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One of the first things Staff Writer John Cichowski did before speaking as the Road Warrior on Monday was to apologize.
Appearing before a class of older people at Bergen Community College in Paramus, Cichowski noted it was the fifth time he was giving the talk at the Institute for Learning in Retirement.
"I hope I don't bore you with the same old, same old."
Gee. Why has he never offered the same apology to readers of his endlessly repetitive columns in The Record of Woodland Park?
The class, part of a course called "In The Record," has heard Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin and others.
Former Editor Francis "Frank" Scandale, whose firing was announced on Halloween, was scheduled to speak on Nov. 21.
Cichowski discussed the relative health of the newspaper in an industry that has seen huge ciruclation losses and record layoffs.
He said The Record is hiring reporters, "even thinking of expanding." And he said the newsroom budget is $18 million and growing.
Cichowski also quizzed class members about the car-pool discount, the safest era for road fatalities and the county with the most traffic deaths (Ocean).
He also buried the class in statistics, just as he buries readers of his column -- everything from the number of drivers in New Jersey, miles of roads, number of crashes, injuries and deaths; their cost per person; number of bridges, number of DOT employees, ad nauseam.
Cichowski made only a brief reference to Governor Chrisie's poor mass transit record, but acknowledged more trains and buses are the only way to solve worsening traffic congestion.
However, he never explained why he rarely writes about mass transit, commuting and related issues.
Class members asked him about the status of road improvements, including the widening of Route 4 east through Teaneck, a project he said is on hold because of state finances.
He referred to the township as a "pretty liberal Jewish community."
A New Jersey political Web site called In The Lobby has speculated on the reasons for Scandale's termination, referring to a post in Eye on The Record.
Here's the link: Did dispute over story lead to ouster?