• Woman in New York Fire, Ambush Sentenced to Prison

    Nguyen sentenced to up to four years for involvement in the deaths of firefighters
    A house burns Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 in Webster, New York. A former convict set a house and car ablaze in his lakeside New York state neighborhood to lure firefighters then opened fire on them, killing two and engaging police in a shootout before killing himself while several homes burned. Authorities used an armored vehicle to evacuate the area. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Jamie Germano)
    Published Monday, May 19, 2014

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A 25-year-old woman was sentenced to up to four years in prison Monday for lying on forms when she bought guns used by a man to kill two Rochester-area volunteer firefighters on Christmas Eve 2012.

    FRM/FFN Webster Ambush Coverage

    Dawn Nguyen of the town of Greece drew the maximum term of 1 1/3 to four years in state prison when she was sentenced by state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Moran in Rochester. She still faces federal charges for illegally purchasing the firearms and selling them to a known felon. A hearing on motions in that case is scheduled for Wednesday.

    Nguyen was convicted last month of falsifying business records when she bought a semi-automatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun at a Gander Mountain store in 2010 for her neighbor William Spengler Jr., who was prohibited from owning weapons because of his felony record.

    Spengler was released in prison in 1996 after serving 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer.

    Spengler set fire to his lakeside home on Lake Ontario in Webster in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 24, 2012, and lay in ambush until firefighters arrived. He used the guns to shoot four firefighters before committing suicide.

    Two firefighters, Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, died and two others, Joseph Hofstetter and Ted Scardino, were wounded.

    The remains of Spengler's sister, Cheryl, were found in the burned-out home. She had been shot in the head.

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    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Dedication of 9/11 Museum

    9/11 Museum Described as Monument to Resilience

    National September 11 Memorial & Museum expected to overcome earlier struggles
    This June 16, 2011 file photo shows a fire-scorched cab of a New York City Fire Department truck, damaged in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in storage at JFK Airport in New York. The truck will be on display in the 9//11 museum that will be dedicated Thursday, May 15, 2014, in a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama. It will open to the public May 21. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Leaders of the soon-to-open Sept. 11 museum portrayed it as a monument to unity and resilience ahead of its dedication Thursday, saying that the struggles to build it and conflicts over its content would be trumped by its tribute to both loss and survival.

    "It tells how in the aftermath of the attacks, our city, our nation and people across the world came together," former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the memorial foundation's chairman, said at a news conference Wednesday. "This museum, more than any history book, will keep that spirit of unity alive."

    After Thursday's dedication, then six days of being open around-the-clock to Sept. 11 survivors, victims' relatives, first responders and lower Manhattan residents, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens to the public May 21. It is a testament to how the terrorist attacks that day shaped history, from its heart-wrenching artifacts to the underground space that houses them amid the remnants of the fallen twin towers' foundations.

    As museum leaders see it, it is both a site of remembrance and a palpably physical forum for examining the post-Sept. 11 world. To museum Director Alice Greenwald, "it is about understanding our shared humanity"; to Bloomberg, a reminder "that freedom is not free."

    Yet the memorial also reflects the complexity of crafting a public understanding of the terrorist attacks and reconceiving ground zero.

    Over the years, the museum faced financing squabbles and construction challenges. The museum and the memorial plaza above it cost a total of $700 million to build and will cost $60 million a year to run, more than Arlington National Cemetery and more than 15 times as much as the museum that memorializes the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Sept. 11 museum organizers have noted that security alone costs about $10 million a year.

    Conflicts over the museum's content underlined the need to memorialize the dead while also honoring survivors and rescuers, of balancing the intimate with the international.

    Holocaust and war memorials have confronted some of the same questions. But the 9/11 museum exemplifies the work it takes to "develop a museum program amidst this range of powerful feelings and differing individuals and issues that get raised," said Bruce Altshuler, the director of New York University's museum studies program. He isn't involved in the Sept. 11 museum.

    The museum harbors both personal possessions and artifacts that became public symbols of survival and loss. There is the battered "survivors' staircase" that hundreds used to escape the burning skyscrapers, the memento-covered last column removed during the ground zero cleanup and the cross-shaped steel beams that became an emblem of remembrance. (An atheists' group has sued, so far unsuccessfully, seeking to stop the display of the cross).

    Portraits and profiles describe the nearly 3,000 people killed by the Sept. 11 attacks and the 1993 trade center bombing. Almost 2,000 oral histories give voice to the memories of survivors, first responders, victims' relatives and others. In one, a mother remembers a birthday dinner at the trade center's Windows on the World restaurant the night before her daughter died at work at the towers.

    The museum also looks at the lead-up to Sept. 11 and its legacy — and that has sparked some of the controversy it has faced.

    Members of the museum's interfaith clergy advisory panel raised concerns that it plans to show a documentary film, about al-Qaida, that they said unfairly links Islam and terrorism. The museum has said the documentary is objective; Bloomberg said it took care "to make sure that nobody thinks a billion people who practice one religion were responsible."

    While some Sept. 11 victims' relatives have embraced the museum, others have denounced its $24 general-public ticket price as unseemly and its underground location as disrespectful, particularly because unidentified remains are being stored in a private repository there. Other victims' families see it as a fitting resting place.

    Charles G. Wolf, who lost his wife, Katherine, said he felt the tug of mixed emotions as he anticipated seeing the museum Thursday.

    "I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and I'm dreading tomorrow," he said Wednesday. "It brings everything up."

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    New York City Mayor Appoints New Fire Commissioner

    Nigro was Chief of Department after Chief Peter Ganci’s death on September 11, 2001
    Fire Department City of New York Published Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on May 9 the appointment of Daniel Nigro to serve as the 33rd FDNY Fire Commissioner.

    “He is an exemplary leader – a born leader,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the announcement at the FDNY Fire Academy. “And he has a real love for this Department.”

    A 32-year veteran of the FDNY, Mr. Nigro served as Chief of Department after Sept. 11, 2001, leading the FDNY through search, rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center site. He also was instrumental in merging the FDNY and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s EMS division in 1996.

    “Thank you for having faith in me to lead the Department at this exciting time,” Mr. Nigro said. “As we have always said, this is the greatest job in the world and I look forward to taking it into a future that will make all New Yorkers proud.”

    Son of a FDNY fire captain, Mr. Nigro began his career as a firefighter in 1969, and served as a Lieutenant, Captain and Battalion Chief in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, before being named Assistant to Deputy Fire Commissioner in 1988. Throughout his distinguished career, he has worked as Chief of Uniformed Personnel, Chief of Health Services, Battalion and Deputy Chief, Deputy Assistant Chief of Operations, Chief of EMS and citywide tour commander.

    In 1999, he was appointed Chief of Operations, where he maintained preparedness, staffing and availability of units for fire and emergency response, and instituted a program to oversee key areas of accountability.

    On Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Nigro was appointed Chief of Department upon the death of his close friend Chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr., at the World Trade Center. In this role, he was instrumental in guiding the Department through its loss after 9/11, and assisted in providing plans to move the Department forward.

    Of the appointment, Lt. Christopher Ganci, son of Chief of Department Ganci, said, “My dad would be beaming with pride to see this momentous day.

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    Mr. Nigro with the members of Engine 21, the first fire company with which he worked. (FDNY photo)
    Mr. Nigro is appointed as the 33nd Fire Commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio. (FDNY photo)


  • Unidentified Remains Return to Ground Zero

    Group of victims’ family members hold silent protest during procession
    A flag-draped casket can seen atop a fire truck as the motorcade arrives for the ceremonial transfer of unidentified remains of those killed at the World Trade Center from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to the World Trade Center site, Saturday, May 10, 2014, in New York. The remains will be transferred to an underground repository in the same building as the National September 11 Memorial Museum. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
    Published Saturday, May 10, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The unidentified remains of those killed at the World Trade Center have returned to the World Trade Center site in a solemn procession on a foggy Saturday morning.

    The remains were moved from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Manhattan's East Side at dawn, accompanied by a police motorcade and several police and fire department vehicles with lights flashing but no sirens.

    Few people gathered for the five-mile procession. Construction workers near the World Trade Center paused and took notice, and about 10 firefighters stood in the cool breeze saluting the vehicles as they arrived.

    The remains will be transferred to an underground repository in the same building as the National September 11 Memorial Museum.

    Like many decisions involving the site of the nation's worst terrorist attack, the disposition of the unidentified remains has been contentious.

    FRM/FFN: Families Protest Plan for Unidentified 9/11 Remains

    A group of victims' family members who say the remains should be stored in an above-ground monument separate from the museum protested the procession. About a dozen wore black bands over their mouths at the site Saturday. They say they took the bands off as the remains were transferred.

    Rosemary Cain, who lost her firefighter son at the trade center, was one of the protesters.

    "I don't know how much of him is down here; if it's one little inch, I want it treated respectfully," she said. "I want it above ground. I don't want it to be part of a museum. I don't want it to be part of a freak show."

    Other family members support the plans, which have been in the works for years. Lisa Vukaj, who lost her 26-year-old brother, said the new home for the remains is "a fitting place until technology advances" and new techniques are available to identify their loved ones.

    Vukaj, who got emotional as the caskets containing the remains were taken inside the center, said she didn't like that some victims' relatives turned what should have been a solemn event into "a political thing."

    "Just come in, pay your respects, be here, have your emotions and don't make it political," she said.

    Associated Press, Raw Video,

    The repository will be available for family visits but will be overseen by the medical examiner. Officials hope that improvements in technology will eventually lead to the identification of the 7,930 fragmentary remains.

    The death toll stemming from the attacks at the World Trade Center stands at 2,753. Of those, 1,115, or 41 percent, have not been identified.

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    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    PHOTO GALLERIES

    Families Protest Plan for Unidentified 9/11 Remains

    Relatives would like to see a separate above ground memorial
    Family members of first responders killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, including Sally Regenhard, left, and Rosemary Cain, hold pictures of their firefighter sons, both killed in the attacks, as they appeal to members of the press, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The families oppose the display of their loved ones' remains in the basement of the Sept. 11 Museum as opposed to on the memorial plaza level above ground. The families represented Thursday say they weren't consulted about the decision to put the remains inside the museum, which flooded during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
    Published Thursday, May 8, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — A group of Sept. 11 family members vowed Thursday to protest when the unidentified remains of those killed at the World Trade Center are moved to a repository at the site this weekend.

    The relatives said the plan to house the remains underground in the same building as the National September 11 Memorial Museum is disrespectful and that they would rather see the remains entombed above ground on the adjacent memorial plaza.

    FRM/FFN: 9/11 Victims’ Remains Interred at Ground Zero

    "Let us have a voice! Let us have a say!" said retired firefighter Jim Riches, who lost his son, also a firefighter, in the 2001 terrorist attacks. "We are outraged and we will never rest until our loved ones, America's heroes, rest in peace."

    Sally Regenhard, who also lost her firefighter son at the trade center, said family members dread the opening of the museum on May 21.

    "It's a day of sadness and a day of outrage," she said.

    The unidentified remains will be moved on Saturday from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Manhattan's East Side to the memorial site. City officials say that once there, the remains will be placed in a custom-designed repository at bedrock level in the same building as the museum.

    The repository will be overseen by the medical examiner with hopes that improvements in technology could eventually help identify the 7,930 separate body parts.

    City officials have said that family members were consulted about the plan, but the opponents say all relatives should have polled.

    "The city won't do a survey because they know we're right, that the majority of family members would say no," said Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer who is representing family members opposed to the city's plans.

    Phil Walzak, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said de Blasio's administration "has engaged the community of 9/11 families continuously since entering office four months ago. This includes talking with and listening to families who have questions about this plan — as well as many families who are supportive and comfortable with this plan."

    The remains will be moved in a solemn procession led by police and fire department vehicles.

    Police Commissioner William Bratton and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said their departments are honored to take part.

    Bratton said he hoped the transfer and continued efforts to identify the remains would advance "the journey to peace and closure for their loved ones."

    Forty-one percent of the 2,753 people reported missing at the World Trade Center have not been identified.

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    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    9/11 Victims’ Remains Interred at Ground Zero

    Thousands of unidentified remains will be moved to a repository
    Firefighters make their way through the rubble on Sept. 11. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin)
    Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    NEW YORK (NBC Washington) - Thousands of pieces of unidentified human remains from 9/11 victims will be moved from the medical examiner's office to a repository at ground zero this weekend, according to a letter sent to families.
     
    The repository at ground zero is in the same building as the 9/11 museum that opens to families on May 15 and to the public on May 21.
     
    The 7,930 unidentified remains will get an escort of NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police vehicles when they are taken to the site Saturday morning, according to a group of victims' relatives.
     
    The group, Voices of September 11th, said Tuesday that there would be a "solemn, respectful" procession from the medical examiner's office on the East Side of Manhattan, but no ceremony is planned.
     
    The remains are not under the museum's jurisdiction and will still be considered under the care of the medical examiner. Families will be able to visit the remains through a private room at the repository on May 15, according to the letter from the city to families.
     
    Forty-one percent of the 2,753 people killed in the World Trade Center attack, or 1,115 victims, have had some remains identified.
     
    Some relatives told The New York Times they are relieved the remains are being returned to hallowed ground.
     
    "That is where they died, that is where there is a proper memorial for them, and to me it is a good, safe and holy place," said Eileen Fagan, 66, of Toms River, N.J., who lost her sister, Patricia.
     
    Monika Iken, 44, told the Times she would be at the site Saturday when the procession arrives.
    No remains have been recovered of her husband, Michael.
     
    "I have been waiting for this day for almost 13 years," she said. "He needs to have me there as well. It has been a long time, and I am very happy."
     
    A number of victims' relatives said they were unhappy with the timing of the letter, which came from Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor for health and human services.
     
    Sally Regenhard, whose son died in the attack, said the moving of the remains was announced at "the last minute" and painfully close to Mother's Day. She is part of a group of relatives who have been seeking to stop the remains from being moved, since the plan was announced years ago.

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