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Quick Guide & Transcript: Tornadoes strike parts of the Midwest, Paris Hilton gets jail sentence

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(CNN Student News) -- May 7, 2007

Quick Guide

Tornadoes Tear Midwest - Survey the destruction caused by a series of deadly tornadoes.

A Simpler Life? - Learn why a famous socialite may be spending some time behind bars.

Before We Go - Find out why one Florida teen wanted her dad to be her prom date.



CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're glad you're with us for a new week of CNN Student News. I'm Catherine Callaway. A town in ruins: Powerful tornadoes strike parts of the Midwest, leaving 10 people dead and wiping out an entire city. A celebrity in court: After driving with a suspended license, a hotel heiress may be spending some time in the slammer. And a date in uniform: Before he deploys for Iraq, a father gives his daughter a military escort to her senior prom.

First Up: Tornadoes Tear Midwest

CALLAWAY: First up today, the deadly force of nature. Parts of the Midwestern U.S. are struggling to recover today after waves of powerful tornadoes swept through the region over the weekend. The first group of twisters struck Kansas Friday night, and more than 75 tornado touchdowns were reported in Kansas and Oklahoma Saturday. The weekend's storms killed 10 people and injured more than 50 others, and left a path of damage and destruction in their wake. Rescue crews looked for survivors in one Kansas town Sunday, searching through piles of rubble, some of which measured 30 feet high. The Red Cross says that 90 percent of the city of Greensburg was destroyed or heavily damaged.

According to the National Weather Service, Greensburg was wiped out in just 15 to 20 minutes by a twister with winds that were estimated at more than 200 miles per hour. Jeff Flock surveys the devastation with the leader of a city that's been virtually erased from the map.


JEFF FLOCK, CNN REPORTER: The only way to get the enormity of the destruction is from the air. But the only way to see its completeness is on the ground.

FLOCK: I mean that bark looks like it's been just ripped clear off the tree.

STEVE HEWITT, GREENSBURG CITY MANAGER: Yeah, this, I mean all over town we're seeing this. This is typical all over town.

FLOCK: All over Steve Hewitt's town. He's city manager of a community that doesn't really exist anymore.

HEWITT: This was city hall.

FLOCK: This is where you worked.

HEWITT: That's where I worked.

FLOCK: The town center, churches, most of the houses. Hewitt takes us to a place now off limits to all but search and rescue.

HEWITT: Everything's destroyed. The city is destroyed. 95 percent of this city is destroyed.

FLOCK: That includes Steve Hewitt's house too, the one his grandfather built with his own hands. It looked kind of like this one. He'd show us, but it is completely gone. He was in the basement.

HEWITT: It's hard to believe you know. I'm reliving it in my mind right now, what we did. I held my son as he cried. My wife was crying. We got close together. But yet, it was over, I walked around the corner, I looked up the stairs and I saw nothing but sky, no more house. I walked up and no more neighborhood.

FLOCK: No more Greensburg, at least not as they knew it. It is difficult to convey how widespread this destruction stretches and how bad it is. I have not seen one single structure, either home or business in this town that is not damaged in some way. And most like this, completely leveled.

FLOCK You got some warning?

HEWITT: Yeah, we had excellent warning. Our sirens went off for 20 minutes plus.

FLOCK: That, he says, is the only reason more are not dead, though he doesn't rule out finding more bodies in the rubble. But Steve Hewitt is one of the lucky ones. When we talked, he hadn't slept since Thursday. He has no house, no car, no possessions.

FLOCK; Clothes?

HEWITT: No clothes.

FLOCK: What you got?

HEWITT: What I got.

FLOCK: Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it is having nothing left but what he most treasures, his wife and child, but Steve Hewitt is determined to put Greensburg back together.

HEWITT: It's scary. It's scary where we're gonna go. But yet, I feel like we're gonna do it. Because I just think we're a small community, we all work together. We're all friends. We know each other. It's time for us to come together. We're gonna have to rebuild. We're gonna build a city from the ground up, because we don't have a city.

FLOCK: Indeed, they don't have much choice. I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, in Greensburg, Kansas.


CALLAWAY: Yesterday, President Bush offered his condolences to the victims of the tornadoes. The president declared Kiowa County, where Greensburg is located, a major disaster area. That makes federal aid available to the communities affected by the storms. He also expressed optimism as people in that region begin to rebuild.

U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It's going to take a long time for the the community to recover and so well help in any way we can. There's a certain spirit in the Midwest of our country, a pioneer spirit that still exists, and I'm confident this community will be rebuilt. To the extent that we can help we will. Most important thing now though, is for our citizens to ask for the good Lord to comfort those who hurt.

I.D. Me

RACHAEL RICHARDSON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can ID me! I was born in Japan in 1920. I was a meteorologist who studied severe weather. Tornadoes are classified by a scale that's named after me. I'm T. Theodore Fujita, and I created the Fujita Scale, which is a system for measuring the intensity of tornadoes.


CALLAWAY: Teachers, if you want to have your students learn more about tornadoes and look into how geography and climate play roles in their formation, check out our free Learning Activity. You can find it at

Word to the Wise

RICHARDSON: A Word to the Wise...

probation (noun) the act of granting a criminal offender conditional freedom on the promise of good behavior


A Simpler Life?

CALLAWAY: Paris Hilton appears in movies, stars in her own reality television show and is a regular fixture in entertainment news. It can seem like cameras are capturing every move she makes. But Carl Azuz tells us why the celebrity socialite's next move might be a trip behind bars.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: The star of "The Simple Life" may soon be living just that, in a county jail. If a California judge's sentence holds up, a Hilton who has it all won't have much more than this for 45 days this summer. It's called...

SHAWN CHAPMAN HOLLEY, PARIS HILTON ATTORNEY: Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood.

AZUZ: That's right, this will be Hilton's hotel. In June, the 26-year-old model is slated to trade the lap of luxury for a stint in the slammer. This case goes back to last year, when Hilton was charged with reckless driving, given three years' probation and had her license suspended. That meant she couldn't legally drive.

But Hilton was busted for doing that very thing in January. A month later, Hilton was caught behind the wheel again and cited a second time for driving on the suspended license. She said she didn't know it was suspended even though she was mailed documents that described the punishment. She said she doesn't open her mail, testifying she's a "very busy person" and has people who do that for her.

HOWARD WEITZMAN, PARIS HILTON'S ATTORNEY: It was clear that she has been selectively targeted, in my opinion, to be prosecuted because of who she is.

AZUZ: All that didn't wash with the judge. He said he had no doubt that Hilton knew her license was suspended. "She disregarded everything and continued to drive," he said. But this Hollywood drama may yet have a sequel. Hilton's lawyer says he will appeal. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN Student News.


Before We Go

CALLAWAY: Before we go, when it comes time for the big dance, it can be tough to decide who to ask. But Laura Mazzeo of WJXT tells us about one senior who knew just the man she wanted to be her prom date.


LAURA MAZZEO, WJXT REPORTER: Senior prom is all about making memories. And that's why Marielle Mayshack asked her dad to be her date.

MARIELLE MAYSHACK, TOOK DAD TO PROM: I was like, "You know what, do you want to go to prom with me, Dad?" And he was like, "What, are you serious?" And I was like, "Yeah!" And he was like, "OK!"

MAZZEO: Marielle's dad is a senior master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and he's heading to Iraq next week.

SHACK MAYSHACK, DEPLOYING TO IRAQ: Senior prom is one of the biggest events of their life. And I was very proud that she even asked me to, you know, escort her tonight.

MAZZEO: While serving, he'll miss out on many milestones in his daughter's life.

MARIELLE MAYSHACK: He's going to miss my graduation, for one thing. He's going to miss me moving to college. He's going to miss actually moving, bringing stuff, and all that. And saying goodbye and everything. He's going to miss all that.

MAZZEO: It won't be easy for either of them. He'll be gone for at least four months.

SHACK MAYSHACK: We are very close. Marielle and I are real close. So it's really going to be hard for us to be apart, but we have email so we'll be keeping in contact with each other that way.

MAZZEO: And while thousands of miles apart, they'll share this night. Memories made on the dance floor.

MARIELLE MAYSHACK: I'm really gonna miss him. He's going to be gone, and I'm gonna miss him.



CALLAWAY: And that's where the music stops on today's CNN Student News. Thank you for watching, everyone. I'm Catherine Callaway.


May 7, 2007  (10:05)





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