Touring the WTC site

Went on a guided tour of the World Trade Center construction site which included the 9/11 Memorial. Work is now being completed at a seemingly breakneck pace, and the site is taking shape. Port Authority big-wig Bill Baroni narrated the tour, and vows to have the 9/11 Memorial opened for the 10th anniversary. Video includes a breathtaking view of NY Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, viewed from the 39th floor of the WTC tower, take a look.


Years after Ford Motor Co. was forced to return to Ringwood to dig up thousands of tons of toxic paint sludge it had dumped on the mountain, that job is still not finished — and may never be.

Ford has removed nearly five times the amount of pollution it hauled out in previous cleanups of its old dumpsite. But despite government assurances that the work will finally be done right, Ford may once again be allowed to leave contamination in an area that serves as the watershed for 2.5 million North Jersey residents.

Further complicating cleanup efforts, Ford said it has no records to indicate how much waste was dumped in Upper Ringwood — so it’s unclear what contamination remains hidden in this rugged terrain.

A generation after the 500-acre tract was first declared a Superfund site, residents and environmentalists remain skeptical that the community will ever be made whole. Read more.

In 2005, The Record launched an award-winning series, outlining the saga, including a flash presentation, which at the time was cutting-edge.

This is a 3 part series - a documentary 5-years in the making, that began with the original series in 2005, and culminates in December 2010, when the residents finally received their settlement money. But the ending for many was far from victorious.


Record music reporter Alfa Garcia and I featured the female trio, Red Molly, in the latest Soundcheck segment. They have a great folksy-blue grass sound, and were a fun group to spend some time with. We shot this video backstage at the City Winery in NYC.


Record features writer Jim Beckerman came up with a great idea for a story and participatory video, where he would take part in preparing a Thanksgiving meal with food served at the First Thanksgiving. Jim assisted some colonial re-en-actors at New Bridge Landing in River edge, NJ, who are specially trained in 17th Century culinary practices, a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday. Surprisingly to many, the food we now celebrate on Thanksgiving are far different than what was actually prepared and served.

Race for Bergen County Executive

The race between incumbent Dennis McNerney - Democrat, and Bergen County Clerk Kathe Donovan -the Republican challenger was contentious and empassioned. I spent time over the course of two weeks with both candidates, and did this documentary piece that focuses not only on the campaign, but also what each candidates hopes to accomplish.

Then the results on Election Night. The people have spoken...

ALCS 2010 -Game 4 Yankees vs. Rangers

Recap of ALCS Game 4
Rangers shutdown the Yankees again, take 3-1 series lead. Texeiera lost for remainder of the playoffs

ALCS 2010 -Yankees vs. Rangers

Recap of ALCS Game 3
Rangers and Cliff Lee shutout the Yankees 8-0 to take 2-1 series lead.



Rabbi Israel "Sy" Dresner forged a Civil-Rights era alliance with Martin Luther King, Jr. Retired now and in his 80's, Dresner has an interesting story to tell about his relationship with King. He was an insider in the movement, and has a unique perspective that's pretty remarkable. Recently, he sat down with reporter Jen Cunningham and myself and recanted the time in his life when he would rally local clergy and make trips from Jersey down south, with the intention of getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience. He remembered with fine detail and excitement his role in the movement, reading a letter he received from King that he wrote from the St. Augustine, FL jail. He kept the letter, keeps a copy framed on his wall, along with some photos of him with King. he says Kind was the greatest person he ever met -and he's met some important world figures. His pride is apparent. Take a look. Read more.


Here's the latest Soundcheck with Alfa Garcia video. This one focuses on the quintet The Nico Blues. They are a a young independent band from Wayne, some are still in college. There are two sets of brothers, and one more guy. They are handling all aspects; including recording in their own basement studio. Take a listen or read the full story by Alfa on

I love the instrumental at the front of this first song.


We've begun producing these music videos featuring local bands and musicians. Music reporter Alfa Garcia is the on-camera reporter. It's a work in progress. This is the 2nd one we've produced. This one was shot at the Music Merchant music shop in Westwood, featuring Dave Debiak -the lead singer of the local band New London Fire. Take a listen. Here's the story.


Like manna from heaven...
Newark's superstar mayor Cory Booker had what he called his "Mark Zuckerberg Moment" last week on Oprah, as he and NJ Governor Chris Christie went on TV to receive a $100-million "Challenge Grant" from the Facebook founder M full story by The Record's Pat Alex.


53 people were arrested and charged, in a huge widespread ID theft and fraud ring, that was was busted by the Feds today. The Palisades Park fraud ring catered to Korean clients, and made millions of dollars using a variety of sophisticated and time-consuming methods. Read full story by The Record's Peter Sampson.

This video was a team effort, I did the editing and most of the shooting, and I was assisted by colleagues Chris Pedota and Tariq Zehawi, who shooting in a variety locations.


The Jets star corner back Darelle Revis ended his holdout and inked a 4-year, $46-million deal, and thus returned to the practice field for the first time today. The two-time Pro Bowler is considered by some to be among the best cornerbacks in the NFL -a shut-down type of DB. Revis was welcomed back by coaches a teammates, as he tried to catchup after missing all of training camp.


The Jets hosted the Giants in the very first game inside the new Meadowlands Stadium, in a pre-preseason match up that was historical, yet meant very little.

Its big. Its slick. It's got lots of places to eat... but I was confused.
Having worked games, concerts, events in Giants Stadium for over two decades, it was very very strange to be covering a game in this building. I got lost a few times, it felt foreign, and its gonna take some time...


There is a bill proposed by Senator Robert Gordon could mean the dissolution of the municipality of Teterboro, New Jersey - a town with roughly 60 residents. Consolidation is a popular concept in these tough economic times, and Gordon makes a strong case for the elimination of tiny Teterboro. While others claim its a needed tax haven for small businesses.

Read story by Jean Rimbach in The Record.


Mini subs from Rutgers University are helping to predict spread of oil in the Gulf, and are playing a vital role in gathering date for the oil polluted waters.

After the oil spill, the Rutgers' Coastal Ocean Observation Lab sent down two research gliders, or mini-subs with sensors, to collect ocean data near Tampa. Read more .


Boardwalks are the iconic symbol of the Jersey Shore, now made more famous by a reality TV show on MTV -"Jersey Shore."

This is a staff produced video I edited and produced that takes a look at the three emblematic boardwalks na dthe influence the MTV show has had at the shore scene.

This is one that I had a lot of technical difficulties with, seems that I was dealing with some corrupt movie clips which I could not identify, and just wouldn't behave -PC kept crashing about every 5 minutes. Its a shame because I thought it had all the makings of a strong piece.

Colleague Karen Sudol did the reporting. Read more.

The GHOST busted

A fugitive accused of attempted murder who was featured on “America’s Most Wanted,” was returned Thursday to the Florida jail from which he escaped, not before he was paraded past reporters as he was escorted from the Passaic County jail.

Michael Jamal Rigby, 21, aka "The Ghost," is believed to be a gang leader in Poinciana, Fla., was accused of attempted murder and multiple other charges following a shooting during a July 2009 birthday party in which one woman was seriously injured. He also is alleged to have threatened a witness to the shooting.

Rigby, who dubbed himself “Ghost,” was tracked down and arrested by Paterson police on April 28. Read rest of the story.

Passaic County police release
America's Most Wanted featured Rigby ealier thsi year

Steinbrenner Remembered

photo by THOMAS E. FRANKLIN 1995

Yankees iconic owner George Steinbrenner died this week at the age of 80, leaving behind an unrivaled legacy. here is a staff produced video I edited on "Remembering King George."

photo by THOMAS E. FRANKLIN 2000

I was never a Steinbrenner fan (except on Seinfeld) and he drove me away from being a Yankee fan was I was young. He ruined as many Yankee teams as he helped and he drove me nuts with the endless pursuit of big name guys either past their prime, unable to perform in NY, or simply overrated. Not to mention the firing of solid managers, like
Dick Howser, Lou Pinella, Buck Showalter.

He created an atmosphere of paranoia at Yankee Stadium too, that reined fear and meanness upon those who had to work there. And although I have heard countless stories of his kindness and hidden generosity, in my eyes he was a bully SOB.

Here are two of my favorite photos of him, one during the Spring Training scab-era down in Ft. Lauderdale in 1995 -surrounded by reporters. This photo was taken shortly before a NY Post reporter and someone else in the media got into a testy shoving match on the field, to George's delight.

The other was of him sitting alone in the seats behind home plate at Shea Stadium before game 5 of the 2000 Subway Series -trying to look cool and tough.


Jeffery Jones was sworn in as the new mayor of Paterson, NJ, today, vowing change and a more open government.

Jones was a long-shot in a three-candidate race, and defeated entrenched incumbent Joey Torres, shocking everyone with the huge upset on Election Day.

Jones, 52, became the city’s 45th mayor. He spoke to the hundreds of people who poured onto Market Street to watch the inaugural festivities beneath the midday summer sun.
Read more.


NJ Legislature to vote on Governor Chris Christie's budget. New Jersey's Democratic-controlled Legislature later this evening approved the $29.4 billion budget, sending back to the Republican governor a spending plan that cuts hundreds of millions of dollars. The budget, had been approved by the Assembly early Tuesday morning and by the Senate hours earlier, is close to the one Gov. Chris Christie introduced in March. Read more.


Dumont HS students put on a demonstration about the dangers of DWI.


Giants and Jets make bid to host 2014 Super Bowl and new Meadowlands Stadium.
The idea of a first-ever Super Bowl in a cold-weather, open-air stadium was embraced by quarterbacks Eli Manning of the Giants and Mark Sanchez of the Jets. Read more.

LT in trouble again -and he owes me $150

photo by Thomas E. Franklin / 1994

Disgraced football legend Lawrence Taylor was charged with rape, federal prosecutors said. Read the tawdry details.

Last week, I was covering this hideous story, see video below. It was a long day, and another sad chapter in the life of a former great athlete.

But there are two noteworthy asides to this story. His colorful lawyer, Arthur Aidala, and I went to college together at Purchase College. Although we were only casual acquaintances, he was a character back then, he looked different but I remembered him. We did however bump into each other at Yankee Stadium during the World Series last October, otherwise I had not seen Arthur since 1988. It was quite a surprise to see him defending Taylor. Watch the video, he put on quite a performance.

The other item of note, is an old story. LT owes me money.
Actually, its Al Porro who owes me. Porro was LT's attorney and business partner years ago-now he's a convicted felon. When they opened a restaurant together, on Rt. 17 near the stadium, -you may recall, it was sometime around 1990...they bought two prints from me of LT playing for the Giants, intended to hang in the restaurant or some office, I can't recall exactly. Only the check they sent me bounced, in fact I think it bounced a second time after the first one failed, but I can't recall for sure.

The story gets better. A few years later, I'm sitting in a court room in Hackensack waiting for the judge while covering an assignment for the AP; LT's in court for not making child payments or something. I've got time to kill, so I'm reciting this story about LT and Porro to a colleague, when the guy sitting behind me eavesdrops on my conversation. He then taps me, introducing himself as Porro's son, and asks for my card, promising to send ANOTHER check, assuring me it won't bounce this time.

That was 1992-ish, I'm still waiting for that check... So the way I see it, LT owes me $150 bucks.

As far as human beings go, he's not the greatest -for sure. But as a football player, he was the best player I've ever seen. The most dominating sports figure, other than Michael Jordan and Dwight Gooden in 1985, I have ever seen.

Al Paglione RIP

photo by THOMAS E. FRANKLIN /2003

My friend and former colleague Al Paglione at The Record passed away this week, he lived a full life. Al was true New Jersey character and a great great photographer. Al was self-taught, "a longshoreman-turned-photojournalist who chronicled 35 years in the life of North Jersey."

He was a true original. A legend, and a throwback to the days of Tri-X and Nikormat's. I will miss you Al. Peace.

Here is an interview I did on FiOS1 News, talking about Al's work.

photos by THOMAS E. FRANKLIN /2004


Hackensack's Tim Swatek is one of North Jersey's top baseball players, and he is off to a fast start this season for the Comets -on the mound and at the plate. The 6'4" Maywood resident is garnering much attention and he plans to pitch at Fordham next year. Right now the future looks bright, but three years ago Swatek was struck with Type 1 Diabetes. It was a real scare for him and his parents, but Swatek has persevered. Read full story by Art Stapleton.


Eastern Christian's Gene Hill is one of North Jersey's top high school tennis players. Born with a congenital condition that left him with a short right arm, he plays with one-arm. Read more by Art Stapleton.


Temperatures reached a hundred once again, as the hottest summer on record continues...We caught up with some folks in North Jersey dealing with warm temps and trying to stay cool.

North Jersey Shot Putters

North Jersey has 8 of the top female high school shot putters in the entire state, and they have shown dominance in this track event in recent years, with many titles among them. Recently, they gathered at Paramus Catholic HS for a photo shoot, and they had this to say about their sport.

Read Art Stapleton's column.

The Great Falls water park

More flooding...This week Paterson's Great Falls became a local hot spot, after the recent torrential rains. The historic Paterson Great Falls Park, which was designated as a national park last year (see my video), has lured visitors from all over the region to marvel at the surging waters.

The historic park designation will be a great great thing -not only for Paterson -but for those who have never been.

This place truly is a spectacle, well worth seeing, without a doubt.
The Great Falls in winter.

The Great Flood of 2010

North Jersey has more or less turned into a swamp this spring, as Nor'easters and horrendous storms have dumped record amounts of rain. Flooding has ensued, and wrecked havoc on low-lying communities and neighborhoods near swollen rivers. This is a staff video I produced, focusiing on Bergen and Passaic counties.


Tariq Zehawi, my esteemed colleague at The Record, just returned from a two week trip to Haiti. he was following a medical/religious group from Saddle River, headed by Dr. Mark Wade,who plans to provide short-term -and long-term care, for earthquake victims in Haiti. Tariq and reporter Joe Ax went down with Wade's group, and remained in Port Au Prince until Wade and his group returned a week later with more supplies. Read more.

I helped him edit this video, which is a little longer than most of the video reports we produce, which includes a lot of his photographs as well. Tariq did a fine job on this very difficult assignment.


The first major storm of the 2010 walloped North Jersey, dumping 18 inches of snow and shutting down schools, roads, and stores.


Wednesday was National Letter of Intent Signing Day for high school athletes across the nation, and North Jersey had dozens of players signing on with top college football programs. None more than National powerhouse Don Bosco Prep, which had 10 players signing with Division I schools.
The national high school football champions and the North Jersey Team of the Year, celebrated with a grand ceremony at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel. Bosco also honored 27 of 32 seniors who intend to play college football, including 10 who will play Division I or I-AA. Read more.


The Jets and head coach Rex Ryan prepare for this weekend's AFC Championship game against the Colts in Indy at the teams practice facility in Florham Park. The outspoken leader of Gang Green talks about the upcoming game, as well as young quarterback Mark Sanchez.


NY Jets 17, San Diego 14

Went on the road with Gang Green out to San Diego of the AFC Divisional playoff game, and Jets hung in there and stole this one from the heavily favored Chargers. Loudest stadium I've ever been in, it was crazy-loud, and a great game.
After the game was another story. My colleague Chris Pedota's car rental was mistakenly towed after the game, which left us stranded and set off a string of events that turned this trip into a nightmare.

CHARGERS CASTILLO; Pride of Garfield

San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo is one of two present NFL players -the other being Myles Austin of the Cowboys, from tiny Garfield New Jersey.

In fact they both played on the same team at Garfield High, the same unheralded school that produced former Jets standout Wayne Chrebet -making that THREE NFL stars from the same small town. As Castillo prepares for upcoming playoff game against his hometown team -the Jets, we visited with him and his former high school coach Steve Mucha.