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CNN NEWSROOM

Search for Answers in News Helicopter Crash; Progress in Iraq; New Generator, Battery for Cheney's Pacemaker; Siblings Saved From Overturned Truck; Obesity and Friends; Bonds Hits 754th Home Run Last Night; Stopping Speeders

Aired July 28, 2007 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: In the NEWSROOM, why did two news choppers crash? The search for that answer intensifies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, U.S. ARMY: We're seeing trends of IEDs going down. We're seeing trends of less violence. We're seeing trends of casualties going down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Plus, rare words of optimism coming out of Iraq.

And talk of steroids in baseball takes a back seat for just a moment as Barry Bonds moves within a homer of Hank.

We're headed live to San Francisco.

Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story, federal investigators literally putting the pieces together to try to figure out why two news helicopters collided yesterday, killing four people. The NTSB is on the scene in Phoenix and will reconstruct the choppers as best they can from the wreckage. They'll also interview as many witnesses as they find. And because the accident involved so many people and it happened on live television, they have lots of footage to sift through.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE CHEALANDER, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: We do have some video from different locations. The helicopters themselves were filming live at the time of the accident. And so we will look at all video evidence that we can possibly get our hands on, you bet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The crash happened as the two helicopters were following a police chase through the streets of Phoenix. In all, five news choppers and one police helicopter were in the air, all at the same time, making for a pretty crowded sky.

CNN's Carol Costello has more on the crash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure which helicopters they were.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thick, black smoke in a Phoenix park as horrified witnesses watched two TV helicopters crash in mid air and fall into flames on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was standing right inside the park when I seen two helicopters -- what looked like they were in mid air and they crashed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard like a loud gunshot. And then about two seconds after that, there was a real loud, like a huge bang and then just two helicopters coming straight down, falling in about three different areas and bursting into flames and debris is all over the place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was devastated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's coming up to Third Street and Osborne (ph)...

COSTELLO: According to local TV affiliates, the news choppers were following a police chase on a Phoenix highway. Police say a suspect had stolen a city vehicle and at one point jumped out of that car and into another vehicle on the highway. Police say it was at that point the helicopters collided.

Our affiliate ABC 15 is reporting its pilot Craig Smith and its photographer Rick Krolak are dead. KTVK is reporting pilot Scott Bowerbank and photographer Jim Cox were killed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Christopher Jones was arrested in that high-speed chase. Police say he may be held responsible for causing the deaths of the helicopter news crews. He's already facing charges for vehicle theft and resisting arrest.

Both local news stations are letting viewers leave their condolences for the victims' families. KTVK.com has a special look at their crew, Scott Bowerbank and Jim Cox. There is a similar tribute set up for Craig Smith and Rick Krolak. For that, go to KNXV.com.

So, should that suspect, Christopher Jones, be held responsible for the chopper crew's deaths? And do the laws allow it? We'll get some analysis from our attorney B.J. Bernstein in about 20 minutes from now.

Signs of progress in Iraq. A top U.S. commander there expresses cautious optimism in a CNN exclusive.

Our Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The number two U.S. commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, said that based on initial signs of success of the U.S. surge and of ongoing combat operations, that U.S. troops in Iraq could begin drawing down as early as this spring.

ODIERNO: We're seeing some clear trends. What I have to understand, are those trends going to continue?

We're seeing trends of IEDs going down, we're seeing trends of less violence. We're seeing trends of casualties going down. We're seeing trends of Iraqi security forces being able to do more operations. If those trends continue, I feel confident that we'll be able to do something in the spring.

DAMON: General Odierno did caution though that for the drawdown to be successful, it would have to be done very deliberately.

ODIERNO: It depends on how fast we draw down. I think if we do it in a deliberate way, I think we'll be able to maintain what we've gained and turn it over to the Iraqi security forces in a very meaningful way.

If we have to do it in a big hurry, I think there could be some potential pratfalls with that, and that has to do with al Qaeda trying to come back in, some sectarian violence, because we don't have the right forces there. So that's why I think it's important to do it deliberately. And I think it's our role to tell everyone how we think we should do that.

DAMON: That, based on lessons learned by the U.S. military in the past, where the trend has been that once they withdrew from a certain location the insurgency simply moved back in. A large part of the current perceived success of the surge is largely due to the fact that the U.S. military now is working with Sunni tribal sheikhs.

Now, the U.S. military calls them tribal sheikhs. The Iraqi government calls them Sunni militias. And there are concerns amongst the Iraqi government and amongst some members of the U.S. military that the Americans might just be potentially arming the Sunni side for a future civil war. The Shias largely being armed by Iran.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Meantime, Iraqis are welcoming a diversion from the daily violence. They have soccer fever right now.

Their national team has advanced to the Asian Cup Final. They face off tomorrow against Saudi Arabia in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Iraqi team is made up of Shiites, Sunni and Kurdish players. And authorities are beefing up security in Baghdad.

Last week, meantime, car bomb blasts killed dozens of soccer fans celebrating the win that put their team in the final.

Well, coming up on "THIS WEEK AT WAR," we take a closer look at troop timetables in Iraq. Can they work? Plus, the former British prime minister's new mission. Can Tony Blair succeed as the new Middle East envoy?

And fresh worries over Pakistan. Has it become the new front in the fight against terror?

Join us for "THIS WEEK AT WAR," tonight, 7:00 Eastern.

Vice President Dick Cheney as he leaves the hospital roughly four hours ago. Doctors successfully installed a new generator and battery for his pacemaker.

CNN's Ed Henry has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The vice president emerged with a thumb's up after four hours here at the George Washington University Hospital, having the device that regulates his heartbeat replaced. The surgery is relatively routine, but it's also very serious.

Cardiologists tell CNN that the vice president's doctors induced cardiac arrest, as they would with any patient, to make sure this new defibrillator would actually work, god forbid the vice president has some sort of episode down the road. Mr. Cheney is 66 years old. He has a history of heart trouble. But his office says that this new device was replaced "without complication."

Back in June, the vice president's doctors determined he need a new battery on the old device that had been implanted some six years ago. But then they decided it would be better to actually replace the entire device instead of just the batteries because of all the technological advances in the last six years.

The vice president has now returned to his residence and has resumed his normal schedule.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And a quick programming note. Vice President Cheney will be talking with our own Larry King, live, Tuesday night, 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

Water, water, and waterspouts, too, making news everywhere off south Florida's Atlantic coast. CNN affiliate WPTV captured this footage of four waterspouts swirling all at the same time.

To the west, in Texas, more flooding making things soggy and pretty miserable. There are flood alerts in effect all over the state. And rain dominates the extended forecast as well.

And then in Arizona, some lucky siblings are pulled from a truck after it's overturned by floodwaters. Two Air Force sergeants were among the rescuers.

We'll be talking to a couple of those rescuers coming up a little bit later

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: And new information about the Michael Vick dog fighting case. A codefendant makes a move that could affect the case against the football superstar.

Plus, it's a nasty job, but somebody's got to do it. Or do they? Gumbusters, that's coming up.

And then take a look at this. Forget about these cars and radar. This just might be all it takes to slow down speeders. A story that you have to see to believe, coming up in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: This just in. Tragedy at an air show in Ohio.

A plane was performing aerial stunt maneuvers at an air show in Dayton when it slammed into the tarmac. Thousands of spectators were stunned as they witnessed the whole thing.

The plane was one of two making loop de loops with smoke trailing from it when one plane hit the runway and then caught fire. At this point, there's no report of the condition of the pilot, and there is no immediate word on any injuries on the ground.

CNN is following this developing story, and we'll bring you as many details as we get.

Meantime, other news "Across America" right now.

(NEWSBREAK)

WHITFIELD: Washington -- well, it's home to some of the nation's most famous and historic sites. That's why so many go to see it. And each year, millions of visitors do go to the nation's capital, hoping for the postcard-perfect view.

So when things get nasty and sticky out there, who do the people in Washington call? Gumbusters.

CNN's Kathleen Koch has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you think it's a gooey mess here, once gum hits the sidewalk, it becomes a problem of, well, globular proportion.

DAN NESTOR, OSPREY DEEPCLEAN: The auditoriums, movie theaters, the national zoos, the monuments. You name it. Everywhere, there's gum pollution. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really notice it unless it's stuck on me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think gum, like cigarette butts, should be thrown in the garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aside from being unsightly, I think it's gross. I'm sure there's germs.

KOCH: Singapore residents got so tired of close encounters with chewing gum...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sat down, and then you've got all that stuff sticking on your pants.

KOCH: ... tat for several years it was banned. Gum can be sold there now only for therapeutic purposes.

It's a monumental problem in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gum left all over the sidewalks. This is probably one of the harder hit areas in the downtown area.

KOCH: But at the memorial to the world war the U.S. helped end, it's a European invention winning the battle of the bulging blobs.

NESTOR: It actually is European technology developed in the mid-'90s by a company based in the Netherlands, in Holland.

KOCH: The gumbusters machine combines low pressure steam and environmentally safe chemical and a rotating brush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as you can see, it will just pop right up there. It would typically take us, if we could get it up with a plastic scraper, a good five minutes on each one of these. It will literally take seconds now.

KOCH: It's not cheap. A typical city can spend $500,000 a year getting up the gooey stuff.

(on camera): The gum industry, for its part, says it will keep urging consumers to chew responsibly.

CHRIS PERILLE, WRIGLEY CHEWING GUM: The only way to really eliminate the problem is to stop the littering from taking place in -- at the start.

KOCH (voice over): The problem now, what to do about all the clean spots on the sidewalk.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Well, other problems of a very sticky kind happening in space. NASA is keeping a closer eye on astronauts in the wake of a troubling new report that contains allegations of astronauts flying drunk.

Coming up in the next hour, we'll talk to former shuttle astronaut Jim Palcek (ph). We'll find out what he thinks about NASA's growing image problem.

Also coming up, can the suspect in the chase that led to the midair collision of two news helicopters be held liable?

Plus, a co-defendant in the Mike Vick dog fighting case reportedly is ready to cop a plea. What does that mean for the football superstar?

The question for our legal expert, B.J. Bernstein, coming up next.

And then later, is hanging out with obese friends or maybe even thin ones contagious? There's a study that says yes.

Thoughts from Dr. Bill Lloyd straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: So, today, federal authorities are combing the crash site where two news helicopters went down in Phoenix, Arizona. Yesterday's midair collision killed four people. They were covering a police chase.

Police captured the suspect in that case, Christopher Jones. The 23- year-old is accused now of vehicle theft and aggravated assault. Jones could alsoso face charges in the deaths of the two news helicopter crews.

Meantime, more worries for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. One of the defendants in his federal dog fighting case is expected to make a plea agreement with prosecutors on Monday. Vick and three others are accused of running a dog fighting ring on his property in Virginia.

So we want to examine the legal angles in both of these big stories.

Criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor B.J. Bernstein is here with us.

So let's begin with the chopper crash, because that investigation is really under way. They're trying to piece together the wreckage. But what we're going to talk about is the suspect of vehicular theft.

Might he really face potential charges like involuntary manslaughter because of the deaths of the four people?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the police are talking about that, but I've got to be candid, I have a hard time seeing it work, because if it had been a police helicopter that was actually involved in the chase for a specific reason that was law enforcement related...

WHITFIELD: Because the news choppers are voluntary, it's not part of the job of pursuing a suspect.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly. Exactly. And, in fact, when you think about it, newsroom-like chases because tune in, they stay, watch them, sometimes the ratings go up during that time period. So it's really hard to argue that a suspect in a chase is responsible for the benefit, in a strange way, that comes from a news organization following it.

WHITFIELD: So it really is a futile argument? I mean...

BERNSTEIN: It's going to be a big stretch. I mean, I think the emotional there -- that, you know, four people died, it's horrible. And the truth is, there could have been people who died on the ground.

I mean, anytime there is a chase of a suspect, it is a very dangerous situation. So -- but when you put emotion aside, legally it's going to be very hard to pin those charges on him.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about the Michael Vick case. And at least one of the co-defendants possibly making a plea deal on Monday.

Would this be an exchange for helping prosecutors get the big fish, or really is it a matter of just saving your own hide?

Both?

BERNSTEIN: Possibly a little of both. A little bit of both.

I mean, this is going to be a very tough weekend for the Vick camp to watch what's going to happen Monday, because one of two things is happening. This defendant is cooperating, and that's usually what you see when it happens so quickly after the arraignment. Remember, we were just here Thursday in court, and already by Monday, this guy's entering a guilty plea.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: So that means potentially he is giving the government information that vick is directly involved. Or the only other choice would be that he's just walking in to plead guilty to help himself and get what's called acceptance of responsibility. In the federal system, if you plead guilty in a hurry and don't make the government work their case, you do get the benefit of a lesser sentence.

WHITFIELD: Are you surprised that perhaps among those who might have copped a plea first, that it wasn't Vick since he stands to lose so much more?

BERNSTEIN: Well, not in light of what Billy Martin (ph) said. And Thursday, Billy Martin (ph), his lead turn attorney, gave that statement for Vick, saying, you know, "I'm sorry to my mom and I'm innocent." I mean, those are very strong words.

WHITFIELD: Yes, saying you've got nothing on me.

BERNSTEIN: You've got nothing on me. And yet, the indictment shows there are two informants. If you add this guy, T (ph), there's going to be another one. And then the Vick camp...

WHITFIELD: Well, maybe credibility is going to be the issue. Maybe that's the defense's argument.

BERNSTEIN: Credibility, where they're going to possibly -- exactly. I mean, because they're going to say, listen, the reason why these people -- they're in a heck of a lot of trouble, and so let's get Vick, the big defendant.

WHITFIELD: Yes. All right.

B.J. Bernstein, we're going to be watching. A lot is going to change over the course of the next few weeks and months as we go toward a November 26th trial date. If it even goes to trial, right?

BERNSTEIN: It if even goes to trial. If it even goes to trial.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks a lot, B.J.

BERNSTEIN: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, quite a weather mix today across the country.

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: It was pretty tough going in and around Harris County, Texas, yesterday, where Houston is, but is nowhere close to this kind of drama, right here in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday, where torrential rains and questionable driving led to this. A car flips in floodwaters with, guess what, four children inside. And luckily, a couple of pretty good Samaritans were quick to act and plucked all four to safety.

And we happen to have two of those lifesavers right now with us.

Live from Phoenix are sergeants James Orsund and Christopher Anderson. They just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

So, Sergeant Orsund, why don't you tell me what you saw. You saw it all unfold, and then you reacted pretty quickly. Describe it.

SGT. JAMES ORSUND, LUKE AFB., ARIZONA: Yes, we were just out in the area driving around in the rain on the property of the Phoenix International Raceway. And that's when I saw the splash of the truck off the corner of my eye. And we drove down to the scene and I started using 911, calling emergency services.

WHITFIELD: But instead of waiting for 911 to come, Sergeant Anderson, you guys jumped in right away.

How did you know what to do?

SGT. CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON, LUKE AFB., ARIZONA: I honestly didn't know what to do. I just knew that there was a truck that flipped upside down in water, and I didn't know what was in there, so I just raced down there to see if I could help.

WHITFIELD: So, you didn't know that there were four people inside, which means, looking at this video with the high water, it was difficult to even see in the video. How did you know where to reach, who to reach, who to unbuckle, all of that?

ANDERSON: Well, when I ran up to the vehicle, what later became the driver was out of the vehicle just yelling, "She's in there! She's in there!" So I looked through a broken window on the passenger side, and there I saw a baby seat with a little girl in there.

WHITFIELD: Wow.

Sergeant Orsund, tell me about, you know, the minutes, the seconds, you know, what you were thinking and how panicked you felt, too by, you know, knowing these are dangerous waters and you have to try and reach and grab before someone drowns.

ORSUND: Right. And that's -- I was trying to communicate with 911 at the same time that Sergeant Anderson...

WHITFIELD: How were you doing that? You mean you had a cellophane to your ear while this was happening?

ORSUND: Yes, I had the cellophane the whole time. And the he's yelling at me. And I didn't realize he needed the knife to cut the seat belts and straps out.

So that's where it was kind of chaos, because I had everything going on every ear. And we had the helicopters flying over. And, you know, it was just...

WHITFIELD: Wow.

ORSUND: ... very loud and...

WHITFIELD: Right, because all of them did have seat belts. And that's a great thing, but at the same time, kind of difficult to unbuckle a child's seat, particularly upside down.

ORSUND: Correct. And in water. Right.

WHITFIELD: So tell me what you were thinking about as that was happening.

ANDERSON: I was just trying to figure out how we could get this little girl out of there. And then that's when I yelled for him to bring his knife.

And there was other innocent bystanders, you know, civilians. Luckily, there was one right next to me. He took the knife and he cut the seat belt. And she fell right in my hands and I pulled her out.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's amazing. All right. Well, tell me, you know, Sergeant Orsund, do you have kids? Do either one of you have kids? And what was it feeling like, you know, seeing that there were these kids involved?

ORSUND: It obviously makes you a little more aware. And yes, I do have a child of my own.

It just -- you're kind of blank during the whole thing until it was all over. And then we just looked at each other and said, I guess we done right, because all the children are out.

WHITFIELD: Wow. You sure did.

Sergeant Anderson, so once it was all over and you were able to kind of exhale, could you believe that you guys encountered what you did?

ANDERSON: No. And, still, to this day, I'm just in awe and -- like watching all the tapes and stuff like that, how I just reacted in a way.

WHITFIELD: So how are the families? What do you know about them?

ANDERSON: I don't -- we don't know anything.

ORSUND: But they were all minors. So they haven't released any info.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Well, the good news is we know they're all OK, because there's the videotape to prove it.

Sergeant Orsund, Sergeant Anderson, thanks so much. And thanks for your quick thinking. Fantastic.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

ORSUND: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk a little weather now.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: Well, how about this -- if you're overweight, guess what? You can kind of blame your friends now. A new study says hanging out with obese people could be contagious.

Is that true? A question for our Dr. Bill Lloyd coming up next.

And do you remember this? A college football star proposes to his girlfriend live on national television. Everyone was verklempt, tears flowing, all that good stuff.

Well, an update now on the romantic tale in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: So, could your social life be a little too well rounded? A new study says if your friends are fat, the chances that you'll pack on the pounds goes up, way up. Siblings and spouses can also increase your fat chances.

CNN's Mary Snow has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): A new study says obesity is socially contagious. Researchers say, if your friend becomes obese, it increases your risk of becoming obese by 57 percent.

JAMES FOWLER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SAN DIEGO: We know, for example, that your genes have an impact on whether or not you're obese. But this really suggests that your social environment might matter even more.

SNOW: Researchers looked at data from more than 12,000 people and published their findings in "The New England Journal of Medicine." Doctors say behaviors like over eating can spread among friends. But friends can also affect your view of being fat.

DR. NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: So what happens is, is you look around you at the people to whom you're connected and you see that they're gaining weight. And so you start changing your ideas about what is an acceptable body size.

SNOW: But it's not just your friends who may effect your perceived body image. If your sibling is obese, your chances of being obese go up 40 percent. If your husband or wife is, it's 37 percent.

CHRISTAKIS: Men are much more likely to be influenced by the weight behaviors of men to whom they're connected, whether it's their friends or their brothers, than they are to be influenced by the weight behavior of the women to whom they're connected.

SNOW: The findings show that distance does not have an affect on that connection. That an obese friend who lives 1,000 miles away can have the same influence as one who lives nearby. Researchers say they hope by understanding these social networks they can help to reduce the problem of obesity in the United States.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: So, is obesity contagious, for lack of a better word?

Let's talk with Dr. Bill Lloyd. He's in Washington.

Oh, come on. We're always looking for someone to blame. I don't know if I buy this.

DR. BILL LLOYD, SURGEON: That's right. You're no longer responsible for your own weight. WHITFIELD: Right.

LLOYD: You're not what you eat. You're what your friends eat.

WHITFIELD: Well, what do you think about the study?

LLOYD: Well, I think it's remarkable. You know, they took the Framingham Heart Study, which has been around since 1948. It follows three generations of people, as in Mary Snow's report.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

LLOYD: Twelve thousand people. And they tracked not just the participants in the study, but family members, spouses, neighbors and friends. Even those special friends that live far away.

Now, Fredricka, you have a special friend that doesn't live nearby. You don't have to share that person's name right now. But that person living far away may have an effect on your weight.

WHITFIELD: Really?

LLOYD: I think it's true. And just like the doctor mentioned in the report, it changes your own tolerance as to how you feel about yourself, particularly if it's somebody in the same gender.

This person doesn't look so bad, I feel very attached to them. It wouldn't bother me if I put on a little weight as well. What they didn't mention in the study also though was that people who lost weight also had a positive effect on their friends as well.

So, the question then comes, Fredricka, do I get rid of these friends and go get some skinny friends?

WHITFIELD: I was just getting ready to ask you that. Come on. Change your diet, change your habits, but don't change your friends.

LLOYD: They suggest bring in a new friend to introduce to your fat friend. And maybe the presence of this new slender friend...

WHITFIELD: Oh my god.

LLOYD: ... again, over time, may have that beneficial effect. Make sure it's a person of the same gender. And by obviously doing activities together, going out, eating together and sharing a healthy lifestyle together, then why wouldn't you naturally lose weight?

WHITFIELD: See, that to me seems like -- yes, that to me seems like I would buy that. Common denominators, you happen to like some of the same things. Maybe you guys eat some of the same foods. And coincidentally, your body shape may be the same, but I don't know if I'm ready to blame my friends for my up and down on the scale.

LLOYD: Right. Obesity is based on calories and exercise, not on your friends. But, you know, we know about clustering of diseases. There are communities where there's more multiple sclerosis or more leukemia. So we know obesity is a disease.

And in this breakthrough study that involved 12,000 people, they were able to track -- they called them geographic nodes of clusters of people around the country where the fat people stuck together. And their friends stuck together.

And it lasted by one, two, three degrees of separation. So, simply living in a different zip code, geographic separation, doesn't make as big a difference. But never forget the importance of checking those calories and lots and lots of exercise.

WHITFIELD: All right. I like it.

And keep your friends, people. We all need people.

LLOYD: Friends are important for your good health, of course.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Bill Lloyd.

LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

WHITFIELD: All right.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. One to tie, two to break. That's how close San Francisco's controversial long-baller, Barry Bonds, is to the major league home run record. Bonds wasted little time last night blasting his 754th home running in the first inning against the Florida Marlins. And he says the reality of being one round tripper away from Hammerin' Hank Aaron's all-time home run mark of 755 is starting to sink in.

But to many baseball purists and fan, Bonds' home run quest is a fraud, as Bonds still denies he knowingly ever used steroids.

So, for some context on the impending history in the making and the ongoing controversy surrounding it, Damon Bruce, host of "Sportsphone 680" on KNBR Radio in San Francisco, is joining us live on the line with us now.

So, Damon, you know, Hank Aaron got a lot of flack, too. Not everybody was that excited about him beating Babe Ruth's record. But of course it was a different issue. Then it was race. Now it's roids.

So how heated up is this argument?

DAMON BRUCE, ANNOUNCER, "SPORTSPHONE 680": Well, it's a much, much different issue, you're right...

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BRUCE: ... than what Henry Aaron was going through. But I also think it's very much a sign of the times, the way that race was dealt with back then.

I mean, we move along to issues -- not that that issue is over. I think that there is a little race involved here. There's always a tiny touch of race involved, I think. It's just human reaction. But this is -- this is a very today story.

WHITFIELD: So do you think folks in the stand -- I mean, are folks in the stand, you know, booing Barry Bonds when he comes close to, you know, this record? We've seen it in the past, but now with just one away and maybe two to break the record, what's the reaction?

BRUCE: He won't be booed tonight. I mean, that's the whole point.

You know, can he really do this in the next two games? The Giants play at home today and tomorrow. And then on Monday they travel to Los Angeles to begin a six-game road trip. So, can he do this at home?

And I think, you know, going back to your original question, you look at Henry Aaron and what he went through, and Bonds and what he's going through, it's very much a sign of the times. You know, steroids and performance enhancing, obviously, it's -- it's easy to talk about in the frames of baseball...

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BRUCE: ... but look at all sports right now. Look what cycling is going through with the Tour de France.

WHITFIELD: Right. And you know, Damon, I would love to hear what Hank Aaron has to say about it. He has been very tight-lipped, but, you know, you have to wonder what it feels like for him, too, you know, to see his record is being threatened and under such controversial means by, you know, the likes of a Barry Bonds.

But Damon Bruce, we're going to hear more from you. Sorry to cut you off, because we're out of time. But I know you're going to be back in the NEWSROOM next hour. So we'll be listening for your comments on that and other stuff as it relates to Barry Bonds and this potential new record, or at least tying Hammerin' Hank's record.

Thanks a lot, Damon.

Well, some police officers study crime fighting for years to hone their skills. But none of them came up with this idea -- no radar guns, no police cars. How about a cardboard cutout instead?

That story in the NEWSROOM next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: So get this -- an Ohio man had a pretty unique idea for putting the brakes on speeders. It's a home-based plan that's turned into a big moneymaker.

We get the details now from Brittany Morehouse of affiliate WKYC in West Salem, Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRITTANY MOREHOUSE, REPORTER, WKYC (voice over): Cars whiz by houses on Main Street.

LAURA KELLING, NEIGHBOR: And they fly by 55, 60.

MOREHOUSE: Until drivers see these smiling faces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it slows them down.

MOREHOUSE: Then they call up Mike Wood yelling.

MIKE WOOD, SPEED SIGN CREATOR: At first they're mad, because they think, why are these people leaving their kids out by the road?

MOREHOUSE: Then they realize, hey, these kids and this officer are really signs.

WOOD: And then they're like, oh, those aren't real kids. And then it's funny.

MOREHOUSE: They're so realistic that Wood got a good laugh out of his first poster, which he placed in his neighbor's yard.

KELLING: We called him. And I said, "I think you better come check on Katie (ph)." And he's like, "Why, honey?" I said, "She's just standing out here. I think she's standing out here sleeping."

MOREHOUSE (on camera): The signs are made from real pictures, so you can change the expression from serious to friendly in just one flash.

WOOD: We use a high-resolution printer. We use outdoor vinyl and outdoor ink so they can be put outside in the weather without a problem.

MOREHOUSE (voice over): Wood now turned his idea into a business, and boy is it booming.

WOOD: It's already been posted on some law enforcement sites around the country, and they're already calling and wanting to know how they can get one like that.

MOREHOUSE: But he doesn't really care about the money. He just wants to make streets safe.

WOOD: If they can help save some kids or protect some kids, that's one of the best things for me.

MOREHOUSE: Well, he won't have to worry about these vehicles, but my photographer asked...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he getting overtime?

WOOD: I don't think so.

MOREHOUSE: In West Salem, Brittany Morehouse, Channel 3 News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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