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New Day Saturday

FL Governor DeSantis Vows To Relocate More Migrants; Mourners Waiting Hours In Line To See Queen Lying In State; Biden Admin. Debuts Nationwide Ads For Updated COVID-19 Boosters; FedEx CEO Expects Economy To Enter A "Worldwide Recession;" Death Toll From Pakistan Flooding Rises To More Than 1,500; Putin Faces Pushback At Home Over Failures In Ukraine; Maysville, Missouri Schools Adopt Four-Day Week. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 17, 2022 - 08:00   ET



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: These predictions are just out from travel site hopper. It says domestic and international airfare over Thanksgiving could cost 22% higher compared to 2019. It's even worse over Christmas. A round trip ticket on average is projected to cost you $463, 31% higher than three years ago back before the pandemic.

One more stat here over Christmas, an international round trip will cost you a whopping $1,300 on average. There are a few big tips here to save book your tickets ideally within the next few weeks hopefully by October 10 according to Hopper. Also booked travelled for times that are off peak not flying on the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving for example, and flying home on the Tuesday or Wednesday after could save you as much as $270.

Whitney, Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Pete, thank you so much. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Whitney Wild.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Whitney. I'm Boris Sanchez.

Right now, mourners are filing through to pay their respects as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state. Why officials are telling people to stop coming to the site.

WILD: The White House is slamming the busing of migrants to the Democratic led states as a cruel political stunt. How they're planning to fight back even as GOP governors vowed to continue sending migrants elsewhere.

SANCHEZ: Plus, updated COVID booster shots are rolling out across the country even as the World Health Organization says the end of the pandemic is in sight. We're going to be joined by a doctor with all you need to know heading into autumn. WILD: And sad news for theater fans. Broadway's longest running show announcing the final curtain.

SANCHEZ: It is a brisk autumn morning, Saturday, September 17th. We're grateful to have you starting your weekend with us. Welcome Whitney.

WILD: Thank you for having me, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Plenty to get to this morning.

WILD: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: No shortage of news.

We begin with the battle over immigration and the migrants caught in the middle. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is vowing to transport more migrants from the southern border to so called sanctuary cities after arranging to fly about 50 people from Texas to Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.

WILD: This is all part of a campaign by Republican governors to protest the Biden administration's immigration policies. The White House says simply these migrants are being used as political pawns.

SANCHEZ: Those taken to Martha's Vineyard are now receiving shelter and humanitarian aid at a U.S. military base.

CNN senior national correspondent Miguel Marquez has more on their journey.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After less than 48 unexpected hours in Martha's Vineyard. Nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants were given a one send off. Volunteers embracing each person as they boarded buses. Then ferries and on to the next part of their long journey.

There unannounced arrival Wednesday all part of a campaign by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. To send migrants to so called sanctuary cities by surprise.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): All we're trying to do is offer transport to sanctuary jurisdictions, free to the alien, but certainly not mandatory. And that way they're able to go and these sanctuary jurisdictions can put their money where their mouth is.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): These immigrants were picked up in Texas, some of them say they weren't taken to a hotel to wait then boarded planes allow it.

Well, we didn't know until the last minute our destinations such as New York where our relatives reside, he says. Yang Pablo Mora and other immigrants we spoke to hear it say they were promised all sorts of things, including jobs and housing, things that never materialized. We were told it was humanitarian aid by a foundation that in this case remains unknown, he says. It's just the latest account of migrants seemingly deceived and dropped off.

From Washington D.C.

CARLA BUSTILLOS, VOLUNTEER: They felt fooled, and they felt that their suffering was exploited.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): To confusion in New York City.

MANUEL CASTRO, COMMISSIONER, NYC MAYOR'S OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS: Standing at Port Authority he asked me and how do I get to Portland, Oregon?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): To California where Governor Gavin Newsom has asked the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the controversial practice.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): What Ron DeSantis is doing is a disgrace. It's almost monstrous.

DESANTIS: They did get a packet that had the map of Martha's Vineyard and they're also treated, you know, very well with all this. I mean, they're treated well with meals and everything.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): While volunteers and officials in Martha's Vineyard promptly responded and cared for their unexpected guests, lawyers assisting the immigrant say the stop did nothing but detour already desperate people.


RACHEL SELF, LAWYER ASSISTING IMMIGRANTS, MARTHA'S VINEYARD: It is sickeningly cruel, throwing obstacles in the way of people fleeing, violence and oppression, some of whom walked through 10 countries in the hopes of finding safety.

LISA BELCASTRO, VOLUNTEER: My heart breaks for them, because they were not the first priority. They're in my heart forever. (INAUDIBLE).

MARQUEZ (on-camera): Look, there is no doubt that these immigrants were well taken care of by the people here on Martha's Vineyard. The people here on the vineyard and across the country have even raised money, almost $200,000 for these immigrants to help them as they move on in their journey. But many of these people are trying to maintain their status here. They're here from Venezuela, fleeing political oppression. They have immigration hearings coming up across the country of Los Angeles, Washington State, Cincinnati, back in Texas, Washington D.C., all over the place.

So, the idea of sending them here to Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, really only complicated and already very complicated journey. Back to you.


WILD: Thank you. President Biden has said simply that he thinks they're just playing politics with people. That's it. SANCHEZ: Yes, let's take you to the White House now. And CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright, who earlier this week reported that the White House was having meetings over a coordinated response to this.

Jasmine, good morning. What are you learning?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Boris. They're having meetings, but they're also leaning in on criticism against those two Republican governors, Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, a source told me that the White House feels like those governors miscalculated, and therefore they're intensifying their criticism against them. So, we heard President Biden saying that they're playing games.

We heard from the Vice President last night who said that they are playing political stunts with human beings of course, it is her residence in which migrants are being dropped. And of course, her husband's second gentleman junk and Doug Emhoff, he said that it was shameful. Now that ratcheting and rhetoric also came from the podium here at the White House from White House press secretary Karin Jean- Pierre. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These vulnerable migrants were reportedly misled about where they were headed, told they would be headed to Boston, misled about what they would be provided when they arrived, promised shelter, refuge benefits and more. These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala, and for what a photo-op?


WRIGHT: So, in addition to that intensified language that we just heard there, the White House is also calling for Republicans to come to the table on some type of immigration reform. Now, of course, that has little to no chance of passing with the makeup of this Congress. And obviously Republicans feel like this is an issue that they can push ahead of the midterm. So, that means that conversations are happening internally.

A White House official told me that a meeting between Biden officials happened here at the White House Friday on crucial immigration issues like operational things, but of course, one has to think that they would also talk about this, the situation of busing and flying migrants.

Now separately, we know that Department of Justice officials as well as Department of Homeland Security officials have been discussing about litigation options, potentially that could have come up in the meeting as well. So, you're right, no public announcement of a coordinated response here. But certainly, discussions are happening in the building behind me.

Boris, Whitney.

SANCHEZ: Jasmine Wright reporting from the White House, keep us posted on what you hear.

WILD: All right. In about two and a half hours, President Biden and the First Lady will leave for London to join hundreds of other global leaders and dignitaries for Queen Elizabeth funeral on Monday.

SANCHEZ: Yes, right now, thousands and thousands of people are lined up for miles paying their respects as the Queen lies in state at Westminster Hall. Just moments ago, King Charles and Prince William actually went out to greet some of those mourners who had been waiting in line for hours. Some overnight and in cold temperatures too.

CNN's Nada Bashir is there for us. Nada, what a surprise it must have been for those folks waiting in line 16 hours, some of them to see the new king and the Prince of Wales.

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) this was a huge surprise to many of the people that were are standing around us who've just actually met the new King and Prince of Wales. They've been waiting all night for a chance to enter the Palace of Westminster has paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth who's lying in state in Westminster Hall. But of course, we have seen in the last few members that visit from King Charles III and the Prince of Wales.

And actually, I'm joined by Immy who is standing next to me. She's been here since about 2:45 in the morning waiting to enter Westminster Hall but she just actually met the Prince of Wales.


What was that like?

IMMY GHONCHEN, SHOOK PRINCE WILLIAM'S HAND: Amazing, amazing. I feel like everybody dreams every moment like this with any former celebrity, but then also with the royal family because they're just world known. It's absolutely amazing. And it's quite important to me as well because my family are quite royalists, and my nan especially as well, because she's been lucky enough to speak to Princess Diana and Princess Anne in the past, and she wishes she was here today.

But unfortunately, she couldn't be. So, it's made me proud to know that I've spoken to a royal as well, almost keeping it in the family, which is quite nice.

BASHIR: You saw the new king, but you also got to shake hands with Prince William. Did you get to exchange a few words with him?

GHONCHEN: Unfortunately, not. But he did say thank you very much for everyone being here. And he was just moving along swiftly with everybody else. So, it was still amazing experience.

BASHIR: And why it is so important for you and your family and new friends here as well to be able to take part in this (INAUDIBLE)?

GHONCHEN: I think because Queen Elizabeth obviously was the longest reigning monarch in life. It's just one of the most historical moments. And I think if anybody has the chance to be able to come down to London and pay their respects before Monday, I think everybody should because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. And we're never going to -- well, a lot of us are never going to be able to do this again with a female monarch. So.

BASHIR: And we are bringing it -- bringing in a new (INAUDIBLE). For a lot of young people, there are questions around whether the monarchy fits into modern society, whether the monarchy can be transformed to fit modern Britain. What are your thoughts on that?

GHONCHEN: I think Charles will do a good, a good tourism and he'll just do good for the country. And it's going to be interesting to see all the new changes because he's obviously a male monarch now and so we're going to be having, obviously new postboxes and stance and things like that. So, I think everyone's quite excited about it.

BASHIR: (INAUDIBLE) good luck with the rest.

GHONCHEN: Thanks very much.

BASHIR: And as you can see behind me, it is still very crowded. And lots of people actually ran down here for a chance to meet the new monarch, to meet the Prince of Wales who just came by to shake hands and greet people, who've been waiting in this queue for hours, many of them overnight, of course, it is very busy as you can see.

We're just across the river from the Palace of Westminster where the Queen is lying and stately still got a few hours to go. Many of them of course have been waiting for hours and this is -- this will be ongoing until early Monday morning. That is of course the morning of the Queen's funeral, which will be held at Westminster Abbey.

Boris, Whitney.

SANCHEZ: And of course, CNN will be covering it the way only CNN can, starting at 5:00 a.m. on Monday. Nada Bashir live for us from London. Thank you so much.

WILD: Coming up, get ready to see ads on TV and online encouraging people over 50 years old to get their booster shots for COVID-19.

SANCHEZ: Plus, fears of a global recession sending stocks into a freefall. It's not a pretty picture, we're going to look at markets, next.



SANCHEZ: Ahead of the Fallen winter months, the Biden administration is debuting a video ad encouraging more people to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot especially folks who are 50 and older.

WILD: Yes. That's a particularly vulnerable age group. And so right now less than a third of Americans have received a booster shot. Again, the CDC saying that it's people who are more than 50 years old, who accounted for the vast majority of COVID hospitals -- hospitalizations between April and June.

CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has more on all of this.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: The Biden administration has been rolling out public service announcements and paid advertisements as part of this education campaign to really encourage people to get their COVID-19 shots. And so, this latest video ad is just the latest installment of this ongoing effort. And CNN was the first to report this new ad. It's the first ad for the updated vaccine, which is now available at pharmacies and doctors' offices. And the ads specifically targets adults 50 and older.

Well between April and June of this year, adults 50 and older did account for about 85.6% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and about 95.7% of deaths. That's according to CDC data. But the data also consistently show that getting boosted reduces the risk of severe disease and death. And now this latest rollout of an updated vaccine might just be the start of an annual routine where we could have a new COVID-19 shot each fall, just like we have an updated flu shot each year. And the White House has said before that an annual COVID-19 shot possibly could be in the future.

Back to you.


SANCHEZ: Or thanks to Jacqueline Howard for the great reporting.

Let's dig deeper now with Dr. James Phillips. He's an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University.

Good morning, Doctor. Great to have you up bright and early for us. So fewer than a third of all Americans have gotten their booster shot. Why is it so important to get one right now?

JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF OF DISASTER AND OPERATIONAL MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: Well, people are do right, and what is good is that about two-thirds of Americans have at least started their series or completed their initial series. Getting boosted is critical right now as we enter into the winter months where people are going to be doing more inside activities, being in situations where they're gathering with friends and family. And it's the same things that make cold viruses and flu viruses more prevalent during the winter.

What's super important now is that we finally have a vaccine a Bivalent vaccine that not only provides antigen sort of that that necessary ingredient to stimulate our immune system to the original virus but also to these new variants BA.4 and BA.5 which make up the vast majority of circulating virus now. So hopefully that'll give people the immunity that they need to lessen the disease burden as we get into winter months.

[08:20:07] SANCHEZ: Yes, so it's an updated booster for the updated mutations of the virus. Who do you think has to get it right now? And who should perhaps wait?

PHILLIPS: Well, fortunately, we have evidence that tells us exactly who should be doing this. And the Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden administration are rolling out this campaign appropriately. It's for people who are 50 and older, they are the ones most likely to have a bad outcome if they're going to have a bad outcome.

In particular, people who have medical problems, cardiovascular disease, CHF, COPD, the sort of things that we've been talking about throughout the entire pandemic. But now we have statistics to show that your greatest risk is being over 50. And that grows incrementally with each decade of age. So, if we can specifically target those folks, we have the best chance of reducing death and morbidity for our public.

SANCHEZ: It's similar to a flu shot, right?

PHILLIPS: Well, all vaccines are sort of similar in the way that they're provided to you to stimulate their -- the immune system to fight the virus. Flu vaccine is also most critical for people over the age of 50. And people who have preexisting health conditions to help protect that.

SANCHEZ: What if you recently had COVID? For example, I had it in May, how long should I wait until getting boosted?

PHILLIPS: That's a really important question. I had it in March. And I'll tell you, even though it was this Omicron variant, it knocked me down for three weeks, and all I have is some mild asthma. So even though I'm not 50 yet, it's still important that everybody can get the message.

What I think is the real takeaway from this is that there -- that everyone needs a shot, particularly over 50. If you had COVID, the CDC is recommending that you wait about three months, in order to get the full benefit of your booster. If you've been recently boosted, say you've been boosted or finished your recent series, they say recommending -- they recommend waiting about the same period of time two to three months.

So as long as you're in that window of say, two to three months after your last booster or recovering from COVID, you should go get this Bivalent vaccine.

SANCHEZ: So Doctor, I wanted to ask you about a new report from the Lancet Commission that came out this week. They call them more than 6 million deaths from Coronavirus, a profound tragedy and a quote massive global failure. You're talking about more than a million deaths here in the United States alone. What do you think are the lessons that could be learned from what we just went through?

PHILLIPS: It's a really important document. As a disaster medicine specialist, one of the things that we do whenever we hold an exercise or we evaluate a disaster that's occurred, we do what's called an after action report, where we take a look and we analyze every aspect of the response and the recovery thus far to the event. And it helps us derive these lessons learned that we try to get from every tragedy.

This is sort of a -- an end of the beginning after action report as we're at this point in the pandemic. And it is important because their critiques are warranted. They talk about how internationally we failed to come together as different countries and work together.

We failed as individual companies or as individual countries and even individual governments in our failure to take things seriously our failures in transparency and communication. And what I'll tell you is a unifying theme of all after action reports following disasters, it's communication, communication, communication every single time.

And it started with first being notified about the virus, understanding the airborne component of it, and allowing us to adapt our responses both as a single country and internationally that would have lessened the transmission of the virus.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And looking forward perhaps adapting to misinformation likely would have been something that could have prevented more death along the way.

We got to leave the conversation there. Dr. James Philips, always appreciate that.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WILD: Will stock sell Friday after an ominous warning from the CEO of FedEx about the state of the global economy.

CNN's Alison Kosik reports.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Good morning, Whitney and Boris. FedExe's CEO was pretty direct about where he thinks the economy is going. In a CNBC interview where he actually blindsided investor, he gave a pretty ominous warning that he thinks the slowdown in his business shows were on a path towards a worldwide recession, and FedEx believes things will only get worse as we head toward the end of the year.

In a pre-earnings announcement, FedEx said it missed revenue targets by a half billion dollars. Research Analyst Ken Hoexter with Bank of America told me that FedEx is announcement shows that the U.S. economy is decelerating. And it's just one more example of the drumbeat getting louder and louder about where the economy is headed. Hoexter says other companies over the past few months have noticed a slowdown in the economy to like Walmart and Target indicating they have too much inventory and Amazon closing warehouses because they overbuilt. So, FedEx is just another canary in the coal mine. Its announcement caused shares of FedEx to tank more than 20% also causing a frenzy in the broader market because FedEx is seen as a barometer for the bigger economy. And the thinking is if it's doing poorly, and what does that mean for the economy as a whole which brings me to a fun fact for the weekend, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan himself used to think of FedEx as an economic Bellwether as well.

Similar to how he saw men's underwear sales as a key economic predictor. Sales of men's underwear are usually static and if sales drop, well, it shows a pullback in spending of men's underwear. It's just one of the many strange ways experts try to predict booms and busts.


Back to you Whitney and Boris.


WILD: Alison, thank you.

Relief agencies in Pakistan say flood survivors are now facing a range of illnesses linked to the ongoing disaster. More on that after the break.


SANCHEZ: We want to take a look at some of the top stories we are following this hour.

The death toll from Pakistan's floods has risen to more than 1,500 including at least 500 children.


Almost 13,000 people have also been injured. And in the last 24 hours alone, more than 36,500 homes had been partially or fully destroyed from historic flooding. A humanitarian disaster is unfolding there.

WILD: UNICEF says about 16 million children have been impacted by Pakistan's super floods, and at least 3.4 million remain in need of immediate lifesaving support due to disease or malnourishment. A storm is heading towards Northern California's mosquito fire today, heavy wind from the storm might cause those flames to actually jump over the containment lines. However, there's a little bit of hope higher humidity and rain throughout the weekend could help keep all of this under control.

The mosquito fire is the largest fire in California this year. It is now burning at more than 71,000 acres, only 20 percent of it is contained so far. And Broadway's longest running show, sadly closing its doors. Phantom of the Opera will only play for five more months before the final curtain on February 10. That is a month after the show's 35th anniversary, so quite a run quite a run. Ticket sales for the production have slowed due to the pandemic

dropping by almost 30,000 weekly attendees over the last four months. However, if you're a Phantom fan, you can catch it internationally. You could see it in London, you could see it in Australia, you could have a flight to China, it will still be playing in those locations.

SANCHEZ: Pivoting our focus now to the war in Ukraine, President Biden is warning Russian President Vladimir Putin that there will be consequences if the Kremlin uses chemical or nuclear weapons in that conflict.

WILD: That warning comes amid reports that Putin's recent battle losses in Ukraine have enraged his own citizens including those pro- war activists. CNN's Matthew Chance has more.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukraine's game is set to dramatic music by their own troops is increasingly Putin's loss. Russia's stunning military setbacks, stirring broad public criticism at home with shocked military hardliners voicing anger.


CHANCE (voice-over): Like dozens of elected local Russian politicians too signing an official petition, authored by this local councilor demanding President Putin to be impeached. Russians have to pay these fines for speaking guys, even to hide him, he told me, if the Kremlin tries to put him in jail.

PALYUGA: Well, obviously Russian army is being destroyed right now. So we lose people, we'll lose weapons, and we'll lose our ability to defend.

MATTHEW (on-camera): And that fact that the Russian army is suffering the setbacks that is fueling anger, isn't it not just amongst liberal aspects of Russian society but also amongst hardliners as well, they're furious.

PALYUGA: Yes, actually pro-war activists, they are now really feel betrayed. And that there is a point where both liberal group of people and that pro-war group of people can have the same goal.

CHANCE (voice-over): And like these early anti-war protesters in Moscow back in February, hardliners complain of Russia being too soft on Ukraine and sending woefully underprepared troops into battle. But it's the heavy price Russia is paying whether may be common calls.

Hi, my name is Ksenia Thorstrom --

CHANCE (voice-over): And why another Russian counselor has filed a second petition calling for Putin to resign. The Kremlin strong man, she told me, is depriving Russians of a future.

KSENIA THORSTROM, RUSSIAN LOCAL DEPUTY: Russia has become poor. They are not welcome anywhere. Then there's less of facility supplies. Russia doesn't really produce anything itself. And I don't know what future can be for the country which is isolated.

CHANCE (on-camera): Can you talk to me about what impact that lack of a future is having on people that you speak to?

THORSTROM: Ah, well, it's quite depressive now very depressive atmosphere in Russia and the frustration feeling fear, anger, shame.

CHANCE (voice-over): The Kremlin insists the mood of the people is still with the Russian President. But the growing criticism at home and abroad may at least threaten to take the swagger to Putin step.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London


WILD: School districts across the U.S. are trying to recruit teachers in new and creative ways. So coming up next, we're talking to a superintendent in Missouri who says, to bring in the teachers, he has to drop a day from the school week and he says this is a huge incentive.


But the big question of course is how do parents feel about it? How is he getting buy in from the community and also how is this affecting the students. So we'll talk about all of that coming up after the break.



WILD: School districts across the country are having a really hard time filling open positions. So Maysville, Missouri, though, thinks it has found the answer. Maysville is a small area, it's a rural area, the district there is moving to a four-day school week.

So here's how it works. No school on Mondays, the other remaining days are 30 minutes longer. So you've got fewer days, but longer hours. Of the 464 school districts in Missouri, about a quarter have moved to four-day weeks this year.

So now we're going to bring in the architect of this, this is the Maysville Superintendent Chris Heslinga. Chris, so you've been doing the schedule now for about a month. And I'm wondering, you know, what are you learning? How are the students reacting to this? And how are the parents reacting?

CHRIS HESLINGA, SUPERINTENDENT, MAYSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT: It is early in the game with this. So far parents are have endorsed it, students enjoy having that extra Monday off, because we're a small school, they're involved in so many activities, and also with parents being it's a small community that can do the family thing. So having that extra day out really helps. WILD: How did you get parents to support this? Because I wonder if there were parents who said, geez, now I'm losing a day of, you know -- teachers are not just glorified babysitters, but the reality is, it does comprise you to the bulk of childcare for working parents. So I wonder if, you know, how you got buy in from, you know, two parent households, where -- households where there are two parents who are working? How did you get them to buy into this idea?

HESLINGA: Buy in was hard at the very beginning because childcare was the number one reason why there was not buy in. When we surveyed the parents, you know, 80 percent was buying. But with the childcare, we asked the local churches to see if they can help and so forth. But we also asked other school districts that went to the four-day week, that was also their number one concern, but over time, people just seem to figure it out or took other alternative ways to find that babysitter.

So right now, we'll be surveying the parents in nine weeks to see how things are going to. Right now, you know, things are going well with that, especially with the babysitter, we have not heard any resistance.

WILD: And how are the students reacting academically? How do you know that this works for them?

HESLINGA: Well, we're only been in school for four weeks, and we run weekly reports with Ds and Fs. One things we can do is we can look at last year's D and Fs each week to see where we're at. But we're also are able to put a support and we're at the high school, we have a 15- minute block of time where students that are struggling, will get extra support or have a student missed a certain day they can get extra support. So we built in supports within the day to help students that are struggling, because the bottom line is our students.

WILD: So how will you know if this is going to work for you long term? What are the key performance indicators that you're watching?

HESLINGA: With staff retention is one of them. Also student attendance, staff attendance, and also ultimately academics looking at our test scores, but also just the culture of the building, culture of the community, culture of their staff, and also we look at the mental health. So I think you can look at many factors to do determine whether or not this was a success.

WILD: So did it help with recruitment? Are you guys at 100 percent, you know, with positions filled? How did people out there were looking for teaching jobs react?

HESLINGA: When we were a small schools, so we don't have a lot of applicants to begin with. So instead of having maybe three or four applicants for a position, we might have had now maybe five to seven. There are some people that applied here, just because we're going to afford, we are late into the game adopting this. So it was in April when by then a lot of positions were being filled.

And so we have everything's filled. We have two positions that are not completely full of certified. But our goal is to retain our staff that we have. We have an amazing staff here at Maysville. And we want to keep our teachers here and not go into a neighboring district or to a larger district.

WILD: All right, Chris, thank you so much. We really appreciate your time.

HESLINGA: Thank you. You have a great day.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, officials in Mississippi are looking into allegations that millions of dollars in welfare funds were misspent. It would be the largest public fraud scheme in the state's history. We're going to show you the text linking Hall of Famer Brett Favre and a former Mississippi Governor to the investigation. Stay with New Day.



WILD: Sorry, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre is denying any wrongdoing after his text messages were included in a lawsuit over misspent welfare funds in Mississippi.

SANCHEZ: The lawsuit stems from an investigation into how the state spent tens of millions of dollars in federal money that was intended to go to those most in need. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has that story.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New court documents filed this week include text messages that appear to show Mississippi's former governor helping NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre secure millions to build a volleyball facility. Money that came from funds meant for needy families in one of the nation's poorest states. A fact that Favre's attorney claims the former quarterback did not know at the time.

PAUL H. 'BUD' HOLMES, ATTORNEY FOR BRETT FAVRE: Brett, could have been more honorable in any of it. He had no idea where it came from.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The text messages first revealed by Mississippi today as part of its years long investigative reporting into the scandal were entered into the state's civil lawsuit on Monday by an attorney for the nonprofit founded by Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to charges related to the overall welfare fund scheme, which the state auditor has called the largest public fraud scheme in Mississippi history.

New's son has also pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme. Core documents showed that he knowingly transferred public funds intended for needy families for the construction of the volleyball facility. The batch of Nancy New's tech start in 2017 and appear to show former Governor Phil Bryant, Favre, New and others working to secure the money to build a volleyball center at Favre's, the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter then played the sport.


On August 3, 2017, court documents show that Favre texted Nancy New, quote, "If you were to pay me, is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much. She responded, "No. we have never had that information publicized. I understand you're being uneasy about that though." The next day adding, "Wow, I just got off the phone with Phil Bryant. He is on board with us. We will get this done."

Bryant texted New, "Just left Brett Favre. Can we help him with this project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course. Favre and New text regular updates on their continued conversations with the governor 40 each other messages from Bryant on the funding status.

In August 2019, Favre tells Nancy New, "He sent to me just a second ago that he has seen it but hint hint that you need to reword it to get it accepted." He didn't forward it a message allegedly from the governor instructing how to rework the funding proposal. At one point, New asked, "Confidential. Do you get the impression the governor will help us?" Favre respondent, I really feel like he is trying to figure out a way to get it done without actually saying it."

Months later, Governor Bryant asked New whether she had gotten any of the new programs from the state's Department of Human Services. New responded in part, "Someone was definitely pulling for us behind the scenes. Thank you." Bryant responded with a smiley emoji.

Neither Favre nor Bryant had been charged with anything related to the welfare fund scheme. In a statement, the former governor's attorney told CNN in part, "Cases should be tried in courts of law where Rules of Evidence governed and privileges are respected. They should not be tried in the press, where innuendo and speculation sometimes get confused with actual facts."

Mississippi today reporter Anna Wolfe told CNN she began digging on the volleyball center funding in 2020 asking both Favre and Bryant about the project then.

ANNA WOLFE, INVETIGATIVE REPORTER, MISSISSIPPI TODAY: And Brett Favre told us that he did not discuss the volleyball project with the governor which is obviously flat out, you know, proven to be incorrect by the text messages that we uncovered this week. And the governor also, you know, tried to distance himself from the project said that he didn't know anything about it.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): This is not the first time the former quarterback's name has been associated with the scheme. Last year, he was forced to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars that the state auditor said was illegally paid to Favre from welfare funds for speeches the auditor claimed Favre never gave. The Mississippi native said in May of 2020 that he had no knowledge the money he'd received was misappropriated.


WILD: More to learn on that. Dianne Gallagher, thank you. All right, switching gears, hurricane watches are up in Puerto Rico and parts of the Dominican Republic as Tropical Storm Fiona starts to close in.

SANCHEZ: Let's take you to the CNN Weather Center now and Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, what do you see in the forecast?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're already starting to see a lot of those showers and thunderstorms begin to appear across several areas in the Caribbean, U.S. Virgin Islands starting to get some outer bands here, St. Kitts, Antigua. And really that far south eastern portion of Puerto Rico really starting to see a lot of that cloud cover fill back in at this point. And a lot of the heavy rain showers will likely continue in the next few hours.

Sustained winds with Fiona right now were 60 miles per hour. They are gusting up to 70. But we actually anticipate those to get a little bit stronger. And that's why you have hurricane watches. That's the pink color you see here for portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico. The blue color indicates tropical storm warnings.

Again, the forecast for Fiona is for it to intensify and strengthen into a category 1 storm, likely in the next 24 to 36 hours, sometimes late Sunday into early Monday. By that point, it will be making its way over towards Hispaniola before finally starting to make more of a right hand turn to the north, steering away from the mainland U.S. Now with that said, you're still likely to get some rip currents and some high surf along the east coast of Florida in the coming days, even though the storm itself will be a little bit farther away from shore.

In the short term, no heavy rainfall is going to be one of the big concerns across the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, guys. We're talking widespread 4 to 6 inches, but as much as 8 to 10 in some places.

SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar at the CNN Weather Center. Thank you so much, Allison.

And thank you for sharing part of your morning with us. Whitney, I hope you don't have plans at 10:00 a.m.


SANCHEZ: Because after an hour of Smerconish, we're supposed to come back.

WILD: OK, that's good to know. I won't go anywhere.

SANCHEZ: Yes, stick around.

WILD: And I hope you don't either, right?

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much for being with us. "SMERCONISH" is next.