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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Crescent City construction, high-tech helmets, and a campsite crasher. They're all coming up on CNN Student News. But first, a political giant passes on.
First Up: Sen. Edward Kennedy
AZUZ: Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who was diagnosed with brain cancer 15 months ago, died Tuesday night at the age of 77. Kennedy was known as the "Lion of the Senate," and during his decades of service, he put together a long resume of accomplishments. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act: Kennedy played a major role in all of them. Sandra Endo looks back at his life and legacy.
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SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not many little brothers turn into father figures for powerful families. But Edward "Ted" Kennedy was not the typical youngest of nine children. He was only 31 when his big brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. But he was already a year into his first term as a U.S. Senator. He eventually became one of only six Senators to serve more than 40 years. Kennedy was lionized by many Democrats, who saw him as the champion of their ideals.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The reason that he has accomplished more than any of the others who are there, the reason that he has been able to help deliver voting rights and immigration rights and helped people who are vulnerable, is because he fights.
ENDO: He was equally demonized by many conservatives. But despite his predominantly liberal voting record, Kennedy often reached out to Republicans to compromise. Even four decades in, Kennedy's passion and powers of persuasion impressed ideological opposites.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: He remains the single most effective member of the Senate.
ENDO: For many years, however, it seemed as though Kennedy's allegedly wild conduct would overshadow any legislative accomplishments. In 1969, he drove off a bridge, and a young female aide named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. Kennedy received a suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.
ENDO: In 1980, Kennedy took on a vulnerable President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. He lost and focused his energies on the Senate for the next three decades. Kennedy suffered a seizure at his family's Cape Cod compound in may of 2008. An MRI revealed it was caused by the brain tumor that eventually killed him. I'm Sandra Endo, reporting from Washington.
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AZUZ: Reaction to Senator Kennedy's death has come in from around the globe. Here in the U.S. President Obama talked about the impact of Kennedy's personality on his political career.
OBAMA: The seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He could passionately battle others and do so peerlessly on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintain warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest Senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Here's the deal: Today's Money Word is mortgage. It's a form of debt in which someone owns a property but pays off the entire price of it, plus interest, over time. Put that in your word bank!
New Home Sales
AZUZ: One expert says lower mortgage rates, the amount of interest that homeowners pay, is one of the factors that led to a surprising jump in new home sales. In fact, the number of newly-built houses sold in July was the highest since last September. And it's not the only good news for the housing market. Sales of existing homes, houses that aren't new, are up as well. One economist says the reason for all this is that buyers realize home prices won't stay this low forever.
New Orleans Economy
AZUZ: Construction is helping the entire economy of New Orleans as the city rebuilds from Hurricane Katrina. This coming Saturday marks the 4th anniversary of when the storm, one of the worst in U.S. history, slammed into the Gulf Coast. It caused more than $81 billion in damages. But as Sean Callebs explains, the reconstruction process is offering the city a chance for renewal.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Orleans has been shielded in the aftermath of Katrina not by levees, it has been an economic buffer. Federal and private money as the city rebuilds. Jazz great Irvin Mayfield recently opened a club in the French Quarter, but he wants to talk about his job as commissioner of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
IRVIN MAYFIELD, NEW ORLEANS REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Redevelopment is just another word of self-investment to citizens. And I think that passion has always been important to New Orleans. We're now trying to figure out how to transform that passion for music and food into different areas of redevelopment in our neighborhood.
CALLEBS: After Katrina, close to 80,000 homes had to be rebuilt, attracting legions of construction workers. It's helped keep New Orleans' unemployment rate at about 7.2 percent, while the national average is closer to 9 percent. With its hotels and night life, New Orleans has a share of service jobs. For entrepreneurs who are also investing here, finding there are benefits to being in this city. Nic Perkins is CEO of the Receivables Exchange. He could have started his business anywhere.
NIC PERKINS, CEO, THE RECEIVABLES EXCHANGE: Donny from Pennsylvania, Darrell from England, John from Boston.
CALLEBS: New residents know about the problems: crime, a poor education system, the slow pace of rebuilding. But they are convinced the positive outweighs lingering, deep-rooted problems.
PERKINS: We have an operation like this, would be literally five or six or seven times more for us in New York or San Francisco. The quality of life that we have here, you can live in New Orleans exceptionally well under a start-up salary.
CALLEBS: Home prices are up about 1.1 percent from 2008 to 2009. Nationally, they plunged about 10 percent over that same period. New Orleans is a long way from being whole. Entire neighborhoods remain in ruin, and thousands are still displaced.
MAYFIELD: I think a lot of people who see this may say, "Look, you guys have been at this for four years, why isn't this done already?" And I think people need to really understand the volume of things that we have done and we're doing.
CALLEBS: And in many ways, the city has something it couldn't claim four years ago: optimism. In many ways, New Orleans remains a tale of two cities. The central business district, the French Quarter and areas the tourists see are coming back in a big way. However, many outlying areas are still in dire need of repair and revitalization. Sean Callebs, CNN, in New Orleans.
JONES: Time for the Shoutout! What's the scientific term for an abnormally high body temperature? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Hypothermia, B) Hypoglycemia, C) Hyperthermia or D) Hypertension? You've got three seconds -- GO! In Greek, hyperthermia means "high heat," and that's literally what it is: when the body overheats. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Football is a fall sport, but you players have been practicing in the summer heat, and that heat can take its toll. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and, heat stroke. That's a form of hyperthermia when your body temperature is over 104 degrees. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research, 39 football players have died from heat-related causes since 1995. Gary Tuchman tells us about a new technology that could help keep players safer.
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GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA: High school football is back. A big concern for players and coaches this time of year is sweltering temperatures, which can increase the risk of heat stroke and in some cases, death.
MAN ON STREET: It's getting toasty. If we get that cloud cover we'll be all right.
TUCHMAN: To beat the heat, a Georgia company has developed these dime-sized sensors, worn inside players' helmets.
JAY BUCKALEW, HOTHEAD TECHNOLOGIES: What we're trying to do is to just give that early warning alert system that that athlete is getting dangerously close to heat stroke.
TUCHMAN: The sensors constantly monitor the body temperature of a player on the field. Every 10 seconds, updates are sent to a small device carried by coaches or trainers. And if a player exceeds 102.5 degrees for more than 30 seconds, an alert sounds.
PRESTON BAZEMORE, BLESSED TRINITY ATHLETIC TRAINER: We want to prevent the injury before it happens. This is just another tool in our little back pocket that we can use to make sure these kids are participating safely.
TUCHMAN: A few high schools and colleges are using the system this season at a cost of about $100 per player. The technology could also be used by firefighters and military personnel. But for these players, it's safety first, then Friday night lights.
TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.
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AZUZ: So, do you think players should be required to wear this heat sensor during practice? That's one of the questions in today's Daily Discussion! It's a free resource that helps students talk about the stories in our show, and it includes the Media Literacy Question of the Day. Find it every day at CNNStudentNews.com!
Before We Go
AZUZ: And finally, there are some rules when you go camping. One of the big ones? Keep your food locked up, and this is why: a foraging forest dweller. Pretty cool jump coming up right here. And since the coolers were closed, he just grabbed a bag out of the open food locker. Campers scared him away, but he still made off with a mouthful of grub. So, how did the people who lost their food react?
AZUZ: We guess they just had to grin and bear it. Remember to check us out on Facebook -- Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews -- we will see you right back here tomorrow.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today marks a major milestone in the fight for equal rights. The reason why is coming up in today's edition of CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: H1N1
AZUZ: First up, flu season is just around the corner, and officials are preparing for the return of one specific virus: H1N1, or what's known as swine flu. You probably remember it from back in the spring, when the virus spread around the world and was declared a global pandemic, claiming more than 1,400 lives. A new report is looking at the potential impact of the virus this fall and predicts that it could cause between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the U.S.
Now, there are a couple points to keep in mind here. First, those numbers are based on a variety of factors. Second, the report says that the exact impact of H1N1 is impossible to predict. And third, about 40,000 deaths are connected to the regular flu each year. The government is working on an H1N1 vaccine that should be ready by mid-October. And there are some simple things you can do to help prevent it from spreading, like washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home from school if you're sick.
South Korea Launch
AZUZ: Moving to South Korea, where the country's space program has suffered a bit of a setback. After years of delays, Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, the nation's first space rocket, lifted off yesterday, carrying a satellite that was supposed to be put in orbit. Only problem: The satellite didn't separate from the rocket when it was supposed to. It ended up overshooting the planned orbit by about 36 miles. Yesterday evening, Korean experts and Russian scientists, who provided the technology for the launch, were working to figure out what went wrong.
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a U.S. government organization that was created in 1913. I was established to help make America's financial system more stable. I'm the country's central bank. I'm the Federal Reserve, or Fed, and I'm in charge of the nation's monetary policies.
Federal Reserve Chairman
AZUZ: The man in charge of the Fed is Ben Bernanke. As the Federal Reserve chairman, he's played a big role in the government's response to the economic crisis, and how he responded is part of the reason why President Obama says he'll nominate Bernanke for a second term as fed chairman. Jim Boulden checks out the report card on Bernanke's first term.
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BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: It's been a particular privilege for me to serve with the extraordinary colleagues throughout the Federal Reserve system.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday's announcement may have come in the midst of summer vacation, but Ben Bernanke's time as Federal Reserve chief has been no picnic.
BERNANKE: I, Ben F. Bernanke...
BOULDEN: Firstly, he had to follow in the footsteps of a legend in 2006, at a time when Alan Greenspan was credited with an unprecedented boom in the U.S. economy. Then Bernanke was tasked with having to clean up the mess of an economic crisis. In 2007, critics pounced when Bernanke made this statement after the American mortgage market started to falter:
BERNANKE: We do not expect significant spillovers from the sub-prime market to the rest of the economy or the financial system.
BOULDEN: In fact, the spillover was the worst since the Great Depression. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, General Motors: the U.S. economic landscape changed forever. So, how does financial analyst Todd Benjamin rate Bernanke's first term?
BOULDEN: Think of an old American report card, where A is very good and E is failure. Where would you place Bernanke for the first three years?
TODD BENJAMIN, FINANCIAL ANALYST: Well look, I think if you were dealing early on in his term, you'd probably give him let's say a D, alright? But early on, because he didn't realize the severity of the sub-prime crisis. But you know, the job he is doing now, you've got to give him a B+, and probably an A- or maybe even an A, because he took the economy from the brink. It's getting back on track.
The big challenge for Ben Bernanke going forward, I'm not saying in the next six months, maybe not even in the next year, but in the next four years, is going to be his exit strategy. How does he reign in all this liquidity that they've got out there? Because there is oceans of it.
BOULDEN: Critics often say that the Fed was too interventionist, that the political aims of the White House influenced the Fed. But to anyone who might have wanted Bernanke replaced, supporters say what would have been the alternative? Jim Boulden, CNN, London.
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TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Snidman's current events classes at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in Ladue, Missouri. Which U.S. constitutional amendment guarantees women the right to vote? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) 18th Amendment, B) 19th Amendment, C) 20th Amendment or D) 21st Amendment? You've got three seconds -- GO! Women's suffrage, or the right to vote, is guaranteed by the 19th Amendment. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
Women's Equality Day
AZUZ: It takes a lot of people to turn an idea like women's suffrage into an amendment. The House, the Senate and three-fourths of the states all have to pass the Bill. But it also takes a lot of effort, not just by lawmakers, but by the rest of us. When it comes to equality, the end result is worth the work.
AZUZ: During an election, it'd be bizarre to drive by a public polling station and see only men lined up to vote. But until 1920, men were the only people allowed to vote! Extending that right to women was once considered a "radical change" to the U.S. Constitution, so it took decades of marches, protests, parades and vigils until women achieved that change.
That's why today is recognized as Women's Equality Day, commemorating women's struggles to get the vote and their overall fight for equality in America. Why August 26th? Because that's the day ratification of the 19th Amendment was certified in 1920.
Section one: "The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Sounds simple, but for those who fought for it, it was a milestone.
AZUZ: Shifting gears now to the world of drag racing, where cars can go from zero to 100 miles per hour in less than one second! In that same amount of time, a devastating crash changed Darrell Gwynn from the king of the road to a former dragster driver. But as John Zarrella explains, Gwynn still takes inspiration from his life's work on wheels.
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JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The walls are covered in a montage of racing memories.
DARRELL GWYNN, FORMER DRAG RACING CHAMPION: This is the race everybody dreams of winning.
ZARELLA: Twenty years ago, Darrell Gywnn was a rock star in the world of drag racing. If you knew anything about the sport, you knew Darrell Gwynn.
GWYNN: This is probably one of my most memorable wins. It was my last win: the 1990 Gator Nationals.
ZARELLA: His last because that same month, Gywnn's dragster came apart in a ball of flames during an exhibition in England. He lost his left arm and was paralyzed.
GWYNN: The worst thing that kind of haunts me today is just the fact that I can relive every single second, moment.
ZARELLA: But Gwynn won't allow those memories to consume his life. Today, wheels do.
GWYNN: That's a natural, you know? My whole career has been about wheels.
ZARELLA: Wheels that he gives to others.
GWYNN: Do you like your chair?
ZARELLA: Chad Russell is severely handicapped. His old wheelchair constantly broke and didn't fit him right. His insurance wouldn't cover an upgrade. At the Daytona Speedway, Chad received his new, custom power chair courtesy of the Darrell Gywnn Foundation.
GWYNN: This feels like we've won the race today.
TINA RUSSELL, CHAD RUSSELL'S MOTHER: It's gonna make a huge, huge difference in his life, be able to make him a lot more independent.
ZARELLA: Over the past seven years since it began, Gwynn's foundation has donated to children and young adults in need more than sixty custom wheelchairs.
GWYNN: We felt with our niche in the sport and the people we knew, we could start helping those people.
ZARELLA: Many of auto racing's top drivers help raise money for Gwynn's foundation, which has brought in more than three and a half million dollars. For Gwynn, the victories don't come anymore in four and a half seconds at 290 miles an hour. Today, victories are recorded in smiles. John Zarrella, CNN, Davie, Florida.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, it can be a pain sometimes to find a parking space. So why not let the lot do it for you? That's the plan behind this parking garage in Portland, Oregon. No one has to search for a spot. You just pull in and let the robo-parking attendant go to work. It uses lifts to stack the cars on three different levels, so 30 cars can park in what would normally be a 10-car garage.
AZUZ: Sounds like a wheel space saver. That puts the brakes on today's program. CNN Student News returns tomorrow. I'm Carl Azuz.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Your commercial-free source for classroom news is pondering probes, planets and pumas! I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now.
First Up: Interrogation Report
AZUZ: First up, the U.S. government launches an investigation into methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency to question suspects. Attorney General Eric Holder, the country's top law enforcement officer, said he knew it would raise controversy when he announced the investigation yesterday, but he's seen enough information to move forward.
That information comes from a report written by the CIA in 2004 about the techniques used by some of its agents. Former President George W. Bush authorized what were called "enhanced interrogation" methods after the September 11th attacks. Those methods were used on suspected terrorists. The CIA report refers to some of the techniques that were used as unauthorized. Attorney General Holder's investigation is looking into whether or not the interrogations were illegal. The CIA says it didn't endorse any behavior that went outside the bounds of official guidelines.
Holder says this investigation will not focus on the people who carried out the questioning, who were following the guidance of the Bush administration. The second most powerful person in that administration, Vice President Dick Cheney, says that the interrogation methods and the program as a whole were needed to keep the country safe.
FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people.
AZUZ: Attorney General Holder is also considering the country's safety, and says the investigation won't pose a threat to it.
U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, ERIC HOLDER: We will not be doing anything that would endanger the American people or in some way lessen our national security.
AZUZ: In the meantime, President Obama is making a change when it comes to who handles the questioning of suspected terrorists. That responsibility is shifting from the CIA to the FBI and a special unit of terrorist interrogators. The change is based on a recommendation of a task force that the president created after he took office. The new unit will make sure that future interrogations meet certain restrictions outlined in a U.S. Army manual.
Is this Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? There are officially nine planets in our solar system. Not legit! According to the International Astronomical Union, there are eight planets, after Pluto was downgraded three years ago.
AZUZ: Two U.S. states -- Illinois and New Mexico -- have voted to re-instate Pluto's status as a planet. Three years ago, the International Astronomical Union voted that Pluto was a dwarf planet, and that knocked it off the list of official planets. So, what is a planet? One: it orbits the sun. Two: it must be nearly round. Three: there can't be other objects in its path. That last one was the sticking point; Pluto's orbit has ice and rocks in its path. Other scientists argue that any round object that orbits the sun should be a planet, and that would include Pluto.
Iraq Dust Storms
AZUZ: Moving from planets to plant life, or the lack of it. It's a problem in parts of Iraq, and it's being caused by a process called desertification. That's when plants and soil dry up and the land turns into a desert. Arwa Damon examines the impact that this is having in the Middle Eastern nation, not just on the plants, but on the people.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a typical dust storm: the unnatural and eerie orange glow, minimal visibility as suffocating tiny particles stirred up by desert winds descend on the people, causing obvious respiratory health concerns. Over the last few years, the frequency and intensity of these storms have increased, and experts say that's an indication of a much more ominous problem: the desertification of Iraq.
FADHIL FARAJI, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE: "This is a real catastrophe," Fadhil Faraji of Iraq's agriculture ministry says, "because this crisis threatens food security in this country."
DAMON: Iraq was among the region's most fertile areas thanks to the flowing rivers of the Euphrates and the Tigris. But take a look at the Tigris today: it's anything but flowing. In fact, no one who we have spoken to has ever seen its levels this low. Jawad Khadim and his father take us on a tour of their once fertile land, which has been in the family for generations. They show us their now dying crops.
JAWAD KADHIM, FARMER: "The risk with the increase of desertification," he explains, "is that farmers will leave their farms and start looking for new jobs."
DAMON: Their farm, for example, only produces around 50 percent of what it used to, barely enough to feed and clothe this extended family of 45 that relies on these lands.
KADHIM GAZI, FARMER: "There has been no rain in the past three years," Khadim's father tells us, "and we've had more sandstorms. We've never experienced weather this bad."
DAMON: Iraq's agriculture ministry estimates that 90 percent of the country's lands now produce unprofitable food.
FARAJI: "When there is a food shortage," Faraji warns, "people will turn to other methods to get what they need, and that includes violence."
JONES: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm an island nation that's located in the Caribbean Sea. I was settled by Spain, but I got my independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. My capital city is Kingston. I'm Jamaica! And I'm home to around 2.8 million people, including the fastest man in the world!
AZUZ: It's like he's got lightning in his shoes. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the "fastest man in the world," recently set two new records at the Berlin World Championships. Bolt bolted 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, 200 meters in 19.19 seconds - I don't think I drive that fast. And while he was in Berlin, Fred Pleitgen found out that Bolt's shoes are seeing success both on the track and in the bank.
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PEOPLE ON THE STREET: Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a one-man show. Fans lined up for hours at this Puma flagship store to meet the fastest man in the world. Bolt mania in Berlin.
USAIN BOLT, FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD: I think it is all my hard work and dedication. I'm really dedicated to being a champion. I want to be a legend. So, I have to work really hard if I want to be a champion. So, I'm just doing that and that's it.
PLEITGEN: How about this for legendary: Berlin dedicated an original piece of the infamous Berlin Wall to Bolt to be displayed in his homeland, Jamaica.
BOLT: It's definitely it's an honor. I got my face painted all over it. I'm going to put it in front of my house if I can get it there. I'm looking for that. It was an honor getting a piece of the wall.
PLEITGEN: Many are trying to grab a piece of the pie. There's the Jamaican tourism board, and Puma's Jamaica collection is flying off the shelves. Usain Bolt's big success means big money for his sponsor Puma. You have the Usain Bolt hoodie shirt, a whole Jamaica collection, including t-shirts, and the Usain Bolt shoes, which are sold out in almost every store.
JOCHEN ZEITZ , CEO, PUMA: He's not just an athlete, he's just an amazing personality, which I think for the first time gives a great opportunity to promote an athlete beyond his sport. He's about fun, he's about the Jamaican lifestyle, and that's something that we're also trying to incorporate into our collections.
PLEITGEN: Puma believes Bolt's advertising value goes into the hundreds of millions. Even Bolt's dad says he's never seen so many people sport Jamaica's colors outside Jamaica.
WELLESLEY BOLT, USAIN BOLT'S FATHER: That surprises me. Everybody wants to be Jamaican now.
PLEITGEN: But Puma may want to watch out. Head hunters are prowling their star athlete, even at this Puma event. Listen:
MAN ON THE STREET: Here is a million dollar contract for you. We will make a million dollar contract. Here's my contacts for a German company. Here's my contacts, an advertising contract we would make.
PLEITGEN: Bolt seemed less than interested, but for a man who can mobilize the masses like this, other offers are sure to follow.
BOLT: Yes, yes this is a good one.
PLEITGEN: Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
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AZUZ: If you teachers want to have a Shoutout dedicated to your class, and we know that a lot of you do. Make yourself stand out. Send us an iReport. You can see how at CNNStudentNews.com. Include a picture of yourself, your class or your school. It's easy to do, and it might get you a dedicated Shoutout on our show.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, you might dream about showing up to your class reunion in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Any exhotic set of wheels. This guy decided he only needed two wheels - old school. But his wheels still impressed all his former classmates, especially since he rode them 800 miles to get there! Oliver Seikel -- that is really his name -- he biked from Cleveland, Ohio to Boston, Massachusetts for his 50th college reunion just to prove to himself he wasn't getting old.
AZUZ: Normally, we'd make a pun here, but how can you top a biker who's name is cycle? Even if you tried, the wheels would just come off. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.