By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Both City Hall and the Lawrence County Courthouse closed late Tuesday in response to the terrorist plane attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"This is a national disaster. We're at war," said Mayor Timothy Fulkerson, reacting to the largest attack on United States soil since Pearl Harbor.
The mayor said police and firefighters are on alert for any unusual occurrences and that he closed city hall because circumstances warranted letting city workers go home to their families.
The mayor said he will promote local blood drives and any other activities that may be needed to help victims of the attacks. The flags outside city hall and the fire department were lowered to half-staff in memory of the victims.
Precautions: With the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency having placed county governments on alert statewide, county commissioners closed the courthouse as a precaution, and security guards stood watch on the high bluff around the courthouse perimeter Tuesday. The courthouse was open this morning.
County Commissioner Brian Burick was among the numerous government and public safety officials gathered at the county emergency operations center at the courthouse.
The courthouse was more crowded than usual Tuesday because this is a jury trial week.
Sheriff Robert Clark said he assigned deputies to guard major public buildings in the county.
Although some parents picked up their children from school, the school district kept classes in session Tuesday until normal dismissal times. All extracurricular activities were postponed until further notice.