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Jerry Buss Has Died; Superstorm Sandy Survivors Struggle to Rebuild; Interview with Parents of Slain Teenager; Good Television Linked to Good Behavior; Gas Prices on the Rise; Petraeus Writes Book

Aired February 18, 2013 - 13:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: The sports world is mourning the death of L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Buss died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in L.A. this morning. He was 80 years old. The Hall of Famer had been suffering from cancer.

The Lakers won 10 NBA titles understand his ownership. Those chairmanship teams featured all-time greats Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

A lot of tweets are coming in, mourning his loss. Said Dennis Rodman tweeted, "My thoughts and prayers are with the Buss family. Dr. Jerry Buss was like a dad to me and is a tremendous loss to Lakers family."


MALVEAUX: Almost 6,000 victims of superstorm Sandy are still fighting insurance companies for money to rebuild. Here's Deborah Feyerick.


CATHERINE HALL, SANDY SURVIVOR: When am I going to get my money?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Begging for money is not something Catherine Hall ever thought she would have to do.

CATHERINE HALL: I had to run to the bank two Fridays ago and beg them to give me a loan just so that I could pay my contractor. And once he finished doing this segment of the work, we have to stop because we don't have any more money.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Nearly four months since superstorm Sandy destroyed her home in Island Park, New York, Hall has been calling her mortgage banker almost every day. She's begging them to release insurance money so she and her family can rebuild and go home.

CATHERINE HALL: We have a 4-year-old little boy, who, basically we spent his college fund, you know, the money that we've put by since his birth, towards being able to send him to college later in life is what we spent. We -- it's gone. FEYERICK (voice-over): Hall, who was originally from Britain, and her husband, Bob, and 4-year-old son, Nathan, have been living in a hotel since November. The Halls are among more than 6,000 families still waiting for insurance money.

New York's governor blamed unnecessary red tape and accused banks of failing to release more than $200 million worth of insurance. The problem is some lenders require proof the repair has been made before they will reimburse for the cost of that repair.

BOB HALL, SANDY SURVIVOR: There's a lot of older people here that, you know, that just don't have any money. And they're being told that, you know, do 30 percent of the work and you'll get 30 percent of the money. Do 50 percent of the work; you'll get 50 percent of the money.

CATHERINE HALL: The reason that they do that I think is that they're scared that you're going to get the check and leave, and leave them with a property that's not sellable. You know, but we've invested a lot of money in this house, you know, and it's our home.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Banks contacted by CNN, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, Citibank and Bank of America, tell CNN they've distributed more than 75 percent of all insurance money. The Halls' mortgage lender, who they asked we not name, did not respond.

CATHERINE HALL: You know, we came here to live the American dream, and now we're living the American nightmare because they're holding our money and we can't get it. And it's not fair. You know, it's not fair on anyone. And everybody is in the same position. Everybody. It's like I said to you, I don't know a single person who's had a dime.

FEYERICK (voice-over): And the waiting and uncertainty is taking a toll, as devastating as the storm itself.


MALVEAUX: That was Deb Feyerick reporting.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Well, disgraced retired General David Petraeus, he is now back in the news. This time, he's opening up like never before.


MALVEAUX: Police in the Chicago area are questioning two people in the shooting death of Janay McFarlane.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): The 18-year-old was killed Friday night. This was just hours after her younger sister sat behind President Obama during his speech about gun control. McFarlane was walking with friends in the Chicago suburb when she was shot. So far, charges -- no charges have been filed.


MALVEAUX: McFarlane's violent death, of course, comes as the city is trying to heal from the tragic shooting of Hadiya Pendleton.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): She was the 15-year-old honor student, the drum majorette, who had performed during the inaugural celebrations in Washington. Hadiya was killed a week later on a playground about a mile north of President Obama's Chicago home.

Hadiya's parents, Nathaniel Pendleton and Cleopatra Cowley Pendleton, are joining us here from Chicago.

First of all, thank you so much for being here. Our condolences, clearly, to you and to your family, to your community. I can't imagine how difficult this has been. But it -- we have seen your strength over the last couple of weeks.

We saw you as guests before the president, the State of the Union address. We saw you as part of the visit from the president himself, when he was in Chicago.

You hear about this young girl's death, MacFarlane, how do you make sense of this? What do you do? How did you react?

CLEOPATRA PENDLETON, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Well, I was deeply saddened. You know, we've been out and about, talking to, you know, various news media about how awful this feels. And so definitely, my heart went out to the family. I actually gave her mother a call yesterday morning.

MALVEAUX: Can you tell me about that call, what you were able to say to her, to convey during this time?

C. PENDLETON: You know, it was really just extending my condolences and letting her know, you know, whatever -- however she needs to deal with the pain of losing her child, she should do it without any regard for anyone else. You know, it's all about the relationship you had with your child. And we also talked about just the life of her daughter and just various other private things.

MALVEAUX: How do they move forward? I mean, the two of you have been really a pillar of strength. We have seen you really throughout the weeks here. What do they need to do, these parents of this young girl?

NATHANIEL PENDLETON, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Take it day by day. There's no real way to get through this. We haven't gotten through this. We hurt every day. I mean, we miss her every day.

C. PENDLETON: Minute by minute.

N. PENDLETON: So the best advice is just take it day by day, try to really stay busy.

C. PENDLETON: And make it real for yourself (inaudible), make it real for yourself. Because, you know, like I say, often, throughout the day, you know, this is the rest of my life, you know, when the cameras go off and folks go home, I'm still dealing with the fact that we no longer have a daughter. Now she's passed.

MALVEAUX: Do you think that the way the two of you have dealt with it -- obviously, you've gotten a lot of attention; the president has gotten involved, the first lady. But you bring up such a good point. The cameras will leave and perhaps even lawmakers won't take up that legislation to deal with gun violence.

How do you move forward? How do you deal with your loss, acknowledging, recognizing that perhaps this is just a moment?

N. PENDLETON: Well, I'm committed to this at this point. This isn't just a moment. This will not be just a moment. I will not let my daughter vanish. I will stay a part of this as long as necessary until legislation is passed.

MALVEAUX: What do you hope --

N. PENDLETON: Me and -- me and Cleopatra will stay a part of this as long as it takes until something is passed.

MALVEAUX: Did the president -- did he give you a commitment? Did he say he was not going to let this go?

C. PENDLETON: The president and first lady are committed to this, the crime that occurred with Hadiya as well as all the other children, and unfortunately, the list is growing. And it's to do something. But as far as specifics, at this time, I don't have any specifics.

MALVEAUX: Can you tell me what you hope will be her legacy? Tell me a little bit about your daughter and what you hope we'll know and take away from knowing you?

C. PENDLETON: Well, you know, Hadiya was very heavily into academics. She definitely enjoyed the extracurricular activities. And in honor of her life and legacy, we will be putting together a foundation for her, you know, in that name of her legacy to assist children for -- from various aspects of life. We're still working out the particulars on that, but she won't be forgotten.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, we thank you so much, both of you, for being here, for joining us. And obviously, the strength that you have to bring this to the forefront, your participation with the president and the first lady and, of course, reaching out to the family of that other young girl who was just murdered in your community. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

N. PENDLETON: Thank you.

C. PENDLETON: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Coming up, limiting how much violence your kids watch on TV. How it can help them learn to control aggression.



MALVEAUX: All right. So how many times have you heard that TV is bad for kids?

Well, study after study has shown the negative consequences of too much TV. But a new study shows that good TV can actually lead to good behavior.

Elizabeth Cohen, you've got all the answers. You and I were reminiscing about "Sesame Street," "Electric Company," all that great stuff.

ELIZABETH COHEN, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: All those shows we grew up with.

MALVEAUX: So what does the study say?


COHEN: (Inaudible) on the "Electric Company," you know?

MALVEAUX: Awesome.

COHEN: And that's right. It's always sort of puzzled me a bit, because these studies always look at just TV as if it were all one thing.

MALVEAUX: Yes, right.

COHEN: TV is bad for kids. Don't let your kids watch too much TV. And then these researchers said, no. Let's pay attention to the context. Let's look at what these kids are watching.

So they took a bunch of preschoolers, kids ages 3 to 5, and half of them were allowed to just do whatever they had been doing.

The other half, the parents got some education about what makes for good television. You know, they were told we watch this show and this show. And this show watched shows that teach your kids something. And they found that the parents were more likely to show those programs to their kids.

And when they followed those kids for a year, the kids who watched more of those shows had a higher social IQ, for want of a better phrase. They shared more. They threw things less. They hit each other less. And it wasn't a lot better, but it was markedly and measurably better than the kids who were just allowed to watch whatever they wanted.

MALVEAUX: So what was the good TV and the bad TV?

(CROSSTALK) COHEN: They actually gave them -- not only did they tell them the names of shows, they told them what time they were on.

I mean, they really helped these parents do it right -- "Sesame Street." "Dora the Explorer" "Clifford, the Big Red Dog," shows like that, shows that really teach your kids something, instead of other shows that are often violent and are -- that are often very fast- moving. That's one of the concerns is some shows, you know, they -- different thing every --


MALVEAUX: Did they name those shows -- did they actually say which shows they thought were bad for kids?

COHEN: No, I think they more emphasized the good ones. And they emphasized that, first of all, adult shows are not good for kids at all. And second of all, they said just stay away from things that are violent; stay away from things that are fast-paced. Stick to these other shows.

MALVEAUX: All right. Good. That -- I'm sure that a lot of -- a lot of people find that very helpful.

COHEN: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, good TV.

This is good TV. Yes?

COHEN: Yes, I'm learning something.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Elizabeth.

Well, usually we see gas prices going up during the summer, but high prices hitting us right in the middle of winter? We're going see what is behind all this.



MALVEAUX: Home prices are rising across the country, so now is good time to buy? Christine Romans explains in this week's "Smart is the New Rich."


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's moving day for Kelly and Dino Yiannopoulos. This two-bedroom apartment in New York City got tight once their son, Christian, came along. Now the family is wrapped up and ready to leave the big city.

KELLY YIANNOPOULOS, NEW HOME BUYER: Luckily for us, we found a really great house for a decent price. I mean, probably a little bit more than we wanted to spend, but for what I think several years ago we would have paid, we got a good deal.

DINO YIANNOPOULOS, NEW HOME BUYER: Plus the rates made it hard not to say yes.

ROMANS (voice-over): With good credit and a 20 percent down payment, the couple locked in a 3.5 percent rate for a 30-year loan. Mortgage rates have come down steadily in the past several years. At the same time, rents in major cities have gone up, a trend that's expected to continue this year.

ROBERT SHILLER, AUTHOR: There is a shift toward wanting to rent. And there is a shortage of rental properties. That seems to be what is happening.

ROMANS (voice-over): Home ownership was 69 percent at its peak in 2004. It's dropped to just about 65 percent. But for the Yiannopoulos family, more room and low rates were too good to pass up. So over the bridge they go into this five-bedroom single family home in New Jersey.

KELLY YIANNOPOULOS: I think it is what the American dream is about. This is what I worked for. Look what I can show for it and it's actually mine. I don't have to leave at the end of my lease. I actually own this place.

ROMANS (voice-over): Like generations of Americans before them, they see this house as an investment. The family hopes to grow into it in more ways than one.

DINO YIANNOPOULOS: You're not only you know, owning and building a house, you're building a family.

ROMANS (voice-over): Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: For this and other stories about housing, visit

And of course you might have noticed here, gas higher today than it was yesterday. It has been the story for about a straight month or so.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Take a look at this. This is how gas prices looked over the past year. See the lowest point there was just before Christmas. Since then it has risen steadily to today's average of $3.73 a gallon.

Zain Asher has been following all of the prices for us there, especially -- I mean, how did this happen overnight? That was unbelievable.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, certainly it is unbelievable. And I can tell you, Suzanne, people are frustrated, to say the least. The average price of gas right now, $3.73 a gallon. In places like Hawaii, the most expensive place to buy gas, we're seeing averages well above that $4.29 a gallon.

The cheapest place to buy gas right now, by the way, is actually Wyoming; gas prices there $3.17 a gallon.

But you know, the sad news is that there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. You've got summer driving season coming up. That's going to put pressure on demand and we will probably see prices rise even further.

I did speak to a number of taxi drivers in New York today, saying the higher gas prices go, the lower their take-home pay. Some cabbies now are spending up to $60 a day on gas. Other people are telling me they are considering buying an electric car or a hybrid car, anything to get a break from rising gas prices. Take a listen to what some people had to say.


JONATHAN MEIZLER, DRIVER: Being in New York you have access to public transportation. So it is much easier than, let's say, in Los Angeles. But the necessity of having a car at some points is what it is. And so you are going to have to cope.

DAVID JACOBS, DRIVER: I'll say just find that the prices at gas stations are getting out of control and the government is not doing anything about it.


ASHER: Right. And an interesting stat for you, Suzanne, the EIA saying that in 2012, the average American spent $3,000 on gasoline, totaling roughly 4 percent of their income, the highest percentage of income spent on gasoline in the last 30 years, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Zain, do we know what is behind all this?

ASHER: Yes, well, you know, we're going to have it blame it on crude oil prices, really. I mean, they're currently as high as $96 a barrel.

And you know, Suzanne, as the economy shows signs of recovery, as the housing market improves, you're going to see demand for crude oil increasing; that's also going to send prices up.

Also I want to talk about refineries. They play a huge part in this equation. You have got refineries closing typically closing this time of year for maintenance reasons anyway. But on top of that, you've got some refineries closing for good and that's putting a squeeze on supply. And when that happens, you are most certainly going to see prices go up.

MALVEAUX: All right. We're just going to have to grin and bear it. Thank you, Zain. Appreciate it. A teen -- this is an amazing story -- gets lost in the Australian outback for three days. How his contact solution helped save his life.



MALVEAUX: The man credited with making basketball entertaining for the masses has passed away. Lakers owner Jerry Buss was 80 years old. The Lakers won 10 NBA titles under his tenure and he showcased some of the biggest names basketball has ever seen, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant. Buss had been suffering from cancer.

Former Lakers player Shaquille O'Neal tweeted just a few minutes ago, "I am deeply saddened over the horse of the great Dr. Jerry Buss. He was a dear friend, mentor and brilliant business mind. Thank you for eight great years."

And also, check out this amazing story of survival.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): This backpacker got lost in the Australian outback for three days with no food and no water. Samuel Woodhead's mother told "The Daily Mail" that he survived by drinking his contact lens solution.

She says his father packed several boxes of contacts in his bag. He was found severely sunburned, taken to the hospital, but he was not dehydrated. Saline solution, by the way, used by hospitals to rehydrate patients.


MALVEAUX: Disgraced retired General David Petraeus, he is now opening up about a new book he says has helped him get through his challenges. Petraeus quit as CIA director when it was revealed he had an extramarital affair with a woman who chronicled his life while he was leading troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well, now he is praising a book by a soldier named Mark Weber, who is now dying from cancer. HLN's Kyra Phillips talked with Petraeus about it.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: You said it was wonderful; it was equal parts inspirational and sobering. It was a tremendous reminder of the blessings that we all have, regardless of our personal situations. It was inspirational at a key moment.

And I just want to know what you meant by that, sir.

DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I meant exactly what I said by it. And, you know, I've known Mark Weber since we served together in Iraq in 2005. I kept in touch with him after that.

And I have followed with enormous admiration the way that he has hung tough in recent years, despite having the heaviest of rocks added to his rucksack.

He emphasizes in his book the importance of pressing on when life doesn't go the way you would want it to go.


MALVEAUX: You can see more of Kyra's interview on our sister network HLN.

That is it for me. Deb Feyerick takes it from here.

FEYERICK: Hey, there, Suzanne. Thank you so very much.