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STUDENT NEWS

Sinkhole Swallows Florida Man

Aired March 4, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

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


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: First up today on CNN STUDENT NEWS, this Florida resident was in his bedroom last Thursday night, suddenly, the ground underneath opened up and swallowed him. A sinkhole about 20 feet wide and 50 to 60 feet deep formed underneath Jeff Bush`s room.

His brother Jeremy talked about what happened when it started.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY BUSH, VICTIM`S BROTHER: I heard a loud crash like a car coming through the house. And I remember my mother screaming, so I ran back there, and tried going inside his room, but when I turned the light on, all I see was this big hole, real big hole.

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AZUZ: Jeremy Bush jumped into that hole to try to save his brother, but he couldn`t find him. And officials called off their search on Saturday, partly because of the same reason why workers began demolishing the house. The sinkhole was expanding, and there were concerns that house might collapse at any time. Sometimes sinkholes are smaller, they might cause the ground to sag or cause or cause a small panda form. Other times, they can be huge, like this one you`re looking at it right now from Guatemala.

Or the great blue hole, an underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. Florida actually gets a lot of sinkholes, and that`s because the ground across a lot of the state is made up of limestone, a sedimentary rock. Nick Valencia explains how that can lead to this sinkholes.

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NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do sinkholes form? Let`s break this down for you here. Sinkholes are usually a naturally occurring event. Now, what happens is, rain water, that heavy rain water sorts of sits on top of that bedrock sanding clay. If you take into account Florida`s landscape, but it gets a lot of that very porous limestone. It allows the rain, this acidic rain to sort of percolate down into this oil forming this cave like -- cave like sinkholes here.

And also, sometimes, it`s drought that causes these caves-like formations. And that`s further punctuated by that heavy rain that sort of sits on top of there, causing this to open up and perhaps, some of the scariest scenarios in Florida, is that you cannot predict sinkholes. It`s highly expensive to predict them yet. To use very expensive equipment and it`s really tough to pinpoint where these sinkholes are. In fact, it`s so common about the currents in Florida.

All of these little blue dots freckled up and down the state of Florida are past instances of sinkholes. Now, here, where it happened on Thursday night in early Friday morning in Hillsboro County at the Bush residence, this is the place that the Florida Department of State says is susceptible to abruptly forming collapse sinkholes. It`s an area that`s dominated by them, an area that`s had problems with sinkholes in the past.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the facts -- Affirmative Action aims to improve opportunities for women and members of minority groups. It started as a way to help people who had been discriminate against in the past. Critics argue that it uses reverse discrimination to accomplish its goals. Affirmative action policies have been used in employment and education.

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AZUZ: Abigail Fisher says Affirmative Action is the reason why she didn`t get in the University of Texas. She sued the school over its admissions policies, and the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision on it could come out today. Joe Johns breaks down the details of the case and some of the arguments on both sides.

Abigail Fisher dreamed of going to the University of Texas at Austin for most of her life. After applying, she didn`t get in, attending Louisiana State University instead. But the rejection from U.T. led Fisher to file a lawsuit against the school claiming she was squeezed out, unfairly denied admission because of her race. She is white. She said in a statement, "There were people in my class with lower grades who weren`t in all the activities I was in who were being accepted into U.T., and the only other difference between us was the color of our skin."

Whether race should be part of the application process at the University of Texas is the issue before the Supreme Court. Edward Bloom recruited Abigail Fisher to file the lawsuit.

EDWARD BLURN, PROJECT ON FAIR REPRESENTATION: The most important question is, should a university judge a student by his or her skin color when it comes time for admission. And the answer is no.

Here`s how the admissions process at U.T. works: the top ten percent of each high school class statewide gets in automatically. For those below the top ten percent, like Abigail Fisher, who was in the 11th percent, the university uses what it calls, a holistic review where race is one of many factors considered. One that University President Bill Powers says, doesn`t get much weight, and didn`t play role in Fisher`s rejection.

BILL POWERS, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN: We take ethnicity as one of many, many factors in our holistic review to make sure that the three quarters coming in under automatic admission, that we add to that with a quarter coming in where we can work for these other characteristics including diversity.

BRADLEY POOLE, PRESIDENT, UT BLACK STUDENT ALLIANCE: I think she`s fighting the wrong fight.

POWERS: Minority student leaders on campus like Bradley Poole, agree with Powers that the process is fair, despite Fisher`s claims.

POOLE: Seeing as race is probably one of least the parts of the holistic review process. I feel like it`s harping on the wrong -- on one of the things that -- on the easiest thing that she could have -- she could have win against.

POWERS: Others take offense that the lawsuit implies some minority students are less deserving of admission than the white counterparts.

CATHERINE RODARTE, STUDENT UNIVERSITY OF TEXAST AT AUSTIN: To hear people saying that some of us, Latinos, got in here easily, and the only reason we got in here is because of the race. That`s really disappointing. We worked just as hard as anyone else to get here to U.T.

POWERS: But conservative groups siding with Fisher argue it`s not just about getting in. The U.S. civil rights commission says studies show that using racial preferences can hurt minorities by starting them out near the bottom of their classes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Brown students at Clinton High School in Clinton, Michigan.

Nairobi is the capital of what African country?

You know what to do. Is it Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia? You`ve got three seconds, go!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nairobi is a capital of Kenya. It`s also the country`s largest city. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

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AZUZ: Nairobi is a unique place. There is a national park, about four miles from downtown where zebras, rhinos and giraffes run free. The park also had predators. 13-year old Richard Terrere (ph) lives in a farm near the park. He says that at night lions from the park used to eat his family`s cattle. When he noticed when people walked around with flashlights, the lions stayed away. That gave Richard an idea: first, he set up a solar panel that charged a battery during the day. That powered what you`re about to see, these lights right here at night. Richard made the lights flash, so it looked like someone was walking around with the flashlight, and that`s been keeping the big cats away.

Next up today, the NFL combine gives players a chance to show off their skills to pro-teams. Lauren Silberman was at original combine yesterday making history as the first woman to try out for the NFL as a place kicker. Our Women`s History Months coverage rolls on with some other sporting famous firsts. Back in 1977, Janet Guthrie was the first woman to drive in the Indianapolis 500. Julie Krone displayed a different kind of horse power becoming the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race. Babe Didrikson Zaharias broke golf`s gender barrier in 1938. She was also an Olympic gold medalist in track and field.

Ila Borders makes the list twice. The first female pitcher to win in men`s baseball game and the first woman to earn a college baseball scholarship. In 2002, Lisa Leslie threw down the first slam dunk in the woman`s pro game. Ten years earlier, Manon Rheaume manned the net for a post-season hockey game with the Tampa Bay lightning. And in the tennis match, that was known as the battle of the sexes -- Billie Jean King beat Bobbie Riggs head to head in 1973. Whether it`s as individual or part of a team, what do you think about women competing in traditionally male-dominated sports? Sound off in our blog at cnnstudentnews.com. And teachers, we`re always looking for your feedback. Head to the resources box on our home page, tell us what you thought about today`s show.

You might have known that the Iditarod is called the last great race on earth. You probably didn`t know that most competitors cover about 110 miles a day. It`s not much if you are driving, but if you are driving a team of sled dogs across the Alaskan wilderness in frigid temperatures, it`s much more intimidating. It starts in Anchorage and ends in the remote town of Nome, Alaska. Recalling a time around the year 1900 when dogs sleds were used to get supplies and mail there. Planes have been doing it since the 1920s, except in 1925, when there was an outbreak of the disease diphtheria, and pilots couldn`t get through.

Then in temperatures far below zero, sled dogs were called on once again to get medication where it was needed. The story became so famous that a statue of a lead dog Balto was put up in New York. It`s still there today. The modern Iditarod route changes from year to year. It crosses miles of ice and two mountain ranges. And it required teams to rest, provides dog food at race checkpoints, and has veterinarians and advisers to ensure that mushers and their dogs are kept safe along a trail that used to be anything but.

It`s always good to know the races and dogs are watched over when they embark. It helps keep the whole race from going downhill. And we tried to come up with a pun on Iditarod, but it just didn`t amount to mush. CNN STUDENT NEWS sets off again tomorrow. See you then.

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