tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> axelrod: tonight: christmas in the dark. hundreds of thousands have no power after a vicious ice storm that snapped utility lines. terrell brown reports. record numbers of americans are signing up for health care-- but wyatt andrews says many still don't know if they have insurance. >> will i be denied coverage? will i be denied access? >> axelrod: mark strassmann on the high tech surgery that lets doctors give hands on assistance from miles away. >> merry christmas! >> axelrod: and elaine quijano with the christmas surprise delivered to more than a thousand kids. >> this is part of my journey. this is what i'm supposed to do. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> axelrod: good evening and merry christmas. scott's off tonight. i'm jim axelrod and this is our
western edition. on this night of warmth and good cheer, it's a challenging christmas with no power at all for hundreds of thousands of people in the u.s. and canada. the lingering effects of an icy storm have left more than 200,000 without electricity just in michigan and parts of new england alone. this is the christmas chris fink and her husband dick will always remember for being all bundled up in their winter coats inside their house in kalamazoo. but it's little conor hergert without power in flint, michigan, who may best sum up the mood of many without saying a single word. as terrell brown reports, forecasts calling for more snow are not going to make it any easier to get the power turned back on. >> reporter: crews are scrambling to help restore hardest hit areas. this team traveled nearly 500 miles to help restore power. workers like erik collins have
been clearing branches and reconnecting lines nonstop since monday. >> much rather be at home with my family and kids. my kids are at home in a warm -- playing playstation and xbox and these kids are just trying to stay warm. >> reporter: in maine, about 60,000 customers are without power. down from 100,000 tuesday. in vermont, nearly 1,500. and across michigan about 150,000 customers are still in the dark. the state's largest utility hadn't dealt with that many power outages in any christmas week in its 126 year history. the storm left trees coated in ice across the midwest and northeast. at least 14 deaths have been blamed on the storm. maine's largest utility company says it hopes to have power back by tomorrow night. but other power companies in the state warn customers it could take longer. scott bates from lancing, michigan, sent us this photo. he's been without power for four days and doesn't know when he'll get it back. we spoke to him by phone. >> getting home was like a war zone.
>> reporter: and temperatures here in the northeast are expected to be ten to 15 degrees below normal tonight, jim, no relief in sight for the residents in maine. snow is in the forecast to want. >> axelrod: terrell, thank you. the bad weather was one reason why u.p.s. and fedex were unable to deliver all their packages by christmas. heavy volume was another factor. neither company is saying how many deliveries were delayed but both have called in extra workers for tonight to clear up the backlog this week has seen a record number of visitors to the federal web site. healthcare.gov. many were rushing to beat the deadline to sign up for insurance that takes effect january 1, but even those who managed to enroll are still unsure if they'll be covered. wyatt andrews takes a look. >> there's the policy number then member i.d. >> reporter: the administration
always predicted people would shop for insurance at the last minute, and that's what's happened in state after state. in washington state, of the 65,000 people who bought private insurance through obamacare so far, 20,000 enrolled last weekend. in kentucky, enrollments rose by 5,000 in the last week, connecticut enrolled 6,700 on monday alone and in california an unprecedented 100,000 customers have signed up since friday. >> there was a huge surge. >> reporter: peter lee is the executive director of covered california. the california state run health care marketplace. in four days we had over 100,000 people enrolled. that shows not just that people are getting the message but spreading the message, telling friends and family member which is going to carry into january, february and march. >> reporter: the spike puts pressure on insurance companies to process hundreds of thousands of new customers in a short time.
karen defnall, who runs a day care in central virginia says she thought she enrolled last week but has no confirmation from her insurance plan. she's concerned she won't have proof of insurance when her coverage is supposed to begin next week. you're worried about, exactly? >> what if a need comes up? what if january 2 i have an injury and i have to go to the hospital? they're going ask for insurance verification and i don't have anything to give them. will i be denied coverage? will i be denied access? >> reporter: this surge is good for patients who finally have insurance but it's likely the first few weeks of obamacare will be confusing. some patients who think they have insurance may not get their cards on time and jim, still others will think they have insurance but have fallen through the cracks. >> axelrod: wyatt, what are the insurance companies saying about this fear?
>> reporter: the important thing is to pay a premium. if you've have a record of trying to sign up and you pay a premium by january 10 they will consider you covered going back to january 1 and they tell us they'll sort it out. >> axelrod: wyatt andrews in washington, thank you. one of the biggest health concerns each winter is flu season. and the centers for disease control say the flu is widespread in four southern states. texas, louisiana, mississippi and alabama in some cases it's turned deadly. here's anna werner. >> reporter: 30-year-old texas resident dustin wright came down with the flu the week before thanksgiving. >> he was achy, feverish and chilled. nothing really more than that. >> reporter: his wife ashley says a few days later the husband and father was struggling to breathe so she rushed them to the emergency room. doctors told her he had the h1n1 strain-- swine flu. on december 5 he died.
>> you don't think it would happen to you, you know? we're always worried about my son getting a flu shot. we're never worried about the two of us because you don't hear of anything like this. you don't think it will happen to you. >> reporter: at least five supreme died in texas all from swine flu. health authorities say this year's flu vaccine can prevent swine flu and several other flu strains if people get vaccinated. last year, according to the c.d.c., only 40% of americans got the flu shot. dr. christopher perkins is medical director for dallas county health and human services. so people don't react until they hear the news of people who have died. >> right. and when things are quiet people tend to let their guard down. when there are bells and whistles and a lot of flu cases and people hospitalized and people succumbing to death that gets people's attention and we become overwhelmed with people seeking out the vaccine. >> reporter: neither dustin wright nor his wife had a flu shot. what do you want people to know and think about?
>> this things like this happen in your own backyard. you don't think it will but it does. experts say peak flu season is february so there is still time to get a shot to save your life. anna werner, cbs news, dallas. >> axelrod: nasa said today the repair at the international space station was a success. astronauts fixed a cooling line that break two weeks ago. the repairs took seven hours to complete. at the vatican today, pope francis delivered his first christmas message, offering prayers for an end to wars in the middle east and africa the pope invited atheists and people of other faiths to join his quest for peace. over the years, popes have delivered christmas greetings in dozens of languages but today francis stuck to italian-- which is fitting for a pope determined to break with tradition. more on that from allen pizzey. >> reporter: christmas at the
vatican is full of color, pomp and circumstance. pope francis would probably have preferred to hold in the a stable. in a recent speech, francis pointed out mary and joseph were homeless when jesus was born and made a plea to do everything possible to assure that every family has a place to live. francis never misses a chance to hammer home his new mission for a church that places the poor at its center. in his first message to vatican clerics who are known for backbiting and power struggles he called for professionalism and a devotion to service and urged them to reject what he called an unwritten law of our surroundings which unfortunately is that of gossip. not everyone. in the vatican is happy with the poorer church for the poor but they are in a minority according to archbishop vincenzo paglia. >> the strength of his witness is really most strong than every opposition.
>> reporter: is to people against him don't have any chance? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: pope francis is basically as conservative as his predecessors but he has made startling moves including swapping an arch conservative cardinal for a moderate, donald wuer, of washington to head the cardinal of bishops. according to one survey his common touch-- dubbed the francis effect-- has significantly increased church attendance in europe and not just lapsed catholics who are drawn to him. senior diplomats accredited to the vatican report an unprecedented flood of request ranging from mayors to politicians and even heads of state wanting to see and above all to be seen with francis. on the evidence so far, however, the high and the mighty would do well to bear in mind that the humble shepherds were welcomed into the manger before the three wise men bearing expensive gifts.
allen pizzey, cbs news, vatican city. >> axelrod: in their christmas address, the president and first lady asked americans to show gratitude by supporting members of the military and their families. more than 40,000 americans are spending this christmas in afghanistan. >> many of our troops are far away from home and far from family. they're spending extra time with their loved ones back home or setting up video chats so they can watch as the presents are opened so today we want all our troops to know that you're in our thoughts and prayer this is holiday season. >> axelrod: the president also encouraged americans to embrace the spirit of christmas by volunteering at soup kitchens and organizing food and clothing drives. in the middle east egypt's military government intensified its crackdown today when it declare it had muslim brotherhood a terrorist organization. this was in response to a bombing yesterday that killed 16 people in the nile delta. the muslim brotherhood denies any link.
in july the generals began arresting members of the group and deposed president mohamed morsi, its most prominent member. that data breach may be hurting target's bottom line. the biggest machine of its type is reshaping one of america's great cities. and this man would appear to be america's most honest cabbie when the "cbs evening news" continues. you got the bargain kind? you would need like a bunch of those to clean this mess. [ kc ] you're probably right. hi, cascade kitchen counselor. 1 pac of cascade complete cleans tough food better than 6 pacs of the bargain brand combined. cascade. beyond clean and shine. every time.
>> axelrod: any list of distinct metropolitan skyline would have to include seattle, dominated by its space needle but it's what's going on below ground that is news right now. john blackstone gives us a look at a project that is a marvel of construction. >> reporter: seattle has been captivated by a huge machine nicknamed "big bertha." it's the world's largest tunnel bore magazine, standing five stories tall, it's digging a nearly two mile long tunnel underneath downtown seattle. >> absolutely it's the way to go. every city should have a big tunnel underneath it. >> reporter: gregory hauser is deputy project manager. >> with the older technology it might not have been physically possible to even do this.
>> reporter: big bertha-- named after one of the city's early mayors-- is 326 feet long and does much more than drill. moving forward at 35 feet a day, it cleans up after itself, carrying rock and dirt out on a conveyor belt. then it installs concrete panels, building the walls as it goes, leaving a finished tunnel behind. best of all for seattle's drivers, everything is done underground avoiding the traffic jams and irritation created by cut-and-cover projects like boston's infamous big dig. >> it's challenging, it's difficult, it's not going to be perfect but it's a project that is going to transform the face of seattle and technology and transportation of the future. >> reporter: but deep beneath seattle, the huge drill may have hit an equally huge bolder or perhaps some long buried construction from the city's early days. wells are being drilled to lower pressure from ground water in front of the drill. divers may then be sent in to find out what's made the world's biggest tunnel boring machine grind to a halt. john blackstone, cbs news, san
francisco. >> axelrod: target has acknowledged the hackers who stole data from 40 million credit and debit cards may have also grabbed customers' pin numbers. though target says at this point there is no evidence the pins have been used. that data breach has apparently hit target's bottom line. though "wall street journal" reports transactions last weekend were down 3% from a year before. imagine having a second pair of hands. they'd sure be help informal the operating room-- even if they were actually a thousand miles away. that's next. about fighting wrinkles, turn to roc® retinol correxion®. one week, fine lines appear to fade. one month, deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®. take skincare to the next level with new roc® multi correxion® 5 in 1, proven to hydrate dryness,
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>> axelrod: it's hard to think of a way we google hasn't touched. now you can add surgery to the list. it starts with google glass which lets an expert lend a helping hand in the operating room even when he or she is in another state. mark strassmann shows us how it works. >> reporter: at the university of alabama, birmingham, orthopedic surgeon brent ponce prepared for a surgery. he wore google glass. it's streaming live video to another surgeon 150 miles away in atlanta. >> can you square up on the screen? >> reporter: where dr. phani dantuluri not only watched the surgery but offered a virtual hand. >> see that right here? >> yeah, i just did a case like this about two months ago. >> reporter: a ghostly
projections of phani dantuluri's hands were superimposed over what ponce saw. the merged images appeared in ponce's google glass display. when you first put them on what did you like? >> there's a little lightbulb experience, not just to say go left or right up or down, but right here, go faster from here to here. >> reporter: the pecktoralus major is right here. >> reporter: on this day, ponce and phani dantuluri were testing google glass paired with vipaar, a video conferencing platform that allows users to interact with the picture. it may be another year before the combined technology goes mainstream. ponce is the only doctor testing it in surgery. >> with this technology if i'm struggling, another surgeon is able to say, hey, get your head in the game, let's do this, let's do this and walk through it together so it's a little bit more of a safety net. >> reporter: it turns surgery into a collaboration? >> without question. >> reporter: vipaar plans to
expand the pilot program to include more surgeons by the end of next year. mark strassmann, cbs news, birmingham, alabama. >> axelrod: an honest cabbie has allowed a las vegas gambler to get lucky twice. a professor poker player got in gerardo gamboa's cab monday then forgot his bag which had $300,000 in it. gamboa immediately told his boss and handed in the cash. what are the odds of that? the cab company gave him a thousand-dollar reward. the gambler was tracked down and he promises he will reward gamboa as well. and i'm sure there will be plenty of people watching to see that he does. the best present of the holiday season? for some kids in ohio it involved two wheels and a big smile. that's next. see this? it shows the pressure points on my tired, achy feet.
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neighborhood on sunday, no one here knew what to expect. >> say thank you for your bike. >> thank you! >> thank you! >> reporter: all these children received a brand new bike for christmas. for some, it was their first ride ever. >> it's truly a blessing. >> it's a blessing they're doing this for the neighborhoods. >> reporter: the bike donation was made possible by joe caliri and tim house. the two have been best friends since childhood. >> there's plenty of people that i went to grade school with that may have been on assistance or their parents were doing everything they could just to keep a roof over their head and i'm sure that they didn't get much at christmas time. >> reporter: so in 2006 they started elves and more. the organization raises money year round to buy bicycles. then the group works with local law enforcement to identify an area where the bikes are needed most. why bikes? >> i think bikes represent a
little freedom, you know? kids now days in the neighborhoods that we go to, they look out their window and they see prostitutes, drug dealers, they see all these people doing things that i wish they didn't have to see. so, you know, my wish is that they get on a bicycle, go to the community center where maybe they'll find a mentor, somebody to make their life a little different. >> we rode our bikes everywhere. >> reporter: joe caliri was raised in this house in akron by a single mother. >> i feel like this is part of my journey. this is what i'm supposed to do. you're supposed to help the one behind you. fill this top up, then that's it. >> reporter: caliri, now a truck driver, convinced his company to donate the trucks. the two men coordinate hundreds of volunteers. >> the first year that we gave bikes away, we went back to an area that was really close to joe's neighborhood and he called me that night and he said "hey, i want to thank you because you let me bring bicycles back to the old neighborhood and i would have never been able to do that without you." >> we appreciate it, merry christmas. thank you.
>> reporter: this year, the group donated 1,300 bikes, giving every child here a chance for a merry christmas. >> merry christmas! merry christmas to you! >> reporter: elaine quijano, cbs news, akron, ohio. >> axelrod: both give and receive at the same time. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for scott pelley, i'm jim axelrod and for all of us here at cbs news, merry christmas and good night.
your realtime captioner is mrs. linda m. macdonald on this christmas night a bay area shelter that helped thousands of youngsters over the years is closing for good in just an hour. good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm brian hackney in for ken bastida. a very merry christmas to you. but not a merry christmas for the homeless youth alliance center in san francisco. this could be the last night. linda yee with how the changing landscape of san francisco is claiming another victim. hi, linda. >> reporter: indeed, right behind me you see what used to house the haight-ashbury medical clinic and that homeless youth alliance is part of it. but the property owners says
the city is forcing their hand. they are homeless, young, escaping an abusive home life. their oasis this drop-in center the in haight but after tonight the doors close forever. staff are preparing the last free meal on this christmas day. >> i don't know what we are going to do to stay clean. i don't know how we'll get by on food. it's a blow. >> reporter: for 12 years this has been a safe place for the street kids but they have lost their lease. executive director mary howell said they have tried everything to stay. >> we offered to pay a much higher price. we offered to pay market rate. >> reporter: they weren't buying it. >> they don't wants us here. >> reporter: the property owners include the founder of the haight-ashbury medical clinic dr. david smith saying he supports the center but the city has ordered them to make seismic upgrades, fix code violations, and return the building to residential