(CNN Student News) -- August 17, 2009
Health Care Debate - Find out why the debate over U.S. health care reform is heating up.
Typhoon Rescues - Discover how rescue workers are reaching typhoon victims in Taiwan.
59 Years in Teaching - Hear what motivates a teacher who's been on the job for 59 years.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Launching into a brand new school year, this is CNN Student News. We are and have always been your commercial-free source for news for the classroom. Broadcasting from the CNN Center, my name is Carl Azuz. Here's what is first up in our first show!
AZUZ: Health care! This issue is heating up as President Obama pushes Congress to reform the country's current system. Now this has been a big focus for the president since he took office, but it might be a new one for some of you. So, we are breaking down the details.
When we talk about health care, we're referring to the system of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies that provide medical care. But we're also talking about how that care is paid for. Some people think the system is just fine the way it is now. But others, including both Democrats and Republicans, think it's broken. However, they don't agree on how to fix it.
A lot of people have health insurance through private companies. But President Obama is suggesting the idea of a government-run, or public, health insurance program in addition to other government health programs, like Medicare. However, some lawmakers are strongly opposed to a public plan. They've raised concerns that some Americans who are happy with their current coverage might lose it if the companies they work for switch to a less-expensive goverment option.
Members of the House and Senate have written several proposals to try and address health care reform and some of the concerns that the issue has raised. For example, about 46 million Americans don't have health insurance. Should they be required to by law? Some plans say yes; others no. Also, if people are required to have health coverage, how would that be enforced? Another major concern: cost. How much would it take to reform the country's health care system, and where would that money come from?
Congress is out of session right now, but that doesn't mean the debate is on hold. Many lawmakers are holding town hall meetings with the people that they represent in order to get their input on the issue. Some of those meetings have gotten pretty heated, which is understandable This is a big issue. It's definitely one we'll be talking more about as it continues to unfold.
Word to the Wise
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
typhoon (noun) a tropical cyclone or hurricane located in the western Pacific Ocean area
AZUZ: Rescue workers in Taiwan are struggling to reach the victims of a deadly typhoon that struck the region more than a week ago. Typhoon Morakot roared into the area last weekend, claiming at least 123 lives and dumping more than 100 inches of rain on some parts of Taiwan. That triggered severe mudslides. John Vause shows the lengths that relief personnel are going to in order to reach the remote areas devastated by this storm.
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JOHN VAUSE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even before Typhoon Morakot hit, getting to Taiwan's remote mountain villages was tough. But now, it's nearly impossible. Major roads are blocked by mudslides and debris. Some are partly washed away.
And then there's this bridge. It's simply gone, brought down during the storm, completely cutting off the village of Shin Ki. The river below is still swollen and rapid. A few who tried to cross there were swept away, plucked to safety by rescue crews. So, the only way in and out is by this harness. This is how they're getting villagers out of Shin Ki, so far more than 100 people. So, they say it's pretty safe, but it's still a long way down, probably about a 200-foot drop straight down onto the rocks down there. This water is moving pretty quickly. All that's really holding me right now is this one hook there, which is connected to these three cleats.
Walking into the village, the road has collapsed in places, power lines are down, there's been no electricity or running water here for a week. But there is mud, lots of it. Just getting across is not easy. It really is just like walking through quicksand. This village has been all but abandoned except for one family refusing to leave. Everyone else, almost 300 people, have made that perilous journey to safety.
CHONG CHIAHSIANG, HSINKAI VILLAGER: "I'm not sure I'll go back," says this young man. "We'll wait until the roads are clear and try and clean up."
VAUSE: And this is now life here for so many, villages and houses cut off by mudslides and debris. It will be a long time before the people of Shin Ki will ever be able to go home again. John Vause, CNN, Shin Ki, Taiwan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Staying with severe weather, but shifting closer to home, where forecasters are tracking a trio of storms: Ana, Bill and Claudette. As of Sunday afternoon, Ana was moving west through the Caribbean but losing strength, while Bill was following behind. Claudette though was gaining strength while bearing down on the Florida panhandle. Of the three, Bill may pose the biggest threat. One CNN meteorologist predicted the storm could strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane by later this week.
AZUZ: On the other side of the country, firefighters are battling blazes in northern and southern California. Officials declared a state of emergency in Santa Cruz County, where the Lockheed Fire was scorching an area near the Pacific Ocean. And in Santa Barbara County, firefighters have been working for more than a week to contain flames that have burned more than 131 square miles of land there. Investigators say that blaze was started by a cooking fire.
Michael Vick Practice
AZUZ: Back to the East Coast: The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick to a one-year contract. You might remember that the quarterback was convicted of running a dogfighting ring. Vick's been out of the NFL for over two years battling legal issues, completing his sentence. He says he regrets his dogfighting days. Protesters and supporters turned out during practice last week. We wanna know what you say: Given the chance, are you any more or less likely to go see Vick play? Tell us on our blog at CNNStudentNews.com!
ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these terms describes someone in his or her 80s? If you think you know the answer, shout it out! Is it: A) Septuagenarian, B) Octogenarian, C) Nonagenarian or D) Centenarian? You've got three seconds - GO! An octogenarian is someone who is between 80 and 89 years old. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: One Oklahoma octogenarian has spent almost 60 of his 84 years in the same job. As a teacher. In the classroom. And in almost six decades of teaching, he's only missed two days! Dan Bewley of affiliate KOTV introduces us to one really dedicated educator.
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DAN BEWLEY, REPORTER: A bustling hallway marks the start of a new school year in Haskell.
SYLVESTER FRANKLIN, HASKELL SCHOOL TEACHER: Well, I'm so glad you all are here this morning.
BEWLEY: A day Sylvester Franklin has repeated 59 times.
FRANKLIN: Make sure you're ready for class, that's the main thing.
BEWLEY: Franklin is starting his 59th year as a school teacher in Haskell. This year, it's math to sixth graders.
FRANKLIN: Mainly, I stayed here all those years because I didn't have any particular reason to leave.
BEWLEY: Now 84 years old, Mr. Franklin started teaching shortly after fighting in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. He spent 16 years at Haskell's all-black school before desegregation. Since 1967, he's taught thousands of Haskell students the ins and outs of math and science.
FRANKLIN: I try to teach them responsibility, self respect, respect for others. Those are the main things. I try to teach them just a Christian way of life.
BEWLEY: It's hard not to find someone whose life was touched by Mr. Franklin. Matt Stephen's mom and dad and Blake Wells' grandmother were once Franklin's students.
BLAKE WELLS, HASKELL STUDENT: He was raised right, he likes to teach, he does his thing, he's a good leader.
BEWLEY: Love for Mr. Franklin is nearly everywhere here in Haskell. Just look across the street from the school where he teaches: the Franklin Events Center. No doubt who it would be named after when it was built in 2002.
FRANKLIN: I just can't express how much that means to me.
BEWLEY: These days, Mr. Franklin only teaches a few hours a day, but it's time he loves and time he hopes to never give up.
FRANKLIN: As long as I feel good, I have nothing else that I aspire to do except to be with young people and teach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: It's our first day back, too, and our Facebook page has been up and running all summer long! So, head to Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews and check out all of our recent videos, including the one we're adding today. It gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what I had to deal with on my first day back.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, it's an event that's spinning out of control. It's the world yo-yo contest! You might be able to walk the dog, but these guys can walk it, teach it to roll over, shake hands and defy physics! These spinning sensations ran circles around the competition, with the winners being crowned at the end of the three-day event. It's probably good that they announce the results so quickly.
AZUZ: After all, a yo-yo competition wouldn't want to string anyone along. We'll wind it back up and rope you in tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.