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How one piece of headline sausage got made

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Plus a frank report on Yorktown weenies; Westchester development notes too

It was deadline day at the old North County News in Yorktown, probably in or around 2005, and I was hammering away at my keyboard, finishing an article, when Examiner Editor-in-Chief (then the NCN assistant editor) Martin Wilbur asked for help.

This was a role reversal, because then and now it’s usually me who asks Martin for his advice.

But on this particular afternoon, it was Martin who needed a hand. He stood up, and I sat at his computer.

He said he’d been staring blankly at his screen, suffering from a rare case of writer’s block, searching for a fun lead paragraph for a light-hearted article. I asked him the topic. The growing number of hotdog trucks in Yorktown, he explained.

“Let’s be frank,” I immediately wrote on his screen. “There are a lot of weenies in Yorktown.”

I’m not usually inclined toward or particularly adept at puns so it’s a moment I always remember and laugh about when thinking back to those days. It was the immediacy of writing that sentence that cracked us both up at the time.

So it felt a little like deja vu all over again this Monday when Martin called me on print production deadline day, uncharacteristically struggling with a headline.

I have a random question for you, he said.

He explained how there’s a local guy who helps people in Hawthorne with their dog

needs for free. It started early pandemic. If neighbors are stuck at work, go away for a few days or have medical procedures that temporarily prevent them from walking their pet, Victor (Doc) Netri steps in. Martin wanted to avoid a sober, straightforward headline — our usual bent — for a human interest story.

Knowing his affinity for the 1970s, that era’s movies most definitely included, the words “Dog Day Afternoon” spilled right off my tongue.

And that is how “Local Man Helps Out Neighbors During His Dog Day Afternoons” was born.

Not exactly award-winning stuff but perhaps a fun peek inside how the Examiner sausage — and our periodic cheap puns — occasionally get made.

More importantly, check out Martin’s piece. It’s one of those great little examples of an unintended positive consequence to emerge from the dreaded pandemic. With so many people at home during the opening stages of COVID-19, Netri became familiar with more of his neighbors.

“Everybody knows him and he’s just always willing to help, always happy to offer up his time,” one neighbor told Martin.

It’s just a really nice story about a local person who embodies neighborly spirit in word and deed. Here you go:


Two other quick local news notes before I go.

Martin reported this week on a Westchester real estate firm that has listed for sale four contiguous parcels in Pleasantville totaling 20 acres, pitching the properties to prospective buyers as an attractive site for residential development. When we posted the piece to Examiner Facebook, a reader replied: “Build build build – Westchester is about to get more crowded.”

Development debates often reside at the heart of our local government coverage. It’s usually safe to expect at least some pushback from a pocket of nearby residents. But the president of the Foxwood Homeowners Association seems to be singing a more welcoming tune in this case: “Residential is pretty much what we think belongs up there.”

Here’s the piece: https://www.theexaminernews.com/pleasantville-parcels-for-sale-for-residential-development/

Speaking of residential housing, we also shared an item this week about the creation of a $10 million Landlord Tenant Assistance Program. It’s part of an effort to promote affordable housing in Westchester. Here’s that brief report: https://www.theexaminernews.com/county-launches-10m-landlord-tenant-assistance-program/

Alright, see you here tomorrow.



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