American Morning

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November 25th, 2009
10:06 AM ET

Moms to Iran: Please free our kids

It's been almost four months since three American hikers were arrested after crossing into Iran from northern Iraq. They say it was an accident, but Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists their case will go through his nation's courts.

Today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, the mothers of those hikers are sending a video message to their children and the leaders of Iran. Laura Fattal, mother of hiker Josh Fattal, spoke to John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning" Wednesday.

Filed under: Iran
November 25th, 2009
09:09 AM ET

Hotel mogul starts own health care system

By Laura Dolan

As the Senate gets ready to resume debate on a sweeping health care reform bill, many critics complain the bill lacks any serious cost cutting measures.

We found one business owner in Florida who decided to do it himself. His name is Harry Rosen.

Fed up with rising costs, this owner of seven hotels in Orlando ditched conventional health insurance eighteen years ago and created his own health care plan for everyone who works for him. Now, his staff of 28 cares for over 4,000 patients, including the families of his employees.

He says he covers his employees for less than half of what most employers pay to provide insurance. But there’s a catch.

“If you smoke Jim, you can’t work for me.”

You must do it the “Rosen” way, which means employees must use the clinic and follow doctor’s orders, especially if they have a chronic condition like diabetes. If they don’t comply, its three strikes and you’re out.


Filed under: Health • Politics
November 25th, 2009
07:57 AM ET

Mumbai survivors mark anniversary of attack with celebration of life

By Beth Anne Marengo

Naomi Scherr should have started classes at the Emma Willard Boarding School in Troy, New York this fall. She should have been honing her skills on her Fender and jamming with her Dad on weekends. She should have been anxiously awaiting the release of the next “Harry Potter” movie and experimenting with yet another new hair color.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Kia Scherr's husband Alan and daughter Naomi were killed during the terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008."]

But she wasn’t.

Naomi, 13, and her father, Alan Scherr, 48, were killed during the terrorist attack on Mumbai last November that lasted 4 days and took the lives of 160 people.

They had been in India on a spiritual retreat sponsored by the Synchronicity Foundation when the terrorists struck – and were gunned down in the restaurant at the Oberoi Hotel as they shared a meal with their fellow travelers.

“I was shot along with them and I died while I was alive,” says Kia Scherr, Alan’s wife and Naomi’s mother. “I miss them. They were my best friends and companions. On that level, I’m alone.”

But right from the beginning, Scherr said, she shunned the urge most people would feel to lash out against the attackers who took her family from her and instead chose to focus on forgiveness and celebrating life.

So along with Charles Cannon, who led last year’s retreat to Mumbai, and other survivors of the attack, Kia Scherr is launching One Life Alliance. They plan to use the alliance to help unite people from different backgrounds and cultures by highlighting the fact that all people are members of one human race. They’ll use the group’s Web site as a venue for conversation and hold events around the country focused on promoting the sacredness of life.

Scherr and Cannon say the idea for the alliance was born from the outpouring of support she received from people – most of them strangers – from around the world in the aftermath of the attacks.


Filed under: Terrorism • World
November 25th, 2009
07:25 AM ET

Success in Sour Times: Network farming

By Stephen Samaniego

Fred Fleming's family has been farming in Lincoln County Washington for over a hundred years. President Grover Cleveland signed the deed to his great grandfather back in 1888. Since then the farm has been passed on from generation to generation. To say farming is in his blood would be an understatement.

Fleming jokes about how he used to be addicted to the traditional farming methods passed on to him by his father. "I'm a recovering conventional farmer. I'm ten years into my program. My name is Fred."

Fleming says this with a coy smile, but for years he worried about the sustainability of conventional farming. Traditionally, a wheat farmer sells his product on the commodities market where prices can be so volatile a farmer can be bankrupt before he knows what happened to him.

Fleming decided it was time for him to start selling wheat on his own terms. Fleming and his long-time friend and fellow farmer Karl Kupers decided to bypass the commodity market and take their product directly to the customer.


Filed under: Economy • Success in Sour Times