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New Day Sunday
U.S. Officials: Putin Has 70 Percent of Forces in Place for Full-Scale Invasion; Man Charged After Kidnapping Housekeeper from Michael Bloomberg's Ranch; Far Right Pressuring McCarthy to Further Punish Cheney, Kinzinger; JAMA: COVID Lockdowns Linked to Health Issues in Kids; Anti-Vaccine Mandate Demonstrators Shut Down Ottawa Neighborhoods; Climate Change Threatens Future of Winter Games, Sports. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired February 06, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, for the morning commute, from New York farther up to the north, especially, though, across interior New England, Boris and Christi, where you are going to have some of that snow mixing in with the rain.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. I'm taking to the bank. That was good, Allison. Thank you. Allison Chinchar for us there.
The new hour of your NEW DAY starts now.
And with that, good morning and welcome to Sunday. We're glad to have you. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi.
I'm Boris Sanchez.
U.S. officials are warning that Russia has 70 percent of its military capabilities in place for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and one that could end with, quote, horrific results. How Russia is now responding.
PAUL: Also, I want to tell you about this bizarre break-in. An alleged burglar entered billionaire Michael Bloomberg's Colorado home and kidnapped a housekeeper. Hear what she says about the ordeal and what the man may have been after.
SANCHEZ: Plus, schools that are not okay. It comes from a Chicago principal who says that students are still struggling both medical mentally and academically almost two years into the pandemic. What he's seeing at his school.
PAUL: And alcoholic drinks are making a comeback on Southwest Airlines. While some passengers are raising a glass to that, one group has some real concerns. (MUSIC)
SANCHEZ: We are thrilled to have you this Sunday, February 6th. Thanks so much for joining.
Great to be with you, as always, Christi.
PAUL: Good to see you, Boris.
So, let's talk about Russia first and foremost, because it seems to be closing in on Ukraine, and that latest signs that Vladimir Putin may be close to an invasion here. He's reportedly assembled 70 percent of the troops and weapons that he would need for a full-scale invasion.
SANCHEZ: That is according to two U.S. officials familiar with the latest estimates. Russia continues to add to the forces in the region, almost daily, as the United States warns that an invasion would lead to horrific consequences.
CNN correspondent Melissa Bell has been following the developments from Kyiv, Ukraine.
Melissa, walk us through these latest developments and what this troop buildup suggests.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are some of the most alarming warnings we've had from American intelligence yet, Boris. When we're talking about is Russian troops that are amassed on several borders of Ukraine. And one of the most alarming, of course, is the buildup that's been happening across the Russian border, because what you're talking about is a border that is really a couple of hours drive from Kyiv.
But the latest American intelligence assessment is that if Vladimir Putin wanted to invade, he could do so pretty quickly, taking the Ukrainian capital within 48 hours. And if he were to carry out that multi-pronged attack from several different fronts, there's very little that Ukrainian armed forces could do about it, given the strength of the capabilities that have been amassed on those borders. Beyond the American intelligence assessments that is being shared with lawmakers, but with European allies as well, as the U.S. is trying to shore up NATO unity in the face of this threat, we can see on satellite imagery that we've been receiving and we can have a look at shows that chose that border.
Just about 50 kilometers from it, you can see where those capabilities have been changing. More men, more equipment, and also, aircraft that have been brought into several places. Again, very close to that border and worryingly close to the Ukrainian capital, Boris.
PAUL: Yeah, and that fortification almost looks as, Melissa, it would be telling us when situation as opposed to an "if" situation. We know that Emmanuel Macron is going to Moscow today and to Kyiv the next day. How much potential does he have to potentially detour this?
BELL: Well, he believes, Christi, that he has the Russian president's ear, and the feeling in western capitals is that some negotiation, some dialogue is better than none. But the feeling is that that window for opportunity for dialogue is narrowing.
And the point is whether or not the Russian president has already made the decision to invade, the point is that he could do so and do so with devastating impact. As we mentioned a moment ago, we could be talking about tens of thousands of casualties, millions of refugees, and what would be the largest land invasion in Europe since World War II, Christi and Boris.
SANCHEZ: Melissa Bell reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you so much.
Turning now to the United States and Wisconsin, specifically. There was a shooting at an apartment complex that ended with two people dead and another injured. This happened yesterday morning in Brown Deer, that's near Milwaukee.
And you see this dramatic video showing officers running away from the scene. One of them holding a child.
The officers say that just as they arrived, a suspect opened fire on them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF PETER NIMMER, BROWN DEER POLICE: Our officers were dispatched for a shots fired scene call. Upon our arrival to the scene, officers were fired on from the second floor balcony. They set up a perimeter. We requested mutual aid from multiple agencies in the North Shore, Milwaukee Police Department, North Shore Fire Department, Milwaukee Fire Department as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Now, no officers were hurt, but the suspect who has been identified as a 26-year-old man is dead after an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound. The relationships between the suspects and the victims, that isn't clear yet. But authorities believe this incident stemmed from a domestic dispute. We know the victims are a 23-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man. Police do plan to release their names later today.
And police in Virginia have arrested a suspect in the deadly shooting at a hookah lounge near the Virginia Tech campus. Twenty-four-year-old Jamel Flint is charged with first degree murder and several counts of attempted murder. Investigators say Flint killed 18-year-old Isiah Robinson and injured four other people Friday night at a bar.
Virginia Tech was placed on lockdown for several hours after that shooting and we learned one of those injured is a student at the school.
SANCHEZ: So, this is one of the oddest stories we're bringing to you this morning. A man accused of breaking into Michael Bloomberg's ranch in Colorado, kidnapping an employee, terrorizing her at gunpoint, he's now in custody facing both state and federal charges.
PAUL: Now, again, the woman is safe, which we're happy to tell you. She tells investigators her kidnapper was heavily armed, he wanted to know information about the former New York mayor's daughter.
CNN's Camila Bernal has more details for us here.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Christi, we know the man accused of kidnapping one of Michael Bloomberg's employees was identified as Joseph Beecher. And the information that we have is coming from an arrest warrant and from a criminal complaint filed in federal court. And according to those documents, Beecher allegedly rammed through the gates of this ranch, belonging to Michael Bloomberg in Rio Blanco County in Colorado.
According to those documents, he found that employee inside, who later told authorities that he was heavily armed, and that he told her that he would shoot her face off. He also told this employee, cording to these documents, that he wanted to create an international scene. He was also asking for the daughters of Michael Bloomberg by name.
Once he found out that the daughters were not at the ranch, according to these documents, he then made this employee, who was not named in any of the court filings, to get into her truck and drive him around. They ended up in Wyoming, and authorities were able to track them through her iPad, thankfully, she was okay.
Now, he is facing a number of charges, including a federal kidnapping charge and we know his first court appearance is on Tuesday. But the documents did not specify who his attorney is at the moment. We did hear, though, from Michael Bloomberg's spokesperson, who said that they're thankful to law enforcement for bringing back that employee, or that victim, to her family -- Boris, Christi.
SANCHEZ: Camila Bernal, thank you so much.
Pivoting to politics now, the Republican Party is determined to take back Congress in this year's midterm elections. They'll have to sort through some major rifts growing in their ranks.
Let's bring in "Politico" congressional reporter Olivia Beavers to discuss all things politics.
Olivia, good morning. Thanks so much for sharing part of your Sunday with us.
Some of that division in the party centers on the big lie, and what happened on January 6th. And we're now learning more about what some lawmakers were doing in the days and hours leading up to the insurrection. This week, we learned that Congressman Matt Gaetz met privately with Mike Pence, trying to convince him to overturn the election. We learned that others like Jim Jordan spent time talking on the phone with former President Trump that morning.
How do you think the January 6th Committee is going to handle the inevitability that those members are not going to comply with their investigation?
OLIVIA BEAVERS, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Boris, that is a major question that we have been waiting for months to try to figure out, is whether the January 6th committee does actually move to subpoena some of its own members, because that sort of opens a Pandora's box of using a tool that historically the House hasn't deployed. If it does, House Republicans win back the majority, you can imagine that they would absolutely use that same precedent against Democrats for whatever reason that they choose is reason to do it.
But as you said, we're still getting this drip, drip out of the January 6th Committee.
I interviewed Jim Jordan sometime last year and he told me he spoke to Donald Trump multiple times on the day of January 6th, but he has repeatedly said he doesn't know what time.
Now, the more information we're finding out, think we have signs that the committee is building a timeline of when these phone calls took place. The public doesn't know them, but it looks like they know the timeline of when the McCarthy and Donald Trump phone call took place, as well as the Jim Jordan phone call or phone calls.
SANCHEZ: And we're anticipating getting details on that likely in a few months, perhaps in early summer.
I do want to ask you about Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy because the pressure is growing on him to break precedent and potentially help out Liz Cheney's primary challenger. CNN reported last year that some of the other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump got money from McCarthy's leadership PAC.
So how does he navigate this midterm cycle, balancing these factions within his party? He obviously wants to be speaker and it is a very fine line to walk, isn't it?
BEAVERS: It's a really fine line and like you said, GOP leadership doesn't wade into primaries, but last year around this time I was in Florida, watching basically the dam break when Liz Cheney and McCarthy were at the GOP retreat. And that was when McCarthy started to move to oust Liz Cheney as conference chair and from there the relationship has deteriorated.
Now, McCarthy sort of way of responding to some of these things, like we saw with the RNC moving to censure Cheney and Congressman Kinzinger is he doesn't answer questions. He remains silent. It is not good for him to weigh in on and he's not -- he's not a fan of Cheney. She's been a thorn in his side. So it is going to be interesting, but, you know, if he breaks that
precedent, what is not to say that, you know, some of the more conservatives in his conference don't push him to start getting involved in other primaries where Republicans voted to impeach.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, potentially primaries where president -- former President Trump has selected multiple candidates to endorse. I want to ask you to expand on something you alluded to earlier because you've been doing a reporting on what Republicans plan to do with the January 6th committee if they win back the majority.
What's their calculus? What's their thinking?
BEAVERS: So we're sort of hearing from Republicans, I asked leadership, I asked freedom caucus, I asked more moderate members, you're getting sort of the goldilocks answers. Some say crumple it up, throw it in the trash bin, we don't want anything to do with it, let's move on. That's Congressman Dan Crenshaw, some more moderate members.
And then you have a more middle where they say, let's use it to investigate security measures and they want to, you know, turn the committee and investigate Nancy Pelosi, even though that shows there is a lack of understanding of how the Capitol security works at the U.S. Capitol.
Then there is members like Matt Gaetz and Newt Gingrich who want to turn it into a full out weapon against those who are on the committee, and investigate the investigators, and undermine the reality of what happened on January 6th, which is that Trump supporters breached and attacked people in the Capitol. They're trying to turn -- claim the government was behind it, or whatever conspiracy theory they're trying to spin.
So that is really where you're sort of seeing it. And expect if McCarthy becomes speaker, it falls to him. At the moment there are a lot of ideas and it seems like there is a push to at least use it as some sort of political tool.
SANCHEZ: At some point, I think the Republican leadership is going to have to answer for claims, like the one you mentioned, from Madison Cawthorn, the congressman suggesting that January 6th was a false flag operation and that it should be investigated, the deep state was behind it. Sure.
Olivia Beavers, thanks so much for the time. Always appreciate hearing from you.
BEAVERS: Thank you, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
Don't forget, later this morning, you can get mo political analysis on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". Senator Joe Manchin is just one of several politicians who are going to be joining. Lisa Murkowski will be on as well.
It all starts today at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN. Don't miss it.
PAUL: So, more than two years into the pandemic, one Chicago principal says, quote, our schools are not okay. He is so concerned that he penned an op-ed to parents about what he's seeing every day. We think we know what's going on, you listen to him, and we do not. He's with us next. Stay close.
PAUL: So we may be turning a corner in the latest surge of the omicron variant. The impact of COVID-19, though, is so real in local communities across the country, particularly in our school systems. So many students are still struggling during this pandemic.
New research published last month in "JAMA Pediatrics" found that children are experiencing both mental and physical health problems, anxiety, depression, food insecurity, school disengagement, all linked to COVID school closures.
Seth Lavin is with me now. He's the principal of Chicago's Brentano Elementary Math and Science Academy. He has written this incredible op-ed in "The Chicago Sun-Times", highly suggest that you take a look at it, talking about the difficulties he sees each day in his school.
This was so eye-opening to me. We hear about this, but to hear it in the way you put it is extraordinary, Seth. Thank so much for being with us.
I want to read something that you wrote about how children are not okay, and teachers are not okay. This is what you say.
We knew this year would be hard. We did not know it would be like this. A kindergartner throwing chairs, a second-grader tearing up a classroom, a middle schooler swearing in your face, then falling to the ground in tears.
Every teacher I know feels like they're failing.
That is a lot of weight for a teacher to carry. I want to ask you about that in a moment, but I do want to break this down in two different parts here and talk about what's happening within the walls of your school.
Let's address the children part of this first if we could. What do they need the most, and what is most distressing to you when you interact or when you watch them?
SETH LAVIN, PRINCIPAL, BRENTANO ELEMENTARY MATH & SCIENCE ACADEMY: First, good morning. Thank you so much for being here and thank you for drawing attention to this.
You know, what the children need, the kids need love. It is hard right now. It is hard in schools, it is hard in schools everywhere. But my purpose isn't to scare people or to make people think the kids are bad or there is something wrong with them or something that needs fixing.
We have been out of community for so long that kids missed a lot and missed a lot of what it means to be in community. So, our job in schools is to help them come back together and work through all this. And figure it out.
What they need is love and patience and teaching, like they always do.
PAUL: So let's get to that, teachers aspect of it. We know how hard it has been to be at home with our family, with our kids sometimes and how overwhelming it is. I can't imagine what it is like for teachers who have an entire classroom full of kids struggling as well.
You had written about the teachers that the front line isn't holding. We know there were billions in education funds that were given out to schools from the government, but you say you cannot build an addition on a house that's on fire. Relay to us the weight that these teachers carry and what they most request from you.
LAVIN: Yeah, absolutely. My wife is a teacher at a school a couple of miles away from mine. I talk to her, of course, all the time. If you're a teacher, you're somebody who is caring for children, relearning to care for each other. And so, these students have experienced trauma. They have experienced hardship. Their emotions are bigger. Their irritability relationship is smaller.
Their familiarity with what it means to be in school is just not there in the same way it would be for other kids. If you're a teacher, you're taking 25, 30 kids into your classroom, who are feeling that way, we need love and patience and attention and care and you're supporting them all day, all year, and they got to learn algebra. It is an incredible weight on teachers. What teachers need to do most of all is the same thing as parents or adults as kids, to be present and loving and to support them through the things that they're feeling in a way that we are, ourselves called. That's hard for a teacher who has been through all this too as a human.
PAUL: You mentioned your wife being a teacher. I understand she's actually been at protesting the conditions of educators in Chicago. So that it probably makes for good conversations in your household.
What did teachers, as I said, what do they need most in that moment? When they protest what are they saying you need to help us with, fill in the blank?
LAVIN: Absolutely. I don't speak for teachers, let me say that. What we hear from teachers is most immediate protest of the omicron surge were for safety conditions. Teachers didn't feel the school districts were doing enough to keep them safe, to keep the students safe, to keep the community safe, especially when the numbers are so high.
So, the most recent school closures in Chicago are about that issue. Teachers want what is best for students, resources for kids. They want people in schools, social workers, counselors, people who can care for the kids and love the kids. Those are the things I hear teachers asking for, for support.
A lot of times where a teacher asks for in school is just somebody to support them for five minutes, so that they can meet with a group of students who has a problem to solve. Teachers want to work with kids, they love kids. Teachers are the most amazing people on earth and they just need help because the kids need so much help now, they're trying to make more of themselves to be able to do it. We need more.
LAVIN: Yeah, yeah. Well, we are lucky to have teachers who are helping take care of our children. There's no doubt about it. Seth Lavin, I understand you have an 8-year-old recovering from COVID. Glad he's okay. Hope you are all safe.
Thank you for the work you do. And thank you for those teachers, let them know the work they do is not unnoticed.
LAVIN: Thank you so much for calling attention to this.
PAUL: Absolutely. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: A so-called freedom convoy of truckers in Ottawa is making a lot of noise. And residents have had enough. We take a look at what's led up to this standoff, next.
PAUL: Nearly 30 minutes past the hour here. I want to give you a check of some of today's top stories.
First of all, Britain's Prince Andrew has agreed to make a statement under oath in the civil lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Giuffre. Giuffre claims she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and forced to perform sex acts on the duke of York when she was 17. Now, Prince Andrew has denied the allegations and he's moved multiple times to have the suit dismissed.
SANCHEZ: The man who fatally shot four people with an assault style rifle at a Waffle House in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison yesterday without the possibility of parole. On Friday, Travis Rankin was found guilty of 16 counts including eight counts of first degree murder. The jury heard from relatives of the four people he killed.
Rankin showed no emotion as the jury's sentence was announced. A criminal court judge will decide in may whether the sentences under the remaining charges will be consecutive or concurrent.
PAUL: And tomorrow, jury selection begins in the federal trial for the three white men who killed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery was out jogging back in 2020. He was chased down and shot to death.
This hate crime trial is moving forward after both Gregory and Travis McMichael withdrew their guilty pleas last week because the federal judge overseeing the case rejected plea agreements. That means reached with -- they reached with prosecutors over the Arbery family's objection.
Last year, we spoke to a for U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: This is a different case, really completely. The question of the murder is not there anymore. That's on tape. And state prosecutors made a decision to move forward without trying to get into too much evidence of motivation. He did not look for racial motivation or really present that type of evidence to the jury.
This case hinges on whether or not this racial motivation was part of the reason that Mr. Arbery was killed. And so we'll hear things, I'm sure. We don't know all of this yet, but we know about some texts out there that are disgusting and unsavory and comments that were made in the past and perhaps some things that are dealing with whether or not there was the Confederate flag on the truck. And we'll hear about that.
And again, what the prosecutors are having to do now in the federal case is show that this racial motivation was the motive behind the killing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And thank you to Michael Moore there. The McMichaels and William Roddie Bryan have already been sentenced to life in prison after their convictions in Georgia state court last year.
SANCHEZ: Nearly a decade after his death, Miami honored the memory of Trayvon Martin on what would have been his 27th birthday. The tenth annual remembrance weekend started with a basic and a peace talk yesterday. George Zimmerman, you might recall, shot and killed Martin back in 2012. Zimmerman claimed that Martin looked suspicious walking from a convenience store with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles in his hand. In the years following Martin's death, his family have become vocal leaders in the anti-violence movement.
Some noisy protests against COVID-19 restriction are moving across Canada and police in Vancouver say they arrested five people there yesterday.
PAUL: Yeah. In the capital, demonstrators have shut down neighborhoods, residents are frustrated with that.
CNN's Paula Newton reports from Ottawa.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sound is deafening and yet protesters are demanding to be heard. All day long and at all hours of the night, those with the so-called freedom convoy say that they're staying put until vaccine mandates are dropped, the masks come off, and life returns to the way it was.
JAMES MACDONALD, PROTESTER: This whole event has gone beyond just vaccines and it is now about the entire ordeal.
SUZANNE AND PAUL, PROTESTERS: We're asking for our freedom. That's all we want.
NEWTON: So they've been free. Free to park big rigs right next to the prime minister's office, free to set up camp in front of the country's national parliament. As angry and frustrated as these protesters are, residents say they feel like hostages and they want police to do more.
JACK KRENTZ, RESIDENT: I understand the police force does not want to directly intervene for fear of violence, but it feels like we've been left alone a little bit.
NEWTON: So desperate was this woman, she appealed directly to the protesters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The downtown residents, children, elderly are suffer.
NEWTON: They heard her, but they are not listening. It seems to anyone.
ADAM, RESIDENT: This is nothing but disruptive. They're using -- they're claiming their freedom while I can't even like hear anything, I can't even hear myself.
NEWTON: Ottawa police say they have learned much in the past week, especially after reports of assaults, intimidation, and allegations of hate speech and symbols.
CHIEF PETER SLOLY, OTTAWA POLICE SERVICE: Our goal is to end the demonstration.
NEWTON: To try to do that. They have called in more reinforcements, moving to what they call a surge and contain strategy. But the police chief warns --
SLOLY: This remains, as it was from the beginning, an increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous demonstration.
NEWTON: And it is spreading, like the contagion itself, right across the country, a handful of protests, including a border blockade. And now Canada's largest city, Toronto, closing a large section in front of the provincial legislature this weekend as truckers descend and more worrying, closing off the agenda hospital row, where exhausted health care workers carry on battling COVID.
CHIEF JAMES RAMER, TORONTO POLICE SERVICE: Anyone who attempts to disrupt hospital access and routes of emergency operations, including ambulance, fire, or police will be subject to strict enforcement.
NEWTON: And yet, both police and political leaders are warning, this now resembles an occupation, with no quick or easy end.
Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Paula, for that report.
Still ahead, this year's Olympics are the first to rely almost entirely on artificial snow. Next, you'll hear from athletes who fear that climate change are going to have a major impact on future games.
We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Unacceptable. That's how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described the league's lack of Black head coaches amid allegations of racial discrimination.
In a memo sent to teams on Saturday, Goodell said the league's policies on diversity and inclusion are not working and need to be re- evaluated, pointing specifically to the sideline, Goodell says the NFL must, quote, acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches, the results have been unacceptable.
Remember, on Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins head Coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against his old team, as well as the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and the NFL itself, claiming that the league remains rife with racism, even as it publicly condemns it. All three teams and the league have denied Flores' allegations.
PAUL: Well, the Beijing Winter Olympics are the first to rely almost entirely on artificial snow. And that may be the future. The reason being, they say, climate change.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, researchers say it's threatening future Winter Olympic Games and making conditions more dangerous for athletes.
CNN's Rene Marsh has the details.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No natural snow, a Winter Olympics first. Over 100 snow generators and 300 snow-making guns are doing what Mother Nature did not -- blanketing Beijing's bare slopes with snow.
JAMIE ANDERSON, U.S. OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER: It's not quite ideal, but I would say we're all making the most of it. You definitely don't want to fall. It feels like pretty bullet proof ice.
MARSH: Climate scientists warn this scene will become the norm as global warning threatens the future of snow sports. A new report finds that viable venues for the winter games are dwindling, iconic sites like Vancouver, Norway, Sochi, and the French Alps seeing temperatures warm and shorter and less reliable snow seasons.
Of the 21 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, only one is expected to have the necessary conditions to host them again safely at the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases are not drastically reduced.
ELENA HIGHT, U.S. OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER: I worry the mountains around me won't have snow for the next generation, or maybe even in my lifetime with the path that we're on.
MARSH: Two-time Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight says climate change already affecting her sport in her hometown of Lake Tahoe, due to shorter winter seasons and a lot of snow, resorts have done away with this concave structure known as the halfpipe. One of snowboarding's most famed contests.
HIGHT: We don't have consistent enough snow for the resorts to be enticed to build them. So, I see that, and there are no younger generations coming into Lake Tahoe that will be able to be home and train in the halfpipe and potentially pursue those Olympic dreams.
MARSH: Hight says artificial snow as a substitute comes with higher injury risks, less training, coupled increased danger are a problem for these athletes, environmental advocacy group, Protect Our Winter, warns artificial snow has limitations.
MARIO MOLINA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROTECT OUR WINTERS: In order to make artificial snow, there's a temperature threshold so you can't just make artificial snow in 40 degrees weather. You still need cold temperatures.
MARSH: Fake snow also comes with environmental risks, Beijing one of the most water-scarce cities in the world, estimates it will use some 49 million gallons of chemically treated water to make snow for alpine sporting events, something environmental advocates have criticized.
HIGHT: So it's actually causing the problem that we're being affected by. I hope that we never get to the point where snowboarding isn't a viable sport because of lack of snow. And really, I think that we have the ability to make those changes now.
MARSH (on camera): While, artificial snow can create a faster surface because it's almost 30 percent ice compared to real snow, which is 10 percent ice, so it's a harder and more slippery surface, and that is what creates the risk of severe injuries when an athlete takes a fall. But outside of the Olympics, ski resorts and the towns and economies that surround them are also being threatened by warming temperatures and unreliable snow.
Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: Great information. Thank you, Rene.
So nothing says love like red roses on Valentine 's Day, right? Well, you might be able to find other things. What if you cannot find these flowers, though?
SANCHEZ: Given all the viral videos we've seen over the last two years, this sounds like it might be a recipe for disaster, but Southwest Airlines is bringing back alcohol service on planes despite pushback from flight attendants.
PAUL: You literally took the words out of my mouth. I was seriously sitting here thinking, does anybody really think this is a good idea?
Listen, American Airlines is the last of the major U.S. airlines to withhold resuming alcohol sales.
Here's CNN's Pete Muntean.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This move welcome news for some passengers, but not so good according to Southwest Airlines flight attendants. More on that in a second.
What's so interesting here is that Southwest Airlines is one of the last major airlines to resume alcohol service onboard after so many shuttered it at the start of the pandemic, Southwest has not been serving alcohol onboard it flights since March of 2020. Here are the details. Southwest says it will start serving alcohol onboard again on February 16th on flights 176 miles or more. They'll be selling beer, wine, and liquor.
But Southwest airlines flight attendants call this move irresponsible and unacceptable. Lyn Montgomery, the head of TWU local 556, that's the union that represents Southwest flight attendants, says the following. She has says, quote, we have adamantly and unequivocally informed management that resuming sales of alcohol while the mask mandate is still in place has the great potential to increase customer noncompliance and misconduct issues.
Airline flight attendants have been on the front lines of ugly, unruly incidents onboard commercial flights that really shot up in this pandemic era of air travel. Look at the latest numbers. About 323 incidents reported by flight crews to the FAA so far this year, 5,981 incidents in 2021. So many of these incidents involve the federal transportation mask mandate still in place until March 18, 2022, and they say many of them are fueled by alcohol. Flight attendants say they need all the help that they can get and this move is not helping them.
Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: Pete, thank you.
So, we're about week away from Valentine's Day. Oh, those pesky supply chain problems. Romance is not going to bode well, apparently, if you're waiting for some flowers.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, florists across the nation are seeing flower shortages, especially for what you need most on Valentine's Day, red roses.
Here's CNN's Karin Caifa.
KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six blocks with dozens of wholesale flower vendors. Business in the Los Angeles flower district really blooms in February, so much that the California flower mall, one of the district's large markets, will stay open round-the- clock from Super Bowl Sunday through the end of Valentine's Day.
MARK CHATOFF, OWNER & PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA FLOWER MALL: It's a good feeling, you know? It's like you're buying flowers for somebody who you care about. So, all of that really helps, you know, despite the economics.
CAIFA: Owner Mark Chatoff says his 35 vendors stay the same economic issues as any other retailers as growers and suppliers count down to a second pandemic era Valentine's Day.
CHATOFF: We are facing rising costs, logistics, transportation, which is part of logistics, shortages.
CAIFA: Gersain Bustos brings flowers to the Los Angeles markets from local growers, but also items like roses from South America. He says disruptions to those air shipments are unlike anything he's seen in his 30 years in the flower industry.
GERSAIN BUSTOS, OWNER, GROWERS DIRECT FLOWERS: One airline cancels and whoever's behind it has the pressure to pick up what's behind.
CAIFA: And the high-demand holiday falling on a Monday this year puts on the pressure especially for florists tasked with final delivery.
KATE PENN, SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FLORISTS CEO: These are 2021 problems that are continuing into 2022, but it does get more difficult at Valentine's Day.
CAIFA: Ken Denaburg has owned and operated York Flowers in Washington, D.C. for 80 years.
KEN DENABURG, YORK FLOWERS PRESIDENT: This is what goes on behind the scenes.
CAIFA: He says he'll have what he needs this Valentine's Day, thanks to lessons learned throughout the pandemic. DENABURG: We've had to change design styles where we can't get
certain flowers or certain supplies. We've been practical and made changes so that we didn't try to force something that didn't work out.
CAIFA: While florists like Denaburg believes supply will meet demand, Society of American Florists CEO Kate Penn says flexibility and creativity may enter the mix.
PENN: It's just that sometimes, if you're looking for something super specific, you might not be able to get it. And the earlier you can order, the better.
CAIFA: Those big bouquets of red roses requiring a bigger effort at all points for the big day this year.
In Washington, I'm Karin Caifa.
PAUL: So many of you are waking up to really cold temperatures if you haven't stepped outside yet, you will find out.
SANCHEZ: Yeah. Let's got to meteorologist Allison Chinchar. She's live in the CNN weather center.
Earlier this morning, Allison, you said, there's nothing such as bad weather. There's only bad clothing. I have to agree to disagree. There is such a thing as bad weather.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't know. I mean, if you think about it, you see people when, you know, when it's raining, wearing full-on gear, they're not getting wet. You've got a ski -- famous thinking from a ski instructor that I had who basically was sick and tired of people who's complaining about how cold they were. And he said, just put extra layers on. There's stuff out there for you.
Now, I wouldn't necessarily just recommend staying outdoors just for the sake of being there, but, say, if you want to get out and walk the dog this morning and tends to be chilly, just bundle up, because you've got a lot of places that are dealing with temperatures, even ones that maybe aren't necessarily used to it being this cold.
Say, for example, 28 degrees right now in Charlotte; 32, right at the freezing mark in Atlanta; 29 in Houston. And we've still got a lot of these areas that are out, if we can push this forward. We've got some of these areas that are still dealing with freeze warnings and hard freeze warnings especially across the Deep South. The good news is, this is going to be the last morning where we really have those extremely cold temperatures. A lot of these areas will be getting back up to maybe within about a degree or two of normal, Boris and Christi, maybe not today, but certainly in the next day or so. PAUL: Thank you for the heads up, Allison. We appreciate it.
And thank you for spending some time with us this morning. We hope you make good memories today.
SANCHEZ: Christi, always great to be with you.
Don't go anywhere. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY WITH ABBY PHILLIP" is up next.