tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 1, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
fire on communication hill. at this point, firefighters say nine homes are threatened. we'll have more at 6:00. have a good night. on this sunday night. powerless. misery. from that freak storm. millions of americans in the dark with 100 degree heat. for some the power could be out for a week. out west returning home to what's left after wildfires torch their towns. moment of crisis. new details about what led an american student into harm's way before he was brutally mauled by chimps. desperate measures, cash strapped cities selling ads in unthinkable places, fiery chicken wings on fire hydrants. making a difference. for more than half a century a devoted doctor being loved by his town just $5 a visit seven days a week without ever taking a day off.
this is "nbc nightly news with lester holt" substituting tonight kate snow. good evening for people across the mid-atlantic it has been a frustrating weekend. more than 2 million customers remain without power tonight and couldn't have happened at a worse time. with the holiday approaching crews are still trying to clean up the mess from deadly storm s that killed at least 14 people. no power means no air conditioning, no ice or lights. they cope with stifling heat. it was a scorcher across much of the nation. take a look at the map. washington, d.c. and 23 states recorded triple digit temperatures today. we'll tell you how long the heat will last. we begin with christen welker in washington. on those wide spread power outages in the mid-atlantic. good evening. >> reporter: kate, good evening to you. scenes like this are still the norm here in the washington, d.c. area.
where hundreds of thousands remain without power. this entire region still recovering from friday's massive storm. >> frustrated. frustrated. highly frustrated. >> reporter: david rutland is still living without power in his washington d.c. home more than 48 hours after a powerful storm hit the region on friday knocking down power lines and trees and wreaking havoc just days before the 4th of july holiday. >> most of my neighbors have packed up and left somewhere. >> reporter: one of the millions still without power. a big cleanup job from ohio to new jersey and hard hit maryland. >> this storm had all of the impact of a hurricane without the warning. >> reporter: these maryland crews are working 16-hour days in triple digit heat to get the power back on but officials say it could take up to a week until everybody is restored. is this one of the worst storms
you have ever dealt with? >> this is the worst storm under the worst conditions. we work in blizzards and the snow. when you deal with the heat it is an entirely different dynamic. much more difficult in the heat. >> reporter: cooling centers opened up along the east coast. where people without power could find relief. in virginia the lines were long to get into this library. tim shay says it has been a tough weekend. >> my mobile blackberry device is out and the internet is out at home. so i'm completely out of work. >> reporter: there are long lines at some gas stations because others have closed having run out of fuel. >> it is frustrating. at least it is a sunday and not rush hour. it is still a huge amount of time. >> reporter: the storm knocked out trees blocking an amtrak train stranding 232 passengers for more than 20 hours in west virginia before they were picked up by buses saturday night all adding to the frustration and
continuing fallout of friday's storms. >> we had always thought about taking a train ride and decided now is a time to try it. i have marked it off my bucket list. >> reporter: on monday utility crews will come from as far away as oklahoma, florida, georgia and missouri to help with restoration efforts. fema continues to work with the most heavily impacted states. >> at the start of this busy holiday week for families the question on everyone's minds how long this heat wave will last. we are joined by weather channel meteorologist mike sidell also in washington. what can you tell us? >> good evening. by the way atlanta set an all time high of 106. we thought it would get a couple of degrees cooler. it didn't. once again atlanta hit 106. it took the city 32 years to break that all time record but only one day to tie it. it is simply amazing. in louisville, kentucky four consecutive days with 100 degree heat.
all record breakers. how about an outside sauna. in south carolina the heat index of 116. planning a break on monday with temperatures still 5 to 10 degrees above average. on july 4th the core of heat shifts west. this evening there is another cluster of storms in some of the same spots that got hit hard on friday. they knocked out power to 200,000 customers in chicago. winds were clocked at 80 miles per hour. unlike that cluster it is much smaller and showing no signs of growth both promising signs. if they make it to d.c. it would be after midnight if they make it here. they would be much weaker. >> thanks so much. out west tonight firefighters are gaining ground on that massive wildfire burning in colorado. at this hour 57 major fires are still burning across the country. 50 of them west of the mississippi. the fire near colorado springs torched homes and prompted thousands of evacuations. tonight some evacuees are returning home getting their
first look at what's left. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. after burning for eight days the waldo canyon fire is roughly half contained. it is still very much a threat, though. tonight away from the flames it was a tough day for evacuees. >> it was just so sad. we were so sad. >> reporter: behind the camera susan and her 16-year-old daughter, hannah, get the first look at the damage at what used to be their home. >> it's gone. it's not lost in luggage somewhere. it's gone. >> reporter: fire stripped away everything. they are among the 346 families in the community where little is left standing. >> i have to take that minute and look at that house and i have to cry. >> reporter: two years ago she lost her daughter and son-in-law. this week she told her son his
childhood home is gone. >> my son just sent me a text from afghanistan and said we still have our memories. my kids grew up there. >> i'm leaving my house for probably the last time. >> reporter: it was tuesday when thousands fled the flames, a moving monster that swallowed home after home and claimed two lives. >> each of us comes today with something that we need help with. >> reporter: in sunday service prayers for the victims, support for the survivors. today across colorado seven wildfires are ravaging the state, the era of what is being called superfires, massive blazes feeding on forest land where growth goes unchecked. with thousands allowed to return home for just a few hours in colorado springs the lucky ones find a house still standing. >> i was just glad it was there and to see it was okay.
>> reporter: tonight the destruction in colorado is still being tallied. for families like the sullages the damage is done. >> my friend and i were talking. she looked at me like i want to go home. >> reporter: do you want to go home, too? >> yes. i do. >> reporter: with 17,000 acres scorched and homes still threatened there is bad news with the ominous skies behind me comes a red flag warning. >> so hard to see some of that. thanks for your continued reporting. to presidential politics now. a new fallout from the landmark supreme court ruling upholding president obama's signature health care law. today both campaigns came out swinging continuing a fight that is likely to run right up until election day. >> the idea that the federal government can mandate that the
american people purchase a product is shocking to me. >> reporter: in the aftermath of the ruling defiance from republican leaders. >> this has to be ripped out by its roots. >> reporter: meet the press louisiana governor bobby jindal vowed to block key provisions of the law. >> every governor has two critical provisions to make. one is do we set up exchanges or set up medicaid. in louisiana we are not doing either of those things. >> reporter: republicans see a political upside in keeping up the fight. conservatives are energized. in the 24 hours after the decision was announced the romney campaign says it took in $4.6 million from donors. with repeal out of the question without control of both congress and the white house the republicans view the ruling as a rallying cry for the fall. >> we have one last chance to defeat obama care and can do that in november with the election. >> reporter: the issue could be awkward for romney. >> with regardto the mandate, the individual responsibility
program which i have proposed. >> reporter: the overhaul was modelled after romney's own plan which he passed as massachusetts governor and which included an individual mandate. >> the fact of the matter is it is the law. it will work. it is necessary and governor romney knows it because he did it in massachusetts. >> reporter: and democrats say many parts of the law are popular with the public. >> i think if republicans make as their number one issue the repeal of health care they are certainly going to lose the election in the house and the senate and the presidency. >> reporter: and the president has issued a stark warning to his big donors saying the super pacs are on the verge of handing the white house and the party congress to the republican party and asking donors to give all they can to help him fight back. >> thank you. there is another election today. the u.s. has a big stake in how it turns out. in mexico tonight it appears the old guard may be swept back into power with a charismatic new
leader. nbc's mark potter reports from mexico city. >> reporter: the lines were long as tens of millions of mexican voters went to the polls to select their new president. with complaints raised about vote buying the election is being monitored and being watched closely in the united states where mexico's future is considered very important. jose is the main anchor for nbc's spanish language partner, telemundo. >> we are neighbors. our economies are intertwined. we share a 2,000 mile border. what happens here has a direct impact on the united states, drugs, immigration and these issues are iertwined. >> reporter: the leading candidates are mota. from the party of current mexican president. she trails third in the polls. she is considered a victim of mexico's sluggish economy and the controversial drug war. former mexico city mayor, an drez lopez obrador is the left wing candidate.
who narrowly lost last time. the leading candidate is a teleogenic former governor married to a soap opera star. he is particularly popular with women and grows huge crowds. >> he is an amazing figure. he is bright. he is energetic. that makes a great candidate. >> reporter: he is from the party known as the pri which ran mexico for seven straight decades before it was voted out. widely accused of institutional corruption. >> i believe it would be a major setback for this country. >> reporter: argues the pri and mexico are much different now and vows to attract foreign investment, create jobs and reduce violence as many wonder if mexico is about to embrace the future or return to a past it once rejected. mark potter, nbc news, mexico city. still ahead as we continue
sprawling sanctuary where across 2,000 acres chimpanzees from around africa have been given a safe home american student was mauled. today his doctors say he is stable. >> after six hours in the operating room the doctors have attended to some fractures and attended to some of the wounds. >> reporter: oberle was on a study trip, an anthropology student from the university of texas. just before the attack he was giving a lecture about their behavior to a group of tourists and then went across the fence. into radar -- into a no go zone. new eyewitness accounts suggest he may have done that to prevent an animal from hurling a rock at people. >> it may have been instinctive for him to go for something which he thought was necessary to do. >> reporter: then two chimps attacked him one of them dragging him for 30 yards. when other staff members raced to rescue him they became targets, too. >> kept pursuing me. i climbed back inside the vehicle.
it jumped on the bottom of the vehicle and i closed my door and he started beating through the window. >> reporter: chimpanzees are highly territorial. because many are psychologically damaged they are volatile. there are 33 chimpanzees here. each one rescued from the trade in its meat or from the entertainment industry. although they look docile they are incredibly strong. some are seven times as strong as an adult human male. as andrew oberle experienced so graphically. tonight his parents are on their way to his bed side as his long recovery begins. nbc news, south africa. up next tonight critics call it commercial graffiti. some unthinkable places american cities are selling ads to make some much needed cash.
back now with a sign of the times. local governments across the country getting creative to raise much needed revenue. some of them have started selling advertisements in unusual public places and as you might imagine it is not without controversy. >> reporter: like many cities baltimore has long sold ad space on trains and buses. now politicians here are seeing red. how unusual is it? >> it is unusual. >> reporter: councilman pete welsh is behind a proposal to sell ads on fire trucks to stop the cash strapped city from closing three stations for good. >> it's not selling out. having advertising puts control in the hands of the fire department itself. >> please don't shut down these companies.
>> reporter: the city council just voted to support the measure. >> when i first heard about the bill i thought it was idiotic. why look like nascar? why do we want to look like a bus going down the street. after the shock wore off this shows how far we have to go to think outside the box. >> reporter: apparently baltimore isn't the only town thinking outside that box. city leaders throughout the country are getting creative to make ends meet. chicago has sold ad space on some iconic bridges to bank of america. philadelphia has rented out a transit station to at&t. and the small town of brazil, indiana let kfc advertise its fiery chicken wing on fire hydrants. critics say mixing public property and private sales is not only a bad idea but commercial graffiti. >> we live in a society where we face a constant on slot of advertising. we think there should be some spaces preserved to reflect public values. >> reporter: even in baltimore
many are skeptical that the fire truck ads would raise enough money to keep the fire stations open. what would you say to people who consider this tacky? >> if it keeps your fire station open and your people safe it is something you should consider. >> reporter: if given the choice between selling ads or closing services the councilman said he would rather not close any doors. we have an update on an incredible photo finish at the u.s. track and field olympic trials. just over a week ago american sprinters jeneba tarmoh and allyson felix finished in a dead heat for third place in the 100 meter crossing the finish line at exactly the same time. only one of them can run the 100 in london. tomorrow night on nbc felix and jeneba tarmoh will face each other in a runoff. if they tie again officials say they will flip a coin.
finally tonight our making a difference report in the great national debate over health care consider this. the story of one doctor in one small town in illinois. he practices a brand of medicine that has served his patients well for generations. nbc spent some time with a good doctor and a good neighbor.
>> reporter: for more than half a century the doctor has been in here in rushville, illinois. at 87 years old dr. russell donor still serves this rural community some 250 miles southwest of chicago. >> i come every day for a while. on sunday before i go to church. >> reporter: seven days a week? >> yes. >> reporter: it is no lie he has delivered more babies than there are people in this town of just over 3,100. >> i met him when i was born. i don't remember it but i'm sure he does. >> reporter: every morning he heads to the local hospital to do his rounds before settling at the storefront doctor's office he has operated since 1955. >> he delivered my daughter and first granddaughter. >> my mom brought me here. >> reporter: just like you are doing today. always patients in the waiting room. no appointment necessary.
>> he is a one of a kind. never be another one like this. >> reporter: things are still done the old fashioned way. records are kept in thousands of cards in filing cabinets along the wall. >> where is your computer? >> far, far away. i never had one. >> reporter: there is something else old fashioned, too. the price of a visit. >> just charge $5. >> reporter: you are happy with that? >> yes. >> reporter: $5 raised from 2 several years ago. for as long as he has been in rushville the pharmacy down the block has stayed open until it gets a call saying he has seen his last patient of the day. you never take a day off? >> i haven't. i guess i haven't. >> reporter: just remember the office closes at noon on thursdays. >> it has been 50 something years. >> reporter: if you need the doc chances are you will be able to find him. if i had an emergency you would tell me to?
>> go to the back door and see what is going on. they consider me the old country doctor. there is nothing wrong with that. >> reporter: an old country doctor who if you are in a pinch will even make a house call and there really is nothing wrong with that mpt nbc news, rushville, illinois. >> and that is nbc nightly news for this sunday. i'm kate snow reporting from new york. for lester holt and all of us here at nbc news, thanks for watching.