tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 4, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
just like 1776. no electricity, no air conditioning or even fireworks for many americans on this independence day because scorching heat and raging wildfires just won't quit. the god particle, a discovery at the world's biggest atom smasher that's as big as they get in e world of science. what does it tell us about our world? all charged up. a ride on america's electric highway. what they are doing in oregon could change things for the whole nation down the road. and a new home and new life for a national treasure. what may be the greatest battleship ever to hit the high seas. battleship ever to hit the high seas. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york. this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. >> good evening, i'm kate snow in for brian. on this fourth of july america is celebrating with parades, cookouts and fireworks. but for many across the nation, this independence day is different. in some states that are tinder dry, there will be no fireworks. in parts of 10 states, today is all about sweating it out without air conditioning, without any electricity at all as crews spend the holiday working to get the power back on after deadly storms. we have it all covered tonight beginning with the extreme heat. nbc's john yang is in chicago. good evening, john. >> reporter: good evening, kate. all across the heartland it has been a scorcher of a fourth of july. highs in the triple digits as far north as minnesota and wisconsin. here in chicago the high was 102. that ties a record set a century ago. across the eastern half of the
country, americans spent the nation's 236th birthday trying to beat the heat. >> it's definitely really hot. >> reporter: she had only it's second triple digit 4th since they began keeping records. people jammed the beaches although the nation's water temperatures in the mid-70s. cooler water in park fountains and frozen treats. >> we were going to go to the beach but i think it's too hot for that. >> i go inside and the first thing i do is stand in front of the window unit. >> reporter: milwaukee set an all-time record high as madison, wisconsin, south bend, indiana and paducah,, kentucky. storm tracker paul, minnesota,'s half marathon was cut to five miles. in philadelphia's july 4th parade, they sweltered as they passed city hall. similar scenes in st. louis, which has hit triple digits for a week a firetruck helped cool
off suspects. the oppressive temperatures with highs from the 100s from the plains to atlantic are the as a result of air stalled over the midsection. >> typically we don't see it this hot so early in the season. we are talking about unprecedented temperatures for places like atlanta, st. louis 100 degrees seven days in a row. that is something we don't normally see. >> reporter: if that weren't enough, nearly a million people in 10 states in the district of columbia spent the 4th just like the founding fathers. no electricity, no air conditioning. last week's ferocious storms are blamed for at least 20 deaths. in washington there was no holiday for work crews removing downed trees so utility workers can restore power. >> i can't wait to go home. i'm so tired of this. >> reporter: his family owned grocery store in chevy chase, maryland has been without power since friday night. >> we've lost everything. we've lost everything that required refrigerator.
>> reporter: here in chicago, there is no relief in sight for the rest of the week. an excessive heat advisory is in place until friday night. kate. >> john yang in chicago. stay cool tonight. when do we get a break from all this heat? you just saw kelly cass in this heat, she joins us live with more from weather channel headquarters. >> we have to hang in there until early next week when we can finally see temperatures go back to average. not a major cooldown for any of us really. as john mentioned, temperatures in chicago once again 101 degrees. tennessee valley we are heating things up as we head into friday with you getting up to 104. triple digit readings back towards the plains as well. looking at kansas city getting up to 102. there's our nation's capital, 103 degrees as we kick off this weekend. now, here is what we can look forward to. this high pressure that's been dominating our weather pattern across the middle of the country, that is going to move back toward the west. so those in the northwest where we've had cool air, guess what,
it's going to get hot for you guys monday into tuesday, while the eastern half of the country finally catching a break in new england and around the great lakes. that does include chicago. look for cooler temperatures by the beginning of next week. something to look forward to, kate. >> okay. kelly cass, thanks so much. that is not going to be good news out west where firefighters are beginning to make some progress against scores of wildfires burning in nine states. taupe holiday fireworks displays have been canceled throughout the region. it is just too dry and too dangerous. more now from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: there is no such thing as a holiday on the fire lines. from montana -- >> with this fire, with these fuels, we can't get in front of the fire. it's just too dangerous. >> reporter: to utah where almost 3,000 acres have been charred outside salt lake city. >> i went out and looked out of my front door. it looked like it was right in the subdivision here. >> reporter: to california where the flames shot up in the tinder dry ranch land of los angeles.
crews across the west cannot stop their frantic efforts to contain fire after fire. the massive waldo canyon fire near colorado springs, so big that it could be seen from space is now almost completely contained. the start of monsoon season brought slight relief to parts of colorado. but many of these teams will soon be moved elsewhere. according to the u.s. forest service, 54 major wildfires are now burning in the united states. and today a colorful reminder that it's not just nature they are fighting. according to officials, fireworks are one of the most frequent causes of wildfires prompting communities in up to 20 states to ban their use and cancel tonight's displays. police in hard hit colorado have teams on special fireworks patrol. >> are there any fireworks in your apartment? >> meantime in utah, it is another man made cause being blamed for at least 21 blazes. gunfire. the governor has authorized bans on shooting outside cities and
towns where fire risk is deemed extreme. the move has sparked a political firestorm. >> i don't think it's all necessary. most shooters have a level head and they make good decisions. it only takes a few knuckle heads to give everyone else a bad name. >> reporter: but man made or mother nature, firefighters say their work this season is likely just getting started. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles. and what would july 4th be without some presidential politics. both mitt romney and president obama marked the holiday today. white house correspondent kristen welker joins us from the white house. good evening, kristen. >> reporter: good evening to you, kate. president obama is hosting military members and their families at the white house this evening. mitt romney marked the day in new hampshire where he is also vacationing. like independence day in past election years, both candidates kept an eye trained on november. >> for just as we remain a nation of laws, we have to
remain a nation of immigrants. >> reporter: it didn't take long for patriotism to give way to politics during this morning's naturalization ceremony. >> i here by declare on oath. >> reporter: 25 active members of the military were sworn in as u.s. citizens. >> congratulations. >> reporter: the president took full advantage of his bully pulpit, touting his recent decision to block the deportation of some illegal immigrants and calling for even broader measures. >> that's why we still need a dream act, why america's success demands comprehensive immigration reform. >> reporter: as the president was reaching beyond the white house to court latino voters. >> good to see you. thank you. happy 4th to you. >> reporter: mitt romney was showing a flag at a parade in the swing state of new hampshire. but it was last week's supreme court ruling on health care that took center stage. at issue, the ongoing political debate about whether requiring americans to pay a fee if they
don't buy health insurance is a tax or a penalty. today romney contradicted his top campaign adviser eric fernstrom and called it a tax. >> supreme court is the final word, right? they said it was a tax. so it's a tax, of course. >> reporter: earlier this week he called it and a similar fee in massachusetts health care reform a penalty. >> the governor believes what we put in place in massachusetts was a penalty, and he disagrees with the court's ruling that the mandate was a tax. >> reporter: the obama campaign accused romney of contradicting his own campaign and himself. >> we believe in america. >> reporter: but romney aides say the two views of consistent. the war of words comes as the president prepares for a bus tour a in ohio and pennsylvania where he'll have company, bobby jindal, vp picks will shadow the
president. the trip could be shadowed by the jobs report. the last report showed the unemployment ticked up. the president really can't afford that trend to continue with the election just four months away. kate. >> kristen welker watching it all at the white house tonight. thank you. there has been a shocking new outburst of gun violence in chicago, a city already reeling from a 38% increase in its murder rate this year. fifteen people have been shot since 5:00 a.m. yesterday, that includes a small girl playing near a fire hydrant overnight. overseas an intriguing question, was yasser arafat poisoned. he died in 2004. now swiss researchers have found traces of a poisonous element on his belongings, includes his toothbrush. arafat's widow wants his body resumed to reveal the truth about his death. the palestinian authority has agreed and that could happen within days. now to a find that is as big
as it gets in the world of science. think back to your high school physics class. remember how there are subatomic particles like neutrons and protons? you can't see it or touch it. tonight scientists are celebrating the discovery of something unbelievably tiny that is huge. they call it the god particle. the subatomic thing that has long been believed to give all matter in the universe its size and shape. just how big a deal is it? here is mara schiavocampo. >> reporter: the announcement in geneva, hailed as one of the biggest scientific discoveries in our time. >> this is big. >> reporter: the long sought holy grail of subatomic world. >> we physicist believes we have finally found the higgs boson. >> the what? >> we think a particle like the higgs boson was actually the match that set off this cosmic explosion which created
everything we see around us including the earth and even us. >> reporter: the higgs boson, unscientifically named the god particle. the missing piece to a theory of the university receive and the payoff to one of the most extensive searches in scientific history. thousands of physicists, billions of dollars, and the world's biggest machine. the large hadron collider, 27 miles long outside geneva. the particle's existence was first theorized by peter higgs in 1964. now 83, an emotional higgs was there for today's announcement. >> it's really an incredible thing that it's happened in my lifetime. >> reporter: the world of science is celebrating today's announcement, many of the rest of us are just trying to understand it. >> i'm assuming from the look on your face, $1,000 on the table you couldn't tell us what matter is. >> i had four years. there's a lot of knowledge out there. i may have missed some things. >> reporter: there are plenty of internet videos that try to be helpful.
♪ >> reporter: hoping to make what's complicated simple. >> now, let's take another empty universe and fill it with our higgs field. here is our higgs field. >> reporter: even the experts are still fixing it out. >> it means there could be other universes. there could be a multi-verse of universes and that's what the next generation of physicists are going to look into. >> reporter: a discovery that has opened a door. scientists now hope to find out what's on the other side. mara schiavocampo, nbc news, new york. >> i'm going to need to see that video again. still ahead as "nightly news" continues on this independence day, plugging in instead of filling up, what could be the start of a revolution on america's interstate highways. later why one of america's historic battleships is the center of attention tonight. i stepped on the machine, and it showed me the pressure points on my feet and exactly where i needed more support. then, i got my number. my tired, achy feet affected my whole life. until i found my number. i tried the free dr. scholl's foot mapping center. in two minutes, i got my foot map and custom number.
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well, more than 42 million americans are hitting the road this july 4th holiday. you might be one of those. according to the aaa, that's how many of us are getting out there. in oregon, a state known for being green, drivers are doing things a little bit differently. they are plugging in, instead of filling up, using federal stimulus money the state has opened what is being called the electric highway. nbc's miguel almaguer gave it a test-drive. >> reporter: on a 200 mile stretch of interstate 5 in oregon -- >> we're going to head down -- >> reporter: drivers like justin are leading the charge on the state's electric highway. >> right now the charger is
communicating with the car. >> reporter: he plugs in for free. his family road trip powered by oregon's all new fast charging stations. >> these fast charging stations are what made that trip to portland for me possible. >> reporter: spread 25 miles apart, some say these charging stations are the wave of the future. this one giving a nod to the past, its home, a historic stagecoach stop. >> this really is a game changer. >> reporter: art james with oregon's department of transportation says the electric highway, the longest in the country, won't always be free but will always be cheaper and greener than filling up at a gas station. >> reporter: we have funding for another 35 fast chargers around the state so people will be able to drive all along the oregon coast. >> reporter: officials say this is just the beginning. both california and washington are working to expand their sections of the electric highway. by the end of next year drivers may be able to go from canada all the way to mexico. but with only 1200 electric cars
on the road in oregon, not everyone is buying in. the sticker price for ecars can come as a shock to some. despite the name, fast chargers aren't fast. thirty minutes to power up. for drivers like bruce sergeant, it's worth the wait. he hasn't paid for gas in over a year. >> we were spending from $260 to $280 a month on gas. now maybe $15 a month. >> reporter: the power of going green driving some in oregon to hit the road like never before. miguel almaguer, nbc news, oregon. coming up next, a rare sight in the sea. the abrasives in the toothpaste actually create those micro fine scratches in the denture, and that's where bacteria can grow and thrive. these are the very bacteria that can cause bad breath. dentists do recommend that you soak your denture in polident. polident doesn't scratch the denture surface, and it kills 99.9% of bacteria
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to run the individual 400 meters and be on the relay team. he will now be the first amputee athlete ever to compete in the olympics. by the way, there was a great feature about him on rock center. we've posted that on our website on "nightly news." a spectacular show in monterey bay, california, this week. friendly invasion of enormous blue whales, dozens of them showing up with humpbacks to feast on an unusual abundance of their faifrt food giving whale enthusiasts the show of a lifetime to see their favorite animal on the planet. the sun sending off powerful solar flares, a heavenly fireworks display in time for the fourth of july. the flares coming from a huge active region on the sun that is very active right now. up next, new life for an icon of world war ii. okay, team! after age 40, we can start losing muscle -- 8% every 10 years. wow. wow.
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for another kind of war hero, what may be the greatest american battleship that ever went out to sea, uss iowa, key part of world war ii campaign in the pacific. it's now made its final voyage and will open to the public this weekend as an extraordinary museum. nbc's mike taibbi reports from san pedro, california. >> reporter: when the iowa was christened, first lady eleanor roosevelt on hand, no hand wringing over the fact that the battleship era was almost over. there was still a great war to fight and win. when the iowa led the pacific fleet in the final engagements leading to japan's surrender, young sailors like john were stunned the moment they joined the crew. >> i couldn't believe the size of that ship. boy, what did i get into here. >> reporter: what he and 25 other sailors got into was the flagship of the last and most powerful class of battleships
ever built, three football fields long, 58,000 tons, 40 miles an hour speed, and 16 inch guns with 25-mile range. with the iowa providing gunships, japanese resistance yielded in one engagement after another until the wars end in tokyo bay september 2nd, 1965. by definition every great ship has not just a history but a personality, too. you can learn the iowa's history through all the conventional means. but to get the personality part, you really have to be here. you can be here. on the iowa's vast deck, beneath it's gun turrets, because the iowa here in san pedro saved from the scrap heap for one final berth. you may hear from younger vets who didn't see war but served during the iowa's darkest moment in 1989.
the accidental explosion in turret 42 that killed 47 men. >> the ship is in my heart. >> reporter: older vets who survived enemy fire but haunted today by memories of war most gruesome. >> after tide came in, there was bodies out in the water. it was horrible. >> reporter: so many stories and this majestic physical creation, emblems from the last days of seaborne battleship warfare. >> we're bringing a close to a class of ship that no longer sail the seas. >> we felt safe on it. >> reporter: a nation felt safer, too. mike taibbi, nbc news, san pedro. >> i'm kate snow. see you back here tomorrow night. we'll leave you with celebrations around the country tonight. have a happy birthday. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com