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Weapons sales normal in Juneau
JUNEAU - The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 reportedly bumped gun sales across the nation, but the event has not prompted Juneau residents to buy more weapons, according to local dealers.
Part of the reason is people figure terrorists probably will not strike here, said Ray Coxe, owner of Rayco Sales. But Coxe believes the main reason is most Alaskans already own several guns.
"They've already got them and the rest of the country is playing catch-up," Coxe said.
Rayco Sales is moving more inventory this month but that's typical this time of year as hunters prepare for duck and deer season, Coxe said. John Weedman of Western Auto echoed the sentiment.
"We are seeing strictly normal traffic relative to duck hunting and deer hunting. We don't see any impact here," said Weedman, general manager.
The manager of Outdoor Headquarters has talked to some customers who believe Juneau would make a poor target for terrorists.
"If you're going to target Alaska, there's much better places to hit," said Joe Buell.
He hasn't seen an unusual spike in gun sales either, but two people in Florida called his store wanting to buy gas masks.
"I don't carry gas masks," Buell said. "Nor do I have any available to me at this time."
'New norm' in Juneau Airport vehicle traffic
JUNEAU - Traffic patterns for vehicles have changed permanently at Juneau Airport, in the wake of the terrorism of Sept. 11 and of increased airport security across the nation.
Despite orange traffic signs warning of "revised traffic patterns," traffic cones and yellow lines, Juneau residents are resisting the changes just a bit.
"I think people may feel that things should go back to normal" two weeks after the terrorism, said Patty de la Bruere, spokeswoman for the airport, "but they need to understand we are establishing a new norm. The way we are looking at it, we are in it for the long run."
As of Thursday morning, there were three lanes on Yandukin
Drive, the main road to the airport. One lane is eastbound. Two are westbound. Cones and a yellow line alert drivers to the new pattern.
The lane closest to the parking lot now allows handicapped pickup and drop-off. Any vehicles traveling in this lane must bear official designation for carrying the handicapped - either a permit displayed in the window or handicapped plates, de la Bruere said. Drop-off and pickup for all others is in the former short-term lot.
Shell Simmons Drive, the road directly in front of the terminal, continues to have no parking or stopping. Vehicles that are parked, even for a few minutes, must be left in the long-term lot.
Until everyone becomes familiar with the new patterns, "people need to watch for signs," de la Bruere said.
Man pleads no contest to rapes
ANCHORAGE - A man charged with kidnapping and assaulting five Native women after offering them rides has pleaded no contest in a deal reached with prosecutors.
Gregory Poindexter, 30, pleaded no contest Thursday in Anchorage Superior Court.
The agreement reached with prosecutors allows 18 original charges to be reduced to two and calls for Poindexter to be sentenced to 30 years in prison, the most allowable, according to Assistant District Attorney Don Kitchen.
Sentencing was set for Feb. 8.
The five assaults took place between August 2000 and January 2001. In each case, Poindexter picked up an inebriated woman in the downtown or Fairview area after bars closed, court documents say. He drove the victims to remote spots and sexually assaulted them.
Poindexter raped four of the women multiple times and stole credit cards and other identification from some, court papers said. He treated the fourth and fifth victims particularly harshly. The fifth victim suffered broken facial bones, multiple lacerations and contusions, and now must wear a plate in her face.
At the time of his arrest in March, Anchorage police said they had no evidence Poindexter targeted the women because they were Native. Instead, police Lt. Bill Miller said, he sought them because they were vulnerable.