Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hackensack construction closes day care center building

Rainbow Castle Preschool at 142-48 Main St. in Hackensack was evacuated after pile driving and other construction work at a site next to the building damaged the foundation and other parts of the building, a city official said.

One of three "UNSAFE STRUCTURE" notices on the two-story building, which has offices on the second floor and remains empty about a month after it was declared unsafe for "human occupancy." This notice is dated "7-27-16."


Teachers, children and other occupants of a Hackensack day care center were ordered out of the building after work on a 14-story project next door damaged the foundation, walls and other structures.

City officials also ordered a work stoppage on the project, a 382-unit apartment building and 7,500 square feet of new retail space at Main and Mercer streets -- the biggest and most visible sign of a sweeping downtown rehabilitation plan.

In early February, Eye on The Record reported that everyone from children attending the preschool next to the enormous pit to the lawyers down the block were going bananas over the constant hammering of steel support beams into the ground.

"I can hardly concentrate," one lawyer said.

An employee of Rainbow Castle Preschool at 142-48 Main St. said the noise was driving everyone crazy, but that the children had grown accustomed to the repetitive thud that can be felt inside the building.

In addition to preschool, Rainbow Castle offered infant and kindergarten classes, and most of the children came from working class families.

Complaint to state

Then, in July, a complaint was made to the state agency that licenses day care centers, and that led to an inspection of the building, a city Building Department official said today.

Based on a report from the project's engineer, the two-story day care center building was declared unsafe and evacuated on July 27, the official said, and construction work next door was halted.

The day care center can't reopen until city officials review a second report from the same engineer that it is safe.

The 14-story project is an undertaking of the Alkova Cos. of Alpine, and the day care center building owner is Fairway Terrace Corp. of Norwood.

Calls to the day care center are referred to a "Mr. Song," but his number is no longer in service.

The pile driver is silent now, and no work is going on at Main and Mercer streets in Hackensack, below.

Today's paper

Governor Christie's elaborate public relations machine scored another splashy front page in The Record today (A-1).

A news story and political column at the top of Page 1 regurgitate every single word and claim from Christie about the successful expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey.

But there's bad news in yet another adoring column from Staff Writer Charles Stile, who reports the GOP bully "hasn't given up the dream of running for president" in 2020 (A-8).

That likely means Stile hasn't given up his dream of being chosen as Christie's communications director, in the unlikely event the worst governor in New Jersey history wins the White House.

Sanitizes record

Sadly, the A-1 Medicaid pieces and an upbeat editorial on A-6 completely omit any mention of Christie being among more than 30 conservative Republican governors who refused to set up a state marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

That attempted sabotage meant people seeking health-care insurance were thrown onto the overburdened federal marketplace, and had far fewer plans to choose from.

Oscar Insurance is the latest to announce it will no longer cover New Jersey residents on Jan. 1.

Slanted editorial

Similarly, an editorial on rising gun violence in Paterson slams city officials from wanting to raise more revenue with a traffic-ticket blitz (A-6).

Hire more cops, thunders Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin, while conveniently forgetting to mention Christie's deep state aid cuts to Paterson and other poor cities forced the initial Police Department layoffs or that his vetoes loosened controls on concealed weapons.

This deliberate slanting of stories, columns and editorial about Christie continues even after the wealthy Borg family sold North Jersey Media Group to Gannett Co. on July 6.

Gannett P.R.

Also on Page 1 today is the inspirational photo and profile of Gianfranco Iannotta, 22, a Garfield resident who will complete in the Rio Paralympics next week.

But the shameful public relations for Christie at the top of the page is echoed below the fold with Gannett Co. P.R about The Record's new president and editor (A-1).

Here's a perfect example of what editors call "burying the lead." 

The replacement of Editor Deirdre Sykes after only seven months in the job -- as reported on NorthJersey.com on Monday -- isn't mentioned until deep into the continuation page (A-4).

Meyer and Green

Most of the announcement is devoted to the resumes and accomplishments of Nancy A. Meyer and Richard A. Green, who will take over as president and editor, respectively, on Sept. 6.

The story is filled with corporate jargon, but doesn't address the drastic decline in local-news coverage since the Borgs moved their flagship paper out of Hackensack in 2009.

Meyer is described as an "exceptional team builder who develops innovative, customer-centric solutions to drive sustainable growth" (A-4).

Green is "returning to his favorite place -- the newsroom," according to the corporate press release.

"He will be a strong news leader for ... North Jersey Media Group," another executive enthuses.

Green says he looks forward to working with the "team" at NJMG "to develop plans to continue expanding our audience, diversifying our revenue base, and building out our digital voice."

Gannett describes NJMG as The Record, "which serves Bergen County and neighboring areas ...; the Herald News, a daily newspaper for Paterson and surrounding towns; more than 50 community weekly newspapers; a high-end monthly magazine; and several digital properties, including North Jersey.com."


  1. A question and comment from a reader in Hackensack:

    "Did you see Stile's column today? He is still touting Christie -- this stuff is incredible. Once Christie is out he is done. people see him for what he is but Stile keeps on cozying up to him."

    1. Shameless pandering by a burned-out Trenton reporter looking for a huge salary as Christie's spokesman some day.


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