggest supporter, Barbara Logan. Remember the email that John Bendel sent to Barbara Logan on the municipal domain concerning his nomination petition? I would love to know how Barbara can justify killing more deer to reduce car accidents, when the number tripled during the deer killing?

It is not real clear to me why Mt. Lebanon needs to spend $9000 for Tony to manage last year's archers.

Wasn't the whole idea to organize a solid network of vetted archers for years to come? Hey, I have an idea. Can we take that $9000 and put it toward dumping dirt and grass seed on the upper lot of Rockwood Park?

Wake up, Commissioners. Use your heads. Tony DeNicola is a charlatan and is making fools of you.