Tag Archives: Ground Zero

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 67. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Cloudy skies early, then off and on rain showers overnight. Low 52. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Citizens’ Climate Lobby

The Queens-Nassau chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby will hold its monthly meeting at 6: 30 p.m. at Panera Bread in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. Join us and help create the political will for a stable climate. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Knockdown center denied liquor license

The Knockdown Center took a straight right to the chin courtesy of the State Liquor Authority (SLA). The SLA denied the Maspeth arts center’s license application at a full board hearing Tuesday. Read more: The Queens Courier

After hour-long debate, New York Senate passes bill to make yogurt state snack

The New York senate passed a bill that would make yogurt the state’s official snack, but not without a surprisingly spirited debate Tuesday evening. Read more: NBC New York

Pedestrian fatalities in city decreased by one-third during first four months of 2014

The number of pedestrians hit and killed by cars dropped by a third in the first four months of 2014, data obtained by the Daily News show. Read more: New York Daily News

Federal report: climate change is upon us

Climate change is a very real problem, according to a new federal report called the National Climate Assessment. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Unidentified 9/11 remains to be moved back to Ground Zero

The unidentified remains of those killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 are set to be moved to a repository at ground zero this weekend, renewing a more than decade-long debate among grieving family members about the best final resting place for their loved ones. Read more: AP

 

110th Precinct shaves hair, raises funds for fellow officer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Lieutenant Patrick Welsh did not have to think twice when deciding to shave his long curls for fellow officer and friend, Sergeant Paul Ferrara.

Welsh, together with five other members of the 110th Precinct, including commanding officer Deputy Inspector Ronald D. Leyson, volunteered Thursday to shave their hair for Ferrara, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS,

“It’s all for a great cause , for Paul, for a fellow brother,” said Welsh, who has been growing his hair out since last September. “It wasn’t even a question, [Ferrara] is one of the most liked men in the precinct.”

Ferrara started his career in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct in 1992 and then was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and assigned to the 110th Precinct. During his 22 years of service, Ferrera has been a 9/11 first responder and former anti-crime sergeant, and now serves as a counter terrorism supervising officer.

Ferrara’s diagnosis is currently being linked to what he, together with other first responders, faced at Ground Zero in 2001.

The 110th Precinct came together last month to start a fundraiser to collect money to help the 44-year-old NYPD officer and his family with medical expenses. Ferrara is married and has a 12-year-old son.

As part of the fundraiser, officers at the precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, came up with the idea to “put a price on the commanding officer’s head” and have the officer with the highest donation shave Leyson’s hair.

Through a collaborative effort, the highest donation was $1,500 and Police Officer William Bahrenburg, who also shaved his hair and mustache, had the honor Thursday of shaving the deputy inspector’s hair.

“Like the police department does, we get together to help out one another,” Leyson said. “I’ve been on the job for over 20 years and there’s a lot of things that we complain about, but it is a family, when one of us is in need, that’s one thing this police department always does – step up.”

Police Officers Matthew Zimmerman and Thompson Wen, and Auxiliary Police Officer Chris Lui also volunteered to have their hair shaved in honor of Ferrara.

“It’s just the right thing to do. He’s always been there for me,” Wen said. “Hair grows back.”

So far, the precinct has collected a total of $40,000. The 81st Precinct has also contributed to the fundraiser.

“It’s the proudest I’ve been because none of this has to be done, but it’s getting done anyway,” Ferrara said.

The donations will be presented to Ferrara on Sunday, April 27 during a fundraising event at Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon, Long Island.

Anyone interested in donating can mail or drop off a check at the precinct, located at 94-41 43rd Ave. in Elmhurst. Checks should be made out to the 110th Precinct General Fund, with “Sergeant Ferrara Fund” written on the memo line.

 

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Jamaica woman to run up 72 flights in historic World Trade Center climb


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Silverstein Properties

Alexis Mitchell is getting her rear in gear to climb 72 flights of stairs in the name of cancer research.

The Jamaica resident joined the team “Higher Ground” to raise money for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation by making the historic trek up the new 4 World Trade Center building in Lower Manhattan.

“I think the enthusiasm will be high,” said Mitchell, 49. “It’s a good way to do something positive in an area that’s been so plagued.”

On September 11, Mitchell watched the Twin Towers go down from her office window at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She hopes the race up the new World Trade Center building will promote a feeling of redemption throughout the tragedy-stricken area.

More than 400 people will take part in the dash upstairs on April 3. About $72,000 for cancer research has been raised so far.

“You figure every bit helps,” Mitchell said. “I try to help and raise money for different charities, and cancer is a sensitive subject for me.”

Mitchell’s mother has multiple myeloma and she also has friends who have lost parents to the disease.

The race will additionally be the first view inside of the 2.3-million square-foot building for most. The office space, which will rise to the sixth-highest building in New York City, isn’t anticipating tenants until 2015.

 

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UPDATE: Plane part found near WTC site ‘believed’ to be from 9/11 plane, says Boeing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

UPDATE Monday, April 29:

The NYPD said a Boeing Company technician has confirmed that the plane part found at the rear of 51 Park Place in Lower Manhattan last week is a trailing edge flap actuation support structure from a Boeing 767. The part is “believed to be from one of the two aircraft destroyed on September 11, 2001, but it could not be determined which one.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is preparing to sift soil at the location for human remains, and this process will possibly be completed by Wednesday.

At that time, the plane part is expected to be removed from behind the building and transferred to the custody of the NYPD Property Clerk. It may then go to the National Transportation Safety Board, or, as was done with 9/11 aircraft parts, it may be treated as an historical artifact and become part of a museum collection, said the NYPD.

Video courtesy of NYPD

UPDATE Saturday, April 28: Boeing officials confirmed that the landing gear is from a Boeing 767, the same type of planes used in the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers, said the NYPD.

A diagram of where the plane landing gear was found (Image courtesy of NYPD).


 

Landing gear believed to be from one of the planes involved in the September 11 attacks has been found near Ground Zero, said the NYPD.

“The NYPD is securing the location as it would a crime scene, documenting it photographically and restricting access until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completes its health and safety evaluation protocol, after which a decision will be made concerning sifting the soil for possible human remains,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne. “The aircraft part will not be removed until the process is completed, at which point it will secured by the NYPD Property Clerk.”

Surveyors discovered the plane part Wednesday wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the building behind it, a couple blocks from the World Trade Center site.

The landing gear has a clearly visible Boeing identification number, said police.

 

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OpEd: 9/11 forever changed history


| 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.

Former fire chief, first responder laid to rest


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


Funeral services were held for a 9/11 first responder and former chief of the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department & Ambulance Corps.

Former Chief John Velotti passed away on Thursday, August 30 after a battle with lung cancer.

Velotti is survived by a daughter, Tara McCarthy, and companion Joanne M. Karl, according to his obituary in Newsday. He was buried at Calverton National Cemetery in Wading River, Suffolk County.

Although Velotti had relocated further east in his final years, he made Howard Beach his home, said current Hamilton Beach chief Joseph M. Vasquezaldana.

Velotti came to the station when Vasquezaldana’s father was chief, and he soon became a family friend. After some time serving in Hamilton Beach, Vasquezaldana said Velotti eventually developed a love of the community and moved there.

Like many other, the two-time chief responded to Ground Zero on 9/11 and spent many hours working in the rubble, Vasquesaldana said. It is not sure if Velotti developed cancer from the toxins at the site, but the current chief said many others had in the past.

Of the more than 12,000 who responded, nearly 300 police officers have been diagnosed with cancer since the tragedy, according to a 2011 Huffington Post article. Congress signed into effect the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2011 to provide health care relief to first responders who developed illnesses from Ground Zero.

The weight of the tragedy, regardless, is being felt at firehouses throughout the city, Vasquezaldana said.

“This is the second chief we’re burying because of a 9/11 illness.”