tv NBC Nightly News NBC June 9, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, mo on the broadcast tonight, monster fire. a piece of arizona as big as half the state of rhode island blackened as the huge blaze heads toward crucial power lines. miami mayhem. a street party turns to violence. police open fire, and it's all caught on video. education nation. is it time for schools to rethink the zero tolerance policy? after losing his job, they find a new purpose with a reward to last a lifetime. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television i'm lester holt. in tonight for brian. remarkably, that stubborn wildfire in arizona we have been telling you about for days now is still burning completely uncontained. covering now over 600 square miles and blanketing several more with layers of smoke. tonight, firefighters are making a stand around the threatened hamle hamlett, greer, it's threatened by fire which is one of the last communities to get out. >> reporter: good evening, lester. it started with sparks from an unattended camp fire. it's now burning a big chunk of arizona as firefighters try to save a people and trees behind me. the biggest concern right now is the mountain retreat of greer. firefighters are setting backfires and trying to construct barriers to save the
community. six structures were burned. firefighters got a break from the wind today as the heavy gusts died down. dick and mary watched coverage of their town from a friend's house 40 miles away. they were relieved when they saw their part of town survived. >> when we got the news last night that the firefighters were pulling out, that was a tough one. >> we're still scared the fires could puck up because the winds carry them. >> reporter: 11,000 people have been displaced tromthefrom thei 200 miles of highway have been evacuated. when you think of all the beautiful woods burning down,
what does it feel like? >> frustrating. can't say, i'm sorry. >> reporter: elsewhere, power lines from the paulo verdi plant in phoenix give new concern. they run through the plant in this photo, and if they're damaged, hundreds of thousands of people in texas and new mexico could be suggest to rolling blackouts. conner bradley had this view from his window seat on a flight from san diego to dallas-ft. wurths. joe kennedy on a cross country bicycle trip got caught in it. >> now i want to keep going, get out of here. it's -- breathing it is just terrible. >> reporter: and the 3,000 people on the fire lines who have to breathe that smoke agree. a new development tonight as it continues to spread, some communities on the new mexico side of the border are threatens. governor dan brewer of arizona has asked the guard and
transportation community to help out if they're needed. >> george, thanks. the heat wave moving across the eastern part of the country brought its full blast to the east coast today. five major cities said reports, including mew, at 102, philadelphia at 99, baltimore at 100, and 102 at washington national airport. much cooler air is son the way. a line of thunderstorms barreling to the east has been released. temperatures in new york and new england in the 70s for tomorrow. in louisiana tonight, federal and state agencies are investigating another oil slick in the gulf of mexico. ron mott yoins me from louisiana with more on that, ron? >> reporter: lester, good evening to you. the folks here have been holding their collective breath over the past 24 hours about this oil slick on the gulf of mexico, but the fears should clear quickly as the tests show no connections to the bp oil spill last year.
to the oil spill last year. a captain snapped these photos monday morning showing murky substance near the water's surface. it stretches out for about seven miles. east of new mexico, about 55 miles from the micando well last was blown out. critics have maintains that bp couldn't have dispersed all of that oil, and they said it was only a matter of time before that oil reappeared. this is not the first time concern has been sparked about oil show egback up in the gulf of mexico. but the cause is under investigation. now to presidential politics, and a shocker this afternoon. worry that all of newt gingrich's campaign staffers have quit. david gregory is with me from washington. what is behind this? >> this could be a very difficult blow for newt gingrich.
what is behind this is a disagreement from his top aides on how to continue with his campaign. the decision that gingrich made to travel with his wife on a cruise for two weeks at a critical time. he went on vacation at a time when he needed to be going up building grass roots organizations in iowa. that shows a lack of discipline. it was something he conceded on his interview on "meet the press." he said it would impede his campaign. he talked about medicare, and a tiffany's card with a debt of $250,000, and then coming from aides, some of his aides who were close to governor perry of texas. part of he is political brain
trust who play be in a position now to go over to perry. it's only going to increase his respect. let me turn your attention to the congressman anthony weiner story? he won't resign. some democrats are saying they're calling for his resignment. >> the heat is on. i have talked to a top democrat in the house who said look, you can't overestimate the stubbo stubbornness of congressman weiner when it comes to staying and not resigning. on the other hand, it could be revealed he used his office for some of this computer communication. that may be the final strike here against him. right now, his wife is still traveling with the secretary of state, and he's not going to resign. >> david gregory in washington tonight, thanks. news tonight from washington that the already busy u.s. military is now engaged in a fourth theater of operations. yemen, following iraq, afghanistan, and libya. that and a continuing threat from al qaeda were among the topics at confirmation hears for leon panetta as the new secretary of defense. jim miklaszewski has more.
>> reporter: cia director leon panetta who took the lead in u.s. efforts to take out osama bin laden warned today even without its leader, al qaeda remains a serious threat. >> yes, i think it has weakened them, but they still remain dangerous, and we still have to go after them. >> reporter: and then he confirmed u.s. special operations forces on the ground in yemen are coordinating air strikes against al qaeda targets. those attacks from american jets and unarmed drones armed with missiles have increased over the past month as they have had a lack in government. >> it's obviously a dangerous and uncertain situation, but we continue to work with elements there to try to develop counterterrorism. >> the obama administration is the instability in yemen will leads to a civil war and give al qaeda a greater safe haven they they have now. >> reporter: pennetta also agreed that it's a growing
threat in iraq. >> i have to tell you that a thousand al qaeda are still in iraq. >> reporter: and with a recent spike in iraqi violence, pennetta suggested that american forces now set to withdraw from iraq by the end of the year, may have to remain to bolster the security. >> i believe we should take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that we protect whatever progress we have made there. >> reporter: and what about american troop withdrawals from afghanistan, set to begin next month? in brussels today, robert gates predicted there would be no significant drawdown in the short-term. pennetta appears to agree. >> i have tremendous admiration for secretary gates. he and i pretty much walk hand in hand on these issues. >> pennetta refused to say just how many troops should come home from afghanistan. then again, he might not have any say. nbc news has learned that the top u.s. commander in afghanistan, general david
petraeus, is expected to deliver his recommendation to the white house by next week, so it's likely that president obama will have already made his decision by the time pennetta takes over here at the pentagon on july 1st. back to you. >> nick, thanks very much. we told you last night about delta airlines apologizing and changing its policies after several soldiers complained about being charged extra baggage fees on their return home from afghanistan. today, united, continental, and delta raised the number of bags people can check without paying from three to five. >> a police shooting on miami beach in a celebration is pitting the police department against witnesses who are asking if police officers overreacted. all of it was caught on video. we get the story from mark potter. >> reporter: during an annual event called urban beach week which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to south beach, celebration turned to
terror when shots rang out. >> fire. >> reporter: police say the incident began at 4:00 a.m. on memorial day when a driver who refused to stop for police nearly struck several officers. >> there were multiple attempts to hurt the police officers. or pedestrians. >> reporter: as the car drove away, shots were fired and the car stops. witnesses say they weren't sure if the shots came from the car or from the officers. for the next minute, the police surrounded the vehicles and then for reasons still unexplained, opened up with a hail of bullets. the 22-year-old driver was killed, and also wounded were four bystanders, including tourist cedric parker who insists he was shot by police. a cell phone video shows a man
being confronted by an officer, and then also shows the officer confronting the man when he sees him. another reporter said that an officer also seized one of their cameras. the police is in the middle of an investigation but they have called for an outside lock. >> there are more questions than answers and it has to be investigated by somebody other than the police. >> reporter: and the way of the shooting on the busy avenue, some residents and readers say it's time to end urban beach week claiming it's too dangerous.
>> and the way of the shooting on the busy avenue, some resident and leaders say it's time to end urban beach week. t f it. get there overnight, you can save a lot with priority mail flat rate envelopes. one flat rate to any state, just $4.95. that's cool and all... but it ain't my money. i seriously do not care... so, you don't care what anyone says, you want to save this company money! that's exactly what i was saying. hmmm... priority mail flat rate envelopes, just $4.95 only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. he needs some gellin'. yeahhhhhhh. gellin' is like having a teeny tiny foot masseuse in your shoe. you like ? nice ! dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles. outrageous comfort, all-day long. finally, there's a choice for my patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem.
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to increases in questionable punishment. >> reporter: the policies were born of the best intentions, to prevent tragedies like column line, bring a weapon to school, you're suspended, just like that. but that led to controversial decisions. a first grader who was suspended for bringing a knife to a delaware cafeteria after camping with his dad. but that came to decisions, a haley russell missed seven weeks of classes after officials found prescription acne medicine in her locker. they don't call it zero toleran tolerance, bit but they follow state law, which treats controlled drugs as a problem. >> it was an accident. i didn't want to hurt anyone. >> there still are zero tolerance policy, but it doesn't benefit the children who are suspended or expelled or the children left behind. >> in north carolina, a bill
moving through legislature right now with the ability to give the ability to each school district. >> we need to move to a place where we can use more common sense in determining what is best for our students. >> reporter: alexandria city schools in virginia, they're expanding a program that teaches learning skills, teaching problem solving, and rewards good behavior with tokens. >> you can go to the dance, get ice cream. >> reporter: how big a deal is the dance on friday? >> it's good. >> reporter: students here are still severely punished for bringing weapons or drugs to school. that's the state law here in virginia. but the idea in this school is to prevent situation like that from happening in the first place. >> if it works, we're going to be doing the job that i think all schools should be doing, which is keeping kids in school.
in, fairfax, virginia, the school board is voting tonight on new proposals that would prevent that kind of lengthy discipline airy process that hayley endured. she said she lost most of her friends and her grades suffered. >> no one should have to go through that. >> reporter: something that more communities are trying to avoid by breaking the rules. on wall street today, stocks bounced back from six straight trading days of losses. it was up more than 75 points. when we come back, some vehicles you can really feel safe in. ♪ [ male announcer ] thanks to advanced natural gas turbine technology from ge, the power that will help make our nation more energy independent is right here in america. [ crickets chirping ] ♪ [ cheers and applause ] advanced gas turbine technology from ge. ♪
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may have had something to do with this. it's a playable guitar on top of google's home page. you can strum right along there. google placed it there in tribute to the guitarest les paul on the anniversary of his birthday. it takes a little patient and dexterity, but we found out you can strum out a pretty decent tune, apparently not on tv. he built his first guitar, mouse not required, in 1951. >> you may not think it's cool to drive an suv or minivan, but it turns out they really are safe now that they have safety measures to prevent rollover ratings. the top ten vehicles in the road in safety are minivans or suvs. safety leaders with no crashes with fay talttalities included suvs and three vans.
you can see the full list on our website, nightly.msnbc.com. a passing to note tonight. leonard stern was an award-winning tv director, producer, and writer. his work included stints on get smart, and the honeymooners. it was while he was struck on a "honeymoon "honeymooners" script looking for a word to describe ralph kramden's nose, he and his friend stumbles on what might be his greatest claim to fame. >> and roger price, who is my dear friend and companion came into the apartment. i said to him, roger, i need an agative, and before i could define what the need was, he said, clumsy and naked. >> that was the moment the concept for mad libs were born, the fill in the blank stories that leave everyone laughing, we have leonard stern to thank for it. he tied this week at 88.
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there's nothing that can be better than coming home to the love and admiration of your dog. tonight, we have the story of a man who had a dog who helped him in a rough patch of unemployment, and now he's helping kids. >> reporter: ryan townsend buys into the notion that a dog is a man's best friend. that's why trigger was his be palate his wedding. >> he's amazing. he's the most amazing dog i have seen in my life. >> reporter: and he's isn't the only one who thinks so. >> that's sugar. >> reporter: he has a lot of friends, just around his age, and most of them spend challenging hours in physical therapy. 18-year-old isabella is learning to walk. motivated by a furry friend. >> what does that say to you? >> it says i need to get her a dog. >> reporter: he also takes her across town to a part-time
hospital. before he lost his job to the recession, his hospital sessions became frequent. on one of them, he met a little girl who made a difference. >> i walked out thinking i wish i had a toy to give to her or something to show her how much she impacted me. >> that got the ball rolling. he asked family, friends, and using his money, he started buying toys and visiting the hospital. brian has a job now, but his z visits haven't stopped. >> what he does for the hospitals is amazing. >> reporter: yet he insists he gets the most. >> who would have thought my inspiration in life would have four legs? >> man's best friend.
giving all on two good news. that's our broadcast tonight. we hope to see you back here for tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com justice has been done. justice has been done. yeah. and yay. >> justice years in the making. emotions in the verdict of the slain journalist chauncey bailey. what is next for his convicted killers? a memorial for the victims in a san francisco house fire. tonight we learn what sparked the flames.