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Names in the News - April 20, 2007

Staff Report • Apr 20, 2007 at 12:24 PM

LOS ANGELES - Tom Cruise's latest effort isn't for the big screen. It's for the New York police, firefighters and paramedics of Sept. 11.

Cruise was to appear Thursday at a private dinner in Manhattan to raise money for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a program he co-founded in 2002. His wife, Katie Holmes, was also expected to attend.

The program, based on principles developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, offers free treatment to emergency workers who suffer breathing difficulties and other health problems stemming from exposure to toxins at ground zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"Nearly six years later, many are still paying a price for their heroic service at the World Trade Center. This is a profound injustice," the 44-year-old actor said. "This project has demonstrated that recovery is not only possible, but an incontrovertible fact."

The program has treated 785 workers since its inception, said director Jim Woodworth. Each worker is given vitamins and nutritional counseling and participates in daily exercise and sauna sessions. The program takes about 30 days to complete, he said.

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Tom," Woodworth said.

Patrick Bahnken, president of the New York Fire Department's union of emergency workers and paramedics, said there was some initial concern the program would include proselytizing and religious rhetoric. But the program is secular and results have been positive, he said.

"The majority of our members have reported an improvement in their quality of life," Bahnken said.

New York City officials say some 400,000 people were exposed to ground zero dust and 71,000 have enrolled in a long-term health monitoring program. Most experts believe there are thousands of people still sick years after ground zero exposure.

LOS ANGELES - Lindsay Lohan says she felt safe while she was in rehab earlier this year, but doesn't consider herself an addict.

The 20-year-old actress said in January she had checked into the Wonderland Center in Los Angeles "to take care of my personal health." Her publicist confirmed in December that Lohan was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Lohan then said she had been going to the meetings for a year.

"It's so weird that I went to rehab. I always said I would die before I went to rehab," Lohan tells Allure magazine in an interview in its May issue.

Lohan says she decided to enter the addiction treatment facility at the suggestion of her therapist.

Her room was "all white, with a parquet, and it was different! I just felt safe," she says. "I thought, ‘I'm going to stay here tonight.' And I stayed there. For a month. It was great."

However, the star of "Mean Girls" and "Freaky Friday" says: "I don't know that I'm necessarily an addict."

As for her fractured family, Lohan laments that while she was growing up, she had to intervene in fights between her parents, now divorced. Her estranged father, Michael Lohan, was released from a New York state prison last month after serving almost two years for driving while intoxicated and other charges. "I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family," she says. "When my friends and family are around me, I feel like they're safe. No matter what happens, we're going to be fine."

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