Neuhaus, accusing the paper of bias, gets it wrong about editor's mother

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In Thursday's edition of The Times Herald-Record, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus is quoted accusing an editor at Straus News — which includes The Chronicle, The Photo News, and The Warwick Advertiser — of a personal vendetta against him expressed through the papers' coverage of Valley View nursing home.

Apparently referring to Pamela Chergotis, editor of The Chronicle, which covers Chester and Goshen, Neuhaus said state supreme court Judge Elaine Slobod ruled the way she did in a case because she felt pressured by local coverage.

The following sentence appeared in Ken Hall's column, titled "County's criticism of judge proves curious": “The Strauss Newspaper (sic), the local newspaper, every edition on the front page for the last six months has been Valley View, every edition, and the editor, her mother died there in February. This is a personal issue for them.”

Chergotis' mother died 12 years ago, in 2002, in an Andover, N.J., nursing home. She was never a resident at Valley View. She'd never even been to Goshen.

And not every front page in the last six months, in any Straus paper, has featured Valley View.

Jeanne Straus, the president of Straus News, said, “We take umbrage at Steve Neuhaus’ attack on the credibility of Straus News’ reporting. Neuhaus insinuated that we were covering events at Valley View for other than news gathering reasons. He told The Times Herald-Record that The Chronicle had been reporting on Valley View because it was 'personal,' as the mother of the paper’s editor died at Valley View in February. The facts are these: Pam Chergotis’ mother died more than ten years ago in New Jersey, having never been at Valley View. Our reporting is not personal. It’s professional. We hope Steve Neuhaus gets other facts about Valley View right.”

In the Record column, Neuhaus criticized Slobod's ruling that declared illegal an April vote by the legislature to transfer Valley View to a private local development corporation. The Record has since added to the online article an editor's note with the correct information.

Look for more reporting on this matter online and next week.

Editor's note: Jeanne Straus' comment was added to the online edition.

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