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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Fourth Body Located After Collision Over Hudson River; Lawmakers Confront Recess Health-Care Protests; Sotomayor Takes Oath as Supreme Court Justice; Study Says that More E.R. Nurses Being Attacked on the Job; Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake Hits Japan; Budget Cuts Threaten Sick Girl's Care
Aired August 9, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hello, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING, looking out over downtown Atlanta. What a beautiful site with all the lights. The sun will be coming up very shortly.
It is August 9, and we do appreciate you joining us. Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, the days are getting shorter already.
NGUYEN: I know.
MARCIANO: I think this time a month ago we'd maybe see a little bit of daylight already. But...
NGUYEN: Already, huh?
MARCIANO: Yes. Summer's almost over, my friend.
MARCIANO: Hey, I'm Rob Marciano, in today for T.J. Holmes. It's 6 a.m. here in Atlanta; 3 a.m. in Chino, California.
Overnight, we've learned a fourth body has been found in the Hudson River after a tourist helicopter and a small plane collided. We'll have more on that.
NGUYEN: Also want you to take a look at this fire. It is inside a California prison where we are getting information about inmates rioting.
Plus, the health-care debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I read the House - the House health-care plan and have found that much of what they're telling me is not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Members holding health-care town-hall meetings are getting an earful.
But let's start with a developing story out of New York. That tragedy over the Hudson River and the search for victims. Nine people are believed dead after a tourist helicopter and a small plane collided.
MARCIANO: Three bodies have been pulled from the water. The body of a fourth victim in the wreckage of that chopper has not yet been removed.
The search for the missing resumes this morning.
CNN's Susan Candiotti has more.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the sun set, divers who could barely see in the murky waters of the Hudson promised to resume work in the morning, painstakingly looking for victims and wreckage in up to 50 feet of water.
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE: The ability to see is - is - is very limited, two to three feet at most.
CANDIOTTI: On a bright, sunny day, it was hard to understand why a small plane and sightseeing helicopter should collide over the Hudson River.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just very shocked. I think I was screaming for a few seconds, and then two of us, we start calling 911.
CANDIOTTI: The small plane with one pilot and two passengers, including a child, took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, and turned south over the Hudson. At the same time, five Italian tourists lifted off for a sightseeing tour in a helicopter.
COLIN RICH, WITNESSED CRASH: There was a plane, a small plane like a Cessna, cutting back towards the New Jersey side, the helicopter heading southbound, about 1,100, 1,200 feet. The plane rolled into the helicopter, hit the side of it. The helicopter went straight down into the water. There was, like, a poof of smoke, and like a bang.
And the plane went further down, hit the water.
CANDIOTTI: Italian tourists who stayed behind waiting for their friends and family were stunned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told me that they had some relatives, not friends, but relatives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But - so they're inside the wall right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but we don't know anything. Because we asked, what - if they are alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. But what did they say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No bodies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were they crying? Were they...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. They are very sad, but they are not crying.
CANDIOTTI: The NTSB says that just before the accident happened, another pilot on the ground saw the plane approaching and tried to radio a warning to the helicopter pilot.
DEBBIE HERSHMAN, CHMN., NATL. TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: There was no response from the pilot. He stated that he saw the right wing of the airplane contact the helicopter. He saw helicopter parts and the right wing fall, and both aircraft descended into the Hudson River.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): Because of darkness and a strong current, the search for more victims has been called off for the night. Two debris fields and a possible third have been located, as investigators try to find out why this horrific accident happened.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: All right. So we are told that all three of the recovered bodies were onboard that small plane. They've been identified as Steve Altman (ph), the owner and the pilot; his brother Daniel (ph) and nephew Douglas (ph).
MARCIANO: We're going to have a live report from Susan Candiotti in the next hour of SUNDAY MORNING.
All right. Our iReporters also staying on top of this hour. This story - Jim Davidson sent us these photos from the scene. He leaves just a few blocks from the river on the Jersey side, and he says he heard what sounded like a car backfiring or - or some fireworks. He says he didn't think much of it at the time, until someone called to tell him about the crash.
If you are an eyewitness to news, send us an iReport. Our address, to remind you, is iReport.com.
NGUYEN: Well, hot weather and some hot tempers. It is a make-or- break for health-care reform, and for once, the battleground isn't in Washington. In fact, it's right in your own backyard.
MARCIANO: Yes, lawmakers are holding town-hall meetings back home during the congressional recess. Some, mostly Democrats, are finding angry crowds ready to pounce over their plans to reform health care.
Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Tennessee - states across the country with similar scenes yesterday. NGUYEN: Yes. Town-hall meetings are usually quiet affairs. But now, it is hard for some lawmakers to even get a word out, as Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin found out yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It reads like something that was brought up in the early 1930s in Germany. It is not (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: All right. Well, it was standing-room only for Harkin at a Des Moines medical center. And while reform opponents weren't the only ones in the crowd, they were perhaps the loudest.
MARCIANO: Yes, Harkin repeated the Democrats' line on these disruptions, that they're a coordinated effort by reform opponents. Conservatives have encouraged people to come out, but the Republican Party denies any responsibility.
Many in the crowd will tell you they just want their voices heard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KURR, HEALTH-CARE-REFORM OPPONENT: I think he heard that there is a lot of people out here angry that Congress proposes bills, doesn't read them. And then when the people out here read them, Congress gets angry that we're reading the bills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I think when people get the right information, and they know what we're trying to do and how this is going to all wash out - I'm not saying 100 percent of the American people will be for it, but I think the vast majority of the American people will see this as a good thing, to change the system that we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, for the most part, town halls are going much smoother for Republicans. But Democrats who think they can skip these scenes all together might find protesters waiting for them in other spots.
Mm-hmm. Jared Dillingham from our affiliate KTVK tells us why there may be no escaping the health-care debate.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JARED DILLINGHAM, KTVK CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The group outside Representative Harry Mitchell's office was there to protest the current health-care bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just mad as hell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Disdain for the health-care bill.
DILLINGHAM: They say the reform is too expensive and too intrusive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are Americans and we should be able to make the decisions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm afraid that Obama's going to bankrupt the country.
DILLINGHAM: Others demanded Mitchell host a forum so they could air their concerns in person over the health-care bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he might be leaning towards voting for it, but I - I don't know for sure. I'm just asking him to please listen to the people here and understand that we do not want this.
DILLINGHAM: Republican Representative John Shadegg did hold a town-hall meeting in Scottsdale.
REP. JOHN SHADEGG (R), ARIZONA: Good morning. Wow.
DILLINGHAM: Right off the bat, Shadegg warned the crowd, any disruptive behavior would not be tolerated. They listened, and many got to speak out against health-care reform.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to fight against it with everything you have.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
DILLINGHAM: The mostly conservative crowd remained civil for the Republican congressman, unlike the crowds who've confronted and disrupted similar town halls hosted by Democrats in Arizona and across the country over the last few days.
NGUYEN: Wow, they're all in each other's face.
Well, another tense scene in Memphis, Tennessee yesterday at a town-hall meeting with Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen. Police were called in for extra help to handle the crowd of about 500. Social Security and veterans benefits were supposed to be the topics, but health care wasn't even on the agenda.
Still though, it was the only thing discussed in the end.
MARCIANO: Well, President Obama is heading south of the border for a summit meeting. He's leaving this afternoon for Guadalajara, Mexico. He'll meet with Mexican and Canadian leaders today and tomorrow.
Tuesday, he holds a town-hall meeting on health-care insurance reform, this time in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
And on Wednesday, the president hosts a White House reception for new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
NGUYEN: Well, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took the associate-justice oath yesterday. And here's part of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Sonia Sotomayor, do solemnly swear...
SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Sonia Sotomayor, do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: ...that I will administer justice without respect to persons...
SOTOMAYOR: ...that I will administer justice without respect to persons...
ROBERTS: ...and do equal right to the poor and to the rich...
SOTOMAYOR: ...and do equal right to the poor...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Justice Sotomayor's mother held a bible while her daughter was sworn in as the nation's 111th Supreme Court justice.
Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath in one of the high court's conference rooms. And it was the first time the court has allowed TV coverage of a swearing-in ceremony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Look at all those cheers. Well, this is a viewing party in New York's Spanish Harlem. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and only the third female to serve on the court.
For Latino Americans, they are having an impact on our nation's politics, business, culture, many other areas as well. And coming up in October, CNN looks at that in our "LATINO IN AMERICA" special. It's only on CNN.
MARCIANO: And we continue to follow the helicopter and plane crash over the Hudson River, including more eyewitness accounts. I mean, can you imagine driving along and seeing debris from a plane landing right in front of you on the highway.
NGUYEN: Also this though: A tornado hits the Midwest, and Reynolds Wolf is tracking the storms for us on this Sunday.
Hey there, Reynolds.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: ...the chance of rough - some - some rough weather again today in parts of the Midwest and the Ohio Valley. And of course, in the Pacific, we've got Hurricane Felicia. We're going to give you the very latest on both coming up in a few moments, right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
See you in a few.
NGUYEN: Well, outside of Los Angeles, take a look at this: Prison officials trying to defuse a riot that has left several inmates hurt. Officials at the California Institution for Men in Chino say the uprising erupted overnight and that local police and firefighters are actually on the scene at this hour.
Planes, as you just saw, have been seen in at least one unit of the prison. And the injured inmates have been taken to hospitals.
Now, the prison is a medium-security facility that houses about 1,400 inmates.
MARCIANO: Well, the wreckage from that midair collision over the Hudson River is believed to be scattered in at least 50 feet of water. Some of it though fell on the streets along the Jersey Shore.
NGUYEN: Yes. CNN's Josh Levs spoke with one iReporter who says he heard a crash, then watched as a tire fell in front of his car.
VOICE OF JASON MILLER, FOUND TIRE IN YARD (via telephone): I was driving out of Weehawken, New Jersey, into Hoboken. And I turned onto Sinatra Drive, which runs parallel to the Hudson.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, you know what? I pulled up a picture of that so people can know where you were. You got the Hudson right here. And then just to the west of that, where the "A" is, that's Sinatra Drive right now. So geographically, it does make sense and you would have been right near this.
So you hear something? What happened?
MILLER: Yes, I heard a back (INAUDIBLE). I actually thought I may have hit something on my car. And next thing I know, my girlfriend and I saw a whole bunch of debris falling out of the sky and a big splash in the Hudson.
And about, I would say, maybe 20 feet in front of me, maybe a little bit closer, a little bit farther, the tire actually fell right on the roadway in front of our car.
LEVS: Jason, I can't tell from the picture -- am I just seeing the rubber casing for a tire or is it actual tire material in there? I mean, a tire is rubber casing.
Is it just the exterior or was it solid what fell?
MILLER: It looks like it was just the exterior. I don't - I didn't see the rim or anything inside of it. But...
LEVS: So this fell right in front. And this could have hit your car?
MILLER: It could have, yes. But...
LEVS: Now, it had -- it must have had some velocity coming from the skies.
Now as I understand, looking at your Twitter page, you have since looked at what you - I guess, some images, and you do believe you saw there were three other tires still attached to the plane. So you have extra reason to believe this was from the crash, right?
MILLER: Yes, that type of aircraft pretty much has that same tire. So I do have reason to believe it is.
And I saw the wing just kind of spiraling down, and, you know, maybe the wing may have hit something and shot it my way. But it was -- there was a lot of debris.
All right. Well, we have also been getting iReport photos. And Jason, let me talk to you about this a little but.
You are - are in the area. You've been in the area.
What are you seeing? What's it like? What - what did it sound like when you were there?
MILLER: Yes, they -- you know, we had Jersey City cops, Weehawken, Hoboken fire and rescue, people on the New York side, were all converging on the site. They - they have since shut down the main road.
I actually ended up leaving. And it was just a lot of people looked very scared and looking at the sky and running. And I don't think anybody really knew what happened.
There was one cop that was next to me and I think he was probably one of the first to call it in. And he -he didn't really see it either.
But not too many people saw it. It just -- I didn't even see the plane, just the wing and the tire.
LEVS: But you heard a sound and you knew to look in that area.
LEVS: And I want to emphasize, the - the - the tire that we were looking at is not from the helicopter at all. That's not what we were talking about. We're talking about the plane.
MILLER: Yes. I mean, it -- it appears it would be to the plane, to the little plane that wrecked, yes.
LEVS: Right. Yes, I just wanted to emphasize that. The images that you were able to see later were from the plane, and that's why you felt indeed it was from there.
All right. So you're in this area. Has anything like this ever happened to you before? Have you ever seen anything like this?
MILLER: No. I mean, I - I - I'm grateful I have never have seen anything like this before. And hopefully -- hopefully, you know, they do find more - more survivors.
LEVS: Yes, of course. And obviously a lot of people must be very concerned in the area.
What's it like for you now being in the vicinity, being a resident of that area? Are people largely hunkering down, staying home? Are -are people gathering somewhere? What are you seeing? What's happening in the community there?
MILLER: Yes, a lot of people - you know, I live right on the water. A lot of people have, you know, kind of came out of their apartments and looked. The - the road, you know, is closed, so nobody's going back there to see anything.
And this is kind of in line of where the Hudson crash happened. So everybody is still on ice (ph) over that. So it's very unfortunate that this happened again.
NGUYEN: Indeed, it is unfortunate.
And coming up, we're going to be having more on that story, the latest on the bodies that have been found.
And this is an interesting story: How can apples, flour, sugar and butter actually fight foreclosure? Well, one woman has the recipe.
MARCIANO: OK. Well, now - now that I'm hungry...
MARCIANO: ...let's talk about Alabama. Yesterday, we had a chat with some newsmakers there. Well, they're going to hold an emergency special session. The legislature (ph) will get together.
But will it help fix that financial mess? We'll talk about it.
MARCIANO: Well, when it comes to creative ways to save a home from foreclosure, there's one New Jersey woman who kind of takes the cake.
CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff has today's "Money on Main Street" (sic).
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Actress Angela Logan has played many roles to earn a living. She's worked as a teacher, model, hairdresser and is studying to be a nurse.
But when she recently fell into foreclosure on her Teaneck, New Jersey, home, she turned to baking.
ANGELA LOGAN, MORTGAGE APPLE CAKE: It was a flash of desperation. And I thought, 'Wow, we could sell these cakes, they're so good.'
CHERNOFF (on camera): A major reason Angela fell into a cash squeeze is that two years ago, she hired a contractor to renovate the house. He took his money, but he only did a portion of the work.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): To save her home, Angela set a goal of selling 100 mortgage apple cakes in 10 days for $40 each. She asked everyone she knew to buy a cake.
LOGAN: The hardest part was to say, 'Can you buy my cakes? This is my problem.'
CHERNOFF: A local Hilton hotel offered its kitchen so Angela could bake faster.
Angela says she's baked about 200 cakes -- double her goal. And by qualifying for the federal Make Home Affordable program, her monthly mortgage payment is dropping by nearly 20 percent.
Other Americans in a financial bind, she says, can also find creative answers to their cash crunch.
LOGAN: Find your talent. Find something that you can do that will help. I can paint fences, you know? Who needs one?
CHERNOFF: Almost any talent can generate extra cash. Teaching a skill, like playing an instrument; home repairs, for those who are handy; even dog walking or pet sitting for animal lovers.
LOGAN: Wow, this is incredible.
CHERNOFF: Internet retailer Bake Me a Wish got a whiff of the Mortgage Apple Cake and now is leasing pans to mass produce it and share the proceeds with Angela.
A whole line of Angela Logan cakes is planned.
LOGAN: That's it.
CHERNOFF: Escaping foreclosure could propel Angela Logan to a new career as the queen of cakes.
But back in her kitchen, she still studies nursing, knowing from experience never to depend upon just one role.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, Teaneck, New Jersey.
MARCIANO: Well, catch a new "Money & Main St." this Thursday, on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6 a.m. Eastern time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF: Love that music. I really do. You know, and it's...
NGUYEN: You an Elvis fan?
WOLF: How can I not be? I'm a Southerner by nature, so it's basically in my DNA.
You know, by the way, we're - we're actually entering Day 2 of Elvis Week...
WOLF: ...in Memphis, Tennessee.
You know, Elvis fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage to that area, just to...
NGUYEN: They're kind of pros at it.
WOLF: Yes, they really are.
MARCIANO: Graceland. You got to be there at least once.
WOLF: It's a lifestyle. I mean, let's be honest. It really is.
NGUYEN: That's true.
WOLF: It is. The clam - the clam bathtub and stuff. I mean, it's a beautiful thing to see.
But that's not the only thing going on. They've got stuff going on in Canton, Ohio, also, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, they're going to have tonight's Hall of Fame Game, which is always a great time.
It comes after yesterday - yesterday's introduction of Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas and Bob Hayes. You get blindsided by those guys and you wake up on a different planet.
In Mason City, Iowa, fireworks enthusiasts are gathering for the annual convention of the Pyrotechnics Guild. I'm not within - allowed within 100 miles of that place.
NGUYEN: Yes, firefighters are on standby.
WOLF: Exactly. And it comes - actually, Friday, with a wall of a million firecrackers. Think about having to light all of those, detonate it all at once.
WOLF: The blast is louder than a jet engine.
And in Chicago, they have the 80th Annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic. Now, you might be wondering, who is Bud Billiken?
WOLF: Well, to this event, which brings over a million people along the parade route, many people may be asking that question. He is actually the founder and manager of the "Chicago Defender."
That's - was an African-American newspaper. They created the parade to giver underprivileged children a chance to be in the limelight for just one day. You know, it's a really great event, great music, a lot of smiles. Good times.
NGUYEN: People who came out to see it yesterday, at that big parade there.
WOLF: You ever thought it may be a good idea to combine all these events, throw in some fireworks, bring in Elvis, all at one in central location?
NGUYEN: Oh my goodness.
WOLF: Just for an action-packed extravaganza of biblical proportions.
NGUYEN: It's sensory overload, I think, if that occurs.
WOLF: And that's not necessarily a bad thing. You know, it's always a - always a good time. NGUYEN: Trying to recoup from it may be the difficult part.
MARCIANO: It's been awfully toasty up there in Chicago the last couple of days (INAUDIBLE).
WOLF: You know, it really has been in parts of Chicago. Today, there's going to get a bit of a cool down, a chance of scattered showers and storms. They had some storms over in parts of the Twin Cities yesterday, even a tornado.
As we go out to the Tropics, take a look at the other big storm we have. We're of course talking about a hurricane.
Let's go right to that source and show you. There's Felicia. The storm has really weakened. I mean, just over the last 48 hours or so. Right now, it's a Category 1, expected to weaken considerably, possibly becoming a weak tropical storm, maybe even a depression as it makes landfall in Hawaii.
NGUYEN: Boy, there's a lot going on today. And it's just started.
WOLF: That's right.
NGUYEN: All right. Thank you.
WOLF: You bet, guys.
MARCIANO: Thanks, Reynolds.
All right. Well, we're going to take you to the scene of the Hudson River plane crash and chopper collision there in about 30 minutes. Our Susan Candiotti says the search is resuming soon.
NGUYEN: Plus, it is a make-or-break month when it comes to health care. And it's also on the president's agenda this week. We're going to take you live to Washington.
MARCIANO: Welcome back and good morning. I'm Rob Marciano in for T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: Glad to have you this morning, Rob.
NGUYEN: Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. This morning, we are bringing you the latest information on that helicopter-plane crash in the Hudson River.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICH: There was, like, a poof of smoke and then like a bang. And the plane went further down, hit the water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Divers had located another body as the recovery mission resumes. And we'll continue to follow that story through this morning.
MARCIANO: And your trash emits gas. And that can be turned into power. We're going to take you to one county that's going green.
NGUYEN: That's interesting.
All right. Let's get back to this: Investigators, they are looking for answers this morning after a tourist helicopter collided with a small plane. It happened over the Hudson River near New York City.
MARCIANO: Yes. No one is believed to have survived. So far, three bodies have been pulled from the water. Another has been located.
The search for the rest of the victims is expected to resume at daybreak.
As for what happened, witnesses say the plane's right wing made contact with the chopper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICH: There was a plane, a small plane like a Cessna, cutting back towards the New Jersey side, the helicopter heading southbound, about 1,100, 1,200 feet. The plane rolled into the helicopter, hit the side of it. The helicopter went straight down into the water. There was, like, a poof of smoke and like a bang.
And the plane went further down, hit the water over by the W Hotel. And then it came in - coming out in a couple pieces. So, pretty bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what was your thought when you saw it?
RICH: Tragic. Bad. It's - you know, the fact that it happened here. But, I mean, you look up and you see all the planes going around here, and it's, you know, kind of hectic. So, yes. I'm surprised it - you know, unfortunately - you know, this thing happens. But, you know, the fact that it - it does happen, it doesn't happen more often is just kind of crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASMINE PAN, WITNESSED CRASH: It was turning and then the head went down first. And then about three, four seconds later I thought it was a wing of the helicopter, but there's no wing for helicopter probably the blades. So if this is the head I think it went down like this. So, it was quick. I see a lot of people come and start to try to rescue and then lots of boats start to drive towards the helicopter. I was very shocked. I think I was screaming for a few seconds. And then two of us we started calling 911.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: CNN's Susan Candiotti is in New York, she'll have a live report for us at the top of the hour. We've also been getting a lot of iReports from the aftermath of the crash. These are from Robert Wagner, check them out. He arrived at the scene as police were roping off the area. You can also see the searchers looking for survivors in the wreckage. If you have an iReport send it to us we're at ireport.com.
NGUYEN: President Obama is heading south of the border for a summit meeting and he's leaving this afternoon for Guadalajara, Mexico. He's going to meet with Mexican and Canadian leaders today and tomorrow. Then on Tuesday he holds a town hall meeting on health care insurance reform this time in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Then on Wednesday the president hosts a White House reception for new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
So, let's talk a little bit about the president's campaign to make health care reform a reality.
CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is in Washington with a preview. He joins us now.
Good morning and Paul I have to say you know health care no doubt front and center this week. All right. We're having some audio difficulties with Paul Steinhauser. So we'll try to work that out for you and get back to Paul in just a moment.
Rob, right now I'm going to hand it over to you.
MARCIANO: Remember, we were talking about Alabama's county in crisis, Jefferson County to be specific. Alabama Governor Bob Riley has called for a special legislative session tomorrow to deal with the state's deepening financial crisis. He's asking lawmakers to reauthorize an occupational tax on most payrolls in Jefferson County. In January a judge ruled against continuing the tax, but the money was still being collected. Some lawmakers believe it's time to tap into those unspent funds or risk sinking deeper into debt. I spoke to a state representative about the crisis.
JOHN ROGERS, ALABAMA STATE HOUSE: They really don't have to do this. They have $84 million in reserves, they're being punitive. I think they are punishing the sheriff and trying to put pressure on legislatures, that's what I really think.
MARCIANO: So you have $84 million.
ROGERS: They have $84 million in reserves right now. MARCIANO: How do we get it out of there?
ROGERS: (INAUDIBLE) they want to use the money to save people's jobs, spend money on the sheriff's department. That's all they have to do. They rather try to punish folks and try to put pressure on us for us to do things they want us to do.
MARCIANO: How are you, your colleagues, the governor and the sheriff going to work together to fix this?
ROGERS: We're going to reenact the occupational taxes which brings in close to $70 million back to the coffers and (INAUDIBLE) to pay it. However, it would only be for a short while. It calls for a vote of the people in 2012. If it gets cut out then, the county has time to hopefully realize they will have a short fall of funds in five years, based on five years and 20 percent if it's not voted for.
But we're going to reinstate it immediately and allow them to get the money out of escrow, they have $23 million in escrow. So they'll get the chance to get the escrow money as well as get the money coming in from the taxation.
MARCIANO: Right now about a quarter of all Jefferson County employees are on unpaid administrative leave. The special session convenes late tomorrow afternoon.
NGUYEN: All right. Let's get back to talking about the president's campaign to make health care reform a reality. CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is in Washington and we believe his mic is working this time around. Hey there Paul, can you hear me?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Can you hear me Betty?
NGUYEN: Loud and clear, it's a beautiful thing.
STEINHAUSER: I think it works best when you can't hear me Betty.
NGUYEN: That's true. All right, let's talk about the president this week and no doubt health care reform front and center.
STEINHAUSER: Front and center for the president but also for members of Congress we saw last week with lawmakers from the House of Representatives, they were already on break last week and we saw a lot of those town halls Betty across the country and some of them got very vocal and there were some outbursts.
We're going to see more of that this week as well because now the Senate is on break. So you have lawmakers from both chambers across the country this week holding town halls and other public forums where citizens can speak out about what they like and don't like in these health care proposals right now in front of Congress. Betty? NGUYEN: So, those are the town halls meetings, democrats, republicans, all of them expressing their opinions but how is the president getting his message out this week?
STEINHAUSER: He'll be speaking about it just about every day. But, we mentioned this about a couple of minutes ago, when he gets back from the summit in Mexico he's going up to New Hampshire on Tuesday and he's going to be holding a town hall summit at the high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
We've seen him do this before and he will be doing it again on Tuesday. And we think on Friday when he goes out to Montana he may be teaming up with Max Baucus who's the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. That's one of the key committees in Congress to health care reform and they may also be holding an event on health care. Betty?
NGUYEN: No doubt CNN is staying on top of this. It is a make or break month as a lot of people believe.
What kind of special coverage can we expect to see next week?
STEINHAUSER: First of all we're going to be doing what we have been doing and that is covering as many of these town halls as possible with our reporters, with our producers, with our photojournalists. But another thing we're doing, we're gassing up the CNN express, the campaign buss firing it up again and Ali Velshi is going to start down your way in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: He's not driving is he?
STEINHAUSER: I hope not. I really hope not.
NGUYEN: We all hope not.
STEINHAUSER: Keep him away from the wheel. He's going to be going from Atlanta straight up to Iowa through parts of the south and Midwest speaking to Americans about how they feel about health care reform, how they feel about their own reform, what they like and what they don't like. Betty?
NGUYEN: I love those road trips because you really get a slice of what people across the country feel about the issues that are on the table and right now the number one issue being health care. Thank you, Paul, we do appreciate it.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
MARCIANO: Ali driving that bus would not be a good thing.
NGUYEN: Isn't that a frightening thought.
MARCIANO: The shades, the gloves.
NGUYEN: The safety of people out. Make sure if you see Ali on the roadway get off to the side and just let him go by.
MARCIANO: Reynolds Wolf was on the road a little while. He's doing some investigative reporting for us. You've heard that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Well they take it to the next level. Reynolds Wolf shows us how these electric lines have harnessed the power of trash.
NGUYEN: Interesting. And next stop, Beatle mania. Just take a left on Abbey Road, you remember this picture don't you? It is a big anniversary that deserves a big celebration.
MARCIANO: It's a massive street party at one of music's most famous intersections, Beatle mania surging on Abbey Road. We talked about it yesterday because 40 years ago yesterday, Paul, George and Ringo and the gang, John strolling down across this crosswalk, turning the ordinary London Street into a musical mecca.
The famous photo was the cover for the Abbey Road album. The last album the fab four recorded together. The photo shoot lasted about 15 minutes it was August 8, 1969. The picture became an enduring rock and roll icon that's for sure.
NGUYEN: No doubt about it. In fact, we got a lot of responses from you on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And seeing this anniversary, wanted to hear from you about your favorite Beatle song. Boy, did we get a lot of people weighing in.
Let's go to my Facebook page and Greg says "Strawberry fields." Then you go down to Kevin he says, "There's too many to choose from."
Let's see what the Twitter folks are saying. One says, "I love Penny Lane." But Kanise says, "Favorite Beatle song that's like asking what your favorite Godiva chocolate is." It is definitely hard to choose from, they had so many hits. But the anniversary yesterday, 40 years, kind of hard to believe it's been that long.
Keep those comments coming in. We always enjoy hearing from you. You can reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook. Were you a big Beatles fan?
WOLF: I'm fair to (INAUDIBLE) and the Beatles. I do have some songs, I feel fine is a great song, Hard days night is a great song. Yes, but you know, I respect them, you have to, how can you not, they're such icons. Do you guys have favorite songs?
MARCIANO: I just want to "let it be." Just let it be.
Listen, you did this story, it's kind of becoming trendy.
WOLF: It is, garbage.
MARCIANO: And makes power out of it.
WOLF: It's a tie in really to your story that you had yesterday, you know one person's junk happens to be another man's --
WOLF: We're talking about a place up in North Carolina, Catawba County, North Carolina. They have actually been producing, it is amazing, taking trash and producing power from it since 1999. The trash creates methane which produces gas.
It's stinky stuff but it's stinky power that's a good thing. They are actually making electricity. Get this, they get $655,000 each year. The landfill is in Newton, that's about 35 miles give or take from Charlotte, North Carolina.
WOLF (voice-over): When Barry Edwards sees trash he thinks money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It actually makes money.
WOLF: He works as the director of utilities and engineering in Catawba County, North Carolina, where they've been producing electricity from their landfill since 1999.
(on camera): While it looks like I'm walking on a sunny hillside in North Carolina, I'm actually walking on a landfill. And below the ground we have all kinds of trash and that trash is creating methane, methane that's being pulled up by this well and that methane equals power. The methane gas powers these generators that feed to the power company.
BARRY EDWARDS, CATAWBA CO., NORTH CAROLINA: Each one of these units you see behind us are one megawatt each. We're putting three megawatts to the grid. That serves approximately 1500 homes.
WOLF (voice-over): The county sells that electricity, earning about $650,000 each year.
PRADY IYYANKI, CEO, GE JENBACHER: This concept is I would say is a role model in the United States. It's being driven by the county not by private form. It's a profitable organization to make money and all the profit goes to the county.
WOLF: That profit is not only keeping residential waste bills low but funding the start of an 800 acre eco complex.
EDWARDS: We're applying what is known as industrial ecology to waste management and i.e. making one man's garbage another man's treasure, entity to entity. An output stream of one industry's input, the stream of another industry, trying to make zero waste.
WOLF: For instance, next month construction begins on a biodiesel production facility that will harness the heat emitted from these landfill power generators. The heat breaks down the seeds from these sunflowers converting them to biodiesel. The crops are grown by local farmers within the eco complex. EDWARDS: What leaves our site as a commodity, what comes into our site we're going to make a commodity out of it.
WOLF: The county is not alone. They are partnering with private industry like this pallet factory and this lumber yard within the eco complex. The wood waste from these facilities will eventually be converted into electricity. Plans are also set to convert waste water to power as well as on site plastic recycling. This entire green initiative has been the number one priority for the county's board of commissioners.
LYNN LAIL, CATAWBA CO., N.C. BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: I think the biggest overall benefit will be if we see this facility grow and become an economic development tool that will help create jobs for our community.
EDWARDS: We improve the cost of services, we improve our environment, we include every aspect of vocation within our county that we can touch, and it's a win-win for everyone.
WOLF: There's only one other set up like this and it happens to be on the west coast not far from Monterrey, California. You think of something like that in Monterrey, California not so much in North Carolina. Seems like a little bit out of place. They're hoping this will be a real trendsetter that more people are going to follow suit. They're going to see this neat, renewable energy.
NGUYEN: We're talking about methane gas and I got to ask you, was it just horrendous?
WOLF: It was raunchy. No question about it. But I mean you got to look at the end result. Sure it smells. But the dollars and cents, the way it's going to help out in terms of just an additional energy source is tremendous.
NGUYEN: Did anyone live nearby so they had to --
WOLF: You know, there were some people that did live nearby but let's be honest I mean it's a place that's in a very agricultural area. And in agricultural areas you have a variety, an assortment of smells that you often have. So somehow this gets blended in there. Kind of like the farmland potpourri so to speak.
WOLF: There's nothing wrong with that.
MARCIANO: A follow up question that Betty wanted to ask. Are they taking donations?
WOLF: I'm sure they will.
MARCIANO: It doesn't get the respect it deserves. It is 20 times more potent than CO2 as far as greenhouse gases goes. So you must take methane serious.
NGUYEN: We may have you anchoring from another area of the building considering that statement. Thank you Reynolds.
WOLF: You bet.
NGUYEN: Let's talk about this now, surviving on less than $1 a day. See why I went to Vietnam to help those in need.
NGUYEN: As we focus on health care reform and the ailing economy here in the U.S., half a world away millions live on less than $1 a day. And health care options, well, they are often non existent. I'm talking about Vietnam where I was born. I just returned from a humanitarian aid trip among the Mekong delta that really illustrates the importance of international aid organizations even during a recession.
NGUYEN (voice-over): Our journey begins at the crack of dawn, as relief supplies are loaded on to a bus. We're headed away from the hustle of Ho Chin Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. To poor farming villages in southern Vietnam, it's a long and bumpy ride. Once we arrive the heavy lifting begins. All this aid was donated through the nonprofit my family founded called "Help the Hungry."
(On camera) Bad Audio: Now that (INAUDIBLE) loaded with supplies, we're headed to remote villages along the Mekong delta. To give you an indication of how poverty stricken this area is, the local Red Cross says families here live on less than a dollar a day.
(voice-over): It's important that we distribute this humanitarian aid before the potentially deadly monsoons flood the region. But you don't have to look far to find those already in need. Hundreds gather at the shore line. They will take the food, clothing and hygienic supplies back to their huts. In fact, some are so small, even a child can't stand up inside it.
What's even harder to believe, a family of five lives here. She said they have lived here for about three years. In a corner is their makeshift kitchen. They scratch out a living fishing from the same murky canals where they bathe and get their drinking water. They can't even afford to keep their children in school. Her 12-year-old daughter only made it to the second grade. Yet when I asked what she wants to be when she grows up? Her face lights up and she says she wants to be a teacher.
It's a heartbreaking battle between hope and poverty that continues to play out as we go from village to village all the way to the Vietnam Cambodia border.
(on camera): This is life for the people who live here. This is a difficult life. No matter how much we bring, and how many times we come, you never leave feeling like you've done enough. There are so many people in need here.
(voice-over): Which is why we continue to come back, year after year. Proving the poor are not alone in their struggle and maybe in some way it will instill the kind of hope and determination needed to rise above seemingly impossible odds.
MARCIANO: You've been making the trip now for nine years. Unbelievable. We appreciate you sharing the experience. How has it changed over the years? What's different this year versus the years past?
NGUYEN: I think through the years, you get more people invested in helping those half a world away and we've been so thankful to our donors. We're able to help more people with more aid which is very important to me because as you see there are millions that live in grass huts that essentially have dirt floors and this aid is so essential to them. Because during the monsoon season it just inundates the area and floods the region. And a lot of times it not only causes devastation but it can be very deadly.
So it's very important for us to get in there and get the aid to those in need before the monsoons strike and along with the food and the clothing and the hygienic supplies we also give away shoes as well because many of these children they don't have shoes to get to school. They don't have enough money to go to school. And some of the schools are very far away because granted they live in rural farming towns.
MARCIANO: How do they react when they get a new pair of shoes?
NGUYEN: Oh it's great, the smiles that come on their faces. It is so rewarding. But I will tell you, even more so than the shoes and the food, when you give a child that's never had a toy, a toy for the very first time there is nothing like how they light up and just the smile that comes across their faces. It's like Christmas.
MARCIANO: A lot of hard work but Christmas for you spiritually.
NGUYEN: It's a good feeling and we're doing good work.
MARCIANO: All right, donate helpthehungry.org.
NGUYEN: Yes, there is our website, it's actually help-the- hungry.org, each word is separated by a hyphen. You can also check out my blog for more on this trip and just go to cnn.com/betty. The story is posted there along with my interview with UNICEF on how donations to nonprofits are actually down across the world.
MARCIANO: We're still following this plane and helicopter collision yesterday on the Hudson. Certainly a heartbreaking on the Hudson if you will. The sun rising now and a grim mission resumes. CNN's Susan Candiotti is on the scene and she'll have the latest on the search efforts and the hunt for clues.
NGUYEN: President Obama hits the road today. We're going to tell you where he's going and why.
MARCIANO: From the CNN Center here in Atlanta yes this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It's August 9th.
Good morning I'm Rob Marciano in today for T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: Glad to have you this morning. Hello everybody I'm Betty Nguyen, it's 7:00 A.M. here in the east and we are gathering some new information on that fatal helicopter/plane collision in the Hudson River. Our iReporters they are showing us just how close they were to the crash. We'll have a live report just ahead.
MARCIANO: Plus Congress is on vacation but there's no rest from the health care discussion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think people should be penalized because of a pre-existing illness. I really don't. I think health care should be a universal right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: People are packing into rooms to hear from their representatives on this very important topic.
NGUYEN: But we do want to begin with that Hudson River crash. Divers are getting back into the morning this morning to search for the rest of the victims killed when a tourist helicopter and a small plane collided in mid-air yesterday.
MARCIANO: CNN's Susan Candiotti is in New York.
Susan, what's the scene like this morning?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
At this hour, during this hour, divers are scheduled to resume their work in the area that can you see behind me. Police say conditions have not improved much. Divers can barely see in front of them.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): As the sun set, divers who could barely see in the murky waters of the Hudson promised to resume work in the morning, painstakingly looking for victims and wreckage in up to 50 feet of water.
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE: The ability to see is very limited, two to three feet at most. CANDIOTTI: On a bright sunny day, it was hard to under why a small plane and sightseeing helicopter should collide over the Hudson River.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very shocked. I think I was screaming for a few seconds. And then two of us, we started calling 911.
CANDIOTTI: The small plane like this one, with the pilot, his brother and his brother's son took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and turned south over the Hudson. At the same time, five Italian tourists lifted off for a sightseeing tour in a helicopter.
COLIN RICH, WITNESSED CRASH: There was a plane, a small plane like a Cessna cutting back towards New Jersey side; and the helicopter heading southbound, about 1,100 to 1,200 feet. The plane rolled into the helicopter, hit the side of it. The helicopter went straight down the water. There was a poof of smoke and like a bang. And the plane went further down, hit the water.
CANDIOTTI: Italian tourists who stayed behind waiting for their friends and family were stun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told me that they have some relatives, not friends but relatives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, they are inside the (INAUDIBLE) right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But we don't know anything because we asked if they are alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. What did they say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No bodies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were they crying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. They are very sad but they are not crying.
CANDIOTTI: The NTSB says that just before the accident happened another pilot on the ground saw the plane approaching and tried to radio a warning to the helicopter pilot.
DEBBIE HERSMAN, CHMN., NATL. TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: There was no response from the pilot. He stated he saw the right-wing of the airplane contact the helicopter. He saw helicopter parts and the right-wing fall and both aircraft descended into the Hudson River.
CANDIOTTI: So far, three bodies have been recovered. Autopsies are expected to begin Sunday morning.
CANDIOTTI: And as of late last night, this new news, the body of a fourth victim has also been located, but it is buried underneath the helicopter wreckage. And so far, that victim has not yet been recovered. Rob and Betty?
NGUYEN: Oh, such a difficult story.
MARCIANO: Susan, a long day for you yesterday. We'll be checking back with you throughout this morning.
Susan Candiotti live -- thanks, Susan.
NGUYEN: All right. Well, obviously there are a lot of challenges to searching the river for some answers today.
MARCIANO: Yes. We're going to hear from some firsthand accounts about that in the next half hour with the NTSB chairwoman, Deborah Hersman. She joins us live. That will be just after 8:00 Eastern.
In the meantime, let's turn to our Josh Levs.
NGUYEN: Yes. He's been speaking with people who actually saw the collision.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we're following this news of a crash between a helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson.
Joining us Keith Nye, who sent me a Facebook message.
And, Keith, you're telling me, you're playing soccer, you heard this sound and many thought it was a bomb?
KEITH NYE, WITNESSED CRASH (via telephone): Yes, that's correct.
LEVS: What happened?
NYE: Well, we were -- we had just finished playing soccer and we were hanging out on the field when we heard that this incredibly loud crashing noise. I've never heard anything that loud in my life ever. I flinched, I looked up and the helicopter had broken in two and the plane was going down into the water. Everyone's initial reaction was just terror because the helicopter came down close to the New Jersey side and a few people thought it would actually hit pedestrians on the side of the river.
LEVS: And, Keith, I actually show everyone where you were. Let's zoom to the screen behind me. I'd pull up a map. You were in Sinatra Park at Hoboken, right?
NYE: That's correct.
LEVS: So, here's the Hudson River. And then over here, you got the Hudson and you have Frank Sinatra Park right there. So, that's where you were playing soccer.
Keith, I got to ask you, you're standing there in a park, playing soccer, you look up, and you see an aircraft splitting in two. What did that look like? What did you physically see in that distance?
NYE: Well, it happened extremely quickly, like a lot of people have mentioned. But there was just a ton of debris in the air. The tail section was completely separated from the cockpit or the front of the helicopter. The front just took a nose dive from there, from what I saw and went straight into the water. The plane kind of embarked into the water further, into center of the river.
LEVS: Keith, it's such a tragedy for these people. We're all thinking of them. Before I let you go here, was there pandemonium on the ground, did people scatter and scream, did people come together and say this is what we're going to? What happened with those of you who are outside enjoying the park?
NYE: There were a few people that were screaming and were having trouble with it. For the most part, a lot of people, their immediate reaction was to call 911, which was great.
LEVS: And other than that, you saw mostly order, you saw people doing the right thing?
NYE: Yes. Everyone did the right thing. They gave the emergency services all the room they needed. It was pretty calm on the ground.
MARCIANO: Well, this is our top story on CNN.com. Check out our Web site for the latest on the investigation.
NGUYEN: In other news today, Congress's summer recess isn't slowing the president's efforts to push through health care reform legislation. But, that's not the only priority on his busy schedule.
Paul Steinhauser is CNN's deputy political director and he joins us again now.
Good morning, Paul.
STEINHAUSER: Good morning, Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. So, we want to hear about the president's calendar this week. What's on the agenda?
STEINHAUSER: It starts today, in fact. He's heading down south to Mexico. He's got a summit down there with the Mexican and Canadian leaders. Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Stephen Harper of Canada, they got a lot on their agenda, Betty.
They're going to be talking about drug trafficking, they'll to talk about immigration, trade, they've got the H1N1 pandemic, they'll discuss as well. And even the economic crisis. So, a lot to talk about today and tomorrow.
When the president gets back on Tuesday, health care, of course, as you mentioned, is going to dominate a lot of his week. He's going up to New Hampshire, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He'll be at the high school there and he's going to be holding a town hall, Betty.
NGUYEN: And we saw yesterday -- live, in fact -- during our 11:00 a.m. hour, Sonia Sotomayor's emotional swearing-in ceremony. The president meets with the new justice next week. What are they going to be talking about?
STEINHAUSER: It's going to be, I would assume, a nice lighter affair. This will be a reception at the White House on Wednesday for the new Supreme Court associate justice. And, you know, this will be the first time since she has been sworn in officially that she will be meeting with the president at the White House. And you remember that she won 68 votes last week in the Senate, nine of those Republicans, and so, this will be an event at the White House for her.
And then after that, Betty, the president -- he's going to do what a lot of families do, I guess. He's going to pack up the wife and kids and head out with them out west and go out and visit some national parks. The president and the first family will be visiting a number of national parks, including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. And this is part of -- probably to promote tourism at national parks and it also comes on a fee-free weekend according to the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
So, next weekend, if you visit a national park, you don't pay a fee.
NGUYEN: Well, that's some good news. We got a whole week to get to one of those national parks then. OK. Thank you. We do appreciate it.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you, Betty.
MARCIANO: The U.S. military will wait on DNA evidence to confirm whether the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan is dead. Intelligence report say Baitullah Mehsud was killed last week in a suspected U.S. drone attack on his father-in-law's house.
Yesterday, officials say, gunfire broke out at a meeting to pick his successor. One of the leading candidates was reportedly killed. The Taliban denies that.
And outside Los Angeles, prison officials are trying to clamp down on a riot that has left several inmates hurt and at least one building on fire. Local fire crews and police are on the scene of a California institution for men in Chino. The violence broke out last night and left several inmates injured. The prison is a medium security facility that houses about 1,400 inmates.
And in Massachusetts, the sister of John F. \Kennedy remains in critical condition this morning with her family at her side. Eighty- eight-year-old Eunice Kennedy Shriver is the fifth of nine Kennedy children and became a founding force of the Special Olympics. Shriver's daughter Maria has traveled to be with her. She's accompanied by her husband and governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well, stress levels are going up -- way up in emergency rooms across the country. We're about to hear from one nurse of 42 years who actually left work with a broken jaw.
MARCIANO: Yes. She got hurt.
NGUYEN: All right. And then, we're going switch gears and show you this small medical practice that is cutting corners to focus on patient care. Is there a market? See what you think. We're back in two.
MARCIANO: Emergency room nurses don't feel so safe these days. And a new survey by the Emergency Nurses Association finds that more than 50 percent have had a patient or a patient's family hit, kick or punch them. And that's only about how it starts.
Rita Anderson knows firsthand. She's been a nurse for 42 years. And in 1999, she says a young girl punched her so hard it fractured her jaw.
Bill Briggs is a president of the organization that did the survey.
And they're both joining us live -- thank you both, and good morning to both of you.
Eye opening survey, Bill, we'll get to that in a second.
But, Rita, you have at least one story to tell. How did a young woman break your jaw and is that something that happens often to nurses?
RITA ANDERSON, EMERGENCY ROOM NURSE: Unfortunately, it happens very often, and more and more and more nowadays. I was working a weekend midnight shift which is when incidents is the highest.
And I was just making rounds with an outgoing physician, and a patient asked me if I could help her to the restroom, and she mistook me for another nurse. So, I wasn't even the nurse that was originally taking care of her. And I asked her if she could get up to go to the bathroom and she didn't want to get up off the stretcher which unfortunately because it was a busy urban emergency department in New York, stretchers in the hallways were very common.
ANDERSON: So, I went to get her a private place to use a bed pan, and when I went back to the stretcher, I leaned over she just hauled off and hit me, knocked me right back into the nurse's station.
MARCIANO: Fractured your jaw.
ANDERSON: Fractured my jaw.
MARCIANO: I assume you were out of work there for a while.
ANDERSON: I was. I was out for two months.
MARCIANO: My goodness. And were you able to press charges? I mean, this is -- this is an assault on you. Were you able to press charges?
ANDERSON: Well, actually, very interestingly enough, New York at that time, the incident happened to me in June, but in January of that year, new law went into effect that the Emergency Nurses Association had lobbied for three years to make it a Class D felony offense to assault to health care worker in the emergency department.
MARCIANO: OK. Well, the laws are slowly being established.
But, Bill, you're president of that association. I assume every state has their own laws. How close are we to getting more protection for these nurses?
BILL BRIGGS, PRES., EMERGENCY NURSES ASSN.: Well, we have a ways to go not only in the development of the felony law, which is one deterrent, but also in prevention programs. Right now, the federal government through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, has voluntary guidelines for preventing and mitigation violence in emergency departments. And those need to be mandatory standards so that every hospital and emergency department will have a program to prevent and mitigate violence against health care workers.
MARCIANO: Bill, this survey that did you -- the numbers are startling. Fifty percent of nurses reported of being assaulted on the job. One in four report frequent abuse. Were you yourself surprised by that, Bill?
BRIGGS: I was surprised at the magnitude of it. I wasn't surprised at the violence. We see the violence in emergency departments all the time, and at the national level, you hear about the worse-case scenarios where nurses have actually been killed on duty.
But this was quite a surprise to see the magnitude. As you said, one in four have had physical violence against them more than 20 times in the three-year study period, and more than one in five had verbal abuse more than 200 times in the same period.
MARCIANO: Rita, real quick, what do you think the reason is for this? I mean, you've been doing this over 40 years. I know -- I know emergency rooms are overcrowded. That's got to be one reason. What else?
ANDERSON: Certainly, the overcrowding is an issue. But patients come to the emergency department very stressed, in critical condition often, and the stress of the incident alone can be a problem. Also, patients are drug-seeking and there's gang warfare. So, a lot of those issues come in to play. MARCIANO: It does not sound like a safe place at all.
Bill, we got health care reform coming up. We've got shortage of nurses in some places. This does not sound like it's a great item to be recruiting off of.
BRIGGS: Not at all. When two out of three nurses reported they are unsafe in their own emergency department, one out of three nurses in the study reported that they intended to leave nursing or leave the emergency department as a result of violence. With this huge impending nursing shortage in the United States, this is a very difficult situation. Our nurses go to work to take care of people, to help people, and we need to assure they have a safe environment to work in.
MARCIANO: Bill Briggs, president of the Emergency Nurses Association; and longtime nurse, Rita Anderson -- stay safe Rita, it seems like we're starting to make some progress.
And we appreciate you if you're going into an emergency room, be patient and be nice to the nurses and medical technicians.
Thank to both of you this morning.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Rob.
BRIGGS: Thank you, Rob.
NGUYEN: Well, we are continuing with this topic, including the complex issues and the mind-boggling numbers. But for this 12-year- old, state health is as simple and as essential as her next breath. We're going to tell you about Jessica and her story.
NGUYEN: This just in to CNN. We are learning that there has been an earthquake in Japan, southeast Japan to be specific, and it was quite a large one.
MARCIANO: Yes -- 6.9 and then being revised, I believe, to 7.1.
Our Reynolds Wolf has been tracking this thing and has an idea where it is and deep -- was there a tsunami warning posted on this thing?
WOLF: You know, believe it or not, not yet.
Let's give our viewers at home an idea where it's occurring. You notice the big red dot that's popping up on the screen -- oops, wrong one there. Let's enlarge this one. The big red dot you see here is actually the size or actually the center of the quake itself, a little bit of a subduction zone.
Again, as Rob mentioned, in terms of tsunamis, there had been no warning just yet. This is an area that is actually just in the southwest of Tokyo, right along the coast. A lot of times when you have an earthquake, you have a displacement of water at the very top. When you have that big ripple, that ripple, of course, can mount up. And that's what breaking off and have tsunamis.
For the time being, nothing yet. Certainly, a big window rattler at least for communities on the coast. This thing we're going to monitor very, very carefully. Very quickly, I have to also mention though that this thing is not unusual in this part of the world. This is part of the area that they refer to as the "Pacific Rim of Fire" because it goes all the way around the Pacific. So, it's not unusual to see that kind of a -- that kind of an event occur off the island nation of Japan.
That is the latest we got for you, let's send it back to you.
NGUYEN: All right. We'll keep on this.
WOLF: You bet, guys.
NGUYEN: Do you have something, Rob?
MARCIANO: Yes, Reynolds. You're probably just getting this now in your computer -- 339 kilometers deep, which, as you know, a very, very deep for an earthquake, and that's good news. The deeper it is, the less of an effect it would not only for tsunami or the -- what's rattling in Japan right now.
NGUYEN: OK. That's very good.
And we'll continue to stay on top of this. As soon as we get more information on this earthquake in Japan, 7.1 magnitude at this point, we will bring that to you.
In the mean time, though...
NGUYEN: ... the clock is ticking for millions of Americans who need health care and they need it now, including a 12-year-old whose life hangs in the balance.
MARCIANO: Yes, Jessica Leoni. She suffers from a devastating genetic birth defect. Photojournalist Joe Torego (ph) tells us how looming budget cuts could mean the worst for this little girl.
ANTHONY LEONI, JESSICA'S FATHER: I'm here to talk about how the health care cuts might affect my 12-year-old (INAUDIBLE). Her name is Jessica.
(CROWD CHANTING) A. LEONI: And Jessica suffers from a dilapidating disease Niemann-Pick Type C. And she receives home care health care through the Westside Regional Center in Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. Good morning.
BILL FEEMAN, WESTSIDE REGIONAL CENTER: You're looking at a family who when I first met them over a year ago, they were exhaustive. They were trying to be caregivers, nurses, doctors. And then get up and go to work during the day and still support their family.
A. LEONI: We've been able to find out how to take care of Jessica. If we have been told 10 years ago this is what (INAUDIBLE) is going to be, I would have said we're not capable of that. We don't have the training. We don't the ability. We don't have the energy.
(INAUDIBLE) was that they all feel in love with Jessica and wanted to help.
LISA LEONI, JESSICA'S MOTHER: Carmen is going to the race. Who is going to win?
Carmen, when she came, she just, I think I can do this. We were so desperate for somebody to come in.
CARMEN BAILEY, CARING CONNECTION: I call her my angel. They have groom her. (INAUDIBLE) my massager, to make her comfortable.
KRISTINA CARMICKLE, JESSICA'S FRIEND: Your hair is very pretty. I've been her friend for so long that I feel that we've just always had a connection together so I've wanted to keep it. When she has a friendship that's big enough like that, you're always wishing for the best for her.
FEEMAN: We finally got everything in place where they could be parents again, which is a wonderful thing and that's what scares me a little bit about these budget cuts.
A. LEONI: It's absolutely frightening to think what would happen if the services were no longer there. They're absolutely essential to keep Jessica going.
L. LEONI: I believe worse case scenario if the services stop coming, physically, you just cannot do it, you can't 24-hour care give. We wouldn't have the medicine, the supplies that are required to sustain her life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica would like to thank everybody for coming to her 12th birthday party.
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)
CARMICKLE: This is her 12th birthday, and it was really significant because we don't know how many more birthdays she can celebrate with us. It's just hard to think of that, not to be able to see her any more and it comes as sad. But then it also comes happy that she's going to be happier there.
NGUYEN: Well, New York's Hudson River, the setting for a so- called miracle earlier this year, well, that was not the case yesterday.
MARCIANO: Yes, a different story for sure. At the top of hour, we'll have the latest on the search for answers and victims in yesterday's mid-air collision.
NGUYEN: Also, in our "Faces of Faith," young boys brainwashed to kill all in the name of Allah. Christiane Amanpour has their story in their own words.
NGUYEN: All right. We are continuing to follow the story just in into the CNN Newsroom. A large earthquake has struck Japan, in fact, south of Tokyo.
MARCIANO: Yes, very large, 7.1, it's 200 miles south of Tokyo. So, it's out there in the water, about 100 miles from any land mass. Two things here: it's very deep at about 200 miles deep, that's very deep. So, that would limit the amount of shaking. But at that size, they no doubt felt it in Japan. Probably some damage. No tsunami warning for the west coast of the U.S., but possibly for them in Asia.
NGUYEN: Yes. We'll keep on watching on it because there are a lot of information still coming in.
But right now, we're going to take you to "HOUSE CALL" and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.