Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Readers question Page 1 column on house without driveway

Posters in the "My County Poster Contest" were on display today in the lobby of the Bergen County Administration Building in Hackensack, above and below.


You've seen those houses -- on the edge of Route 17 or next to railroad tracks -- and wondered why would anyone buy and live in them.

The same question could be asked of Ken Klabouch, who lives in a house with no driveway and has to jump through many hoops to comply with Midland Park's ban on overnight parking, The Record reports today.

Is it any surprise Klabouch can't sell the place (A-1)?

Surely, I'm not the only reader questioning why Staff Writer John Cichowski thinks this real estate story has anything to do with his responsibilities as a commuting columnist.

Cichowski took over the Road Warrior column more than a dozen years ago, and quickly turned his back on bus and rail commuters, and drivers who faced mounting congestion at the Hudson River crossings.

Instead, he specialized in reporting on waiting times at the MVC, potholes, teen drivers and highway lighting, and wrote column after column quoting state police statistics on fatal accidents -- though he rarely transposed the data accurately.

How far is Klabouch's house from an NJ Transit bus stop, does Midland Park have rail service and could the place be ideal for a young couple who want to reduce their carbon footprint?

The clueless Cichowski doesn't say.

Memorial Day

Staff Writer Paul Berger did a fine job covering the Memorial Day ceremony at the monument to war dead in Englewood on Monday (L-1).

He ignored the speeches, and focused on Olga Mosciaro, 88, who has organized the parade "since the days she was a secretary in the city's Police Department detective bureau 30 years ago."

Berger's readable story noted the woman's white hat "barely poked above the lectern."

Korean drivers

The gee-whiz photo on L-2 today only adds to the poor opinion of Korean-American drivers held by many people.

The caption notes the large "SUV wound up on top of another vehicle ... when a parishioner at the Korean Presbyterian Church of the Palisades in Old Tappan lost control of the vehicle." 

What does "lost control" mean? Was the driver elderly, and did he or she mistake the gas pedal for the brake pedal -- a common problem among seniors, whether they are Korean or not? 

The Record's editors made no effort to find out, and in the process smeared the reputation of Korean drivers.

Monday's paper

Page 1 on Monday reported that eight residents of Midland Park -- a 1.5-mile-square borough with about 8,000 residents in the 1960s -- were killed in three years of the Vietnam War.

The story was by Staff Writer Todd South, a Marine veteran of Afghanistan.

As I read the story, I wondered whether this was the first time The Record had reported the heavy toll.

Nothing on the front page indicated the moving story was anything but the result of great reporting, but when readers turned to the continuation page, they finally saw the truth.

The story was based on the work of another Marine veteran, Paul Chepurko, a Hawthorne resident who self-published a book on the eight soldiers from Midland Park, "Small Town-Big Sacrifice II" (Monday's A-6).

Was the story deliberately written or edited to leave mention of Chepurko to the continuation page?

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