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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Sweating It Out; Turning the Tide; No Relief From Deadly Heat; Searching For Earhart

Aired July 2, 2012 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Sweating it out -- power outages after a swath of deadly storms leave millions in several states to bake in triple-digit heat today.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, turning the tide -- firefighters in Colorado may finally be getting the upper hand on those deadly fires. They've already destroyed hundreds of homes.

SAMBOLIN: And winner-take-all -- two American sprinters in a head-to-head runoff tonight with an Olympic spot on the line. But will it happen?

BANFIELD: The same as photo finish. Look at that picture.

SAMBOLIN: Somebody may be dropping out. We're going to check in on that for you.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START on this Monday morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everyone. Hope your cool this morning.

I'm Ashleigh Banfield. And we're bringing you the news from A to Z. It's 5:00 Eastern Time.

So, let's get started with this -- it's the kind of heat that makes it hard to breathe and it is still threatening millions of Americans all the way from the Midwest to the Northeast this morning.

About 16 people have now died from this heat since Thursday when triple-digit temperatures unleashed killer storms that have now left millions of people without power this morning. It's incredible, but look how many states are now dealing with miserable conditions.

In Ohio, 425,000 people are now without power. That's as of 10:00 p.m. last night.

And it's the same story in Virginia and Maryland, where hundreds of thousands of people are just waiting for the power to come back on, just a whiff of A.C. in these extraordinary temperatures.

The problem there doesn't seem to be much of a let-up in sight. This morning, 20 states are under heat advisory warnings. And now a state of emergency has been declared by the governors of Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

Our Athena Jones is live in Montgomery County, Maryland, this morning.

So, give me the story from where you are. It's a little dark behind you. But essentially it's a story about heat. It's a story about power and a story about storms all sort of converging in one thing.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know it really is, Ashleigh. One of the big issues with not having power is that, as of last night, 395 traffic signals just in this county alone. We're standing at one of them. This is a major intersection.

It's only 5:00 a.m. and you're seeing cars come through. The traffic signals aren't working. You have police out helping to direct traffic, there's flares in the road, they've put up a generator for lights.

But this is the sort of issue that people are going to be confronting this morning as they head to work and a lot that we're going to be watching. You know, federal agencies in Washington, D.C. are going to be open, but they've said that nonemergency employees can work remotely. Of course, if you or one of those people without power and you've been dealing with zero air conditioning and then food issues and water supply issues all weekend, you might be looking forward to coming into work today. So, this is one of the issues that we're going to be seeing.

I can tell you -- in Virginia, about 200 National Guard troops are on stand-by, able to also help out with dealing with traffic as well. This is already an area that has traffic problems any day. So, it's going to be worse today, actually.

BANFIELD: So, the president has declared a state of emergency in a number of places to allow FEMA to get involved. Is that the story in Maryland or these surrounding states?

JONES: Well, it's not clear yet whether Maryland has actually asked FEMA for federal assistance. We know that they're standing by and ready to offer it.

There was conference called in Virginia yesterday, and the government (AUDIO BREAK) going to be available. The real issue, of course, today is dealing with the people who, with these near -- these the high 90s and 100-degree temperatures, those people who don't have power are still going to be looking for cooling centers like the 110 cooling centers open in Virginia, going to places like libraries, anywhere, shopping malls, any place that has air to help them stay cool.

So, (AUDIO BREAK) the region that caused some problems. We've already seen lightning this morning and we could see more storms in this area as early as today.

And so, all of that talk of when the power will come back, it's all going to depend on when, how the weather cooperates. Most utility companies are saying by the end of the week, that's still several more days. As you know, it's only Monday.

BANFIELD: Oh, Lord, that sounds terrible. Hopefully, the people who are searching for places of work, hopefully those places of work have power and some A.C. and some relief for them.

Athena Jones, thanks very much.

And we should let you know as well -- despite temperatures approaching the triple digits today, federal agencies in Washington, D.C. are planning to be open. But the employees are given the option of taking unscheduled leave or in some cases working from home, too. Emergency personnel are expected however to report to work this morning.

And in New York, there is a labor dispute raging at the power company at the height of the heat wave. You can see a lot of anger there, 8,000 employees at the company, Con Edison have been locked out after contract talks broke down over this very hot weekend.

So meter readings have been suspended and walk-in centers have been closed as 5,000 management-level workers try to keep the power flowing to 3.2 million customers.

SAMBOLIN: Five minutes past the hour.

Colorado battling high temperatures and deadly wildfires.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano has been there in Colorado Springs, covering these wildfires for us.

Rob, we're going to get to the latest on the fires. But, first, can you update us on this extreme heat?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unbelievable heat that we've seen over the weekend, Zoraida. Over 1,800 records have fallen in the past seven days -- 150, over 150 all-time record highs. So, in many cases this is unprecedented heat and certainly dangerously so.

Take a look at the record high temperatures, just from yesterday. Chattanooga, 107 degrees. Atlanta, Georgia, 105. Some of these again all time record. In Nashville, 105. LaGuardia seeing (AUDIO BREAK) getting into the mid 90s also. And again, those temperatures measured in the shade, they don't include humidity.

We do have a weak cold front and I emphasize weak, that's sliding across the Northeast. So, we don't have nearly as many heat advisories and warnings today. But still, there's a slew of states from the western Great Lakes to the southeast, including the mid-South under a heat advisory and heat warnings today, with heat indices expected to get to 110, 115 degrees today.

But most of the areas still in the areas that still have no power, no heat advisories, but it's not going to be cool, in the mid- 90s in D.C., it will still touch 90 degrees in New York City. So even though we're seeing a little relief, temperatures will remain well above average here as we go through the next several days.

So, still dangerous heat when you're talking about people who are still without power and with humidity levels that are still relatively high. And the overall pattern, Zoraida over the next several days looks for the heat to basically build back.

We're in the middle of summer now and no real cool pool of air that's going do dive south from Canada. So we have to kind of grin and bear it.

SAMBOLIN: No kidding, it looks the same across the board, really.

So authorities have lifted the evacuation orders, we understand. But for all but 3,000 people in Colorado Springs. What's the latest there?

MARCIANO: That's right. So, big doings over the weekend here. A lot of folks were allowed to come back and look at their homes. At one point, they were going do allow people to come back in buses and not even get out of the bus to see what's left in many cases of their home, 346 homes completely destroyed by this.

They did a caravan yesterday. People were allowed to drive in their own vehicles to investigate and look at their neighborhoods and look at what's left of their homes. As you would imagine -- an extremely emotional event. We caught up with several families that went in to check out their homes.

And here's some sound from one of those families and their experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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, you got down in it and it smelled like ash. And it was awful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARCIANO: You know, a lot of these people had already waited five, six days, just to go back and look. So it's been a long, long haul. The fire itself, we've made great strides in the containment, 55 percent contained here.

But this is still not the only fire that's burning across the West. Several large fires, not only here in Colorado, but across Wyoming. As a matter of fact, there was a C-130 firefighting aircraft. And Air Force reserve aircraft modified to fight that actually crashed in South Dakota.

So, the battle continues, Zoraida, not only here in Colorado, but a slew of Western states and we're just getting into fire season. But this fire they believe it's mostly under on control. But still, there's 3,000 people that are not allowed do go back into their homes for a slew of reasons. One, their neighborhood is destroyed. Two, utilities still have to kind of get back in order.

And oddly, over the weekend, we kind of have (AUDIO BREAK) these houses bump up against some of the national forests and you can imagine that the wildlife obviously reeling from this event as well -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Rob, we really appreciate it.

And a lot of folks have been asking how they can help. And I want to remind you, you can go to CNN.com/impact if you would like to help any of the folks in that area.

BANFIELD: It's nine minutes past 5:00 on the East Coast.

And three members of NATO's International Security Force have been shot and killed in southern Afghanistan. They were gunned down yesterday by a man wearing an Afghan national police uniform. The identities of the victims and their nationalities have not yet been released.

It isn't clear whether the attacker was in fact a police officer or instead was an infiltrator just wearing the Afghan police uniform.

SAMBOLIN: The only abortion clinic still operating in Mississippi can stay open at least for now. A new law in the state went into effect yesterday, requiring abortion providers to be certified OB/GYNs. Practitioners, that is, with privileges at area hospitals as well. That law puts the Jackson Women's Health organization at risk. But a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order yesterday that will keep the clinic's doors open at least until a hearing on July 11th.

BANFIELD: National news now, international news. It looks like Mexico's old guard may be returning to power after being absent for the last 12 years. An official preliminary vote count has Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party winning yesterday's presidential election. However, a leftist candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is refusing to concede at this point.

Pena Nieto's party known as PRI controlled Mexico for 70 years until the election of National Action Party's Vicente Fox back in the year 2000.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that wait is almost over. Just hours from now, two world class sprinters faced off on live television with a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at stake. More on tonight's runoff, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fourteen minutes past the hour.

What do you do when two sprinters competing for the last spot on the Olympic team tie? You remember this photo. We brought the story to you last week -- wrong photo. Can we get the photo of the two gals up?

Two female runners finished the Olympic trial race exactly at the same time. We're getting the photo ready for you. Not even a 3,000 frames per second camera could determine who finished first.

Take a very close look there. (AUDIO BREAK) runoff tonight to determine who will get last spot on the U.S. Olympic team's 100-meter squad.

Joining me now, SportsIllustrated.com's (AUDIO BREAK).

Those poor girls, I got to tell you. That was a tough one, right, to come up with that decision. But don't answer yet because I want to get to what happened last night. So, if we can start talking about the events that happened last night. Phelps competing in (AUDIO BREAK) events we understand.

MAGGIE GRAY, SPORTSILLUSTRATED.COM: Yes, Michael Phelps said he was going to scale back his Olympic program in these games. He has the exact same program as he did in Beijing -- five individual events, three relays, still determining whether he will be in the pool for all of those. That's the program right now.

SAMBOLIN: Which he said he would never do again by the way.

Missy Franklin, only 17 years old. This is a phenom that we should be watching.

GRAY: She's going to be a huge story in the games. And if she swims all seven events, she'll be the firs Olympic woman to ever swim that many events in games. We're going to be hearing her name a lot.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Gabby Douglas (AUDIO BREAK) all around.

GRAY: She beat Jordan Weaver by one tenth of a point. She's only 16 years old. This gymnast squad could be the best since Atlanta in 1996. Remember that gold (AUDIO BREAK) group.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, these are all (AUDIO BREAK) we should be watching.

Let's get to the photo finish, right? There are reports that one of these athletes may drop out. Tell us about that.

GRAY: Yes, this is drama unfolding in real-time right now in Oregon. They're still deciding what they're going to do.

Jeneba tarmoh sources said last night said that she has pulled out the race. She's not officially withdrawn. But right now, she does not want to rub in this runoff. She believes that she won the race, that was the unofficial score that she was the third-place finisher and should be on the Olympic team.

She does not want a runoff. She does want a coin toss. They're really in a tough position right now.

SAMBOLIN: It shocked me to read that they offered them a coin toss. Can we back to the photo? Because I want (AUDIO BREAK) who was who, in that photo finish. Yes, I want to got to the photo finish.

This is the reason she believes she won, is it the leg?

GRAY: Essentially it's the torso but that's a very subjective term. The person who is responsible for photo finishes is not a USA track and field referee. It's an outside company that has been doing that they have been doing this for so many years and he has done thousands of races. So, he's using his best knowledge of where the torso would be. You can see by the bib there, that's on Allyson Felix is by the bib and Tarmoh is kind of turned a little bit.

So they use data points on a laptop. You mentioned the 3,000 frames per second on these cameras, and they try to determine the points who crossed the finish line first.

And they say it was Tarmoh who finished 1/100th of a second before Felix. She took the victory lap. She did the press.

But the guy who did the photo finish called for a USA track and field official and referee to come and he overturned it and said we have a (AUDIO BREAK).

SAMBOLIN: Now, some were saying that perhaps Felix would be the one to drop out.

GRAY: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: And why is that? She's already made the Olympic team for the 200-meter. She's already had two silver medals for that. She's a favorite to win a gold (AUDIO BREAK).

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: So, neither woman is going to back down here. And you have to understand why (AUDIO BREAK).

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. A lot at stake here, Maggie.

GRAY: Yes. You know, we say, hey, just run the race that would be a really easy thing to do. But for these athletes, ever minuscule, second is so important to them. To just run again is frivolous to them as I seem to us.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. There's a lot going on here, folks. These girls are also good friends.

So Maggie is come back later in hour to talk to us a lot more about these Olympic hopefuls. Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Ashleigh, back to you.

BANFIELD: All right. Thanks, ladies.

It's 19 minutes past 5:00 on the East Coast.

From the Midwest to the Northeast, millions of people facing another day killer, killer temperatures. Sixteen people have now died since Thursday, when temperatures unleashed killer and left millions of people without power. This morning, 20 states, 20 are under heat advisory warnings. State of emergency has been declared by the governors of Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and also Virginia.

Suspected gang member from the West Side of Chicago is being held without bond in the fatal shooting of 7-year-old girl. The 26- year-old man is facing first-degree murder charges. And police say, the little girl and her mother were selling candy to neighborhood kids last Wednesday when two men approached the group and opened fire. Police are still looking for the second gunman.

SAMBOLIN: Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old graduate student from Georgia who lost her hand, who lost her leg and right foot to flesh- eating bacteria is getting ready to enter a rehab center. Aimee's father says she will move today to an undisclosed facility for inpatient treatment.

BANFIELD: Japan's freeways could be filled with driverless cars as soon as the next decade. Japanese government is now opening talks with Nissan, Mazda, Toyota and Honda, and they are hoping to produce the robot cars for the masses by the 2020s.

One major issue, though, how to you assign the responsibility for an accident that does not involve human beings who are driving? That's a bit tricky.

SAMBOLIN: That is tricky.

Twenty minutes past the hour. We're getting an early read on local news that's making national headlines.

The four middle school students who verbally harassed their school bus monitor have been suspended from school and the bus for one year. You will remember the YouTube video went viral. We showed it to you. All four students will be sent to an alternative education center instead of school. School district says they must also complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens.

Meantime, the "Democrat Chronicle" newspaper says New York bus monitor, Karen Klein, will spend the nearly $700,000 raised on her behalf to pay bills, help her children and she says she's going to donate some money to charity as well.

BANFIELD: Well, from that great story to this really awful story. A homeless man living high on the hog, on other people's money. Here's how he figured out his scam. Police in Florida arrested a 30-year-old man they said was sneaking into ritzy hotel rooms, racking up thousands of dollars and then sticking the previous guest with the tab.

It sounds simple enough, right? Not so. The "Orlando Sentinel" said here's what he did. He watched guests as they were leaving, they called the front desk quickly to say, I want to extend my stay instead. The officers say that he ordered food and wine and room service and believe it or not, even clothing. I don't know how you get room service of clothing. That's what this dude did.

And apparently he was doing it for a while, scamming hotels for nearly two years.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

BANFIELD: Yes, the jig is up, buddy. That's over.

For an expanded look at all stories, head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart.

SAMBOLIN: What's in a name? Sixty million dollars of that name is iPad. More of the dispute that forced Apple to write a huge check. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. markets ended last week with a bang, after leaders in Europe struck a deal to stabilize credit markets and strengthen the region's banking system. The Dow soared 277 points on Friday, pushing that index up about 2 percent for the week, green arrows, right, going up.

BANFIELD: Especially on a day like Friday, that was just fun. Let's bring in -- I like to say fun. A bit nerdy.

Alison Kosik, the nerdiest among us, sitting in for Christine Romans. You're going to fill in for nerd factor. Christine is typically the top nerd on t desk.

Let's talk about iPad because there's been a battle royal brewing between iPad here and iPad in China who is going to use the name.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You always think, you step back and think what's in a name. For Apple especially everything is in a name. What's ironic is you think about when the iPad first came out, we all made fun of the iPad, there were all of those spoofs.

Where did they come up with the name iPad? Well, guess what, the world's most valuable company has been locked head to head in the lawsuit with a company in China called Proview. This company Proview makes these monitor for computers.

And at issue here was, who owns the name iPad? This company Proview or Apple? And Apple said what happened when it bought the iPad trademark from Proview to use in several companies. But Chinese authorities said the rights in China weren't transferred.

So after two years of back-and-forth, it was settled for $60 million. It isn't about the money, because the $60 million settlement really ain't a big deal for Apple. But for Apple, it was about sales, it was hurting sales, sales wise in China.

Apple has its biggest sales. China is Apple -- it has a fourth of Apple's biggest sales next to the U.S. especially with this iPad. And with this legal hold-up, was delay the launch of the new iPad in China, because these resellers, these other companies, they couldn't sell the iPad. Remember, the iPad dominates the tablet PC market in China with more than 70 percent market share.

You look at how the iPad is has done. It's the fastest-selling device next to the iPhone, of course, for Apple. So, this was a huge thorn in Apple's side.

So for 60 million bucks, that was a nothing check. It was a speed bump for Apple that's now pushed to the side now. Apple can get on with its business.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alison Kosik, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Lives and homes are on the line in Colorado this morning, but there is progress to report from the front lines of this desperate firefight. That's coming your way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD (voice-over): No relief. Power outages leave people in several states helpless against searing heat.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Failure to act. A series of e-mails suggest that Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse cover-up at Penn State.

BANFIELD: And what happened to Amelia Earhart? A brand-new expedition is setting out to uncover the truth this week. And they may have a few extra-fabulous clues to boot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD (on-camera): Welcome back, everyone, to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty-one minutes past the hour here. Well, there is no let-up in sight for millions of Americans trying to cope with killer heat this morning. More than one million people in Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland remain without power right now. And temperatures approaching triple digits are in the forecast today across the board, really.

Twenty states are under heat advisory warnings right now, and a state of emergency has been declared by the governors of Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Athena Jones is live from Montgomery County, Maryland this morning. Athena, I was reading in your area. There are 490,000 outages at the height of this. Have they restored power to those folks?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the power is coming back to some of them, Zoraida, but it's going to take up to a week for full restoration. Not just here in Maryland, but also in Virginia, that's what we're hearing from utility companies down there. So, Saturday or Sunday by then, everyone should have their power back. That's, of course, if the weather cooperates.

We've been seeing some unstable weather, but one of the real issues here is that with all the power outages, you have a lot of traffic signals that are out. Here in Montgomery County, just north of Washington, D.C., a heavily-trafficked area. This is a major intersection with the power lines and with the traffic lights out. We have police out directing traffic.

Of course, you're not going to be able to be at every single one of the intersections. So, we expect to see a lot of congestion and maybe some long commute for some -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And it's a double whammy, right? It's power and heat. So, they're opening a lot of cooling centers up, I understand?

JONES: That's right. If you don't have any air conditioning, then you can't run a fan. If you don't have power, you can't run air- conditioning or a fan, so people have been going to cooling centers. Virginia had a 110 of them open. They're opening Washington as well. This county has been looking at doing that as well.

People are going to libraries and shopping centers and grocery stores are handing out bags of ice. In just a few hours (INAUDIBLE) nine Harris-teeters in the area are handed out 3,000 bags (INAUDIBLE). So, everyone is doing what they can to help everyone else out, and people are encouraging people to be nice to their family and neighbors.

And if you have air conditioning, invite people over. So, people are doing what they can to cope, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And for a Monday morning, I would imagine -- if you don't have power at home, you're actually looking forward to going to work for a change, right?

JONES: Exactly.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Athena.

At 7:00 eastern on "Starting Point," we'll be joined by Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, to get an update on the power outages in one of the hardest-hit areas of the country.

BANFIELD: Then, Colorado is battling not only the extreme heat but also those horrifyingly deadly wildfires. And this morning though, it looks like some firefighters are getting the upper hand with certain fires. The Waldo Canyon fire, which has been a terrible one we've been reporting on now for two weeks, now 55 percent contained. Our meteorologist, Rob Marciano, is live on Colorado Springs. He's been on assignment there now for over a week. So, first, before we talk about the fire, the containment, and the progress they're making, bring me up to speed on what's going on with the heat wave there which really was what the biggest crisis was at the beginning of all this.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. When we think about heat, and the weather business, this is the worst-case scenario where you get a cluster of thunderstorms that wipes out power like it did to millions of people and then you get record searing and record-breaking heat on top of that. That's what we saw on t the weekend and still seeing that right now.

A little bit of relief expect today. A little bit. I emphasize that. Here are the record highs from yesterday. Some of these all- time records. We've had 1,800 records in the last seven days, here's a few from yesterday. Chattanooga, Atlanta, unbelievably 107, 105 Nashville, 105. LaGuardia also seeing 97 degrees and D.C. seeing a record high temperature of 96 degrees.

Here's where the heat warnings are, note that the northeast corridor, you're not under heat advisories, but you're still going to be warm. Temperatures will still be 90-plus in those areas, but in the oranges and the pink areas, that's where we'll see dangerous levels of heat once again. Temps will feel like, in some case, between 100 and 115 degrees today.

And the overall pattern, guys, does keep the heat basically across much of the eastern U.S. until further notice. So, we're into July now, and there's no real such thing as a cold front coming through that will drop temperatures in the 70s. So, do what we have to do in order to stay cool, because heat is the number one related weather killer.

So far, so good, as far as how bad it could have been this past weekend. Good job by the authorities and communities there, keep it up.

BANFIELD: So, let me ask you a little bit about the Waldo fire that you've been -- the Waldo Canyon fire that you've been covering which has become the most unbearable one with tens of thousands of people evacuating their homes. They're getting somewhat of an upper hand on it at the point now where they can let some people actually go back to see if they lost their homes or not.

MARCIANO: Yes, you know, record-breaking heat here over the weekend. Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, but we've reduced the number of evacuees to about 3,000, that's down from 30,000. That's the good news there. And the folks that unfortunately had their neighborhoods or homes destroyed were allowed to go back yesterday and take a look at what's left.

Those people obviously have either nothing to go back to or are in an area that -- where there's no infrastructure for their neighborhoods. So, that's the sad news there, 55 percent containment. So, that's the encouragement. Even after the temperatures that were record-breaking here and red flag warnings here yesterday, firefighters had done a spectacular job of trying to get a handle on this thing.

We are very close to actually the neighborhood that got burned down. So, the city is starting to recover as far as folks getting back to where they belong. But still, 3,000 people without evacuated here in Colorado Springs -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Well you're right. I mean, better than 30,000 plus. But I'm sure small consolation to the 3,000 who are still, you know, in shelters. Rob Marciano, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour. A new evidence indicates three former Penn State officials may have covered up a 2001 incident involving former coach, Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in a shower. CNN has been made aware of e-mails between former university president, Graham Spanier, then vice president, Gary Schultz, and athletic director, Tim Curley, shortly after graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, reported the incident to them 11 years ago.

Spanier deciding not to tell authorities, instead telling Curley, quote, "The only down side for us is if the message isn't heard and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road." Curley and Schultz face perjury charges and are also accused of failing to properly report suspected child abuse.

BANFIELD: Democrats say the battle over the president's healthcare reforms is over now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law. But Republicans are saying, oh no. The fight is only just begun. House speaker, John Boehner, not mincing any words and appearing yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation" he was asked if there was any part of this law that he would embrace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: This has to be ripped out by its roots. This is government taking over the entire health insurance industry. The American people do not want to go down this path. They do not want the government telling them what kind of insurance policy they have to buy.

And, how much they're going to pay for it and if you don't like it, we're going to tax you. It has to be ripped out, and we need to start over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Well, Speaker Boehner said he was surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling, but that it only strengthened the resolve of Republicans to repeal that law.

And at seven o'clock eastern on "Starting Point," republican congressman, Tom Price, of Georgia is a doctor, and he's a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and he will be appearing live to talk about healthcare bill, also with health care law.

And at eight o'clock eastern, Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, will be joining "Starting Point" as well. She's the GOP deputy whip, and she also plans to fight to repeal -- or she plans to fight to repeal the president's healthcare reforms.

SAMBOLIN: By the end of the week, one of America's most enduring mysteries could actually be solved. Coming up, the new expedition to find out what happened to Amelia Earhart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back. Forty-three minutes now past the top of the hour. It's one of the biggest mysteries in American history, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. She vanished 75 years ago today. And tomorrow, the Amelia Earhart expedition is set to leave Hawaii on route to Nikumaroro Island to search the area where researchers really now believe her wreckage is located.

Much of this stems from a single photograph taken in 1937, but three months after Amelia Earhart disappeared.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found some really compelling evidence, skilled photo analysts from the state department said we think this might be a Lockheed Electra landing. This is where the airplane went into the drink . We're going to try our best to find her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: And you can see that little bug (INAUDIBLE). They're documenting all of this. But here's what's even more cool than that, the photograph of the landing gear that they assume is the landing gear, that was what spurred them on to do this search. But since then, they found something even better.

Radio transmissions, about 57 radio transmissions, that had been dismissed way back then. They now believe credibly that they could have been radio transmissions from Amelia Earhart who was trying to get around the world in that flight in 1937, but sadly, disappeared somewhere between Hawaii and New Zealand.

So, that's the expedition. Nikumaroro Island, if you haven't heard of it now, it used to be called Gardner's Island, but tomorrow, cross your fingers, see if they find what they're looking for.

SAMBOLIN: Could have new information.

BANFIELD: So exciting.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-four minutes past the hour here. Let's get you up to date, shall we?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Another day of dangerous heat facing millions of Americans from the northeast to the Midwest. Sixteen people have died since Thursday when triple-digit temperatures unleashed killer storms and left millions without power. Among those dead, two little boys that were camping.

And this morning, 20 states are under heat advisory warnings with a state of emergency declared in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.

BANFIELD (voice-over): And also, in other news, the North Carolina mother who lost custody of her children after she was diagnosed with breast cancer has now died. Thirty-eight-year-old Elena Giordano grabbed national headlines in her fight against a judge who ruled that her children should move to Chicago with their father despite the fact that she was being treated for cancer in North Carolina and could not leave her doctors.

Giordano was allowed to spend her final weeks with her son and daughter before she died.

SAMBOLIN: Despite a new international agreement on Syria, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is not sounding overly optimistic about ending the slaughter there. Russia and China have signed on to a deal that calls for a transition government as a step toward ending the six-month uprising and pushing President Assad out of office. Assad's opponents call the agreement too vague.

At 7:30 eastern on "Starting Point," we'll be joined live by veteran newsman, Dan Rather. He is airing a special report on Syria tomorrow night, and he'll be here to tell us all about that.

BANFIELD: A bittersweet end for marathon swimmer, Penny Palfrey . There's the start, but that 49-year-old grandmother had to cut off being the first person to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida unaided, without a shark cage, without flippers, without a wetsuit or a snorkel. She had to really dump out of this effort, because on Sunday morning, the currents got so strong it was impossible for her to continue.

Palfrey was not, not for loss of real struggles throughout the way, too. She got jellyfish stings.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

BANFIELD: And she swum for more than 40 hours, too. So, this was a really tough thing to call off. Silver lining, though? She set a personal best. Good for you, Penny. She did the distance of 86 miles and her personal best before that was only 67 miles. So, she not only beat her personal best, she smashed her personal best.

SAMBOLIN: I wish we could clone that determination.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): I'd like a little chunk of that. BANFIELD (on-camera): Although, I've got to be honest, I would never swim the Florida straits, shark cage or not.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: No way, baby.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I'm not a strong swimmer, so that's why I would pass on that.

All right. Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga's manager, and Newark, New Jersey mayor, Corey Booker, how about that? Not a bad group of names, right? The heavyweights are joining forces along with others to fund a crowd source news site for teens that's called Way Wire.

The site is part Twitter, part YouTube and will offer original issues-focused video segments and a short newscast three times a day. Users will be able to tape and upload video responses to create discussion. Love that.

BANFIELD: OK. Listen up, Alaska. If you're awake, anyway or if you haven't gone to bed yet, probably really light up there right now. So, the tiny Alaska town of bethel was devastated by a cruel joke back in June. Somebody posted a fake flyer announcing a grand opening of a Taco Bell chain in the community of just 6,000 people.

But when the fast food chain found out about the hoax, it decided to make the town's dreams come true even if only for a day. Look at this. Are you kidding me? Airlifting this? The "Alaska Dispatch" says Taco Bell sent 10,000 free tacos to the isolated town, and they did so via helicopter.

SAMBOLIN: 10,000 people there?

BANFIELD: Well, I tell you what, I think with that, 6,000 people, they --

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Some of them won't get seconds, it will be first come, first serve.

SAMBOLIN: Here's what they're sending. Unassembled taco makings will be supplies by an anchorage franchise and flown in. They'll be assembled on site and distributed, they say, to the eager masses.

BANFIELD: So, that you saw the sign saying that Doritos taco, that's that new one that's made out of the dorito shell that everybody make jokes about.

SAMBOLIN: You're kidding.

BANFIELD: But it's good.

(LAUGHTER)

(INAUDIBLE)

BANFIELD: There it is, Doritos. You see the sign. Doritos tacos. (INAUDIBLE) junk food.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to take your word for down that one.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: All right. Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Defending champion, Spain trounced Italy. Did you watch this? A four-nothing victory in the Euro 2012 finals Sunday in Kiev. Spain got out to a really early lead, never looked back on the strength of goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba. Spain becomes the first country to win three major tournaments in a row. I wish we had -- do we have the pictures of the folks celebrating. It was absolutely incredible. It's nice for them, right?

BANFIELD: I'm listening, though --

SAMBOLIN: The economic crisis that they were all out on the streets celebrating. That was incredible.

BANFIELD: I cannot hear the vuvuzelas. No vuvuzelas, are you kidding me? Have we returned to sanity on the soccer pitch? I love the sound of just celebration without the vuvuzela.

SAMBOLIN: You like it without it or with it?

BANFIELD: Hate the vuvuzelas.

SAMBOLIN: So do I.

BANFIELD: I like the sound of celebration without the vuvuzela. It's the purest form of celebration.

Hey, I want to talk about a nine-year-old kid now who puts adults to shame. This kid just needs a ping-pong ball and a cup and you're going to see some amazing whiz kid . That's all coming up in just a moment.

SAMBOLIN: And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop, perhaps, on your mobile phone, just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Maybe it's the heat because New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is sure sounding hot and bothered these days. Christie was holding a news conference Saturday about a collapsed water main in Monmouth County when a reporter went off-topic with a question. Listen to the governor's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Monday, are you going to be addressing legislature? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question. Good, thank you -- thank you. Thank you all very much and I'm sorry for the idiot over there. Take care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Calls him stupid and an idiot. The reporter was trying to ask Christie about a special legislative session that he's called for today to make his case for a middle class tax cut.

BANFIELD: Not sure that's appropriate from an official. Everybody likes his tough talking ways, but you know what --

SAMBOLIN: I didn't like it.

BANFIELD: There's a point.

SAMBOLIN: He was a little disrespectful.

BANFIELD: A little.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: Chris Christie, look out, people in glass houses.

Take a look at what's trending now on the interweb. Public service or blackmail? A new website is posting the names and mug shots and addresses of people who get arrested. Right now, the site, blabbermouthck.com, is only targeting Johnson County, Kansas, but it claims that its aim is to deter crime. Nothing else, just deter crime.

The site's owner will remove a person's profile in exchange for a fee of about 200 bucks. But after some backlash, the site has posted a couple of no fee removal options, like complete a 180 hours of documented community service, and they'll wipe your name off the website.

SAMBOLIN: We have incredible video of a nine-year-old ping-pong trick master. He can literally make a shot from anywhere. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: That little guy's name is Tom Spicer . Tom's dad says he grabbed the camera when he first noticed his son's amazing talent. And apparently, we have not seen everything that little boy can do. The end of the clip teases there will be more videos coming soon.

BANFIELD: Do we know for sure this is not a hoax? This is amazing. This is absolutely --

SAMBOLIN: Look at him. (LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Even he is shocked. Look all of these different scenarios.

SAMBOLIN: I can do it. I can do it.

BANFIELD: I wonder how he is at billiards.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Wow!

BANFIELD: This is great. OK. If this turns out to be a hoax, I'm going to be really bummed, because he's cute as a button.

SAMBOLIN: Even if it is, what fun.

BANFIELD: no way.

SAMBOLIN: Wow!

BANFIELD: The skateboard, that's great.

SAMBOLIN: I could watch this for hours.

BANFIELD: Chinese tourism viral video to talk about now, and it's poking fun at the British royal family. The city of Chengdu is running taxi cabs in London during the Olympics. Look at the promotional video. Recognize those folks? Royal look-alikes trying to hail a cab.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it around in a taxi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commoners want to see us tightening up our belts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rubbish. People want to see that they can be like us if they just work hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like you did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: OK. Wills and Kate, definitely dead ringers. Not so sure about the queen, though. She looks like the queen mum.

SAMBOLIN: Will, in particular.

BANFIELD: I know. It's uncanny. Chengdu officials say the viral video is just supposed to be some harmless fun. The so-called Panda cabs promote tourism and raise awareness for the endangered giant panda. SAMBOLIN: Well, the timing could have been worse, widespread power outages amid record-breaking heat. We are live in one of the worst-hit areas. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD (voice-over): Sweating it out, power outages after a swath of deadly storms leave millions of people in several different states to bake in the triple-digit heat today.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Plus, turning the tide. Firefighters in Colorado may finally be getting the upper hand on the deadly inferno that has already destroyed hundreds of homes.

BANFIELD: And will they or won't they? The photo finish story of two American sprinters who may not end up participating in a runoff for an Olympic spot tonight. We're going to have that story for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD (on-camera): Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us at the top of the hour. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): We are very happy you're with us on this Monday morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're bringing you the news from "A" to "Z." It is 6:00 a.m. here in the east, so let's get started.