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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Massive Flooding Strikes Northeast; Punishing the Press; Maine Debates Moose-Car Accidents
Aired June 28, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody out there. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.
Here is what is happening at this moment.
In Gaza, Israeli troops continue a second night of attacks, in an attempt to free an Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinian militants. and they have reportedly arrested two Palestinian cabinet officials to put pressure on the militants.
An Islamic Web site is promising a new tape message soon from Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is expected to mourn the loss of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed by U.S. forces in Iraq last month.
And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rebuffed a cease-fire offer from a group of insurgents in Iraq. They have reportedly offered to stop their attacks and join reconciliation talks if the U.S. sets a two-year deadline for troop withdrawal.
As we speak, tens of thousands of people from the Mid-Atlantic states to the Northeast cannot go home tonight. Rivers in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Upstate New York are approaching record levels, overflowing with the runoff from days and days of rain.
Here's what you need to know right now. Even though the sun came out this afternoon, some major rivers, including the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania, are still rising. Up to 200,000 people in and around Wilkes-Barre have been ordered to evacuate. We will have a live report there in just a minute.
The overall death toll from the flooding stands at nine, including two truck drivers whose rigs fell into a trench when the floodwater cut across both lanes of Interstate 88 in New York.
Now, just look at what the power of the water can do in Dolgeville, a village near Utica, New York. A two-story restaurant collapses and is actually swept away in the waters of East Canada Creek. The flooded rivers have forced at least 15,000 New Yorkers to leave their homes.
In Maryland, leaks in an urban dam prompted the evacuation of some 1,200 people. More than a foot of rain has fallen in the Mid- Atlantic region in just the five days -- past five days alone.
And, out West, it's the exact opposite problem, no rain and raging wildfires. Today, crews finished escorting the last of some 1,100 people out of campgrounds near the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. They had been trapped there since Sunday, when a fire spread across the only road out.
Now a closer look at the Northeast flooding -- we have crews all along the Susquehanna River tonight, including Allan Chernoff Binghamton, New York, and Jason Carroll in Plains, Pennsylvania, near that spot where some 200,000 people have been ordered to get out.
Jason, we start with you. How bad is it there tonight?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can take a look right behind me, Paula, and you can see for yourself how bad it has gotten here in Plains, Pennsylvania.
Right there behind me is the swollen Susquehanna River. You can see how it's partially submerged this strip mall, and it still hasn't crested, not yet.
CARROLL (voice-over): The rivers are rising throughout eastern Pennsylvania. They are flooding streets and homes and forcing hundreds to evacuate.
The Susquehanna River in the northeastern part of the state is expecting to crest at 37 feet, 15 feet above flood stage, just shy of the 41-foot levee protecting it. But its swollen waters have already reached Loretta Stachokus' home, just outside Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Still, she has faith the water will not rise any higher.
LORETTA STACHOKUS, RESIDENT OF PLAINS, PENNSYLVANIA: She protects our house. She...
STACHOKUS: To a certain extent, she doesn't...
CARROLL: And do you -- and do you think she's going to protect you this time?
STACHOKUS: I hope so. I hope so.
CARROLL: Stachokus has not yet evacuated. Neither has her son, who lives next door. The water in his home is already rising in the basement.
So far, 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuation in Wilkes- Barre. At least three people have died, and that number could rise. Rescue crews in Bear Creek Mountain responded to reports of two children swept away by floodwaters as they played by the river's edge.
Pennsylvania's governor, Ed Rendell, has declared a disaster emergency in 46 of the state's 67 counties.
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We're still bracing for what may come. The National Weather Service -- Service has downgraded where they think the flood crest will be almost everywhere.
CARROLL: In the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia, several children were rescued from one flooded area. And in Westfall Township in Pike County, floodwaters there surrounded homes, forcing evacuations.
Residents along the Schuylkill River in southern Pennsylvania were asked to evacuate Wednesday morning. And back north, near Wilkes-Barre, emergency crews keep watch on the rising Susquehanna with apprehension.
RON DOMBURSKI, PLAINS TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's been pretty bad, a lot of roads shut down in the area. And it's only going to get worse over the next couple hours.
CARROLL: And we do have an update for you, Paula, from emergency crews, who tell us they did recover the body of one of those young boys up there at Bear Creek Mountain -- so, some grim news for people down here, as they continue to watch the rising floodwaters -- Paula.
ZAHN: So sorry to hear that.
Jason Carroll, thanks so much. Stay dry.
Wilkes-Barre was devastated by the remnants of Hurricane Agnes back in 1972. And that convinced officials to build a new levee system. But, tonight, those flood walls may get their toughest test ever. That's why people near the river had until the top of this hour, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, to leave their homes.
They were told to pack clothes and medicine for two days.
With me now is Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid.
Thanks so much for being with us. We know how busy you are.
How is the evacuation going?
TODD VONDERHEID, COMMISSIONER, LUZERNE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: It's going very well, very well-organized, and we are making some great strides right now.
ZAHN: So, you're trying to move some 200,000 people out of the area. How many would you say made the deadline by just five minutes ago?
VONDERHEID: We believe at least 50 percent of those people have been able to leave the flood-prone area.
ZAHN: Now, does that mean the other half are simply ignoring this evacuation order?
VONDERHEID: Well, we don't know that yet. What we're trying to do is -- is -- the local municipalities, their police forces and the -- and Pennsylvania National Guard are patrolling those neighborhoods, to try and ensure that people are indeed away from their homes, in -- in safe places tonight.
ZAHN: And what is it you fear the most, the levees potentially going tonight?
VONDERHEID: Our concern was really always about the levees. We have -- we have known for about 24 hours that we didn't expect the levees to be topped, but this is a relatively new levee system.
We have just completed 28 miles of levee, and the Army Corps and our local engineering department really wanted us to be sure that we could withhold, that we could sustain the perhaps up to two days of river depths greater than 35 feet.
ZAHN: And what will happen if you can't?
VONDERHEID: Well, we -- we expect that we can. We expect that the scene that you see behind me is -- is going to be a rarity here in Luzerne County, and that, in fact, everything will be fine by Friday morning.
ZAHN: Real brief answer. The governor has asked for help from FEMA. Is there any help on the way yet at this hour?
VONDERHEID: We have been in contact with the governor for -- for almost 48 hours. And he, as usual, has been a tremendous help and will be here to make sure that we get everything that we need here in Luzerne County.
ZAHN: And does that mean FEMA will have resources ready for you as well?
VONDERHEID: Senator Santorum and Senator Specter, as well as our Congressmen Kanjorski and Sherwood have all been in contact and been here on site. So, I'm sure, if we need the federal government, they are going to be here with us.
ZAHN: All right. Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid, thanks. I know you have got a tough 12 to 14 hours ahead. Good luck.
Our next stop, Upstate New York, where some rivers are so high that water is actually flowing over, as well as under, some of the bridges.
That's the case in Binghamton right now, where our Allan Chernoff has been watching all day long -- Allan.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Paula, from where I'm standing, usually, the bank of the Susquehanna River is more than 100 yards behind me. But, as you can see tonight, Mother Nature is redefining the river.
She's taking some property and forcing others to do everything they can to save their homes.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): Anton Lewis (ph) was up all night last night trying to save his home on the bank of the Susquehanna River.
(on camera): It looks like the living room is pretty much gone, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CHERNOFF: I mean, it's all evacuated on stilts now.
(voice-over): Lucas (ph) is a contractor. He knows how to rebuild homes. The problem is, all his tools are in the basement.
(on camera): We have got about how many feet of water here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since it's about nine-foot ceilings, I would seven feet.
CHERNOFF: About seven feet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CHERNOFF: And this is a totally finished basement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): And some of his property, like the garage, appears ready to float away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about ready to collapse. It might slide down.
CHERNOFF: His neighbor was forced to evacuate, not knowing if his home would still be here when he returned.
Motorcycle builder Mark Callahan (ph) has cleared out all the working bikes from his shop next to the Shenango River.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't have enough time to put things on trucks that weren't ready to be ridden.
CHERNOFF (on camera): So, this -- this bike is still under construction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it needs to be..
CHERNOFF: You have got in on a dolly here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's a white dolly. We jack it up and we slide that underneath.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): Three sump pumps have been running for the past two days, but the basement is still under water. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been worried all day. I mean, I have had a lot of friends. You see a lot of people out front helping me.
CHERNOFF (on camera): The Shenango River right now is 25 feet high, exactly the height of the flood wall that protects the city of Binghamton. In most places, the wall is holding. But, in certain stream areas, it's flowing right through.
(voice-over): In spots, Binghamton's two rivers cascaded over the flood walls. The Susquehanna washed over a pedestrian bridge. And animals of all kinds sought higher ground.
MICHAEL WASHINGTON, ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF, BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK: Because there's two rivers and many creeks that run through this area, several portions of the city have been evacuated.
CHERNOFF: Binghamton's Lourdes Hospital planned to evacuate about 100 patients. In New Jersey, hundreds were evacuated up and down the Delaware River. Flooding forced a shutdown of Trenton's water filtration system, and floodwaters washed away part of Interstate 88 north of Binghamton, killing two truck drivers, who plunged into a 25-foot hole.
But the fact that there's been no rain since this morning has residents of the area hoping the worst has passed.
CHERNOFF: When firefighters came here at 3:00 in the morning last night to evacuate this home, they told Anton Lucas (ph) he should leave his house as well, but he refused. And, tonight, he's planning to sleep here, along with his brother, sister, as well as their children -- Paula.
ZAHN: And, for all of their sakes, we hope that water doesn't rise any more than it already has.
Allan Chernoff, thanks.
And we want you all to stay with CNN tonight, as we continue to follow this developing story all night long.
We move on now to our countdown of the most popular stories on CNN.com. More than 18 million went to our Web site today.
Coming in at number 10 -- emotions run very high in a Houston courtroom, as the uncle of a murder victim tries to attack the suspect. Police say the accused was part of a gang that killed four people last month.
Number nine -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian agents to hunt down and -- quote -- "destroy" the killers of four diplomats kidnapped in Iraq a few weeks ago. A group linked to al Qaeda posted a statement on a Web site claiming responsibility for those murders. Numbers eight and seven are next -- plus, the latest heated debate in Washington. How much freedom are we willing to give up in the war on terror?
ZAHN (voice-over): On the "Security Watch," punishing the press -- congressional Republicans get ready to condemn "The New York Times" for its story on terrorist finances. Should the war on terror put new limits on what you're allowed to read?
And the "Eye Opener" -- it's the danger you can't see, the accident you can't prevent, more than 1,000 pounds coming at you out of the dark and through your windshield at 60 miles an hour. You won't believe what could cause this incredible destruction -- all that and more just ahead.
ZAHN: All right, so, what could be scarier and more life- threatening than a deer running on to the highway? Well, stay with us. We are going to show you what else is wandering out there that's even bigger and more deadly.
We move on to Iraq now. That's our chief focus here. Two more Americans died today. A roadside bomb killed a soldier near Baghdad, and a Marine died in action in Anbar today.
But another soldier was honored today for his sacrifice in Brownsville, Texas, where hundreds of mourners turned out to remember Private 1st Class Kristian Menchaca. He was one of two soldiers kidnapped, brutalized and killed just over a week ago.
Ed Lavandera just filed this report from Brownsville tonight.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The memorial melody at Army Private 1st Class Kristian Menchaca's graveside ceremony echoed the emotions of a grieving family. In a unique tribute, a Border Patrol honor guard performed for a soldier who aspired to be a border agent. But, in Iraq, nearly two weeks ago, Kristian Menchaca was abducted from a checkpoint by insurgents and then brutally killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to remind this nation that Kristian may have died in hatred, but his spirit will always live in love, for he gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and that was his life.
LAVANDERA: What hurts the most is Kristian Menchaca's unfulfilled potential, a new marriage to a young wife. They never had a chance to celebrate a wedding anniversary, a soldier whose family says he left for Iraq as a boy, and the Army experience made him a man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His sacrifice has left a void in our hearts that will be hard to fill and a true hero's story that will be passed to our children and our children's children, never to be forgotten.
LAVANDERA: Nearly 1,000 people attended this memorial service. Many never met Private Menchaca. The 23-year-old's killing sent a chill through his South Texas hometown. It brought home the pain of war and the spirit of courage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He showed devotion to duty, even when in danger. He reflected the best of American youth, the courage to stand for and fight for freedom.
LAVANDERA: Nearly two months before Kristian Menchaca was killed, he spent two weeks visiting family. He told some of his near- death experiences. There was a hint of nervousness and fear in his voice, but his family says his sense of duty to his country never wavered.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Brownsville, Texas.
ZAHN: And there's one more thing. Kristian Menchaca was awarded the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Prisoner of War Medal today. The medals were presented to his family.
Here is what is happening at this moment.
An urgent call for cash tonight for the Veterans Administration -- the president is asking Congress for $160 million to cover credit monitoring for military families. Computer records on more than 26 million vets were stolen last month.
In Baghdad, demonstrators showed up in force, after the government said an al Qaeda suspect was arrested in February's bombing of one of the holiest Shiite mosques. The destruction of the Golden Dome shrine in Samarra set off a wave of sectarian violence among Iraqis.
And just released testimony of Sago Mine survivor Randy McCloy Jr. tells of fellow miners overcome by smoke, struggling with defective emergency equipment, and sharing oxygen in a doomed attempt to survive January's tragedy in West Virginia. McCloy was the only survivor. Twelve other miners died.
Coming up: a warning to all drivers. What hazard wandering on the highway can be even worse than hitting a deer? You will see, and it's not very pretty.
Right now, number eight on our CNN.com countdown -- the discovery of what some scientists think is sort of a Stonehenge in Brazil's Amazon. They say a group of granite stones arranged on a hilltop may be a centuries-old astronomical observatory.
Number seven is our lead tonight, the catastrophic flooding in the Northeast -- nine people dead. At least two others are missing, and hundreds of thousands have been ordered to evacuation -- that evacuation well under way right now.
We will have numbers six and five right after this.
ZAHN: We're back now with the "Security Watch" tonight -- brand- new attacks on the media for reporting the secret federal effort to use bank records to track terrorists.
Just listen to what President Bush had to say just a couple of hours ago at a fund-raiser in Saint Louis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There can be no excuse for anyone entrusted with vital intelligence to leak it, and no excuse for any newspaper to print it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Now, other Republicans are focusing their anger on "The New York Times," even though other papers, including "The Wall Street Journal," also ran the story at about the same time, and even though this anti-terror tactic had already been talked about publicly many times before.
Congressional correspondent Andrea Koppel, part of the best political team on TV, has the very latest for us tonight.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waves of Republican outrage continue to ripple through Congress over a New York Times story that revealed a secret program to track international terrorist financing.
REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in frustration over the recent leak by "The New York Times" of a vital national security program.
REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: And the real anger toward "The New York Times," I think what they did was absolutely disgraceful.
KOPPEL: And now the latest salvo, this seven-page Republican resolution condemning administration leakers and demanding the cooperation of the news media in not disclosing classified intelligence programs. REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When people who persistently leak this information to news sources and then news sources insist on printing it, it goes back to the old saying in a playoff, the old saying that, basically, loose lips kill American people.
KOPPEL: House Republicans are not alone in targeting "The New York Times" and other media. For days, bloggers have been up in arms, while conservative radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh have had a field day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW")
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: In fact, I think "The New York Times" should start running ads and get some jihadists and get some terror members and have them say: I saved my sleeper cell, thanks to "The New York Times."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOPPEL: Already this week, Arizona Republican J.D. Hayworth wrote a letter to Speaker Hastert urging him to penalize "The New York Times" by pulling their congressional press credentials.
And New York Republican Peter King wrote Attorney General Gonzales, asking him to investigate "The Times" for possible criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act. King says he's been fuming since "The Times" broke the NSA warrantless wiretap story last year, and, for him, the bank records leak was the last straw.
KING: Oh, there's no doubt in my mind "The New York Times" is out to get President Bush.
KOPPEL: But Republicans strategists admit what many lawmakers won't, that talking up national security in an election year is popular with the party's conservative base.
ED ROGERS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: In politics, a bumper sticker beats an essay. Right now, the bumper sticker is, be tough on terror; be tough on those that reveal any kind of secrets that make it harder for us to catch terrorists.
KOPPEL (on camera): In today's edition of "The New York Times," the editorial board defended the free press as necessary -- quote -- "even if it runs the risk of being labeled unpatriotic in the process."
Andrea Koppel, CNN, Capitol Hill.
ZAHN: As Andrea mentioned, some Republicans wants "The New York Times" to lose its congressional press credentials because of this.
And joining me now is Susan Milligan, a congressional reporter for "The Boston Globe," which happens to be owned by "The New York Times." She also happens to be the chairwoman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, which decides who gets House and Senate press credentials.
Thanks so much for joining us.
SUSAN MILLIGAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Thanks having me, Paula.
ZAHN: What are the chances that "The New York Times" will have its credentials pulled?
MILLIGAN: I can't see any chance it's going to happen.
We have been given the authority by Congress. It's in the rules. We have had this authority since the 1880s to credential reporters, to revoke their credentials if they break the rules, or to suspend them, or to reprimanded them. We have reprimanded reporters in the past.
But there's nothing about the content of what a newspaper has -- has published that goes to the rules. So, we would not consider revoking "The New York Times"' press credentials.
ZAHN: We heard what some of your bosses had to say about how going with the story was necessary, even if it was at the risk of being labeled unpatriotic. How do you defend the publishing of this story, which, as you have heard, a lot of critics are suggesting is aiding and abetting the enemy?
MILLIGAN: Well, I don't defend it or not defend it. I'm not the editor of "The New York Times." I didn't make the decision to publish it, and, as you have noted, "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Los Angeles Times" and "The Washington Post" ran -- ran similar stories.
What I do believe is in freedom of the press. And that's -- that's what I'm defending here. There's just no way we're going to pull their credential. And I can't imagine that the leadership would try to take any action to overrule us in some way. They have given us this authority to decide who's credentialed on the Hill and who isn't.
ZAHN: So, while you don't run the place, you do collect a paycheck from "The New York Times." What is your own personal feeling? If -- if you had gotten this story, would you have pushed to publish it?
MILLIGAN: Yes, I -- I think I would have.
And, as you have noted, this story has -- you know, this -- this concept of -- of following these -- these bank records has certainly been out there before. I mean, the president signed an executive order in 2001 going to this issue. I mean, it's not -- it's not that it was all that new.
I do think it's a good story. But the important thing here is the principle, is that we don't let Congress tell the press what they can and cannot publish. You know, I -- I lived in Eastern Europe for five years during the 1990s and reported there. And I know what happens in countries where the government tries to suppress or intimidate or censor the press, because that's what the communists did to my friends.
And we are not -- reporters are not going to stand for that here. We have the right to publish certain things. And, in these cases, the editors even discussed the issue with the administration. So...
ZAHN: So, you don't think, in any way, it compromises that program?
MILLIGAN: I -- I'm not in a position to make that judgment. What I'm saying is, it is not up to the Congress to tell a newspaper what to publish.
ZAHN: Finally, Susan, according to Representative J.D. Hayworth, there will be a letter on its way shortly to you folks.
ZAHN: And it's a letter asking you to revoke "The Times"' credentials. What will you do if and when that letter does cross your desk?
MILLIGAN: Well, we will certainly consider any letter from any member who complains about the conduct of one of our gallery members. We have in the past.
We have reprimanded people in the past. Jack Anderson once brought a gun in. He disassembled a plastic gun, went into Senator Dole's office to prove to him how easily he could get it in. Senator Dole and Senator Mitchell officially complained. And we reprimanded Jack Anderson.
And we also changed our application to note that you have to follow the security measures on the Hill, or risk having your credentials revoked.
ZAHN: All right.
MILLIGAN: So, if somebody sends a letter, we will certainly consider it.
But there's nothing in our rules that says you can have your credentials revoked because of something your newspaper has run. So, I can't imagine what grounds they would have, under the rules, which have been endorsed by the Senate and the House and are in the rules and are in the law that -- under which we could revoke those credentials.
ZAHN: All right. Susan, we got to leave it there. Susan Milligan, appreciate your time tonight.
MILLIGAN: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now if you're driving to the countryside this summer, you need to be on the lookout for something you probably never expect. It is worse than a deer, so what is it that a half ton of wild animal can do to your car? Well, you're looking at it.
And a little bit later on, why is a man's million dollar gift to a pair of schools generating so much anger and controversy? No one seems to want the money. How can that be?
First, No. 6 on our CNN.com countdown: a Marine recruiter from Michigan who appeared in the Michael Moore documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has been killed in Iraq. The military says staff sergeant Raymond Plouhar died on Monday in a roadside bombing.
No. 5, the real cost of Britain's royals. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth costs each British taxpayer 62 pence or $1.13 per year. The palace says Queen Elizabeth spent more taxpayer money last fiscal year, $67.3 million in all because of overseas trips and extra security.
No. 4 right after this.
ZAHN: Welcome back, here's what's happening at this moment. Violence in Gaza is accelerating on the second night of an Israeli incursion. There are reports militant Palestinians have executed a kidnapped Israeli settler. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has arrested at least 10 members of the Hamas government in an effort to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier.
And in a new development we told you about a little bit earlier on, the theft of computer data involving 26 million veterans and their families. The "Associated Press" is reporting that the employee blamed for bringing those records home actually had permission from his supervisors at the V.A. A disclosure that has angered some lawmakers investigating the theft.
And now under a nightly look at gas prices all over the country, our "Crude Awakenings." The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. The average today for unleaded regular, $2.89 per gallon, two cents more than yesterday. Our graph shows the continuing trend in gas prices.
Now if you haven't had a close call with a deer while driving, you probably don't drive a whole lot, because 1.5 million times a year, someone hits one. It is terrifying, but not nearly as frightening as what you're about to see, and it's something to keep in mind as you and your family might hit the road for a summer vacation. What is it? Rob Marciano has the answer in tonight's "Eye Opener."
ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine your car plowing into 1,000 pounds of dead weight at night, and you never saw it coming.
BERNICE CLAYTON-SECA, CRASH VICTIM: They're impossible to see. I've had my high beams on, and constantly scan -- they're from this shoulder to the road to the shoulder to the road, constantly scanning, all the time. And I didn't see him.
MARCIANO: A massive animal shot through the Bernice Clayton- Seca's Chevy Lumina like a missile. She's lucky to be alive.
CLAYTON-SECA: They're very, very dark, their eyes don't reflect, and besides your headlights aren't reflecting that high up. They're a tall -- they're very tall animals.
MARCIANO: Bernice escaped with a bump on the head and a broken hand. Amazingly minor injuries when you consider that a moose, easily half a ton, flew through her windshield at 60 miles-an-hour. The massive animal ended up in her backseat with its head and neck through the back glass, resting on the trunk.
Moose are found in northern states from New England to Washington and south into the Colorado Rockies. In scenic areas where families vacation and take summer road trips, they're especially dangerous.
Signs on Route 4 in Maine warn of the danger. Duane Brunell of Maine DOT says 80 percent of crashes happen at night. He says deer collisions are more common throughout the United States, but that most people don't realize moose pose a danger too, in unexpected places.
DUANE BRUNELL, MAINE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT: If you struck a moos, and they have fairly spindly, skinny legs, you hit a moose and you clip those legs out from underneath it, all that body weight is coming out the passenger compartment.
MARCIANO: Just 40 miles west of Boston, this enormous bull moose became an unwanted passenger, sitting in the front seat with its head sticking through the windshield. As incredible as it seems, the driver was OK. Emergency workers had to remove the roof of the car to extricate the moose, which later died.
(on camera): Late spring and early summer is prime time for moose on the roadways. Moose collisions here in Maine peak in the month of June. They come out to the roads because there's actually salt left over from when they cleared the roads during the winter months and the moose like the taste of that sold, they like that nutrient. There's actually tracks that come across the road -- look how pressed those tracks are and well-defined on. They continue down into what's called the moose wallow, where the moose actually hang out and feed.
(voice-over): Maine's wildlife biologist Eugene Dumont has studied the moose in their natural habitat for 34 years. He says when it comes to traffic, these animals have no fear.
GENE DUMONT, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: They've evolved to the point where because of their size, that they don't really fear other objects. In fact, their method of defense when they have a natural predator like a wolf, is to stand their ground. So they'll tend to stand their ground with a pickup truck or a car or a big logging truck coming at their way.
MARCIANO (on camera): Now that it's dusk, this is a time when the moose finally come out into the open. You can see this mature bull moose easily 1,000 pounds out in the wild now, taking in some nourishment. But the real danger comes when night falls and these animals begin to wander out into the road.
(voice-over): At night, the moose are tough to spot. You can see this one on the side of the road only after a high-powered flashlight is pointed directly at it. And it's not just remote roads deep in the woods that are dangerous.
Busy highways can be deadly. Cindy Lincoln wasn't in the car with her family 10 years ago. Her husband Stephen was driving the kids home on Interstate 95 in Maine. Cindy's son Steve had been up front with his dad, while daughter Heidi was asleep in the back seat.
HEIDI LINCOLN, SURVIVE MOOSE COLLISION: When I woke up in a startle from the dream that I had, the moose was hitting the exact same time it was all happening. And I feel like I looked at that moose straight in his eyes. And I remember him flying over the car into the left side.
MARCIANO: The 1,300-pound animal crushed the driver's side and Cindy's husband died in the collision. His feet were still on the brake when the police arrived.
STEVE LINCOLN JR., SURVIVED MOOSE-CAR CRASH: It's just a speechless feeling. I look over and I see a very gruesome scene that I never want to see again in my entire life.
MARCIANO: Ten years later, Cindy Lincoln has made a good life for her family.
CINDY LINCOLN, WIDOWED BY MOOSE COLLISION: Everything I've done I think he would be proud. I hope he would. I think I've done OK, but it certainly has not been easy. I miss my husband a lot.
MARCIANO: It's almost certain that there will be similar tragedies in the coming months. There's no surefire way to avoid collisions with moose, but it helps to be alert, especially when driving at night, and of course, to slow down. Rob Marciano, Augusta, Maine.
ZAHN: Another thing to add here, some victims of moose collisions are pushing for legislation in Maine to increase the number of moose hunting licenses, but it's being hotly debated whether actually thinning the moose population would bring down the number of accidents on the road.
When is a million dollar donation the last thing you would want? Stay here for a very strange story of charity and murder and the money no one seems to want.
Also ahead, the real-life soap opera on "The View." So what the heck was behind Star Jones Reynolds' sudden departure today from "The View?" And why did Barbara Walters fire back? First, number four on our CNN.com countdown, we mentioned earlier on, Israel's military campaign to rescue a soldier held captive by Palestinian militants. Israeli tanks and troops are continuing to carry out strikes in Gaza after moving in early this morning. Several Palestinian officials have also been arrested.
Number three is up next.
ZAHN: I think that's the first time we've actually seen anything but clouds over the last five, six days here. On to the issue of television wars. The ABC show, "The View" is supposed to be a talk show, but suddenly it has turned into a soap opera, and it is the top story tonight on CNN.com. If you haven't been following all along, co-host Star Jones Reynolds is gone as of today, just one day after announcing she'd leave in the fall. Here's entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson.
BARBARA WALTERS, HOST OF "THE VIEW": She gave us no warning and we were taken by surprise.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Barbara Walters describing how she felt blind sided on her own television show "The View" by co-host Star Jones.
WALTERS: We hoped she would announce it here on the program and leave with dignity, but Star made another choice.
ANDERSON: Jones apparently stunned Walters, who's not just a host, but also the creator and executive producer of the show, by telling viewers on Tuesday she was leaving the daytime gabfest. It was a revelation that was supposed to come in a well-scripted announcement on Thursday's show, but Jones jumped the gun.
STAR JONES REYNOLDS, FRMR HOST OF "THE VIEW": I feel like this is the right time to tell you that the show's moving in another direction for its tenth season and I will not be returning as co-host next year.
ANDERSON: Jones' decision to go off-script excluded an interview with "People Magazine" in which she said she felt like she was fired, because her contract wasn't renewed. Her statements changed Walters' tone in just 24 hours from kind and conciliatory to cool and angry and Jones' official departure originally set for July 13th, was now, according to Walters, effective immediately.
WALTERS: And since her announcement yesterday she made further announcements that have surprised us. So it is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table.
MARY MURPHY, SENIOR WRITER, TV GUIDE: Star did the one thing we tell everyone not to do, don't burn your bridges. She burned them in public. I mean, she tried to burn the house down. That's why Barbara Walters was so angry.
ANDERSON: Walters told "People Magazine" ABC decided not to renew Jones' contract because her popularity was declining.
MURPHY: She was much more popular as an overweight, single woman crying for a man, as opposed to a thin married woman.
ANDERSON: Whether weight loss was a factor or not in her demise, Jones says she learned of ABC's plans to dump her five days before they announced Rosie O'Donnell would be joining the show. O'Donnell has criticized Jones in her blog, accusing her of lying about her weight loss.
(on camera): While the anticipated head-to-head battle between Jones and O'Donnell won't happen, Jones is still taking some parting shots at her old boss. She called into Ryan Seacrest's radio show Wednesday.
REYNOLDS: If you use words like betrayal you have to put yourself in my position. If anyone should feel betrayed, it probably should be me.
ANDERSON: With the departure of Jones, Meredith Vieira's move to "The Today Show," and the hiring of O'Donnell, there will certainly be a different view at ABC in the fall. Brooke Anderson, CNN.
ZAHN: And ABC confirms to us that it was the network's decision not to renew Star Jones Reynolds' contract. You can hear what she has to say when she joins Larry king tomorrow night for her first prime time interview since leaving "The View."
ZAHN: In tonight's "Outside the Law" we are hearing that the founder of the giant software company, Oracle, is now canceling his plans to give Harvard University $115 million. Larry Ellison changed his mind because the president quit after a very stormy and controversial tenure. The school says it's quote, disappointed about losing the donation. Of course they would be, but here's a story you may not have heard about. A much smaller gift to two schools that has torn a community apart. Why? Well, for that we have to go "Outside the Law" tonight. Here's Alina Cho.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lewis Capano Jr. had the best Catholic education money could buy. He went to elementary and middle school at St. Edmond's Academy, high school at Archmere academy. Years later the successful businessman wanted to give back, so he pledged a million dollars each to St. Edmond's and Archmere. The schools agreed to name buildings after his parents.
KATHLEEN FAHEY-HOSEY, SISTER MURDERED BY CAPANO'S BROTHER: It makes me sick.
CHO: Kathleen Fahey Hosey says she has reason to be mad. Ten years ago this month, Capano's oldest brother, Tom, murdered her 30- year-old sister and Anne-Marie Fahey and dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean. Tom Capano, a prominent lawyer and a married man, was having an affair with Anne-Marie, who worked for then Delaware Governor Tom Carper. When she tried to end it, Tom Capano killed her. But he never would have been convicted were it not for the testimony of two of his brothers, including Lewis, who, in exchange for probation, admitted lying and destroying evidence.
Colm Connolly prosecuted Tom Capano for murder and sent him to prison for life. Connolly is also a Archmere alum.
COLM CONNOLLY, CAPANO PROSECUTOR: I don't think it's appropriate for a school, especially a Catholic school, to place its stamp of approval and to hold up for honor and tribute that family.
CHO: The Capano donation caused so much anger around Wilmington, Delaware, some of the students' parents set up a website.
MARYBETH PHILLIPS, ARCHMERE PARENT: It's just sending a message that money talks and Jesus walks.
CHO: Marybeth Phillips is among the hundreds of people who signed a petition. Parents of Archmere students even talked about trying to raise a million dollars themselves to replace the Capano pledge. Archmere is keeping the money Capano has already donated.
(on camera): But on Monday, after all the criticism, Louis Capano Jr. went before Archmere's board of trustees. He offered the school the opportunity to name the new building after a religious figure, instead of his parents. The board accepted the offer, and is now considering other ways to honor the Capano family.
(voice-over): The other school involved, St. Edmond's Academy, still plans to keep its gift and name a building after the Capanos.
MICHAEL MARINELLI, HEADMASTER, ST. EDMOND'S ACADEMY: In the Gospel of Matthew he quotes that the sins of the father are not the sins of the son, and therefore, at some point there has to be a point of forgiveness.
CHO: Louis Capano Jr. declined repeated requests to be interviewed. In a statement to CNN he said I can not undo the harm caused by my brother's actions, but I can try to do positive things through charitable giving to enhance the lives of others. Making these gifts hopefully will also provide the Capano family something to be proud of today and in the future.
Anne-Marie Fahey's family says the schools are not in a position to forgive.
FAHEY-HOSEY: To think that this family can just throw a million dollars at a school for forgiveness? What are they forgiving? Are they forgiving that my sister's in the Atlantic Ocean with a chain wrapped around her? Is that forgiveness? Am I supposed to forgive them? Have they ever approached me for forgiveness? No, they have not.
CHO: The community will continue to debate whether charity can ever buy forgiveness. Alina Cho, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.
ZAHN: And Archmere's decision may affect how much money Louis Capano will actually give the school. He's already donated $100,000, but the rest is contingent on how the school now decides to recognize his gift. You can see more of Alina Cho's reports regularly on "AMERICAN MORNING."
Coming up at the top of the hour Larry King's guest is the Nevada judge who was shot in his own courthouse while handling the divorce of the alleged gunman. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: And that is it for all of us tonight. Heading to Washington tomorrow night as the hurricane season heats up, the country faces continued terrorist threats. I'll have an exclusive interview with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. We hope you'll join us. Have a great night everybody, good night.
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