Streets in Cleveland were kept as clear as the skies last night as Mayor Mike White urged people to stay away from downtown. Police remained on high alert. While Cleveland is far away from Washington and New York, 90.3 WCPN's Janet Babin reports that the miles were not enough to insulate the city from the impact of the country's tragedy.
Janet Babin- Less than two hours after word spread that commercial jets had hit New York's Twin Towers, Cleveland Mayor Mike White was faced with what he thought was a tense situation in Cleveland airspace.
As a precaution, the mayor evacuated all city buildings, closed schools and issued a parking ban downtown. Cleveland weights and measures employee Gwen Reeves was calling in his city crews just after he found out the Mayor was shutting down City Hall.
Gwen Reeves- ...It's devastating...
JB- Reeves was soon battling mid morning traffic, as workers headed home for the day. Those who didn't hit a few of the restaurants that remained open, like the Tavern on the Mall. Owner Eddie Hannon says things got really busy around 11 am.
Eddie Hannon- It's been so busy, I don't know where they're coming from.
JB- The empty streets made it easier for police bomb squads to check out several instances of suspected bombs. Mayor White called them false alarms.
Mike White- ...We've had about a half-dozen so far...
JB- A few hours after Mayor White's first news conference, FBI Special Agent Mark Bullock confirmed that the Delta jet with 200 people aboard had landed safely and had not been in danger.
Mark Bullock- ...The plane landed safely.
JB- Cleveland Police Chief Mary Bounds says heightened patrols are on duty today from Lake Erie to Carnegie, between East 18th and West 25th streets - no stopping or parking in these areas will be permitted. Schools are closed today, and White says Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport will remain closed until noon. Emergency divisions of the city will remain on high alert, as a precautionary measure. Mayor White is asking those who do not have to be downtown to stay home - he says no one knows whether we've seen the last of these attacks, and he wants to make the city as safe as possible. In Cleveland, Janet Babin, 90.3 WCPN News.