Return to Transcripts main page
At This Hour
Uvalde School District Fires Officer Following CNN Report; Solar-Powered Town Didn't Lose Power During Hurricane Ian; U.S. Begins Screening Travelers Coming From Uganda For Ebola. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired October 07, 2022 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Broke this story for us. He's joining us now. So, Shimon, talk to you about this. What is -- what are you hearing from the school district about this?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, nothing else. I mean, you know, besides yesterday, they put out the statement saying that they were going to be firing this officer. They say the reason they fired her is over these comments that we surfaced in video for the first time where she talks about not going inside the schools, had her son been in the school, she would not have been outside. So they use that as the excuse.
But we've -- you know, we've gone back, and we've looked, and we've been able to obtain records that indicate this whole thing. The issue of why this turned into such a story was because she was under investigation for her response to the school shooting. And during that time, the school hired her into the police department -- into their police department. And we don't know why.
We don't know, did they miss the fact that she was under investigation? Do they ignore the fact that she was under investigation? So something is going on, we know that the administrators are back at the school today. So perhaps maybe later today, we'll learn more information.
But certainly, to the community, they're asking for the superintendent to now resign. They're asking for the lieutenant, Miguel Hernandez, who was in charge of vetting this officer for him to be suspended. They want more accountability, certainly after our report.
BOLDUAN: Because just speak to and this is a big part of this is, this is like pain on top of pain for the families. And speak to what you have really become very aware of in your reporting and knowing these families and working with these families is that they just don't trust any of the processes anymore.
BOLDUAN: Because they did at least some of what I saw receive some assurance that no one under investigation was going to be in charge of caring for the kids. PROKUPECZ: That's right. None of the officers from the -- so the Department of Public Safety, the DPS has been providing extra resources just for a sense of security and safety for the community. And what they said was we assured that those officers, the ones that we placed at the schools, were not there the day of the shooting. Well, then they learn, the school goes out and hires an officer who was there on the day of the shooting. And not only that, there was an issue with her response, and there's an investigation. So it's just compounded.
You know, this community, part of the -- part of the problem has been it's been so hard for them to get information. And then when they do get information, it's wrong. It's not there -- it's not full accounting.
BOLDUAN: Incomplete, yes.
PROKUPECZ: It's incomplete. And it's so frustrating for them. And it just brings more pain and more pain. And that's why the officials there need to just sit them down and explain everything for them.
PROKUPECZ: That is what --
BOLDUAN: Explain how this happened. There is -- there's a clear -- there's a clear chain of command of information and vetting, whatever the --
PROKUPECZ: No, we have the letter.
BOLDUAN: Right. That's -- yes.
PROKUPECZ: They knew -- the school knew that she was under investigation before they hired her.
PROKUPECZ: So what are you doing?
BOLDUAN: Oh, that's -- there's the next question to pursue. It's great to see you. Thank you, Shimon, for that. Really appreciate it.
So one Florida town took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian but came through the storm without major damage and with the lights still on and they say other towns should do the same.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY GRANDE, BABCOCK RANCH RESIDENT: Technology's here. We just need to get everybody on onboard and make it affordable for everybody to get on board.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: How they did it? Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOLDUAN: Florida residents are taking their first steps on the very long road to recovery and rebuilding their lives after hurricane Ian, but one community hit directly by the storm weathered it with barely a scratch. CNN's Bill Weir is live in Naples, Florida with this part of the story. Bill, how is that possible?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting, Kate. It's foresight. It's planning. You know, in storms like this, it's so hard to find stories of hope and models for a better future. But we found one little town that was literally a beacon of light in Charlotte County, while the rest was surrounded in blackout, and now they hope they can be a model for a new way to think about living in Florida in the age of bigger and more powerful storms.
WEIR (voiceover): When Hurricane Ian brought gusts over 150 miles an hour, much of the power grid in its path did not stand a chance. Look at that. Now, thanks to two feet of rain, even communities miles from the storm surge could not escape life-altering floods. But even as whitecaps ripped across the lake in Anthony Grande's backyard, he was chilled out in front of the TV.
GRANDE: You know, that's one of the things I said to my wife when we were sitting there watching TV, I'm like, I don't have any fear right now.
WEIR: Anthony and the 2000 families around him never lost power and did not flood because they live in Babcock Ranch, a community about 15 miles for Fort Myers, which is 100 percent solar powered.
GRANDE: I even held on to my generator not knowing what was really going to happen. And as my wife was like, get rid of it. I'm like, no, I'm not getting rid of it. I'm not doing it. That's when we -- did we go through the test. And this was the test.
WEIR: This was a test.
GRANDE: Yes, this was a big test so.
WEIR: And now you can like go with the generator.
GRANDE: I did. I gave it to a friend.
WEIR: Jennifer Languell was nervous during the storm because, with a Ph.D. in civil engineering, she helped design this place.
JENNIFER LANGUELL, GREEN BUILDING AND SUSTAINABLE ADVISER, BABCOCK RANCH: I literally got my construction drawings out and I looked at the wind load that my house designed to, and I looked at my finished floor elevation, and I looked at the road elevation and I just mentally was crunching numbers because I was like, this is going to be bad.
WEIR: And it was. But they're interconnected lakes and protected wetlands save them from flooding, and the 700,000 solar panels in their 150-megawatt array, all held solid.
I always assume that solar panels and hurricanes don't mix, that it would turn them into projectiles but you didn't lose any or --
LANGUELL: No. That's the beautiful thing about engineering, right? Is that you understand the wind loads and you understand the stress and the strain and you design to that.
WEIR: This place is the brainchild of Syd Kitson, an NFL offensive lineman turned developer who bought a massive cattle ranch, sold most of it to Florida as a nature preserve, and set out to build the cleanest, most resilient town in America.
SYD KITSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Here's the elementary school. We have a field house over there, which is now housing, people. It's a shelter.
WEIR: I guess it's fitting that the mascot that Babcock hires are the trailblazers.
KITSON: Right. Everything's very well thought out here.
WEIR: I got to say, my heart still breaks. I feel a little guilty leaving the damage.
WEIR: But it's a relief to come to a place unscathed like this.
GRANDE: Yes, we're feeling the guilt too being out here. Yes.
WEIR: Oh, yes?
GRANDE: Yes, absolutely. Yes, we've certainly got a really good one out here.
LANGUELL: It's unfortunate to feel guilty about it. I feel relieved that we're not adding to what first responders have to deal with, and that we're able to help the community. So we have people here making meals or taking in laundry from the Sheriffs and firefighters that are in from out of town. Because we were resilient, because we were durable, we're able to help in that way.
GRANDE: So yes, there's the -- there's the Tesla batteries. I've never had to use them.
WEIR: For those people who say, oh, if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle, you got to live in a year and eat straw and we walk to work.
WEIR: This is kind of a counter to that argument. You're not -- you're not lacking for comfort.
GRANDE: No. In the 21st century, you don't need to do that.
GRANDE: It's here. The technology's here. We just need to get everybody on onboard.
GRANDE: So, and make it affordable for everybody to get on board.
BOLDUAN: And, Bill, I mean, it is really remarkable to see that. As I was watching and thinking of the old phrase that came to mind, you know, the proof is in the pudding. And that's exactly what you're really looking at after this storm. But to how this really works. What is the relationship now or is it between this village and the power company, Florida Power and Light?
WEIR: Well, it's interesting, Kate. Syd Kitson, who is a former Green Bay Packer, I'm a Packer fan, proud of him for this, he literally made an elevator pitch to the head of Florida Power and Light and said I want to build this solar town. It took him eight years to cut through the red tape. But initially, they said, you know, that's going to be too expensive. We can't make it work unless you give us the land. So he did.
He gave them hundreds of acres. They built the three -- first 350,000 panels there. But when they decided to double the capacity, a couple of years later, the prices of solar had fallen so dramatically. They paid him to do that now. And so now with 400,000 -- more than 400,000 customers out of power, that's one less neighborhood they have to worry about now.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Can you also -- I knew you said that it even showed that the village didn't flood. Can you explain how that -- how that is?
WEIR: Absolutely. So ever since the first developers came down with the mentality that drains the swamp and turns it into neighborhoods, literally draining swamps, not realizing the cost of that when a storm hits. Your wetlands or a sponge, they help you. And so they preserve the wetlands around them to take a lot of that water. The streets are two feet lower than the home so the streets are designed to flood so your home doesn't.
And what's interesting is they're constantly learning. They were telling me, you know, a few of our street signs blew away, so rethinking how to design that. And they want to open-source this. They want to share all of what they've learned. You know, maybe Syd Kitson will be the Thomas Edison of turning the light bulb on for people to think about new ways to live with water, to live with the wind as the price of living in paradise.
BOLDUAN: Super fascinating. Bill, thank you. It's good to see you. Thank you for being there.
WEIR: You bet.
BOLDUAN: So the Biden administration taking new precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola as an outbreak grows in Uganda, one American doctor who survived the disease during the last major outbreak joins us. But first, Stanley Tucci is back with a new season of "SEARCHING FOR ITALY." He's continuing his extraordinary journey exploring the people, the places, the cuisine that make each region of the country so special. Here's a preview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stanley Tucci is back in Italy and there are more surprises to be found.
STANLEY TUCCI SR., FATHER OF STANLEY TUCCI: I've never seen anything quite like it.
STANLEY TUCCI, ACTOR: Oh, there you go, dad. It's your family home.
STANLEY TUCCI: They put a million different flavors in it.
JOAN TUCCI, MOTHER OF STANLEY TUCCI: Are you afraid of mine?
STANLEY TUCCI: I'm not answering that question. Man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
STANLEY TUCCI: Wow, wow, wow, the food is amazing. Look at that. Oh, man, that is amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" new season premieres Sunday at 9:00 on CNN.
STANLEY TUCCI: You can stop filming. We're just going to eat.
BOLDUAN: The U.S. is now rerouting all flights coming from Uganda to five specific airports in order to do enhanced Ebola screenings on the passengers as they arrive. The reason being there is currently a growing outbreak in Uganda and the U.S. is now making this move as a precaution against the spread of the disease. Currently, there are no cases of Ebola in the United States to report. Joining me right now, so of course, this brings a lot of questions with it, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula, and also Dr. Craig Spencer. He is an Associate Professor of Public Health at Brown University. And you probably recall in 2014, he gained worldwide attention as New York City's first Ebola patient. Thanks, guys for being here.
Dr. Narula, first, what exactly is the Biden administration -- what is the plan here? What are they doing here?
DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. So, this is -- this has historical precedent. We did this back in 2014 to 2016 with the previous Ebola outbreak. And the idea is really to identify passengers quickly in terms of their exposure or any symptoms, get them treated with medical care if they need it, also, get their contact information so you can alert local public health authorities for contact tracing purposes, and give the public health information about what to report and what to look for. Essentially, we know that in general, about 145 passengers arrive on a daily basis from Uganda, over 60 percent through these five airports. And there are no direct flights.
And so, when a passenger has come in, they've been in Uganda for the previous 21 days, that's the incubation period. So, anyone who's been there over 21 day-period is going to get a temperature check, a symptom, check a health questionnaire, and then their information is going to be collected. And this is part of kind of that layered strategy approach. Also, the CDC issued an alert to doctors as well, to basically look for travel histories on anyone who has any symptoms that may be indicative of people.
BOLDUAN: To keep an eye out. It might not be the first thing that you -- that you -- that you're asking about.
BOLDUAN: But this is something to keep an eye out for is your patients' commend. Dr. Spencer, for more context, you contracted Ebola while in West Africa treating patients back in 2014. This type of the virus is different from what you were dealing with. What do we know about this Ebola outbreak in Uganda?
DR. CRAIG SPENCER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: What we know so far is that there's been over 60 confirmed and probable cases, and there's been around 30 deaths. More concerningly, there's been also 10 cases in healthcare workers and four deaths in healthcare workers. That's particularly bad because we know that a lot of healthcare workers are highly exposed just in the course have taken care of patients, and many don't have adequate personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe.
We know that there are already four districts reporting cases. As of yet, there haven't been any reported cases in Kampala, the capital, and there have been alerts in surrounding countries. But it's important to recognize that testing infrastructure, both in Uganda and especially in surrounding countries for things like a bullet is pretty weak. And although this species of the virus, Ebola Sudan, is different than the Ebola Zaire species that caused the big outbreak in West Africa, and most of the big outbreaks in the past. The symptoms are the exact same. The problem is the treatments we have for Ebola Zaire, the vaccines we have for Ebola Zaire that we got through painstaking work in the field with communities over the past few decades, unfortunately, they don't seem to work against this species of Ebola Sudan causing the outbreak in Uganda now.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, Dr. Spencer, one thing you've talked about since 2014, especially is just -- is the need for balance right to respond to a public health concern, to inform people but not scare people or cause hysteria. Ebola is scary, of course.
SPENCER: Of course.
BOLDUAN: How do you strike -- how are they going to be able to strike that balance?
SPENCER: Well, what I think is important for everyone to recognize right now is that your risk of getting or dying Ebola right now in the U.S. is lower than your risk of getting struck by lightning or attacked by a shark. It's important that we're aware of it, of course, but the response should not be just to insulate ourselves. I was disappointed to see the CDC announcement not accompanied by an announcement of what we are doing as the U.S. government on behalf of Ugandans to increase infrastructure to increase support.
I think those two things should have gone together. Because in a sense, we're repeating the mistakes we did and made in 2014 when we made it sound like it's us against the world, we're going to protect ourselves and you know, let the rest of the world fend for themselves, we need to fight this fire at its source. That's the safest way to keep us protected, but also to end the outbreak as quickly as possible in Uganda.
BOLDUAN: Dr. Narula, really quick. Talk to me about what should people know as they -- and as we understood it?
NARULA: Yes. Well, I think the important thing to know is exactly what Craig said. I mean, right now the risk right here in America is low. It's important to understand this is also not transmitted in an airborne fashion as we're used to with COVID. It's transmitted with fluids and bodily contact with those fluids. And also, it's transmitted when someone is symptomatic. So, they have to have those symptoms before they're able to spread the virus.
BOLDUAN: Yes, all important and all said in the appropriate tone of arm yourself with information and that's what we all need to know about this. It's great to see you, Dr. Narula. Dr. Spencer, it's great to see you.
Thank you all so much for being here. Thanks for watching AT THIS HOUR. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)