Digest, Week of Sept. 5, 2012

W.T.C. Health Registry survey deadline extended
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (D.O.H.) has extended the deadline for responses to the 2011-12 World Trade Center Health Registry child survey until Sun., Sept. 30.

Only about a third of the more than 3,000 families with children currently enrolled in the Registry have responded to the survey thus far, according to the D.O.H.

Marijo Russell O’Grady, a long-time Downtown resident who also chairs the W.T.C. Health Registry’s Community Advisory Board, stressed the importance of completing the survey. “As a parent with a child enrolled in the Registry,” she said, “I know that my response and the response of my son have helped advocate for World Trade Center-related pediatric services and may help protect children during a future disaster.”

The Registry’s child enrollees and their parents have been sent a copy of the surveys by mail, but they also have the option to complete them online. A survey for parents inquires about the children’s physical and mental health, while an adolescent survey asks about their health symptoms and behavior, according to the D.O.H.

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry together with the D.O.H. established the W.T.C. Health Registry in 2002 with the goal of monitoring the health of people directly exposed to the 9/11 attacks. Today, the Registry is an ongoing collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

For more information about the survey, enrollees can call the W.T.C. Health Registry at 866-NYC-WTCR (866-692-9827) — which is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — or send an e-mail to wtchr@health.nyc.gov. Visit www.nyc.gov/9-11healthinfo for information on research and services for those affected by the 9/11 attacks.

Stuyvesant High names interim principal
Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s most prestigious public schools, announced the selection of an interim principal in early August as it prepared for the retirement of current principal Stanley Teitel, who became engulfed in a student cheating scandal in June.

Jie Zhang, 52, was chosen as Stuyvesant’s interim leader on Aug. 6. She most recently served as principal of Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, another elite school, since 2006, according to the New York Times. Zhang declined to be interviewed.

The selection came just three days after Teitel announced, in a letter posted onto Stuyvesant’s website, that he would be stepping down this month. It was unclear whether or not he chose to leave due to the New York City Department of Education’s (D.O.E.) current investigation into student cheating at the school.

In the letter, Teitel wrote that he was retiring because, “It is time to devote my energy to my family and personal endeavors.” He had been on the school’s staff for 29 years and had been principal since 1999.

Stuyvesant’s cheating scandal began in June, when student Nayeem Ahsan, 16, was caught using a cell phone to take pictures of the state’s Regents exams that he sent to more than 50 classmates. Once he was caught, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott began an investigation — which is still ongoing — to find out why the Stuyvesant administration waited nearly a week to report the incident to the D.O.E.

Mandell School announces FiDi expansion plans
The Mandell School, an independent nursery-to-eighth grade school on the Upper West Side, recently announced that it would be opening a new preschool program in the Financial District in fall 2013.

The new 30 Broad St. location will be open to toddlers and pre-nursery students. The  expansion is being undertaken due to the significant demand in Downtown neighborhoods for new preschools, according to the school’s press release.

“While the population of young children in the city increases, the number of independent school seats remains almost entirely stagnant, and admission rates have hit record lows,” said Gabriella Rowe, head of the Mandell School, in a statement. “The Mandell School is taking action by bringing our school to more neighborhoods in New York City and offering a high-quality education to more children.”

The population of young children in many Downtown neighborhoods has boomed over the past decade. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of children ages five and under in Tribeca, according to Census Bureau data.

The Mandell School, which was founded in 1939, is also expanding to a new location in Lincoln Square this fall, and has plans to expand to the East Side in fall 2013.

Worker hospitalized after fall at 3 W.T.C.
A construction worker at 3 World Trade Center was hospitalized in serious condition on Wed., Aug. 29 after falling 15 feet and suffering injuries to his head and arms.

The male worker, 36, was sitting atop a steel beam outside the building on Church and Cortlandt Streets shortly before 1:30 p.m., when he fell off of it, according to sources from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and F.D.N.Y. that were cited in the New York Post.

An F.D.N.Y. spokesperson also told the Commerical Observer that both of the worker’s arms were broken in the accident. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital after paramedics arrived on the scene.

John Gallagher, a spokesperson for Tishman Construction, the construction manager for 3 W.T.C., told the Observer that, at the time of the fall, the injured worker had been following all prescribed safety procedures.

The incident follows other recent construction accidents at the W.T.C. site. In June, a 37-year-old construction worker bruised his liver and sustained two fractured ribs after he fell six feet onto a steel rebar. A day later, a crane smashed its beam into the windows on the 46th floor of 4 W.T.C., causing two window panes to shatter and sending glass down to the street below.

Two more W.T.C. workers busted for drinking
Two construction workers assigned to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub were caught drinking alcohol during their lunch break on Fri., Aug. 31 and were subsequently banned from the work site.

Undercover detectives from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inspector General’s Office spotted the two steelworkers having drinks that afternoon at Eamonn’s Irish Bar on Murray Street, the Daily News reported. In addition to being caught with beer, the pair was observed taking shots of liquor.

Both workers are employed by D.C.M. Erectors, a subcontractor for the W.T.C. project.

Since July, a total of 13 construction workers have been kicked off the W.T.C. site as a result of the Port Authority’s recent crackdown on lunchtime drinking.

Seven workers — four electrical workers assigned to the Transportation Hub, two concrete workers assigned to 1 W.T.C. and one worker assigned to 2 W.T.C. — were banned on July 27 after they were caught having beers at the Raccoon Lodge on Warren Street. Before that, four steamfitters assigned to 3 W.T.C. were banned on July 18 following a similar incident.

In July, this newspaper reported that D.C.M. Erectors had also been penalized for a serious safety violation at 4 W.T.C. site in February 2011.

According to a written statement by federal safety inspectors, a D.C.M. worker had been walking on a steel beam approximately 27 feet high, with no fall protection of any kind. It was D.C.M.’s second violation resulting from that type of hazard, the first of which was issued in August 2008.

Iconic athletes’ ticker-tape images on display at the Woolworth
The Woolworth Building, located at 233 Broadway, is now hosting an outdoor exhibit featuring images of notable American athletes who have been honored with parades in Downtown.

The Witkoff Group, which owns the bottom half of the Woolworth Building, has joined forces with the Downtown Alliance to place several large photos of the iconic athletes on display on the building’s exterior. The project is a test pilot for a new initiative that would use vacant retail spaces to highlight historic events in Lower Manhattan while helping to market the vacant spaces, according to a recent Downtown Alliance press release.

The images currently on display include a photograph of Carol Heiss, the 1960 women’s Olympic figure skating champion, the inaugural players for the New York Mets during their debut season in 1962 and U.S. Olympic athletes who were given a ticker-tape parade send-off before the 1952 Helsinki games.

The Downtown Alliance has also embedded 181 granite plaques in the sidewalk along both sides of lower Broadway that commemorate all the ticker-tape parades that have taken place there — for athletes as well as foreign leaders, scientists and other notable figures — since 1886. Twenty more plaques that are currently in storage will be installed once the new Fulton Center is completed, according to the Downtown Alliance release.

The most recent recipients of a commemorative plaque are the New York Giants, who were honored for their 2012 Super Bowl victory.

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