tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS December 29, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
prices are too high now, just wait. why one insider predicts they will hit $5 a gallon. thanks for watching. remember, we're always on cbs5.com. on the west c snow in the east-- where the blizzard cost retailers a billion dollars in lost sales. i'm harry smith. also tonight, if you think gas prices are high now, some are forecasting $5 a gallon, when "fill her up" will cost a fortune. reinventing detroit. in a city crippled by the great recession, new entrepreneurs see opportunity. and let it snow-- this town got 17 feet in less than two weeks, and they're hoping for more. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric.
>> smith: good evening. katie is off tonight. we begin tonight with the tale of two coasts, the east still digging out from that monster blizzard christmas weekend, and now the west, where another big rainstorm has landed. it comes just days after a week- long deluge, and along with it, new worries about floods and mudslides. bill whitaker is in waterlogged highland, california. bill, good evening. >> reporter: harry, there are 78 houses here encased in mud. residents had barely begun to clean up when this storm happened. the sentiment around here-- enough already. in highland, california, they're shoveling. bagging. scooping. and hoping that today's storm doesn't bring more of last week's mud and misery. >> we wish mother nature would learn to moderate and spread out over the years and over the months, not dump it all at one time. >> reporter: this latest storm blasted into northern california
last night, flooding streets, knocking out power to at least 10,000 households. by this morning, roads near sacramento were bumper deep in floodwaters. >> it's like right in the middle of a typhoon. >> reporter: this storm packed a triple threat-- rain, wind, snow. >> it's my first time driving in the snow, in a storm like this. it's pretty scary. >> reporter: it turned deadly when high winds toppled a tree on to this cabin north of san francisco, killing a 70-year-old grandmother. in orange county, a mudslide backed up traffic for miles. to the north, a large section of highway to a popular ski resort was wiped out. now, adding to the anxiety, forecasters have a new warning. >> in its wake, we are going to start seeing more winds all the way through thursday and friday, with very windy conditions all the way from the bay area down to san diego, along with cold temperatures. >> reporter: here in highland, 546 minimum-security prisoners have been working 12 hours a day for a week clearing the mud that flowed with last week's storm,
filling 150,000 sandbags to prevent a repeat. >> i think we'll survive it. i think our preparations are good enough to survive this rain. >> reporter: so far, they've muddled through. now, it's hard to see a silver lining behind these gray clouds, but california has gotten so much rain over the past couple of weeks, it's started to bring an end to three years of drought. harry. >> smith: bill whitaker in highland, california, tonight. thank you. now to the aftermath of the blizzard in the east. the costs are climbing higher than some of the snow drifts, and retailers count $1 billion in lost sales. customers stayed home on what should have been some of the busiest shopping days of the year. and michelle miller reports, frustrations over travel and the cleanup have put goodwill in short supply. >> keep it moving, please! >> reporter: at new york's major airports, passengers holding airline tickets got a welcome sign-- most flights were on scheduled, but some passengers still aren't going home. >> we got a phone call saying
that our flight has been canceled. >> reporter: tempers are flaring for stranded travelers whose flights were grounded. >> i need a ticket! i need a boarding pass! >> reporter: airlines are struggling to find seats on flights that are already overbooked, but many have been told they're stuck here through the new year. some have been lucky, this man got his ticket in the self- service kiosk. >> i got a boarding time of 10:30. wa reporter: that was quick. >> yeah, at least i'm out of here finally. >> reporter: much of the northeast appears to have dug itself out of the blizzard, but the nation's biggest city remains in gridlock. major thoroughfares are passable but side streets in much of the city have yet to be plowed. after watching, city plows bypass their street, each of the last four days, these residents took matters into their own hands. >> we're just basically stuck on this block, you know. all the other blocks as well. >> reporter: more than 49,000 calls came in to the 911 center during the storm, but emergency
crews were slow to respond. 200 ambulances were trapped by snow and at least two people died, including a newborn baby whose mother could not get help during labor. some city officials are calling for an investigation. >> this has been a colossal failure of leadership. we're into day four. snow is not a new phenomena in new york. >> reporter: new york mayor michael bloomberg brushed off criticism. >> when it works it works and we take credit. and when it doesn't work we stand up there and say, okay we did it, and we'll try to find out what went wrong. >> reporter: the mayor's office has promised to get most of the snow plowed by tonight. as for the timetable here at the airport, officials say the flight schedule should be back to normal by thursday. harry. >> smith: michelle miller at laguardia tonight, thank you. in maine, officials at the sugarloaf ski resort said today they had problems with the chair -lift before today's accident. workers had been trying to fix a cable that was out of place when the lift derailed.
some plummeted 30 feet to the slope. high winds also played a role in the mishap. in jackson hole, wyoming, an american airlines jet skidded off a snowy runway this afternoon. the 757 had just flown in from chicago. none of the 181 passengers or crew were hurt. the plane was not damaged. in suburban detroit, an apparent natural gas explosion destroyed a furniture store. the storeo owner is hospitalized tonight in critical condition. if you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, you can't help but notice it-- gas prices are going straight up, up 20 cents in just past month. so how high will they go? here's senior business correspondent, anthony mason. >> reporter: sticker shock is back at your local gas station. >> it's insane. >> it's expensive. >> reporter: as the global economy has recovered, the price of crude has crossed back over
$90 a barrel for the first time in more than two years. gas is averaging $3 a gallon again, and one industry veteran says it won't stop there. >> so i see us moving into the mid-fours, up to $5 a gallon during the year 2012. >> reporter: john hofmeister, former president of shell, says the government's clampdown on offshore drilling and a surging thirst for gas in asia will mean much higher prices at the pump. >> the only way to avoid $5 gasoline is for americans to use less. >> reporter: in fact, we have been using less. gas consumption in the u.s. is still below its peak before the recession. are we headed for $5 a gallon gas? >> i don't think so. that would have to be a long, long way away. >> john kingston of platts energy estimates oil would have to double in price from $90 to $180 for gas to reach $5 a gallon. do you feel oil prices are headed significantly higher from here? >> i don't see them significantly higher.
i think there's enough capacity on the sidelines held by opec that would be brought on the market to prevent it from a really serious rise in price. >> reporter: and recent history has shown rising prices reach a resistance point. >> if prices hit a certain level, people are going to say enough is enough, and they will change their patterns. >> reporter: when gas cracked $4 a gallon two years ago, demand dropped noticeably, and so did the price. analysts expect another surge would cause a similar reaction, and the economy is still just too fragile. harry. >> smith: anthony mason, thank you. an update now on a story we've been following for more than two years. the battle of wanat in eastern afghanistan. in that long war, few battles have been as bloody. >> we're taking fire. >> smith: 49 u.s. soldiers held off hundreds of taliban fighters who tried to overrun their tiny outpost. nine americans were killed. >> has triggered demands for an investigation.
>> smith: our david martin reported extensively on it. initially, the military placed most of the blame on three senior commanders for leaving troops badly exposed, but as david reported in june, the army later changed that decision. in its final report, the army has absolved those top commanders and instead blames the deadly outcome on the unpredictable nature of war, and on decisions made by the platoon commander who was killed in the battle. and still ahead on the cbs evening news, it just won't stop snowing in one town, and that is the way they like it. but up next, the motor city's on the move. what could spark detroit's comeback?
>> smith: bad as the recession has been for most american cities, it has been even worse for detroit, but now there are new signs of economic life, and as seth doane reports, detroit is reinventing itself from the bottom up. >> reporter: inside this downtown detroit office building, there may be more carpenters than cubicles. how much of this building looks like this? >> most of it. >> reporter: but c.e.o. tim bryan sees that low occupancy as a business opportunity to cut costs.
he's moving part of his health care i.t. company, galaxe solutions, here to a state which has lost more than 800,000 jobs in the last decade. they're planning to hire up to 500 new workers. >> every renaissance starts somewhere. >> reporter: his company already has offices in india and considered expanding overseas to brazil, but after crunching the numbers, they chose detroit, a cost of just 5% more than south america. >> for the first time, we can deliver services here in detroit at price points that are competitive with offshore. >> reporter: with no foreign governments, fluctuating currencies or time zone changes, and the city's 22% unemployment rate includes lots of laid off but highly skilled workers from the auto industry. >> cubicle is paradise for me at this point. ( laughs ) >> reporter: chris thomas, a father of three, struggled for nearly two years to find work
before galaxe hired him as a business analyst. >> i have been smiling every day since. >> reporter: across the street, quicken, the software company, just made downtown its new headquarters, bringing 3,700 jobs here. and down the street, torya blanchard's crepe shop has a staff of just seven, but small businesses like hers make up 86% of private employers in the area. this former french teacher expanded good girls go to paris from 48 square feet to more than 2,000 in just two years. >> i truly feel i couldn't have done it to this extent in another city the way i've done it here. >> reporter: affordable rent means the chance to take a risk, and now there are more shops on the block. >> there's a book store over here... >> reporter: blanchard's banking on this mini-neighborhood revival and next will open a bar on the corner. you've gone from french teacher to real estate developer. >> i don't know. it just-- again, i want to do what i love. >> reporter: at paper street motors, an old warehouse has become a new business incubator.
taking advantage of short-term leases at $300 a month, casualties of the recession can reinvent themselves. >> when people lose their jobs and there's not a lot of jobs available, they create their own business. >> reporter: in a city that's better known for these hulking reminders of the ghosts of its past is a renewed entrepreneurial spirit. seth doane, cbs news, detroit. >> smith: in other news, michael jackson's doctor is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death, and today, prosecutors said conrad murray will claim jackson caused his own death by injecting himself with a huge amount of the anesthetic propofol. much more than the doctor had administered. there's a preliminary hearing in the case next tuesday. the nfl today fined quarterback bret favre $50,000 in connection with a texting controversy. favre was accused of sending inappropriate messages and lewd photos to a woman who worked for the new york jets while with the
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today, governor haley barbour announced he's suspending the sentences of gladys and jamie scott but on one condition-- gladys must donate a kidney to her sister, which she has offered to do. california's outgoing governor arnold schwarzeneggar is also being asked for an act of mercy. kevin cooper has spent 25 years on the state's death row, always maintaining he's innocent of murder. now he's just hoping schwarzenegger will step in to block his execution. erin moriarty of "48 hours" has the story. >> we're trying to see governor schwarzenegger... >> reporter: attorney lanny davis. his best-known client was once the white house, but today it's the big house he's focused on, and saving the life of convicted killer kevin cooper. >> it's immoral for a society to kill somebody with this much doubt. >> reporter: davis is asking outgoing governor arnold schwarzeneggar to commute cooper's death sentence to life and has enlisted an impressive group of supporters, including a federal judge. william fletcher was part of a
panel denying cooper's last appeal and wrote in a dissent-- "kevin cooper is probably innocent." cooper was convicted in 1985 for the brutal and bloody murders of three members of a chino hills, california, family. doug ryen, his wife, peggy, 10- year-old jessica, along with an 11-year-old neighbor, christopher hughes. the only survivor of the massacre was eight-year-old josh ryen. "48 hours" first brought attention to kevin cooper's case more than a decade ago after he wrote several letters to me claiming his innocence. there was and continues to be considerable evidence against him. cooper was an escaped convict at the time, hiding out in a vacant home right next to the victims'. but there are also serious questions. evidence was mishandled, even destroyed, and some of the facts just don't add up. for instance, josh ryen, whose throat was cut but survived, indicated to investigators,
including this deputy sheriff, that the intruders were white and that there were more than one. >> he responded that there were three people. >> reporter: three people when things went crazy? >> right. >> reporter: another two years later, at trial, josh was no longer sure what he saw. >> reporter: the victims were stabbed dozens of times with three weapons which didn't make sense to paul ingels, a private investigator once hired by cooper. >> there was three weapons and i don't care how ambidextrous you are, you can't hold three. you've got two hands. >> reporter: ingels helped us track down diana roper, now deceased, who implicated her then boyfriend, a white man and convicted killer, in the ryen murders. she even turned over bloody clothing but investigators destroyed the possible evidence without even testing it. in 2002, d.n.a. tests were done on crucial evidence-- a bloody
t-shirt, cigarette butts found in the ryens' stolen car. unfortunately for cooper, they seemed to confirm his guilt. now even ingles, once a supporter, believes cooper is guilty. >> once want d.n.a. testing came back, that locked it in for me. >> reporter: but lanny davis says the d.n.a. evidence is not reliable. chemicals were found mixed with the blood to the t-shirt and there is evidence that cooper's blood was planted. >> there was more than one blood in a vial that was supposed to contain just kevin cooper's blood sealed. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude indisputably somebody tampered with that blood vial. >> reporter: governor schwarzenegger has until january 2, his last day in office, to decide cooper's fate. erin moriarty, cbs news, new york. >> smith: jazz pianist and composer billy taylor, who was also one of our cbs news colleagues, has died. ♪ ♪ taylor's career began in the 1940s and he work with many of
how two heroes managed to get a little girl out alive. next. plus, tonight at 11 on cbs 5 >> smith: finally tonight, folks here in the northeast are still seeing red over all that white stuff that blew in this week. but in california, up on mammouth mountain, they see green every time it snows, and as terry mccarthy reports, it's been snowing a lot. >> reporter: if you think new yorkers have it bad, welcome to mammouth lakes, california, 17 feet of snow has fallen in just the past 12 days. >> it's so deep! >> reporter: but no one here is
complaining. mammouth is home to one of california's most popular ski resorts. >> it's been amazing. it's absolutely the best you could ever imagine. >> reporter: the snow has beaten all records. more than three times the december average. >> i've been here 32 years. i've never seen this much snow ever in december. we stopped counting when i got snowed into my house on monday. >> reporter: with so much snow dumping so fast, ski patrol has been on high alert, heading out at dawn to blast the snow with explosives. >> our goal is to create smaller avalanches so a big one doesn't come and hit a lift or hit a building. >> reporter: mammouth right now has got the most snow of any ski resort in the entire world, which makes local ski merchants hopeful their businesses might recover after two pretty bad years for the ski industry. mammouth had 1.5 million skier visits the year before the recession hit in 2007. last year that number was down by 300,000. business at christie rowley's boutique fell 35%.
>> i used to probably have 6-8 employees for a small retail store like mine and now i have three or four. there were a lot of businesses that closed and a lot of real estate agents that left town. >> reporter: but now mammouth is smiling again. tony colasardo runs one of the biggest ski shops in town. >> this year has been phenomenal. good snow, everyone is relaxed, their 401(k)s have come back. they're ready to recreate. >> reporter: and the more snow the better. >> it's awesome. it's powder. it's sweet. >> reporter: in mammouth, at least, bad weather is welcome, particularly when it's cold, white, and very deep. terry mccarthy, cbs news, mammouth lakes, california. >> smith: that's the cbs evening news. for katie couric, i'm harry smith. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. firstname.lastname@example.org got down to the tent and we realized that the lady was trapped in there and there was a little girl inside screaming. >> the weather turns deadly when a treetoples onto a grandmother and her granddaughter. how their rescuers struggled to free them. >> feels like shock and awe when they come in with eight trucks. >> taking a stand against smartmeters. what happened when one bay area community engaged in civil disobedience to keep them out. >> and a robbery call leads to an officer-involved shooting. what police suspect the thieves were after that led to the gunfire. good evening, i'm robert lyles. allen martin is off tonight. >> i'm dana king. while reading a book to her granddaughter, a woman was killed in a freak accident