September 3rd - September 9th, 2004
Former Windows on the World Workers Plan New Downtown Eatery
Tuesday, September 7: A group of 50 former employees of the WTC's Windows on the World restaurant announced that they are on the brink of signing a contract to open what may become New York's first cooperatively owned restaurant, the New York Times reported.
The group, consisting of waiters, cooks, and busboys from 20 nations, decided to place an offer to buy Shamballa restaurant, located at 407 Greenwich Street in Tribeca. The move came after months of consideration and planning -- not to mention a series of obstacles and setbacks endured by the team throughout the process, the Times added.
In order to create their envisioned cooperative restaurant -- designed with the memory of the 73 former colleagues who died during the 9/11 attacks in mind -- the group began operating its own catering company over the past year to gain experience and raise proceeds to hire a professional business consultant, the paper said.
The group also expects to receive financial aid and loans from several area corporations, including $500,000 pledged by an Italian food workers' co-op, pending their acquisition of the location, the Times added.
Report Finds Many Ground Zero Volunteer Injury Claims Unresolved
Tuesday, September 7: According to a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), more than half the injury claims filed by volunteers involved in cleanup efforts at Ground Zero have not yet been resolved, the Associated Press reported.
After examining Ground Zero volunteer claims through June 30, 2004, the GAO found that 588 claims, equal to 31 percent of those filed, were addressed. In contrast, 90 percent of the 10,182 claims filed for workers' compensation have been resolved, the AP said.
In response to the GAO's findings, state officials explained that the high percentage of unresolved volunteer claims was predominantly a result of applicants' failures to provide sufficient information or follow up on their claims. Additionally, officials explained that some claims were marked as unresolved due to lack of conclusive proof of illness or injury associated with Ground Zero cleanup efforts, the AP added.
Assistance and Incentives Still Available Downtown
Tuesday, September 7: Although many programs designed to help downtown businesses have expired in the three years since the attacks, small businesses interested in remaining or moving downtown can still take advantage of a host of assistance and incentives offered by state and federal organizations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Seeking lasting economic recovery in Lower Manhattan, area officials continue to encourage current and prospective downtown businesses to take advantage of the grants, tax breaks, and wage subsidies available, the paper said.
Some programs will soon expire, like the Empire State Development Corporation's Small Firm Attraction and Retention Grant (SFARG), which offers grant money to companies with 200 or fewer employees that sign five-year leases to remain in or relocate to space south of Canal Street. But new programs are also being launched. For instance, nonprofit micro-lender Seedco is preparing this fall to introduce a $5- to $10-million program providing technical assistance, grants, and loans to downtown businesses, and the American Red Cross in June created the September 11 Recovery Grant program to provide grants to nonprofits offering mental-health and wellness-recovery services, the Journal reported.
Additionally, tax incentives -- such as the Liberty Zone Tax Benefits programs and the Lower Manhattan Economic Revitalization Program -- and other assistance programs are available for small businesses. For more information about these programs, please visit LowerManhattan.info's "Business" section.
September's Mission Launches Commemorative 9/11 Website
Wednesday, September 8: September's Mission -- an organization created to support the development of the memorial at the World Trade Center site and honor those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers - announced plans for "The Living Memorial," (www.911livingmemorial.org), a website designed to provide a space for reflection, remembrance, interaction, education, and scholarly research about the 9/11 attacks. Specific plans for the website's various components will be developed over the next six months, with build out beginning in spring 2005.
September's Mission founder Monica Iken said in a statement that she hopes the online virtual memorial will "provide an interim place to begin healing the void in our hearts" while a permanent memorial is built. Iken, who lost her husband in the South Tower, also intends for the site to function as an ever-expanding information source and online archive for the public.
The Living Memorial was funded by a $514,000 grant from E*Trade Financial Corporation and a $296,900 grant from the LMDC. To learn more about the website and plans for its future development, please click here.
Study Calls for More Comprehensive Assessment of Health Effects of 9/11 Dust and Debris
Wednesday, September 8: The results of a draft government study presented to Congress allege that federal agencies have failed to perform "coordinated and comprehensive" studies of the health effects caused by dust plume and debris left in the air around Ground Zero in the weeks following the attack, the New York Times reported.
According to the study, 250,000 to 400,000 people who were in Lower Manhattan or responded to the 9/11 attacks were exposed to the dust left behind by the Twin Towers, the Times said. While several studies have demonstrated that thousands of area residents, workers, and volunteers may, in fact, have become ill due to the debris permeating the air following the collapse of the WTC towers, experts have been unable to determine what the debris was composed of or assess how many people were adversely affected due to insufficient collection of evidence, the paper added.
Although programs like the World Trade Center Health Registry were created to identify those who might have been exposed, investigators contributing to the study discovered that thousands of people did not sign up for the programs and that the programs did not provide medical examinations, the Times noted. Furthermore, none of the current programs designed to assess the issue are scheduled to operate beyond 2009 -- a deadline that many doctors and government investigators claim may be insufficient to assess long-term illnesses such as cancer, the Times and Associated Press said.
Downtown Hospital Teaches Emergency Preparedness
Thursday, September 9: NYU Downtown Hospital hosted a seminar designed to familiarize healthcare and corporate professionals with the topics of readiness and first response to large-scale emergencies. Entitled "Emergency Preparedness: Safeguarding the Public in a New Era," the seminar featured an array speakers from hospitals in New York, Madrid, and Jerusalem sharing the expertise they have developed responding to terrorist attacks, as well as a keynote address by New York State Senator Michael Balboni. For complete coverage, please click here.