In ways that exceeded the duties of her office, Beaver County Treasurer Connie Javens apparently helped sell a county-owned senior home to a private company, Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services. Allegedly, Javens accompanied executives to the assessment office to guide them through lowering their property taxes and wrote a check of $275,000 in county money, without proper authorization, to help the facility pay off bills before CHMS took ownership. Incidentally, the company contracted Javens’ daughter, Renee Javens Zuk, as a beautician to the home’s residents — even though, when it was owned by the county, the facility fired Zuk from the same job after nine days, citing poor attendance. The news website The Beaver Countian has reported extensively on the saga. Javens and Zuk have filed a defamation lawsuit against six of the website’s anonymous commenters. The suit lists as defendants “thebigdigger,” “John Q Taxpayer,” “THE EXECUTIONER,” “Sliver,” “Courthouseconvicts,” and “ConnieintheSlammer” and includes verbatim their incensed, grammatically challenged remarks. Some samples: “Shut up Renee Javens mama is going down wait for it. Your stealing from taxpayer’s is done!!!!!” and “REALLY CONNIE HAVEN’T THEY FUCKIN FIRED YOU ALREADY.” Though not a defendant, The Beaver Countian has enlisted press and digital-freedom groups to help fight a motion to force it to help identify the commenters.
A saying goes: When you have a hammer, every problem seems like a nail. So perhaps, when one has a samurai sword, every dispute seems like a blood feud. That might explain what recently happened in Monessen, Westmoreland County. Amelia and Bill Garey confronted Amelia’s brother, Todd Allen Clark, who lives with them, about his supposed habit of smoking marijuana in the house. The Gareys told WPXI that Clark attacked his sister with a cane. When Bill Garey interceded, Clark reportedly whipped out the samurai sword he keeps behind his bed and dragged it across Garey’s face. A third man in the house wrested the sword from him. Clark, 51, faces charges of criminal attempted homicide and assault. Bill Garey had more than two dozen stitches.
Arzella Stewart-McCauley contacted WTAE, claiming that a Forest Hills nail salon refused her a manicure because she is legally blind. “I kept questioning [the owner] and she kept giving me the same response: ‘Because you’re blind and you can’t see and I’m busy,’” said Stewart-McCauley. Surprisingly, Hanh Thi Pham, owner of Le Nails, admitted to the station she turned the woman away and refuses service to anyone too young, too old or who otherwise seems time-consuming. In an interview done off-camera, she said she has the right to choose her customers (a claim some civil-rights lawyers may refute).
Eighteen-year-old Spencer Alceus, employed by a janitorial company, was assigned to clean the Chevrolet GMC Buick dealership in Harmony Township. He apparently did what you might have done at 18 if left alone at night with a parking lot of new cars and a drawer full of their keys. Police told the Beaver County Times that surveillance video shows Alceus taking several cars on joy rides, including a Buick Regal, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Cruze, even picking up a friend for a ride in the Cruze
A customer at the Shop ’n Save on Mount Washington flagged down police, saying he had witnessed a woman stuff a small dog into backpack and zip it shut before entering the store. Nichole Kahle initially denied en-sacking the animal, police told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but officers heard growling coming from her bag. Kahle allegedly refused to put her hands behind her back and, in the ensuing scuffle, a 15-pound Chihuahua fell out of the bag. Kahle, 37, faces animal-cruelty charges.
Pennsylvania’s Least Smooth Criminal: Alex John Benkosky, 24, allegedly swiped a jar of money made at a small candy stand inside a Mexican restaurant in Union Township, Lawrence County. Two employees and a customer chased him and, after Benkosky made a brief attempt to hide in some bushes, they apprehended him and held him until police arrived, police told the New Castle News. According a restaurant employee, Benkosky, who had allegedly made off with $142.98, “apologized and asked to call his mother and his girlfriend.”