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About 15 Million People Across California On Flood Alert; Norfolk Southern CEO To Testify On Capitol Hill; New Safety Rules For Rail Industry Outlined In Two Different Bills; Hundreds Of Bed Bath & Beyond Stores Will Be Closed; Pet Owners Feeling The Effects Of Inflation; Interview With World Cup Alpine Skier Record Holder And Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin; Gwyneth Paltrow In Court Over Ski Collision. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 22, 2023 - 10:30:00   ET



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And just to give you an idea of just how many records were broken, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, five of those records for March 21st were broken yesterday. Downtown Los Angeles, breaking a 130-year-old record from 1893 raining -- approaching an inch and a half of rain just to show you what is happening here.

We're back out in San Bernardino, you can look up here, you can see -- the clouds came in. OK. So, it's not raining, but the clouds have come back in and the fog. But the snow line is probably about three -- 3,500 feet up or so because I'm standing at 2,500 ft. So, still a lot of snow coming up in those higher regions.

But throughout the state, we saw people having hail. We saw trees falling. We saw that there was some flooding in some places. All of this along here. Just take a look over here, there's a car coming down. I want you to see this car is coming down and you can see the people coming up from higher up in the mountains, they're coming down with snow on their cars. The difference this time between the last time I talked to you was the fact that they're actually able to make their cars down the road.

But just to give you an idea of how much precipitation we have seen over this wet season, the Southern Sierra is at a record all time snowpack right now. The central part of the Sierra, it's not far behind it. And overall, the state right now, it looks like it may be on track for another record here. So, this is just an unfathomable amount of precipitation that we have received in California, especially when you consider last year, we barely had any snow pack. So, things are changing. But, you know, happy spring, guys.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what? Of the many things that I love about you, Stephanie Elam, how about looking on the bright side there? No hood right now and it's spring.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There's a whole lot going on right there.

HILL: There's a lot going on. ELAM: It's spring.

HILL: The most important thing is we got to see you --

ELAM: There's going to be some flower.

HILL: -- and you look bright and springy and sunshiny too. So, there's that. So, thank you.

ELAM: I was trying to bring it, like, you know, off the grand.

HILL: You brought it. You brought it, but you always do my friend. Stephanie, thank you.

ELAM: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. This hour, Norfolk Southern CEO will testify on Capitol Hill as lawmakers look to pass a rail safety bill in the wake of the toxic train derailment. That's ahead.



HILL: Any moment now, the CEO of Norfolk Southern is expected to testify before a Senate committee about last month's toxic train derailment in Ohio which, of course, left a number of residents say, it left them sick, it tainted their soil and their water. They say, it's destroyed their property values.

BERMAN: Weeks after that toxic spill, there is a bipartisan push for tougher safety regulations on railroads. After initially saying he could not commit to supporting new regulation, Norfolk Southern CEO is expected to express support for new legislation today. CNN's Jason Carroll is watching this for us.

Jason, this does come after some pressure, but how extensive are these regulations?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there are a number of lawmakers in Ohio who would say that the proposed bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction. Lawmakers have introduced measures as you know, in both Chambers of Congress and the Senate, there is the Railway Safety Act in the House. There is the reducing accidents in locomotives or the Rail Act.

These bills call for imposing new safety standards and stiffer penalties for wrongdoing. Ohio's governor says, he supports it and so should Norfolk Southern.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Out of those two bills, we ought to be able to get a bill that will make a big, big difference. You know, I served many years in the House and the Senate. I'm not going to get into the gory details about which version of the bill is better. But we just -- we need to change this. I think either bill will do a good job.


CARROLL: Well, the pressure is on. Governor DeWine sent a letter to Norfolk Southern saying, it is our expectation that you will champion all good faith efforts to improve rail safety. And we are calling on you today to work with legislatures to ensure the best possible policy outcomes in these proposals.

Critics say, the rail industry, as you know, has been lobbied (ph) against reforming the industry in the past during his prepared statements. Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw is expected to say today. He does support legislative efforts and that both bills, "Include measures with the potential to enhance safety."

Shaw, as you know, testified before congress earlier this month and in front of Pennsylvania lawmakers. Many in East Palestine not convinced with his testimony. Saying that he was basically short on specifics when it comes to defining how exactly Norfolk Southern will deal with possible long-term health effects of the residents there, and also the economic impact on the members of the community. Still a lot of unanswered questions for some folks there in East Palestine.

BERMAN: Yes, unanswered questions, Jason. You've been asking it from the beginning. You reported it from the ground there. Great to have you on the story again for us today. Thank you.

CARROLL: You bet.

BERMAN: So, word this morning that another retail giant is shuttering some stores, Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 400 locations.

HILL: Here's what's interesting, those stores though, not going to stay empty for very long. CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn is joining us now. So, we've talked a lot a bit about the changes, about Bed Bath & Beyond. The fact that there are plenty of stores ready to move into those spaces is fascinating to me.

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Right, it's very surprising, Erica. These 400 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, they're already in high demand, particularly among discount retailers that are growing. That's where we're seeing most of the growth in retail right now.


So, already companies like T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, Ross stores, these discount clothing and home goods retailers, they're scooping up these leases. We're -- we expect to see the budget gym chain Planet Fitness move into some of these stores, Burlington as well. And the spaces are attractive because they're small.

So, companies don't have to pay as much for rent or labor. And they're also mostly in the suburbs, that's appealing to stores right now. And there hasn't been that much new retail development over the past decade. So, there's kind of a scramble for these old Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

BERMAN: That is interesting. I'm actually a little surprised by that.

HILL: I am, too.

BERMAN: I'm so glad that you're informing some of this. All right. Shifting gears here to inflation, I heard some stories this morning about prices going up for people with pets. People do crazy things. I'm not judging. I'm not judging here. Crazy --

HILL: So glad you're not judging --

BERMAN: -- crazy things --

HILL: -- people who love their pets, John Berman.

BERMAN: -- crazy things for their pets. But that kind of stuff is getting more expensive.

MEYERSOHN: It is, John. So, people treat their pets like their children. And early in the pandemic, there was a spike in pet adoptions, about 23 million households adopted pets to keep them company while they were stuck at home, but it's proving very costly to take care of those pets. So, we see pet food, that's -- inflation on pet food has increased faster than on human food, up about 15.2 percent in February from a year ago. We also see pet supplies up 11 percent and vet services of 10.5 percent.

So, that's forcing some tough decisions for pet owners. We're seeing people buy fewer toys for their pets, switch from the natural and organic pet foods to kind of the basics. And in some cases, folks are even having to return their pets to the shelters.

HILL: And part of that -- part of it is some people that that's financial. Other people, it was a bad decision that they made the pandemic that they couldn't support them. I will say, though it makes me feel not better, but at least I don't -- I'm not entirely going crazy when you show me that number because when I went to buy my dog a new bag of dog food two weeks ago, I thought to myself, this has gone up exponentially since the last time I bought it and I was buying it at the same store. So. at least on this one point, I'm not totally crazy.

Thank you.

BERMAN: Just one.

HILL: Just the one.

BERMAN: All right.

HILL: There are a lot of other up for debate.

BERMAN: So, after 88, 88 World Cup wins, Mikaela Shiffrin has become the greatest alpine skier of all time.

HILL: All time.

BERMAN: That means ever.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: She joins us next.

HILL: We're really excited.




ALEKSANDER AAMODT KILDE, ALPINE SKI RACER: Mikaela Shiffrin, what a race. What a day. How do you feel?



HILL: Mikaela Shiffrin there just moments after breaking the record for most World Cup wins with her 87th first place finish. Now, she's extended that streak even further to 88. She is officially the greatest of all time. And in my book, John Berman, better than your boy, Tom Brady.

BERMAN: Yes, I'll take that. Yes. 88 is more than seven.

HILL: I mean, yes.

BERMAN: You -- just the math is better.

HILL: Uh-huh.

BERMAN: So, aside from the record breaking and Shiffrin, Kathy alpine's ski season with her 21st giant slalom win or 138th podium appearance that surpasses Lindsey Vonn's women's podium record. And best of all, Mikaela Shiffrin joins us now.

It's so great to see you. Thanks for being here. Before we get into the real heavy stuff. That guy asking you those questions, did you know him? Is that someone you've seen before?

SHIFFRIN: Yes, that's my boyfriend. He races on the men's circuit. And, yes, I -- hearing that, you know, you don't like the sound of your voice, that was just -- that's pretty embarrassing for me.

HILL: It's pretty cute, though.

SHIFFRIN: It's cute.

HILL: To see you be reviewed by him.

SHIFFRIN: Yes, I get -- I got so giggly and I couldn't think straight and he did such a good job. But, you know --

HILL: So, he's got a fallback career.


HILL: Yes.

SHIFFRIN: He should probably stick with skiing a little bit longer, but he's quite good at that.

BERMAN: So, you bring it, in general. And in this case, you brought all these trophies here.

SHIFFRIN: I bring things in places.

BERMAN: This is kind of intimidating. What are we looking at here? We're looking at basically some of the booty from a ridiculously successful year.

SHIFFRIN: Yes, the overall globe is a kind of end of the season overall title for most points accumulated through the season. So, that -- this was actually my biggest goal this season, was to win my fifth overall globe. And I did not expect that I would be resetting the all- time wins record, honestly in my career, let alone this season. So, that was -- it's not that it's a surprise. It's just like I never -- I feel like I was never supposed to be there. But this was what I had my sights set on. So, that's kind of why we brought it.

HILL: In terms of saying you never thought you would be there. It wasn't something that was -- that you were working towards necessarily.

SHIFFRIN: No, I just -- I feel like -- this kind of gold, like, the -- the goal to be consistently strong throughout the season, that's always been more the most important thing to me. And I mean, the wins record that it spends standing for 34 years like -- I mean, Lindsey was the one who brought the closest --

HILL: Yes.

SHIFFRIN: -- and that we all thought was going to break it. And I never considered myself as part of a threat to that record. So, I've just kind of have been trying to take it day by day, keep plugging away. This season, I won 14 races. But I thought -- I was, like, hoping to be able to scrape by winning about five, because the competition level has gotten stronger and stronger over the -- this especially the last year.


So, I'm walking away from this season with, yes, three world champs medals, three globes, overall globe, that's -- it's been -- yes, I mean, the record --

HILL: Not so bad.

SHIFFRIN: It's been OK.

HILL: It's been all right.

BERMAN: One of the reasons I love watching, first of all, it's because you're, A, so good. But, B, you know, we just saw a little bit of it there. You actually seem to enjoy it and enjoy winning, which I know sounds paradoxical for amazing athletes. But sometimes I get the sense that for great athletes, they don't enjoy winning as much as they hate losing.


BERMAN: Do you get what I'm saying right there?


BERMAN: And you really seem to get joy out of it.

SHIFFRIN: I mean, I like what you see here, the actual run I'm having on ski. The turns that I'm making, that is the most fun feeling. It's such it's such an amazing feeling, like, as if you're flying. And I like that feeling. I like skiing. That's kind of the whole -- the passion comes from the fact that I just love the feeling doing the sport. So, the winning, like, it's more of the turns you make on the way to actually winning the ways versus the winning happens in the blink of an eye when you cross the finish line.

And it's a little bit hard to comprehend, especially after 88 victories. It's like, I don't really know what to do with this. It's -- but I really, really liked the run that I just took. So, it's -- I know it's a -- it is a little bit cliche, the process, not the not the destination, whatever, but that is what I get the joy from.

HILL: But I think it's also so great to hear. And I look at young athletes and even now it's right who look up to you and adults, frankly, who look up to you. And I was reading a great piece with you in Sports Illustrated, talking about how you really redefined success.

And to me, a lot of what that was, it was that, you know, it's OK to lose, it's OK to fail, and to put your name on that. To me, that goes hand in hand with what you just said about this really being the process and the fact that you still love what you do. All of those things have to work together.

SHIFFRIN: Yes well, it's the only reason I'm still in the sport is because I love it. And there's been plenty of times throughout my career, especially over the last three years where I thought, you know, maybe I'm not fully motivated to keep doing this. But I still get back to it because I keep -- like, waking up every morning thinking, I want -- like, if I just do this and tweak that or whatever, maybe I'll ski a little faster. That motivation has not left even on the good days, definitely not. But on the bad days, I still have the motivation to improve again and that has to be there.

I mean, you're going to fail in life. You're going to do it either privately or publicly. You're going to have bad days. Probably I think for all of us, most of our time is kind of spent actually, like not achieving our goals. And then you have a couple of moments here and there throughout life where you achieve it, and that makes all the work worth it. But I just -- I don't know about how you guys feel about it. But you don't, like, just go through life being successful every day.

BERMAN: No, the struggles that makes everything interesting.

HILL: Yes.

SHIFFRIN: Yes, and you have to be passionate in order to stick to things, I guess.

HILL: Sure.

SHIFFRIN: That's what I've learned from the past.

BERMAN: I can't wait to see what's next. What do you do next? It's so great having you here and congratulations on everything.

SHIFFRIN: Thank you.

HILL: Yes, thanks. Come back anytime.

SHIFFRIN: Thank you. OK? Careful what you wish for.

HILL: Still ahead here, Gwyneth Paltrow back in court today after an alleged skiing hit and run incident with a man. That man says, it left him with serious injuries. Those details next.



BERMAN: Actress and business mogul, right?

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Gwyneth Paltrow involved in a real-life courtroom drama over 2016 ski collision.

HILL: A 76-year-old retired optometrists sued Paltrow, saying that she crashed into him on the slopes. She caused serious injuries and then she just skied away. CNN's Chloe Melas has been following the developments here. So, this trial, now getting underway, seven years now since the accident happened. Lot of twists and turns in this, including the amount that he's suing for, where do we stand right now?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: All right. Well, so they're back in court today, and this is expected to take about eight days. There is a jury. Gwyneth Paltrow is countersuing for $1, just for the principle of the fact that she is defending herself, clearing her name, and also wants her legal fees paid. Terry Sanderson, this retired optometrist, he says that in 2016 while skiing and Deer Valley, Utah, that Gwyneth Paltrow barreled into him while recklessly skiing, causing him to fall down, suffered broken ribs, a brain injury.

Now, Gwyneth Paltrow saying, that is not what happened. He skied into me. I was downhill on the mountain. He was above me. They were on beginner's slope. She was skiing with her children, her now husband, Brad Falchuk, they are expected to testify on her behalf. And so -- also, I do want to point out that this man, Terry, was originally suing her for $3.1 million, and now he's lowered that to about $300,000, which is, you know, raise some questions from some people following this.

HILL: It does. I have to say that stood out to me and then I'm very curious to see the testimony because, as I learned, I only recently started skiing, but one of the first things that I was told was the uphill skier has to look out for the downhill skiers.

MELAS: Right.

HILL: So, if you run into them, the thinking on the mountain is, right, the skiers is etiquette is, that's your fault, because they can't see you behind them. So, it would be interesting to see as we hear these different sides.

MELAS: So, look -- I mean, there are no cameras, right? There is only this witness testimony of a man that was with Terry, a friend of his saying, yes, Gwyneth Paltrow was the one that barreled into him. And now Gwyneth's team and her family and we expect her children to say, no, he's skied into her. So, where is this going to land? It's going to be up to the jury, right?