(CNN Student News) -- November 4, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, I'm Carl Azuz and you're tuned in to CNN Student News! We have a mystery left over from Halloween. But first, a look at the headlines.
First Up: Off-Year Elections
AZUZ: And we kick things off with yesterday's local, U.S. elections. Two governors' races. 380 mayoral races. City councils. Why does it matter? For starters, state and local governments make a lot of the decisions that affect your daily life: education policies; what it takes to get a driver's license; how much tax you pay when you buy something at the store. In terms of national importance, some observers think yesterday's results might offer some ideas about how Americans have responded to Barack Obama's presidency, and how next year's congressional elections might go.
Two of the races from yesterday that got a lot of attention were both for governor. In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell faced off against Democrat Creigh Deeds. And last night, CNN projected that McDonnell claimed the victory. Next, New Jersey, where current, Democratic Governor Jon Corzine was running for re-election and facing a challenge from Republican Chris Christie and Independent Chris Daggett. CNN projected Christie as the winner there. You can find more results from yesterday's elections at CNN.com
Philly Transit Strike
AZUZ: In just a few hours, Philadelphia went from baseball strikes to a transit strike. Thousands of transportation workers hit the picket lines early Tuesday. No buses, no trains, no trolleys. Which means about one million people have to find other ways to get around. It's because transit union leaders and transit officials couldn't reach a deal on labor contracts. How does baseball figure into all this? Well, Philly hosted game 5 of the World Series Monday night, and the union agreed not to start its strike until after the game was finished.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is the official name of the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Operation Desert Storm, B) Operation Afghan Freedom, C) Operation Desert Shield or D) Operation Enduring Freedom? You've got three seconds -- GO! Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: More than 60,000 American troops are currently taking part in that operation, and President Obama is considering whether or not to add about 40,000 more. It's a request that was made by General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Chris Lawrence talks with some of the soldiers who are serving there right now to get their views on the situation.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: No runoff election. It still means no rest for the soldiers in the small outposts well outside Kandahar. Now they are wondering, when will President Obama decide whether to send more troops?
CPL. JIMMY PARKER, 1ST BATTALION, 17TH INFANTRY: We need the help down here, even though we're handling our own. But we need more forces down here. This area is too big for just one company to be here.
LAWRENCE: The company is Bravo. The area is the Arghandab River Valley, part desert, part irrigated orchards, and heavily saturated with Taliban fighters.
SPC. BRIAN SCHOENBECK, 1ST BATTALION, 17TH INFANTRY: Get another battalion or brigade out here to help us out.
LAWRENCE: Specialist Brian Schoenbeck says there's too many Afghans spread out over too much ground to know them personally, which is crucial for gathering intelligence.
SCHOENBECK: Well, if we have a smaller area as a result of having more troops here, it does allow us to get to know the people better.
LAWRENCE: One of the reasons for adding more troops is to add more trainers, who could then beef up the number of Afghan national police in villages like this. U.S. commanders say they can push the Taliban from town to town here, but that's all.
MAJ. SCOTT BRANNAN, TASK FORCE FURY: Right now, it's hard to saturate and have boots on the ground because the battle space is so large. It's, you know, Afghanistan is much larger than Iraq.
LAWRENCE: But some say there's nowhere near enough infrastructure for 20,000 to 40,000 more soldiers and Marines.
SPC. LUKE ADLER, 82ND AIRBORNE: Logistically, I mean, Afghanistan is not ready for all the troops.
LAWRENCE: Specialist Luke Adler says supplies still don't flow into Afghanistan as fast as they do in Iraq. It's better now than on his first tour here, but that's not saying much.
ADLER: We had nothing last winter. We had, you know, SAWs mounted in our trucks.
LAWRENCE: Adler has come to believe the Taliban can't be wiped out, not in their own country, even with more troops.
ADLER: All the politicians, you know, civilians, they just think we will just send them over here. No matter how many troops you throw at it, you can't throw a mass of people here. It's not going to work. It's not a war. You know, it's an insurgency.
LAWRENCE: We did see somewhat of a split. Soldiers who are training Afghan security forces were somewhat ambivalent about a troop increase, while those in front line combat missions want to see more troops added to the fight. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Kandahar Province.
AZUZ: A lot of you may be planning to go to college right after high school, but some people take time off before they continue their education. One student at a university in South Carolina has done it twice for decades at a time. But as Reynolds Wolf shows us, this senior is determined to finish what he started.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: 77-year-old Edward Guest may look like a professor, but the Navy veteran and cancer survivor is actually a student.
EDWARD GUEST, STUDENT: This is one for tonight.
WOLF: English comp.
GUEST: English comp.
WOLF: Guest is attending Strayer University in North Charleston, South Carolina, working toward a degree in marketing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What fuels your passion? What motivates you? What drives you?
WOLF: For Guest, that question is like fuel stoking fires of a dream that began more than a generation ago. Married with four sons, Guest retired from the Navy after 21 years of service and started college at the age of 42. He reached his junior year, but had to stop taking classes.
GUEST: I've always wanted to finish out what I started several, about 25, 26 years ago. And I decided now is the time.
WOLF: So in December of 2011, at the ripe age of 80, Guest will obtain his degree. That decision has made him a source of inspiration.
You're a father. You're a grandfather. You're a great-grandfather. And that, you're also a role model for all these people in your family.
GUEST: I sure hope so.
WOLF: Well, especially the younger ones. What do you hope they can take from your experience?
GUEST: That it is possible to obtain a college degree if you want to.
WOLF: His wife of 57 years agrees.
JOAN GUEST, EDWARD'S WIFE: I thought it was a great idea, because if he's doing something, he's not driving me crazy.
WOLF: But Ed isn't driving his schoolmates and teachers nuts. In fact, he's the big man on campus. And he's the oldest among Strayer's 50,000 students nationwide.
Is it kind of an inspirational thing to see someone who's 77 years old, who some people would say should be fishing, maybe on the golf course, maybe doing something else besides being in school?
RON SILBERBERG, STRAYER UNIVERSITY: It's incredibly inspirational. In classes that I have taught, I've had students in their late 50s. I haven't had anyone as old as Ed. But it's, it is just a very exciting aspect of what we do to realize that we're that relevant to people throughout their whole lives.
WOLF: Proving that you are never too old to learn.
What do you hope to achieve long-term?
GUEST: I hope to be alive to get my degree.
WOLF: Reynolds Wolf, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.
AZUZ: Before we go, Halloween is old news. But some trick-or-treaters might still be making their way through what they brought home that night. And as Dan Wells of affiliate WXIX explains, one Ohio Halloween basket could contain something a lot more valuable than candy.
DAN WELLS, WXIX REPORTER: Sometimes miracles are possible with the power of love and prayer. For Elizabeth Olson of Terrace Park, she hopes a little bit of both brings back a diamond anniversary ring she lost during Saturday night's Halloween festivities.
ELIZABETH OLSON, LOST RING: I had it enlarged, and then when it got cold, you know, your fingers get smaller, and I noticed that it was spinning around more than it had been before. But I didn't realize it was so loose that it would just slip off. My suspicion is that as I was throwing candy in pillow cases and buckets, I inadvertently threw my ring, too.
WELLS: Yup, some little trick-or-treater is now in the possession of a three-diamond, vintage ring.
STEFAN OLSON, HUSBAND: She didn't tell me 'til today, but when she told me, I really just felt sorry for her.
WELLS: Stefan Olson did what any husband would do. He called everyone he knew, including us, to explain.
STEFAN OLSON: We're thinking that normally after Halloween, the kids empty their bags and buckets and sort it out, and hopefully some little kid's got a little stack with a diamond ring on it.
WELLS: Elizabeth, meanwhile, well, she's stressed, but she hasn't lost her sense of humor and faith in karma.
ELIZABETH OLSON: You're dissapointed, but it's not like I'm the first or last person it ever happened to. I just hope it finds its way back.
AZUZ: Let's say you're the one who accidentally ended up with the ring. Would you return it, or is this a finders keepers kind of thing? Share your thoughts on our blog at CNNStudentNews.com. You guys have a great day.