Q&A on the News

Q: In all the discussion about the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, I read a comment stating local authorities were not cooperating with attempts to rebuild St. Nicholas Church, which was damaged on Sept. 11. Is there any truth to that?

—Suzanne Sports, Peachtree City

A: Greek Orthodox officials and others, including former Gov. George E. Pataki, held a news conference late last month to discuss what they said was the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's failure to help rebuild the church, according to the New York Times. A Port Authority spokesman told the paper that it agreed in 2008 to accommodate a 24,000-square-foot church just east of its original location and promised $20 million to subsidize construction, but final negotiations fell apart over the building's precise site and size. Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, said the Port Authority "cut off all communications" with church officials, the paper reported.

Q: Who is the little girl in the “Spirit of Atlanta” mural at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and where is she now?

—Carla Whitlock, Atlanta

A: Deborah Whitehouse, who created the 70-foot wide photo collage, told Q&A on the News that she chose Orisha Spence for the middle image because Spence possessed a grace and elegance that was uplifting. "I needed someone with the energy and form to unite both walls of the mural in the center arch," Whitehouse wrote in an e-mail. The mural was installed in 1999. Spence, 19, attends Montgomery College in Maryland. "I actually visited my grandmother and my aunt in Atlanta a few months ago," she said. "I was like, 'Wow, it's still there.' I was kind of wondering if anybody was going to recognize me."

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).