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AMERICAN MORNING

Fugitive on Crane; Fleet Week; 'Surviving Family Vacations'

Aired May 27, 2005 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. We're coming to you live on board the USS John F. Kennedy. You're looking at a live picture of what they call the island. It's 23 stories high. And, in fact, the length of this ship is about a thousand feet. In fact, the jets that land here only have about the length of two football fields to touch down.
They also have, as a little interesting side note here, several sports teams. They practice in the hangar when it's not in use.

Much more to tell you about the USS JFK ahead this morning, Bill, but we also want to tell you about a little sneak peek at the future of the next generation of stealth fighters. The F-35, a look at that is just ahead -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Soledad. And the day looks beautiful, too, out there, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: It truly is.

HEMMER: Also in a moment here, we'll check in what's happening in Atlanta with the man on top of a crane. Police still trying to get a fugitive suspected in a killing to come down. He is 18 stories in the air. We'll get a live report in a moment as to what's happening there.

Also, a big travel weekend, too. You know that. A holiday travel outlet for Memorial Weekend coming up.

Jack, what's up?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know what the fascination with this guy in Atlanta. He's going to come down one way or another.

HEMMER: A voyeuristic quality.

CAFFERTY: He's going to fall down, he's going to crawl down...

HEMMER: Or they're going to talk him down hopefully.

CAFFERTY: He's going to die up there and they'll take his body down, but he's going to come down. You can put one cop at the bottom of the crane, send everybody else home and just wait for the thing to end, because it will. It will end. I've -- I digress.

Graduation season. President Bush down at the Naval Academy today talking to the midshipmen as they get ready to go, many of them, abroad. Iraq, Afghanistan, places like that.

If you were standing at the podium giving the commencement speech, what advice would you give this year's graduates? AM@CNN.com.

HEMMER: Anything else?

CAFFERTY: Yes. Just wait for that guy to come down or fall off that crane.

HEMMER: Here are the headlines.

CAFFERTY: Relax.

HEMMER: Back to Carol with those.

What's happening, Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: He's still up there, the man on the crane.

HEMMER: Yes.

COSTELLO: Good morning, everyone.

""Now in the News," President Bush is praising Naval Academy graduates for their help in fighting terrorism. The president set to deliver the commencement address at the academy in Maryland next hour. He last spoke there in 2001, four months before the September 11 attacks.

CNN will bring you live coverage of the president's address. That starts at 10:00 Eastern.

In Iraq, U.S. investigators looking into the deaths of two Americans in a helicopter crash. Small arms fire downed the chopper last night near Baquba. Actually, these pictures are just coming in to CNN.

A second helicopter was attacked but managed to return to a coalition base. No word yet on exactly who was behind that attack.

Pakistan's capital of Islamabad under tight security this hour after a bomb at a crowded Muslim shrine. Hospital sources say at least 17 people were killed, some 40 others wounded. Investigators say it is not clear if it was a suicide bombing.

Here in the states, a Florida teenager accused of leaving an 8- year-old girl to die in a landfill is set to appear in court today. The 17-year-old was indicted Thursday as an adult on six counts, including attempted first-degree murder and sexual battery. If convicted he could face live in prison. The girl is still in the hospital this morning.

And a false alarm in the skies over southern California. Military jets scramble to intercept a small plane that got too close to restricted airspace over Edwards Air Force Base Thursday. The FBI questioned the men for five hours. It turns out they were just taking pictures for a real estate company when, surprise, they were ordered to land.

HEMMER: It makes for an interesting afternoon.

COSTELLO: I think that's the understatement of the morning.

HEMMER: What did you say, 40 hours for that guy in Atlanta?

COSTELLO: Forty hours now, coming up on 41.

HEMMER: Well, 41 and counting, then. We'll put it at that.

That Florida man wanted in his girlfriend's death remains on top of that crane 18 stories high above the streets of Atlanta. Carl Roland's his name.

He scaled the crane in Atlanta 4:00 Wednesday afternoon. Police trying to negotiate a way for him to come down, talk him down to the ground.

Tony Harris is there.

Tony, good morning. Any progress for police?

TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, you know, as you mentioned, he is still up there on that crane. And a moment ago I was going to say that not much had changed on the ground, but a couple of things have actually changed on the ground.

Carl Roland, 350 feet above the ground on that construction crane in this mix of commercial and residential homes here in the Buckhead area, the trendy Buckhead area of Atlanta. Now, I do want to draw attention to that crane, that -- that bucket, that cement or water bucket that is hanging on the end of a conveyor belt.

I've got to tell you, when we first arrived this morning, that bucket was being moved back and forth to where Roland is, but it wasn't being moved nearly as aggressively as it is right now. When we first arrived, our sense of it was that it was being moved basically to give him another visual, to keep him from falling asleep and possibly falling off that crane. But I've got to tell you, over the last hour or so, that crane has been essentially tracking Roland's every step.

And we understand that there is also a siren -- I don't know if you can hear it behind me, but there is also a siren in the bucket. So it is moving far more aggressively, tracking just about every step that Roland takes on that crane.

As you mentioned, Roland is a suspect in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Gonzalez, in Pinellas Park, Florida. Gonzalez's body was found on Tuesday in a pond very near her home.

Once -- once he left the Pinellas Park area -- I'm just trying to keep my thoughts together with all that's going on around here -- he made his way to Atlanta, and then he basically made his way onto this construction site, jumped on the crane elevator up 18 stories, 350 feet above the ground, and that's where he has been this entire time.

And once again, that bucket, that cement or water bucket, is essentially tracking his every step on that crane. And there is now a siren in there that we can hear very clearly from the ground that is obviously being used to disorient him to some extent. That's where we are right now -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Tony. It is getting tense there in Atlanta.

HARRIS: Yes, it is.

HEMMER: Forty-one hours and counting. We certainly hope for a good outcome here. And police are trying to do their level best down there in Atlanta. Tony, thanks for that.

Back here in New York, meanwhile, it is Fleet Week, and we find Soledad this morning on board the deck of the John F. Kennedy.

Hey, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Hey, Bill. That's right, we've been here all morning.

We promised you a little while ago a peek into the future. And we're here to deliver this morning.

Commander Scott Krambeck of the United States Navy is the chief of staff of the Joint Strike Force. And behind us is a mockup of the Join Strike Force fighter, the F-35.

The two literally kind of been coming together under your watch. Give me a sense of why this plane and why now?

COMMANDER SCOTT KRAMBECK, U.S. NAVY: Well, Soledad, this is the next generation strike fighter. And the Navy needed a long-range, persistent, precision strike fighter that was survivable, it was lethal, it was supportable, and it was also affordable. And affordability has come into a big part of this.

O'BRIEN: I know. When you're talking about big projects, they come with a big price tag, even when you're talking about affordability. How much will it cost? And how many of these fighters do you hope to have, fighter jets?

KRAMBECK: Well, roughly this airplane is the same cost of the airplanes (INAUDIBLE) fleet. Affordability has been a big part of the unit cost of making sure we keep the costs down so we can build as many as we can for both the U.S. services, but also our international partners.

The development program is around $40 billion. And the total cost of all of the airplanes by over the next, let's say, 20 or 30 years, is around $2000 billion.

O'BRIEN: How many would you like to see one day? KRAMBECK: As many as we want.

O'BRIEN: And how many...

KRAMBECK: Twenty-five hundred to 5,000.

O'BRIEN: That's what you're thinking realistically?

KRAMBECK: Yes. We're getting a lot of interest from the internationals.

O'BRIEN: Really? Interesting.

Well, I'd love a tour, if we can. And we'll break away and have Rick take some shots to show you.

You pointed out the engine as very different. Why?

KRAMBECK: Well, the Navy traditionally has two engines on an aircraft, because when you're flying in the middle of the -- let's say Indian Ocean, and you lose an engine and all you can land on is an aircraft carrier, if you lose an engine, you have a second engine that you can use to get back aboard.

When you lose an engine, you only have a single engine. But that normally won't happen. So we (INAUDIBLE) reliability on the engine of this aircraft.

O'BRIEN: OK. And then down here we can see weaponry. What's different about this weaponry?

KRAMBECK: That's right. The -- most of the weapons on most Navy aircraft are external. We have an internal weapons bay that will carry both air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The precision smart weapons that you've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan will be carried internal, and that's real important because radar reflects off of these missiles. And we have internal, and one of the big parts of this program is the survivability and the stealthiness of the aircraft.

O'BRIEN: I see the jet intake here. Maybe Rick can get a shot of that. That, you have said, is critical to the stealthiness of the jet, right?

KRAMBECK: As a matter of fact, the whole shape and design of the aircraft is, but particularly the engine, because, you know, radar reflects from flat surfaces. So that's an unusual design of the newest generation strike fighters.

O'BRIEN: I'm curious to know on a personal note how has it been for you to essentially be the grandfather of all of this as it literally comes together, you know, wing by wing and piece by piece?

KRAMBECK: It's been exciting. I mean, we have a lot of people involved from all the services. A lot of teams come together, and it takes a lot of effort, a lot of coordination, and a lot of teamwork to bring the aircraft together and get it built.

O'BRIEN: Commander Krambeck, nice to have you. Thank you very much for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.

KRAMBECK: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: And we certainly have lucked out as well with the weather. It has been a beautiful day, which has been a big departure, of course, for those of us in New York City. Let's get right to Rob Marciano with a look of how it looks across the country today.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HEMMER: In a moment here, our special series, "Surviving Family Vacations," continues today. Looking at some nontraditional summer getaways. Ever think of cooking school for the kids, or how about a farm? We'll check into that.

And Soledad pays a visit to what may be the most popular spot on the JFK. That's the galley, still to come this hour on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: High gas prices not going to keep Americans from hitting the road this summer. In fact, AAA estimates that more than 37 million travelers will hit the road this weekend for Memorial Weekend, and that number could set a record, too, up more than two percent from a year ago if the numbers hold.

And summer travel means it's open season on family vacations. And today we conclude our series with a look at some unique getaways.

Say good morning to Heidi Mitchell, senior editor for "Travel and Leisure," here with some -- some pretty awesome ideas, actually.

Nice to see you.

HEIDI MITCHELL, SENIOR EDITOR, "TRAVEL & LEISURE": Nice to see you.

HEMMER: Good morning to you.

The first thing you suggest is go stay on a farm.

MITCHELL: Yes, this is...

HEMMER: What's the attraction for a vacation like that?

MITCHELL: Well, this has actually been really popular with the European families for a long time. And Americans are sort of rediscovering it as an alternative to a package vacation.

But what's great about it is parents, kids, everybody can get involved in feeding the chickens and milking the cows, and maybe even delivering a calf. You ride horses on the farm. And so you really just get to experience what it's like to live on a working farm.

HEMMER: And you stay active, too. You recommend Hollow Farms. That's here, upstate New York. Where is it?

MITCHELL: Right, it's in the Catskills. And so it's a working farm, it's owned by a family. You drink the milk that they milk from the cows, and all of the food's fresh. And then when you tire of maybe working too hard, you can go horseback riding or hiking in the Catskills.

HEMMER: Well, clearly there are some demands in a working vacation like this. You've got to bring the right clothes.

MITCHELL: Right. Don't bring your Minolas (ph). They're going to get ruined.

HEMMER: What about -- can you bring a swimsuit? I guess you could if you want to jump in the pond.

MITCHELL: Yes. Of course. There's all that stuff to do.

HEMMER: All right. Next unique vacation you recommend are volunteer vacations. What are those?

MITCHELL: Volunteer vacations are really growing in popularity. And it's just a great way to give back from, you know, just going to Asia or just going to Europe on vacation. You can go and maybe work with EarthWatch, which is an environmental organization, and you can tag these endangered sea turtles and monitor them with your kids, and then, you know, go snorkeling and swimming and hanging out on the beach, too.

HEMMER: You mentioned EarthWatch. That's the company, that's the institute? What is that?

MITCHELL: Yes, it's an institute. It's, you know, a nongovernmental -- you can actually write off the trip, so it ends up being a tax write-off, which is nice.

HEMMER: A bonus.

MITCHELL: Yes.

HEMMER: Cross-Cultural Solutions another company.

MITCHELL: Cross-Cultural Solutions is another one. It's a little bit different because it's more about cultural immersion. You can do things like go work at an orphanage in Thailand. It's a little bit more emotionally intense than what EarthWatch does. So, you know, you probably want to balance it out with a bit of lighter fare for your kids.

HEMMER: Lighter fare for the children. What, hit the pool at 5:00?

MITCHELL: Yes. Maybe in the afternoon. HEMMER: Healthy vacations, are they becoming more popular, too?

MITCHELL: Healthy vacations are becoming more popular. Even Disneyland is offering things like carrot sticks at their resorts. But these vacations are -- for example, Pritikin has one. And what you do is -- it's not like going to a fat farm where everyone is going to get on the scale every morning. It's more like you do beach volley ball and take salsa lessons, and you take cooking classes.

And so your kids and the adults, everybody learns how to eat healthy. It's a great way to jump-start maybe the school year, a healthy school year.

HEMMER: Yes. You dropped a name in there, Pritikin.

MITCHELL: Pritikin.

HEMMER: Pritikin, sorry. That's in Florida?

MITCHELL: Yes.

HEMMER: Whereabouts?

MITCHELL: Yes, it's in Turnberry Isle. And it's a beautiful resort there. And kids and parents, they can do separate things or they can be together during the day. But it's sort of educational, but a lot of fun.

HEMMER: It sounds cool.

MITCHELL: Yes.

HEMMER: It says safari vacations.

MITCHELL: Safari -- this is the trip of a lifetime.

HEMMER: Well, sure. It would be great to fly in a hot air balloon over -- over the plains of Tanzania and Kenya.

MITCHELL: Sure, exactly. Well, they're quite expensive, actually. These trips are about $7,000 for 10 days.

So it is something you probably have to plan far in advance. But Butterfield & Robinson run these trips that are specifically for families, and they'll do things like take kids out during the day to learn about the wildlife. And the parents will go wine tasting. And at the end of the day everybody has...

HEMMER: You mentioned a price in there, $7,000. It's pretty steep. What about the other stuff we mentioned here? Do you find typically these vacations are more expensive than taking off to Florida for 10 days?

MITCHELL: A lot of them can be more expensive. But like I said, those volunteer vacations are tax write-offs, so they can end up being cheaper depending on your situation. And trips like a healthy stay at the Krupali Yoga Center (ph), also in upstate New York, that's like $100 a day.

HEMMER: You're just giving us all kinds of ideas, aren't you?

MITCHELL: And we have more on our Web site.

HEMMER: I have to think that parents, the adults, perhaps they are more interested in a more active vacation. So they're dragging the kids along with them.

MITCHELL: Well, it's true. It's probably a lot about the parents are the ones that are initiating this, but the kids get really involved in it.

HEMMER: Sure.

MITCHELL: And you'd be surprised at how interested they are in tagging turtles and swimming in a lake, you know, by a farm.

HEMMER: You've given us a at lot to think about. Thanks, Heidi.

MITCHELL: Thanks so much.

HEMMER: And good luck to you in three weeks.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

HEMMER: Girl or boy, do we know?

MITCHELL: We don't know yet. We'll know in three weeks.

HEMMER: Good luck to you. Great to see you. You look fantastic.

MITCHELL: Thanks.

HEMMER: Heidi Mitchell, senior editor, "Travel and Leisure" magazine, with us today.

Back to the Kennedy now. And here is Soledad again out there.

O'BRIEN: Hey, Bill. Thanks.

As we continue our live reports from the USS John F. Kennedy, we're going to take you down below up next. You know, they say the Army travels on its stomach. What about the Navy? We'll take you to the galley in just a moment.

We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: There's the sun. We thought they'd stolen it, right, Jack? Back out today.

"Question of the Day." What's happening?

CAFFERTY: The sidewalks of Manhattan are pretty terrific in the summertime.

Time of the year if you're graduating. In order to get your diploma, one of the things you have to suffer through in order to get the sheepskin is the graduation speech. We've all heard them. Some of us have given them. It's very much an open question, how worthwhile they are. But they're part of the tradition.

And what we wanted to know this morning is, if you could give the graduation address, the commencement speech, what would you tell the graduates?

Arthur in New Jersey writes, "My advice to this year's graduates is, don't get married. File single with zero allowances on your W-4 forms, and do whatever else you can do to generate enough tax revenue to bail out Social Security. Your older brothers and sisters are depending on you."

Patrick in Indiana writes, "Today's young adults want everything right now, the new house, the new car, all of the electronics to go with it. They finance it to the point they're deeply in debt, and the only people making any money are the bankers."

"My advice is save your money. My wife taught me a good lesson. If you can't pay cash for it, you can't afford it."

Mike in Ohio writes, "What advice would I give this year's graduates? Learn to say, 'Do you want fries with that?'"

And Patrick in California writes, "Learn to speak Chinese, buy a fuel-efficient car and stay tuned to CNN for updates."

HEMMER: Yes.

Your daughters, they're all out, right?

CAFFERTY: I have one left. Lee (ph), my youngest, is a -- she'll be a junior at Tulane University. The rest of them have graduated.

HEMMER: You know what I'm thinking? About an hour ago you said you're not going to do anymore of these commencement addresses, right? I'm thinking you've got one more good one in you, Jack.

CAFFERTY: No, no. Please don't do that.

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: I think we get the administrator on the horn. I think we start the campaign for Cafferty today.

CAFFERTY: That's not going to happen.

HEMMER: I think next year you go down to the Big Easy and you treat your daughter to a very nice weekend and you make the commencement address.

CAFFERTY: It's not going to happen. Why are you doing this to me?

HEMMER: Is she going to graduate?

CAFFERTY: Make him stop. Why are you doing this?

HEMMER: On time?

CAFFERTY: Well, I hope so, yes. That's the plan.

HEMMER: Call the...

(CROSSTALK)

CAFFERTY: Get them up here.

CAFFERTY: Please. Why are you doing this?

HEMMER: It's Friday.

CAFFERTY: Sure, you're a short-timer. What do you care? Leave the rest of us here to suffer after you've gone.

HEMMER: What's going on, Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Hey, Bill. You know, I can't hear everything you're saying, but I want to tell you about the next segment we've got coming up.

You know, they call aircraft carriers essentially a city on the sea. So how exactly do you feed thousands of sailors four times a day? We went below to the galley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN (voice-over): When the ship is at sea, some 4,000 sailors will make their way through the galley. It's where the enlisted men and women eat.

Lunch is the busiest. They'll plate up 450 pounds of meatloaf, 350 pounds of ham, 90 pounds of mixed vegetables and 300 pounds of potatoes.

Behind the scenes it's organized chaos. Culinary specialist Larry Beckett's (ph) been in the Navy for 10 months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's so much stuff to do, but as we work as a team everything just comes together. If we all work as a team, everybody stays busy. It's really an easy job.

O'BRIEN: No sauce pans here. Meals this size go right into giant vats called coppers, filled with meat sauce or spaghetti, or rice or gravy, on any given day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I make the best gravy around here.

O'BRIEN: For crews working 13, 14, 15 hours a day, sometimes there's only half an hour to squeeze in a meal.

(on camera): How's the food on board?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's awesome.

O'BRIEN: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like it, yes.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): It's an early shift in the kitchen. The prep and the cleanup lasts much longer than the three hours the meals are serve. Airman Nicole Lewis is one of 500 women on board. Her day in the cellar (ph) starts at 4:30 a.m.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I'm doing is pretty much getting all the plates. It's a dirty job, though.

O'BRIEN (on camera): Someone's got to do it, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to do it, yes.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Then there's the garbage, and lots of it. By estimates, 75 30-pound bags per mess deck per each meal, or roughly 600 garbage bags, or 18,000 pounds of garbage generated every day.

Paper is shredded, plastic melted into disks and stored. And metal and glass gets recycled.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: When they're docked, in fact, though, all of that goes right directly to a landfill. We have to point out, though, keep in mind, for Fleet Week, two-thirds of the crew is actually off the ship. They get an opportunity to explore the city. So no matter how good the food is out of the galley, they're actually eating in some of the restaurants here in New York City.

Ahead this morning, we're going to introduce you to a guy whose job is top secret. He's going to give us a little insight though in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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