Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 29, 1989 · Page 3
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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico · Page 3

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Saturday, July 29, 1989
Page 3
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ALBUQUERQUE JOURxAL Saturday, July 29, 1989 A3 FBI Starts Own Probe of Mountainair Death he's talked to (Deputy Attorney General) Steve Westheimer. He's had nothing substantive to give to us in regard to this investigation." Caudell said he has no direct knowledge about Sandlin's death but said he has told FBI agents "the names of people who he thinks it would be advantageous for them to talk to." The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division can become involved in a local murder investigation only if there is reason to believe the victim was or would have been a witness in a federal case, or if the victim was killed by someone in law enforcement. Agents from the FBI's Albuquerque office have questioned several people with knowledge of the circumstances of Sandlin's death. Caudell said he has personally discussed the Sandlin case with FBI Director William Sessions. He described Sessions' reaction was "very courteous." Sessions also was approached to intercede in the Sandlin investigation by U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the cousin of a former Mountainair town council member. F.J. Turnage, who served on the council during 1987 and 1988, said in a recent interview that he and his wife left Mountainair on Dec. 1, 1988, following a death threat. Turnage said his wife received a phone call early last November during which a woman caller said Turnage would be killed unless they left town by Dec. 1. Turnage said the call, in combination with other incidents he doesn't want to discuss, caused him to take the threat seriously. The couple went to their native Mississippi to stay with relatives. A few weeks ago, Turnage told Lott, his second cousin, about the Moutainair situation, and Lott intervened with Sessions. Turnage also said he told Westheimer about the telephone call. He said Westheimer advised him to stay out of town "until we get things settled." Turnage does not live in Mountainair now but still owns a house there. ' Caudell said he has been contacted by a member of Lott's staff who has offered assistance in expediting a federal investigation of the Sandlin death. Sandlin, a former Albuquerque resident and native of Bosque Farms,, died just weeks after he helped arrest a Manzano-area man on drug charges. Sandlin and the Mountainair police confiscated a reported 50 pounds of marijuana from the residence of the suspect on April 12. Charges were dropped in that case last November, after most of the contraband was discovered stolen. In his nine weeks on the four-man police force, Sandlin reportedly received numerous anonymous death threats. CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1 of high priority in this office." Caudell said the investigation by state agencies "is not what I thought it should be. I'm talking about all the state agencies who at some time or other have been investigating. "The feedback I've been getting from people in Mountainair is that (the state investigation) is not what it should be." Caudell said he has made attempts to contact Stratton to express his concerns but said he never got through. "He never called me back," Caudell said. Stratton said that wasn't true. "I've talked to him a number of times and Health Plus HMO Loses $900,000 So Far in '89 CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1 terian Hospitals and its affiliates. More than 35,000 people are enrolled in Health Plus, making it the second largest health maintenance organzation in the state, according to Villella. She said this year's loss comes against estimated revenues of $35 million for this calendar year. It has lost more than a $1 million each of the last two years, Villella said, but added that company officials are encouraged by the rapid growth in membership. Membership grew more than 16,000 this year, she said. "Health Plus' financial situation is not dissimilar to other plans," she said. HMOs are a rapidly growing form of health care in which consumers buy memberships instead of insurance. When they get sick, they visit an HMO-operated clinic and are seen by salaried doctors, or private primary care physicians who are on an independent HMO panel. Health Plus now withholds about 15 percent of the fee it would normally pay a member doctor for work performed. That money is supposed to be paid back to the doctor if the company shows a profit. Villella said Health Plus' main cost-cutting measure involves increasing the amount withheld possibly as high as 25 percent if a physician overshoots his budget. Robert Simmons, president of Health Plus, said doctors who come in under budget could see that withholding drop to zero. The new withholding schedule goes into effect immediately for specialists, and Nov. 1 for primary care physicians. Simmons said he has received mixed reactions, and realized "we may get some resignations" from some doctors. . A doctor affiliated with Health Plus said he felt the changes will force many doctors to leave. The doctor, who asked not to be named, said many primary care physicians are operating on tight budgets, and can't stand a further loss of revenue. He said Health Plus is caught in a Catch-22 situation concerning specialists. Referrals to specialists must be reduced, and the fees paid to them cut. "But if they do that, they piss them off," the doctor said. As a result, the specialists might move to another health plan or hospital, taking the business of Health Plus customers and other patients with them. Health Plus has members in Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 1 ASSOCIATED PRESS Soviet Deputy Premier Alexandra Biryukova looks at a clothing display with Lord Trefgarne, the British minister of Industry, in London. British Shopping Spree Restocks Soviet Stores harder to undertake than first imagined, it was trying out emergency measures to replenish stores, Biryukova said. "We realize the problem of saturating our market with consumer goods is something which has to be addressed very closely," she said. Along with $110 million in pantyhose, shoes, coffee, toothpaste, razor blades, cassette tapes, soap, women's clothing and other goods, the Soviets said they bought $55 million in various drugs. They did not give specific values for other goods. The 60-year-old deputy prime minister, who began her career in a calico mill, also did not give details of joint ventures. Soviet Embassy officials did not return telephone calls and British officials said they didn't know details. Biryukova described her meeting Wednesday with Thatcher as "friendly and constructive," saying they had discussed the two nations' trade target set last year. The countries agreed to try to raise the volume of their trade to $4.1 billion by 1990, but Biryukova said they hoped to hit the target this year. The Confederation of British Industry, which invited the Soviets, said Britain exported $925 million in goods to the Soviets last year. The Soviets exported $1.2 billion in goods, including oil, timber and minerals, to Britain, according to the industrial organization. LONDON A Soviet deputy prime minister said Friday she ordered 50 million pairs of pantyhose and 1.7 million pairs of women's shoes on a $165 million shopping spree to replenish her country's shelves. Alexandra Biryukova, the Soviet Union's top-ranking woman politician, then topped off a weeklong trip with a visit to Marks & Spencer, the department store chain favored by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and millions of budget-conscious Britons. Biryukova, who met Thatcher earlier in the week, is leading a delegation of five ministers to promote Soviet-British trade. She said the group had visited more than 20 firms since arriving Monday, reached agreements on joint ventures and ordered goods from coffee and toothpaste to the pantyhose and shoes. "We assess our visit to this country as very useful and effective," said the deputy prime minister, who is in charge of social development and joined the ruling Communist Party Politburo as a non-voting member last autumn. She and the accompanying ministers said their purchases were influenced by shortages and were to be delivered by the end of this year. Although the Soviet government had postponed a revision of the pricing system after discovering it would be PNM Offers To Meet Candidates in Private CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1 able to any of the council and mayoral candidates to make a brief presentation of what their position is and they are available to answer any questions I might have regarding PNM in the upcoming contract with the city," Kiesling said. In addition to presenting their views, Kiesling said the officials also appeared interested in his position on the issue. "I think they wanted me to be open to their way of looking at the benefits of keeping PNM," Kiesling said. Kiesling, who is deputy county assessor, said the PNM representatives sought his opinion on public sentiment about the franchise issue. "They wanted to know what's the buzz on the street. They said, 'You've been out there walking around, is it an issue?' And I told them 'Yes, it definitely is an issue.'" Kiesling said he has gone door-to-door in his district. "People are interested, specifically in electric rates," he said. Kiesling said he doesn't know whether the interest lies in the fact that his district has been served by Pete Dinelli, a vocal PNM critic who is giving up his seat to run for mayor. Kiesling said the PNM officials conceded they were concerned "that the city might make a change (in the franchise), and that they have no control over what the city decides." He said he told them he supports keeping an "open mind on how to possibly cut the best deal for our community." Kiesling said the prospect of financial or in-kind contributions never arose during the one-hour discussion. "I don't think ' there's anything inappropriate with them wanting to speak to the candidates. I think it would be inappropriate for a candidate to accept contributions." He said he wouldn't accept any cash or in-kind contributions from PNM or any of its employees. Bryant said PNM's corporate management committee, which includes top-level officers and Jerry Geist, the chairman of the board, decided two months ago "that neither they nor the company would support or give funds to any candidates in the city elections." He said, however, that PNM can't prohibit its employees from making contributions. Bryant said he didn't know how many candidates had already been contacted by PNM, but said, "the attempt is to talk to all of them." He said there would be "no effort to determine the candidates' positions" on the issue. "We at PNM are not an issue in the election," Bryant said. "The average person has higher priorities like taxes, crime and the environment." The franchise agreement, which has been in place since 1967, gives PNM the right to serve the Albuquerque area in exchange for paying the city a fee of 2 percent of PNM's revenues from the area. Two city committees are studying the franchise issue, and are expected to consider whether other electric suppliers could offer cheaper rates. One study commissioned by the city in late 1987 showed that area ratepayers could save a total of $1.2 billion over the next dozen years by buying power from a Texas company. PNM disputed that figure and said it didn't accurately show how much it would cost to get the power to Albuquerque. City Councilor Hess Yntema said Friday that he spoke with PNM officials prior to his election in 1987 and that his views were probably considered "more acceptable" than those of his opponent, Judy Pratt. Yntema said that within a couple of days of the discussion, he received more than $700 in contributions from a number of PNM employees. After the election, Yntema returned the money to avoid a possible appearance of conflict of interest. Rio Rancho Chip Maker Turns Profit on Its Trash CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1 know of that is working," said Cecil Gates, an account executive for U.S. Recycling Industries. The firm is the largest independent paper recycling company in North America, recycling 1 millon tons each year. The company recently began recycling plastics, glass and other materials. Jaramillo said the program prompted no grumbling from employees, only questions about how they could help. Two trash cans have been placed next to Intel employees' desks: one with red plastic lining for recyclable materials, another with brown lining for disposable trash. U.S. Recycling then takes Intel's trash to a plant on Second SW in Albuquerque for sorting. From there, they ship the recyclable materials to processing mills through out the country. Gates predicted recycling will become the norm as the nation's landfill space is used up. "The landfill situation is what's forcing it back East," he said. "Fortunately, we still have some land here, but it's falling by the wayside." Gates said the key to a successful-recycling program is commitment from companies like Intel, plus a market for the waste materials. Gene Crabtree, coordinator of the Bernalillo County Office of Recycling, said his office is trying to get businesses and governments to begin recycling programs. His office and the city of Albuquerque organized Friday's tour. "There's a tremendous amount of material out there that can be recycled," Crabtree said. Israelis Capture Moslem Chief in Bold Raid CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1 might be seeking to arrange a prisoner exchange involving three Israeli soldiers missing in Lebanon since 1986. Israel radio reported Friday night that two other Lebanese, including a senior militia commander close to Hezbollah, were already in Israeli custody after another army raid in Lebanon last December. There was no indication Friday night that the capture of Obeid was directly related to the case of Higgins. Official Israeli sources refused to elaborate on what might be done with Obeid and hi 3 associates. Obeid, who Israeli officials said was brought up and educated in Iran, is believed to be one of Tehran's closest allies in Lebanon. He has denied links to Hezbollah, a group affiliated with Shiite Moslem factions that is believed to be holding most of the nine American and eight other foreign hostages in Lebanon. According to accounts of Lebanese police and statements by Obeid's family to news agencies, a group of between 12 and 25 Israeli soldiers landed by helicopter in Lebanon around 1 a.m. Friday and walked into the village of Jibchit, which is about 35 miles south of Beirut. Squads of Israeli jets reportedly staged mock raids nearby to distract attention from the helicopter's arrival. The commando team reportedly surrounded Obeid's building, then knocked on the door of his apartment on the second floor. They pushed their way in when the door was opened, waving pistols equipped with silencers. Obeid's wife, Mona, was locked in a room with her hands tied and her mouth taped. Lebanese police identified the two men captured with Obeid as his cousin, Ahmed Obeid, and Majid Fahs, a friend who was staying in Random Barrage Kills 13 in Beirut THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BEIRUT, Lebanon Warring Syrian and Christian forces battered Beirut with 50,000 shells and rockets Thursday night and early Friday morning, killing 13 people in a random bombardment that one radio station called "a night of insane terror." The fight-hour barrage sparked fires that raged out of control and gutted scores of warehouses, shops and apartment buildings. . ' . Almlost every neighborhood in the divided capital and the Christian port city of Jounieh was hit "as if by a killer earthquake," said a police spokesman. "It was Beirut's night of horror and terror." He said 13 people were killed and 65 wounded, raising the toll to 494 dead and 2,014 injured since the latest fighting erupted March 8 between Lebanese army commander Michel Aoun's mainly Christian troops and an alliance of the Syrian army and Druse Moslem militiamen. It was the heaviest shelling duel in the four-month confrontation "in terms of firepower used and destruction wreaked," said the police spokesman. Mediterranean $ea LEBANON J yBeirutS jKidnapping Site fYssf Heights SYR1A 40 mies the house. The Israeli army communique described them only as "associates." Lebanese accounts said that as the commando squad was leaving the building, a neighbor, Hussein Abu Zeid, opened his door, apparently to see what was happening. The Lebanese sources said the Israelis shot him in the head and he died instantly. The Israeli army spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the report, but Israel radio said that the commandos had engaged in a gun battle with men who were guarding Obeid's house. There were no Israeli casualties, the army said. Obeid has been the imam, or local religious leader, of Jibchit since 1984, when his predecessor was shot dead by unknown assailants. The Israeli army communique said that in addition to instigating and planning attacks across Israel's northern border, he "dealt in passing on weapons to Hezbollah ' APHeather Eatman guerrillas in the south and arranging sanctuaries for those carrying out attacks." Reports from Lebanon said Higgins, 44, was briefly held at Obeid's apartment after his kidnapping on Feb. 17, 1988. Higgins, of Wood-bridge, Va., was in charge of an observer group attached to the U.N. peacekeeping force.

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