Teaneck Retirees To Publish Newspaper

By David Voreacos, Record Staff Writer

(From: The Record, September 30, 1992, Wednesday; Page 1)

Watching the world go by without commenting on it is not how Fred Greene and Leo Wielkocz want to spend their retirements after a collective 58 years of employment with Teaneck.

Greene, an ex-police lieutenant, and Wielkocz, a former health officer, are starting a biweekly newspaper that they hope will spur discussion, prompt participation, and fill a void left by other papers.

The fast friends have no newspaper experience. But on Oct. 21, they plan to distribute 15,000 copies of the first issue of Between the Lines in Teaneck, Englewood, Hackensack, Ridgefield Park, and Bergenfield.

"We want a paper that's primarily made up of people's feelings, opinions, and thoughts," said Greene, 55. "Other papers are talking at people and expressing the views of professional writers. We'd rather call ourselves a 'viewspaper' than a newspaper. We want to emphasize people's opinions. "

The paper, which will be available free of charge, will cover local, state, and national issues, and will ask readers to respond every other week to questions posed by the editors. It will rely heavily on readers' letters and the viewpoints of Greene and Wielkocz, who have occasionally clashed with township politicians over the past three decades.

"We want to provide a vehicle where people speak on whatever they want to speak on, as long as it's not malicious or offensive," Greene said. "We're not going to be spokesmen for any particular point of view or people.

"Immediately, people say 'What are the motives of these guys?' We're not out for material things or to get even with anybody. We want to stimulate people to participate in government. We want to ask questions. "

Greene worked in the Police Department for 26 years before retiring as a lieutenant in 1988. Wielkocz, 66, worked in the Health Department for 32 years and served as health officer for 20 years before retiring in April. Both men are married and each has three children.

"We had 58 years in township government and we were very frustrated," Wielkocz said. "We want to give our views and do some investigative reporting. We're not politicians, so we can confront these things without worrying that people aren't going to vote for us. "

A Wielkocz pet peeve, for instance, is the tens of thousands of dollars spent in recent years by Teaneck's municipal government and school district on public information officers.

"One thing that's frustrating is that this town has spent a lot of money on spin and positive information," Wielkocz said. "There's been a massive effort to control thought in town. "

Greene said that the pair will not concentrate only on local issues, and will not display cynicism.

"There's always a danger of being a couple of hardened people sitting back and criticizing everything under the sun," he said. "We're really not like that. We'd like to have fun. "

They plan to produce 16 to 20 pages in a tabloid format every other week and distribute the paper door-to-door to Teaneck's 11,000 households. They are just beginning the process of selling ads, lining up writers, and arranging for the paper's production.

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