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Two Teen Boys Accused of Shooting 13-Month-Old Baby: Spring Snowstorm Pounds Colorado; President Obama Ends Middle East Visit; Changes in Late Night TV?; Chicago to Close More Than 50 Schools

Aired March 23, 2013 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I am Fredricka Whitfield.

Two teen boys are accused of shooting this baby in cold blood. Now, the mother of the child is talking to CNN.

Dozens of elementary schools in Chicago are closing and while officials say it will benefit children's education and the school system's budget, many parents worry it will make your kids more vulnerable to gang violence.

If your luck isn't going so great for your March Madness brackets, you may want to test your luck on tonight's Powerball lottery. The jackpot is in tonight's drawing is a whopping $320 million.

The Brunswick Georgia mother that says a teenage boy shot and killed her 13 month old baby spoke to CNN's Nick Valencia just a short time ago. Nick, joining me now from Brunswick, Georgia.

So Nick, two teens have been charged with first degree murder in this case. What did the mother say to you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Fred. I just sat down with Sherry West. She is, of course, the mother of 13 month old that was shot on Thursday morning. It was a very emotional interview, Fred, and didn't mince words. Take a listen.


SHERRY WEST, MOTHER: I still think of my son, walking over to me in the morning and putting his head on my lap, and on my shoulder and me feeding him meals and the fact that he was just learning to eat and that he will never say his first word.


VALENCIA: Now, West says this isn't the first time she suffered a tragedy like this. Back in 2008 her 18-year-old son, she says, was stabbed to death in an altercation. It took her a long time she says to have a kid again only for something like this to happen.

WHITFIELD: And Nick, what about the investigation and the gathering of more evidence? There were no eyewitnesses to speak of. Last, just you know, we talk about this situation, has anything changed in the investigation, the direction in which it is going, the evidence collected?

VALENCIA: The Brunswick police department says there is still no clear motive for the incident, the attack. They're also still looking for the handgun. Yesterday they conducted three search warrants in the area here, but they say they're still in the open investigation and having said that, they're not looking for any more suspects. They tell CNN they're confident that they got the right two guys.

I asked them yesterday after the press conference, how could you be so sure that you got the right suspects? They told me they were able to catch these, two 17-year-old, De'Marquis Elkin, and a 14-year-old, juvenile who has not been named, with help of the description of the mother and cross referenced attendance records in area schools to find out who was missing that day. This is a very small town, Fredricka, only about 15,000 people. So, they said that's how they were able to find out who did it.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much in Brunswick, Georgia.

All right, meantime, a wild police chase and shoot out that ended in Texas jump started a complex murder investigation. Authorities are looking into whether the man killed by officers, Evan Spencer Ebel may be linked to two killings in Colorado, the most recent the chief of the state prison system shot dead in his doorway.

Officials also want to know whether there is a connection to the killing of a pizza delivery driver in Colorado and possibly the murder of a county prosecutor in Texas.

All right, spring began just three days ago and winter just simply won't let go. A giant spring snowstorm is pounding parts of Colorado with snow wind and right now, up to 50 vehicles were involved in a fiery pile up on interstate 25 North of Denver and more than 150 miles of interstate 70 from Denver to Kansas are closed. And people are being told to simply stay home.

And the world cup qualifying game between the U.S. and Costa Rica in Denver, well, somehow the players finish that game despite all of that snow and the U.S. won. The storm is now moving eastward.

Meteorologist Karen Maginnis has more details.

KAREN MAGINNIS, METEOROLOGIST: Fred, it looks anything like spring time, especially across the central plains where another winter storm or early spring storm is moving on and across Kansas and Nebraska, between interstate 70 and 80. This is where we will see the snowfall pile up. Some folks could see more than a foot of snowfall and we have winter storm watches and warnings out and advisories into the lower great lakes.

Now, this could change as we watch the development of this storm system and this area of low pressure moving across the south central U.S. heads towards the central Mississippi river valley into the Ohio River valley towards the mid-Atlantic as we go into Monday. And then by Monday, snowfall expected, guess where, Washington, D.C., and New York. But in the meantime, Kansas City between six and nine inches of snow, St. Louis also readings between four and eight inches, what about the Alleghenies, six to ten inches of snow fall and maybe a light dusting for Washington, D.C. and New York city. Right now, the forecast is saying maybe one or two inches of snow. But, across the deep south, it is thunderstorms. Quite a different story, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.

All right, a budget proposal has passed the U.S. Senate; this one was approved at 5:00 in the morning by a razor thin margin of 50-49 afternoon a marathon over night session, fittingly called a vote-o- rama. Senators went through 101 amendments at a vote with largely along party lines except for four Democrats who voted against it. But, the bill is expected to get knocked down in the House.

All right, it has been three years since President Obama's health care plan was signed into law and it has survived despite vocal opposition and a U.S. Supreme Court challenge now.

CNN Political editor Paul Steinhauser looks at where the law stands today and whether it has gained in popularity.


It was the signature domestic achievement of President Obama's first term. But the health care law known officially as the affordable care act and nicknamed Obama care quickly hurt the president and his party at the ballot box partially fueled by opposition to the measure.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives.


STEINHAUSER: Republicans won big in the 2010 midterms taking back the house and cutting into the Democrats majority in the Senate. But, last year, the Supreme Court upheld the law and the president won re- election over Mitt Romney who said.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to repeal Obama care.


STEINHAUSER: Even after all of that, many Republicans would still like to see the law go away. Romney's running mate congressman Paul Ryan calls for the law's repeal in his new budget. Here is what he told Wolf Blitzer.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we have a problem with Obama care because we think it is very dangerous for medicine care and we think we have a better idea.


STEINHAUSER: So, what do you think? Americans remain divided. But the percentage who supports the controversial law is edging up according to our CNN/ORC poll from January. But, of course, our survey found a wide partisan divide with Democrats and Republicans not seeing eye-to-eye on the measure -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Paul.

President Obama is headed back to the U.S. now. He wrapped up his trip to the Middle East as a tourist.

Plus, we'll introduce you to the first black Israeli beauty queen.


WHITFIELD: President Obama is headed back home after visiting Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel. The president told Palestinians to think anew when it comes to creating a lasting peace with Israelis in the region. The president toured the West Bank with Palestinian authority president Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Obama told people in Jerusalem he believes peace is possible.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Palestinian's people right to self determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized. And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own.


WHITFIELD: Hurdles remain on getting the stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians going again.

Let's bring in attorney Diana Buttu who was an adviser to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

So, Diana is joining us right now from Ramala in the West Bank.

So, Diana, you know, you were also an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel. Did President Obama strike a chord with people there?

DIANA BUTTU, FORMER LEGAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT ABBAS: Absolutely not. I mean, President Obama came in very clearly designed to reach out to the Israelis, but he didn't do anything to reach out to the Palestinians. In fact, he did the opposite. He backtracked away from U.S. foreign policy. He backtracked away from his own position and in stating that Palestinians should head to the negotiating table without a settlement freeze.

He made it seem that the United States is somehow a neutral party and so, he doesn't know where the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to fund more settlements and to militarily finance Israel, so he didn't strike a positive chord at all with Palestinians.

WHITFIELD: Did people in general feel like the president backtracked from earlier commitments?

BUTT: He absolutely backtracked against his earlier commitments. If you recall in the first term of President Obama -- the first Obama term what he said very clearly was that Israel's settlement activity had to stop. He made it home demolitions had to stop and what he is now saying is that it is not so much that home demolitions have to stop, and he didn't even call for a settlement freeze. Instead he said that there should be no conditions placed before negotiations.

In other words, what he is saying is that Israel is allowed to continue to eat up Palestinian land and the Palestinians just have to sit down and deal with it and this is not going to be a recipe for moving ahead. In fact, what he did is rather than move the ball forward, he pushed the ball further behind.

WHITFIELD: So then, should there be any hope that the ball will be moved forward despite how people are assessing, particularly Palestinians are assessing the president's words or lack thereof?

BUTT: The problem is that this president, like other presidents, had come in and they have always said the same thing, that they're coming to listen. This isn't what Palestinians were expecting. We want him to act and so at the end of his trip now that he is heading back home, it is time for President Obama to firmly act. It is time for him to put pressure on Israel, to completely end its military rule over the Palestinians and to allow us to live in the freedom and dignity that we deserve.

If he doesn't put pressure on Israel, I am afraid that we're going to be back here and with yet another president who is simply going to come to the region once again to listen and do nothing. This is not what I want to see.

WHITFIELD: Does it matter at all the president was making overtures to the younger generation, young Palestinians, young Israelis, leaders of the future in any way, that he was thinking of that next generation, that perhaps the view point is by some that he kind of talked to the next generation by talking around the current leaders, effective at all in your view?

BUTT: It is important for him to reach out to the younger generation. That I agree with. But, the question is what is the message and the message that he should be sending to this younger generation is that the occupation is wrong and that he as a young president is going to put in place measures and that to end the occupation by ending U.S. assistance to Israel, and that he is seeking the support of this younger generation.

Instead, what he did is he simply reached out to younger Israelis to try to empower them without really telling them that the ball rests in their hands, and in his hands as well, that the time has come for a complete settlement freeze, the time has come for Israel to completely end its occupation and the time has come for Palestinians to be allowed to live in freedom and equality.

WHITFIELD: Diana Buttu, thanks so much for your time.

She is a beauty queen with a story so compelling that President Obama asked to meet her. They're from very different continents and they're decades apart.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): Nearly ten years after her arrival as an Ethiopian immigrant in the holy land, Yityish Aynaw gained worldwide attention chosen as the first black Miss Israel. The 21-year-old beauty queen served in the Israeli army and worked as a sales clerk in a clothing store before a friend entered her name in the contest. Within a matter of weeks she was invited to an exclusive 120 seat gala dinner for Barack Obama in honor of his first visit to Israel as president.

YITYISH AYNAW, MISS ISRAEL (through translator): I am very excited to meet the two presidents, President Shimon Perez and President Obama. They invited me because an historical significance. For the first time, in Ethiopian is representing Israel and he was the first African-American that was chosen to lead as super power.

WHITFIELD: An orphan, Yityish relocated to Israel to be with her grandparents when she was just 12. Obama has been one of her idols almost ever since.

AYNAW (through translator): I did a research project about him in high school and I know he is very powerful man and charismatic. He achieved a lot on his own by virtue of the fact that he believed in him himself and this stuck with me.

WHITFIELD: As Ms. Israel 2013 there will be ceremonies and appearances galore for Yityish this year.

AYNAW (through translator): I was chosen. But because I made history as the first Ethiopian, I feel I have to prove myself. I don't want to disappoint people that chose me.

WHITFIELD: Yityish often talks of her previous life as a child walking barefoot in Ethiopian and what she discovered in herself on her first visit back to her homeland.

AYNAW (through translator): I stood there as a girl that finished the Israeli army as an officer and thought how much a person with go through in nine, ten years and I learned a new language and culture, I have been to good places, I enlisted and trained people and returned as a totally different person.

WHITFIELD: From the streets of Ethiopian to the presidential gala in Israel to the world stage.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: And she was crowned just three weeks ago.

All right, Beijing has some of the worst smog in the world. It is so bad it looks like a sand storm on the worst days and we'll show you how the problem could impact you next.


WHITFIELD: Early today, the Senate passed its version of the federal budget. It is mostly symbolic. It is non-binding and lays out the Senate's priority which is are vastly different from the house budget passed by the Republican majority. The Senate plan backed by Democrats increases government spending and it would also repeal those automatic spending cuts. Of course the cuts are still in force.

Athena Jones looks at the ripple effects and how it will impact workers.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Herndon, Virginia, is right outside Washington in a county filled with government workers, federal contractors, and the businesses that depend on them. Here, they're already feeling the effects of those steep budget cuts put into place three weeks ago and the reality is sinking in. Those cuts are here to stay.

KEITH MCGLAWN, FEDERAL EMPLOYEE: This is getting real old as the days keep going on. I was hoping Congress would come together. But, as we have gone on now, still have not come up with an agreement.

JONES: Keith McGlawn fixes computers and horned in for the customs and border protection agency. He learns he will have to stay home for his job for up to 14 days so the agency can save money. He thinks that will cost him 20 percent of his pay. To make due he found a part-time job and is cutting back on expenses.

MCGLAWN: They won't see me down at the garden shop as much as I used to be every year buying my plants and my dirt and everything to get my front yard looks nice and everything.

JONES: McGlawn is also eating out less, fewer lunch breaks like this one at the Deli near work. It is a big concern for the deli owner who says at least a quarter of customers are federal employees and furloughs will eat into his bottom line.

KAWAL KAPOOR, DELICATESSEN OWNER: They are going to be spending less money and not eating as much out as they are doing right now. We are going to be less business.

JONES: One small business owner and one federal worker, multi-applied by thousands across a region that relies on government money.

STEPHEN FULLER, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: I think we know we're going to lose probably four or $5 billion from the local economy due to cutbacks and they are going to continue next year as well. JONES: McGlawn is still hoping Congress will act and fast.

MCGLAWN: Congress, all get it together. Let's do it tomorrow. Let's do it really, really soon. You know, you are talking 14 days out of my life I will not get paid for.


JONES: One more thing about the ripple effects of these cuts, the economists we spoke with said they could lead to a million jobs lost among small businesses nationwide -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Athena Jones in Washington.

Onto China now, the air pollution has been so bad this winter it sparked protests. The smog can even be seen from space. This time, less photography, shows Beijing on a clear day and Beijing on a bad smog day. You can barely see the city. Health officials say more than 8,000 people died from being exposed to this stuff last year alone.

I spoke with the special contributor Philippe Cousteau. I asked him, what is causing all this bad solution in China. And if the growing numbers of cars on the roads there is playing a role.


PHILIPPE COUSTEAU. CNN SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, certainly, it is contributed to by the pollution and growth of vehicles in the streets of China. But, we have to remember one of the primary causes are coal fired power plants. Believe it or not China burns about as much coal as the rest of the world combined and that increases tremendously every single year. There is a little weather pattern contributed to keeping these pockets of pollution over Beijing and parts of China, but it is really an issue of the amount of consumption of fossil fuels happening in China. It is staggering.

WHITFIELD: It is one thing to impact the health of the Chinese people and how might China's pollution problem really affect the rest of the world?

COUSTEAU: Well of course, Fredricka, China has been an important economic driver here in the global economic scale, especially over the last few years of the economic slump in the west. And when you look at this unrest and the riots that are happening, when you look at the impact on health care and the cost to the Chinese government, there is a very real impact on the economy of China as a whole, and that's certainly impacts the rest of us as the world.

And of course, but from an environmental perspective, too, smog and particulates that originate in China can be found on the beaches of the Bahamas and the air quality in California because of the jet streams, so we truly live in a global world and what's happening in China is affecting all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Philippe Cousteau, after annual Congress earlier this month. China's political leaders said they would no longer put the country's economy over the environment.

All right, there is a different kind of March Madness going on and this has nothing to do with sports. Straight ahead find out why folks are rushing out to buy Powerball tickets right now.


WHITFIELD: A powerful snowstorm is pounding Colorado and making travel quite dangerous and impossible in others. More than 150 miles of interstate 70 from Denver to Kansas has been closed. And a fiery crash involved up to 50 vehicles, that's closed down part of interstate 25 near Fort Collins. People from the Midwest to Washington, D.C. could see winter conditions by Monday.

Perhaps you feel lucky. If so, you could turn two bucks into an early retirement. Tonight's Powerball drawing is worth more than $320 million and not surprisingly people like these folks in Arkansas are rushing to stores to buy their tickets. The lottery reports that the odds of winning Powerball are about 175 million to one.

And for the first time a Pope has met a former Pope. Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict met for lunch and Pesto Gandolfo. Benedict has been living there since he left the Vatican. The two, also prayed together. The Vatican says this is the first meeting of its kind in the history of the Catholic Church.

And here is a look at what's trending online, a 10-year-old boy is dead and at least one other person is in critical condition after a display sign fell on them at an airport in Birmingham, Alabama. Our affiliate WIAT reports that the sign which displays arrivals and departures fell on the person who was now in critical condition.

A shocking revelation from actress Eva Mendes about her relationship with her attack dog. She told late night TV host David Letterman that she uses a shock collar on her dog to keep him from killing critters but she admitted she oddly enough has actually tested the collar out herself and that has people talking.

And a flash of fire streaked across the skies last night from Virginia to Maine. See that little dot on the video right there? Yes, that's it. Experts say it was probably a meteor; one person tweeted , "Seriously after that massive meteor in California a few weeks ago, the one that hit Russia and now this huge one tonight, a little scary."


WHITFIELD: And recently we told you the story of singer and actress Lorna Luft's passion for training dogs.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): Well, her non-profit group trains guide dogs for the blind. Well, today she wants to share an update on her health with fans. She said in a statement she had recently undergone surgery for breast cancer and is embarking on a regimen of chemotherapy. She will resume her concert appearances in mid-August.


WHITFIELD: And as you may know, Lorna Luft is the daughter of Judy Garland.

All right. Now let's talk late night laughs. Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, two funnymen on late night television. But there are reports that Jay Leno is getting dumped from "The Tonight Show" in favor of Fallon.

And the show may be headed back to New York City. It looks like the rumors aren't getting under Jay Leno's skin, not really.


JAY LENO, NBC HOST: Y'all excited about March Madness? You into March Madness?


LENO: People talk about who is in, who's out, who is going to be eliminated and that's just here at NBC. That doesn't even count.

I have never been in the paper this much. It's fantastic.


WHITFIELD: Yes, a lot of buzz surrounding the reported changes. Here is CNN entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, it is probably the worst kept secret in Hollywood, that Jimmy Fallon would probably some day take over for Jay Leno.

The question has always been, though, when and news today suggests it could be sooner rather than later.


TURNER (voice-over): Could "The Tonight Show" be returning to New York and with "Late Night's" Jimmy Fallon taking over for Jay Leno?

According to various reports, it might happen by the fall of 2014 at the latest. No official word yet, but NBC is building a brand new New York studio for Fallon, who already broadcasts from the Big Apple.

JIMMY FALLON, NBC HOST: Thank you for tuning in.

TURNER (voice-over): The dramatic cross-country move would take the late-night talk show back to its roots, where Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson held court from 30 Rockefeller Center.

ED MCMAHON, NBC HOST: Live from New York, "The Tonight Show."

TURNER (voice-over): In 1972, Carson, looking for easier access to Hollywood guests, took the show to the West Coast. So, why go back to New York?

JOE FLINT, L.A. TIMES MEDIA REPORTER: That's his comfort zone; that's where Lorne Michaels, who oversees his show is. These days air travel is a lot easier and a lot of stars are in New York as well. So I don't think that will hurt him too much.

TURNER (voice-over): "L.A. Times" writer Joe Flint says don't forget that other Jimmy.

FLINT: Advertisers pay more for younger viewers and Jimmy Kimmel, since moving to 11:30 from midnight is making inroads in that audience. NBC wants to get Fallon in there sooner rather than later before Kimmel gets too established.

TURNER (voice-over): Kimmel spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper about Fallon taking over "The Tonight Show."

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: There is talk about Mr. Leno's departure, although I've read those stories before.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: I know. You read stories and you really never know if they are true or not, unless you hear it from somebody over there.

TAPPER: Do you think it's a direct -- it has to be a direct response to you coming and --

KIMMEL: God, I hope so. I really hope.


KIMMEL: I don't know. I mean, I have no idea. Well, obviously, NBC is looking to move on, because they did it once already. This would be the second time that this has happened. So I mean, it makes perfect sense and Jimmy Fallon is doing a great job and he's very popular. And so, I mean, eventually it's going to happen, one way or the other.

LENO: St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland and then they came here to the United States and became NBC executives. It's a fascinating...

TURNER (voice-over): And how does Leno feel about all of this?

FLINT: Jay is still number one, but his grasp on the audience has slipped a little bit and he knows he won't be in this job forever. And there was always a little bit of tension between Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien that doesn't really exist between him and Jimmy Fallon. So I think that also helps as well. There's just better relationships there all around. TURNER (voice-over): In fact, according to "The Hollywood Reporter", Fallon called Leno to smooth things over and ease the transition of coasts and hosts.


TURNER: Now, of course, there is this bigger question that's coming up, though, with the thought the show could move back to New York.

Is Los Angeles now losing its grip on the entertainment industry? Film and TV production is increasingly moving out of Los Angeles to cities like Atlanta and New Orleans because in large part, Fred, it is cheaper. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Always down to the bottom line, isn't it? Thanks, Nischelle.

All right. More than 50 Chicago schools are shutting their doors. It is one of the largest school districts in the country. Now some are worried the closures will create more violence on the streets. We'll explain next.



WHITFIELD: It is being called one of the largest mass school shutdowns in U.S. history. Our Martin Savidge looks at why some Chicago schools are shutting their doors and why parents are outraged.


CARLTON FERNELL, PARENT: I heard that they're not going to be coming back next year and it is sad. It is sad.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the list the parents have been dreading for months, 61 buildings, including 53 schools targeted for closure, the massive move designed to cut costs as the Chicago public school system faces a reported billion-dollar deficit.

In Alderman Willie Cochran's South Side ward constituents have been calling all day.

WILLIE COCHRAN, CHICAGO ALDERMAN: In some cases we're happy. Some cases we're not so happy.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): On the plus side the district says the savings will allow major investments in surviving schools, including adding 70 libraries, science labs, even air conditioning. But for many it is not what's gained but what's lost and where, neighborhood schools in some of Chicago's poorest communities.

School officials say the decisions were based on low enrollments but others say race played a role. An outraged Kerry Austin, an alderman from the city's far South Side told "The Chicago Tribune," quote, "Every time the whites go to screaming and hollering, they back off and steamroll over black and brown folks. Not this time."

And she is not the only one who believes that.

SAVIDGE: You think it is the black communities that often are asked to sacrifice first?

FERNELL: In this -- in this option, in this -- in this case, yes, I do. Yes, I do.

SAVIDGE: This is 70th Street in the heart of the city's South Side and this is the local elementary school. Parents are proud of it. The sign up there would bear that out, "Soaring to new heights," all of which would be very good if it wasn't slated to be closed.

And what is going to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't know. I don't know what's going to happen.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Parents also fear Chicago's notorious gang problems as kids cross into strange neighborhoods to attend new schools.

ERIC TOLBERT, FAMILY MEMBERS ATTEND SCHOOL: It is OK. You have certain gangs -- no, you got certain kids that go to certain schools because it is in their neighborhood. So when you go outside of your neighborhood, that becomes a problem.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Some blame the high number of school closings on the Chicago Teacher's Union, which won a significant pay raise for teachers last fall. But the head of the union blames Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

KAREN LEWIS, CTU PRESIDENT: We have a murder mayor, we have a murder problem. He's murdering schools. He is murdering communities. And it's OK -- how is that OK?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Meanwhile, Willie Cochran remains optimistic, even for schools on that list.

COCHRAN: I would say to the parents that are frustrated right now, there is still time to work.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): After all, he says, this is Chicago -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Chicago.



WHITFIELD (voice-over): And tech geeks learn the language of love for a price. (MUSIC PLAYING)



WHITFIELD: They are leaders in the tech industry but maybe losers in love, so some self-proclaimed Silicon Valley geeks are getting help finding a mate and money is no object. Laurie Segall has the story.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka. Well, how much do you think people will pay to find love? According to Silicon Valley's resident millionaire matchmaker, 20,000 bucks. Take a look.


SEGALL (voice-over): Silicon Valley's computer nerds have cracked the code to successful tech companies. But when it comes to the language of love, they enlisting a little help.

Meet Amy Anderson.

SEGALL: By modern standards, you're a matchmaker. That's an old job, right?

AMY ANDERSON, MATCHMAKER: It is an old world business.

SEGALL (voice-over): An old world business with tech IPO pricing, access to link and drink events like this one plus a guarantee of eight quality matches cost members 20 grand. Members who go to the parties but aren't promised dates pay up to 2,500.

SEGALL: How much is the most a client is kind of willing to put out there to find the right match?

ANDERSON: A lot. I mean, people will put so much into the process, anywhere from 50 to in some cases if we're doing a nationwide search 100,000.

SEGALL (voice-over): Many of Amy's clients work in tech.

KENNY HAWK, ENTREPRENEUR: The most valuable resource you have in the world, whether an entrepreneur or not, is time. And if you have a professional that could help you find the right person, I think it would save a lot of time.

SEGALL (voice-over): Like many businesses in the Valley Amy gets a boost when tech companies are doing well. Facebook's IPO brought in customers for links.

ANDERSON: Facebook has been really important for us for a multitude of reasons. Certainly we have gotten a lot of clients from their pre- IPO and post-IPO, just like Google in 2004.

SEGALL (voice-over): But what these people are paying for is the one thing for which they don't want to rely on an algorithm. STEFFANY BOLDRINI, LINX CLIENT: You come to her office, and she goes over several of your questions. It's about an hour long as well. And within a few days she will match you with a couple of people.

ANDERSON: There is often a lot of metrics by Silicon Valley standards that people are looking for, ranging from ethnicity, religion, personality type.

SEGALL (voice-over): Before you end up here, you go through boot camp.

ANDERSON: OK, well, remove the hoodie. Yes, so take it off right now.

SEGALL: Did she outlaw you from anything, any habits that died hard when you met Amy?

KEN KENGATHARAN, LINX CLIENT: Like being on time. Geeks are notorious for being late.

BOLDRINI: It has been great. I met two people. One of them I was in a relationship with for a while.

SEGALL (voice-over): And Amy boasts results: 45 couples in exclusive relationships and nearly 20 marriages.


SEGALL: Fredricka, you got to wonder, are singles really willing to pay $20,000 for the right match? Well, apparently many are, especially in an area where business is good and incomes are high.

Now Amy says now that we have hit spring she is bringing in even more clients. Looks like some of the geeks are ready to spend a little less time in front of the computer and a bit more time focusing on love, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And paying up. All right. Thanks so much, Laurie.

So for more high tech ideas and reviews, just go to and look for the gaming and gadgets tab.

Every Saturday at this time we bring you information on new technology and how it impacts your life.

All right. Looking for a laugh perhaps? Coming up we'll preview two new comedies featuring Hollywood favorites, Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Do their new flicks live up to the box office buzz? Next.

But first, American bartender Doc Hendley founded his non-profit Wine to Water project to combat the global water crisis, and in 2009 he was honored as a Top 10 CNN Hero. Now he is also working in Syria, where he is helping some of the millions of people there who have been displaced by the current conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DOC HENDLEY, CNN HERO: Here in the U.S. it's hard for to us understand the water crisis because we have it right at our fingertips.

There is some countries where it takes many women and children four and five hours every single day just to get water, and it is absolutely filthy and it's making their children sick. When you see that firsthand, you can't help but be changed from that.

My name is Doc Hendley. I used to be a bartender and now I bring clean water to the world.

The water is not going to be making you feel sick to your stomach anymore.

CNN Heroes changed everything. Before, we were able to reach four different countries; now we're in 15 different countries. Syria is our latest one. In Syria every single day people are leaving their homes, fleeing to the border areas and these camps, the living conditions, they're terrible. They don't have access to even the basic essentials.

Right now we're actively working in two camps in the northwestern region of Syria. I was able to bring about 350 water filters just a couple months ago.

Syria is the very first location that we're actually using these filters and they filter up to 250 gallons of water every single day for 10 years.

We have a partnership with an organization called Stop Hunger Now. We'll be sending a container with about 250,000 meals and another 1,000 water filters. This will be just the first of many shipments hopefully.

There is really no way to describe the feeling when you see a family have crystal clear, clean water for the first time. A lot of people think, what can we do? But you can make a difference in one family's life, that's a huge thing.


WHITFIELD: And you can learn more about Doc's program or nominate someone that you think deserves to be recognized by going to



WHITFIELD: If you're heading to the movies this weekend and you're looking for a good laugh, you're in luck. Two new comedies are getting a lot of buzz at the box office. Our movie critic, Grae Drake from joining us to discuss. Good to see you, Grae.

GRAE DRAKE, SENIOR EDITOR, ROTTEN TOMATOES: Hello. WHITFIELD: All right. So let's talk about the movie "Admission," starring Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, and comedy legend Lily Tomlin, Fey playing a straight-laced admissions -- college admissions officer up for a promotion. You sat down with Tomlin, who says she is playing Tina Fey's mother in the movie. And you asked her about some of the movie's action-packed scenes. Let's take a look.


DRAKE: You're pumping shotguns like you have been doing that your whole life.


DRAKE: Really?

TOMLIN: Yes, I practiced, you know, it's heavy, too. I mean it is hard to -- it's hard -- you know, you have to snap it loose. You know, we had to fake it because it's not really kicking that much.

DRAKE: We got to protect Lily Tomlin's shoulders.



WHITFIELD: OK, that must have been fun talking to her.

And overall what did you think about the movie?

DRAKE: Well, most critics, I think right now, are denying this movie, "Admission," into their hearts because they're saying basically it's not an episode of "30 Rock," which is what we love, love, love from Tina Fey.

And ultimately, I think that's a little unfair because my experience with the movie while I was sitting in it was that I was getting kind of this warm cashmere hug and my heart was swelling in all the right moments.

And is it incredibly passionate? Are we getting a ton of insights about the college admissions process? No. But Paul Rudd is her -- Tina Fey's love interest in the movie. And they're both genetically engineered for me to love them essentially. So I think that it works just enough.

If you're a diehard fan of any of these comedy legends then I think you're going to go and enjoy the movie. Just don't take it too seriously.

WHITFIELD: OK. So then how does it rank on your tomato meter?

DRAKE: Well, like I said, the critics are being tough on this one. It is rotten now at 45 percent. But I wouldn't let that discourage you if you love the people in this movie and you just really want to see a lot of shots of Princeton. Why not? WHITFIELD: OK. Why not.

All right. Let's turn to another comedy, this one featuring funnyman Steve Carell. He's in a new movie with comedian Jim Carrey, called "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," about the rivalry between two superstar magicians in Las Vegas who have worked side by side for years.

And recently you actually asked Carell what advice he had for an aspiring magician. And this is what he said.


STEVE CARELL, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: Develop your sense of panache.

DRAKE: Do you find yourself now doing normal everyday things with that sense of panache, like I would like three tickets to the movies.

CARELL: No, I never, never, never. It doesn't -- it has not -- that has not in -- I can't even talk. No. That hasn't become a part of my ordinary life.


WHITFIELD: So you got Steve tongue-tied there.

DRAKE: What a dream it's been to talk to all these phenomenal actors. Going into an interview that way is just so exciting because he is the best, even in person in an interview. And "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" as a comedy, doesn't hit it out of the park. I'm going to say no.

However, it's building -- I know it's tough. It's a tough time of year. However, it is building on a base of sequins and magicians immediately being hilarious. So it doesn't add a ton on top of that. But in this particular case, the power of the supporting performances, I think, are really what builds the movie up because you've got Jim Carrey, the best that he's been in really, really long time.

WHITFIELD: We haven't seen him in a while.

DRAKE: I know. And the movies that he has been in recently, trust me. I have been waiting for something that makes me not want to leave the movie theater in a huff.

WHITFIELD: So this one on the tomato meter?

DRAKE: This one is right now at 37 percent.


DRAKE: Which is also rotten. But David Copperfield himself, a huge fan of Rotten Tomatoes told me he's absolutely right that comedies tend to score lower with the critics because they are just that -- really tough critics. But audiences are going to go to the movie and probably leave with a smile on their face. This time of year where movies are very serious, a smile might be worth the price of admission for sure.

WHITFIELD: We like smiles. All right. Miss Sunshine herself, Grae Drake. Good to see you. Thanks so much.

And of course, remember, you can get more of Grae Drake. You always want more of Gray. At

All right. Tom Hanks is stepping on the stage for the first time in 30 years. Next hour he tells our Piers Morgan what he's most nervous about.