tv PBS News Hour PBS November 13, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. ton the newshour tonight, deadliest fire in california history, with more than 200 people still missing. miles o'brien explores what fuels these destructive blazes. then, a democrat is declared the winner in arizona's senate race, the georgia governor's race remains too close to call and recounts continue in florida. plus, with teen suicide on the rise, we go inside a school that's taking a proactive approach to counseling potentially troubled students. >> we figured we have to be very publ about this. we have to be up-front about it. we have to talk about mental wellness, we have to talk about suicide. we can't hide behind ag. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. or
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>> woodruff: california firefighters continue the battle to control two massive wildfires today. e so-called camp fire in the north is now the deadliest in the state's history,aslaiming at 42 victims. more than 200 remain unaccounted r. the fire covers nearly 200 square miles and has burned more than 7,600 homes and structures. in the southern parte state, the woolsey fire has left two dead,burned more than 400 structures, and remains 35% contained. william brangham has our first , port. >> brangham: todayarch crews led by coroners are going block by block in paradise, california, looking for any trace of those who did not escape the camp fire. >> everybody i know lost everything.
it's real sad. >> brangham: the death toll for this deadliest fire in state history could easily go higher. the campire sparked thursday, and quickly destroyed the town of paradise and then threatened surrnding communities. more than a dozen search-and- recovery teams are scoing through burned-out cars and the ashes of homes. 1thorities haveequested an additional personnel to help. more survivors recounted their own harrowing escapes: w the fire was above us, the fi below us, in on either sides. i mean, we were totally surrounded and driving through. >> brangham: state authorities are now instigating whether sparks from power lines might've started the fire. on the front lines, more than o 000 firefighters are continuingght intense flames and bone-dry conditions. they've made somntprogress in ning the fire as it moves east toward the town of oroville. many of the firefighters are trying their own communities.
>> we all sustained a severe amount of property damage but fortunately a lot of our structures were left. and then to come out here. i mean this is the calling. >> brangham: the fires are so vast that smoke has migrated some 180 miles south, casting a cloud over san francisco. in southern california, crews continue to drop water and fire-retarnt as they work to extend the containment lines around the woolsey fire. >> we are not out of the woods yet. we still have some incredibly odifficult conditions ahe us. >> brangham: it also started thursday, destroying homes and businesses across loangeles and ventura counties. authorities are also investigating whether an outage on a piece of utility equipment caused this particular fire. in the seaside town of malibu, still under a mandatory evacuation, residents saw more of the same destruction: incinerated cars and the skeletons of homes. >> it was a fire storm, the
worse i've ever seen it, i've >> houses all around going up in juames. a horrific, horrific scene. and there was a number of times when they were wondering, "hey, are we going to be able to get out of this?" >> brangham: as fire officials inspect more of the damaged areas, the total number of homes destroyed is also expected to rise. >> 20 people lost their homes in here. i mean, that's just devastating. that'srobably the hardest. >> brangham: president trump approved a federalt isaster requom california, which all help bolster a dwindling fire budget eason that has seemed never-ending. president trump spoke aboum california fe white house today. >> we mourn the lives of those lost. we pray for the victims. and there are more victims than anybody would ever even think possible. ar brangham: state officials say thernumerous factors driving this disaster: the lingering effects from the
state's drought, warmer temperatures caused by climate change, and more and more housing being built deepernto forested areas. this combination, they say, will only make the devastation of pbture fire seasons worse. for thnewshour, i'm william brangham. william will be back later with more on what's driving these intense fires, later in the broadcast. in the day's other news, amazon announced it will split its new cond headquarters between two locations: long island city in eens, new york, and crystal city, virginia just outside washington, d.c. the online retail giant based in seattle has pledged to more than $5 billion on the new outposts, and create at least 25,000 new jobs at each site. new york city mayor bill de blasio welcomed the decision. >> we're going to have an opportunity here for tens of thousands of new yorkers, kids who come up from our public school, kids w go to our
community colleges who go to our four-year colleges to work at azon. and not just at amazon, but we know that amazon's presence is going to help build the enti tech sector. >> woodruff: in return, amazon y expected to receive nea $2.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives as part of the two deals. a tense calm prevailed in gama today after and other palestinian militants accepted a cease-fire, broker by egypt, to end the recent wave of cross- border attacks. foreign affairs correspondent nick schifrin has our report. >> schifrin: in gaza today, a palestinian boy wearing an american sweater played in t o rubbwhat used to be hamas' tv station. what used to be hamas' interior ministry is now a giant pile of debris. and a nearby high-rise is gutted, its walls and windows blown out, displacing gazans like mazen tarbaan. >> ( translated ): where we will go to? wawas displaced from in the 2014 when my house was hit.
i came and bought in a safe place. now where is the safe place? >> schifrin: before today's ceasefire, israel hit 150 targets it said were connected to hamas militants. and as always, the funerals were men in hamas uniforms carried a fighter who hamas chief ismail haniyeh says was killed by israeli aggression. >> ( translated ): this is an open battle between us and the zionist enemy. only he is responsibe for this crd its ramifications. >> schifrin: the tombing produc deadliest and most dangerous round of violence in four years. across three nights, early mornings, hamas released video of more than 400 rockets fired at israel, targeting israeli cities like ashkelon, where residents shot cell phone video trying to sa a woman from a collapsed house. in nearby sderot, sins warned of iinent attacks, and residents carried a neighbor, who was palestinian, killed by a palestinian rocket.
>> i am terrified. me and my daughter we cried re, a lot of people criee airs, going down stairs, and there is a lot of babies here and everybody was evacuated outside, must stay outside. i hope everything is going to be okay. >> schifrin: but the attacks continued. hamas released propaganda video of a missile strike on an israeli army bus. and on monday lt. col. jonathan conricus showed a building damaged by palestinian rockets, and described israeli airstrikes as necessary. >> all of them military targets, belonging to either the hamas, or the palestinian islamic behad, again signifying the difference hereen what the terrorists do and what we do. they target civilians and we target terrorist activities. >> schifrin: the violence was sparked by a sunday israelec spl forces raid that killed n o hamas commanders, but also killedrael lieutenant colonel, and recent diplomatic progress. s th sides have been eager to addresnths of protests, and a humanitarian crisis. 97% of gaza's water is
undrinkable. ofere are only four hours electricity a day. so israel recently allowed shipments of diesel for gaza's power plant, and an infusion of dollars so thousands of hamas civil servants could pick up months of back-pay. t today, that fragile progress must be rebuilt, just like the buildings that both sides know could be targeted again. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> woodruff: president trump fired off series of twitter taunts this morning, lashing out at his french counterpart over military spending and trade. they came two days after a tense visit to paris. mr. trump mocked president emmanuel macron for proposing an all-european army. he suggested france would have lost both world wars without the s. military's support. and onrade, the president complained about french tariffs on u.s. wine. in a rare move, first lady melania trump publicly called for the ouster of a
senior white house official. in a statement from her spokeswoman, mrs. trump suggested deputy nat security adviser mira ricardel be fired. it rd: "it is the position o the first lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving inhis white house." the state of maryland filed a legal challenge todato block the appotment of matthew itaker, president trump's choice to be acting u.s. attorney general. the lawsuit conten that whitaker's appointment violates a federal succession law, and the post should go to deputy betorney general rod rosenstein, who's alread confirmed by the senate. whitaker h been chief of staff to former attorney general jeff sessions, who the president fired last week. cnn sued the trump administration today for
revoking correspondent jim acosta's white house press pass, claiming his first amendment rights were violated. the white house stripped acosta's press credentials following a heated exchange at the president's news conference last week. in a statement, press secretary sarah sanders accused cnn of "grandstanding," and insisted lfe white house will "vigorously defend" it democrat kyrsten sinema has won the arizona senate contest, putting an end to a race that's been too close to call for almost a week. ne a pickup for her party, narrowly edged out republican congresswoman martha mcsally to fill the seat vacated by outgoing reblican jeff flake. sinema celebrated her victory last night in phoex. she's the first woman from arizona to ever be elected to the u.s. senate. >>rizonans had a choice between two very different ways forward: one focused on fear and
party politics; and one focused on arizona, and the issues that matter to everyday families. arizona rejected whahas become far too common in our couny: name-calling, petty personal attacks, and doing andaying whatever it takes just to get elected. >> woodruff: meanwhile, in georgia, a federal judge has extended the deadline to certify election results for the state's hotly contested governor's race d friday. florida, officials are racing to meet their thursday deadline for recounts in both 'le senate and governor's races. get the latest on florida's recount, later in the program. envoys from britain e european union have agreed to a proposed brexit deal, after months of stalled negotiations. british prime minister theresa may will present the terms of the withdrawal to henet tomorrow. but its fate remains unclear rosince it still must be ad
by her cabinet and the british paeiament, and ratified by e.u. the u.k. is set to leave the bloc on march 29th. there's word airple manufacturer boeing failed to tell pilots about a software issue that's believed to have played a role in the deadly crash of an indonesian jetliner. "the wall street journal" reported pilots weren't informed until after last month's incident, which killed all 189 people on board. experts said a new flight- rentrol feature can, on occasions, cause the 737 to take a nose dive or crash. boeing is working to fix the software. the trial of notorious mexican drug lord joaquin "el chapo" guzman got underway today in new york, amid tight security. opening statements were delayed after a juror had to be dismissed.
guzman has pleaded not guilty to raarges of drug trafficking, cons to murder, and money laundering. if convicted, the 61old could face life in prison. the environmental protection agency today announced new plans to limit duty trucks.m heavy ras one of the trump adminion's first efforts to regulate the industry, rather lean roll back environmental the e.p.a. hasn't updated its standards for nitrogen oxide emissions for birigs in nearly two decades. and stocks extded their losing streak on wall street today, led by a steep drop in oil prices. the dow jones industri average lost 100 points to close at ,286. the nasdaq gained a fraction of a point,nd the s&p 500 slipped four. still to come on the newshour: what's fueling california's deadliest wildfire. several key races toclose to call in florida and georgia.
how one school districis taking a proactive approach to preventing teen suicide, and much more. >> woodruff: as we've been reporting, in california, talk of a defined fire season is giving way to a more permanent william brangham is back with more on what's driving this new, dangerous condition. >> brangham: that's right judy. as we reported before, three major fires are causing havoc in trlifornia, including the most deadly and destive in the state's history, the camp fire, which is still burning in northern california. over the past six months, ournc sciee correspondent miles o'brien has been shooting a film abouwildfires for the pbs science series "nova." nd's called "inside the megafire,"ill air next spring on pbs.
fiis past week, miles was there in californiing just as the camp fire broke out. he joins me now. miles, it's great to see you safe and sound, but i'm just curious what that was like when you're there on the ground when that enormous blaze oke out. >> well, william, our day began in readingnicalif we were there to interview some shriven of the car fire back july. on thursday about 6:00 a.m. we got word there was a firbout 100 miles away. we had no idea what we were going to be tting into. we made our way down, an we approached on the northern side of the fire in the unincorporated settlement of magalia. there was fire everywhere, houses on fire, trees on fire, smoke everywhere. there was no humanly possible way to stop what was happening. it was terrifying. it was horrfyg.
it was frankly mesmerizing. >> brangham: i know that by all accounts this was a truly extraordinary event. i believe it burned 80 acres a minute at the very beginning. it's noconsumed over 100,000 acres i believe. i guess the technical term this is a megafire, an my understanding is we're sing more of these events. why is that? >> well, megafires are much more common than they have been.yo just to givean idea, the seven largest fires in california history have occurred since 2003. so this is a growing trend. we were meeting up with a fire meteorologist from san jose state university, craig klemens. he and a team have a truck that's rigged up with all kinds of meteorogical gear, including a lydar system, which is basically radar with light. he points it at the plume of the smoke.
and he's also to see thrd gh the smoke termine the wind direction and speed and understand some things about the weather. fires create their own weather, and they're also impacted by the am bee yentd weather around them. this is of great interest tos researcher help them understand how these big fires propagate. they sort of develop a life of their own. craig points out that california, when you consider its train, the amount of fuel available, and the weather, it's th tperfect place forse megafires. >> brangham: when you have that happen, dry fuel, real strong winds, dry air, and warmer temperatures, tt's the combination for extreme fire behavior, and california has multiple mountain ranges, ltiple wind systems and all sorts of different fuel types. we have the most ecosofstem any other place in the united states, and they all burn t. >> brangham: so he's describing this incredible amount of dry tinder to fuel these fires. what are some oai the other factors that drive these big
blazes? >> well, we shouldn't overlook one important factor, which is many more human beings are moving into 2t woods. there are now 100 millis on americo live in what is known as the wildland urba interface or so humans are there. then they're causing the fires. that's big part of it. but there is also the issue of climate change. there is a big stack of research now that links the climate to the incidts of fire. it stands to reason that if it's warmer and drier, you are going we have a greater likelihood of fire. it up with a researcher at columbia unives lamont doherty university, park williams, who has authored a lot of t tse papers, and he sa evidence is fairly clear. >> so in the last 40 years or, so we've set the amouof forest that burns any given year in the western united states has
increased by about 1,000%. that means there's about tes tire forest burning this year than there was in a year in the 1970s and 1980s. this is a huge increase. and that increase has been driven by warming. >> brangham: president trump, who we know is a real sceptdic about the science behind clima change has blamed a different factor. he has repeatedlyaid the california wildfires are driven by bad forest management.t how true is t what does your reporting tell us about that? >> well, bad forest magement is a problem, however, that's pretty simplistic. the blame should not be pointed at california in particular, and incidentally, environmentalists, as is part of that whole argument. really the story goes back about a century and the effort to protect timber and timber interests in the united states. that's really how the forest nervice began. and it beg a century of very aggressive fire supression.
and what it has i done,t has left forests all across our nation as dry tinderboxes filled with a lot of underbrush, a lot dead trees, and aot of diseased trees. it is worth pointing out that these forests over the'ons have involved with fire as a natural way to prnlg things and juvenate themselves. so what's the solution? the researchers will tell you the bestay to handle this problem, and it's not an easy one to solve, is to st thinning out forests, not clear cutting them for timber, but thinning them out and introducing so-called prescribed burns. i met up with a researcher with the u.s. forest service in missoula, montana. we went to a coupplopts of land where she's runng an inresting experiment. inne of the plots, they have le it thick.f growth. barely walk throit. right ne,6 years ago, they thinned it out and they burned it. it's lying night and day.
>> the ponderosa pine forest evolved with very freq fires. we think they burned every two to 14 years e on averagery seven years. so that's really frequent. so removing fire for 100 years allowing all these little seedlings to get estalished. they start growing, andf firings were coming through here routinely, they would kill those seedlings, creating open conditions. >> brangham: it sounds like it's working in this demonstration she's showing you, but the west of the united states is so vast. is it really realistic that we could thin and clear the hundreds of thousands of acres that is the united states out west? >> well,it certainly won't be cheap and easy, william, that is a fact. . you look at the u forest service budget now, over 50% of the money they spent is just to battle firesll so there's ry not even any money for them to go into the preventative ideas t sharon
hood would suggest. gut there is a growin recognition that this is the only way out of this problem. but there is also a lot of opposition to it. here's the irony, the oppositionthe mosteated opposition comes from the people most affected, the people living in the woos who don't want to have their view changed by thinning or to have the smoke that's caused by the prerid burns. but what the experts will tell you is the fire isv iitable. we need to learn to live with it. it's a question of whether we wa to do the fire on our own terms or wait for something as horrible as the camp fire. if the trends continue, we're just going to see more and more and bigger and bigger fires. >> brangham: all right. miles o'brien, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> brangham: the "nova" documentary "inside the megafire" will air in the spring of 2019 on pbs.
>> woodruff: results from florida's senate and governor's s remain unclear a week after the polls closed. the state is once again mired in recounts and lawsuits. at the center of the drama is south florida's broward county. officials there are working around the clock to re-count mod than 700,000 ballots ah of thursday's deadline. adam smith is the political editor for the "tampa bay times" and he joins me now. adam, you have been followinyo this story ahave all of florida's recent elections in recent memory. remind us what triggered this ecount. >>ll, it's a virtually tied election. three of them rlly statewide. you've got all within one percentage point, the governor's race, the senate race, and there's an agriculture commissioner race. ender state statute, if you get within half a peage point, you have to have a machineun re and that's 67 different
counties. so that's what they're doing now. the deadline to complete that is thursday afterf:on. >> woodro the recount is across the state, but so much focus onbroward county. why? >> because broward has a track record of just botching these elections, election after election after election. palm beach county to a lesser extent, too. so after the votes seemed to have been counted on election night, it turned t there were a lot more coming from broward county. that's why bill nelson didn't concede. that's why andrew gillum, running for governor, took back his concession. >> woodruff: we should sayag n, broward county, the home to fort lauderdale. a lot of focus, adam, mith overvotes and undervotes. explain the significance of that and what the ballot itself looked like. >> okay. one of the big questions id n browunty and really the great hope of the democrats and bill nelson pulling this out, he's down by about 13,000 points
so far, i mean 13,000 votes so far, and there are about 25,000 or so ballots that show no vote for that senate race. so the queion is was it a problem in the design that people just skipped over it, or was there some problem with they machine that te not reading votes that were really cast? the nelson campaign is hoping and supposedly expecting that it's going to turn out to be a giant machine >> woodruff: you have monitors following all this. if it'ldclose enough there w be a manual recount, is that what we're looking at here possibly? >> if it then ge under a quarter of a percentage point, there will be manual recount. that seems like a given that that's going to happ the senate race and probably also this agricultural race. then there are afew legislative races that aren't statewide. so that's where we'll really
have deéjaà vu from 2000 where you'll have these canvassing boards looking at all of these ballots. there are no longer chads, but there are things likeid they properly mark the ballot. did they x out oneas vote and another vote? there will be some interpreting of what realy constitutes a vote. >> woodruff: so president trump, a number of republicans ha been talking about fraud, unfairness in the way this has been conducted. rs there evidence of that? st t is zero evidence of fraud oling votes or packing ballot boxes, as scott and the preshaent been saying. there is a lot of evidence of incompeten and vie -- violating proper protocol, but so far both the state law enforcement agency and the division of elections, these arw bodies that really report to republican elected officials, they say there is zero evidence so far of any actual fraud or trying to steal an election, as
the president says. >> woodruff: so for thoseerf us whoaround in 2000 and remember that recount that went on for day, we remember the reblicans were particularly aggressive on the legal front, the public statement f. how would you compare the two parties right now in how they're handling all of this? >> very similar unfortunately in some ways. you have the republicans muvery casting this as an effor to invalidate and steal a valid election, and you have the democrats doing all they can to have a very liberal interpretation of what kind of ballots should be counted as votes, et cetera. so far a number of these lawsuits, the governor tried to impound the voting machines at one point, tofo sort aise doubts. that was tossed out. so there are about at leastve lawsuits that i can count off the top of my head that have been filed so far. >> woodruff: there's so much at stake, as there always is in every election. we know so much at stake
particularly from washianngton's oint in the senate race, because of what's happened there. adam schiff, how confident can florida voters be, can american voters be that when all is said and done these votes are going to be counted correctly? >> i don't know the answer to i think we're so polarized right now that i think certainly if the election were overturned, i shouldn't say overturned, but if lson pull ahead, i'm sure we'd have half the country very, very, very doubtful. so the problem is whn u get elections that are this close, it kind of shines a spotlight on how problematic our voting technology and processes often are. >> woodruff: well, we're goingbe to remyour answer just now and as we watch to see what happens. adam smith of the tampa bay "tay mes," thank you. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: how a small town in north carolina reblds after hurricane florence. and author susan orlean looks back to a fire tharavaged losal angeles' cenibrary. but now, scide is now the cond leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 18, according to the centers for disease control and prevention. how to tkle the problem? the research points to schools. special correspoent lisa stark, of our partner "education week" visited a high school in virginia to see if their approach of teaching mental health can work. it's part of our ongoing educatn series, "making the grade." >> reporter: this is the kind of lesson you don't often hr in a high school classroom. >> every single one of you matters. we care about every single one
of you, so if you're not feeling great, if you're concerned about a friend who might also not be feeling great, please, please come tell us. >> reporter: the subject, preventing suicide, taught by school counselors at freedom high in chantilly, virginia. >> we're going to go over some of the signs of depression. ybe you can identify some of the signof depression that you've seen or recognize? >> we figured we have to be very public about ts. we have to be up-front about it. we have to talk about mental wellness, we have to talk about suicide. we can't hide behind anything. >> reporter: principalas fulton has made mental health education an essential part of the curriculum at thigh- stress, high-performing public school outside washington, d.c. >> if we're not working on building our mental wellness for all of our students, we're
missing a piece of education. >> molly is a recent graduate of freedom high, now in college and doing well. it was a school guidance councilor who first realized molly could be suicidal and told her mother, kim. molly was in sixth grade. >> i was just shocked. she totally fored me. she said the reason molly would be the one kid that you really have to watch is cause she was very popular, great grades, nothing pointed to isss with molly, nothing stuck out. except she was always sad. >> reporter: therapy helped. molly has never tried to hurt herself, but she sayhit rock bottom in 11th grade. >> i wasn't doing my school work, my grades were dropping and i care a lot about my studies so it s really difficult. and then more emotionally i got hit pretty hard.
>> reporter: you don't have to eentinue. >> i mean it to be said, sometimes you come across like everything is cod letely fine ere are days when you just onnt to die and you feel really, really bad and ncan see it and you're waiting for somebody to s it. >> reporter: molly's older sister did see it, and went to a school counselor. >> and the counselors at the school were the first person to p on it and take care of me and screen me and make sure i was doing okay, and give me options. >> when it comes to educatheg our youth,mportant things to teach them is that mental health struggles are commoto human experience. there should be no stigma or shame in that. that asking for help is a good, strong thing to do, not a sign of weakness.
reporter: the american foundation for suicide prevention says even though hchools don't have enoug councilors and psychologists, many are trying to make mental health a priority. >> they have eyesn our youth of america and can notice changes b theiravior and act to save lives really. >> reporter: nearly one in five high school students will seriously consider high school in a 12-month period according to the centers for disease control. will attempt it. suicide is now the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 18. rates are especially high for gay,bian and bisexual students and native ams. >> reporter: suicide experts ske there are twroles that schools can take, first to identify students who may be at risk of harming themselves, and then to connect th to the mental health services they need. mental health issues can start
at a young age and m than half of all cases start befor age 14. teenage years can beeven more stressful, perhaps even more so nowaday, affecting students of all races and all economic levee including thoso are relatively well off at freedom high. >> i'm taking classes with a large workload. >> social media really takes takes a toll on a of us. >> deadlines we have, things that we feel obligated to accomplish. >> mental health got put on the back burner unfortunately, and it shouldn't have. >> reporter: at freedom, theus goal isn't to help students in a crisis but to prevent the crisis in the first place. they're working to make students feel connected to each other and to the staff. a not easy i school of,100. so the schooyl puts ev student into an advisory, small groups of 14. >> you guys are freman, so you guys are learning the ways of high school. >> reporter: freshman advisories are led by seniors to help create a bond between the newest stunts and the most
experienced. teacher debbie savage runs the program. >> our overall goal, again, is about relatiship building and building relationships. because if you have strong relationships you're going to feel good about yourself. >> would you like a lollipop? >> reporter: there's also a big ef environment that's welcoming and supportive. the students on lollipop duty are part of a suicide prevention program, called sources of strength, used in about 10,000 schools nationwide. counselor monica belton oversees the effort at freedom high. >> the meat and potatoes of sources of strength is really talking about strength stori, talking about what other kids are doing to get through the hard times and how it's working r them. so that's what we're asking people to do is share their stories of strength. i want you to write down, draw, picture, do whatever you want to do to let us know about things that you do that give you strength.
>> reporter: the focus is on building coping skills using resources sucht,s family suppositive friendships, mentors, healthy activities. >> so we're going to take turns, everybody present their poster. >> when we feel sad, or we feel blue, these are some of the things we do. >> my name's adrx, i like to ive. >> my name's izzy and i like to exercise >> taking long walks, music inal my ear, friendhere. this rap is short, it's not about length, we hope you like our sources of strength. >> reporter: students are they will become peer leaders, suicide prevention ambassadors. >> i think slowly but surey we've brought anxiety and suicidal depression, like those feelings have become part of our everyday conrsation, which is great. >> reporter: for the principal
douglas fulton, this is personal. >> i was the parent who got the phone call, your d is in t hospital, they tried to kill themselves. it's scary. it's a time you really question every. good morning. >> reporter: his child is >> reporter: his child is doing well. fulton hopes his efforts may help prevent another parent from it did for molly. >> they saved me. they did save me. >> reporter: and the staff here at freedom says it is determined to stay vigilant. in just the first month of school, councilors screened five students, for "education week" and the pbs newshour, i'm lisa stark, in chantilly, virginia. >> woodruff: tomorrow marks two months since hurricane florence
made landfall in north carolina. the storm drenched the state for days leading to record-breaking flooding and an estimated $17 billion worth of damage. special correspondent cat wise recently traveled to jones county where one hard-hit town is still struggling with the messy aftermath. >> reporter: at the end of a quiet rural road in pollocksville, north carolina is a catering business normally bustling this time of year with weddings and corporate events. but on a recent morning, owners vel and mel chapman headed into work and instead of putting on aprons, they grabbed brooms to sweep out the kitchen where they've been cooking cic southern food for nearly 20s. year the chapmans are among more than ho0 families in pollocksville and jones countyost everything when the trent river flooded during hurricane florence. like many here, they did not have flood insurance. >> we think we've lost about $100,000 with merchandise and
equipment. we lost so much food, we lost thousands and thousands of dollars' worthf food. ay reporter: their home, just yards was also flooded. but perhaps the biggest loss they attribute to the storm: vel's 90-year-old mother passed away the day the family returned after being evacuated. >> i think she couldn't stand the idea of seeing us flooded out, because she really loved working back here with us. that sunday she passy, she had a massive heart attack. >> reporter: this wa pollocksville during the height of the flooding. it's a small, working-class community with 325 residents. about half of the town's homes and businesses sat underwater for several days. and this is pollocksville nearly two months after the storm: block after block strewn with household possessions and cherished keepsakes destroyed by the flood waters. the town post office, motel,
restaurant, and historic buildings along main street, all wiped out. pollocksville is no stranger to thooding. scenic trent river has overflown its banks three times in the past 20 years, but hurricane florence's deluge niocked everyone. >> we had a ne foot storm surge that came in from hurricane florence in the first day, and before that surge could retreat, we got somewhere between 25 and 30 inches of rain. >> reporter: jay bene r has been yor of pollocksville for ki years. he's w out of a temporary office, an old pharmacy, surrounded by soy records and equipment he and his staff tried to salvage from the town hall. it's a historic former train depot which sits right next to e trent river. >> just be careful. ter: so how much water did you have here? >> well i'm figuring 20-plus feet. >> reporter: inside, bender showed me his office where mold is now growing on the walls, and
a meeting om filled with damaged city memorabilia. >> well we lost everything. we losminute books that date back to the '20's we have no ordnance bk we have no copies of contracts we have no personnel records. so we've really had to cree a government in exile. with nothing. >> reporter: among the many issues confronting mayor bender and the city now: more than $500,000 in damaged infrastructure costs. a nonprofit in the state gave the city a grant for sewage treatment plant repairs and the mayor is hoping to get federal and state support for other repairs. the recovery process unfolding now in pollocksville is a miliar one for many smal low-income communities hit hard by extremetheather events. mswith few resources before the stave a harder time getting back on their feet. in pollocksvillebaa new faith- d nonprofit is helping to meet the biggest needs of the
community. the "filling station" is an old toopane gas company that was recently turned food pantry and resource center with support of local churches and others. since the hurricane, it's been a one-stop shop where residents in need are loaded up with donated items. >> dear holy father we thank you so much for the privilege to come here and serve inorhis way. >> rr: mary ann leray is the volunteer president of the organization. >> primarily the newspapers are gone, news crews are gone, and now the hard work begins. >> reporter: what do people need most? >> first and foremost they need hope. thy need people helping to rebuild the houses. hanging sheetrock, putting in floors, even mucking out houses. >> reporter: one of those coming in for supplies while we were there was michelle parker. parker and her husband ken own a 60 acre produce farm on the outskirts of pollocksville. ge's been in ken's family for
threrations. their home was flooded along with ken's parent's and their son's home. they also lost $30 to $40,000 in fall crops. >> this is where would be growing stthwberries. alis was under water s erything you can see out here obably waist deep or so. >> we had sweet potatoes we were getting ready to dig. they're gone. at's kind of our fall/winter crop we live on. a reporter: the parkers, who have so far receiv $20,000 rebuilding grant from fe and ag$6,000 from a gofundme pa friend established, are now facing a hard choice many others are confronting as well: whether to continue to live and work along the banks of the trent river. >> it's a good possibility that we may not continue. if we do it's like starting from scratch. the future is unknown asar as how it's going to go. >> when you're seeing flding
happening again, and again in the same location, communities need to make smarthoices about how they rebuild. >> reporter: john mills is a spokesman who has been stationed in north carolina since the hurricane. thus far, more than $4.5 million me state and federal grants have been given to 00 homeowners and renters in jones county. they money is for home repairs and temporary rental assistance not covered by flood insurance. >> if you live in an area that is near where flooding has happened before, you need flood insurance. when you get 10, 20, 30 inches of rain in some areas, it's going to flood in that area, no matter what it says on the map. fema programs are not designed to build back people's homes the way ey were before the disaster struck. >> reporter: mayor jay bender says he realizes the town has challengeshead. >> i had a colleague ask me one day, am i going to have a town to govern. if we have a good number of folk going to come back, then i have
no property tax revenue. i have no water and sewer revenue. i'm convinced there's going to be a town, it's just not going to look thway many of us, like me, a native, member it when we were younger. >> reporter: for their part, vel and mel chapman hope to get cooking again soon with the help of fema grants, small business ministration loans, and hopefully some volunteers who know how to install sheetrock. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in pollocksville, north carolina. >> woodruff: before we go, we want to return to california. but look back to an earlier fire los angeles. feffrey brown explores a true- story of books, libraries, destruction and revitalization.
>> brown: april 29, : fire raged through the los angeles central library, destroying or damaging more than a million bos. >> it was such a huge event, such a singular event, being the largest library fire in the history of the u.s., i was shocked that i had never heard about it. >> brown: you didn't know about it. >> i had no clue. >> brown: it's a true story. and now, in "the library book"rl author susann resurrects thfalmost forgotten history the los angeles fire, and explores the emotional attachment so many of an have to booklibraries. >> there's somethingbout the burning of a library, partly because of our associations in history with what it means to burn a library, partly because we relate to books as something that's so near to us. it's essentially us taking what's in our mind and our soul and preserving it in some
fashion. and to destroy that feels almost like an attack on humanity. >> brown: orlean's book is part history: of a beautiful building in downtown l.a., filled with architectural and artistic detail, that first opened in 1926, and the colorful characters who were key to its development. and it's part who-dun-it?, focused on a would-be actor named harry ak with a penchant for lying. ste 1986 fire, orlean tells us, ted in the fiction area, and spread through the building, burning for seven hours, reaching temperatures of more than 2000 degrees, beforers firefighould put it out. the rare books rooanwhere orlean d i met looked like this. 32 years later, some of the aroks back on the shelves are still scd you can see the soot. >> the soot and they smell.
but a lot of the booe as badly damaged by the water being used to put out the fire, as they were by the fire itself. >> brown: for orlean, a long time staff writer for the "new yorker" and acclaimed author of eight books, including "the orchid thief" and "rin tinin," this was also a personal story: of childhood visits with her mother to her local library in the cleveland suburbs, and of her mother's growing dementia and then death aorlean was roiting this book. >> this was an that of anurse i couldn't have cipated and certainly was a painful irony. ipst as i began thinking about those that we'd spend together and remembering how precious they were, how much they marked my childhood, my mother was diagnosed with dementia and very quickly began to a point where she actually stopped recognizing me. and she passed away before i
finishedhe book. >> brown: orlean embedded herself on and off for more than lio years, to study the inner workings of thary and bring a day-in-life feel. this is the library as you've never seen it, as here in the shipping department, what she calls "the bloodstream" that passes books throughout library branches. >> it's a little like prying the back off of a clock, and seeing the mechanism, you know? it's amazingto make a library work requires a lot of different pieces and you know, if you were >> brown: orlean is a writer known for putting herself in the ryory, showing us her own sense of discond puzzlement, her endless curiosity. >> the reason i'm a writer is to satisfy that endless amount of curiosity. >> brown: as a reader reading your book, it's interesting to
watch when and where you bring are you comfortable doing that, does it just come naturally? >> it was absolutely liberating. >> brown: to break down and to say, "i am here." >> and to acknowled that i was the storyteller a i was now going to take them to another part of the story. >> brown: inevitably, there is this part of the stohe library today: part learning and community center, part shelter for the homeless. the stacks and circulation desk, even as the library evolves in the digital age. orlean came to see a new imrrtance for libraries in culture today. you say: "the publicss of the public library is an increasingly rare commodity." and that is something precious, to have a ace that
is shared openly by everyone. as we've become individuate and moved away from these communal expeences, the places that offer us a chance to be in an open space with other members of the community. >> brown: people we would not often mix with. r exactly. i think that tlly valuable, and there's an >> brown: the fire here closed the library for seven years. but the larger community rallied around it, raised money for lpreconstruction and even orstock the shelves. the of libraries, orlean reminds us, is a history of destruction but also a rebirth of knowledge. d she found a personal re- awakening as a writer. ks to write a book about b and about the agony of hearing about books being destroyed, and
so human, and being a writer, then made me think, so what is the value, what is it that i'm and whthe enduring value idoing? of writing a book? what is it so compelling? and also appreciating the nd of hopefulness that writing a book entailsr telling a story. it's this statement to the world that your memoriesnd perspective and impressions have a value that can be taken from your internal memories and shared with the world. and that to me seems v optimistic. >> brown: for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown at ttral library in downtown los angeles. >> woodruff: so important as we're watching these terrible fires right now in california. and that the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs yowshour, thank you and se
soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> he ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporng innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made
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