tv News4 This Week NBC March 20, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
. welcome to "news4 this week." >> hi, everyone. i'm veronica johnson and we're going to show you some of the more interesting local stories making news this week. among them, startling revelations. we take a look at what crews found during the rare system wide closure of metro this week, and how you handled getting around without one of the region's most relied-upon transit systems. they help us stay connected and informed every day, but when you face an emergency, is your smartphone really that smart? and football returning to d.c. it's just not the redskins. when you can start seen arena football at the verizon center. we begin with that unprecedented shutdown of the entire metro rail system during this week. during the day-long inspections of jumper cables
system, more than two dozen defects were found. many of those issues involved damaged boots which hold the cables in place, but in three areas crews found what they call show stoppers. frayed cables that would lead to immediate shutdowns of lines on a normal day. it was a major headache for commuters, but as megan fitzgerald reports, it could have been much worse. >> reporter: when metro says the rails aren't an option, many commuters had to come up with a game plan quickly. >> my commute was all right. i specifically woke up at 5:30 in the morning so i could get one of the first buses into the city. >> reporter: and folks like john sullivan can tell you those metro buses were in high demand. >> by the time we got to mcclain, though, it was jam packed, the bus. there was a very long line outside. >> reporter: because after all for some folks, staying home wasn't an option. >> i have business here. just business meetings. >> we had a meeting with about six people and five of them were there
closely monitoring the roads during the morning commute and said it was fairly uneventful. the department put out the following statement saying, quote, fortunately the increase in number of employees teleworking and drivers ride sharing helped keep traffic to a relatively normal level. the general manager for uber d.c. said the company saw a surge in riders using their car pool service and that's something they planned for. >> in particular for pool, we did open it up to the suburbs today so folks outside of the d.c. corridor were able to use that as an option. >> well, it will soon be easier to spot a metro police officer on a crowded train platform. starting this summer, most officers will be wearing these bright yellow uniforms. the police outfits will also have reflective trim. metro's general manager came up with the idea. right now they wear dark blue often making them hard to find in the dark or in
on millions of dollars due to unpaid traffic tickets. according to aaa, more than 600,000 tickets handed out last year have been ignored by drivers. things like parking tickets, speeding tickets, and red light camera violations. the fines total nearly $85 million. so who are the biggest offenders? well, it's the maryland drivers. they owe more than $35 million. d.c. and virginia drivers owe nearly $18 million each and drivers from other states owe about $14 million. a bill named after montgomery county police officer is moving forward. noah's law passed the house of delegates. the bill would require all drivers arrested for blood alcohol of 0.08 or greater to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. drivers blow into the device to start their vehicles, which wouldn't start if the driver had
noah leota who was killed by a suspected drunk driver. it now goes on to the state senate for a vote. springtime is baseball time, right? but starting next year, it will be about football. the owner of the caps and wizards is bringing an arena league football team to the verizon center next year. gene simmons of the legendary rock band kiss and the owner of the afl's l.a. kiss join ted for the welcoming. no name or logo for the team just yet, but plenty of excitement. season tickets for next spring start at about $50. arena football is billed as a faster and more entertaining game than the nfl. he is eager for the fans to see it up close. >> you don't want to watch it, you want to experience it. i mean that's exactly what we want to do. i think especially young adults that have very, very short attention spans and
in this realtime multi screen world, the afl was designed for that. >> we want to completely assault your senses, make you fans and make you understand that this is the kind of football that's never existed before. i wish you all, god bless and come on down, see one of our games. it's the best time you'll have with your pants on. >> i'll be there, gene. i'll be there. you told me to come. so what do sports fans in the city think about d.c.'s newest sports team? tom sherwood takes a look. >> reporter: the latest version of arena football made a splashy bow today. on the street people had all sorts of opinions. >> fantastic. very entertaining sport. i would go. >> pretty violent. it's all offense. >> i'd go. >> what's the appeal? >> the violence, fun. >> do you know anything about it? >> i know nothing about it. >> you like it? >> yes. oh, yeah. >> it's pretty violent. >> that's a good thing. >> reporter:
bowser was bobbing her head to the latest sports team to join the wizards, the mystics and the capitals. >> you bring the downtown area alive. any time the capitals play, you can't find a seat in a restaurant in this area. >> reporter: the arena football team doesn't have a name yet but it will join in town the nats and the wizards and the caps and the d.c. united and the mystics. only the redskins aren't in the city, something that ward 2 councilmember jack evans out for a run is still trying to change. >> there is no more popular team in the area than the washington redskins, and the only site for them, as everyone knows, is the rfk site. >> reporter: in the meantime the verizon center is drawing big crowds. >> we bring close to 3 million people now downtown. and as the mayor said, you know, we're the number one place for uber to drop off and pick up. >> reporter: the new arena team will begin playing next
news4. >> wow, that's fast. i cannot wait for that. well, they are some bright middle school minds who could wind up on the national stage, but they need your help. what you can do to send some smart students to a robotic competition.
and a world famous blossoms are almost here and we have a new date for the best time to see them.
a northern virginia middle school robotics team won a chance to compete fe nationals but need your help getting there. the five-student team from bull run middle school designed and built their robot from scratch. it picks up balls from the floor and shoots them into a net. trial and error led to their final design. >> we're very small and fast, which is an advantage and a disadvantage. we can move around and get the bonus balls, which are double
points, but we're also easier to push around, which is dirty play. >> the ducklings as they are known have a go fund me page. just search ducklings in our nbc washington app to find more. really cool team name too. there's not much pink on those cherry blossoms just yet but we don't have to wait long to see peak bloom. the national park service has revised its forecast for the best time to see the blooming trees. peak bloom now forecast for next wednesday and thursday. that's when 70% of the trees are in bloom. open our nbc washington app for a list of eight cherry blossom events that you won't want to miss. a smithsonian department head calls it the big ticket. a discovery some 90 million years in the making. check out these fossils from a newly discovered dinosaur found in the rocks in central asia. it's called the
we're told it got to be about the size of a horse. scientists say it's an an certificate of the t rex and unearthing it may help them understanding how the tie ran saur us became the ultimate competitor. >> it has sophisticated brain and senses, keen eyesight and keen smell that the t-rex has so it shows us that these senses evolved long before these animals became gigantic. >> they just got bigger and bigger. scientists will examine slightly younger rocks in the same area to help bridge the evolution gap between this dino and the t h-r. it's an incredibly rare find under a d.c. bridge. a bird that hasn't nested here in over a century is back and has environmentalists buzzing. and he's known on the local music circuit, but now he's aiming t
this is cool, something our area hasn't seen for more than 100 years. biologists have found a family of ravens nesting right here in the district. in a story you'll see only on news4, mark segraves gets a firsthand look at the birds and explains what this discovery could mean. >> reporter: at first glance, you might think they're crows. >> they're much bigger than a crow. instead of a two and a half foot wi wing span, they're over 4. they can soar like hawks and when you hear them, it's pretty cool. >> reporter: dan spends much of his work day hiking through the woods of d.c. his job is to track the hundreds of bird species in the nation's capital. last week, he made a discovery that still has him pretty
>> common ravens. ravens in the district. it's pretty amazing. >> reporter: the ominous black bird made famous by edgar allen poe hasn't been seen in the district in generations. >> they probably haven't been nesting here for well over 100 years. maybe in colonial times or early parts of d.c. they were here. >> reporter: the male and female ravens have built a home in the beams of this bridge over the potomac river, where it looks like they're planning on staying for a while. >> right now they're incubating, which means the female is keeping eggs nice and warm. they should hatch after about 20, 24 days they usually hatch. >> reporter: that's right, the first recorded birth of a raven in the district in more than a century could happen in the next three weeks. because the next few weeks is such a critical time for the ravens and their eggs, news4 has agreed not to reveal their exact location, to give them some privacy. in the district, somewhere along the potomac river, mark segraves, news4.
>> they're pretty. very pretty. we use our smartphones to get information all day long, directions, restaurant reservations, but what about topics that are a little more sensitive. would siri know how to respond if you were having a mental health crisis? angie goff has details on a new study. >> i don't know what that means. i don't know how to respond to that. >> reporter: that is how some smartphones may respond if they hear "i was raped" or "i am being abused." a new study out from stanford and the university of california in san francisco published in the "journal of the american medical association" tested a number of phones and conversational agents. siri, google now, s-voice and cortana. responses were tabulated on the ability to recognize a crisis and refer to an appropriate help line or other resource. while some answers were helpful, many were inconsistent and vague. more than 200 million adults
smartphone and the study states that many use it to get health information. we decided to informally test it out ourselves with two phones. when we asked this samsung this -- >> i'm feeling depressed. it returns reasons why i'm feeling depressed or ways i can improve my mood. and when i told this iphone -- i've been raped. >> i don't know how to respond to that. >> and i'm being abused. >> here's what i found on the web for i'm being abused. >> i have everything from don't let yourself be abused in tips to song lyrics. the study came to the following conclusion. when asked simple questions about mental health, interpersonal violence and physical help, siri, google now, cortana and s voice responded inconsistently and incompletely. >> samsung says it will use the study's findings to make additional changes to improve its product. microsoft will evaluate the findings and continue to inform its work on
google says more should be done, starting with detailed information on 900 health conditions, haot lines and othe emergency-related resources. and apple told bloomberg news that for situations siri can dial 911, find the local hospital or recommend a hotline or services. chances are you saw the video of her dancing with the first family. now grandma virginia is celebrating another milestone, and news4 was there to celebrate with her. you can't predict the market. with her. but through good times and bad... ...at t. rowe price... ...we've helped our investors stay confident for over 75 years. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
may not always be clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. so wherever your retirement journey takes you, we can help you reach your goals. call us or your advisor t. rowe price. invest with confidence. ♪ i gave her my heart but she wanted my soul ♪ ♪ don't think twice, it's all right ♪ >> i know that voice and you may too. he's d.c.'s owen danoff and he's performed at places. you can now hear him perform on "the voice." ri
judges turned around, hoping he'd choose them. that's a rare happening if you ever watch the show. danoff picked adam levine's team. his dad was a member of the vocal band whose song "afternoon delight" was a gold record number one hit in 1976. he also wrote "take me home country roads" for john denver. take a look at our profile of danoff and his musical background in our nbc washington app, just search the voice. grandma virginia became a viral sensation when she danced with president obama and the first lady at the white house. she was 106 years old at the time, but she's just turned 107. news4's molette green caught up with her at a party in southeast that was full of surprises. >> reporter: a birthday bash like no other for grandma virginia, as she's affectionately called. surprised with brand new furniture to spruce up virginia
apartment. >> love it. >> her tie-in with the school and kids goes right up her alley. you can't help a better person than grandma virginia. being here is just an amazing honor for all of us. >> reporter: 300 of her friends in the foster grandparents program and at a local d.c. charter school celebrating her long-lived life. with whur radio personalities setting the stage. >> in her energy and most often her commitment, oftentimes our seniors once they reach a certain age kind of sit down. but grandma has taken this, as she calls it, her other career and she's had about five of them. >> reporter: just a few weeks ago mclauren danced with president obama and first lady michelle obama at the white house, and this surprise gift from the white house and the nation, the presidential medal of honor for her
and you see the brand new furniture here among the many gifts of love for a lady who's lived a life time giving to so many in her community. in southeast, molette green, news4. >> wow, i have at least three more careers then to catch up with grandma virginia. that's all for "news4 this week." i'm veronica johnson. thanks for joining us. we're going to leave you with more images of this week's rare shutdown on metro. until next time, remember, be safe, be kind, be happy, everybody. bye-bye.