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CONTENTS AUGUST 30, 2000


Click. WHO REALLY IS THE "CAB MAN" WHO OFFERED RIDES TO KIDNAPPED XIANA FAIRCHILD?

Click. Hazing hazard for 1.5 million in high school.

Click. WHAT IF GM RAN MICROSOFT?


Anderson was on police radar screen

By Ted Vollmer © Vallejo Times-Herald editor 8/30/00

Days after Xiana Fairchild vanished, a local cab company furnished investigators information about accused Midsi Sanchez kidnapper Curtis Dean Anderson, it was learned Tuesday.

Paul SanSo, president of Vallejo City Taxicab, told the Times-Herald he gave a print-out of about 30 drivers' names to FBI agent Jeff Rinek that included Anderson. Rinek had asked for information about all drivers who had worked during the four days before Xiana disappeared on Dec. 9.

Rinek's request came after witnesses said they saw Xiana talking to a cab driver identified only as "cab man".

SanSo's comments Tuesday seem to contradict recent Vallejo police department contentions that investigators were unaware of Anderson's presence in Vallejo last December. Vallejo police indicated after Anderson's arrest on Aug. 12, that - despite his extensive criminal record that included a 1991 abduction of a Vallejo woman - they had no knowledge he was in Vallejo when Xiana, then 7, vanished.

SanSo said Rinek told him that the driver information - also secured from Yellow Cab - was supplied to Vallejo police. The roster information included Anderson's name, date of birth and California driver's license number. After Anderson's arrest earlier this month, SanSo said he provided more information, including Anderson's mother's Vallejo address.

"We were forthcoming and open," SanSo said of providing the records.

Anderson, 39, is facing kidnapping and assault charges in connection with Midsi's disappearance on Aug. 10, near her Tennessee Street home. Midsi, 8, escaped her abductor two days later and identified Anderson as her attacker. He was arrested hours later in San Jose.

Since Anderson's arrest and the release of information about his extensive police record, Vallejo police have contended that Anderson was off their "radar screen" when Xiana disappeared. They contended that because Anderson was neither a registered sex offender nor had been convicted of any offenses involving a minor, there was no apparent reason to investigate him.

SanSo added Tuesday that neither Rinek nor police ever asked him about Anderson before his arrest.

Police have still made no public link between Xiana's disappearance and Anderson. Nor have they identified any other suspect in the nearly nine-month investigation.

Vallejo Police Chief Robert Nichelini cited a recent gag order Tuesday when asked about SanSo's disclosure. Nichelini said that the Solano County District Attorney's office advised him that he could make no comment about Anderson even if it relates to the Xiana Fairchild case.

Although Superior Court Judge Allan P. Carter's four-page gag order issued last Friday does not mention the Xiana Fairchild case, Nichelini pointed out it does refer to Anderson.

Referring to the apparently conflicting information police provided about Anderson's presence last December in Vallejo, Nichelini said, "as far as I'm concerned we have never, ever, intentionally provided misleading information to you or anyone else."

Rinek could not be reached for comment, and FBI spokesman Nick Rossi cited the same gag order in declining to comment publicly on SanSo's disclosure.

SanSo said that since Anderson did not work at the cab company for very long, he did not know where Anderson was living last December. Investigators have since, however, searched Anderson's mother's Vallejo home on Howard Avenue a number of times for clues to Xiana's whereabouts. There has been no disclosure about what was seized during those searches.

FBI forensic experts also have pored over the cab that Anderson drove during his short time at City Taxicab as well as Anderson's tan car for clues about Xiana. Results of those tests have not been released.

SanSo said that the information he supplied to the FBI and Vallejo police did not include anything about Anderson's criminal record. Nor did it include information about why Anderson was fired after only four days at the cab company.

"I told them that it didn't work out with him," SanSo said.

SanSo said that Anderson supplied false information about having a criminal record as well as information about past employers. He was fired at the end of his last shift - 3 a.m. Dec. 9. - several hours before Xiana reportedly disappeared. SanSo added that Anderson never drove during school hours and therefore could not have used one of his cabs to abduct Xiana.

Reports that Xiana could have been picked up by Anderson who some children identified as "cab man" are "therefore incorrect and presumptuous," SanSo said. He added that Anderson was one of "three to four people" who worked in early December "that didn't work out" at the cab company.

Police have earlier said that the man identified as "cab man" was not Anderson.

Asked if there were ever any complaints about Anderson's work, SanSo said that in fact the opposite was true.

"We received some calls suggesting he was a good driver and appreciated that we were hiring the handicapped," SanSo said. "He was using a walker when he was driving with us. People were applauding us."

Anderson has appeared in a wheel chair during his recent court appearances in the Midsi Sanchez case. He reportedly injured his hip during a motorcycle accident.

After Midsi escaped, however, police said that her abductor chased her for a short time before she found refuge with a passing truck driver.

Police have also been trying to determine if there is any connection between Anderson and Xiana's mother, Antoinette Robinson, and her live-in boyfriend Robert Turnbough. Robinson and Turnbough worked at City Taxicab. SanSo said Turnbough, a part-time mechanic, was fired for poor performance months before Anderson was hired there and Robinson quit in protest.

Although police say a "cloud of suspicion" hovers over Robinson and Turnbough due to conflicting accounts about Xiana's movements on Dec. 9, they have yet to be named suspects in the case. Xiana's disappearance also is the focus of an ongoing federal grand jury investigation in Sacramento.


Hazing hazard for 1.5 million in high school

By Andrew Mollison
COX NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- More than 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year while joining a team, club or group, researchers from Alfred University reported Monday.

"What we found distressing was the prevalence -- 48 percent of all students who join any group in high school are subjected to hazing" at some point during their four years, Nadine Hoover, the principal investigator, said at the National Press Club.

About nine out of 10 high school students join groups. While only 14 percent said they considered themselves as having been hazed, 48 percent described activities that met the research team's definition of "any humiliating or dangerous activity expected of you to join a group, regardless of your willingness to participate."

Hoover said the researchers' conclusions were based primarily on 1,541 responses to a survey mailed in April to 18,600 high school students. The survey, weighted for demographic and geographic factors, produced statistically reliable results, but it was not large enough to calculate regional or state-level findings. Follow-up studies will "confirm or refute, and further refine these findings," Hoover said.

The researchers concluded that when students joined high school groups:

About 43 percent of the joiners were involved in the lowest level of hazing -- humiliation. The most common forms were being yelled or cursed at, isolated from other people, or being forced to act as servant to older members, or to undress or tell dirty stories or jokes.

About 24 percent of the joiners were pressured to engage in substance abuse, including drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or using illegal drugs.

About 27 percent mentioned behavior the researchers described as dangerous. The most common were making prank phone calls or harassing others, destroying or vandalizing property, or being ordered to steal, cheat, commit a crime, beat up others or pick a fight.

Chances of being hazed were highest for new members in a fraternity or sorority, peer group or gang, a sports team or a cheerleading squad.

But in sheer numbers, most of those who were hazed belonged to a sports team, peer group or gang, a music, art, theater, or church group.

Alfred University commissioned the report as a follow-up to its national survey on hazing in colleges, which was conducted last year after a fatal hazing incident on its campus in upstate New York.

Even before the new survey, concern about hazing in high schools was growing fast enough to convince the American School Board Journal to include an anti-hazing cover article, "Brutal Rituals, Dangerous Rites," in its August issue.

Author Kevin Bushweller said, "What we learned was that if adults don't pay attention to initiation rites, they can turn into a kind of 'Lord of the Flies' scenario, where kids use really bizarre and humiliating and dangerous tactics."

Lizzie Murtie of Essex, Vt., was a 14-year-old who still collected Beanie Babies and sighed over "I Love Lucy" reruns when her initiation onto the school gymnastics team turned ugly.

A crowd of older girls from the team coerced her and other rookies into dropping to their knees in a parking lot and conducting a simulated sexual act with a boy.

"I was 14 and I didn't feel like I had the power to stand up and say this shouldn't be going on," said Murtie.

Like most hazing victims, she told no one. She stayed on the team, continued to go to school and tried to forget.

But she had trouble sleeping through the night, talking to friends, or forcing herself to leave the house.

Six months later, after another girl's parent learned of the incident and reported it, Murtie's parents helped arrange for her to receive counseling.

MurtieShe later went public and was prominent in the lobbying effort that resulted in Vermont's first anti-hazing law, which went into effect in July.

"A reason for the law is that I didn't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else," said Murtie, now 16, who was recently elected captain of her gymnastics team. Even so, said Murtie, "I haven't really talked to other kids about it."

Her mother, Linda Murtie, said that some adults "are like my husband and me; we never heard of hazing, and are horrified." But others have told her, "Sure, we've heard of it, but it's no big deal."

"It is a big deal," said Norman Pollard, director of counseling at Alfred University, who has counseled hundreds of teens. "Kids, lots of them, are getting hurt both physically and emotionally."

Among the high school students who had been hazed and responded to the university's survey, 27 percent mentioned only negative feelings, including anger, embarrassment, confusion and guilt. Another 27 percent mentioned only positive feelings, including "being part of the group," proud, strong or trusted. Another 32 percent said they had both positive and negative feelings, and 13 percent said their main feeling was a desire for revenge.

On the Web:

Hazing report: www.alfred.edu/news/html/hazing(underscore)study.html

Andrew Mollison's e-mail address is AndyM(at)Coxnews.com

ENDIT

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers


WHAT IF GM RAN MICROSOFT?

At a recent computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer   industry with the auto industry and said, "If GM had kept up with the  technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25  cars
that got 1000 miles to the gallon."   In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release  stating:  If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be  driving cars with the following characteristics:
 
(1) For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.
 
(2) Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to
  buy a new car.

(3) Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and
 you would just accept this, restart it, and drive on.
 
(4) Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would
cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would
have to reinstall the engine.
 
(5) Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95"      or (CarNT) but still you would have to pay extra to buy more seats.
 
(6) Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on 5% of  the roads.
 
(7) The oil, water, temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car fault" warning light.
 
(8)  New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
 
(9)  The airbag system would say, "Are you Sure?" before going off.
 
(10) Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and  refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lift the door handle, turn the key, and grab hold of the radio antenna.
 
(11) Every time GM introduced a new model car, buyers would have to learn
how  to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in
the same manner as the old car.
 
12) You would have to press the "start" button to shut off the engine.