July 12, 2007
DEAR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS,
Many thanks to all those who answered the 9/11 families action alert this week. We received good news from Washington that Senate conferees have been appointed and the House will soon follow suit. The 9/11 legislation must now pass through the House/Senate conference process and be forwarded to the President for signature. Your response was critical in convincing Senate Minority leader and others to resolve their differences and to proceed. We will keep you informed of the process as we continue to support full implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Thanks for making a difference!
This week's 9/11 Living Memorial feature is the Sunflower Project, a wonderful effort to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11 with a beautiful, living tribute. I am especially fond of this project because one of the last photos taken of our son Brad was in a sunflower field during a trip to Tuscany in August, 2001. VOICES is happy to support their vision to "see sunflowers, in the hands of people, become a new symbol of remembrance, honor and hope."
A reminder was sent out to Save the Date for VOICES September 10th “Preserving 9/11” Forum and September 11th Commemorative Luncheon. We encourage you to contact our office to make reservations for the events and receive access to reduced hotel rates available for those attending.
| VOICES PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
Reduced Rates at Marriott for VOICES Forum and Luncheon Participants
We are pleased to offer reduced-rate hotel reservations at the Marriott exclusively to participants in VOICES Forum and Luncheon. Rooms are available at $245 per night for Sunday, September 9 through Tuesday, September 11. Please call VOICES at (203) 966-3911 or toll-free (866) 505-3911 for a special promotional code to make reservations.
This year’s two day event will focus on the 9/11 Living Memorial… "Commemorating the Lives and the Stories of September 11, 2001." The Forum will include hands-on workshops, panel discussions and displays that will feature 9/11 Living Memorial pages created by family members. A detailed schedule of events will be available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Visit the VOICES 2007 Forum and Luncheon page for regular program updates. A full schedule of events for the Forum and Luncheon will be included in VOICES Fall Quarterly Newsletter, arriving in your mailbox in early August.
9/11 Living Memorial Feature
The Sunflower Project
Flowers have long been symbols of life, rebirth, and renewal; thus, it is only fitting that flowers are a part of many 9/11 memorials across the country. The organizers of the New York City Sunflower Project, however, wanted to take the healing power of flowers beyond a single memorial site. Spearheaded by Bianca Bob, who recognized that an official September 11 th memorial in New York City was years away, the Sunflower Project began in spring 2002 with an important goal: To have 3,000 sunflowers, one for each person lost on 9/11, blooming in the New York City metropolitan area by the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. While environmental and bureaucratic conditions limited the number of sunflowers planted, there were still many sunflowers blooming on that first anniversary.
Since then, both individuals and groups in communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have taken part in the Sunflower Project by planting over 7,000 seeds and cultivating thousands of memorial sunflower patches. Bob has been amazed by the response to her project, observing that “so many people have been wonderful, really excited, and have helped. It's about personality, communities, and the people that walk by and get involved.” The flowers are not just beautiful to look at; actually planting the flowers can be an act of healing. Bob encourages everyone to continue planting and watering sunflowers: “ Plant one flower. Plant 100.”
Sunflowers often grow as tall as people, and their striking yellow color makes them stand out, brightening even the most lifeless places. The flowers planted by the Sunflower Project across the metropolitan area serve as peaceful reminders of the lives of those lost on 9/11. It is the wish of the Sunflower Project to “see sunflowers, in the hands of people, become a new symbol of remembrance, honor and hope-- through the creation of sunflower memorials that remember the lost, honor the living and hope for a real peace for all...this year and every year.”
For more information, see the Sunflower Project page on the Living Memorial website or the Sunflower Project NYC website.
| EVENTS AND INFORMATION FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
Deadline Extended for 9/11 Worker's Comp Registration
A one-year extension was announced Monday for people who worked or volunteered in the Ground Zero area after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to register with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. The new deadline is August 14, 2008. The initial deadline was August 14, just five weeks away. Anyone who worked or volunteered in the area in the days and months after Sept. 11 is eligible to register.
Registration is not the same as filing a claim with the board. Rather, it allows applicants to be eligible to file a claim should they encounter health issues related to their work at Ground Zero that keeps them from their current employment.
"It's great news," said Maggie Jarry, director of recovery and advocacy for New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) is quoted in a Disaster News Network article. "I think it's something that needed to happen. I hope it's partnered with a campaign to really do effective outreach to the individuals who would be most affected by the cleanup."
Jarry encouraged people to register immediately and not put it off due to the extension. "This is an opportunity that should not be missed," she said. Click to visit the NY COSH website to learn more about registering. Click to read more in VOICES Health Effects page.
NYC Official Asked Feds to Monitor Ground Zero Respirators
A New York City health official repeatedly asked the federal government to strictly enforce rules requiring workers to wear respirators during recovery operations at ground zero in 2001 and 2002, according to recently released documents. The official, Kelly R. McKinney, was associate commissioner for the city health department in 2001. According to an e-mail message to the regional director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mr. McKinney said at an Oct. 7, 2001, meeting that the city wanted the respirator rules enforced because “contractors ‘fear’ OSHA’s ability to issue penalties and that would cause compliance.”
Click to read more in VOICES Health Effects page.
SAVE THE DATES:
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Colleen M. Supinski Annual Golf Tournament
Time: 12:30 Shotgun Start
Location: Riverview Country Club, Easton, PA
Visit website for more info & online registration
All proceeds from the Golf Tournament will go to the Colleen M. Supinski Foundation, established in memory of Colleen; contributions from this tournament will focus on promoting scholarship, literacy and providing help to underprivileged individuals and families in crisis.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Colleen M. Supinski Annual 5K Run/Walk
Location: Notre Dame High School, Easton, PA 18045
|VOICES Website UPDATES
Implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations took a step forward yesterday with the appointment of conferees for S.4 (Improving America's Security Act). Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the move after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) dropped a provision in the bill that would allow Transportation Security Administration employees to bargain collectively. Republicans, including President Bush, opposed that provision because they claim it could tie TSA's hands in an emergency. Congressional sources confirmed the Senate conferees for S.4 are: Democrats: Senators Lieberman (CT), Levin (MI), Akaka (HI), Carper (DE), Pryor (AR), Dodd (CT), Inouye (HI), and Biden (DE). Republicans: Senators Collins (ME), Voinovich (OH), Coleman (MN), Coburn (OK), Shelby (AL), Stevens (AK) and Lugar (IN). Senators Lieberman and Collins, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee are shown at left. The 9/11 bill now heads for conference with the House conferees, who should be appointed by the end of the week. Optimistic predictions would have the bill on President Bush's desk before the August recess. Read more in VOICES Legislative Updates section.
Chertoff Urges Vigilance, Citing "Gut Feeling" on Summer Attacks
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (left) warned that the nation could face a heightened terrorism risk this summer. "Summertime seems to be appealing to [al-Qaeda]," Chertoff told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune Tuesday. "We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities." Chertoff urged Americans not to be complacent about homeland security, and said that his warning is based on "a gut feeling" formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaeda statements, the botched UK plots, and intelligence he did not disclose to the Tribune. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) quickly sent a letter to Chertoff urging him to clarify the origin of his "gut feeling" and present actionable information to the American people. "As of Thursday afternoon, Chertoff had not issued a reply. Read more in VOICES Preparedness Updates.