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Bus Beating Suspects in Court; Saved from a Sinkhole; Valerie Harper's New Gig; Parkour Meets Mario;

Aired August 29, 2013 - 08:30   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The national park of Yosemite. Firefighters report 30 percent containment.

Thousands of fast food workers nationwide walking out today for higher wages. The restaurant industry says it pays above minimum wage and gives workers valuable skills.

The Midwest is melting. A massive heat wave forcing schools to close in Minnesota. The blistering temperatures not expected to let up until next week.

And at number five, two-time U.S. Open champ Venus Williams is out of this year's tournament. It's the third year in a row that Venus has lost in the second round at Flushing Meadows.

We're always updating the five things to know, so be sure to go to newdaycnn.com for the very latest.

Guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, now to a disturbing case working its way through Florida's justice system. You might remember this story. Three 15-year-old boys beating and stomping a younger kid on a school bus just last month. The bus driver, too afraid to intervene. The older boys are in court today to face battery charges. Now, authorities have recommended probation. That's where we pick up the story. Pamela Brown is in Pinellas County, Florida, covering the case for us.

Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris.

I spoke with the grandmother of the 13-year-old victim. She is the legal guardian. And she is still very shaken up from this incident that happened last month. She says that her grandson is still on the mend from a broken hand, but that his emotional wounds will take much longer to heal. And she says she wants to see justice served when the three teens appearing in court today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICIA YANKEY, VICTIM'S GRANDMOTHER & CAREGIVER: To know that he had to go through that. BROWN (voice-over): Patricia Yankey still gets choked up as she talked about what happened in this video, showing three Florida teens brutally beating up her grandson on the school bus.

YANKEY: To hear him saying "stop, stop," it breaks my heart.

BROWN: The image of him right after the attack, still very vivid in her mind.

YANKEY: He had bruises on his face. His whole body was bruised. It was horrible.

BROWN: Police say the victim told a school employee the teens had tried to sell him drugs. Later that day, his grandmother says they relentlessly taunted him on the bus before attacking him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave that boy alone! Leave him alone!

BROWN: She questions why the bus driver, who called for help, chose not to intervene. Something he was not required to do under school policy.

YANKEY: I would have been in the middle of it. No matter what policy said. But that's me. I can't stand by and watch somebody get hurt. I - I just couldn't do it.

BROWN (on camera): So he should have stepped in and helped your grandson?

YANKEY: I feel that he should have.

BROWN (voice-over): Still, she puts the blame squarely on the three defendants, who have been charged as juveniles with aggravated battery. One faces an additional robbery charge. A father of one of the defendants offered an apology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to just apologize to the young man and his family. You know, from my heart, for my son, you know, because I know I didn't raise him like that.

BROWN: But he says his son is not a criminal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peer pressure, maybe. Or, you know, in a bad mix. But I understand that, you know, what he did is really not what defines him, you know, as a child, you know? He's not a criminal.

BROWN: Yankey says she hopes the teens have learned their lesson.

YANKEY: Those children, for lack of a better term, have to realize that they could be up on murder charges right now. They could have killed him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: We have learned the victim is now attending another school. Yankey says that on the first day of school, he wanted to take the bus. He went there to the bus stop and he's just too afraid to get on the bus, walked back to her and asked her to drive him to school. So, clearly, still a lot of healing to do.

Meantime, as for those three teens, they're going to be appearing in court at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. A judge will be considering what their punishment should be. At this point, there is a recommendation of supervised probation. That means several services, such as anger management, a curfew. They could have a juvenile record. So a judge will be considering that today. They are first-time offenders, so the punishment may not be as severe as it could be. But there are still some unanswered questions. We've been reaching out to the school district and waiting to hear back.

Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you so much, Pamela, and we'll talk to you soon. Thanks so much for that story.

Now, you remember that six-year-old little boy who was rescued after falling into a sinkhole and being stuck there for hours while visiting an Indiana sand dune. Well, he has made a miraculous recovery by all estimations and now Nathan and his family are saying thank you to the rescuers who saved his life. For more, we're going to live to George Howell in our Chicago bureau.

Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning.

So, here's the thing, Nathan does not remember a lot of what happened that day, but he does know, no doubt, that a lot of people do care about him from the governor of Indiana, to the first responders who jumped in to save his life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FAITH WOESSNER, MOTHER: You like all them people clapping for you? That was pretty cool.

HOWELL (voice-over): When you consider exactly what Nathan Woessner went through, you understand why this moment was so important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was everyone's miracle.

HOWELL: Finally, meeting face-to-face, the men and women who searched tirelessly and saved him trapped beneath 11 feet of sand.

F. WOESSNER: And we'll always be so grateful for what you did and you will always be our heroes.

HOWELL: His mother calls it simply "a miracle."

F. WOESSNER: I believe that God did hold him. I believe he was right here, you know, in God's hands and that God's hands held him and gave him the air and comforted him and ultimately kept him safe until they found him. HOWELL: The dramatic rescue played out July 12th at the Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore.

DISPATCHER: 911.

CALLER: Yes, we had a kid that fell in the hole at Mt. Baldy.

DISPATCHER: Right. We've gotten -

CALLER: He's under the sand.

DISPATCHER: We have everybody on the way.

HOWELL: Nathan stepped on to a sink hole at the top of a sand dune known as Mt. Baldy. Officer Greg Rattiger (ph) was the first to arrive.

OFFICER GREG RATTIGER: It was so hard to dig in the sand. It was collapsing right on top of us. It was coming down on us. It was one step forward and 10 steps back with the sand.

HOWELL: About three hours later, they finally found him.

HOWELL (on camera): There was one point where people thought that he was dead.

RATTIGER: I was one of them. When we pulled young Nathan out of the hole, it was a limp body. And an hour later my friend called me, he goes, Greg, he's alive. He's in the hospital. He's alive. I had no idea. It was - it was amazing. It's an absolute blessing from God.

HOWELL (voice-over): It's a lot to take in for this sometimes shy six- year-old.

F. WOESSNER: You like being a superstar? Yes. Why?

NATHAN WOESSNER: Because I get presents.

HOWELL: Even his parents have trouble finding the right words.

GREG WOESSNER, FATHER: And I don't know that we could ever express what, you know, feelings or emotions or, you know, the love we have for everyone that was there, had a role to play in this because, you know, "thank you" just doesn't seem like enough.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: So, here's the good news. After weeks of rehabilitation and recovery, Nathan is back. One hundred percent, his parents say. Back healthy, happy, a little shy on camera, but definitely happy to be back with his parents and back in school.

Kate. Chris.

BOLDUAN: George, thank you so much. I mean it's amazing that he survived being stuck in 11 feet of sand and that there is no -- he recovered fully. One hundred percent recovery. It's just astounding.

PEREIRA: I get what the parents say. I -- we've all been in that situation where "thank you" doesn't seem sufficient.

BOLDUAN: Right.

PEREIRA: You want to find a better word than just "thank you" -

CUOMO: Right.

PEREIRA: But that's all there is in our English language.

BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE), you know.

CUOMO: Yes.

PEREIRA: Because that is -- they just gave them their son back.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

CUOMO: I mean - I mean, thank God, I've never been in any kind of situation like that because, if you're them, you know that wasn't supposed to happen.

PEREIRA: No.

CUOMO: I'm not talking about the kid falling in the sinkhole. That happens. That's the - the randomness of life.

PEREIRA: Right.

CUOMO: But you do not make it out of those situations.

PEREIRA: No.

CUOMO: And it's got to be hard as a parent -

PEREIRA: Hard as parents, yes.

CUOMO: To figure out what this means exactly because -

PEREIRA: You'll always look for meaning, right?

CUOMO: That's right. You shouldn't have your kid any more. That's what all the statistics and probabilities tell you. You hear it all the time about, you know, how long you can go without oxygen and it's got to just really, at the same time, it's a blessing but also a burdening of figuring out what it means.

It reminds me of the story about the guy who lived for 45 minutes after his heart stopped and they said he was dead.

PEREIRA: We interviewed him here. May goodness. CUOMO: He comes back. Now, he leans on his faith --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

CUOMO: A lot of people wind up leaning on their faith.

PEREIRA: They do too. (INAUDIBLE), yes.

CUOMO: As an explanation of what is bigger than us that we don't get.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

PEREIRA: Yes.

CUOMO: But it gives you some question, you know. Thank God the kid's young, but the parents are going to have to think, why is this boy still here?

PEREIRA: Still remember aspects of this, though.

CUOMO: What does it -- what does this mean about him? I mean they're really intriguing questions.

BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE) say, why are you guys focusing on me so much?

PEREIRA: Making a fuss about me, right?

CUOMO: He's special.

BOLDUAN: Right.

CUOMO: He's special. He's got to be.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

PEREIRA: Yes.

CUOMO: He's got to be. Anyway, thank God he's OK. It's a great story to get an update on, I'll tell you that one.

BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: All right, everybody, guess what it's time for? The better stuff. It's gooder than good.

PEREIRA: It's gooder than good.

BOLDUAN: Wow!

CUOMO: An update to a "Good Stuff" we brought you earlier. Remember the guys in New Jersey who thought a local store was open when it wasn't. Wasn't their fault, but they went shopping anyway. And rather than walking out with the stuff, they left money behind, figuring out what they owed plus tax, right to the cent. Well, guess what, when you're that good, we've got to find you. And we did. They are four football players from nearby William Paterson University. These partners in no crime say they're shocked by all the media attention. Their actions at the scene (ph). Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS JAMES, HONEST SHOPPER: This is still shocking me. I'm still speechless right now.

KELLE GALLIMORE, HONEST SHOPPER: We didn't see anybody at the cash register. So we were walking around. We were like, hello, anybody here? Anybody here? Nobody answered.

MARCY LEDERMAN, BUDDY'S SMALL LOTS: I wanted to say that these guys are awesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And not just because of those cool hair dos. That's Marcy Lederman of Buddy's Small Lots. The store that they were in. She just gave the guy each $50 gift certificates for their honesty. The guys say there's an important lesson here. Listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES: All people are not thieves. You know, you can't judge people by the, you know, the way they look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Exactly.

CUOMO: Very nice. And judge them by what they do. And you know what they did, the right thing. Hope they have a great season.

PEREIRA: Look, and those kids are savvy. They knew to sort of like have the evidence and wave it in front of the camera. Like, here, we're putting it down, because they figured somebody's got to be watching. The camera would be rolling. That's really cool.

BOLDUAN: I love that they caught up with them in their football pads. That's the best part.

PEREIRA: I know.

CUOMO: That's very cool.

PEREIRA: Right after practice or before.

BOLDUAN: They're like, we're in the middle of two a days. We've got to go.

CUOMO: Athletes -

PEREIRA: I love that you found gooder stuff today.

CUOMO: The gooder stuff. Gooder than good.

BOLDUAN: You keep setting the bar pretty high there, Chris. CUOMO: Gooder than good.

PEREIRA: It may be the bestest stuff (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: I'm not setting the bar. You are. Keep bringing us the stories and we'll keep telling you the good news. Thank you very much. You can tweet us. You know how to get all of us there. FaceBook. You can #goodstuff. Or you can go to our website. But, please, keep bringing us the stories.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, defying the odds and a terminal cancer diagnosis. Actress Valerie Harper now rumored to be ready to dance her way into your heart.

CUOMO: Plus, it is a dream come true. From old school video gamers -

PEREIRA: Oh, get out of town.

CUOMO: Mario and Luigi.

PEREIRA: Oh, stop.

BOLDUAN: This. I love that song.

CUOMO: It makes my son very popular because his name is Mario.

PEREIRA: I cannot stand this.

CUOMO: Real life, running amuck -

BOLDUAN: Super Mario.

CUOMO: I knew it was real.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

CUOMO: The NEW DAY award of the day.

BOLDUAN: I love this.

PEREIRA: This?

CUOMO: That's J.B. right there. That's J.B. as Luigi.

BOLDUAN: That's where his mind has been. He's performing in Mario Brothers.

PEREIRA: This is genius.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It was a sad day when we last heard from beloved sitcom and Broadway star Valerie Harper. Harper told CNN she's suffering from terminal brain cancer and she wanted all her friends and fans to know what she was going through. But, now, Harper is going back to work in a very big way, it appears. Nischelle Turner has more about what Valerie Harper's new gig could be.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kate, since her diagnosis we have seen her kind of embrace life in this grand way. She's still acting. She's talking openly about her cancer. And now there's a possibility of her taking on this physical task that would be yet another obstacle she's overcoming.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TURNER (voice-over): We all remember her as Rhoda on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

EDWARD ASNER, ACTOR, "THE MARY TYLER MORE SHOW": Does she?

VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS, "THE MARY TYLER MORE SHOW": I don't know. Why don't you ask her?

TURNER: Emmy award winning actress Valerie Harper revealed to the world in March that she is suffering from terminal brain cancer.

HARPER: At first I thought, oh my God, three months to live.

TURNER: Harper has defied those odds, still going strong and taking on a new challenge.

Celebrity news Web site TMZ is reporting that Harper will be hitting the ballroom floor in the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars". The pick stunning many because of Harper's incurable form of cancer she discussed on Piers Morgan.

HARPER: A lot can happen if the cancer starts getting really aggressive, pressing on parts of the brain.

TURNER: Doctors gave her until June to live but she has far surpassed that.

HARPER: I just, I just want folks to see me that I'm ok, that I'm not suffering, so far. And there may be pain, there may be a lot of things ahead. But whatever they are, they're ahead.

TURNER: At a recent press event for the sitcom "Hot in Cleveland" Harper addressed her prognosis.

HARPER: No doctor in the world can say to you this is your three months, six months. I can say that's what our experience is, but every case is different.

TURNER: Her commitment to the physically demanding reality show could have the 74-year-old on the dancing floor for weeks if America votes her through to the finale. Harper's outlook on life and her determination -- nothing short of remarkable.

HARPER: Death is out there for all of us and that there are other ways to handle it than just sit on the couch and accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TURNER: Those are words to live by.

Now, representatives for the show say they do not comment on cast speculation. We also reached out to Valerie Harper's representatives but have not heard back this morning. The formal cast announcement for "Dancing with the Stars" will be September 4th.

PEREIRA: Well let's take the conversation a step further. Here to weigh in on the medical aspects of Valerie Harper's dancing prospects is Dr. Jennifer Caudle, she's a family physician and she joins us here in studio.

Can we talk about her actual diagnosis? This is brain cancer, but it's a very rare form of it. Can you explain it to us?

DR. JENNIFER CAUDLE, FAMILY PHYSICIAN: It is -- it's a long word, it's called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. You're absolutely right. This is a very rare form of brain cancer and we often think of this a metastasis cancer which means brain cells have actually traveled from another part of the body, another part of the body actually to the brain.

But the unique thing about this type of brain cancer is where it is in the brain.

PEREIRA: It's not a tumor.

CAUDLE: So -- it's not a tumor. It's not a solid, you know, mass that we can see. So on the outside of the brain there is something called the meninges ok it's almost like a coating or like a sac. This is where the cancer has gone and it sort of spread to this outer coating of the brain and also gone into the spinal cord. That's what defines this type of cancer. That's what makes it rare, makes it hard to treat and often gives it a poor prognosis, as well.

BOLDUAN: So when you take all of that into account.

CAUDLE: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: When we -- when she made the announcement in March. She said that she was given three months is what the doctors have given her in terms of her time frame. It's now been nearly six months, does that surprise you?

CAUDLE: You know I'll tell you, this cancer really a does have a poor prognosis. We're talking in the medical literature we're talking weeks to months ok.

PEREIRA: Wow.

CAUDLE: No I don't personally treat Valerie Harper, but I have to say this. There is a lot of factors that really go into a patient's overall prognosis.

Now as doctors we do our best to tell a patient what we think they should expect or what they should look to expect. But the bottom line is we don't actually determine what that is. And maybe there is a few things that go into that. For example, a patient's underlying health. How healthy they were when they were diagnosed; how early they were diagnose and how aggressive the treatment. And of course mind over matter and the mind, body, spirit, we were sort of talking about this a little bit --

TURNER: Right.

CAUDLE: -- that makes a big difference, as well.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Is there a risk to her if she is in "Dancing with the Stars"?

CAUDLE: I think there's a risk for people who don't have terminal brain cancer doing "Dancing with the Stars". It's a very active show and it's really important for everyone to sort of be careful. But especially with her, yes.

Should there be precautions taken? Absolutely. And I'm trusting that if this is something she's considering, she is absolutely talking with her doctors about what is reasonable and really what makes sense.

PEREIRA: Can you talk about treatment? How would they treat cancer like this?

CAUDLE: Yes. So there is a couple different ways. There are pills, sometimes there's surgery, but probably one of the best known and maybe one of the better treatments is what we call intrathecal chemotherapy.

So you know the word chemotherapy we have a concept of what that is. The issue here is that remember the cancer is in the sac around the brain. It's not a solid mass into the brain. Yes you can't just poke it out or pluck it out. So what you need to do is you have to get that chemotherapy in the cerebral spinal fluid which means in the spinal cord area so it can travel through to the brain and that often can pose risks in and of itself. It's what makes this treatment actually very complicated and once again, it does have a poor prognosis.

PEREIRA: This has been really interesting and helpful.

CAUDLE: Yes.

PEREIRA: Dr. Caudle thank you so much for explaining this. Because a lot of us have --

BOLDUAN: Makes this even more amazing that she is doing so well -- yes.

PEREIRA: That she's even able to do it. That she wants to do it.

We appreciate it. Nischelle, Dr. Caudle thanks so much.

CAUDLE: Thanks so much.

CUOMO: All right we'll take a break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back, they brought Super Mario Brothers to life on YouTube.

PEREIRA: You love this much as much as I do.

CUOMO: These guys have earned JB's NEW DAY "Award of the Day". We'll show you why.

PEREIRA: Brings back so many memories.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: It's gymnastic but they're also very understanding of momentum. It's phenomenal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: This may be my favorite.

CUOMO: The music of my youth. JB is in D.C. that's where he's going to bring us his NEW DAY "Award of the Day Award."

BOLDUAN: But we know what he's been doing, he's been DC. He's been --

CUOMO: Forget them. What have you got, J.B.?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right guys so normally these awards they have deep social significance and expand your horizon, but -- but today really it's just plain cool, especially if you like video games.

Look at this, check this out. What is this? A real-life Super Mario Brothers -- unbelievable.

It's got graphics, sure, just like the video game. But what makes this simply awesome, the ridiculous free running skills. Look at these guys for a while. Look at this. I mean, that's completely insane. In the real video game -- look at that. Mario and Luigi were never this nimble in the video game. These guys are better than the real thing.

And the guys doing this Christian Russell (ph) and Ronnie Shelvis (ph) they're actually YouTube stars already. They do all kind of stunts like this. As Cuomo was saying, this is parkour, this is this discipline that you've seen in things like James Bond movies and these guys just run around and do general awesomeness for hours and hours and hours. It definitely deserves an award.

So the award these gentlemen win is "I pulled my groin just by watching" award. I mean seriously, I'm sitting here sweating and icing my quads. And I didn't do anything just watch. It's amazing, mesmerizing.

PEREIRA: It really is. I wonder how long this took to put together -- this production.

BOLDUAN: What amazing athletes.

CUOMO: A while. They're so strong and, you know, they're also very -- they're skilled, you know.

PEREIRA: We haven't even talked about the mustachios --

BOLDUAN: Wait a second, Mario and Luigi if I remember correctly -- weren't they a little chubby?

CUOMO: A little bit. Depends on the resolution of your screen. But it's also very cool. They've got such big --

BERMAN: Big boned.

PEREIRA: Big-boned, is that what we say?

BOLDUAN: All right, John, thanks so much. We'll see you later, buddy. Have a good day. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: NEW DAY is done but the good news is "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello is only beginning.

PEREIRO: Fantastico.

CUOMO: Good morning -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I love that. Thank you very much. You made my day. Have a great day. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM" crisis in Syria. President Obama steadfast --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Syrian government, in fact, carried these out. There need to be international consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: As the drums of war grow louder consequences now meeting with caution and criticism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to see boots on the ground or I don't want to see us mired in a conflict much deeper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)