April 7th - April 13th, 2006
Deutsche Bank Workers Discover More Remains
Friday, April 7th: Workers demolishing the Deutsche Bank skyscraper that was structurally damaged during the attacks on September 11, 2001, discovered 74 more bone fragments mixed in with gravel on the roof, the Associated Press reported. Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city medial examiner, told the AP that she wouldn't be surprised by the discovery of additional remains because the portion of the roof cleared over the weekend was just a small portion. "They still have quite a lot to go," she said. In total, workers only raked through 100 yards of material in a building contaminated with asbestos, lead, and trade center dust, the newswire continued. According to the AP, workers will not begin deconstructing the skyscraper floor by floor until June, when it is expected that the cleaning will be complete. Of the 82 fragments found, 74 were identified as human and will undergo DNA testing, the AP added.
Unhappy With Admission Fee Prospect, Groups Protest Memorial
Tuesday, April 11th: Gretchen Dykstra, president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is under significant pressure from victims' family members to cease asking the WTC Memorial Board to charge an entrance fee to the World Trade Center Museum, the New York Times reported. Relatives are refuting the fee, saying that people will have to "pay to grieve," and Tim Sumner, who lost his brother-in-law, told the Times, "Would we charge admission for anyone in the country to go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?" According to the Times, Dykstra told a City Council committee that the cost of running the complex may exceed $40 million a year and that she felt it was "perfectly reasonable" to charge an admission fee to cover operating expenses.
The design of the Memorial and Museum also has some family members upset. Under the current layout, the contemplation room and the tomb that houses the unidentified remains both lay within the museum section of the complex, the paper continued. According to the Times, some family members object to having the unidentified remains and their tomb treated as a museum exhibit. Additionally, Sumner told the Times, they object to "denying the public -- who will pay for this memorial through both their tax dollars and contributions -- the right to descend to bedrock to stand on the historic site and pay their respects as the memorial intended."
Developer Asks City for $50 Million in Liberty Bonds
Tuesday, April 11th: Developer Joseph Moinian is seeking $50 million in Liberty Bonds to build a 440,000-square-foot mixed-use condominium hotel on an empty lot behind the Deutsche Bank building, the New York Sun reported. Larry Silverstein has applied for the total remaining allotment of Liberty Bonds, $1.67 billion, for the construction of 10 million square feet of commercial office space in five towers, but a city official told the Sun that Moinian's $50 million request is not significant enough to upset the City of New Yorks's negotiations with Silverstein. The same official told the Sun that Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports Moinian's project, which he sees as a relatively inexpensive way to create mixed-use buildings in Lower Manhattan.
Daphne Viders, a spokeswoman for the Moinian Group, said that the application is being held up because Moinian has not submitted all of the necessary paperwork, the paper reported. According to the Sun, if Moinian is not awarded the bonds, which would help him offset the $240 million estimated cost of construction, he will not build the hotel portion of the building and will instead only construct the apartments. The $50 million in Liberty Bonds, which represents tax-exempt financing, could save Moinian $2 million a year, the paper added.
Motorola Designing New Emergency Communication System
Tuesday, April 11th: Below the radar, city officials have been working to improve the radio communication system that failed on September 11th, hoping to avoid repeating those fatal miscommunications that contributed to thousands of deaths, the New York Sun reported. The new system, developed by Motorola and expected to be in place by 2008, will consolidate the radio signals of all emergency responders and city agencies into one network that they can all access, the paper continued. According to the Sun, the new frequency, known as Channel 16, will cost the city $75 million and will be used for day-to-day operations; in the event of a disaster, it will allow agencies to better communicate on one frequency.
In its request for proposals, the city underlined the importance of the system improvements, stating: "That singular event further crystallized the extreme need for this build out. The city cannot save lives and protect property if it cannot communicate to its Public Safety Agencies."
"Channel 16 will go a long way toward improving inter-agency communication," City Council Member Peter Vallone Jr., the chairman of the public safety committee, told the Sun. Currently in the design phases, the program will allow officials in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties and the MTA and Port Authority to communicate on the same channel once it is up and running, the paper added.
Future Site for WTC Cross Under Consideration
Tuesday, April 11th: The Daily News reported that the symbolic steel cross that was found amidst the ruins of the World Trade Center and stood for the last four years on the site will be moved to Kennedy Airport's hanger 17 to be stored with other WTC artifacts, setting off protests over its removal. The cross stood at the corner of Church and Cortland Streets. Two early proposals have been made for its final resting place, the WTC Memorial and the St. Nicholas Church when it is rebuilt, the paper continued.
The report of the schedule move to JFK caused such uproar that the Port Authority scrapped the plans until they can come up with a public place to house the artifact, the Daily News reported. We are exploring opportunities to relocate this important artifact to a nearby accessible public location while construction moves forward," the Port Authority said in a statement.
One of the temporary locations being considered is the Church Street side of St. Peter's Catholic Church. Reverend Kevin Madigan, pastor of the church, told the Daily News, "If we can be of any help, we will be. The cross shouldn't be a cause for division, especially during Holy Week." The Reverend Brian Jordan of St. Francis of Assisi Church called for "a written, guaranteed agreement" that the cross will be returned to Ground Zero when the site is rebuilt, the paper reported. Port Authority spokesman John McCarthy told the paper, "We're currently reviewing opportunities to relocate the crossed beams to a nearby location that is publicly accessible."
NYPD Detective Dies From WTC Dust
Wednesday, April 12th: The autopsy of James Zadroga, a 34-year-old NYPD detective who passed away on January 6th due to respiratory failure, by a New Jersey coroner found that respiratory disease contracted after working at Ground Zero was "directly related" to September 11th, the Associated Press reported. According to the newswire, it represents the first known ruling to positively link a death to cleanup work at the WTC site. Zadroga's family and union said that the autopsy results are proof of the first death of a city police officer related to recovery work.
According to Gerard Breton, a pathologist at the Ocean Country medical examiners office, "It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," the AP continued.
Families of ground zero workers and a class action lawsuit allege that more than 24 deaths have occurred because of exposure to trade center dust, the AP continued, which doctors believe contained any number to toxic chemicals from the 1 million tons of debris created when the towers fell. Zadroga's father, Joseph Zadroga, told the newswire, "They all knew it was detrimental to their health. They all knew that, yet they stayed there."
A registry has been set up by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in an attempt to evaluate the health of nearly 71,000 residents, children, recovery workers, and volunteers. "The World Trade Center Health Registry will help us draw meaningful conclusions about the long-term health effects of the WTC disaster," the department stated in an email to the AP.