tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 17, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
w morning it sticks around with upper 40s and low 50s. we'll have more on the rest of the week coming up at 6:00 p.m. >> thanks for joining us here at 5:00. lester holt joins us next with "nightly news." >> see you at 6:00 tonight, folks. on the broadcast tonight, out of control. cars flying off the road. people trapped on ice. tonight this unending snow and freezing rain grinding highways to a halt deep into the south. the showdown over immigration takes a dramatic turn. a last-minute ruling dashes american dreams for millions of families under the threat of deportation. the train disaster. still burning tonight. so hot investigators can't even get near it. as new questions emerge about all the dangerous cargo moving through so many cities and towns. and paying it forward. one restaurant's secret recipe that's helping to change the lives of the people who work there. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york,
this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. snow, ice, freezing rain, some of the worst winter has to offer has been dished out to a big part of the south. in a lot of places they don't often deal with this. and so you can just imagine how difficult life has been today in places like nashville, louisville, charlotte. especially on the roads. many reduced to virtual danger zones. power is out in places, schools are closed and flight schedules are a mess. and about our friends in boston tonight, they are closing in on 100 inches of snow so far this season. but it's what comes next that is going to add insult to injury. record cold. our team is in place including gabe gutierrez in nashville who can tell us firsthand about the difficult roads. gabe? >> reporter: lester, good evening. this is a look at the ice that has paralyzed much of the south. tonight here in tennessee, tens of thousands of people are still without power. some school districts have already closed for the rest of the week, and the national guard
is standing by. the brutal wave of snow, ice and freezing rain pounded more than 20 states. many southern states unaccustomed to snow and ice are now dealing with treacherous driving conditions. >> i cannot stress this enough, please stay off the roads until conditions improve. >> reporter: this close call was captured by nbc affiliate waby in virginia. one driver losing control, smashing into another vehicle, and nearly hitting the camera. late this afternoon, a dramatic ice rescue in new jersey. emergency crews were on their hands and knees wading through cracks of ice and snow to pull a young girl out of the frigid water to safety. on the other side of the state, a snow plow was swallowed by a sinkhole. we experienced chaos on the roads firsthand during our trip from louisville to nashville. it wasn't long before we hit a standstill, gridlock stretching for miles here on i-65.
>> i'm glad i got enough gas. >> reporter: snarled traffic, frustrated drivers and many abandoned cars. from the air, you can see the music city brought to a halt. big sheets of ice covering the roads and trees. thankfully, many people today decided to stay home. in west virginia, a stunning snow scene captured from above. while in tennessee, a mother and her 10-year-old son were killed last night, hit by an oncoming semi after stopping to help an overturned suv. coast guard cutters continue breaking through the ice in pennsylvania and new york. and tonight the south is bracing for even colder temperatures ahead. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, nashville. >> reporter: i'm miguel almaguer outside boston. tonight, the big dig. they're moving the powder as fast as they can here. at snow farms, it's stacked several stories high.
this is where mounds are poured into melters. across new england, from front yards to rooftops -- >> exhausted. it's just a pain. >> reporter: -- an incredible eight feet of snow. too much for some buildings to handle. roofs are giving way and going down. a new hampshire school canceled classes when the ceiling began to buckle. tonight bobby mallard is scrambling to keep boston warm, through narrow walkways, a stretch to deliver heating oil. tell me a little bit how difficult this has been for you guys. >> it's hard. the constant snow makes it hard for the trucks to get around. >> reporter: the roads are a mess. public transportation has been crippled. it could take a month to get trains back on track. >> basically awe the stops that i needed to get on were closed. >> reporter: even with all this ice, snow remains the biggest problem. no way to dig out if you can't get out. a wicked winter many are hoping to close the door on. there's been so much snowfall here this season, let me give
you some perspective. we're inside gillette stadium where the new england patriots play football. the governor said you can fill this massive arena 90 times over. snow would be pouring out of the roof here. that's how much snow has hit this region. and lester, it's still coming down tonight. >> what a picture. miguel, thank you. let's turn to meteorologist janice huff in the weather center. janice, dare i ask what's next? >> more of the same, lester lester, unfortunately. another bout of arctic air is in place and is expected to be moving south and eastward over the next 48 hours. these are the current wind chills within the last hour or so. most of the sub-zero readings are what it feels like across the great lakes right now. but watch this temperature take a nose dive. by wednesday morning, indianapolis, minus 10. cincinnati minus 6. that's what it will feel like. by thursday morning, atlanta will have sub-zero wind chills at minus 4. raleigh, it will feel like minus 11. nashville, minus 13. then it spreads east to new york city and boston. minus 16 in new york city. buffalo minus 30 for the wind chill.
boston gets hit again on saturday morning with 20 to 30 below wind chills. it will start to warm up a little bit after that. but look even more cold air is waiting in the wings to come next week, lester. so no relief, not yet. >> janice huff, thanks for being with us tonight. a major twist in the battle over immigration. a little more than 24 hours before president obama's executive order was set to take effect, which could stop the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, a federal judge ruled that the president overstepped his authority. now that leaves millions in limbo. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing has the details. >> reporter: tonight andrea is devastated, worried her dream of working for the fbi may not come true. >> you know, we were so ready for this. then today it just crushed us, you know? >> reporter: in texas, alfredo garcia's plan, a ph.d. program at notre dame, is at stake. >> all the possibilities that i have in the future just vanished. >> reporter: the executive actions president obama signed in november gave hope to them
and more than 4 million other undocumented immigrants that they could live and work here legally. but a 123-page decision by a district court judge andrew hainan temporarily blocks the changes. >> for the people who would be potentially affected by the new programs, this means their lives are on hold. >> reporter: the order would have meant protection from deportation, as well as the ability to obtain social security numbers, work permits, and the ability to travel. but once these services are provided, the judge wrote, there will be no effective way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube should the plaintiffs ultimately prevail. those plaintiffs, 26 states led by texas. >> in texas, we will not sit idly by while the president ignores the law. >> reporter: plans to start taking applications from undocumented immigrants tomorrow have now been suspended while lawyers appeal the ruling. >> i disagree with it. i think the law's on our side. and history is on our side. >> reporter: across the country, activists on both sides organized rallies and press conferences with emotions
running high. millions of others who hope to be citizens one day wait. >> i may end up working as a painter when i can do so much more. >> reporter: tonight immigration officials are working furiously to make sure the confusion doesn't stop people from applying at all, if and when the program starts. meantime, attorney general eric holder says the justice department is reviewing the decision to decide exactly how to proceed. lester? >> chris, thank you. investigators have made their way to the scene of that train disaster in west virginia that sent a massive fireball into the sky. it is still smoldering tonight. and though environmental experts now say they don't believe any oil spilled into nearby rivers, this accident is raising plenty of new questions about all the dangerous cargo moving across this country. we get the report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: throughout the day, the charred remains of 19 oil cars lie smoldering, still too hot for investigators to get in close.
it was monday afternoon when a tremendous explosion rocked this remote area in fayette county after a 109-car train derailed, destroying a nearby house and sending a massive fireball into the sky. today with residents drinking bottled water worried that the nearby river and water supply is not safe. >> came back clean, no detections of any of the crude oil. >> reporter: the train was carrying oil from the bakken fields in north dakota to virginia. going off the tracks near mount carbon, west virginia. the most recent in a series of oil train accidents. lynchberg, virginia, last year, 30,000 gallons dumped into the james river. and quebec, canada, in 2013, 47 dead, a town leveled. the concern? oil train traffic is up 4,000% in six years carrying especially flammable crude out of north dakota and alberta, canada. >> you put 30,000 gallons of flammable oil per car onto 100 or 150-car train, and you try to
drive it through a major population area, anything goes wrong and it's a disaster. >> reporter: many of the oil cars used today are older models that government safety regulators want phased out. but the railroad says the oil cars used in this crash were new, reinforced models. still, there's no such thing as a risk-free oil car. tom costello, nbc news, washington. a pivotal day of testimony in the trial of the former marine accused in the killing of "american sniper" chris kyle, after five days the prosecution rested and the defense began laying out its case. nbc's jacob rascon is covering the trial for us in stephenville, texas. >> reporter: eddie ray routh didn't know he was recorded. for 23 minutes he says nothing, sitting and sometimes lying down in the back of a parked patrol car after his arrest. hey, marine, an officer calls out, you all right back there? just so nervous about what's going to happen to me and my life today, routh said. then, quote, i've been so paranoid and schizophrenic all
day. i don't know what to even think of the world right now. i don't know if i'm just insane or sane. the jury will weigh that very question. did routh know right from wrong when he killed chris kyle and chad littlefield? in five days of testimony from the prosecution, we heard two dozen witnesses, including kyle's widow, taya. today the defense began with a texas ranger who held up kyle's sniper rifle recovered at the crime scene. then routh's mother jody took the stand saying routh was never the same after military service, suicidal and in and out of a v.a. medical center. she said doctors diagnosed routh with ptsd and prescribed him nine medications, including anti-psychotics. jody routh also told the jury she begged the v.a. to not release her son only days before the crime. she also told them when she met chris kyle and asked for his help, quote, he said he would do anything and everything in his
power to help my son, end quote. the defense picks up their case again tomorrow morning. lester? >> jacob rascon tonight, thanks. the country's new secretary of defense is now officially on the job. ashton carter took the oath of office today at the white house. carter replaces chuck hagel who resigned amid friction with the white house in november. carter will serve as the fourth defense secretary under president obama. for weeks at ports up and down the west coast, a long-stewing labor dispute has created a virtual standstill. ships have been floating out at sea unable to unload. now work is starting to resume, but only after hundreds of millions of dollars were likely lost, and that may only be a taste of what's to come. nbc's joe fryer tonight out on the water at the port of los angeles tonight. joe, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. this is the scene on the water at the port of los angeles. cargo is moving once again after a temporary shutdown over the long holiday weekend. but as you can see, the backlog is huge.
we count more than 30 ships on the water still waiting to unload. as the port gridlock continues, it's business owners like joe loboo who are feeling lost at sea. >> in the 40 years i've been doing this, it's the most unusual and devastating problem we've had with export shipping. >> reporter: this is peak period, yet his citrus packing house is sending about half as much fruit as normal overseas. at issue, a long-simmering labor dispute between dock workers and shipping companies. >> it goes on for a few months, then all of a sudden you're talking about a significant hit to the economy. >> reporter: today president obama's labor secretary arrived in california to meet with both sides hoping to avoid a total shutdown of 29 west coast ports. >> no walkouts, no lockouts, and we have to have a deal now. >> look at all those ships. >> reporter: even if the dispute ended today, it could take weeks, even months to unload these ships and their cargo containers filled with auto parts, electronics and other
merchandise. in colorado, big ring bicycle shop depends on shipments from asia. >> obviously disconcerting. >> reporter: owner scott mormon has plenty of bikes now but he's starting to see delivery delays. >> at a certain point it will cost us sales. >> reporter: there are estimates that a total west coast port shutdown could cost the u.s. economy $2 billion a day. lester? >> joe fryer tonight, thank you. still ahead tonight, the secret to their success. a restaurant where the employees have amassed over a million dollars in savings and an owner with a loyal staff that never wants to leave. also, 8 million fans and counting for a little country music. a captive audience and a farmer who is outstanding in his field.
welcome back. now to an ongoing series of reports we're calling good job. focusing on people across the country who have found creative ways to solve all too common problems. we were inspired by a little restaurant in a great city who figured out a way to give its workers a much-needed safety net. nbc's cynthia mcfadden takes us to dinner. >> reporter: here in san francisco, the birthplace of america's counterculture, a new revolution. ground zero, this tiny french bistro. owner jennifer would be the first to say, hers is not the fanciest or hippest restaurant
in town, though the grilled heritage pork chop is hard to beat. what really made zazi's famous is something else on the menu, right there in the fine print. $1.25 surcharge provides full benefits for our hard working staff. >> which is less than 30 minutes in a meter. and a parking meter out there will cost you more than $1.25 for 30 minutes. and that provides every staff member, even people who work one day a week, with full benefits, including full health insurance, full dental, paid sick leave and a 401(k) with a 4% match. >> reporter: it was a recipe she first cooked up after her own career waiting tables. >> just always being treat like a thief, that i was replaceable, irrelevant to the business. >> reporter: when she bought this place ten years ago, she vowed zazi would be different. >> you can live like a grown-up and work in a restaurant. >> exactly. >> yeah? >> yeah. >> and plan for your future. >> this little restaurant, our 32 employees who contribute to the 401(k) have over $1 million in savings. the average age is 26.
>> reporter: you could personally make a lot more money if you didn't do it this way, couldn't you? >> no, i don't think i could. the reason for that is the turnover is incredibly expensive. people who have been here for a long time can turn out a work level that someone who has only been here six months can't. >> i'm a chef here. i've been working here for 15 years. i love my job. >> one of the dishwashers has been here for 20-some years. a dishwasher. >> reporter: you can make your career here. >> yes. >> this is our job. we're not actors just trying to make a buck. we're here to stay. >> to say just because they don't put on a suit and go to work every day, they don't have a real job, or they don't need benefits like a real worker would, that's ridiculous. >> reporter: all this good will must come at a cost, right? after all, san francisco is one of the most competitive restaurant markets in the world. >> a successful restaurant is profiting 5%. >> reporter: and what do you guys do? >> closer to 22. >> reporter: 22% profit? >> on a good year. my accountant will kill me for telling you that. >> reporter: a recipe for
the beads are flying in new orleans where the biggest party of the year hit its peak tonight. the city is celebrating the exsession of fat tuesday which caps off the week's long mardi gras celebration. it's a bit colder than usual but there's still a lot of partying to fit in before midnight which marks the end of mardi gras and the beginning of lent. high drama here in new york as the best of the best on four legs compete for best in show at the westminster kennel club. among those already advancing to the final group, a shih tzu named rocket, owned by patty hearst the heiress whose kidnapping made national headlines in the 1970s. also in the running is a portuguese water dog named
matisse who is a cousin of the obama family dog sunny. china is preparing to usher in the year of the sheep on thursday, but this was the day of the penguin at a zoo in northern china. six of the little guys traded in their tuxedos for traditional red tang suits, much to the delight of visitors to help celebrate china's spring festival. when we come back, the farmer who's milking his sudden fame for all it's worth.
finally tonight, he's like a conductor whose symphony hall is a green pasture, or a choreographer whose dancers are of the four-legged variety. a kansas farmer is becoming quite the viral celebrity thanks to a little bovine inspiration. we get the story from nbc's harry smith. >> reporter: derek klingenberg does the chores on the family farm. but beware, inside this fresh-faced kansasen burns a cauldron of creativity. >> what does the farmer say? ♪ work work work work work work work ♪ >> everybody thinks i'm crazy. but yeah, i get nervous if they didn't think that. ♪ do you want to drive my tractor ♪ >> reporter: klingenberg is a prairie parodist, a bridge between pop culture and the
cattle and tractor set. ♪ i'm just a cattle guy ♪ >> reporter: his parodies won an immediate audience on youtube. but then came this. derek played trombone in the kansas state marching band. last spring he decided to break it out again. >> then i got the idea to go play for my cows. because who else am i going to play to? ♪ >> reporter: why not, he wondered, serenade the cattle. and they sang right back. how many have seen it now? >> 8 million. >> reporter: derek's restless imagination yearned to reach even further. recently he posted this, an etch-a-sketch type drawing with a smiley face with a pasture as his canvas and his feed truck acting as a paint brush, guiding his cattle into place. the video from a drone at 300 feet. do you think it's art? >> cow art, yeah. >> reporter: while the smiley face was a masterpiece in its own right, his newest creation may be even more impressive.
the cattle take their place to form a heart, a valentine from the heartland. harry smith, nbc news, peabody, kansas. that will do it for us on this tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good when communities find out, they're up in arms that these toxic hazardous explosive crudes are moving through their backyards. >> the explosions are emboldening activists here. thanks for joining us. i'm raj mathai. i'm jessica aguirre. could it happen here? bay area -- tonight there's a
push for stricter safety regulations. that train hauling millions of gallons of oil derailed causing at least ten tanker cars to explode with massive flames filling the sky. the explosions led to the evacuation of hundreds of people. robert handa is in san jose. what happened there is what many are worried will happen here. >> reporter: it was making rail safety a higher priority. at that time bay area leaders who are fighting rail transport of crude oil said they were having trouble convincing people that derailment was something to worry about. not anymore. people said the derailment of a train in west virginia looked like a bomb explosion. huge flames shot into the sky fueled by the cargo that went up in flames or flowed into the creek. th