Digest, Nov. 2, 2012

Lawsuit over 1 W.T.C. antennae settled
One World Trade Center is back on track to becoming the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has settled its feud with A.D.F. Steel Corporation to get the steel needed to complete the 400-foot antenna. In recently issued statements, A.D.F. and the Port Authority said they had come to an agreement, though the terms were not disclosed.

The Port Authority had accused A.D.F. Corp., a company based in Terrebonne, Quebec, of holding the custom-made steel pieces of antennae hostage until the Authority paid off a multi-million dollar debt for another project.

In a suit brought to the New York State Supreme Court, the Port Authority said that A.D.F. was refusing to ship the steel for the tower’s $10 million spire until it received $6 million for materials of unrelated projects, but that under the terms of the contract for the antennae, the Port Authority was only required to pay for the spire itself — alleging that these payments were up to date.

If the steel is not shipped soon, the Port Authority stressed that the St. Lawrence River could freeze and thereby delay construction at 1 W.T.C. until the spring.

The tower, currently 104 stories high, will be raised to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet with the addition of the antennae. Construction of 1 W.T.C. is set to be completed by 2014.

New study finds that Downtown is epicenter for region’s young talent
A new study by the Downtown Alliance Business Improvement District shows a monumental shift in the population of educated young professionals from out of the suburbs and into metropolitan areas that can be reached via public transit. According to the study, Lower Manhattan has lately drawn more and more high-value workers and is becoming the center of revitalized neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the cities along New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront.

“High-value workers” are young professionals and mid-career adults ages 18 to 44 that work in the fields of advertising, media, arts and entertainment, professional services, management, information technology, finance, insurance and real estate. This group includes a wide spectrum of households, from new college graduates to married couples and those raising children.

The number of residents working in these fields that live within a 30-minute PATH or subway commute of Lower Manhattan rose by 67,000 in the last ten years, marking an increase of 14 percent. The remaining areas in the 30-county region gained only about 12,000 people, a one percent growth.

With educated professionals increasingly opting for an urban lifestyle rather than a suburban one, Downtown is uniquely positioned as a hub of corporate activity, according to the Alliance. The report states that 360 companies have chosen to relocate south of Chambers Street since 2005 and that more are likely to move to the area to take advantage of this pool of workers.

The Downtown Alliance compared data of the 2000 Decennial Census and the 2010 American Community Survey to find out who these workers are and where they live. Population counts in neighborhoods situated within a 30-minute commute of Downtown were measured against those taken in a 30-county region stretching from New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and the Hudson Valley, Southern Connecticut and Pennsylvania’s Pike County.

The results show that young professionals are increasingly living within a 30-minute commute of Lower Manhattan. Nine of the ten fastest growing neighborhoods in the region are within this radius, including Park Slope, the Lower East Side and Jersey City’s Newport-Grove Street area. The suburbs outside this range, on the other hand, contribute far less to the region’s creative and professional workforce and in some cases lost a portion of workers in professional and creative fields.

Chen trials result in dishonorable discharge, face more delays
Travis Carden, the fifth soldier to be tried in relation to Danny Chen’s suicide, will be dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army and will receive a $1,000 fine for attempting to impede the Chen investigations at Fort Bragg in August. He has also been sentenced to a prison term of 10 months.

Carden, 25, pled guilty on Oct. 11 to a number of charges stemming from an altercation with members of his unit, including striking and pushing another soldier, threatening another soldier, negligently using a firearm and damaging government property, as well as negligently discharging a pistol in a government van and attempting to impede an investigation.

Danny Chen, who grew up in Chinatown and was the only Asian-American in his military unit, was subjected to several weeks of hazing while deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan last year. Eight soldiers in all were charged in connection to his death, but only Carden and one other, Specialist Ryan Offutt, have been ousted from the military.

Carden had been found guilty on Aug. 22 of hazing Private Chen by taunting the soldier with racial slurs and ordering him to do push-ups with water in his mouth. Carden was consequently sentenced with a reduced rank and a fine and avoided dishonorable discharge.

The recent development in the Carden case is seen as a victory by City Council Member Margaret Chin and the New York Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans (O.C.A.), who contend that all eight soldiers should be removed from the army.

“During the previous summary court-martial, Specialist Carden was not punished for his crimes,” said Chin in a statement released to the press. “This time, I am relieved to see that the army has dishonorably discharged Specialist Carden.”

The remaining three soldiers have yet to be tried by the courts-martial at the army’s Fort Bragg, South Carolina military base. The trial of First Lieutenant Daniel Schwartz, originally set for Oct. 24-26, has been delayed due to procedural motions by the government and the defense, according to army spokesperson Benjamin Abel. More time is required to prepare for the trial, he noted, and a new trial date has not been set.

This news follows the previously announced delay of the final two trials in the Chen case of Sergeant Jeffrey Hurst and Staff Sergeant Andrew Van Bockel, whose trials were moved to Nov. 5-9 and Nov. 13-21, respectively.

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