(CNN Student News) -- April 27, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: One question we're asking today: Why would a college want you to keep your head in the clouds? The answer is plane as day. I'm Carl Azuz, and this Wednesday edition of CNN Student News is ready to take flight.
AZUZ: On Monday, the National Weather Service alert said "the levee may fail at any time." Yesterday was "any time." This is the levee we've been telling you about in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. We reported on it yesterday, in fact. It failed in at least four spots along the Black River. Levees are barriers that are designed to prevent flooding. With this one failing, officials are ramping up evacuations in the area. They already ordered some evacuations. Around a thousand more people were told to evacuate on Tuesday.
Based on the way that the levee failed, authorities think Poplar Bluff won't get hit too badly. They expect most of the flood waters to end up in a more rural area. Of course, all of this is being caused by tremendous amounts of rain that have been falling there. A police official in Poplar Bluff said the city's gotten 15 inches of rain in the last four days, and more of it is on the way. The National Weather Service says parts of Missouri could see record flooding. That's why Governor Jay Nixon has sent out the Missouri National Guard to help with relief efforts and to reinforce levees.
AZUZ: From Texas to Tennessee, states across the southern U.S. could face severe thunderstorms, possible tornadoes. But Arkansas, the state that's just to the south of Missouri, has already gotten slammed by severe weather. Storms tore through the state on Monday. More than a dozen homes destroyed, and at least eight people were killed. The state's governor said he was surprised there weren't more deaths given the amount of damage caused by the severe weather. He declared a state of emergency, which will free up money and government resources for the relief efforts. The winds, so powerful that they flipped over cars and ripped up trees, like you see here. The governor said normally, the wind would just snap the trees. But because the ground was so wet, the trees were just pulled right out by the wind.
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's first Shoutout goes out to Mr. Logsdon's students at Clyde Boyd Middle School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma! Who employs most U.S. air traffic controllers? You know what to do! Is it the: A) Airlines, B) Airports, C) Private companies or D) U.S. government? You've got three seconds -- GO! Most of the nation's air traffic controllers are employees of the FAA, the government's Federal Aviation Administration. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Experts consider the position of air traffic controller to be one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. When you think about it, it makes sense; there are a lot of lives on the line. The FAA is making some changes to the way that air traffic controllers do their work. It's in response to recent reports about some controllers sleeping on the job. Three of them have been fired for that recently. The end of those careers led Martin Savidge to talk to some people who are about to start their careers.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A plane in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayday, mayday, mayday, Cactus 289 has engine number two flame out.
SAVIDGE: It's a 757.
GRANT PALADINO, EMBRY-RIDDLE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Cactus 289, roger. Say your intentions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Request immediate landing anywhere we can.
SAVIDGE: With close to 200 people on board. OK, so here's the deal. Grant Paladino, right?
SAVIDGE: Grant Paladino is the one who's handling this emergency, and what he's done is redirect the aircraft to, where?
SAVIDGE: Sanford. And you might be wondering at this point why would I be pestering an air traffic controller in the middle of a crisis? Well, that answer's easy: none of this is real
Welcome to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach. Dubbed the Harvard of the Sky, it's final exams week. For these would-be air traffic controllers, their grade depends on how well they handle everything thrown at them.
SAVIDGE: Realism is what you are after?
SID MCGUIRK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT, EMBRY-RIDDLE UNIVERSITY: That's exactly what we're after.
SAVIDGE: In the scenarios, in the training, in all that?
MCGUIRK: That's correct. We want our students to be as fully prepared when they get to the field as possible.
SAVIDGE: For these soon-to-be graduates, it's taken four years working in classrooms and state-of-the-art simulators -- not to mention $120,000 tuition --to get this far. Miranda Blackwelder has learned all aspects of the job, from takeoffs and landings to guiding flights across the country. So, what about the stress?
MIRANDA BLACKWELDER, EMBRY-RIDDLE UNIVERSITY SENIOR: That's the first thing everybody says. And it's like, "Well, yes, but what job isn't stressful?"
SAVIDGE: Like a number of students, Murray Best started off wanting to be a pilot. Then he got a taste of controlling planes and liked it.
Do you ever make mistakes?
MURRAY BEST, EMBRY-RIDDLE UNIVERSITY SENIOR: Plenty of times.
SAVIDGE: Do you learn from the mistakes?
BEST: Definitely, definitely. Because I know that if I made the same mistake in the field, I'd lose my job, and I'd also be responsible for anybody that happened to get hurt. So, it's definitely serious.
SAVIDGE: I asked Miranda if all the recent scrutiny on air traffic controllers had her rethinking her career choice.
Do you feel good about the job?
BLACKWELDER: I do feel good about the job. I feel very confident. I'm very happy about my decision to be going into this field.
SAVIDGE: One day likely to be guiding your flight, the class of 2011 feeling good about their future and sounding very much in control. Martin Savidge, CNN, Daytona Beach, Florida.
Shoutout Extra Credit
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit! Which of these words describes money that's taken out of your paycheck? Is it: A) Commodity, B) Deduction, C) Entitlement or D) Subsidy? Another three seconds on the clock -- GO! When money comes out of your paycheck, it's called a deduction. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!
AZUZ: I remember my very first job was as a grocery store bagger, and I also remember being amazed at the amount of deductions coming out of my first paycheck. Any of you with jobs have probably noticed this. It brings up a lot of questions. One of them: If money's being taken out of your paycheck, where is it going? What is it being used for? Is there any chance that you'll get any of that back? We're gonna answer some of those questions today in our last report wrapping up Financial Literacy Month. Earlier this week, I talked with CNN's Ben Tinker about what comes out of your paycheck when you get paid.
BEN TINKER, CNNMONEY.COM: Carl, I remember how excited I was to get that first job, but I also remember being pretty surprised when I got that first paycheck. That's because until you actually see those numbers in black and white on your pay stub, you can't really have a good understanding of just how much cash is being taken out before the money ever reaches your bank account.
So, when you look at how much money you make, there are two terms you want to pay really close attention to. Number one is gross income. That's what you earned before any deductions. This is also what the advertised salary for your job is going to be. But net income, also known as take home pay, is, well, what you're actually taking home after all the taxes, deductions and other withholdings. Carl?
AZUZ: So Ben, what exactly is being taken out of our paychecks?
TINKER: Well, the biggest chunk of your paycheck is going to FICA, which stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. And that goes to fund things like Social Security and Medicare. But, you won't be needing these things for a really long time, of course. The government, though, needs that constant flow of money from all taxpayers to churn it back out to those who have aged into those programs.
You might also be losing out some wages to state income taxes, which go to pay for things like government workers and government projects. Your job might require you to pitch into insurance coverage. And last but not least, though this may be a few years down the line, retirement savings.
Carl, the nice thing about it is that you actually get to set aside money on a pre-tax basis, which'll bolster your savings in the long run. Unfortunately, that paycheck is just so much more than a check. Lots of itemized deductions and money coming out, but still lots left over to go in to your pocket. Carl?
Teacher Appreciation Week
AZUZ: This video was recorded on a smartphone. It's one way you could record your own message to your favorite teachers. Just say why you appreciate them. Then head to the Spotlight section at CNNStudentNews.com, and click "iReport: Teacher Appreciation Week." And then look for our email as a follow-up! You only have a couple days to do this -- Teacher Appreciation Week is next week -- so we want you to get on it and get crackin'!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, the British royal wedding isn't until Friday. I know a lot of you are really excited. You can get a sneak preview thanks to the folks at LEGO. They've set a complete replica up of the royal event. Prince William and Kate Middleton up at the alter. A full seating arrangement you see there for the guests at Westminster Abbey. You just gotta remember, this is a little smaller than the real version, a lot less expensive. And of course, the whole royal family is in attendance for the big day.
AZUZ: A LEGO replica, though? Just sounds a little like child's play. Is it the best royal-related gimmick we've seen? Certainly creative, but we're not married to it. We don't want to be a wed blanket on all of the marriage fun, though, so we're just gonna vow not to make any more puns for today. But there will be some tomorrow, for better or for worse. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see you then!