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April 27, 2007





All of us at VOICES want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Margie Miller for hosting last week's 9/11 Living Memorial workshop at 9/11 Forward. We enjoyed meeting with the families and rescue workers at their new family center in Baldwin, Long Island. Those attending were appreciative of the opportunity to begin the process of creating a memorial tribute to their loved ones. A special thank you to family member Carol Ashley, who spoke at the workshop about her experience creating a page in memory of her daughter Janice. Today’s 9/11 Living Memorial feature includes wonderful photographs recently submitted to commemorate the life of Scott McGovern. I hope you find Scott’s Family Tribute page as moving as I did.


This week I traveled to Washington with other 9/11 family members to meet with Congressional offices. Our goal was to express our concern that Congress has been slow to pass necessary 9/11 Commission reforms to ensure the safety of our country. We feel strongly that Congress must move swiftly to begin the process of conferencing the House and Senate versions of the 9/11 legislation, passed shortly after the new Congress convened. We are hopeful that in the coming weeks we will be able to report that significant progress has been made.


As always, please feel free to contact us if we can be of any assistance.


Warm Regards,


Mary Fetchet

Founding Director





VOICES to Offer Anxiety Screenings by Phone May 7-11


VOICES will offer anxiety and depression screenings at no charge by phone from Monday, May 7 to Friday, May 11 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The screenings are conducted anonymously by mental health professionals and referrals are made as needed. Please call (866) 505-3911 or (203) 966-3911 during these hours to arrange a screening.


Thanks to All Who Attended The 9/11 Living Memorial Workshop



More 9/11 Living Memorial Workshops are being planned for the coming months. The VOICES e-Newsletter will bring you dates and times as soon as they are finalized.


9/11 Living Memorial Feature


Family Tribute to Scott McGovern


It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So the many wonderful pictures posted in the Family Tribute to Scott McGovern tell us more about his generosity of spirit and joy in life than any eulogy or biography. This week, we are proud to offer Scott's especially moving New York Times Portrait of Grief to accompany a selection of the images his family has generously shared. Scott will always be remembered as a loving husband, devoted father, and man who lived by the golden rule. He continues to inspire others with his example of quiet generosity and caring. The Times writes:


Scott M. McGovern: A Secret Santa Revealed


On Christmas morning 1989, a struggling waitress and single mother living in a dreary basement flat in Staten Island woke up to find a set of Matchbox cars and a snowsuit on the doorstep for her son, accompanied only by a card that said: "To Eric. Love, Santa."


The woman, Susan Trainor, did not know who had left the presents. Everyone she knew denied having anything to do with them.


Then, in September 2001, she picked up a newspaper and saw a memorial notice for an old friend, Scott McGovern, written by his mother. "He had his silent charities," Ms. Trainor said she read from the notice. "He knew a woman with a toddler, and on Christmas Eve. . . ."



Ms. Trainor stopped reading and began to cry.


That was Scott M. McGovern to a T, said his wife, Jill McGovern. Mr. McGovern, 35, a trader at Euro Brokers in 2 World Trade Center, was always trying to figure out how to make someone happy.


Just before bedtime, Ms. McGovern said, her husband would pick up Alana, the older of their two daughters, wrap her in a blanket and walk out to the driveway of their house in Wyckoff, N.J. "Where are you going?" Ms. McGovern would ask them. Scott would whisper back, "We're going to wish on a star."




Many thanks to the McGovern family for sharing their precious memories with the 9/11 Living Memorial. Scott dreamed with his family as they looked up at the night sky. Now he lives among the stars, looking down on those he loves.


Click to view past 9/11 Living Memorial Features. If there is a 9/11 Memorial in your area that you would like to add to the 9/11 Living Memorial website, please contact Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or toll free at (866) 505-3911. Or send her an email: 911livingmemorial@voicesofsept11.org




Links for Homework Help, Preparedness Info and More


Finding good information on the internet is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. VOICES has combed the web to find some of the best resources it can offer to VOICES for Kids users, and we are adding more all the time. The links cover a variety of topics from help with homework to emergency preparedness and other important (and sometimes fun!) topics.


Age appropriate web links are available for Kids, Teens, and Caregivers. If you have suggestions for links to add or advice on how to improve the VOICES for Kids site, please contact us.




Celebrities Shine Media Spotlight on 9/11 Health


Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes headlined a fundraiser last week for the 9/11 Workers Detoxification project, a downtown clinic where first responders receive detoxification treatments created by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The number of attendees at the dinner was not disclosed, nor the total amount of money raised. However, media reports claim that each plate at the dinner cost $6,250, so the take was conceivably well into the six figures. TomKat, as the media have dubbed the couple, are shown arriving at the event held last Friday. Read more at the "celebrity environmentalist" blog "Ecorazzi."


Rosie O'Donnell has also become an enthusiastic advocate for supporting sick 9/11 workers. This morning on "The View," she interviewed first responders who have developed respiratory and other illnesses since their work at Ground Zero, as well as health experts. Rosie writes on her blog: "...nearly 6 years later these once sturdy americans r completely disabled unable to walk up a flight of stairs one had an oxygen tank with him tubes in his nose forcing air in to destroyed lungs-- unbearable-- there were 50 thousand people who walked toward the fallen towers half of them r now sick 25 thousand people. 25 THOUSAND PEOPLE !!!!!!!!!!... unreal, truly unreal, the united states, no funding for treatment of these humans, i cried..."


During the show, Rosie promised to make easing the plight of 9/11 responders a priority of her new career post-"The View." The show reaches an audience of millions, and the hosts repeatedly stressed that the problems facing 9/11 workers were "national." Establishing 9/11 health as a nationwide concern is vital as health monitoring organizations continue to solicit money from the federal government. "The View" deserves kudos for bringing this issue to American culture's main stage: daytime TV.


Court Backs Former EPA Chief Whitman in 9/11 Toxins Case


Last week, a lawsuit charging former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman with liability for 9/11 health woes was dismissed. A federal appellate court found that Ms. Whitman's statements in 2001 that the air near Ground Zero was safe to breathe were not “conscience-shocking.” The three-judge panel did not make any factual finding as to the quality of the air, or as to whether the EPA had intentionally misled the public, which Ms. Whitman has denied doing. The court’s decision read: “When great harm is likely to befall someone no matter what a government official does, the allocation of risk may be a burden on the conscience of the one who must make such decisions, but does not shock the contemporary conscience.”


Basically, the judgment says that the government was compelled to clean up the WTC site and that the workers currently facing health problems would still have them regardless of the statements Ms. Whitman made in 2001. Whether a government official's actions are "conscience-shocking" is a legal standard that decides whether the official is liable, in certain types of lawsuits. However, that legal standard is narrow and other lawsuits are pending against Ms. Whitman that use broader standards. "I always thought that if you accepted they were lies — lies to get these people working down there — that those lies were inherently conscience-shocking," the lawyer who brought the case, Stephen Riegel of Weitz and Luxemberg P.C., is quoted in New York Sun coverage. Apparently the appellate judges disagree.


Congressional Hearing Examines Health Effects in Outer Boroughs


The EPA and WTC health were also in the news this week because of a Congressional hearing focused on environmental effects of 9/11 in the outer boroughs of New York. The hearing, of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform, was presided over by Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY), of Brooklyn, and held in Brooklyn Borough Hall. A panel of health experts, environmental advocates and local politicians urged the Environmental Protection agency to expand their decontamination and health-monitoring services to Brooklyn and other areas outside Manhattan that were affected by the large dust clouds that hovered over Ground Zero during the cleanup of the WTC. A parade of evidence, including aerial photos showing a plume of WTC dust covering a large slice of Brooklyn, was submitted along with testimonials of environmental and health workers who have experienced first-hand the contamination of Brooklyn’s air. Bonnie Bellow, a spokeswoman for the EPA in New York, told the New York Times, “While we had a wide range of various kinds of data to indicate there certainly was some dust that went to Brooklyn, we have focused our program closest to ground zero.” The EPA, she said, was “prioritizing the testing and the necessary cleanups” there. They were not invited to participate in the hearing.




Little Urgency on 9/11 Reforms Bill


9/11 family members traveled to Washington this week to press both the House and Senate to continue moving forward on 9/11-reforms legislation. The House and Senate have both passed versions of the bill that are currently stalled. Differences between the two bills must be reconciled before a conferenced bill is sent to President Bush, and the conference process is only in its nascent stages. However, the family members were given assurances that this vital legislation remains a priority of the new Congress. The legislation was passed as part of the initial blitz of lawmaking in January and February, but has lost steam since then as Democrats face divisive debate on war spending and other issues. It could face another challenge at the President’s desk: Bush has vowed to veto any legislation that would allow Transportation Security Administration workers to unionize, a provision contained in both the House (H.R. 1) and Senate (S.4) bills.


House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-MS told CongressDaily that completing the supplemental spending bill has overshadowed work on the security bill. "I'm patient as long as we get it done," Thompson (shown at left) is quoted. "I know that the president is dangling vetoes over our head right and left." The main point of contention between the House and Senate versions of the legislation is what percentage of Homeland Security appropriations should be allocated strictly according to risk, and what percentage should be divided among all 50 states. "The homeland security grants, of course, will be contentious," one Senate aide told CongressDaily. "Both bills provide the vast majority of homeland security funding on the basis of risk, but the bills differ in the minimum amount of money guaranteed to each state so they can all achieve a basic level of preparedness."



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Copyright © 2006 Voices of September 11th.  All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

VOICES of September 11 th is a nonpartisan advocacy group .
VOICES provides services and advocates for families and all those affected by September 11th; promotes public policy reform on prevention, preparedness and response to terrorism;
and builds bridges between international communities changed by terrorism.