June 2nd - June 6th, 2012
Feds to Rule on Cancer Aid for WTC Dust Exposure
June 1 - A federal health official is expected to announce soon whether people with cancer will be covered by an aid program for anyone sickened by World Trade Center dust, according to WNYC. An advisory committee recommended in March that the government open up the $4.3 billion program to people who developed cancers after being exposed to the toxic soot that fell on Manhattan when the towers collapsed. The director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is scheduled to make a determination by Saturday. His decision might not be announced until Monday. The organization examined 18 studies, five of which were peer reviewed, and found, "insufficient evidence exists at this time to propose a rule to add cancer, or a certain type of cancer, to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions." Adding cancer to the program would be cheered by many former ground zero workers. But it could also prove costly and lead to smaller payments for people with other illnesses more closely linked to fallout from the 9/11 attacks.
Firefighters Put Out Small Blaze at 1 WTC
June 2 - Firefighters responded to the 89th floor of 1 World Trade Center on Saturday morning to help construction workers put out a small fire in some wooden decking. WCBS reported that the Fire Department got the call for help at 7:15 a.m. Workers at the unfinished tower extinguished most of the burning wood themselves, but firefighters were still on the scene wetting down the area an hour later. The floor has been charred by the flames, and smoke could be seen for miles, the FDNY said. Construction has been halted at the site until the FDNY figures out what caused the blaze. The skyscraper is already more than 1,200 feet high, with a few hundred feet more to go until it reaches its full height. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama will visit the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City on June 14, where he will get a briefing on the progress of construction on One World Trade Center. The tower, previously known as Freedom Tower, has surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest skyscraper in New York.
Port Authority Security Chief Ousted Over Backroom Talks
June 4 - The Port Authority Chief of Security Louis Barani was fired for holding backroom talks with vendors competing for lucrative contracts, the NY Post reported. Barani, who earned $144,000 a year to help turn the new World Trade Center into a fortress, was forced out Friday after eight years. As part of his punishment, he cannot participate in any PA procurement processes while working in the private sector in the future, sources said. He also is permanently barred from any involvement in bidding for future contracts to be awarded by the massive agency, which runs the WTC, area airports, the Hudson River crossings, and the PATH train line. Barani's top responsibility was the security design for the new WTC, an effort planned to give the site Pentagon-grade defenses after two terrorist strikes in 20 years.PA and NYPD officials have been feuding for a decade over security plans for lower Manhattan, and one PA source predicted that "Barani's departure will likely create more friction with NYPD."
Governor Set to Nominate Westchester Business Magnate to Head BPCA
June 6 - Governor Andrew Cuomo is said by two sources with knowledge of the situation to be close to nominating Democratic party insider Dennis Mehiel as chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, reported the Broadsheet. Mehiel would have to be confirmed by the New York State Senate before he could assume the post. If confirmed, Mehiel would replace Bill Thompson, who resigned from the BPCA chairmanship last month to devote more time to his upcoming mayoral bid. A wealthy businessman, Mehiel made his fortune in the corrugated cardboard industry. In 2010, Mr. Cuomo appointed Mehiel vice chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, but Mehiel resigned suddenly in March of this year. Although based in Westchester (where he once served as county Democratic party chairman), Mehiel has long maintained homes in Manhattan, on Park and Fifth Avenues. His closest involvement with the Lower Manhattan community came in 2011, when Mehiel (a Greek-American) helped broker a deal between the Port Authority, the Cuomo administration, and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that will allow the church to be rebuilt near its original location.
Man Gets 25 Years To Life In Manhattan Office Cleaners Death
June 5 - An elevator worker was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison for the death of an office building cleaner in Lower Manhattan, reported NY1. Joseph Pabon was convicted last month of second-degree murder and kidnapping for the 2009 death of Eridania Rodriguez. Pabon was working as a freight elevator operator in an office building on Rector Street when he attacked the 46-year-old mother of three as she worked in the same building. He suffocated her with duct tape and stuffed her body inside an air duct on the 12th floor. Investigators found Pabon's DNA on Rodriguez's body when it was discovered four days later.
NY Mayor, Port Authority - Deal Near on Stalled 9-11 Museum
June 5 - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the chairman of the Port Authority say they are close to an agreement in a dispute that has stalled construction of the September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center site, reported CBS News. The Port Authority owns the lower Manhattan site. Bloomberg is chairman of the foundation that controls the memorial and museum. Bloomberg said Tuesday both sides have agreed on all but "a few things." Port Authority Chairman Patrick Foye testified at a New York state Senate hearing "a significant number of the issues have been resolved" and he is looking forward to a full resolution soon. Work has been slowed since last year while they have argued over hundreds of millions of dollars. Many victims families are upset there is no scheduled completion date.