Federal Building reopens, dock security tightened

FAA will not allow mail or cargo when air traffic resumes

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Things are returning to normal in Juneau after a terrorist attack on the East Coast prompted some emergency closures Tuesday. But nothing is the same.

The Federal Building reopened today under a heightened sense of security, and the building manager said visitors should bring identification and expect security checks similar to those at airports. Also, the post office directed staff to be on alert for suspicious-looking parcels.

"We're being very cautious about articles coming in and out," said Sandi Hicks of the post office in the Federal Building.

The post office received word this morning that the Federal Aviation Administration will not allow cargo or mail on commercial airlines when commercial air service resumes, said Nancy Schmitt, spokeswoman for the post office in Alaska. The directive was terse and came late this morning. The FAA could not be reached for comment by the Empire's mid-day deadline.

"It would mean we would have to find ways to get the mail up here," Schmitt said. "We would have to do charter."

Bartlett Regional Hospital and the American Red Cross are turning away people who want to donate blood. Neither facility is equipped to collect blood in large quantities or to ship it out of Juneau, according to officials.

"We don't have the ability to store it and we can't get it out of town. We can't transport it," said Bartlett communications manager Marijo Toner, referring to grounded flights.

Cruise lines continued to beef up security today. Princess Cruises cordoned off a section of a private dock downtown and posted security guards to admit only longshoremen, company employees or passengers with identification, said Kirby Day of Princess Cruises.

Princess today canceled all flightseeing tours booked on board because aircraft are grounded. Passengers are instead opting for boat trips, shopping and glacier visits, said Day, noting the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center also reopened today.

U.S. Customs agents also are on security alert for all land borders and ports of entry. The agency's Dan Holland said that means agents will be more thorough when inspecting cars and baggage. Extra checks won't be a problem because tourism season is winding down, Holland said.

Few schoolchildren asked for counseling that was offered Tuesday, school district officials said.

Some parents were concerned that the schools didn't hold assemblies to talk about the events. But officials said that would only add to children's anxieties and create an opportunity for hysteria. Teachers instead offered students an opportunity to talk about it in class and let children know there were counselors and psychologists available.

Tongass Community Counseling Center announced noon drop-in sessions at 222 Seward St. Suite 202 Thursday and Friday for peer and counseling support. For details call 586-3585.

Kathy Dye can be reached at kdye@juneauempire.com.

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