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tv   Assignment 7  ABC  May 22, 2011 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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hello, welcome to assignment 7. today on our program the bay area's electric car craze, michael finney shows you whether now is the time to buy into all the hype. plus, a teenager's desperate wait for a life saving transplant and a home away from home that is helping her. and how the bay area's water supply will hold up in a major earthquake. >> a bay area company has launched a unique stem cell trial that could make a major breakthrough. first hope of some day freeing patients from their wheelchairs. carolyn johnson has more. >> thank you. >> roman has never let go the dream of walking again. he was paralyzed during a college football game in 1994. he is now closely watched in a
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new trial in stem cells inc. >> imagine to be able to close your hand again or pick up your child. it's so important. >> they are using adult stem cells taken from human brain tissues. they think it has the ability to recry the myelin sheath, it carries signals between the brain and spine. a cofounder says pre-clinical trials have produced compelling results. >> so when you put in these neuro spheres groups of cells directly derived from human brain stem cells and had adult brain stem cells, they migrate in and the animal model and within weeks, not very long, they re-mylenate. >> a mouse with a spinal cord
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injury is barely able to move its back legs but after being treated with brain tissue stem cells, the same animal eventually regained its normal gait. >> this is not just restoration of some functions that are minor. this is a major restoration of coordinated movement. >> the goal is to focus on the cells near the site of injury. >> if the human trial follows the animal model they expect the stem cells to differentiate to neurons and other components including the myelin sheath. because they are derived from adult brain cells he believes it will prevent them from turning kearnlz. >> so the risk is different. so our cells are tested for developing any chance of developing the neo plasm. >> the trial is recolorado
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recruited go parents with different levels of impairment including injuries up to a year old. some injuries are decades old. >> this research is giving us hope and one gay we'll get out of chairs and walk again. electric cars are hot sellers right now with waiting lists. how long will it be before electric cars make a dent in the marketplace. michael finney set out to find the answer. >> he is about to drive off with the first nissan leaf ever sold at premiere nissan in san jose. >> i've been waiting for six months. >> down the road, folks at capital chevrolet, they can't get enough of chevrolet volts to meet the demand. >> despite the fast start for both of cars, they don't expect the erl sales to continue. >> right now, electric vehicles
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are a little bit overhyped. >> business firm predicts sales for electric vehicles will make up 5-7% of all new vehicles sold by 20. they could increase to 15-20% by 2030. >> there were optimistic estimates and it comes down that the cost is pretty high. >> they estimate it would take ten years to recoup the higher cost of electric vehicle versus a gas vehicle. when you consider gas engines and the subsidies, they still recommend the honda. >> you get 33 miles per gallon and cost tinge $17,000. >> but for many, it's not just about saving money, it's about saving the environment. the city of san francisco will
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be installing off charging stations in public garages throughout the city and 20 more at sfo. these particular charging stations are across from city hall and for city owned vehicles. >> it has real public education value. these are very visible. we have lots of people walking by taking a look. just think, wow, what is that? >> the biggest criticism has focused on the limited range, however, city officials in san francisco say it shouldn't be an issue. >> about 57% of all trips that are made nationwide, but all trips are less than 40 miles. >> another obstacle may be lack of charging stations. >> so ford and toyota are scheduled to come out with electric vehicles soon. in fact, we got a sneak peek of the plug-in prius.
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we have on story about a bay area man who started out as a bails bonds man and became known as an internationally known sculpture. >> it's not that different from bryant street to the art studio to jerry's on third. but for him it is huge. the bail bonds company was a job the art a lifelong interest that turned into a passion during a walk on pacifica beach. >> i saw all the garbage on the beach to show how filthy the beaches were. >> the plastic around him was crying out to be reused, reincarnated. >> my friends would see images in the rock while i would see images in the materials they used. so it's creating and work got bigger and bigger. >> soon he was making people
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like folks in the cafe scene and the guy on the computer, plastic people telling many stories at once. he brings the creativity along with paint and a little glue to keep it altogether. >> even though everything he uses in these pieces are plastic that he finds on the side of the road or identical go center, he environmental artist. >> it has to stand on its own. if it's great, it's great. >> he is better known for empathy, his favorite work, simply called waiting. >> it breaks my heart when i see this person waiting. >> other people use it. they make julie out of plastic trash. we saw the new design at transit center made from material from the terminal they just tore down. but this talks back to you and you talk about a. >> my work stels a story. it's not only my story but the story that you bring to the work
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where you work. work. >> terry mcsweeney, "abc 7 news." >> still ahead, trying to resurrect a lot of art. >> same thing. >> helping the new generation to stay in touch.
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welcome back. a teacher in wisconsin recently predicted in the future, that electronic devices will replace pens replacend paper in classro. other people suggest it already has happen but wayne freedman has a report. >> there is something missing in this picture. its guy that what many of us do, waiting. but where is the computer. not that he opposes technology
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he just doesn't need it especially when hand crafting them on paper. he is old-fashioned that way. >> i think handwriting is probably history. it's on the way out. >> so let's think about that. when did you last scribble a thank you note? call it evolution if you like but in our need for speed, most of us have lost touch with the power of pen. we live in an era where it's yield today keyboards and making smiley faces. >> they do not teach handwriting in school at all. >> you want to bet. >> it must have been a catholic school. >> oh, yes. >> sister antonella in burlingame. >> upper case starts on the lowest level. ask the five-year-olds scaring
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into their work books. >> who has better handwriting these days, the average guy? >> you are not doing cursive, are you? >> not yet. >> are you worried about it. >> students don't have a choice. they will learn to write in cursor and if they have a problem with it. >> it's okay. >> how many of you like cursor writing. >> they love the symmetry. >> they love how "e" stands for endless or write it again anyway. slower. >> at st. patrick's, learning cursor writing is passed throughout generations. dick did and mary did it because back in the day as how nou,
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penmanship students, we long learned theion. tradition. by the time they graduate it's ingrained like hopscotch. >> so some day in the real world of computer sale and they gain their revenge. >> i don't have a clue. >> then maybe we'll have new appreciation for those that express themselves by hand. >> it makes it and if you have open letters, means you are friendly, outgoing person. >> and remember that word expression, it begins with an "e". >> let's say we took away "e" for the rest of your life. would you like that? >> no. >> the children are learning. from burlingame, wayne freedman, "abc 7 news." >> a teenage girl's brave battle
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for survival. >> still ahead, desperate wait for a life saving transplant and a push for organ donations and inside hetch-hetchy, a seismic inspection of the source of much of the bay area's water supply.
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welcome back. a 15-year-old girl from alaska is unable to return home from the bay area. she is waiting for a heart transplant. cheryl jennings visited hannah at lucille packard children's hospital in stanford. >> 15-year-old hannah is learning new things every day. as she waits for a heart transplant at packard children's hospital in stanford. she is going to school inside the hospital. it's provided by the palo alto school district and helps her keep her mind off her situation. >> hannah has had a operation
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which is surgical procedure for people who are only born with one chamber. heart rather than two. >> that procedure isn't working very well. her heart makes her feel tired all the time. >> it needs to be replaced. she waits for therapy. >> while we were visiting, we saw her having to have a reaction for an infusion date before. she got worse and it turned into a terrible migraine but she is okay now. hannah is going to turn sweet 16 and best present she could get is a new heart. she precious living reminder of the need for organ donors. >> it's matters of life and death and we have to approach those issues unless we really have to. >> we want to encourage people
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to check the facts on their drivers so we can be in a position to help others even in our own demise. >> she says the house is place where hannah and her whom can call home for as long as they need it. >> our last family from anchorage was at the house for two years. they are hoping hannah has a quicker outcome. >> her mom is tied to cellphone, waiting for the call that will change her daughter's life thevy far away from the rest of the family in anchorage, alaska. so the family came to visit during spring break from school. >> great to hang out with and party. >> i just wish her to get well and come home as soon as possible so things can get back to normal. >> the source of water for
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nearly two-thirds of the bay area is undergoing a major overhaul. several key projects of hetch-hetchy seismic retrofit begin earlier this year. dan ashley has a look inside. >> this pipeline was built in the late '60s to meet the growing demand nor water along the peninsula. it carries water for million people. it's seven stories below the surface and no one has been inside it to inspect it since the water was turned on four decades ago. until now. >> it's hasn't been inspected since 1957. >> she is the lead quality insurance inspector on this pipeline running along 280 in san mateo county. >> we are inspecting water infrastructure that is so critical to the population you rarely have an opportunity to get inside and check on them. >> this stretch of tunnel was carefully walked by engineers
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and water officials looking for anything that may affect the flow or quality of the water being sent through it. >> what we're looking for, signs of stress in the concrete lining it might be indicated by cracks or leaking water. >> this can be dangerous work. the communication is by radio and an air horn letting everyone outside the tunnel inside is okay. it has unseen dangers. it's constantly measured for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide or possibly explosive gases. a high powered fan forces the through the opposite end of the tunnel. every valve supplying water is turned off and locked until everyone is out of tunnel. >> the opportunity to assess the condition of the tunnel is a rare opportunity. >> and it is an opportunity made
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possible by one of the largestti water infrastructure upgrades in california history. since the 1920s water from hetch-hetchy and yosemite national park has provided 2.35 million people with some of the pristine water in the nation. it's an engineering marvel. years of deferred maintenance has made the system vulnerable in a major earthquake. in 2002, san francisco voters approved a bond to pay for their share of repairs to the aging system. it will be paid back over time with increases in water rates. some of the largest projects are ramping up to start this year. >> we're going to be dedicating a project in the next few months. >> he is in charge to upgrade the system. it includes replaces pipes in san francisco bay with a tunnel and new dam and upgrading water
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treatment facilities. >> it's pretty amazing when you think about it. >> the goal is to completely upgrade the hetch-hetchy water system by 2015. >> one of the fundamental challenges we have in the program, while it stays on line. >> that is why they are putting a new tunnel near crystal springs reservoir. it will provide an alternative path and during emergencies. but the older tunnel is still an important part of the system and why this inspection was so critical. >> and it turns out the tunnel is in fantastic shape and we're lucky enough not to go back in the tunnel for repairs in the foreseeable future. >> coming up, what many say is a long overdue honor for a bay area man they call a true american hero.
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a campaign is under way to award the highest medal of valor for a marine with bay area routes. david louie shares the story of kirk lee. >> 85 kirk lee is being hailed an american hero, recognition that these marines they say is long overdue. >> is pretty much avoided the limelight for 60 years. we wanted him to come to san francisco so we can honor him in a variety of venues. >> 60 years ago, second lieutenant lee was sent to korea to help repel a surge of chinese troops. this is video from the original program, uncommon courage. lee was the first chinese american regular marine officer. one year had endured heavy fire
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for four days and five nights. >> we would send one battalion, cross almost impassable mountainous terrain behind the lines toward t th beleaguered unit. >> he led the battalion, conditions were extreme. temperatures plunged 38 degrees below zero. they were there. >> he led the battalion threw the snow, thousands of chinese on either side and they got through the hills and over the hills and little fox company and saved the pass which was a crucial pass for that allowed the whole division. >> he saved 8,000 men from death or capture. he left little doubt about his brave ri.
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>> i wore a red panel around my neck so they could see me. >> retired major general recalled the conversation with lee's commander at chosen reservoir that gave him the ultimate accolade. >> for the general who won the navy cross that won the medal of honor to call one li his lieutenants the bravest marine he ever knew. >> they invited him for recognition is now advocating that he receive one more medal. >> we see the action that he performed under extreme stress deserves the congressional medal of honor. >> a native san franciscan and an american hero. >> if you want more information on the stories on our program today, go to our website at
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abc7news.com and look under the news links on the left side for assignment 7. that is all for this edition of assignment 7. thank you so much for watching. i'm kristen sze. we'll see you back here next >> there is one suspect in custody. >> alan: what we're learning about the man arrested in the beat of giants fan bryan stow, and the frantic search for a baby who disappeared from her east bay home. join us at
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