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tv   CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell  CBS  December 26, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm PST

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>> mitchell: tonight, the blizzard of 2010 sweeps up the east coast after breaking records in the south triggering more than 2,000 canceled flights. deadly conditions on the roads and collateral damage at the malls. >> you can very well see traffic down by 33% to 508% because of the snow right now. >> mitchell: also tonight, details on the resized shopping forecast. once optimistic retailers worry the storm will put the skids on their post-christmas sales. bonus alert. many american service members forced to serve extra time in war zones are eligible for extra money from the governments. most have yet to claim it. and smart money. why hollywood is helping cash- strapped schools make money and save jobs. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell.
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>> mitchell: good evening. it is the first blizzard of the winter and it is a monster. the storm barreled out of the south where it dumped record amounts of snow and it's moved north slowly, hitting the east coast with a vengeance. forecasters estimate from eight inches to two feet of snow could strike the mid-atlantic states through new england. more than 2,100 flights have been canceled and in north carolina and alabama, tens of thousands of residents have no power this evening. we have a team of correspondents covering the storm and we begin tonight with elaine quijano in central park here in new york city. elaine, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you russ. well, here in central park, the snow has been coming down like this for hours and all across the northeast residents are certainly bracing for this as conditions are expected to deteriorate very quickly tonight across the northeast, residents are bracing for the worst rushing to stock up on supplies
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ahead of the storm. the system dumping snow on the east coast could bring accumulations of more than a foot to some places and whiteout conditions. mayors in the cities in the path of the storm have all declared states of emergency. in philadelphia, where sunday night football is postponed until tuesday. >> we fight storms. that's what we do, that's what we're in the business of doing. >> reporter: in new york, where one to two inches of snow is steadily falling every hour. >> we also have more than 180,000 tons of salt on hand at 30 locations. >> reporter: and in boston. >> we're asking everyone to stay home, stay off the main thoroughfares. >> reporter: the blizzard has already caused treacherous conditions in the south. the storm is being blamed for at least two deadly crashes and throughout the region, the nor'easter has broken numerous records. in norfolk, virginia, more than a foot of snow has fallen so far doubling the previous record. in ashville, north carolina, nine inches fell and in tupelo,
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mississippi and macon, georgia, it didn't take much snow to break records there. the snowstorm arrived just in time to alter holiday travel plans. in richmond, virginia, steven sutton held off on visiting family in north carolina. >> it seems like i'm going go in the house and park the truck and stay there until monday morning. >> reporter: while the snow means holiday headaches for some for others-- including tourists to new york-- the snow only adds to the holiday spirit. >> last year we came it was pouring rain and we still came and this year it's... we don't care about the weather. we just like to see the city. >> reporter: and at this hour, the storm is continuing to take aim here at new york with wind gusts of at least 25 miles per hour. the blowing and drifting snow is making any kind of travel in the region dangerous. russ? >> mitchell: elaine, this is the second week that the weather has played games with the n.f.l. schedule. but i understand there's a common denominator in both of
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these issues, right? >> reporter: that's exactly right. that common denominator would be the minnesota vikings. it was supposed to be a 7:30 kickoff in philadelphia for the philadelphia eagles/minnesota vikings game but the weather is pushing that until tuesday and, as you know, this isn't the first time this has happened to the vikings. they've had a couple of games postponed because snow fell and caused it will roof of the metrodome where they play to cave in. russ? >> mitchell: elaine quijano in central park, thanks so much. this day after christmas is a give back for many americans but the nasty weather is making it tough, if not impossible for thousands. an estimated 92 million americans were traveling this holiday. most of them by car. roads in the east are a mess and travel by train and plane can be very frustrating. nancy cordes is live at reagan national airport just outside washington with that. nancy, good evening to you. >> reporter: russ, good evening, late this afternoon american airlines announced it was canceling all of its flights into and out of the northeast until at least 10:00 tomorrow morning.
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here at reagan national, about two-thirds of the flights are canceled right now on what's supposed to be one of the busiest travel days of the year. snowplows at newark airport couldn't keep up with this storm. >> praying that i can wait out this storm and make it home safely. >> reporter: by midday, nearly 1 1,000 flights have been canceled at new york's three airports. in philadelphia, 400 out of 600 daily flights were canceled while in boston in the heart of the blizzard, several airlines shut down operations all together. at new york's j.f.k., passengers who have been waiting a week to get to snow-socked heathrow learned it's the weather that's thwarting them now. >> we can't really be angry or... it's just the weather so it's nobody's fault. >> reporter: amtrak canceled all trains between new york and boston starting at 5:00 p.m. and a few in virginia, too, forcing post-christmas crowds on sold- out trains to find another way home. at reagan national, the gates were empty even before the snow
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hit as airlines pulled their planes out of the snowstorm's path. >> it's just frustrating because it's not even really snowing here. >> i've had two flights canceled and will be missing my los angeles flight by ten minutes. >> reporter: the price family got stuck halfway between minneapolis and orlando where disney world awaits. >> i just heard our flight is canceled and the next time we can fly will be tuesday. >> reporter: delta ended up canceling 850 of its 5,000 daily flights. u.s. airways 567 flights. southwest 450 flights. even passengers in sunny san francisco got caught up in the cancellations. especially those headed east. the problem with rebooking all these stranded passengers is that so many of these holiday flights are already sold out so finding another flight for them to get on could take days, russ. >> mitchell: it's interesting, if you go to the f.a.a. web site and check out their map it shows relatively few flight delays tonight. what's the explanation for that? >> reporter: it's a reflection, russ, of the fact that airlines
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have gotten very proactive about canceling huge blocks of flights when there's a storm like this. they don't want to get into a situation where passengers are sitting on a snowy tarmac stuck for hours on end. that's something that's been a big problem in the past. >> mitchell: nancy cordes at reagan national airport. thank you very much. so what is next? for more on the storm, let's turn to meteorologist jeff bar deli at miami station wfor. what can you tell us? >> right now it's snowing heavily in new york city. basically anywhere from dover, delaware, through new york city, long island and boston as we speak right now moderate to heavy snow pretty much everywhere. we're just beginning to see the real impact of the system right now. >> mitchell: how powerful if is storm overall? >> this is not your average nor'easter, this is not even your average blizzard. we're talking about an intensity in terms of the central pressure that rivals that of a category two hurricane. now, we're not going to see the impacts of a category two hurricane but because it's so intense we're going to see
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thunder snow, we're going to see frequent wind gusts to 60 miles an hour and snowfall rates to the tune of around two to four inches an hour for several hours. and what that means is we're going to see a widespread swath of around two feet of snow from the jersey store straight through new york city, long island, connecticut, all the way up to providence and boston. >> mitchell: you were telling me earlier the effects of the storm would be felt far into florida. how so? >> this is such a huge storm and it's got such a strong wind field that it's drilling and driving down very cold air into florida and overnight tonight we have hard freeze warnings and freeze warnings in effect for central and northern florida. temperatures will dive well into the 20s overnight tonight. >> mitchell: thank you, jeff. >> you're welcome. >> mitchell: in bad weather is also having an impact at shopping malls. so much that so that one analyst is predicting the blizzard could cut post-christmas shopping by as much as 50%. jay dough is live in times square here in manhattan.
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not exactly sunny and warm, jay, good evening to you. >> reporter: this is a critical week for the retail industry and kicked off with a storm that kept many shoppers at home. but not everyone. with a major blizzard threatening shoppers in the northeast, many die-hard bargain hunters hit the malls early. >> i just want to get out here before the snow comes on heavy. >> reporter: to take advantage of a flurry of post-christmas deals. >> everything's like 60%, 70% off. i went to j.c. penney and got like five or six things for $20. >> reporter: retail analysts say the storm could devastate profits during a pivotal period. >> when there's snow like this, this two and three days they're gone, they can't recover. so they're forced to have bigger deals in january. >> reporter: according to america's research group, retailers are having a good season. holiday sales increased 3.1% last year, c.d. sales are up 8%, children's clothing up 25% and video games are up 80%, which put a major dent.
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in toy sales. one standout trend: fewer consumers used their credit cards and chose to buy with cash. >> they have been saving money up for at least two or three months. they've thought about this for weeks and weeks and weeks and they had a plan and followed that plan. >> reporter: but with snow accumulations being measured not in inches but feet, shopping plans must also involve an exit strategy. >> i don't want to be stuck out here not being able to catch a bus back home. >> reporter: if this bad weather continues to be a factor, retailers may be forced to extend their sales well into january. they're under pressure to clear their winter inventories before the president's day holiday so make room for new spring merchandise. russ? >> mitchell: if you look at the overall numbers, this was a pretty good season for retailers right? >> reporter: absolutely. retail sales were estimated to be 4% higher than last year and that was before this storm. so blizzard and all, the industry is certainly doing much better than expected. russ? >> mitchell: jay dow in a snowy
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times square. thank you very much. overseas the travel nightmare from a sprawling snowstorm in europe began to ease today. normal service resumed at airports in paris and brussels to the relief of thousands of stranded passengers. but an ice storm shut down moscow's biggest airport and left some 300,000 muscovites without power. here's what's happening this sunday in egypt. a tour bus on its way to visit ancient temples in the south crashed killing more than eight americans and injuring 20 others on the bus. liz palm we are the latest on what happened. >> reporter: one ambulance after another pulled up loaded with battered american tourists. a chaotic and frightening scene. and these are the lucky ones. they survived. a dozen people are in this clinic, two of them critically injured. >> they are fully conscious and we are now managing the cases. >> reporter: the wreckage left behind the desert gives a sense of the violence of the crash. the bus traveling at dawn slammed into a parked truck on
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the single-lane road. police officials took photos with cell phones for their investigation. it's still unclear why the driver didn't see the truck. this has already been a deadly season for tour buses in egypt. last month, eight foreign tourists were killed when their bus flipped over on a mountain road near the red sea and in october, six belgian tourists were killed in another bus crash on the same road as today's accident. the group had been on its try see the famous temple at abu simbel, its huge statues have been drawing visitors since the reign of ramses the second, egyptian tour operators could be facing real trouble if they can't convince the world their roads are safe. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> mitchell: coming up on tonight's "cbs evening news," why the u.s. government is handing out bonuses to combat troops who served overtime.
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>> mitchell: vacationing in hawaii, president obama and the first lady capped their christmas day with a visit to hawaii's marine corps base. the obamas mingled with marines in the mess hall and thanked them for their services and sacrifices. it was the third christmas in a row they have gone to the base. thousands of veterans of iraq and afghanistan may be leaving money from uncle sam on the table. troops whose tours of duty were extended in a program called "stop loss" are owed special pay but fewer than half those eligible has applied and congress has extended the deadline again. byron pitts has more. >> reporter: michael pereira served his country with honor in afghanistan. four years ago, he looked forward to leaving the service to be with his wife and family but he was forced to put his civilian life on hold. >> when i was told that our unit would be stop-lossed due to deployment to afghanistan, i really didn't know what it meant at that time. >> reporter: due to the need for more troops, pereira was barred from leaving the military in order to serve five more months.
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he was stop-lossed. >> the contract says stop-loss is only at time of war. the president said the war's over so legally... >> you a lawyer, son? >> reporter: pereira's story and thousands like it were made into a movie about the military's stop-loss program. years later, uncle sam is now saying thank you. >> giving beneficiaries the money they're entitled to. >> reporter: it's called the stop-loss compensation act. $500 for every month a serviceman serves past their original discharge date. pereira recently filed a claim and is expecting a check in the mail. for air force sergeant eric sharman and his wife melissa who received their check in august, the money couldn't have come in a better time. >> we're trying to move into a larger apartment, we've got a baby on the way. >> on average it's paying out about $3,800 but we've had some applicants receive over $7,000. >> reporter: that's real money. >> that's real money. >> reporter: still, despite what the pentagon calls its best efforts, fewer than half of those eligible have received the funds.
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>> you may be entitled to special retroactive pay. >> the president did a p.s.a, the secretary and the chairman have done their p.s.a.s. the services have used a social media to an extent i have sever seen used in any government program. >> reporter: since the payout program was announced last year, just 69,000 of the 145,000 eligible servicemen and women have filed and received payment. that's left close to $250 million yet unclaimed. why is it taking so long to reach all these service members to get them what they've earned? >> you know it's a new kind of approach to reach out to our service members to make sure they get this additional compensation. it hasn't been done before. >> reporter: congress extended the filing date giving america's sons and daughters who served this nation more time to apply and receive money they earned. byron pitts, cbs news, washington. >> mitchell: award-winning filmmaker bud greenspan, who had
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a love affair with the olympics for half a century, died this weekend. he wrote, directed and produced films about the games and their athletes. his film about this year's vancouver winter games comes out in a few weeks. bud greenspan was 84 years old. and next on tonight's "cbs evening news": sticker shock at the gas pump. [ female announcer ] with rheumatoid arthritis, there's the life you live... and the life you want to live. fortunately there's enbrel, the #1 most doctor-prescribed biologic medicine for ra. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, fatigue, and stop joint damage. because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred.
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>> mitchell: here's some bad news: gas prices are surging again just in time for the millions driving home from christmas gatherings. the average price hit $3.04 a gallon today. gas prices have gone up six cents in a week, 18 cents in a month. a political milestone in chicago today. with almost 22 years in office, richard daley became the city's longest-serving mayor, passing even his legendary father, richard j. daley, who had held the record. the current mayor daley has already said he will not seek a seventh term in office. and between christmas and the snow, hollywood had a lot of competition this weekend.
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the movie "little fockers" third in the series, took in $34 million to win the box office. "true grit" was second and "tron legacy" was third. ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," a school budget booster starring the school. l. ] can turn roma y to be ready ♪ tell yotions, 'tyofoset stomach,
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>> mitchell: of course, high school plays a starring role in every teenager's life. but one high school in california has had a big part in a number of movies and t.v. shows, and that's paid off for its teachers, coaches and students, here's ben tracy. >> reporter: from the crowded hallways to the busy classroom, university high school in los angeles looks like any school anywhere, but looking ordinary is what makes it extraordinarily famous. >> they're putting lattes in the vending machines? >> reporter: the school's football field starred alongside taylor swift in this year's hit romance "valentine's day." actor owen wilson walked the halls in the 2008 comedy "drill bit taylor." and the jonas brothers rocked out in the school's gym in this ad for target.
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>> it's really exciting to go to university high school. like, just seeing your school on a movie... >> reporter: since 2008, studios have leased the school for 162 days of filming. that's earned university high more than $200,000. much-needed money due to budget cuts. are you able to do things you wouldn't be able to do because of this money? >> absolutely. >> reporter: principal eric davidson says the money has bought calculators, computers and desks. it bankrolls the student newspaper and even saved steve bardfield's job. what has this meant you and your job here on campus? >> it's made my job possible. >> reporter: steve heads the school's computer labs and his position was on the chopping block. now money from filming finances his salary. the studios try to shoot at night and on weekends and now more schools are opening their doors to hollywood. l.a. public schools have issued 416 film license this is year, up 38% from 2008, earning the district almost $1.8 million. >> the schools become more aware
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of the opportunity to bring revenue right into the classroom they've been much more interested in filming. >> reporter: part of the money they take in goes to all schools in the district, even those that aren't quite ready for their close up. >> you couldn't do this if your school was in topeka or something like that. >> i don't think so. proximity, it's location, location, location. >> reporter: a valuable geography lesson for cash- strapped l.a. schools. ben tracy, cbs news, los angeles. >> mitchell: and that is the "cbs evening news." later on cbs, "60 minutes." thanks for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news in new york. harry smith will be here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh captioned by media access group at wgbh
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fire torch pot dispensary stuck at afo, the blizzard can selling dozens of flights. fire destroys a bay area pot dispensary and why this may be no accident. >> mall-wide, lots of price cuts everywhere. good time to shop. as the post christmas rush hits bay area malls, those returns might cost you. cbs 5 eyewitness news is next. ,,


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