By VICTOR E. SASSON
Like so many chickens running around with their heads cut off, The Record's local snowstorm reporters managed to visit only 17 of the 90 or so towns in the circulation area.
Coverage of winter's sixth major storm is pathetically thin, and Hackensack's snow emergency doesn't even rate a mention (A-1 and L-1).
Staff Writer Hannan Adely, who covers the city, filed a grand total of six paragraphs from Hackensack for today's paper (L-3), beginning her report this way:
"With the sidewalks covered in snow, most pedestrians walked in the street to get around."
Adely and other reporters don't answer the biggest question on residents' minds across the region:
Have municipal crews and property owners made streets and sidewalks safe for drivers and pedestrians, and are town officials enforcing snow-clearing ordinances?
On the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski, the befuddled reporter who hates leaving the office, rewrote a message to police chiefs from the widow of the only driver killed by roof snow in North Jersey in nearly 20 years (L-1).
Cichowski is too lazy to do what a TV news crew did on Thursday, following a vehicle with roof snow and questioning the driver about why he didn't clear off the roof.
On Page 1, a photo caption with the main weather story is awkwardly written and unnecessarily tells readers what they can clearly see in the close-up:
The snow covering the clothing and beard of William Morales.
So, the caption says, "William Morales of Fair Lawn covered in snow as he cleared it [italics added] outside his home" (A-1).
A map showing snow totals in North Jersey inexplicably includes a town I have never heard of: Marcella (A-1).
|Euclid Avenue near Grand Avenue in Hackensack.|
|Only one travel lane was available on Euclid Avenue near Main Street in Hackensack.|
|At Euclid Avenue and Main Street, as well as at many other intersections, uncleared snow makes clear Hackensack's Department of Public Works plows "don't do corners."|
In a delayed opening, classes started at 10 a.m. today for students in Hackensack, where there is no busing.
It was slow going at Hackensack High School, where hundreds of parents lined up bumper to bumper to drop off their children, and hundreds of other students walked, many times in the street because of uncleared sidewalks.
About 10 this morning, Prospect Avenue at Passaic Street was closed for snow removal, and Passaic at First Street was closed after a large wooden structure, boarded up several years ago, collapsed into a V-shape under the weight of accumulated snow.
|At Main and Anderson streets, as well as at many other spots in the city, pedestrians using crosswalks had to climb over dangerous mounds of snow.|
|Many bus stops in Hackensack, including this uncleared double shelter on Summit Avenue, were blockaded by snow pushed against the curb by city plows.|
Will the real Dib stand up?
In the past few days, Hackensack residents received e-mails on the snow emergency from Albert H. Dib, a part-time city employee who is Web master of the city's official site, hackensack.org
Dib also is the unnamed editor of hackensacknow.org, a message board that is labeled "Hackensack's Online Community," where he has censored residents' postings.
Still, I received anonymous messages claiming hackensacknow.org is not "a public Web site" and that it is licensed to Dib, who is said to be an attorney.
Does that make sense to anyone but Dib and his anonymous lackeys?
Wearing yet another hat, Dib also is executive director of the Upper Main Street Business Alliance, a public-private partnership made up of landlords and other property owners who are pushing the redevelopment of Hackenack's depressed Main Street, hoping to get even richer than they are now.
To me, Dib's public and private jobs raise the potential of conflicts of interest.
King of the sea
Peter Panteleakis, founder of Peter's Whale and its successor, Oceanos, in Fair Lawn, has long been recognized as one of Bergen County's premier seafood restaurant owners.
Too bad the Better Living cover photo today shows a $34 order of day boat scallops that the Oceanos kitchen inadvertently burnt and made inedible (A-1).
The editing of the 3.5-star review by Staff Writer Elisa Ung shows the same carelessness as the photo selection:
"Prices are high, but many dishes offer high-end good value given the quality of the ingredients" (BL-16).
What is "high-end good value"?
Ung also describes "heaping portions of pristine quality."