By VICTOR E. SASSON
Given the mess our absentee governor has made in New Jersey and all of the other problems in the region, the nation and the world, the horrors of 9/11 are a distant memory.
As such, the anniversary of the attacks on America shouldn't be played so prominently on Page 1 of The Record.
That's especially the case with the hackneyed Mike Kelly column on the 14th anniversary leading the paper today -- a rewrite of every story the veteran reporter has done on the ceremony at the old Twin Towers site. (A-1).
And readers wonder why Production Editor Liz Houlton continues to insist on running a dated thumbnail column photo of Kelly flashing what looks like a shit-eating grin.
Editor Martin Gottlieb and his minions could have honored 9/11 victims from North Jersey far more effectively by replacing all of the Law & Order filler in the Local news section today with their thumbnail photos (L-1, L-2, L-3 and L-6).
Some of the victims' photos could have started at the top of the front page, demoting Kelly's tedious column to below the fold, as well as in place of the story on the legislative probe of the George Washington Bridge lane closures, an investigation that has gone nowhere in two years.
After weeks of covering the refugee crisis in Europe, The Record and other media finally are paying attention to how little the United States has been doing (A-1).
But instead of focusing on the vibrant Syrian community based in Paterson, Gottlieb chose a wire service story for the front page today with inserts by Staff Writers Hannan Adely and Melissa Hayes that appear deep on the continuation page (A-8).
Adely reports "the first wave of Syrians moved to New Jersey a century ago," but doesn't bother telling readers they were overwhelmingly Christian, unlike the refugees now fleeing the civil war in Aleppo and other cities in Syria.
She also doesn't say how many refugees have been welcomed by the Syrian community in Paterson, Prospect Park, Wayne and nearby towns.
Adely may have reported those numbers in previous stories on the Syrian community, but Gottlieb, Houlton and other editors shouldn't expect readers to remember them.
Based on the meals I've enjoyed at Casual Habana Cafe on Main Street in Hackensack, I'm looking forward to trying the second Casual Habana, which was rated 2.5 out of 4 stars today (BL-16).
Sugar-obsessed restaurant critic Elisa Ung sought comfort in the unhealthiest food on the menu -- three artery clogging desserts -- after she ran into unprofessional service at the New Milford restaurant.
Some of her other choices, such as bacon-wrapped dates and pork-belly chicharrones, also are unfortunate given the restrictive diets followed by tens of thousands of her older readers.
But Ung was mistaken in saying Chef-Owner Benito Rivero "wanted to go beyond Cuban sandwiches" for his second and much bigger restaurant.
Rivero did that years ago in Hackensack, where many creative dishes and drinks are served alongside his Cuban classics.