At the University Presidential Hotline

Princeton Airport

From Wall Street To South Brunswick

Merrill’s Move To New Jersey

Princeton’s Insurers

Heightened Security

A Non-Profit Loses Its Director

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the September 19, 2001 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Ripples from September 11

While the aftershocks from the events of September

11 continued to reverberate throughout our community, the nation,

and the world, the story might someday focus on how much went right

on that fateful day.

The terrorist strikes at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon

created an immeasurable loss of human life. But in terms of the


fabric of America, all systems remained go. Television stations —

even those with transmitters atop the World Trade Center —


to broadcast vital information that certainly helped prevent panic

in the aftermath of the attacks. The telephone system continued to

work, with cell phone communications no doubt helping the passengers

on the flight over Pennsylvania divert that plane from its intended


Many of the companies close to the epicenter of the attack continued

to function, some perhaps relying on emergency procedures developed

during the Y2K era. The Wall Street Journal, displaced from its


nevertheless published an edition the next day — relying in part

on the facilities of the parent company’s Route 1 location (see


The financial markets reopened.

And the worst possible outcome of the attack — a loss of resolve

or a loss of character — failed to materialize. If the terrorists

were in fact a fanatical group with Muslim roots, they must have hoped

that their actions would trigger an outburst of anger and retaliation

against the many peace-abiding Muslims living in places like central

New Jersey. But in fact, as the sidebar beginning on this page


many Americans may now have an even greater knowledge and appreciation

of these citizens and their values.

As the America’s founding fathers wrote back on July 4, 1776, the

unalienable rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of


As for happiness, there are no guarantees, as recent events prove.

But that doesn’t mean that we will give up the chase.

Top Of Page
At the University Presidential Hotline

A random call on Saturday, September 15, to Princeton

University found the president of the university herself, Shirley

Tilghman, staffing the 24-hour hotline that she had established to

help students through the World Trade Center crisis. A conversation

with her yielded these remarks:

"Tuesday morning we had an emergency meeting of the whole cabinet.

Some of the people who mobilized had loved ones working in that


You could watch them put aside the terror to take care of the students

who are here and who are our top priority."

"On Tuesday we established a 24-hour emergency response center

that was a central place where our staff, faculty, and students could

come and receive information, counseling, and help with travel if

they needed to go home to their parents and to receive cash if in

fact the banks were closed. We will keep it open until we believe

that it is no longer needed."

"Tuesday my office was inundated with students showing up to ask

what `What can we do? Give us a task. Give us some way that we can

help the people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.’ The


here has been quite extraordinary.

"We have also had a number of events on campus, some focused on

a single group. One of the most vulnerable groups are the freshmen.

They have the least resources in terms of friendship and networks.

Tuesday night we met with the 1,185 freshmen students and then sent

them to the residential colleges for smaller gatherings. The next

night I met with the sophomores. The whole intent is to focus the

whole university as to what things need to be done:"


Reflection on what this means. Universities after all

are here to understand. We have been having panel discussions on


People who know something about terrorism talk about what happened

why it happened, what the U.S. response can be, how it can be


Resolve. That we will live up to the ideals that we have

always held so dear in the academy — respect for others,


of civil discourse. We are directing our anger and confusion at the

perpetrators and fellow innocent victims."

"My perspective is that the most important thing we can

do here is use the incredible and intellectual resources that we have

to bring clarity and understanding to how terrorism arises, to what

allows it to persist in a community, and how we can achieve a time

when events such as those that happened on Tuesday will be


in reality as well as in theory. That we really make it so it can’t

happen again."

Top Of Page
Princeton Airport

On a normal clear blue Saturday in September, some 300

flights take off and land at Princeton Airport. Naomi Nierenberg,

co-owner of the airport and president of the Raritan Valley Flying

School there, provides this description of the traffic last Saturday,

September 15: "We had one plane come in at 10:30, one at 11, then

one at 2, and one at 4." That was it, four flights. In just one

of the thousands of as-yet-untallied effects of September 11th’s


attacks, general aviation is all but halted.

Visual flight is not allowed anywhere in the country, and few of the

students and other pilots flying from Princeton Airport are certified

for instrument flight. Even pilots who have earned the certification

need to file flight plans with the FAA before they can take off. The

process is difficult, says Nierenberg, and right now few plans are

being approved. Helicopters at the airport are also grounded. Most

are hired to ferry executives back and forth to New York City, and

no flights within 25 nautical miles of Kennedy Airport are now


Some of the airport’s planes were in the air on September 11, and

have not made it back. The airport can not do any training, and it

isn’t selling any fuel. Nierenberg says she has no idea when


will be lifted. As for the financial hit the airport is taking, she

says "I don’t want to think about the money lost. It’s huge. But

we haven’t laid anyone off yet."

Nierenberg and her husband, Richard, bought the airport in 1985 after

they lost their lease at an airport in Manville. Their son Kenneth

is also a co-owner. Altogether the family has been in the aviation

business for 30 years. Nierenberg says it is a business characterized

by "peaks and valleys." Even before the terrorists turned

airplanes into weapons of mass destruction, general aviation was not

having a good year. Fuel prices were up, the economy was down, and

Nierenberg says there was "a horrendous shortage of


The disaster will worsen the climate considerably. "I think


going to come down with terrible restrictions," she says of


and the FAA. At least in part this could be a reaction to the fact

that the terrorists learned to fly at flight schools like the one

at Princeton Airport. State Police and F.B.I. agents have been at

Princeton Airport, but Nierenberg says she is quite sure that none

of her students or former students are suspected in the attacks.

Over the years, Nierenberg says she has had perhaps 10 students


to fly on student visas. Princeton draws fewer students from overseas,

she says, because room and board are so much higher here than in


or Arizona, where the terrorists are said to have trained.

In the cases where students on visas were enrolled in her school,

Nierenberg says she believes the Department of Immigration was lax.

"No one from Immigration ever visited the school," she says.

On one occasion, she called to report an incident of what she believed

to be money laundering, and says that Immigration showed no interest.

Better to tighten up Immigration surveillance that to crack down on

small airports and flight schools, in Nierenberg’s opinion.

With a new runway just opened, and other plans to improve the airport

underway, Nierenberg is eager to get back to business as usual. But

she can not even predict how restrictions will work out long term.

"This is just so monumental," she says.

Top Of Page
From Wall Street To South Brunswick

Wall Street Journal editors and reporters, along with

corporate staffers, evacuated Dow Jones’s offices at 200 Liberty


on September 11 after the World Trade Center, which sat right across

the street, was attacked.

Steve Goldstein, vice president of corporate communications, says

200 employees, including 120 from the Wall Street Journal, are now

working from Dow Jones’s offices on Route 1 in South Brunswick. The

relocated Wall Street Journal employees are senior editors for the

most part. Goldstein says reporters are working from their homes or

from office space in Manhattan.

Dow Jones has set up van pools to ferry employees to its South


offices. It has also reserved blocks of hotel rooms at the Somerset

Marriott and the Marriott Residence Inn on Route 1.

The good news for the Journal is that the Liberty Street building

did not sustain structural damage. "There is debris and some


glass," says Goldstein. He says the company expects that


employees will be able to move back in before the end of the year.

Top Of Page
Merrill’s Move To New Jersey

On the day of the World Trade Center attack, Merrill

Lynch had approximately 9,000 employees working in two towers in the

World Financial Center, just across the street. Now a substantial

number of them are working in New Jersey.

Selena Morris, spokesperson for the company, says the majority of

those working in New Jersey are doing so from offices in Jersey City,

while others are temporarily re-assigned to Princeton or Hopewell.

"Ninety percent of the 9,000 are relocated and working," says

Morris. "People are doubling up. It’s not like we had 9,000


but we did have the space."

One of Merrill’s World Financial Center towers faces the World Trade

Center, and that building has some broken glass. The other building

faces the Hudson River, and sustained less damage. Employees could

return to that building in two months or so, Morris says, but it will

be somewhat longer until the first building is ready for occupancy.

"It’s not the buildings," says Morris, "it’s access to

that general area. The West Side Highway is full of debris."

Morris was in the World Financial Center when the attack occurred.

"When the first plane hit, people assumed it was an accident,"

she says. When the second plane hit, they knew it wasn’t. Employees

fled through the stairwells. It was an orderly evacuation, says


People helped one another, and everyone got out safely. She headed

uptown to another Merrill facility, occasionally pausing to look back.

"It was a sight to see," Morris recounts. "Everything

was in flames." Nevertheless, she is not only willing to move

back into her World Financial Center office, but is eager to do so.

"My office is like my second home," she says. "I’m anxious

to get back there."

This despite the fact that the tragedy hit close to home for her.

Robert McIlvaine, the one Merrill employee confirmed dead in the


was in her group. McIlvaine was not in his office, but rather was

attending a meeting at the World Trade Center. Two other Merrill


who were in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack are


McIlvaine was a graduate of Princeton University (Class of 1997).

Top Of Page
Princeton’s Insurers

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers

will be the most costly man-made catastrophe in U.S. history, but

the insurance industry professes not to be worried — even though

no sources yet have ventured a guess as to what the grand total of

claims might be. "The totals would have to exceed $50 billion

before we would begin to worry about the insurance system," says

Steve Dreyer, managing director for U.S. Insurance Industry Ratings

at Standard & Poor’s.

Among the biggest companies to be headquartered here are New Jersey

Manufacturers insurance (with more than 1,500 people on Sullivan Way

in Trenton), and 10 reinsurance companies, including 1,000 people

at American Re Corporation on College Road, a subsidiary of the Munich

Re Group.

"The insurance industry is strongly capitalized and can withstand

an enormous financial hit without threat to the stability of the


overall," says Dreyer. One estimate puts the capital available

at U.S. property-casualty insurers at $330 billion. Add to that the

resources of the "re-insurers," which help the insurance


pass along the risk.

Coverages likely to be most affected are life, disability, workers

compensation, health, business interruption, property, aviation, and

general liability. In life insurance, Dreyer suggests that losses

will stay in the predicted single-digit billions of dollars range,

which would not severely impact the industry.

Natural disasters, the experts say, cost more than even this


man-made disaster. Munich Re lists its claims burden for Hurricane

Andrew in 1992 at $20 billion in today’s dollars, compared to the

1993 World Trade Center bombing (which cost the insurance industry

less than $1 billion). Other notable man-made disasters were the 1995

Oklahoma City bombing (insured losses of $125 million), and the Los

Angeles riots of 1992 ($775 million).

Potential problems for the World Trade Center claims include delays

in payments on life insurance policies until the identification


is finished, possible differences between European and United States

reinsurers (European reinsurances generally exclude terrorism), and

legal battles over technical issues between insurers and reinsurers.

Top Of Page
Heightened Security

In the light of the World Trade Center disaster, data

security is on everyone’s mind. "This whole set of events will

heighten awareness of security overall, whether that is security for

people or security for data," says Scott Slack, vice president

of marketing of Cranel Inc. a systems integration and computer backup

storage systems company with a regional sales office at Exit 8A’s

Interchange Plaza. Slack, a 1983 graduate of Ohio State, works at

the company’s Columbus, Ohio, headquarters.

Cranel sells to Fortune 100 and 500 clients for data backup and online

storage. Representing such manufacturers as Storage Tech, ADIC,


Data Systems, Veritas Software, and Sun Microsystems, it sells,


and services the equipment.

"Most of the large organizations have a good strategy, but


with revenues less than $250 million may not have invested in data

protection strategies," says Slack. The fundamental precautions

need not be expensive.

Back up your data.

Take the backup tapes off site and put them in a vault


Make sure you rotate the backup tapes so the most recent

ones are off site.

Slack points out that this can be accomplished inexpensively

by designating an employee (or the boss, in a small company) to throw

one copy of the tapes in the car or by scheduling weekly pickups by

a remote storage service.

A more sophisticated step involves writing (or mirroring) your data

to multiple locations. If you have two or more buildings, set up a

second set of disks in a separate location. Or hire remote storage

in another city. "Incorporate redundancy throughout your


admonishes Slack. "You want to have two copies of your data,


in backups or live data."

Top Of Page
A Non-Profit Loses Its Director

For Colleen Fraser, executive director of the


Center for Independent Living on Parkway Avenue in Ewing, the trip

to Newark Airport on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, and the

boarding of United Airlines Flight 93 for San Francisco would have

been an ordeal under any circumstances. Fraser suffered from


rickets, walked with a cane, and used a motorized scooter for longer


But, notes her administrative assistant, Sue Yochim, "she was

a go-getter" and on September 11 Fraser was determined to get

to her final destination of Reno, where she was enrolled in a seminar

for effective grant-writing.

Fraser died on Flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania. Fraser,

51, had been with the Progressive Center for one-and-a-half years,

according to Yochim. The center, a non-profit, is funded by state

and federal grants, as well as some private donations. It works with

cross-disability individuals, providing them with information,


advocacy, peer support, and other services.

The center works with individuals with a range of disabilities, says

Yochim, who is blind. "I have a computer with a voice in it, and

a braille printer and a regular printer," she says. For now the

Trenton resident and mother of four is keeping the office together.

"I do everything anyone else does," she says. "I just

don’t drive."

Fraser was a member of the New Jersey Disabilities Council, and was

its chairwoman in 1990 and 1994. She lived in Elizabeth with her


and commuted to Ewing.

"She was a fighter," says Yochim. "She went for what she

believed in. She worked for people with disabilities."

Yochim says the center’s board of directors is working on the


of a new executive director. As of early this week, no date had yet

been set for Fraser’s funeral service.

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