Tag Archives: 9/11

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 59. Breezy. Winds from the SE at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Fog overnight. Low of 54. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Let’s Make a Movie

Starting at 4 p.m., come take part in a film screening and discussion on “Let’s Make a Movie” at the Douglaston Library.  The movie, written, directed and edited by Queens native Elana Mugdan, is the story of a college dropout and former film student who wants to turn her life around by making a movie with friends. The award-winning film was shot mainly in Queens. Mugdan will introduce the film and answer questions afterward. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Innovative bus system could alleviate traffic in Queens

Congestion along a busy Queens roadway could be alleviated with the help of innovative bus service technology. Read more: New York Daily News

NY Senate group removes Malcolm Smith after arrest

A small group of Democratic New York senators who share majority control of the Senate with Republicans has kicked out one of its members who was charged in a federal corruption case. Read more: NBC New York

St. John’s students angry at choice of Rep. Pete King as commencement speaker

The selection of Rep. Peter King as the commencement speaker at St. John’s University in Queens has sparked an uproar among students angry about his history of controversial comments about Muslims. Read more: New York Daily News

9/11 World Trade Center victim identified

New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner has identified the remains of a 55-year-old man who died in the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Read more: Fox New York

Police: Person of interest sought in Brooklyn bomb scare

Police are looking for a man they want to question in connection with a bomb scare in Brooklyn. Read more: CBS New York

President Barack Obama, gun control supporters vow to fight on

President Barack Obama and his gun control allies say Senate rejection of expanded background checks and other restrictions won’t stop their drive to reduce firearms violence. Read more: ABC New York/AP

FBI arrests Mississippi man in ricin letter case

he FBI arrested a Mississippi man on Wednesday in connection with letters sent to President Barack Obama and two other officials that are believed to have contained the deadly poison ricin, the U.S. Justice Department said. Read more: Reuters

Up to 15 dead after fire and blast at Texas fertilizer plant

A fiery explosion tore through a fertilizer plant and leveled dozens of homes in a small Texas town late on Wednesday, killing as many as 15 people, injuring more than 160 others and spewing toxic fumes that forced the evacuation of half the community, authorities said. Read more: Reuters 

New center to treat 9/11 first responders


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of North Shore-LIJ Public Relations

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Nearly 12 years after the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center for Excellence opened a new facility in Rego Park – its third in the borough – to treat workers suffering from 9/11 related illnesses.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the center, said the new building would allow for the center to care for more 9/11 first responders than it previously could. The new 3,650-square-foot building is about 50 percent larger than the center’s Flushing site.

The new facility received $3.85 million under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which Congress passed in 2011 in order to provide care for more than 3,000 Queens workers who were at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11.

Moline said she had worked with first responders during the first WTC bombing in 1993 and after the events of 9/11, she said she knew she would have to help those who were on the pile.

“I knew I had to help because I knew what was in those buildings,” she said.

Moline also testified in Congress about the health risks that working at Ground Zero posed to workers.

She said the new center would help provide extra assistance to 9/11 first responders, who previously might not have had access to health care.

“We’re really thrilled to open a new space and see new patients,” she said. “We’ll be able to provide an additional resource to those who have any illnesses from working at the World Trade Center.”

Lorelei Sander, a retired NYPD officer who was at Ground Zero, said she developed a cough days after first arriving at the scene. Her cough then developed into respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing and sleep apnea.

At first, Sander received treatment at Mount Sinai.

But after going to one of the center’s sites in Queens, she says her health has greatly improved, plus she has the added convenience of visiting a doctor in Queens.

 

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Bayside street to be renamed after man who perished on 9/11


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Talat Hamdani

He died a hero in his mother’s eyes and a potential enemy to his country.

Now the family of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the Bayside hero found wrongly accused of having ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will have his cleared name on a street sign.

“He was a kind, compassionate and humble American. The most important thing to remember about him is his due place in history,” said mother Talat Hamdani, 61. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old NYPD cadet and certified paramedic when he voluntarily and fatally rushed to his nation’s aid 11 years ago.

“We knew he would go. That was him,” said Talat of her first son. “He would help people in the streets if they were in distress. If there was an accident, he would pull over and see if everything was okay.”

But instead of honor, the chemistry major at Queens College died with a tarnished name.

Authorities hunted him, falsely suspecting the Pakistani-American was in league with terrorists until his remains were found scattered in the rubble near the north tower by his medical bag, according to reports.

Now Community Board 11 has voted unanimously to honor the hometown hero by renaming the street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, outside his former Bayside home, after his legacy.

“It was very emotional, listening to [Talat] and her pain,” said district manager Susan Seinfeld. “As a mother myself, I can just feel that. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. He should be recognized as much as anyone who was on duty. He gave his life to help people.”

About six street signs within the Community Board have been renamed in honor of 9/11 victims, Seinfeld said.

“A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “He entered the twin towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people.”

Mohammed Salman is also mentioned in the 2001 Patriot Act as a 9/11 Muslim-American hero.

“We will never know how many lives he saved that day,” Talat said. “My son is priceless. Nothing can bring him back.”

 

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Cantor Fitzgerald donates $10M to Sandy victims


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

A firm that was significantly affected by the 9/11 attacks has taken the latest disaster, Sandy, and turned it into hope.

The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund has donated $10 million to storm victims. “We understand the tremendous loss that has shaken so many families,” said Howard Lutnick, Chair and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners, Inc.

Cantor Fitzgerald lost hundreds of employees in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The relief fund has “adopted” 19 elementary schools throughout the disaster-stricken communities and will be distributing $1,000 prepaid debit cards to each family from the selected schools through March.

“We learned from the tragedy of 9/11 how important it is to provide support directly to people who are suffering,” said Edie Lutnick, the on-site executive director for Cantor Relief. “We are grateful for the opportunity to assist these families and help communities to heal.”

Cantor Fitzgerald has an annual Charity Day in which it typically donates 100 percent of its revenues to the relief fund and other charities. This year, the funds are going directly to the storm affected families.

Queens DOT commissioner retires


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Queens commissioner has retired. Maura McCarthy has stepped down from her post after six years of service on Friday, January 11.

The lifelong Queens resident oversaw transportation services in the borough, serving as the community liaison for the agency and working with police to identify accident-prone locations, especially those near schools, according to the city DOT’s website.

McCarthy was employed by several city agencies since 1979, beginning as a 9-1-1 operator for the NYPD.

Borough President Helen Marshall honored McCarthy with a citation one day before her retirement, thanking her for her “invaluable” service and “legacy of care.”

The DOT did not immediately comment.

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Urinetown: The Musical

Winner of three Tony awards and one of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. In a Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Performances start Thursday, January 10 and continue through Saturday, January 26 at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Crane collapses in Long Island City, injuring seven

Seven workers suffered minor injuries when a crane collapsed at a Long Island City building site. Read more: Queens Courier

Cuomo takes aim at guns, Sandy relief during State of the State address

Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed New York will become the nation’s leader in gun safety laws in wake of recent shootings. Read more: Queens Courier

Seastreak Wall Street Ferry saw other problems before crash

The Seastreak Wall Street ferry that crashed in Lower Manhattan Wednesday has had a few minor incidents in recent years. Read more: CBS New York

Cheating teacher the answer man: probe

A Queens elementary- school teacher brazenly helped fourth-graders cheat on the state’s high-stakes English exams, even though there was a second proctor in the room, investigators found. Read more: New York Post

Breezy Point couple surprised with newly renovated home after it was destroyed by Sandy

An octogenarian Queens couple whose house was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy received a surprise gift on Wednesday — a brand new home. Read more: New York Daily News

Report: Queens Native Will Likely Head Up Treasury Dept.

President Barack Obama is reportedly set to tap a native New Yorker to serve as the new head of the United States Treasury Department. Read more: NY1

NYC firm hit hard on 9/11 gives $10M in Sandy aid

The New York City brokerage firm that lost 658 employees in the Sept. 11 terror attacks announced that it will “adopt” 19 schools in communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and will give each family in those schools $1,000 to spend as they see fit. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Resorts World New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in 2013 at Resorts World Casino’s New Year’s Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., where there will be live music, champagne and giveaways. Click here for more info or check out more New Year’s Eve events in Queens

Driver charged with DWI in fatal Queens crash

The driver of a car that overturned into the marshy waters near John F. Kennedy International Airport early Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old woman, has been arrested. Read more: NBC New York

2 charged with teen’s murder in Far Rockaway

Two suspects were charged Sunday in connection with a shooting this weekend that left a 17-year-old boy dead outside a low-income housing development in Far Rockaway. Read more: CBS New York

Psychiatric test ordered for subway shove suspect

A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train told police she did so because she blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11 attacks, and because “I thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing. Read more: ABC New York/AP

President Obama’s determined to get a gun-control law in place early in his second term

President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term. Read more: New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Read more: AP

Fiscal cliff: Biden, McConnell make major progress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden made major progress toward a year-end tax bill overnight. Read more: Politico

After Sandy, a call to improve 9-1-1


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The city is facing an emergency, according to elected officials, but they may not want to dial 9-1-1.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, penned a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling for a review into 9-1-1’s failure during Superstorm Sandy, when many residents were unable to reach the emergency number.

“During the crisis, many callers experienced hold times of over an hour. Some gave up on 9-1-1 altogether, instead calling elected officials’ offices regarding evacuations and other life-threatening emergencies,” the letter read. “This is not the mark of a perfectly-run system.”

After the New York Post published report on the troubles callers faced, Bloomberg responded that the system “functioned perfectly” during the storm.

“Are you ever going to have enough operators to take all the calls when all of a sudden everybody calls? No, of course not,” he said at a press conference on November 19.

Officials urged residents to use 3-1-1 for non-emergencies during the storm, as 9-1-1 was receiving upwards of 20,000 calls per hour. The system usually handles approximately 30,000 calls per day.

“The city has asserted the current technology is capable of handling 50,000 calls per hour, and yet operators on hand were overwhelmed by the 20,000 hourly calls made during the storm’s peak. This is unacceptable,” de Blasio and Crowley wrote.

The 9-1-1 system was overhauled in 2009, receiving more than $2 billion in upgrades.

Sandy does not mark the first time the handling of 9-1-1 calls has come into question.

During the blizzard in December of 2010, many complained of slow response times after calling 9-1-1, prompting a review of the system.

In May, the city released a Winbourne Consulting report that was highly critical of 9-1-1’s inefficiencies.

“The city must seriously analyze the system’s shortcomings and seek answers that will help us better prepare for future disasters,” wrote de Blasio and Crowley.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 72. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 52. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Taste of Sunnyside 

At the third annual Taste of Sunnyside, for $25 you can sample Japanese, Mexican, French, Italian, Thai, Filipino, Irish, American Eclectic and other cuisine from local restaurants. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Parents petrified by Skyway Shelter housing homeless men who are convicted sex offenders in South Ozone Park 

Parents are fuming over the presence of homeless men from a nearby shelter, which also houses sex offenders, hanging out near their children’s isolated South Ozone Park school. Read more: New York Daily News

NYPD: Woman killed by Nassau County bus in Queens

A woman is dead after being hit by a Nassau County bus on Saturday night. Read more: CBS New York

MTA to unveil proposals for upcoming fare hike

The MTA is releasing new details Monday about the next fare hike coming down the rails. If the hike is approved as expected, it would be the fourth increase in five years. Read more: ABC New York

Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there

In Albany, politicians can make money in their sleep. Claiming she spent a marathon 12 consecutive days in Albany on “legislative business,” Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook pocketed $171 for each reported overnight stay — a total $2,197 in taxpayer money from March 21 to April 1, 2010. Read more: New York Post

Parents concerned that school records could be used to make money

Some city parents have expressed concern that their children’s school records could be used to make money. Read more: CBS New York

Moon rocks, chunks of Mars auctioned in New York

Meteorites from Mars and the biggest piece of the Moon ever offered for sale went on the block on Sunday in New York in what organizers billed as history’s largest meteorite auction, which brought in over $1 million. Read more: Reuters

Sept. 11 Trial rules under scrutiny at Guantanamo

A U.S. military judge is considering broad security rules for the war crimes tribunal of five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks, including measures to prevent the accused from publicly revealing what happened to them in the CIA’s secret network of overseas prisons. Read more: AP

Mets raise families’ spirits on 9/11


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_2166w

That last kiss replays in Carol Gies’s mind constantly.

It was a Tuesday morning, masquerading as any other day. As Ronnie Gies gathered his things and left the house for work at FDNY Squad 228 in Maspeth, he gently kissed his wife goodbye.

They didn’t know it was for the last time.

Ronnie, a dedicated member of the FDNY, lost his life on September 11, 2001 in his effort to rescue others from the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The couple met through Carol’s brother Tommy, who played on a local softball team with Ronnie in their Long Island hometown. The pair began dating in 1979 and was married on September 5, 1981.

Carol said their marriage matched their wedding song — “One in a Million.”

“You couldn’t ask for better,” said Carol. “He was perfect, he really was. Most people said that they never saw a marriage like what we had. It was very rare.”

In 1988, Ronnie became a firefighter.

Even though his profession demanded an intense schedule, Ronnie was an attentive and compassionate father for the couple’s three children – Tommy, Ronnie and Bobby. Carol said he was more like a best friend than a father to the three boys, a fixture in the audience at plays and games. Now that her sons are in their 20s and beginning families of their own, Carol says their father remains a guide for what it is to be a model parent.

“Today I look at them and I see traces of him in them. Each one of them,” she said. “That’s what makes it a little easier every day. There’s a part of him in every one of them.”

Sons Tommy and Ronnie are now firefighters. Bobby recently took his firefighter exam.

Every year on September 11, the family gathers together and goes to see the Mets play. Ronnie was a fan of the team and Carol says it’s the best way to keep everyone’s spirits up while celebrating something her husband loved.

“We try to do something positive,” said Carol. “I’m not the type to go to memorials. I try not to dwell on the negative. This way we celebrate Ronnie’s life.”

This year, the Gies family threw the first pitch at the Mets game on September 11.

Mets games have become an annual tradition for many families who lost loved ones in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tuesday’s Children, an organization that provides support to the children of victims of 9/11, frequently brings kids to meet and chat with some of their most admired players.

“For families on a day like today when its Tuesday, September 11 and there’s not a cloud in the sky just like it was 11 years ago, to not have to think about what happened to them all day long and instead go to a game on a beautiful evening like tonight and be with the Mets who have become like a second family to all our family members is just incredible,” said Tuesday’s Children spokesperson Terry Sears.

Eleven-year-old Matthew, who also lost his father Michael in the attacks, was looking forward to hanging out with his favorite player, pitcher R.A. Dickey.

“It feels good to be here,” said Matthew. “I think it will cheer everyone up who’s here. It’s a very sad day in American history but it’s nice that they make everybody happy.”

Accompanied by mom Michelle, the pair agreed it was a good way to commemorate their loved one, adding they are considering make Mets games a new tradition on September 11.

Juliette Candela, a member of Tuesday’s Children, was nominated by the group to sing the National Anthem at the start of the game. The 18-year-old from New Jersey, whose father John was killed on September 11, 2001, was excited for the opportunity to sing the song, saying it was an honor and something she had always dreamed of.

“The song is really important for this country,” she said. “I feel like I’m singing this song in honor of my dad.”

Residents hold 9/11 vigil at Juniper Valley Park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

With the Twin Tower tribute lights in the background, hundreds of Queens residents gathered holding candles to honor those who died in the attacks on September 11.

The candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village featured poems, prayer and music on the 11th anniversary of the attacks.

Click here to see all the pictures from the night.

9/11 first responders suffer mental, physical anguish


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

FIRST RESPONDER GLEN 2w

Alex Sanchez remembers the bang.

It thundered through lower Manhattan, said Sanchez, who at first thought the sound was a truck crashing into a building. The Harlem resident, who at the time worked as a janitor for New York University, heard the clamor as he walked a co-worker to 100 Centre Street for a hearing. It wasn’t until he moved further south that he discovered the real source of the noise.

“We thought it was an accident,” he said, recalling peering up at the smoldering North Tower. “Then we saw the second plane hit and that’s when all hell broke loose.”

The men and women who gave of their time, their efforts — of themselves — following the attacks on September, 11 2001, will be forever regarded as heroes, from the firefighters who extinguished flames and searched for survivors under the rubble to the police officers who directed people out of the area and to safety.

Sanchez, a first responder at Ground Zero, sifted through debris and cleaned up scraps of the Twin Towers that covered the city’s streets.

Every day following the attacks, Sanchez, along with 800 other workers, removed clutter from the former site of the World Trade Center. While the labor was strenuous, Sanchez said morale and compassion drove their efforts.

“Everyone was more than eager to go in on a daily basis,” he said.

A main portion of their work involved cleaning ventilation units. Sanchez said inside the building’s hull there was so much dust you couldn’t see anything. As he crawled through the vent system, he was outfitted with gloves, goggles, a PVAC suit and a hospital mask.

Sanchez founded United We Stand, a group that assists undocumented workers who assisted after the 9/11 attacks and have subsequently experienced health issues stemming from inhaling dust, fumes and smoke. Sanchez said he now suffers from chronic asthma and upper airway obstruction and has developed nodules in his lungs. He is now on permanent disability.

The catastrophic event brought Sanchez close to others affected by September 11, including spouses and children who lost loved ones. According to him, many who perished were not granted proper funerals, something he believes the city is accountable for.

Sanchez said events following the attacks have negatively influenced his view of the city.

“In a country like ours, it’s really sad that people’s lives are put in jeopardy,” said Sanchez. “We’ve become a test tube for disaster.”

Glen Klein was in the middle of a cup of coffee when he got a call from a friend, exclaiming that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It wasn’t until he turned on his television and saw the second plane collide that the event seemed real.

Klein, a former member of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU), immediately drove to his outfit — the 109th Precinct — gathered supplies and fellow officers, and headed downtown.

Along with 300 other members of the ESU, Klein searched through debris for bodies. In their efforts, 14 ESU officers went missing.

“For the first six days, we thought we would find them alive,” said Klein. “If anyone’s going to survive, I thought it would be our guys.”

None of the missing officers were found alive.

Klein retired in 2003 after he began to feel both the physical and mental effects from 9/11. The 16-year-veteran of the ESU suffered precancerous polyps, GERD, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he receives assistance from the World Trade Center Health Program.

Klein is now the vice president of the “FealGood Foundation,” a group that advocates for 9/11 first responders who suffer from subsequent illnesses. He said assisting others acts as personal therapy and connects him with what he loved about being a police officer — helping people.

Army pays tribute at Fort Totten to those lost


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo Phil Hertling

They gathered to pay tribute to those who stood — and fell — defending our freedom.

Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve gathered at Fort Totten’s annual September 11 memorial on Saturday morning, September 8, to remember six first responders lost in the terror attacks.

“Those of us who wear the uniform, for generations, have always tried to honor and remember our heroes,” said Major General Richard Colt, who was the commanding general of the 77th in 2001. “And even though the six soldiers who we honor today were not wearing the Army uniform, when they died, they epitomized the values that the Fire Department of New York puts into their men and women.”

The six men that gave their lives — Captain Michael Mullan, Captain Mark Whitford, Warrant Officer Ronald Bucca, Sergeant Shawn Powell, Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill and Lieutenant Colonel William Pohlmann — were part of the 77th Regional Support Command, renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command in 2003, according to Master Sergeant Minnie Hawkins, who led the service before a few hundred Army personnel. Five were New York City firefighters and the other, a volunteer firefighter in Ardsley, New York.

“Even though their loved ones are gone, we are here to support them. They’re gone but not forgotten,” said Sergeant First Class Eric Thompson. Mullan, of New York City Ladder 12, and Whitford, of Manhattan’s Engine Company 23, died while operating rescue missions at the Towers. Bucca was assigned as fire marshal to Manhattan Command. He was the first fire marshal killed in the line of duty with the Fire Department of New York, authorities said.

Powell was a firefighter for Engine Company 207. Frederick was a fire captain with Ladder 2 in Manhattan. He gained fame in 1999 for saving a man from an oncoming subway train. Pohlmann worked as an attorney and had an office in the World Trade Center. He was also the engine company president of the Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department.

“They stopped what they did, ran into a building and tried to help others,” Sergeant First Class Kevin Wilson said. “It just shows how we are as people. We come together as Americans.”

 

Agreement reached to complete 9/11 museum


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

On the eve of  September 11, governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announced that an agreement had been reached to continue construction of the National September 11 Museum.

“This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed. The museum is important to the families of those who died on 9/11 – they’ve contributed photos and memories of their lost loved ones, who deserve a thoughtful tribute. The museum is important to the historical record and will preserve materials and artifacts of great significance that tell the story of what happened on that terrible day,” said Bloomberg.

According to published reports, construction on the museum at the World Trade Center site was stopped because of financial disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’ s foundation.

“By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the Memorial and Museum, today’s agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion,” said Cuomo.

Before the delay, the museum was set to open on the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

 

OpEd: 9/11 forever changed history


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY JOHN FEAL

In slightly more than an hour 11 years ago nearly 3,000 lives were tragically cut far too short. More than 3,000 families were instantly redirected, mourning the loss of their loved ones while wondering how they would navigate their futures without them.

The reach of September 11 went well past the East and Hudson Rivers. The same terribly historic hour also propelled our nation’s armed forces into battle in two separate countries, causing the loss of thousands more of this country’s youth and future leaders.

During that same hour, thousands of firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, correction officers and emergency personnel converged onto the World Trade Center site in order to save their fellow Americans, hoping their skills and training could save the life of even one person.

Soon after the Twin Towers collapsed, first responders realized that they would not save their peers, but that their skills would be needed in an entirely different mission: recovery. They would be joined in this mission during the hours, days, weeks and months following the attacks by tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters in the construction trades, communication industry and volunteers. The goal was not limited to the recovery of the personal effects of those lost, but the recovery of this country from one of its darkest moments. Over the next year the combined efforts of first responders enabled families to find closure in the burials of their loved ones by those who removed the debris from the World Trade Center site and provided these services with an unmatched dignity, professionalism and heroism.

Eleven years after the attack, thousands of first responders now suffer from physical impairments as a result of their work “on the pile” and the surrounding impact zone. Despite being assured by leaders in our nation’s capital that the air at the World Trade Center site was safe to breathe, we now know that this was wholly inaccurate. We now understand that the air at Ground Zero was actually filled with a toxic mixture, and that it could take years to reveal the deadly effects. Additionally, thousands of responders continue to suffer from the psychological impact of what they personally witnessed during their efforts on behalf of this nation. Unprepared for the gruesome war-like discoveries potentially lurking under any pile of debris, responders continue to visualize these horrific scenes daily. An hour 11 years ago is relived nearly 24 hours a day by many.

Today, the FealGood Foundation (FGF) aims to assist these first responders in any way we can, from financial assistance to placing them in the hands of competent legal counsel, from psychological support to assistance enrolling in medical treatment facilities. We have assisted in getting the Zadroga Bill passed so that responders have proper medical care and compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

But our work isn’t over. Virtually every day a new responder reaches out to the FGF for assistance of some kind. We have, in fact, gotten busier over the past two years. As long as any first responder needs assistance, the FGF will be there to help. The unfortunate reality is that the FGF was created out of that same fateful hour; we wish its existence had never been necessary but are proud to provide the services.

Little more than one hour is all it took to forever change the course of the lives of thousands and thousands of people. On this 11th anniversary we honor those lost and all those still profoundly affected.

John Feal is the founder of the FealGood Foundation.