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Fighting Wildfires from Above; Dangerous Heat Blankets the East; Mexico Chooses a New President; From First Round Pick to Felon; Abortion Clinic Stays Open; Waldo Canyon Fire Still Burns
Aired July 1, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Get you up to speed now on the news. Utility crews are trying to restore power in areas struck by Friday night's deadly storms. Close to a million people are facing another very hot night in the dark as well. A lot of those outages are in the same places suffering from blistering high temperatures; 20 states issued heat warnings or advisories today and about 1,600 high temperature records have been broken around the country.
Families are getting their first look at what remains of their homes after a deadly wildfire tore right through the neighborhood of Colorado Springs. Roads will be open for several hours allowing families to cautiously examine what's left of their houses. The area is under a red flag warning today which means there is a chance the fast-moving fire could flare up again.
Some tense moments today along Turkey's border with Syria; this comes after Turkey scrambled jets three times yesterday in response to Syrian helicopters that approached the border. Turkey recently warned Syria not to even come close to its air space after a Turkish jet was downed by Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYSON WILLIAMS, FORMER NBA PLAYER: And --- I'm sweating up in here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes, he was -- former NBA star, Jason Williams, sweating during my exclusive interview with him from his multi-million dollar mansion to his frighteningly small prison cell. Williams talked to me about being molested as a child, DUI, divorce, guns and the Valentine's Day that crumbled his life forever. My exclusive interview with him just moments away.
In Colorado now, 11 wildfires are burning out of control across that state. But evacuees of the Waldo Canyon fire are finally getting a look at their homes and elsewhere, homes and businesses are still being threatened. Firefighters aided by helicopters, air tankers and military planes are dropping water and retardant in hopes of containing the flames.
I spoke with Major Neil Harlow (ph) of the Wyoming Air National Guard. He's part of the fire fighting crew assisting in Colorado.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. NEIL HARLOW, WYOMING AIR NATIONAL GUARD: The plan of attack's come up with by the forest service and we're just another tool that they use for their plan on how to fight this fire. So they give us the call, and then we're ready at a moment's notice.
We're standing by at the aircraft on alert ready to launch within minutes so it's almost like a NASCAR pit stop. We come in, we get slurry-loaded. We get fuel and we take off. And we go rejoin with the lead formation pilot from the Forest Service and he takes us in and he has the plan and he puts us on the target where we can drop our loads.
LEMON: I think that's interesting. You're saying that like a NASCAR pit stop. You get them in, and get them out, and you do it very quickly.
As we look at this video, especially the aerials of ones that we look at, we're seeing a lot of smoke coming out of the area and from the sky in Colorado. Does that impact your efforts at all?
HARLOW: It's -- the impact's the visibility, it can make our job extremely tough just because it has to be done visually. If we can't acquire the spot that we need to be on the ground it makes it hard, so sometimes we have to go into an area expecting to drop in one spot. Smoking drift on several times we came in on Tuesday for a line that they had picked out that they wanted to reinforce. And then the wind would shift and bring the smoke and drop visibility down so we have to go around and try it again. Sometimes, it would take three, four attempts before we could get our loads into the direction we wanted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know, the red flag conditions continue today. Fire crews open some Colorado Springs neighborhoods for several hours to let families get a look back at their homes. For some, it was a very emotional experience.
And CNN's Jim Spellman spoke to one family displaced from their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN SOLICH, HOME WAS DISPLACED IN WILDFIRE: It's devastating. It's very sad. We've seen the photographs, but I think seeing it in person was very sad, very hard. Just to see our house was imploded.
HANNAH SOLICH, HOME WAS DISPLACED IN WILDFIRE: It looked like a war zone. It was just -- it was completely caved in. It didn't even look like a house. It was bad. And it just -- the smell; it smelled like smoke and it was just, you got down in it and it smelled like ash. And it was awful.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Yes she is not exaggerating there, folks. It did look like a war zone. To find out more of how you could help those affected by the wildfires, go to CNN.com/impact. They can use your help. CNN.com/impact, you can find all the organizations and ways that you can help those in need. Again, CNN.com/impact; I can't say that enough.
More now on the heat wave and those power outages; crews are working around the clock in states from Virginia and Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, trying to get the power back on so tens of thousands of people can start to cool off.
Brian Todd with the very latest now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD (voice-over): These are the lifesavers. Power company teams scrambling to bring transformers back online. But for millions in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, these crews can't work fast enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hate it. It's horrible. We can't -- all our phones are there right now in case of an emergency, we can't make a call or anything.
TODD: In the wake of devastating storms, 20 states are dealing with excessive heat warnings or advisories. Temperatures over 100 degrees are scorching much of the southeastern U.S. more than a million customers still have no power and that means huge numbers are at risk.
DR. CHANDRA AUBIN: A heatstroke is defined when you start having neurologic problems. So people come in confused, agitated, altered mental status and once you get to that point, it can be very severe.
TODD: Businesses and state officials are working furiously to make sure people don't get to that point from passing out free ice at supermarkets to offering cooling centers like the Burke Center Library in northern Virginia.
(on camera): What is the biggest challenge for you right now running this library kind of on extra hours? You're usually not open on Sundays, right?
SAM CLAY, DIRECTOR, FAIRFAX COUNTY LIBRARIES: Correct. We are -- community libraries are not open on Sundays. So the challenge for us was one, getting the word out, working with the counties to mark and then to get staff.
TODD: Virginia's Governor calls it a dangerous situation for his state and a multi-day challenge. Some people in the hardest hit areas he says may not get power back until more than a week from when the storms hit. A resident in Georgia speaks for a whole region dealing with the double whammy of power outages and oppressive weather.
AMY PIPPIN, GEORGIA RESIDENT: Used to it, but still, it is not fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Brian Todd now, live in a very hot and steamy Fairfax, Virginia.
So Brian, the dangers in the coming hours in your area and in the general region.
TODD: There are still dangers, Don. They're not out of the woods yet here in Northern Virginia. There is the possibility of added storms coming through this region this evening that may not be as bad as they were on Friday night but they still could complicate efforts to restore power and get people into safe places.
Also, obviously after people slug through this evening and trying to get through yet another night without power, you've got millions of people returning to work tomorrow morning. This is one of the worst areas for traffic in the country under normal circumstances. Now you've got power outages that have knocked out traffic lights all over this region. They have staged National Guard troops to try to help with some of these intersections where the lights are out, but it'll probably be a nightmarish commute come tomorrow morning, Don.
LEMON: And not to mention other issues. There are problems we hear, there are problems I should say with the emergency response system, Brian?
TODD: That's right. Some of the 911 call systems were down in the immediate hours after Friday night's storm and into Saturday and apparently, some of these systems are still down in some portions of Virginia. They don't know whether it's a hardware problem or software problem. The problem with lightning in the area or maybe human error, they're investigating it.
Some of the 911 systems have come back up, but the Virginia Governor says they're investigating. He wants answers on this. They've -- they've used things like Twitter, Facebook, TV and radio to get the word out to people to call alternate numbers for 911.
So if you're in these general areas, you got to listen to those and pay attention to those social media and other -- other media to try to get those alternate numbers if you have an emergency.
LEMON: And Brian I mean this with love, I'm going to tell you what my mom used to tell me growing up from Louisiana. Do not wear a dark shirt in the heat it. Absorbs the heat. Get you a light shirt so that you stay cool out there. I'm just looking out for you.
TODD: All right, you're right. I should have thought of that -- Don.
LEMON: Thank you Brian Todd. Great reporting as always; we appreciate it.
You know this heat is really ridiculous. Old record high temperatures, well, get rid of them. Close to 2,000 of those records were broken over the past week.
Meteorologist, Alexandra Steele in Atlanta. So how bad is it, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. Well, I just want to give you a little perspective on the heat on kind of two fronts. One -- the breadth and depth of it; we're talking about people from Colorado and Kansas to North Carolina since the last week; 45 million people; 25 states at the very least.
Also, the degree, no pun intended, to which we're hitting these records -- these aren't just the hottest days and the hottest day and records for a day or a month. These are the hottest temperatures these areas have ever seen, period. Since the 1800s since records have began.
In Kansas, South Carolina, in Tennessee, Nashville at 109; more records today as well from Greenville to Atlanta at 106. So why are we seeing this? Well, we've got this dome of high pressure. High pressure means sinking air, compressing air, thus warming air.
So here's where that high pressure was Wednesday and Thursday, clockwise flow around it pumping up this entire heat watch where the jet stream is. It's well to the north. So north of the jet stream, no hot air can kind of penetrate that. So north of that, temperatures are comfortable. South of that, though, high pressure moved to the east so this weekend kind of the access of the heat was in the southeast.
Now the pinnacle of the heat, the highest point we got really yesterday and today, we're going to watch temperatures still be warm and incredibly warm but not as hot as they've been, so the worst is over essentially, but that high will push east ward, still pump incredibly warm air. Memphis, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Virginia mind you; through the Ohio Valley that did not and do not have power because of that torrential (ph) that moved through on Friday. Certainly, they're suffering. This is tomorrow.
And then into Tuesday, notice we're out of the 100 degree range, but temperatures still although KC's at 101, but the balance there for everyone in the mid to upper 90s, so still in the 90s, still well above average, still record breaking, but not to the degree and the intensity, Don of the last couple of days.
LEMON: All righty Alexandria, thank you very much.
STEELE: You're welcome.
LEMON: A Mexican family with American children, an all too common problem when illegal immigrants are sent home years after they first cross the border. One family's story is ahead.
LEMON: Syria needs to watch its step when it comes to its northern neighbor, Turkey; the Turkish military scrambled jets three times yesterday when Syrian helicopters came near the border. It was an example of how tense the situation on the border has become. Turkey warned that it was changing its rules of engagement after Syria reportedly downed a Turkish jet last month. Apparently, that was no threat -- or no treaty (ph), excuse me. Inside Syria there was no pause in the violence today with 69 people killed and that's according to activists.
Mexicans have fewer than two hours left to cast ballots in today's national election.
Lines stretched for blocks in the capital. Voters are choosing a new president for a single six-year term. That leader will direct Mexico's war on the drug cartels. Several candidates are promising to focus on reducing the violence that has plagued the country.
Mexicans hope a new president can revive an economy that has been hammered over the past few years. Some villages depend on the money sent home from Mexicans who dared to cross the border into the United States.
Miguel Marquez met one family that came back and now faces an uncertain future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aurelio Flores Pena (ph) and his family returned from the U.S. to Mexico last September.
(on camera): How tough is the transition back? Very hard?
AURELIA FLORES PENA, RETURNED TO MEXICO FROM U.S.: Yes.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Flores Pena moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was 11. Later, he went to New York, then South Carolina. An electrician, he bought a truck and a house; then came the financial crisis.
(on camera): After the crisis, how hard then?
FLORES PENA: More.
MARQUEZ: No jobs.
FLORES PENA: No job for everybody.
MARQUESZ: He got deported and now he and his entire family are starting over. His eldest son, Oscar an American citizen, he is more comfortable speaking English than Spanish.
OSCAR FLORES PENA, SON: Scared like, because I'm not really good in Spanish, it's like hard to really communicate.
MARQUEZ: But he has bigger problems. He's one of thousands of kids in the state of Puebla (ph) stuck in the middle, able to go to school, but can't get a diploma. He's a U.S. citizen and doesn't have Mexican citizenship.
(on camera): Do you have any idea how you'll get that document?
O. FLORES PENA: No.
MARQUEZ: It's a little scary though.
O. FLORES PENA: Yes.
MARQUEZ: You're how old?
O. FLORES PENA: 15.
(voice-over): A lot to worry about for any 15-year-old. He and his family are in Tulcingo (ph), a picturesque village deep in the heart of the state of Puebla. Getting here is a long, long drive through exotic and ruggedly beautiful terrain.
Despite the remoteness, signs of its ties to the U.S., everywhere. Yes, that is a Harlem Pizza.
(on camera): Migration is so common between Puebla and the U.S., it's as easy to get a slice of pizza here as it is a Taco, but since the financial crisis, the economy here has bottomed out. The unemployment rate here in Tulcingo is 20 percent; that's four times the national average.
(voice-over): Mayor Ulises Rodriguez Campos says the town's main industry is dollars flowing in from family members working in the U.S.
"We don't have a huge source of jobs here," he says. "We don't have industry or large factories."
In schools here -- about 10 percent of the kids, U.S. citizens.
And the demographic shift is felt at the local hospital, too. This facility so successful -- now has several area towns to care for. Already treating nearly 4,000 patients a month, they need several more doctors just to keep up.
MIGUEL HAKIM SIMON, HANDLES MIGRANT ISSUES: There is a significant reduction in the number of Pueblanos returning to the state.
MARQUEZ: For small towns like Tulcingo, the problem is many people choose to stay rather than head to the U.S.
Miguel Hakim, who handles migrant issues for the state of Puebla, says that may soon change.
SIMON: It wouldn't surprise me if we find that next year, we start seeing many people from Tulcingo going back to the states especially to New York.
MARQUEZ: Aurelio Flores Pena says he won't be returning anytime soon, but his kids all U.S. citizens just might.
(on camera): And what do you want to be when you grow up?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A doctor.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Big dreams in a mini New York or as the locals call it, Puebla York.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Tulcingo, Mexico.
LEMON: All right Miguel.
Ok, so not often do I get to do interviews like the next one that's coming up after the break. It is -- I can't imagine talking about the things that this person talked about. It was candid. It was revealing. It's my interview with former NBA star Jayson Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Tonight, a CNN exclusive. He had it all -- basketball, money, fame.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck to you Mr Williams.
LEMON: Until he lost it all. Jayson Williams on his ride, his fall and why he says prison saved his life.
LEMON: Ok. So it was an interview that was enough to make him sweat but it's because we covered topics that wouldn't be easy for anyone to answer and anyone especially to talk about on national television.
I sat down this weekend with former NBA star, Jayson Williams. Williams had just signed an $86 million contract with the New Jersey Nets when in 1999 a freak collision with a teammate broke his leg. His career then on the basketball court was pretty much over.
But his life changed on a cold February night back in 2002. Williams was hosting friends inside his New Jersey mansion and he was showing off his gun collection. He was holding a shotgun when it went off and it killed his chauffeur, Chostas Christofi.
He was sentenced eight years later and last night, he sat down exclusively with me to talk about his experience. Here it is.
LEMON: I know that you are, you know, you're a bit leery, a bit nervous about coming on. I said, you know what; just be yourself, express yourself and let people know how you're feeling.
You signed an $86 million contract. You were on top of the world with the New Jersey Nets and what really became part of what we call a dramatic fall happened when you broke your leg, right? Did you think then, my goodness, this is over? Did you think that you had more to go on to?
JAYSON WILLIAMS, FORMER NBA PLAYER: You know what happened, Don? I lost my way soon as I got hurt. When you take away your structure, here comes destruction and I was a guy who woke up every morning with the same time with my dad. We fed our animals, we worked construction together, and then I went up and played against Charles Oakley and Michael Jordan and all the great ones. But once you took away that structure, then all of the destruction came. And I just had too much free time.
LEMON: You know, you were always an affable guy and even after that, you had a career. I think NBC, you were going to go on to become a commentator.
But what I really want you to do and I think what most people want to hear. Take me back to that night. You were in your mansion. I believe you had the Harlem Globetrotters over at your house that night and then you were in your bedroom and all of a sudden, the gun. What happened?
WILLIAMS: Don, I can just say, I was terribly reckless. To go back to that night, we went to a Globetrotter game. I had my adopted grandchildren with me. We went out to dinner; some of the Globetrotters and some other friends went back.
And when you're a young man, and I'm making no excuses, nobody wants to see your Picassos on the wall if you have any of your art work. They want to see your guns. And I recklessly showed a gun to somebody and went to snap it close and the gun went out of and killed Mr. Christofi. I tell you, if I could take it all back and just be much more careful in the whole situation -- I'm so sorry for all the pain that I've caused.
LEMON: Have you spoken to his family?
WILLIAMS: I've spoken to his family -- I've spoken to his family only through written statements. I would love to sit down with his family, his sister; but that would be a private event. That won't be a media event. That would be just between me and his sister.
LEMON: What would you say to the family?
WILLIAMS: How terribly sorry I am and how much pain I've caused his family. And I'm just terribly sorry. I'm just -- it's really difficult for me Don. I'm just -- I've caused so much pain.
LEMON: Does this -- is there -- how often does this replay in your mind? Do you think about this every single day and often?
WILLIAMS: All day long, you know. All day long and I'm not making any excuses for, you know, I take full responsible. I understand the damage I've caused -- collateral and everything else. I think about this all day long.
LEMON: I want to take you back to that moment and that was a moment in 2010 when you were sentenced in a New Jersey courtroom and you had the handcuffs. And this one for everyone I think is really tough to watch when you think that you were at the top of your game. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With regard to the gag order, this sentence eradicates all prior orders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He says to you I want to finish this up so that you can go and serve your sentence. And then he says, "Good luck to you, Mr. Williams". And it looks as if your whole life is falling apart at this moment and you know it.
WILLIAMS: Well, that was ten years ago and once you're going through a court case for eight years, you have a relationship with the court clerk. You have a relationship with the court; your lawyers and everybody else.
You're seeing everybody for eight years and I think after that, at that time right there, I honestly thought that the judge honestly thought I could have, you know, showed remorse. I could have showed repentance and reformed by life.
LEMON: Yes. Did you think you were untouchable at the time?
WILLIAMS: I think so. I think at a time when you think that you're bigger than everybody else and you know, and when you lose your way sometime, those are the things that happen. When you just lose your way -- you know, this is -- I lost my way, Don.
LEMON: You lost your way.
WILLIAMS: I lost my way.
LEMON: I want to read something here you said in a statement from Steven Farman, the deputy attorney general involved in the prosecution. He said "Mr. Williams has a dark side. Nobody knows the real Jayson Williams. There is a real Jekyll and Hyde like divide."
Does that dark side still exist? Or did it ever?
You know what; hold that thought. We need to take a break and I'll ask you that on the other side of the break.
LEMON: We're going to continue with more of my interview with former NBA star Jayson Williams, a man who went from first round draft pick to felon.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: You're a little nervous. Don't be nervous. I know this is hard for you, but you don't have to let people know how you feel. Don't be nervous. You're doing a great job.
At your sentencing in February 2010, you made a declaration and you said "I will work endlessly to improve myself and make positive contributions to society."
It's almost like you were foreshadowing to where you are now. Is that so?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think the first thing I had to do when I got to prison was examine myself, you know. And then I had to be remorseful which I will always, then I repented and I reformed. But the first thing was examining what causes me to get in trouble all the time. What's my dark side?
WILLIAMS: And it was alcohol.
LEMON: Is that what it was.
WILLIAMS: It was definitely alcohol.
LEMON: You said it took what eight years between -- almost eight years between when the incident happened and then when you went to prison in 2010. And during that time, you crashed your car, hot on probation, you got a DUI, you had a divorce. You had all these things go -- why didn't you have that moment of clarity within that time?
WILLIAMS: Well, it was a difficult time in my life. Like I said before, you know, the collateral damage that you cause, but sometimes people that you think that are around you should be telling the right thing. And as an athlete, you can't make excuses. It was all my fault. I was an alcoholic at the time, I think. I think I was a functioning alcoholic who --
LEMON: You were drinking that much?
WILLIAMS: I think I was drinking that much.
WILLIAMS: I definitely was, Don, but when you have structure, you get up every morning, you have to be somewhere, but once you retire and you lose your weight and you don't have the right people telling you the right thing, but you're a grown man and I take full responsibility for that.
LEMON: You have (INAUDIBLE) people around you, people who depended on you for their livelihood. OK.
WILLIAMS: I'm a grown man.
LEMON: Before the break I said to you about the attorney general (INAUDIBLE) said, "Mr. Williams has a dark side. Nobody knows the real Jason Williams. There is a real Jekyll and Hyde like divide." Is he right?
WILLIAMS: I think he's incorrect. I think I'm a Christian first. I think like I said before, there's times I lost my way, but when I was definitely drinking at times, I think maybe I did have a dark side. I know I did. But I think I'm a good man who done a lot of good and I have to continue.
LEMON: And you were in real prison. You weren't in a celebrity prison. You went to Rikers, and then you went to state prison in New Jersey.
WILLIAMS: That's right.
LEMON: So You were in real prison.
WILLIAMS: That's right.
LEMON: Yes. What was a profound moment there?
WILLIAMS: Anytime a 22-year-old correctional officer could tell you to bend over or get naked or do anything and you lose your freedom, I think right then, you realize that you're in prison. It's just not being, you know, 6'10 and being famous athlete is going to help you. It's just at that point right there, when you can't do anything and somebody's telling you what to do at all times.
LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) contraband and all. I've got to ask you this because we have this whole thing now with Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. And you had an issue when you were a child. Do you think that affected your behavior as an adult? You were molested.
WILLIAMS: That's right.
LEMON: You think that affected your behavior - did you deal with that as a child?
WILLIAMS: I definitely did. Coming from an interracial relationship with my mother being white and my father being black, there was times where I didn't want to cause any more drama to them, so I kept a lot of things to myself. Until I got to prison, I just couldn't keep a memoir or a journal. I just though writing letters to my father and it flowed. And when it started flowing those things started coming on to the paper. I never meant this to be a book. I was just sending these letters home and those are one of the letters that came into play with me. I'm sweating up in here.
LEMON: And it's actually cold.
WILLIAMS: It's very difficult to explain about child molestation in two or three minutes, but I'm willing to talk to all groups and anybody I can help. I'm just trying, sometimes, I wake up, Don, I want to save the world, then I want to save my community and sometimes, I got to wake up and save myself. LEMON: The book is called "Humbled, Letters From Prison." And it's fascinating. I've read some excerpts from it and it's amazing. You sent that home to your father, just to send it home and it ended up becoming a book.
WILLIAMS: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, man. I appreciate it.
LEMON: All right. This just in to CNN. New information out now on Mississippi, George Howell has been covering this story for us. It's about the abortion clinic there and it could have been the last in the state, the only one in the state that would have closed and it would have left Mississippi, it would be the only state without an abortion clinic, which would be interesting for both advocates, supporters of abortion and those who don't. George Howell is at the clinic now with more information. What's the new information, George?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (ON THE PHONE): Don, here within the last 10 minutes, we just confirmed that this clinic did get a temporary restraining order against this new state law. Now what that means is the clinic will be able to stay open under this temporary restraining order and I also learned that there should be a hearing on July 11th, that's when decisions will be made again on the future of this clinic.
But again, so far, it will stay open. It will open tomorrow and continue business as usual. Under this new state law that again without that temporary restraining order, it would force the clinic to shut down.
LEMON: George, I just want to, if you can hear me, I want to explain when we say under that new state law, we have to give our viewers a little bit of background on this. The new state law that would have done what and why is it important to this particular clinic in Mississippi?
HOWELL: Absolutely. The law makes two things mandatory for any physician performing an abortion in the state of Mississippi. First of all, that they be board certified OB-GYN and then the second part of that is that the physician must have privileges with a local hospital to admit patients if necessary.
Now, what we know about this clinic is since the law was signed by the governor here back in April, they have been trying to get those permissions with different local hospitals. They've been unable to do so and the owner of the clinic believes that the hospitals here maybe under political pressure to drag their feet on that process.
LEMON: Got it. And you said you have a response now from whom?
HOWELL: We have two responses, Don. The first coming from the owner of the clinic who says first of all that she is jubilant and that she says that the constitutional rights for women to make their own decisions for the time being is intact. Now I also have a statement from the person who sponsored the bill that became law here Representative Sam Mims, here in Mississippi and he says that he expects the State Department of Health to go to the abortion clinic when they are allowed to by a federal court and also that he will be talking with his attorneys tomorrow to decide their plan on this case, but again, what we know, Don, at this point, the clinic will reopen tomorrow and there will be a hearing set for July 11th and that will again, that will decide the future of this clinic.
LEMON: George Howell reporting to us on this information just in to CNN. George, thank you very much. We appreciate that.
Victims of wildfires in Colorado return to their homes to find charred remains. Next, a report on one family's devastation.
LEMON: In Colorado, families evacuated in the Waldo Canyon fire are being allowed back into their neighborhoods for the first time, but as families grieve over the loss of their homes, a community is there to help them rebuild their lives.
CNN's Jim Spellman talked with the family as they walked through the ashes of their former home.
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Residents of hard hit Colorado Springs get their first look at what were once their homes.
TED STEFANI, RESIDENT: We'll go through, tour around, but there's not much left.
SPELLMAN: Now a little more than ashes and ruble.
Ted and Kate filmed the scene exclusively for CNN.
KATE STEANI, RESIDENT: That was what was the garage and you can see the gutter that's fallen down. The only thing left of the garage is the brick standing here and the brass fixture that we really didn't like any way.
SPELLMAN: They first learned that their home was destroyed when they saw this picture on the front page of "The Denver Post" but weren't sure what to expect when they saw it up close.
TED STEFANI: We didn't know if we would be able to handle looking at the house and stuff, but it's actually kind of nice. We have our neighbors here. They're helping out. The community has been beyond, beyond great.
SPELLMAN: Ted's last view of the house was as flames raced down the hillside.
TED STEFANI: This is where I saw the fire start coming out the back door, looking up and seeing the fire come down and so the seat is kind of right where we left it.
KATE STEFANI: It still smells like ashes and soot and just burn. Not like a campfire or smoke, but just burned. It's just pretty sad. The good thing is that we have a lot of neighbors that their homes survived. We've been out here getting hugs.
SPELLMAN: Searching their home, they were only able to find these textbook pages. They say this charred brick is a reminder of their old life. Even as they begin a new life from scratch.
TED STEFANI: We're going to rebuild there. We love that block. We talked to our neighbors today and we just love the community and so definitely.
KATE STEFANI: It's our home.
TED STEFANI: And it's our home.
LEMON: Jim Spellman. Now live for us in Colorado Springs. Jim, this had to be a pretty emotional day for those families. As we saw there.
SPELLMAN: It really was. For the last five days, Don, these families have been on pins and needles. They all have received the news. They know their homes were destroyed, but until they could see them upfront, they tell me up close, they tell me, it's not really going to seem real. And I was surprised. I thought everybody would be upset. But the families we spoke to today, they kind of felt like they were starting to get a little closure out of it. Like they could really begin to start to move on now that they got to see the wreckage up close.
LEMON: So they got to see it, what about going home for good, Jim? When does that happen? Is it in the near future for these people to at least sort of try to get back to some degree of normalcy?
SPELLMAN: Yes, it's going to be weeks, if not months. They may have to rebuild a whole new gas line system in that area. People are bunking with friends. The communities really come together to bring people in and make sure that everybody has a place to stay, but it's going to be frustrating for people. They want to start right now. They want to start today, rebuilding their new lives and it's going to be a while longer. It's going to be really months I think, at least, before this starts to really feel like home in those affected neighborhoods again, Don.
LEMON: Very interesting to see that. Not very often do we get that up close and personal to see the damage from these fires and you were right in there. Thank you, Jim Spellman and wish these families the very best.
LEMON: The make up of the American family changing and same-sex parents want to make sure their children's educational needs are met in supportive environment. CNN's education contributor Steve Perry has this advice for Laurie, who is searching for a school for her kid.
LAURIE ROBINS, GEORGIA RESIDENT: Since my kids are coming from a lesbian family and we have different faiths, I want my kids to be really raised in an open environment. How can I decide which private schools is best for her?
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's a really good question, an important one. Because you need to understand where your children are going to school not just because of what they're going to learn academically but how they'll be treated. What I suggest you do is go visit the school, go as a family. Ask the question that you're asking me? What are your values of diversity? How do you respond to a gay family?
Get them to answer your questions and ask the questions until you feel like you've got answers. Ask the reputation of that school, not just the school itself because if they want your money as a private school, they're going to tell you what you want to hear but more importantly, ask your friends. When you get the opportunity to go on a tour, go with other students. Ask them. Kids and all they do, they don't typically lie. The kids will tell you the truth. So somewhere between asking the school directly, visiting the school, asking the reputation and finally asking the students who attend that school, you should find your answer.
LEMON: As a diver for 40 years, Kim (INAUDIBLE) has watched some of the beauty of the Florida Keys disappear. Now, this CNN hero has created the biggest coral nursery in the Caribbean to help bring marine life back to the area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up diving in the Florida Keys and it was just the most magical place. The coral reefs were so pretty and I decided that's what I wanted to do for a living was dive on coral reefs. In an area where there's live corals, there's always more fish. Reefs provide protection for our coastal areas and recreational opportunities for millions of people.
I was diving for 40 years and over time, I saw those coral reefs start to die. Coral reefs worldwide are in decline. If they die completely, coastal communities would be bankrupt. Tourism would be virtually gone. The billion people in the world will be impacted. I started thinking, how can we fix this problem
(INAUDIBLE) protect and restore coral reefs.
We've developed a system that's simple and something that we can train others to do.
We start with a piece of coral this big and we take it out and after about a year or two, it becomes this big. And then we cut the branches off and we do it again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ken's coral nursery is one of the largest in the wider Caribbean. It's ten times larger than others that are in existence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2003, we originally planted six corals here and now, there's over 3,000 growing in this area alone.
Before, I felt helpless watching it die. Now, I think there's hope. It's not too late. Everybody can help. And I see all those corals and all those fish. It's like this whole reef is coming back to life and making a difference is exciting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: If you know someone's who's making a difference in their community, go to cnnheroes.com. Your nomination could help them help others. CNNheroes.com.
So you're out and about and you're not in front of a television to stay connected to CNN, you can. You can pull it up on your cell phone like I do or you can watch from your computer even at work. Just go to cnn.com/tv. Tell them Don Lemon sent you.
LEMON: Utility crews in Virginia and several other states could be on the job for up to a week as they try to restore powers in areas hit hard by Friday night's deadly storms. Close to a million people are facing a very hot night in the dark. Virginia's governor says his state is dealing with the largest power outage not related to a hurricane in its history. One of those power outages in the same areas that are suffering under blistering high temperatures. I bet that water you are looking at is much needed there. Cooling centers are open in many cities trying to give people some much needed relief. Twenty states issued heat warnings or advisories today and about 1.600 high temperature. Records have been broken all over this country. 140 of those new records are all-time highs.
In Miami, a minivan jumped the curb and plowed into a group of Georgia tourists who had just left Florida Marlins baseball game last night. Three people, a 14-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a 50-year-old woman were killed. Our affiliate WPLG reports a 10-year-old girl is in critical condition now and the driver of that minivan also died in the crash.
LEMON: Family and friends saying a final good-bye to Rodney King. During yesterday's service, King's daughter said she was proud of her father and grateful that she didn't lose him after a vicious police beating in 1991. She was six at the time. King was found dead in his swimming pool at his California home almost two weeks ago. He was just 47 years old.
Mississippi's only abortion clinic will remain open, at least for now. The clinic owner says a Mississippi federal court judge has issued a temporary restraining order allowing the clinic to remain open until the July 11th hearing. The clinic was facing closer under a new state law.
Cab drivers in Chicago, you had better not get sick. Get a load of this. Beginning today a new law in Illinois allows cab drivers to charge passengers an extra 50 bucks if those passengers vomit in their cab. Apparently it's a cleanup fee, and it's such a problem that they had to pass a law about it. People like their drinks in Chicago.
A couple of other new laws taking effect today. You can no longer shackle a pregnant prisoner in Florida. Police in Idaho can issue arrest warrants by fax. And Virginia residents can now use their concealed handgun permit as a valid form of identification when voting. Nobody under 18 in a tanning bed in Vermont. And in Kentucky, residents can no longer release feral hogs into the wild. Somebody behind me said, nice, and I agree.
Next, New Yorkers have a not so nice trip at the subway. The video that has gone viral.
LEMON: Victims in Colorado thank firefighters for their heroic efforts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We yelled and screamed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So grateful. Can't imagine how hard they are working and how tired they must be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure, they have been waving to us, and it has been great to see them and great to help them start their days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes. Very nice. Hey a filmmaker documented commuters having a not so nice trip at the subway. The video has gone viral. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard not to stare when everyone is tripping on the subway stairs or more precisely on one particular step.
(on camera): Everybody loves to watch people trip, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's true, as long as it's not you.
MOOS (voice-over): But it was him. This is filmmaker Dean Peterson's subway stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He videoed all of these other people tripping because he kept tripping on that one step that was slightly higher than the others. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know that it's there but that doesn't stop me from tripping.
MOOS: And it definitely didn't stop him from editing together and putting the music of a montage of trippers, and 17 of them shot over of a total of about an hour. there's even a guy carrying a kid.
PETERSON: I felt bad videotaping some of them, but luckily nobody got hurt.
MOOS: But they got famous after Dean posted his montage.
(on camera): And the next thing you know, the video was on a trip of its own around the world on the internet.
(voice-over): Let's all laugh for people tripping on stairs, was the headline out of Australia. But you know who wasn't laughing? The Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A day after the video went viral, repair guys were paving the steps, at least this guy didn't trip, neither did this one. Commuters were happy to see them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I almost bust my entire behind on that step.
MOOS: This can't be when the MTA means when they say have a nice trip.
Jeanne Moos, CNN.
LEMON: Her entire behind, not just her behind but her entire behind. Have a nice trip.