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New Day Sunday

Akron Police to Release Video in Fatal Shooting of Jayland Walker; Flight Cancellations Plague Airlines As Millions Travel This Weekend; Democratic Candidates in A.G. Races Vow Not to Enforce Abortion Bans; Uvalde School District Police Chief Resigns From City Council; Cities Cancel Fireworks Due to Supply Chain Issues, Labor Shortages. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 03, 2022 - 07:00   ET




KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Kristin Fisher.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kristin. I'm Boris Sanchez.

The city of Akron, Ohio, is on edge, because later today, police are going to release bodycam footage showing the shooting death of Jayland Walker after his encounter with officers. We're going to show you what we know about the case, and we're going to hear from someone close to the family.

FISHER: And air travel is surging to pre-pandemic levels this weekend, but with that comes headaches for airlines and passengers. Where we could see travel issues today and what airlines are doing to stave off future pilot shortages.

SANCHEZ: Plus, some Democratic attorney general candidates in crucial battleground states say they will not enforce abortion bans if they're elected to office this November. We're going to be joined live by one of them.

FISHER: And, Fourth of July fizzle? Why the skies over some cities will remain dark this Independence Day.


FISHER: It is Sunday, July 3rd. Thank you for waking up with us.

And, Boris, it is good to be back with you for day two.

SANCHEZ: Kristin, great to have you as always.

We begin this morning in Akron, Ohio. The community is bracing for more protests later today after officials have said they're going to release body cam footage in the police shooting of Jayland Walker. FISHER: Yeah, police shot and killed Walker on Monday after what

began as a routine traffic stop, became a police chase. According to CNN affiliate WEWS, Walker died from multiple gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen and upper legs.

CNN's Polo Sandoval reports.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the key questions being asked here in Akron, Ohio, is what were Jayland Walker's alleged actions that provoked a hail of gunfire from police officers? I had an opportunity over the weekend to speak to an attorney representing the Walker family, he has had a chance to actually review some of the police body camera footage that is expected to be released on Sunday and he told me and what he saw was, quote, indescribable and also unspeakable event.

Akron police saying this started shortly after midnight on Monday when their police officers tried to carry out a traffic stop. They say the driver of a vehicle then fled and at one point police officers say that they were reported firearms, at least one firearm being discharged from inside that vehicle before the occupant then essentially fled on foot, starting a foot chase.

At that point is when investigators say that there were actions by the suspect involved that caused officers to perceive that he posed a threat, and that's when several of these officers opened fire. The family's attorney telling me they understand that there were multiple, dozens and dozens of shots fired by police officers and a preliminary autopsy that they say that they have been able to see shows as many as 61 wounds on Walker's body. However, they also made clear that it will be up to the coroner's office to find out whether or not those are bullet entry or exit wounds or combination of both.

Meanwhile, though, this community is coping with what happened on Monday with demonstrators peacefully taking to the street, asking for -- demanding justice and action. Over the weekend, had an opportunity to speak to Bobby DiCello, one of the attorneys representing the walker family.


BOBBY DICELLO, WALKER'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: The use of guns, the presence of guns does not give to an officer the carte blanche to just shoot until the guy stops moving or shoot while he's running away. That's not how it works. You can't drop him and seize his body with force.


SANDOVAL: And ahead of Sunday's release of the police body camera video, we know that city officials here have taken actions to guarantee the safety of many downtown, even staged equipment throughout the city to potentially close off some vehicle traffic here. [07:05:10]

As for Fourth of July festivities, one festival in particular, actually canceled by city officials, Akron's mayor saying it is not the right time to have a city-led celebration. I heard over the weekend from many people taking to the streets who would certainly agree.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Akron, Ohio.


SANCHEZ: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that report.

Let's discuss this incident and the investigation with Judi Hill. She's the president of the Akron NAACP. She's been in contact with the Walker family as well.

Judi, we're grateful to have you this morning. I'm wondering how his family is doing and what they shared with you.

JUDI HILL, AKRON NAACP PRESIDENT: Good morning. I am in contact with the family, but the family has a spokesperson that they work directly with, and that individual would know better today after how the family is doing after watching the killing of their son and grandson and brother.

SANCHEZ: Have you gotten a chance to speak to anyone who reviewed that body camera footage yet?

HILL: Oh, yes. Yes.

SANCHEZ: And what have they shared with you?

HILL: The concerns are real. When an individual is shot that many times, there is no question that there is an issue here. Everyone is concerned. The mayor made it very clear by shutting downtown. Everybody in the city is on arms and waiting release of the video cam.

So, it is an issue. We're all concerned. Those who have seen it have shared two things with me.

One, that they could not watch it without crying. And it took them time to gather their thoughts to even talk about it afterwards.

SANCHEZ: It must be incredibly difficult to witness something like that. What is it that you would like to hear from police and from investigators as this footage is being put out there into the community?

HILL: You know, first of all, I want them to acknowledge, to acknowledge that Jayland Walker, he was outmanned, he was outgunned and he was contained in an area.

Please help us understand why for any reason anyone would have to be shot that many times by that many officers. Clearly the eight, ten or however many officers were on the scene was -- it was not required. There is no justification for that. None.

So I think we're all looking for swift, clear justice for Jayland. We don't want this to go and be another shooting. We can't keep doing this in America and think that it is not going to create problems around not just Akron, but around the world.

SANCHEZ: We want to remind our viewers the officers that were involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

Judi, how much faith do you have that state investigators are going to conduct an investigation that is fair and thorough?

HILL: Well, I applaud the police chief for, first of all, sending it out to the state. However, I would really hope and pray that the Department of Justice can come in, and not just look at the evidence and say, oh, it was justified, but also look at the criminality of this issue to look at what really happened, and delve into the body cam footage, look at the interviews, look at what really transcribed from all the evidence that they will receive. I am very hopeful that will happen.

SANCHEZ: Local officials have canceled some holiday celebrations, concerned about how the public might react to the body cam video. Do you think it was the right decision to cancel these holiday events? What's your message to the public?

HILL: First of all, absolutely I believe it was a perfect call. Not just for the safety of the residents, but also for the safety of the officers.

Let's be honest, all the officers in the city of Akron are not bad people. Some of them work very closely with residents, with neighborhoods, and they really want a safer Akron.

But it is always the few that taint, that create a problem for the city. And those are the individuals that are going to have to pay one way or another for this incident. So what we're asking for is for people to take a deep breath, because I know this video is going to be harmful.


I know this video is going to create pain. It is like Rodney King all over again. I'm still traumatized by that. And I just hope that we channel our energy into change, action for change. We can't get justice for Jayland if we're focused on tearing up the city. We can't get justice for Jayland and any other victim of this kind of heinous crime if we are so focused on being angry.

I want to call for change, and immediate, swift, it has to occur if our city is going to survive. And it can't just placate us again.

SANCHEZ: Judi, did you know Jayland personally? What did you know about him?

HILL: No. What I know about Jayland is what we all read in the paper. He was a 25-year-old young man, who went to high school, graduated from high school, was a member of his wrestling team, was well loved, he was a DoorDash driver, and he was out making a living for himself.

He unfortunately, it is my understanding, lost a loved one recently in his anticipated wife in a car accident. But he was moving on with his life and he was trying to do what any other normal person would do in America, that we want them to do, is to live and thrive and go about their business of doing their work.

SANCHEZ: Judi, is there anything else you want to share with our viewers?

HILL: I just hope and as I said that individuals that are coming from the outside would understand that Akron needs to heal, that Akron is trying its best to get justice. And we need that opportunity.

The peaceful rallies we understand. But tearing up our city will distract from the message. It will distract from the fact that a young man lost his life to 60 bullets -- one person, 60 bullets.

So, I would hope and ask for that kind of discernment from the community, and from others that are watching the situation. I hope it is not just another sound bite. I pray that we can all come together to create real change in the city of Akron.

SANCHEZ: Judy, I did want to just ask you, you mentioned 60 bullets. Was that from a medical examiner? Where exactly are you getting that detail?

HILL: Those are the reports that we're hearing. Until the video actually is released to the public, we won't know for sure, but I don't even think the video will capture how many. I think it will capture the scene. And when you look at from my understanding, when you look at a video like that, there is no way you can justify killing a man, 60 times, who was running away from a scene.

SANCHEZ: Judi Hill, we hope that the public heeds your words in maintaining peace. We hope you get the answers you're looking for and you and the community and his family are looking for. And we thank you for sharing a part of your morning with us.

Judi Hill, thank you so much.

HILL: Thank you.

FISHER: Well, this morning, millions of Americans are traveling for the July 4th weekend, but reaching that final destination, it might come a bit of a headache. You probably heard by now. So far nearly 200 flights have been canceled and more than 400 are delayed.

And if you're driving, it is probably not going to be much better because you got packed highways along with those sky high gas prices, probably going to put a damper on your trip. Right now, the cost of regular gas is averaging $4.81 per gallon.

CNN's Nadia Romero is at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

And, Nadia, boy, you got another big line behind you.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the line has really extended since we last talked to you just last hour. You see it is all the way down this hallway, wrapping itself around, much longer than just an hour ago. And travel experts said that today and tomorrow we wouldn't see this much congestion. But it is just as busy as it was on Friday, especially now when you think that we are halfway through the holiday weekend. You wouldn't expect as many people to be traveling today, but you can see the long lines here this is the general boarding area.

So, folks here still need to take off their shoes, pull out their laptops, there are different areas where you wait in line and moved on to another checkpoint, another checkpoint, until you make your way all the way up to the front and get past TSA security checkpoint, hopefully, and on your way to your flight. And the goal is for your flight to actually still happen and not be delayed or canceled. If you look at Friday and Saturday, what we had, 586 canceled flights on Friday, 654 canceled flights on Saturday.

So far today we have another 190 or so flights canceled, that's more than 1400 flights canceled just over the past three days. Just over this weekend, and the day is young.

And we spoke with one man who had his flight canceled so many times that he ditched his original airport and got on another flight to try it get home, only after spending at least 11 hours in the airport. Take a listen.


IVAN GAVIRILINE, TRAVELING FOR THE JULY 4TH HOLIDAY: I'm flying to Las Vegas. I was meant to leave at 8:00 a.m. flight canceled. Another flight, 11:00 a.m., canceled. One more, 3:00, canceled.

And then we just switched whole airlines, now flying frontier 7:00 p.m., hopefully that works out well. If not, you know, I guess we're staying the night at the airport because this is meant to be the busiest airport and right now it is about to be overloaded.


ROMERO: Yeah, and we are seeing plenty of people who are frustrated, I spoke with a woman yesterday who told me she didn't want to go on camera, she was wearing the same clothes she was wearing the day before because she spent the night here at the airport -- Kristin.

FISHER: Nadia Romero, thank you so much.

Well, much of the U.S. will see chances of rain through tomorrow, which may add to the traveling chaos or even disrupt some outdoor celebrations and last night it rained so much here in Washington that my basement flooded.

SANCHEZ: Your basement flooded?

FISHER: Fully flooded basement. We have been talking about the rain all weekend. I am -- I got to experience it firsthand.

SANCHEZ: And even with all that rain, there were still kids outside my building setting off fireworks and keeping everybody awake.

FISHER: I think I got you beat with the basement flood, but I am sorry you lost some sleep last night.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, sorry.

Well, let's get to CNN's Karen Maginnis waiting patiently in the weather center for us to toss to her.

Karen, what should people across the country expect?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristin, I am so sorry. I know that's a miserable feeling.

And waiting at the airport, I look at the long lines and think I'm glad I'm in the studio to tell you about the weather coming up over the next couple of days because essentially, it has not changed a whole lot. We have two big differences. We told you about 24 hours ago about tropical storm Colin. That is no more. There is still some lingering moisture here but we don't have an actual tropical system.

And the frontal system that is just languishing right across the mid- Atlantic, the Central Mississippi River Valley, that's been through the south, high pressure moves in. So that's going to suppress a thunderstorm activity that we saw in the Northeast, that produced high winds. We had over 100 reports of very high winds in Baltimore, some of the suburbs around that area, along the I-95 corridor. Coming up for this afternoon, weather-related possible delays for today, Atlanta, Memphis, Raleigh, Denver, Billings, Montana -- yeah, Billings, Montana, that's a super destination, because we have got some thunderstorms rumbling around the region.

Now, these are not the cancellations they are associated with weather. Take a look at this, Florida peninsula, watch out, you'll be dodging some thunderstorms, but pretty nice in the northeast, nice and quiet and toasty. Back to you guys.

SANCHEZ: Karen Maginnis, thanks so much.

FISHER: And make sure to tune in to CNN on July 4th as we celebrate the Fourth in America. We have music from artists like Journey, Willie Nelson, and Boris' favorite, Pit Bull.

Catch it tomorrow, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

And still to come this morning, labor shortages aren't only impacting Fourth of July travel plans. It is also forcing some cities to cancel their Independence Day fireworks. Why it is so hard to hire for these big fireworks shows. SANCHEZ: Plus, as states begin banning abortions, some attorneys

general candidates are pushing back. Why some are saying they're not going to enforce their state's laws next.



SANCHEZ: As many states across the country move quickly to restrict abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, some Democratic officials in those states say they will not enforce those laws. In fact, some Democratic candidates running to be attorneys general are campaigning on ignoring abortion laws.

Georgia State Senator Jen Jordan is here with us now. She's the Democratic nominee and the race to be the state's attorney general.

Jen, we appreciate having you this Sunday.

You said you will not defend the abortion ban in court that could potentially come up in Georgia. What do you make of the argument you're neglecting your job if you don't follow the letter of the law?

JEN JORDAN (D), GEORGIA STATE SENATE: Well, good morning, thank you for having me.

I think we need to look at it this way, the way I look at my job is to actually protect the constitutional rights of the citizens of this state, and we're not just talking about the U.S. Constitution, I think more specifically and specifically for me this really is about the rights of all Georgians of the Georgia Constitution.

So while I would not defend HB 481, the abortion ban here, I absolutely would challenge it because I think if you look at our Constitution, the language, the history, and the right to privacy that has been upheld over and over and over at the state level, that HB 481 is not going to be able to make it over the line when it comes just to a basic Georgia constitutional analysis.


And I believe that is the job of the attorney general.

SANCHEZ: So, just to make clear for our viewers, that law that you're talking about, a federal judge struck it down last year, but your Republican opponent, the Attorney General Chris Carr, he's asking the court to now reconsider it since Roe versus Wade was overturned.

If it does wind up being put in place, what would that mean for people seeking abortions in Georgia?

JORDAN: Well, the law itself is, I mean, I can't even tell you the impact that it is going to have on so many women and girls in this state. But that's why it is important.

Look, whether or not it runs afoul of the federal, the national Constitution, which is really what we were dealing with in Roe v. Wade, that does not settle the issue of whether or not it is constitutional under the Georgia Constitution. And so that's why it is important that even though it gets sent back to the state, in terms of that maybe it doesn't run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, we still have the ability to challenge it here at state level.

I think that's absolutely necessary because, you know, the impact of this law on the ability of women just to be able to access basic healthcare, the ability of them just to make the most basic decisions about their life and have autonomy over their bodies, I think that's incredibly significant. I think it is worth fighting for and that's exactly what I would do.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned just a moment ago that the state constitution has protections for the right to privacy that have been repeatedly upheld.

How does that legally square with what the Supreme Court decided that the right to privacy does not allow women to access abortion?

JORDAN: So what people have to understand is that there is really kind of two paths here. There is the U.S. Constitution, which is what Roe v. Wade and the United States Supreme Court was making their decision under, but each state has their own state Constitution, which is also controlling with respect to that state.

And so while, you know, there may not be a protection at the federal level, that, you know, the next step is really to challenge this at the state level and every state, you know, can do that. Every state has a different constitution, different protections for their citizens.

And with respect to Georgia, Georgia had a right to privacy that it has identified since 1905. I mean, Georgia is fairly progressive when we're talking about the right to privacy, and, in fact, recognize one in its state constitution way before the one in the United States constitution was recognized first in Griswold versus Connecticut.

So, you know what? Justice Alito said that now the battle is at the state level, it is for the states to determine what they think about abortion and how they approach it. And so, you know, we're going to take that dictate and that's what we're going to follow. And whether we need to do it at the ballot box and tell people to get out and vote, and to vote out the people who have brought us to this place, or if we take it to the Georgia courts, and fight under the Georgia constitution, you know, that's exactly what we're going to do.

SANCHEZ: And are you concerned that if that legal fight winds up, you know, being brought to fruition, that it will wind up in front of the same Supreme Court that just overturned Roe versus Wade so you would ultimately be forced to pursue those laws that you disagree with?

JORDAN: So, because it would be a wholly state court issue, dealing with the interpretation of Georgia's Constitution and what Georgia's rights are, you know, the likelihood of it getting up to the U.S. Supreme Court is very, very slim. Really because this is about what, you know, right back to what Alito said, which is this is really for the states to Milwaukee a determination, and if the state Supreme Court says there is a right to privacy, that allows women to have autonomy over their bodies, right, and to be treated equal, then that decision will stand.

SANCHEZ: State Senator Jen Jordan, we got to leave the conversation there. Thanks so much for the time.

JORDAN: Thank you.

FISHER: Getting more pilots in the skies, up next, a look at a training program doing just that, all while promoting diversity in the cockpit.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: An update now on a story we have been following very closely from Uvalde, Texas. The embattled school district police chief there, Pete Arredondo, has resigned from his position on the city council. Arredondo was under fire for the, quote, abject failure of the police response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School. Remember, it left 19 children and two teachers dead.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: The Texas Public Safety director blamed Arredondo who has been placed on leave from his position as school police chief. Arredondo wrote this in his resignation letter, quote: It is for the best interest of the community to step down as a member of the city council to minimize further distractions.

Arredondo had been elected to the Uvalde City Council on May 7, just weeks before the massacre.

The TSA says it screened more than 2.5 million passengers on Friday, the highest since before the start of the pandemic. But all of those passengers are creating travel headaches for the nation's airlines.

SANCHEZ: According to Flight Aware, more than 600 flights into and out of the United States were canceled yesterday. With thousands more delayed as airlines struggle to keep up with surging demand and a growing shortage of workers.

And while there is no quick fix, some are taking steps to avoid a long-term crisis.


CNN's Chris Nguyen has that story for us.


CHRIS NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a busy season of air travel upon us, passengers are bracing for more delays as airlines deal with a national pilot shortage. But in the Pacific Northwest, a new training program aims to make a difference in the long run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make a left turn.

NGUYEN: Billy Cachoret (ph) will soon enter the Ascend Pilot Academy to pursue his dream of flying commercially.

BILLY CACHORET (ph), ASCEND PILOT ACADEMY CADET: It means a lot to me specifically because I grew up in foster care.

NGUYEN: The 21-year-old from San Diego getting a preview of his future on a recent summer day.

CACHORET (ph): I think that I am extremely grateful I've been given this opportunity to pursue a career in aviation without having to go in debt.

NGUYEN: The program is a partnership between Hillsboro Aero Academy and Alaska Airlines and its regional partner Horizon Air. Upon enrolment, cades receive a conditional job offer at Horizon and are eligible for low interest financial aid and $25,000 stipend to cover the cost of a commercial pilot license.

RYAN MOHAMMED, HILLSBORO AERO ACADEMY CHIEF INSTRUCTOR: I get this euphoric feeling thinking of myself, wow, I can't believe this is what I'm doing, you know? I do know that for a lot of individuals who really want to, they can't, because of that huge barrier, the finances.

NGUYEN: The overall training can cost about $100,000, which is often a barrier to entry, especially in an industry that severely lacks women and people of color in the cockpit.

HEIDI ROTH, ASCEND PILOT ACADEMY CADET: It is life changing. It opened the door for me directly to my career and my dream.

NGUYEN: The FAA requires a minimum of 1,500 flight hours to qualify for an airline transport pilot certificate, which officials say can take three to five years to compete.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of pilots at major airlines took early retirements, speeding up a pilot shortage that was already taking shape.

Officials at Alaska say they need to hire 500 pilots a year for the next four years, just to meet their staffing needs. This program is only one part of building out the pipeline.

CARLOS ZENDAYAS, VICE PREIDENT OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS, HORIZON AIR: We want our pilot group to look like the general population. We want them to know that aviation is available for everyone.

NGUYEN: Despite some of the ongoing issues surrounding the industry, some say now would still be a good time to enter. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a sector in the economy that is going to

be growing robustly, that means that you have a very good job, and if you like the sky, then, well, the sky is the limit.

NGUYEN: An opportunity to take flight for these diverse pilots in training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Change has been needing to be happening for far too long. And thankfully I've been given the opportunity to be a part of that change.

NGUYEN: In Hillsboro, Oregon, I'm Chris Nguyen reporting.


FISHER: Thank you, Chris, for that report.

Well, this is a sad story. The skies are going to be silent and dark in some cities tomorrow, on the Fourth of July. How supply chain issues and the labor shortage are forcing some cities to rethink their Fourth of July celebrations.



FISHER: It's not the Fourth of July without fireworks. But in some towns and cities, there won't be any fireworks this year.

Joining us now Steve Houser, president of the National Fireworks Association.

Steve, thank you so much for being with us.

And before we get into the why this is happening, I'd like to know, first, how bad it is. Is this happening everywhere or only in smaller towns? How big is the problem?

STEVE HOUSER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FIREWORKS ASSOCIATION: Well, I think from talking to most of the professional display companies that I come in contact with, it is typically going to be confined more to smaller venues as far as seeing some of these, you know, vacancies of shows or cancellations or date adjustments. I think a lot of the really big shows, you know, the companies are working very hard to keep those open because they draw such a level of attention, things like Washington, and Chicago, and New York, things like those. So I think a lot of the midmarket sizes, they're the ones that are suffering, I think, the most.

FISHER: All right. So, let's get into the why. There is, as I recently learned, two different categories to talk about here. You got the professional fireworks and the consumer fireworks.

Let's start with the big professional displays. What sorts of issues are cities encountering when they try to put on the fireworks displays this fourth? HOUSER: The professional fireworks side has two primary issues this

year. One is obviously supply. You can't just shift those fireworks on any old vessel. There is only a few shipping lines that will actually carry the 1.3G professional fireworks and the supply is, you know, what they need for inventory this year, vastly outweighed the amount of shipping space that they were able to generate. So that led to an actual fireworks shortage problem.

The other issue is that labor is troublesome. During the COVID pandemic lockdowns, when a lot of the shows were canceled, there were people that were professional pyro-technicians that left the industry and left the industry for other work so they could have a job. Some of those have not come back. In addition, additional CDL regulations for drivers have become a little more strict.

So some people are leaving the industry because they only use it once or twice a year anyway.


FISHER: So what's the problem on the consumer side? I imagine there are similar supply chain issues, but obviously you don't have to have a license to set off a firework in your backyard.

HOUSER: Actually, the consumer industry is just fine, relative to the professional side. We have lots of supply. We fixed a lot of issues. We're using different ports around the country, places like Mobile, Savannah, Georgia, Galveston, Texas, Longview, Washington.

So, many of the ports have opened up to our goods. Consumer fireworks inventories are very strong. The hardest thing to wrap all of our hands around is the massive upcrease in shipping costs.


HOUSER: So, unfortunately, some of those costs are going to have to be passed on.

FISHER: And, Steve, I think your -- what you had to deal with is just really quite telling. You paid $9,800 per container in 2019, and now this year, you're paying $36,000 per container. I mean, that's a massive increase.

HOUSER: It is. It is massive and it came very, very quickly. One thing to go from, you know, $9,800 to $36,000 over 15 or 20 years. But when you do that in two years, and just instantaneously -- and that number has fallen from last fall. So, you know, what we have in our industry, on the consumer side especially, is the tightening of margins.

You know, we're all taking less margin, both the importers and distributors like me, as well as the retail outlets where the public would buy their fireworks because we want to keep our customers, our customers, and we want to keep them celebrating with fireworks.

FISHER: All right. Well, Steve, thank you so much. I hope you're able to enjoy a fireworks display this holiday weekend at some point, and everybody else out there. It's not -- you can't have the fourth without some fireworks, right? Steve, thanks so much.

HOUSER: That's right. It is a tradition that John Adams set forth in his letter to his wife, so many hundreds of years ago.

FISHER: That is a great little trivia fact I did not know. Thanks, Steve.

HOUSER: Yep. That's right. Happy Fourth of July. Thank you.

FISHER: Happy Fourth to you, too.

HOUSER: Be safe.

SANCHEZ: So, it's a face only a pet parent could love. We're going to introduce you to the top dog at this year's world's ugliest dog contest as it makes a return from a pandemic pause.



FISHER: This is the story you've been waiting for, for two years. The world's ugliest dog contest is finally back after being put on hold because of the pandemic.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on Mr. Happy Face, the top mutt that walked away with grand prize this year.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world's ugliest dog contest is back in all its glory after a two-year pandemic break and, boy, is the winner a doozy.

What is the most common thing you hear people say when they first look at him?


MOOS: He is Mr. Happy face. How can he not be a winner with that smile? That Mohawk, that tongue.

BANELLY: This is not the full length of his tongue, I should forewarn you.

MOOS: Tongues are often wagging, saying the Sonoma County California's ugliest contest is mean. But Mr. Happy Face's owner knows better.

BANELLY: Isn't he magnificent?

MOOS: Janeda Banelly rescued Mr. Happy Face from a shelter where she asked to see unadoptable dogs. The hairless Chinese crested Chihuahua mix came from a hoarding situation and was 17 years old. At first, he couldn't even tolerate the human touch. But now he and

Janeda have bonded.

BANELLY: He started kissing my feet, my ankles. And what woman doesn't want any creature to kiss her feet and ankles.

MOOS: The recent winner of Westminster kennel club dog show might have longer ears, but Mr. Happy Face is likewise taking a victory lap, showing up on morning TV, and enjoying a treat of pureed chicken baby food while waiting for a cab in New York City.

He may seem alien.

BANELLY: He kind of looks like Yoda.

MOOS: But he's got some very human quirks.

BANELLY: His skin is so human-like that he does smell a little bit under the armpits. Am I giving too much information away?

MOOS: Yes.

Janeda says she hopes Mr. Happy face will inspire others to adopt older pets. And with a tongue like this, there's nobody Mr. Happy Face can't lick.

BANELLY: I think it might be longer than Gene Simmons' tongue.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: A face only a mother could love.

I hope that didn't impact our viewers' breakfast looking at that and hearing that he has an odor, too.

FISHER: That's exactly what I was -- I mean, he has an odor that comes out from under his arms. I mean, in addition to a face only a mother could love.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. Bless his heart.

Hey, thank you so much for starting your morning with us.


FISHER: And we'll leave you this morning with today's "The Human Factor."


MEIRA VA'A NELSON, ADAPTIVE SURFER: When I paddle out the first time, I was pretty scared. When I caught my first wave, the fire did not stop. My name is Meira Va'a Nelson, and I'm a parasurfer. A parasurfer is a disabled surfer or adaptive surfer.

I was 14 when I got into an accident. This was back home in Samoa. I came to Hawaii, went to Shriners, they fixed me up.


I was paralyzed from the chest down. I was an incomplete T6, spinal cord, broken spine. I use the wheelchair for six years before I was able to walk with two canes. Now I'm just using one cane.

I learned how to surf and now I'm representing Hawaii in the worldwide competitions. It is a custom surfboard made for my disability. Nobody knows I'm disabled until I get out of the water. And I had to carry my surfboard while holding a cane.

There is a lot, a lot of newly injured people, young people too, and those are the ones that I have to be positive for.

It's okay if you hit rock bottom. But don't stay there. Keep fighting.