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Marilyn Mastronarde, principal of Volney Rogers Junior High School on Youngstown's West Side, said



Published: Tue, September 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Marilyn Mastronarde, principal of Volney Rogers Junior High School on Youngstown's West Side, said she made a general announcement to pupils about the situation.

The parents of one pupil came to the school this morning to remove their child. Mastronarde said the family has a relative who works in the World Trade Center.

"They're terrified," she said. "They haven't been able to reach him."

At Lakeview High School in Cortland, the atmosphere among teachers and pupils was anger and disbelief, said Matthew Chojnacki, schools superintendent.

He likened the attack to Pearl Harbor.

So far this morning, a handful of parents have called and asked to pick up their children from elementary school.

"I think that is overkill, but we have no objections to it," he said.

At Champion High School, principal Thomas Harrison said classroom televisions were turned on after the second plane struck the World Trade Center.

Harrison said he will get on the public-address system late in the morning and ask pupils to pay their respects for the dead.

Also, he will assure pupils not to become concerned because this area of the country is not a target.

Harrison said people will always remember where they were when the attack was initiated, in the same way many recall the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Closures: The federal courthouse in downtown Youngstown was evacuated shortly before 11 a.m., and all Youngstown and Mahoning County government buildings were closed shortly after.

Duzzny said all county offices will be closed at least through today.

"We don't know about tomorrow yet," he said. "We're trying to everyone calmed down, and the best way we can do that is to get everyone home."

The Ohio Legislature canceled its sessions for the rest of the week.

This strike is something that people of this generation will remember forever, said state Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, an Air Force reservist who served during the Persian Gulf War.

"When I heard about it, I got that sick feeling like where were you when Pearl Harbor was bombed," he said. "This is extremely significant. Am I concerned this will have a collateral or cascading effect? Absolutely. It's one thing to target the United States military. It's entirely another thing to target innocent women and children."

Boccieri, D-57th, arrived about 10:25 a.m. today in Columbus for House sessions through the week. He turned around for the Mahoning Valley about 30 minutes later, when the legislative sessions were canceled.

Community leaders: The Rev. David Leonard is pastor of First Unitarian Church in Youngstown, which stresses acceptance of different beliefs as long as people share the same values, such as respect for others.

"Clearly the people who did this don't. It's totally unacceptable in that sense," he said.

The Rev. Mr. Leonard said he feared the United States will fly off the handle and bomb someone in retaliation.

"It would be good if we pursued this through the world courts, but we don't even know who did this. Until we know, people are going to assume this was Muslims. And we have to wait to find out."

Husam Rafeedie, president of the Arab Community Center of Youngstown, said he was shaking like a leaf.

"This is a disaster, no doubt about it," Rafeedie said. "God only knows who did it, but this is declaring war here."

Rafeedie cautioned against immediately blaming Muslims, pointing out that they were initially suspected in the Oklahoma City bombings that were the result of Americans.

The Rev. Terry Bolds, pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church in Youngstown, also asked people not jump to conclusions.

The pastor asked for prayers for the injured as well as for God's guidance as to how people should help.

People at Niles Municipal Court monitored television reports of the moment-to-moment details of the carnage.

"I was shocked," said Paul Lawrence, clerk of courts, who learned of the attack shortly after it occurred. "I couldn't believe it when I first heard it and the more I heard, the more unbelievable it became."

Sherri Chalker, head of security at the court and a McDonald police officer, agreed.

"It makes me think of the way security is here and how we have to better it," she said.

Chalker of Niles also worries about the proximity.

"It's too close for comfort," she said.

Her mother and stepfather returned late last night from a conference in New York City and Chalker talked to her this morning. The building where the conference was conducted is right across the street from the World Trade Center.

"She's really breathing a sigh of relief," Chalker said. "She's scared."

Nick Terbovich of Lordstown who was at the court this morning when he heard of attack, worries about terrorism filtering into schools around the country.

"It's just devastating," he said.

North Perk Cafe, downtown Warren, was empty following the news of the attacks this morning with employees clustered around a radio at the front counter.

"It seems like everyone's gone home today," said Holly Zoba, the cafe's owner who moved from Washington, D.C., a year and a half ago.

She's still planning a weekend trip to the nation's capitol this weekend. She doesn't plan to cancel.

"They win if you do that," she said. "But I'm sure I'm not going to go visit the White House."

Others say they're cancelling even local trips.

Glen Wells, a 21-year-old delivery boy at North Perk, said he had just found out about the attacks but that he wasn't surprised.

"I don't know what's going on, but it's all scriptural," he said. "The end of the world is what it's all about."

Nancy McPeak, an employee of the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, said she had just gotten off the phone with her 20-year-old daughter, trying to convince her not to take the risk to drive from her home in Cortland to Kent State University today.

"Our nation is under attack," she said.




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