tv News4 This Week NBC March 13, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
welcome to "news4
this week." >> hi, everyone. i'm veronica johnson. we're going to show you local stories making news this week. among them, she's been missing for a month now and experts say cases like hers on are the rise. the news4 i-team show how they use high-tech tools to find missing people with dementia. and d.c.'s car is finally up and running. now, can it stay that way? we travel to atlanta to check out their equally as troubled system.
it's a scam. how investigators say this man is trying to rip off d.c. residents. but first, one of d.c.'s most iconic bridges in danger of shutting down. transportation reporter adam tusk went inside the memorial bridge to check out the deteriorating conditions. his story is on our nbc washington app. now we are learning how much it would cost to keep the bridge open. news4's tom sherwood has that story from along the potomoc river. >> reporter: thousands of cars travel across the bridge but it's the daily wear and tear of 68,000 vehicles and the corrosion of aging underpinning that threaten to shut down the bridge in five years if massive repairs aren't done. that cost, $250 million the u.s. parks service doesn't have. >>
bridge is going to take a coalition of regional partners. >> reporter: the memorial bridge repairs would take up nearly all of the u.s. parks service budget for all parks across the country. but it needs to be done. but when you talk about the bridge being so bad it has to close, that's a heck of a decision to make. >> it is. and it's not one we take lightly. but what's most important is for drivers and pedestrians to be safe. >> reporter: the bridge first built in 1932 also is used by many pedestrians and cyclists. >> i go across it every day on my bicycle and travel over it on my vehicle and on occasion it's been a real problem. >> a local family got much needed closure after a week of wondering if their grandmother's bo body had disappeared. it turns out that the body in the casket is their loved one. virginia gray's body was
home two weeks ago and looked in the casket and did not recognize gray. they went back this week and got a second look and brought along their grandmother's personal doctor. >> the physician determined that it is my grandmother. we had them strip her down of all of her makeup and put her in her natural -- as much of her natural light as possible. >> last month, gray fell unconscious and went to the hospital and died a short time later. her family says they don't blame the funeral home for what happened and now can start planning her funeral. well, a warning about those popular quizes that pop up on your facebook feed. you know, the ones that ask which disney princess or star wars character are you. this seems like it's harmless fun but in some cases hackers use those quizzes to hide malicious software.
>> it seems harmless but you never know who is really asking you for the information. the more they know about you, the more ways that they can trick you into doing something like clicking on a link that you should not click on. >> so here are four things that will help you protect yourself. be cautious of quizzes and poll us that want you to sign in. treat your e-mail address like cash and don't click on links just because a friend posted it on their timeline. finally, only participate in quizzes that protect your reputable data. after a decade of delays, the street car system is up and running but how the city's costly new experiment will turn out remains unclear. tonight, we take you down south to atlanta, georgia, to see how their street car system turned out and find out what d.c. can learn from it. >> i'm adam
atlanta. why are we here? we're checking out the street car system here. what else? atlanta's street car system opened about a year ago and there have been a lot of lessons learned from this system. for the d.c. region, atlanta offe cautionary tales. >> the first year was full of a lot of missteps for the street car. >> reporter: management problems, lapsed safety checks, even issues with the homeless who decided the free atlanta street car was a great place to take shelter. andrea simmons is the transportation reporter for the atlanta journal constitution. >> some of these things we probably had to learn through experience and, you know, the mayor is likening it to scraping your knee. >> reporter: d.c. is hoping a bandage is not needed while it's free to ride right now, atlanta recently charging a buck to ride. and at least anecdotally, ridership has dropped.
it's not worth it. >> it's a waste of time. they are too slow. it's like riding a turtle. >> reporter: atlanta is not looking for payers to pay for their system. they are looking for taxes for the development that will spur along the corridor. >> we don't have a specific number that we're trying to achieve. >> reporter: development is a big part of the game in d.c. as well but the question is still being asked, does all of this make sense? for right now, at least for d.c. and atlanta, the answer will probably only be revealed by time. >> it's up in the air whether should could be called a success or not. >> in atlanta, adam tusk, news4. another long battle could soon be coming to an end. the last-ditch effort a local power company is making to finalize a massive merger. and it doesn't look like there is snow on the ground t
69 flights of stairs carrying 70 pounds of equipment and do it in just ten minutes. a group of d.c. firefighters did that last weekend in the annual stare climb challenge in seattle, washington. it helps raise money for the leukemia and lymphoma society. news4 visited the training facility in the southwest to watch the firefighters prepare for that grueling event. >> our job is to save lives and we can do that more than just coming in to work. we can help fight cancer. our brothers and sisters on the job are getting cancer all the time because of the hazards we face. >> 2,000 firefighters across the country competed in the stare climb this year. that looks heavy and hard. well, the last-ditch efforts by pepco to save
controversial $7 million merger. the company asked the service commission to reconsider the conditions it put on the merger last month. failure to act could mean the whole thing gets derailed. some civic groups and city leaders say it's just a bad deal and at this point it's not clear when or if the deal will even go through. well, he says he's your neighbor and asks for your money. police are warning residents about a guy scamming people in several parts of the city. the last incident happened just last weekend in the navy yard area, a well-dressed man in a suit comes up, knocks on your door and says he's your neighbor bruce. he tells you he's locked it out with his keys and his wallet at home and then he asks you for some money so that he can catch a cab or take metro. >> knocking on my door yesterday and it's sad that somebody would take advantage of good-hearted people. >> it is sad. we have this
police say he hasn't committed any crime. but they wanted to get the word out and urge you not to give him any money. well, you'll see some unique performances at the kennedy center this season. the artists who will lead the movement to bring more hip-hop to the classic venue. and they are some of the most difficult missing persons cases. next, the news4 i-team is on the trail with using mapping technology with hopes of bringing
confused, scared and in desperate need of medication, it's a terrible combination for people with dementia when they wander away from their homes and too often it ends in tragedy. tisha thompson and the news4 i-team show how experts are cracking through the confusion to find them. >> reporter: nancy spent her life taking care of other people.
working as a montessori teacher and a caregiver for the elderly until suddenly she became confused. >> the last couple of months she was suffering from what we thought was rapid onset dementia. >> reporter: her son says it happened quickly. she abruptly lost 30 pounds and this picture was taken a few hours before she vanished. >> we had a hard time getting her out of the apartment so we weren't overly concerned with that. >> reporter: but on february 8th, his 66-year-old mother disappeared next to these woods. this sistofficer says his dog c cover the same amount of territory with his nose as 100 volunteers walking side by side. the officer says there's no one else like him in the greater washington area.
search coordinator working with officers to find the training. >> how many officers do we have? >> ten on the call right now. >> reporter: dementia searches have jumped in montgomery county. it's going to keep growing. >> a person walking 2 miles an hour, 6 1/2 hours, the entire county is our search area. no one can search that amount of property. >> reporter: so his team uses a lot of maps. >> you can see, this is our 500 meter ring. >> reporter: using statistical models to plot out the probability area to search using research found in this book, "lost person behavior" written by this man, robert kester. >> the fatality rate for dementia cases is twice that of lost children. >> reporter: he travels the world training search crews how to find all kinds of missing people. >> for a long
rescue was used to looking for hikers and hunters and missing children and dementia victims were not meeting the same pattern. they were closer and in locations that were in areas that were really thick, transitional zones. >> reporter: but by studying hundreds of real-life dementia cases, he created mapping software that allows police to simply drop an icon at the last known location and the computer will highlight the most likely places they should start searching. his research found they follow the same pattern. they walk in a relatively straight line until they bump into something. since they tend to be older, they take the path of least resistance, sticking to roads and trails that go downhill and often towards water, which they mistakenly believe will be an easy, flat place to walk. if they get into trouble, they won't call up for help or even answer if someone calls out their .
>> there's a loss of personal vision so that's all you're going to see. a lot of people with dementia are looking down at the ground. so as i walk now, i can't make it. my feet are struck. i come here and this is it. we look at it and we go, why wouldn't you just walk around this? but a person with dementia, this may be enough, i can't go around it and we will find them standing just like this. >> reporter: nancy's children now wonder if their mother didn't realize her home was literally right next to her and instead walked off into the woods trying to find it. she's now been missing for a month and the case has become personal for huggins after more than a decade of searching for people, she's the only dementia patient he has yet to find. if you have someone in your family with dementia, there are things you can do now to help them find your loved one if they ever wander away. we've put the entire list on our
bracelet and filling out a detailed form because even if they've never wandered away before, the experts all say the chances are high it will probably happen often without warning. well, it's one of the most popular and beautiful times of the year. here in d.c. and this year, it's coming a lot earlier than normal where you can see
there's a pretty cool change coming to the kennedy center as it gears up for its next performance season. the producer will join the artistic director for hip-hop culture. quest is considered a pioneer. >> we hear it everywhere. you cannot escape that beat and that beat, that pulse is what we're going to connect to at the kennedy center. >> the
announced that hip-hop will become part of its core programming. other changes this season, soprano fleming will take on new roles. into well, you're not the only one who is loving warm weather this week. so with the cherry blossom trees and now that means that those famous blossoms will likely arrive much earlier than expected. the national park service now says that the peek bloom around the basin will fall between march 18th and the 23rd, a whole two weeks earlier than the park officials announced just last week. this does not impact, though, the dates of the cherry blossom festival. well, the sunshine and warm temperatures that we've been having is good news for everyone. there's a big mess left behind at rfk stadium where they dumped all of the snow after the january blizzard. news4 is where all of that trash is going to go now that the snow is gone. >> reporter: to give you an idea of how msn
about, just take a look. >> more than six weeks later, this is what the snow pile looks like today. >> it's gross but i'm glad they put it somewhere so we could drive and park. >> reporter: what else was scooped up by the plows? today, lot seven is a debris field. and, yes, there is snow under this mess. much of the runoff is going into these drains that lead directly into the anacostia river a few feet away. d.c. water tweeted, the melting snow water posing a problem for the environment. and it's created parking issues for its fans. this week's rock & roll marathon has had to move the finish line and concert held in lot 7. the d.c. public works has a plan to clean up the huge mess left behind by the snow piles. it ss
be bales around the inlets to the river and the debris will be raked up and transported away and the entire area swept. >> i guess i'm trusting that they are mitigating all of the bad stuff as much as they can. so i know it's not great. it's pretty gross. >> the district hopes to have the lot cleaned up by the end of the month and then it will have to be repaved and the d.c. department of environment says it is monitoring the river. they say so far there's been no real damage. well, that's all for "news4 this week." i'm veronica johnson. thanks for joining us, as always. we leave you with incredible images of this week's solar eclipse. take a look. until next time, be kind, be safe, be happy. ♪
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