Weird Pittsburgh: Burning bridges, stupid criminals and a Christmas visit for the ages | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Weird Pittsburgh: Burning bridges, stupid criminals and a Christmas visit for the ages

Perce was reportedly carried down a street on the hood of a car.

In his final few hours before retirement, 58-year-old Michael Stuban, a mid-level manager at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, unloaded his complaints about the agency when filling out an email exit questionnaire. Instead of sending it to the human-resources department, Stuban, a Beaver County resident, intentionally hit “reply all,” delivering his rant to all 2,000 employees of the state agency. “Giving us classes where we are being told we are not political. That’s bullshit,” Stuban wrote. “Jobs/Promotions are filled by the politicians, it’s who you know, not what you know. Positions [are] created for people who are not qualified.” He also blasted his bosses as “out of touch” and said his last five years at the commission had been “terrible.” Commission chairman Sean Logan sent a testy reply, telling Stuban, “I don't believe we ever met, and after reading your Exit Questionnaire, I am grateful that we didn’t,” but by that time, Stuban had cleaned out his cubicle and left. The new retiree told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “When they asked for an honest exit interview, I gave them one.” 

Act 13 is a Pennsylvania law that funnels some of the fees shale-oil drillers pay per well to counties and towns to offset the increased environmental management and traffic costs and stress on infrastructure caused by the wells. However, a report from state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that, due to the law’s vague language, money from these “impact fees” could be spent on virtually anything. Several local governments used their share to balance budgets and pay office expenses. Particularly questionable were the spending habits of North Strabane Township, Washington County, which last year used nearly $33,000 on events. This included $7,500 on fireworks, $4,250 on inflatable party rentals and $1,200 on a performance by Adam Brock, a local singer eliminated in the first week of “American Idol,” season 11. Township Manager Frank Siffrinn told he wasn’t aware that impact fee money had been used for those purposes.

“Pastor” Ernest Perce, of Yahwehs Flat Earth Ministries, took to downtown Carlisle with a misspelled sign to demand the “U.S. stop bombing Muslims 4 Isreal.” The Sentinel newspaper also reports that Perce sported long hair, a beard stretching down to his chest and an American flag attached to his ankle so he could drag it as he walked. Perce also proclaimed, “Israel did 9/11. There’s no argument about it.” Police were called about several angry confrontations with passersby, including one in which Perce was reportedly carried down a street on the hood of a car. One can learn more about Perce’s message on his website,, which includes several YouTube videos “proving” that the Earth is flat and “gravity is a myth.”

Pittsburgh’s dumbest robber: Anthony Heard reportedly entered a CoGo’s in the neighborhood of Brookline, mask-less, and robbed the cashier at gunpoint at about 2:30 a.m. Minutes later, while police were interviewing the cashier, Heard, 36, reportedly re-entered the store. The employee pointed to Heard and said, “That’s him,” according a WTAE report. Heard allegedly insisted he was just another customer, in to buy a “blunt,” and he had to get back to his home as he had left several young children unattended — which led to several charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Because a large percentage of Denny’s patrons probably come in completely baked, 39-year-old Gino Blackwell thought the staff at the Denny’s in Chambersburg would be chill when he purportedly put “a bag of marijuana in plain sight on the table after being seated” at 8 a.m., according to the newspaper Public Opinion. However, staff narc'd, and police found an outstanding warrant for Blackwell from Kansas, leading to his arrest.

Mary Jo Smith, described on WPXI’s website as a “disgruntled ex,” reportedly drove through the yard of her ex-boyfriend’s house in Dunbar Township, Fayette County, bowling over his family’s mailbox and scattering their Christmas decorations, as the man and his wife and stepdaughter took cover behind a tree. Smith, 47, allegedly blared holiday music from her vehicle during the alleged rampage and yelled at the horrified family, “Merry Christmas!”

Disability Pride
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Disability Pride

By Mars Johnson