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tv   News4 This Week  NBC  January 2, 2016 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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hi, everyone. i'm chris lawrence. this week we're looking back at some of the most interesting stories of 2015. among them confidence in metro is shaken. we take a look at big hits, the trends the system took, and talk to the new gm about what the new year could hold. we relive pope francis' historic visit to the nation's capital. there is a new apple of the district's eye. we're going to start with that year of struggles for metro
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from breakdowns to crisis over management. >> reporter: in january, smoke caused chaos beneath the streets of washington. >> one of the busiest in the system has been evacuated and closed down. there are reports of smoke. >> it is unbelievable how many blocks are closed off here with fire and rescue equipment. >> we now know one person has died. several others were rushed to the hospital that afternoon. >> reporter: she was heading home from work when her train stopped and started filling with smoke. it was an arcing insulator that led to the incident. the agency dealt with a handful of other problems, including the august derailment of a train at the smithsonian. it also took metro almost a year to hire a new general manager, but in november former bwi
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leader took the reins promising improvements in safety and the overall experience. >> just days after his hiring, transportation reporter sat down for his first on camera interview and talked about the challenges he faces and the improvements he wants to make. >> reporter: talk a walk around the office with paul weedfeld and it's clear he wants change. >> i think they have been patient. i want to tell them i understand their frustrations. i want to let them know i'm working around the clock to make it better. >> reporter: in his first sit-down television interview, wiedefeld was candid. >> is it clear something needs to change? i would like you to be frank.
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>> i'm being frank with you. the frustration that people feel if there aren't changes to be made, how are we addressing those issues? >> reporter: he did say he thinks there are too many people who report to him. right now he says there are 20 people who report to him. listen to what he thinks about how metro's 13,000 employees need to act. >> first and foremost, we need to have respect for each other. >> reporter: with an agency of this size and scope and moving parts, employees can often have differences. he's found an apartment in the noma area right off "h" street. he plans to ride the red line every day, even though it is just one stop to metro headquarters. he needs to get metro's current operations back on track and
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then everything else will follow. >> i can't be worried about it being hard. >> right. can you make a promise to people that it's going to get better? >> i definitely can make a promise that it will get better. >> a lot of you experienced the latest problem just last week. fare machines stopped accepting credit and debit cards for an entire day. the problem was traced to a power outage. the machines were down for nearly eight hours, but no custom customer information was compromised. how pope francis had a fiat effect. coming up, a news 4 i-team investigation. a drone problem. so many people getting them for the holidays, but too many people flying them where they shouldn't be.
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they were one of the hottest
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gifts this christmas, but drones have been making headlines and going viral on social media all year. now there's a question of how to regulate them and keep them from getting in the way of emergencies. we found a local man who learned the hard way what happens when you fly where you're not supposed to. >> reporter: you are seeing and hearing a drone flight. we're doing it inside our studio because in so many parts of our area it's illegal to fly these things outside, but they nevertheless are more popular. 700,000 drones will sell this year alone, half of them during the holiday season, which means skies are about to get more crowded. brian needle recorded it over great falls. >> i had a great time for about 20 minutes. then all hell broke loose. >> reporter: a u.s. park police helicopter was nearby. >> we didn't see the helicopter
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until it came right at us. >> reporter: he was flying it below the tree line. >> they flew over the top of me and started pushing it down. >> reporter: about two dozen air scares between drones and police and medical helicopters in 2014. a drone came close to a prince george's county police helicopter. we found it's a growing problem from coast to coast, including drones flying too close to firefighting aircraft, planes flown to stop wildfires and save lives. >> it's a very critical risk. >> reporter: about 25 times near the west coast airports reported close calls with drones. >> we're literally talking about life and death situations here when folks do stupid things. >> reporter: u.s. forest service records show in several cases the firefighters had to detour
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or ground their planes because the drones were dangerously close. tom harbor of the u.s. forest service says they had no choice. >> we're not going to kill somebody over some improper use of a drone in that air space. >> wrong place, wrong time. >> reporter: on the ground, one of those california fires torched malcolm's car. you can see it burning here and what's left here. drone operators put his home and his neighbors at risk too. >> something has to be done about it before there's a real disaster. >> reporter: police and fire response teams aren't the only people effected. we found cases of drone flights over a football game and bw air marshal airport. >> it's hard around here because there's so many areas. >> reporter: the u.s. government has already declared all of d.c.
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a no-fly zone indefinitely. they issued brian needle a $70 fine for getting too close to the police helicopter. he says he is still flying, but cautiously. >> just don't know what the story is with what's okay and what's not. >> reporter: with hundreds of thousands of more people joining the skies come christmas morning. >> for more advice on how to operate your drone, just go to the nbc washington app and click on investigation. from the throngs of people to a special kiss from the pope, it was a scene we won't forget. we take you back to the incredible papal parade. we show you how a local woman is taking climbing to new heights. [mother] yeah but this neighborhood,i feel like
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it's got a lot of what we were kinda talking about. we should definitely go see it. [agent] hi. melanie. maggie. living room. [dad]what about this? this looks good. [brendan] no. [mother] isn't it great? [agent] hey brendan,you might like this room. [announcer]redfin pays its agents based on your happiness...
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that's real estate, redefined. it was an incredible week in d.c., one that's going to be looked back on as a highlight of
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2015. from addressing a joint session of congress to mingling with the poor in washington, pope francis made history in here in our city over and over again. what most may remember is a remarkable parade the pope was a part of in the popemobile. >> reporter: it was a parade of just one man, but the impact it had simply stirring. >> he went by. i was like, oh, my god, i hope he turns around. i felt the blessing. i was so excited. >> reporter: pope francis visited the president today, but the main event really wasn't at the white house. it was in the streets around him. tens of thousands of people lined up for a glimpse of the holy father. some waited for hours. >> this is like last minute. we're going to see the pope. >> you left at 10:00 last night?
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>> yeah. >> from pittsburgh? >> yeah. >> and you slept in the parking lot to see the pope? >> yeah. >> reporter: some had traveled from other countries. >> you're from where? >> canada. >> you came from canada to see the pope? >> yes. >> what does he mean to you? >> he's love. [ cheering ] >> reporter: some cheered and sang as the anticipation grew and then there he was, in that popemobile, waving and blessing the crowd as he went down the avenue. he paused to kiss a baby, a baby handed to him by a secret service agent. he waited as a little girl brought him a t-shirt. then more waves and more blessings. though there were thousands and thousands of people, many thought the pope was really just
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there for them. >> i felt that he was looking right at my face. i don't know if he was or not, but he looked like he was looking. and he went like this. and i went yes. >> wow. the other talk around town was the holy father's relatively humble choice of transportation. for three days we saw pope francis zigzag around d.c. in a fiat 500 l. a local dealership is crediting the father with closing a few deals. one woman was on the fence about the fiat until pope francis cruised around town in one. >> she called me up this morning and said, hey, i think i've reconsidering my purchase of the fiat 500. i would like to come in tomorrow and get one. well, we've watched him grow from the size of a stick of butter to a toddler panda.
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now the national zoo is getting ready to roll out the red carpet f for him. we get a sneak peek next. t
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this may have been one of the biggest surprises of the year. back in august, a giant panda gave birth to not one, but two panda cubs. unfortunately, one of the cubs died two days later, but we've been watching young bei bei grow. >> reporter: our very first upclose look at panda cub bei bei at the national zoo and we couldn't look away. he is adorably cute in a way that only a baby panda can be. bei bei is getting a few teeth. he's almost four months. 17.5 pounds. he weighed in on monday. bei bei is hitting his
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developmental milestones right on target. he's becoming more independent and doesn't always want to be held. >> he's walking a little more, getting a little more strength in his back legs. seeing that development is always a positive thing. >> reporter: his mom is still his world, but in one month bei bei's world gets bigger. >> we want to get him used to the crowds coming through and the people in the panda house. >> we're part of that conservation story. she is one you may never heard of, but this year she completed a first conquering of one of the toughest mountains in the world in switzerland. she's a world-class rock climber who started her assent right here in our area.
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>> reporter: the eiger means ogre in swiss and it can be mean and ugly, especially humans who try to crawl up its side. many have felt its lethal breath as they have been blown off or frozen to death in their quest. this is sasha dejulian. the north face is a complicated passage known as murder wall because of its forboding nature. >> this entire encompassing of me stepping out of my comfort zone of what i knew and trying something i didn't know and i didn't know if i could do it opinion. >> reporter: she uses a rope and gear only to catch her fall. your assent is determined by your strength and the mountain. dejulian is lucky. her passion seized her quite early. she grew up in the washington
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area, attending the potomac school in mclain. she ventured into competitive climbing when she was just 8 and she never looked back or down. >> i've never had to question who i am or what i want because i'm so happy with what i am that i'm most passionate about. >> reporter: her assent of the eiger took a month and included her partner. >> we are about to dig our bed. >> reporter: and had a few setbacks from weather. >> today was a giant smackdown. >> reporter: the greatest danger on the north face of a mountain is storms that can ambush a climber. the other danger comes from within -- fear. >> this climb was probably the beast of my fear. i was scared just about every day. it was focusing on not thinking
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about falling really and focusing on what i could control. >> reporter: while physical strength and agility gets you on the mountain, dejulian says your mind gets you to the top. >> your mind is overruling your body's exhaustion, so you're convincing yourself that you can keep going when you don't know if physically you can. >> reporter: on august 29th they reached the summit and what a mountaintop. just breathtaking. rock climbing is clearly for the rare free ranged human, but the tenacity to reach our individual heights applies even to us mortals down below. >> wow. what a climb and what a view from the top. dejulian has her sights set on el capitan in yosemite. that's going to do it for news 4
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this week. we're going to leave you with some of our favorite time lapsed videos of the year. thanks for joining us and happy new year. ♪ ♪
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welcome. and we hope you're as excited as we are to head in 2016 and this year's expo. from free screenings to mental health forums to cooking demonstrations and fun fitness for everyone. we'll preview the expo in this next half hour and we'll talk about the health and wellness issues impacting our communities. >> reporter: this bridge represents more than just traffic headaches or this delaware family. it's a reminder of the nearly three-hour drive they made


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