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Wildfires in Arizona; Championing Children

Aired May 17, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




Oh, look, you`re all (INAUDIBLE) miracles, too.

So get ready for a great day.

You will be amazed in every way.

Robbers, earthquakes, elections and more.

Things you never knew before.

Go ahead and watch it any time.

We hope we (INAUDIBLE) you with this little rhyme.

Now, sadly, we must part ways.

But three cheers for Miss. Connor`s class.

Hip, hip, hooray.


CARL AZUZ, HOST: Nicely done and it looks like you had fun.

I`m Carl Azuz.

Let`s get to CNN STUDENT NEWS.

First up, we`re looking at four wildfires that are burning in parts of Arizona and these things are getting bigger. We reported on this story earlier in the week. As of Wednesday afternoon, no deaths had been reported in connection with these wildfires and officials said just three buildings had been destroyed.

Firefighters are working to get these flames under control, though. They`re having to battle the weather, as well. We`re talking about high temperatures, low humidity, strong winds. All of these things are combining to help spread the wildfires.

The one causing the most concern is the Gladiator Fire. It`s near a historic mining town. And on Wednesday, it was only about 5 percent contained.

Here you see one of the ways in which officials are trying to put out the flames. This is really interesting stuff here.

The helicopter drops down over a lake, starts siphoning up water, then it heads out for one of the wildfires and dumps the water on the flames.

On Tuesday, we mentioned that voters were heading to the polls in Nebraska and Oregon. Those states were holding the next round of U.S. primary elections and we`ve got the results on them for you now.

And in terms of presidential candidates, they probably won`t come as a surprise.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the primaries in both states. He`s been the Republican Party`s presumptive nominee for a while now. And with these wins, he`s getting closer to the number of delegates he needs to win to become his party`s official nominee.

These folks aren`t lining up to vote, they`re waiting to donate blood to try to help a Georgia woman who`s suffering from a rare case of flesh- eating bacteria. And we explained what the disease is and how Amy Copeland got it in our show on Tuesday. You can find that in the transcript archives on our Web site.

This is just one of the blood drives that`s happening around Georgia. Amy Copeland has been infused with more than 168 pints of blood since she got sick.

Now, just to compare, the human body contains about 10 pints.

Copeland`s doctors say her struggle with this disease is going to be a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.

It`s May 17th and on this day in 1792, 24 stockbrokers and merchants agreed to form what is now the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1875, the track at Churchill Downs hosted the first running of the Kentucky Derby. That is now considered the most famous American horse race.

And in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregations in public schools was unconstitutional. The decision was made in the case of "Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka."

Scientists around the globe are they going to figure out why one species population is getting smaller. We`re talking about a specific type of bee. Your first instinct might be to say, great, less chance of getting stung.

But the expert featured in this next report says the news that these bees are disappearing should worry everyone.


NOAH WILSON-RICH, PH.D. CHIEF SCIENTIST, BEST BEES COMPANY: It`s bizarre. Now, when a beekeeper goes into his hive, he`ll find a queen, she`s healthy, laying eggs; find maybe food, some honey, pollen stores. You won`t see many signs of a disease outright.

But the bees are gone. And it`s so mysterious.

Where did they go?

We just don`t know. And that`s what we call Colony Collapse Disorder.

My name is Noah.

I`m a beekeeper.

In 2006, October to December, an alarming number of commercial bee colonies were dead in Pennsylvania. And this is really when we start talking about modern-day Colony Collapse Disorder.

People like mysteries, because it`s an interesting story. But this is a really important story. We need honeybees for their role as pollinators of over 130 crops that humans depend on, fruits and vegetables. They contribute over $15 billion annually just to the U.S. economy alone.

It`s hard to determine the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder because there are no bodies found.

How can you find out how something died without a body?

There have been some obscure hypotheses, ranging from cell phones to aliens. Those are not well supported, but certainly discussed. And then there are some more well supported hypotheses, including lack of nutrition. So due to habitat loss, we have fewer flowers around. And also, diseases.

Here in the United States, in 2012, we have a lot more talk in the news and amongst scientists and researchers about the effects of pesticides on honeybee health, specifically with regard to this neonicotinoid class of pesticides.

Some things that our research focuses on is vaccines for bees. It`s a totally unique approach. Regardless of what is killing them, we`re already looking at how to make them healthier.

Bees are important. We need the bees because we need food. Bees need us because now, bees are doing much better in managed colonies than in feral colonies. They`re healthier when they`re managed.

So this interrelationship that we have, over evolutionary time, has just forced the two of us, humans and bees, together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shout Out goes out to Mrs. Whetstone`s social studies class at Andover Middle School in Andover, Kansas.

Ian Thorpe, Amanda Beard and Jason Lezak are all known for their accomplishments in what sport?

Here we go.

Is it tennis, golf, soccer or swimming?

On your mark, get set, go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thorpe, Beard and Lezak have all won Olympic medals in swimming.

That`s your answer and that`s your Shout Out.

AZUZ: Their paths to those Olympic medals started probably the first time someone helped them into a pool. Learning to swim often starts with learning how to be safe in the water. It`s a lesson that Wanda Butts wants to teach kids in her community and it`s why she is one of this year`s CNN Heroes.


WANDA BUTTS, CHAMPIONING CHILDREN: Josh went to night with friends. I had no clue that they were coming to Bird Lake.

Right about here is where Josh was, where the raft capsized and he went down. It was very hard for me to believe that just like that my son had drowned and he was gone.

My father, he instilled in us the fear of water. And so I, in turn, didn`t take my son around water. Children don`t have to drown.

My name is Wanda Butts.

I save lives by providing swimming lessons and water safety skills.

Jacob Kendrick.

African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. That`s why we started the Josh Project, to educate families about the importance of being water-safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the ring buoy and throw it right at the victim.

BUTTS: Many parents, they don`t know how to swim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was afraid of the water. He was the first in my family to learn how to swim. And he has come a long way from not liking water in his face to getting ducked under.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feel better in the water?

Do you like it?

All right!

BUTTS: Because I`m so happy to see that so many of them have learned how to swim.

Good job!

That`s one life we saved.

It takes me back to Josh and how the tragedy was turned into triumph and it makes me happy.


BUTTS: All right.


AZUZ: All right.

Before we go, it`s not exactly like finding a needle in a haystack, but searching this field for a class ring that was lost more than 40 years ago probably ain`t much easier -- that is, unless you`re Wendell Watkins.

His family owns the field. He went looking for the lost ring recently, found it -- jackpot. Great news for Betty Black, who lost the ring all those years ago -- 40 years ago. And, oh, yes, she`s Wendell`s mother-in-law. So it`s no wonder why he wanted to take that field trip.

Finding the long lost ring is a great way for the family to band together. And it`ll make for an endearing story for future generations.

All right, one last note today to the students at Gilmer Middle School.

Thank you for visiting the CNN Center this week.

For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz.