A clay model of the statue, created by StudioEis in Brooklyn, was unveiled late last month. Studio director Ivan Schwartz said the decision to portray different races was made by the Fire Department, Forest City Ratner, the studio and the foundry.
But many current and former firefighters are calling the statue an example of political correctness run amok and an attempt to rewrite history.
—The Associated Press
Groundhog May See Shadow, Security
P U N X S U T A W N E Y, Pa., Jan. 16 — When Punxsutawney Phil pops his head out of his hole on Feb. 2 to tell people whether or not they will experience six more weeks of winter, the famous groundhog may see more than his shadow.
Because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, security will be stepped up at Phil's home, Gobbler's Knob.
"They'll be checking people a little more, naturally, the way conditions are," said Barney Stockdale of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
People with backpacks or bags will be subject to search when they go to Gobbler's Knob.
"We'll have a good contingency of troopers there this year to ensure everyone's safety," said State Police spokesman Jamie LeVeir.
The tight security on Groundhog Day won't be the only new thing in Punxsutawney this year. The Punxsutawney Borough Council on Monday voted to allow a charity to serve beer downtown during the festivities, despite objections that the fund-raiser would encourage drinking and rowdy behavior.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will put up a tent large enough to fit 1,200 people and charge $10 admission.
Groundhog Day organizers banned drinking on Gobbler's Knob in 1996.
—The Associated Press
Sept. 11 Families Turn to Web Site
B O S T O N, Jan. 16 — There are still days when Helen Simpkin hardly feels like getting out of bed, when the dark blanket that fell over her life on Sept. 11 is too heavy to push aside.
On those days, there's a place to turn where everyone knows just how she feels.
Simpkin, 35, sits down at the computer in her Cottekill, N.Y., home and logs onto the network that's been her lifeline since her sister Jane's flight crashed into the World Trade Center.
With a few keystrokes, she joins hundreds of people in similar pain at the Families of Sept. 11, a nonprofit advocacy organization formed by and for the survivors.
"It's absolutely vital," Simpkin says. "Even on the worst days, I know at least I can go on the Web site and talk to other people who are feeling the same way as me."
Members share news clips and legal advice, suggestions on visiting Ground Zero and navigating the red tape of charities and government agencies.
The Web site — http://www.familiesofseptember11.org — also offers simple words of solace and support to newfound friends brought together under the most tragic of circumstances.
"There were some heartbreaking messages around Christmastime," says Marilyn Trudeau of Lincoln, R.I., who lost her daughter, Amy Jarrett, a flight attendant on United Flight 175. "One mother wrote about taking out the Christmas decorations and the emotions arising within her as she was trying to do the normal things you do at Christmas."
Families of Sept. 11 Inc. began at an October meeting of victims' families in Boston. Carie Lemack, 26, of Framingham, stood up and announced plans to create an online community of families, a secure place where mourners could go and speak openly about their pain.