January 6th - January 12th, 2006
End of 9/11 Funds From Red Cross
Friday, January 6: The American Red Cross, which received more than $1 billion in donations for the September 11 relief effort, announced that it is phasing out most of its assistance programs by the end of 2007, the AP reported. Many other charities that provided assistance to victim's families have already closed their doors.
"This is part of our exit strategy of moving services into the communities where people directly affected by 9/11 live and work," Red Cross spokesman Jeffrey Hon told the AP. The Red Cross plans to give the remaining funds to some of the more than 100 nonprofit agencies that provide a range of services to families, rescue workers, and affected residents, the paper continued.
The agency distributed more than $178 million primarily to victims' families through its supplemental gift program, which distributed payments of $55,000 each to more than 3,000 victim's estates, the AP continued. The supplemental gift program is one of the programs being phased out this year.
Death of Ground Zero Police Officer
Saturday, January 7: Union officials and family members of retired NYPD Detective James Zadroga believe that his more than 450 hours of work at Ground Zero were the cause of a lung disease that lead to his death on January 5, 2006, the Daily News reported.
"Our detective is a hero," Mike Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, told the Daily News. "He had a disregard for his own health and life and tried to save others." Palladino told Newsday. "Unfortunately, I do not think he is going to be the last."
Zadroga suffered from shortness of breath and other respiratory problems and was diagnosed with black lung disease and mercury on the brain, Newsday reported. Zadroga leaves behind daughter Tylerann, whose mother passed away two years ago. She will be raised by her paternal grandparents, the Daily News added.
A Forum to Share Reflections from 9/11
Monday, January 9: People from around the world were able to begin posting pictures, essays, poems, and comments on the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation's website, buildthememorial.org, the Daily News reported. These pieces will be archived and eventually become part of the memorial, the paper continued.
"In preparing to build the memorial, the foundation is trying hard to remember this was an event that touched everybody;" foundation CEO Gretchen Dykstra told the Daily News. "Our intention is to be a repository for as much of this human history as possible," she added.
Story Builder, the name of the archive, will permit participants to attach photographs to their entries and will be searchable, the Daily News continued. The archive creates an outlet for reflection on 9/11, which nine out of 10 people surveyed consider the most important historic event in their lifetime, the paper added.
Pataki Proposes $80M in State Funds for WTC Cultural Center
Tuesday, January 10: Governor George Pataki proposed allocating $80 million in state funds toward construction of the World Trade Center (WTC) Cultural Center, to be located on the memorial quadrant of the WTC site. The allocation comes as part of the governor's proposed 2006-7 executive budget, which he delivered during an address in Albany and which will go to the state legislature for approval next week. For more information, click here.
WTC Memorial Fountains to Flow Year Round
Thursday, January 12: The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation has decided that the two fountains that will mark the perimeter of the twin towers will run year round, rather than being turned off during the winter months as previously proposed, the New York Post reported.
Governor George Pataki urged this decision, which includes adding heaters to the fountains to prevent the water from freezing. The decision by the WTC Memorial Foundation will add approximately $300,000 to the project costs, which total about $500 million for the memorial and museum, the paper added.
Bittersweet News for 9/11 Victim's Family
Thursday, January 12: The family of Harry Blanding Jr. was informed on January 10 that his remains had been identified among the 9,069 unidentified remains from the collapse of the World Trade Center, the New York Post reported. Though seeking closure, the family had held out hope that Blanding had amnesia, the paper added.
"Every day, we used to look for him. We'd hear any noise or a car stopping in front of the house, we'd look outside to check if it was Harry," his father told the Post. His mother added, "You pray so very hard that God would show us what happened to him -- and now that we know, we really have mixed feelings."
The medical examiner was able to identify Blanding's remains using a new technology that only recently became available and can identify DNA in bone fragments, the Post continued. There are still 1,151 victims whose remains could be identified using this new technology, the paper added.