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Blizzard Bears Down on the Northeast; Manhunt for Alleged Killer Ex-Cop; Girl Scouts Bring in the Dough; 7.1 Earthquake in the Solomon Islands; Recruit's Dad Signs Letter of Intent

Aired February 8, 2013 - 06:30   ET


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I spoke to a couple of people who said they initially had flights booked for this afternoon and tomorrow, they weren't taking any chances, they decided to call ahead and actually get their flights rebooked and they were successful.

Here's what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we've been watching the storm approach with some trepidation and saw the forecast yesterday and at that point, we decided we weren't going to get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you couldn't make arrangements really early. I would stay home. I would hate to be in the airport two or three days.


ASHER: And actually I spoke to another guy who said he was actually on hold with -- with American Airlines for about an hour and a half. Can you imagine that?

So, if you have travel plans today, and your flight leaves after 1:00 or tomorrow, make sure you call in advance. Airlines at this point are very flexible in terms of allowing passengers to switch over flights without charging extra fees -- Zoraida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, that's really great advice, Zain. But, you know, a lot of people aren't going to take it. So, they're going to show up to the airport. They're probably going to be stranded.

So, what's the contingency plan? Can you take a train, will there be cots set up for people to sleep at the airport?

ASHER: You know, typically when there are airline disruptions, people tend to resort to trains, but, unfortunately, Amtrak now saying that all trains leaving Penn Station after 1:00 heading northbound are now being canceled. So, that's pretty dismal news all around.

SAMBOLIN: All right. I hope people like sleeping on cots.

Zain Asher, live for us at LaGuardia, thank you very much.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And let's get right to meteorologist Jennifer Delgado. She's tracking the storm now from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

And this is -- you know, when you hear people like you use the word like epic and historic.

SAMBOLIN: Pay attention.

ROMANS: This isn't sensational this is real -- real meteorology.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're not making this up. There is science behind it and we're talking about a potentially historic storm on the way and that's why we are dealing with blizzard warnings in place from New York City, you can see all the way up towards Maine. I didn't forget about you, Newark. You're also under that.

In addition to the blizzard warning, we're also talking about a storm surge threat from areas from New Jersey, all the way up towards Maine. Now, keep in mind, some of these areas are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy last year. So they really do need a break, but it looks like they may not get one with this.

Now, as we look at the radar, here are two storms, one coming in from the Great Lakes, another one in the mid-Atlantic already seeing some of that wintry precipitation coming down in Northern Virginia. That includes parts of Washington, D.C. It really starts to kick in as we get later in the day for Boston, Providence, as well Hartford.

You're going to see snow start around 9:00 a.m., but when we get later into the evening, two storms merge, that's when we will really see snowfall totals really start to blow and blizzard conditions kicking in. Now, look at these totals out there, 34, 30 inches of snowfall. And with winds in excess up to 70 miles per hour, power outages possible.

Driving is basically impossible for these parts. Visibility is not going to be there. You don't need to be on the roads.

Of course, we'll continue to follow with more team coverage with Indra Petersons live in Boston.

Back over to you two.

SAMBOLIN: I've got to tell you, Jennifer, we're having this crazy conversation here about cots at airports and people get stranded.


SAMBOLIN: And at O'Hare Airport, that is precisely what they do. But I am being informed that at LaGuardia, they tell you to leave.

DELGADO: They tell you to leave.

ROMANS: It's not quite -- at O'Hare, they have a finely tuned -- SAMBOLIN: Because it happens a lot. Yes.

ROMANS: Yes. But they mostly don't want you to go to the airport. In New York, they want you to go to the airport if it's going to snow.

DELGADO: Stay at home. Find a friend. Stay at a hotel. I mean, would you rather be stranded at a hotel or in the airport?


SAMBOLIN: Oh, definitely the hotel.

All right. Jennifer Delgado, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

DELGADO: Bye, guys.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-three minutes past the hour. Hopes in the big development in the hunt for a fired LAPD cop have now faded. Police say a reported sighting of 33-year-old Christopher Dorner turned out to be a hoax if you can believe it. Dorner is accused of killing three people has vowed to target LAPD officers and their families.

Dorner's burned out vehicle was found at the Big Bear Lake ski resort. That is 80 miles or so from Los Angeles. But the suspect was nowhere to be found.


CINDY BACHMAN, SAN BERNARDINO CITY, SHERIFF'S DEPT.: There was a murder and an attempted murder with three law enforcement officers today. And the person responsible for that is still on the street and we don't know what he's going to do. We know what he's capable of doing, and we need to find him.


SAMBOLIN: Dorner reached out to CNN, sending a package to our Anderson Cooper which contained a hand-labeled DVD and a coin wrapped in duct tape.

So I'd like to talk more about this with David Klinger. He's an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He's also a former LAPD police officer.

Thank you so much for taking time this morning to join us.

So, what we know about Dorner is -- that he has police and military training. So how do you catch a man who has that kind of knowledge?

DAVID KLINGER, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS: Well, the first thing you have to understand is that the threat level is obviously quite elevated given his background and you have to understand that he probably has some very good idea about the structure of the manhunt that's going on. And so, police have to be extra careful. And that's basically the platform upon which they have to operate. SAMBOLIN: And apparently, this man has absolutely no concern with dying. He has said so in his manifesto, that he's ready to die. And also says he will "bring on conventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform, whether on or off duty. I never had an opportunity to have a family of my own. I am terminating yours."

Do you think that it is possible that this will end with him capturing alive?

KLINGER: Anything is possible. He could have a change of mind, a change of heart. I don't think the likelihood is high. We've run into people like this throughout the years in law enforcement, and we have to tend to believe them. If an individual says he's going to be taken alive, there's a pretty good chance he's going to be taken alive once he has demonstrated his willingness to take on law enforcement.

Oftentimes, people say, you know, you'll never take me alive, that classic line from '30s gangster movies, and we pull a lot of credence in that. But when someone is actively going out and hunting law enforcement, and he's expanded what he's initially talk about, first he was just going after LAPD, then he has this cowardly ambush with these two poor officers in Riverside, you have to take him at his word.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I know. He definitely is following through on what he says he's going to do.

So, what we know right now, where this stands, is they found his truck, and it was burning, near Big Bear Mountain. Could he be leaving a trail for police? Could he be trying to bait police?

KLINGER: Absolutely. He could be setting up all sorts of false information. He could be nowhere in the area. He could have fled in a vehicle, he could be 1,000 or so miles away. He could be literally anywhere North, South, or to the East.

SAMBOLIN: Dorner alleges police corruption. We learn this in his manifesto. Excessive force and racism in the ranks of the LAPD.

Based on your experiences working in the LAPD, how do you respond to that?

KLINGER: He is full of baloney. I don't know the whys and wherefores and details, but I read part of his manifesto. And to make a long story short, I wouldn't put any credence in the written words of a murderer.

SAMBOLIN: All right. David Klinger, we really appreciate your time this morning and your expertise.

KLINGER: Thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. Trending right now on -- too close for comfort. Scientists at NASA say a giant aster reside, half of size of a football field, is headed our way. NASA predicts it will pass very close to Earth on February 15th, no closer than, say, 17,100 miles or so. It's one of many large the space objects barreling toward us at the moment. But I have to say, all of them, including this one, have very low impact probability.

Still very close.

SAMBOLIN: A little to close for comfort.

So, do you have a craving for Girl Scout cookies? We've got a lot of them. They're getting even easier now to get. Some scouts join us to show a modern twist on the great American tradition.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START this Friday morning We'd like to wish you and yours happy National Girl Scout Cookie Day.

Thin Mints, the Samoas, Peanut Paddies.

SAMBOLIN: My favorite.

ROMANS: Yes, cookies have grown into a $790 million business for the Girl Scouts.

SAMBOLIN: And this year, the iconic boxes are getting an overhaul.

Anna Maria Chavez is with us this morning. She's the CEO of Girl Scouts USA.

We also have with us, a couple of the girls, Emma Lopez Fonte and Katie Genari.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it.

So, Anna Maria, I'm going to start with you. What is different?

ANNA MARIA CHAVEZ, CEO, GIRL SCOUTS OF THE USA: What's different about scouting, we just have completed 100 years of our girl scouting history in the United States.

In addition, for the first time in over a decade, we've updated our boxes to really show that actually Girl Scout cookies are more than just cookies. They develop these young ladies into tremendous leaders doing amazing things in their community.

ROMANS: We did a story this last hour how entrepreneurship. You asked kids what they want to be when they grow up, 60 percent say they want to be entrepreneurs. This teaches entrepreneurship for young girls.

CHAVEZ: It is.

ROMANS: This is -- I mean, let's be honest. This is capitalism. Girls learning capitalism. CHAVEZ: Well, it's actually the largest entrepreneur program for girls in the country if not the world. They raise $790 million every year, which they reinvest back in local communities. They're funding homeless shelters, meal sites, senior centers. They're building new parks for communities.

They really are changing the world they are living in.

SAMBOLIN: You know what? We were just talking earlier, and this is something I want to share. A little bit for everybody here, right?

Christine was saying that she loves the aspect of entrepreneurship and capitalism. And I was saying that I love the fact that you teach these girls how to be engaged in the community. You teach them to be leaders in the community.

So, ladies, I want to ask you -- Emma, I'm going to start with you. What have you learned? What is your takeaway from being a Girl Scout?

EMMA FONTE LOPEZ, GIRL SCOUT: I learn you can plan everything to do, like from cookie selling, and it also gets you ready for when you are in high school, you have to plan about what college you want to go to, what career do you go into, and it gets you ready for the real world.


SAMBOLIN: And what about you, Katie?

KATIE GENARI, GIRL SCOUT: I learned that helping my community is one of my favorite things and like taking part of in my community and making the community a better place.

SAMBOLIN: So what are one of the things? If you had to say, this is my favorite thing I've done as a Girl Scout, what would that be?

GENARI: Well, right now, I'm working towards my Gold Award. And for Gold Award, I'm educating my community on pedestrian and driver safety to make my roads in the community a better and safer place.

ROMANS: There's also a little competition, isn't there? You learn about competition, right? Because you see somebody working a little harder. So, to get badges and to sell cookies and makes you work harder too, doesn't it, Emma?

LOPEZ: Yes, I usually sell the most cookies in my troops.


ROMANS: You are the one that I was always trying to be with, somebody selling more cookies than me.

SAMBOLIN: I had a -- my daughter was a daisy, I was a brownie. So, we totally really relate and we really respect what you do.

Big question, though, what is your most popular cookie?

CHAVEZ: It's the Thin Mint. Everybody loves the Thin Mint.

What's interesting, this is 95th year of selling Girl Scout cookies. We started in 1917.

And in addition, what we love about the new boxes, that they're highlighting actually the five business skills that girls are learning selling cookies, goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills.

How do you make that cold sale, you know, as people are walking up to you to buy your cookies, and, of course, business ethics, which is so important. And in addition, they're having fun.


CHAVEZ: You know, that's what's so important. We serve girls five through 17 years old where in every zip code in the country, and we're 92 countries in the world and they really are making the world a better place.

ROMANS: A 100 years ago it was sewing, and it was mending, and it was -- things now -- I mean, things that, you know, -- and you could -- it's amazing. Even the number of badges and the kinds of badges are so much different now.

CHAVEZ: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Emma, my last question for you? How old are you?

LOPEZ: I'm 13.

SAMBOLIN: You're 13. And, do you know where you are headed to college and what you want to be when you grow up?

LOPEZ: I think i want to go into medicine and into law, and I think I might want to stay in New York.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

LOPEZ: I don't want to go too far away from home.

SAMBOLIN: I love to hear that. I hope my daughter --


SAMBOLIN: And what about you, Katie?

GENARI: I'm 16 years old, and I want to be a broadcast journalist when I grow up.


SAMBOLIN: You need to come and intern with us.


SAMBOLIN: Congratulations, ladies.

LOPEZ: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Just a pleasure to get to know you and congratulations. And I hope you sell tons and tons of cookies. We've been eating them all morning. And Anna Maria, congratulations to you as well. Thank you for joining us today.

ROMANS: All right. Everyone wants to be number one, but in college basketball right now, maybe that's not the place to be. The Bleacher Report with a big upset that has some people talking about a curse, next.


SAMBOLIN: This just in to CNN. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake in the Solomon Islands. There's no tsunami warnings, at least, not yet. This is an aftershock of the 8.0 magnitude quake on Wednesday. Nine people were killed by a tsunami afterwards in that initial quake.

ROMANS: All right. We'll keep following on that for you. Soledad O'Brien, though, joins us right now with a look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT" this Friday morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": Lots happening this Friday morning, too. Lots to tell you about. Of course, we continue to update you on that manhunt that's happening right now for the suspected cop killer. His name is Christopher Dorner. He's a police officer, himself, a former police officer.

We're going to look at what exactly drove him to such violence. We'll talk this morning to his former classmate, James Usera. We'll also talk to Jim Clemente, who's a retired FBI profiler, and Dr. Michael Welner will join us. He's the chairman of the Forensic Panel

Another big story we're following for you this morning: Big snowstorm that is set to bury New York and New England, dumping maybe up to three feet in some areas. We're going to have team coverage this morning track the path of the storm for you.

And it's one of the most anticipated shows of the year, the Westminster Dog Show kicks off next week. We're going to talk to the co-host of the show, David Frei, along with two new breeds that are now allowed to compete. He's going to bring some dogs as well.

ROMANS: A lot of fun.

O'BRIEN: Yes, a lot of fun. That's all happening this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. So, it happened again last night. For the fifth straight week, college basketball's top ranked team lost and, boy, how they lost. ROMANS: Joe Carter is here with the morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi. Good morning, guys. Wow is right. Illinois shocked number one Indiana from a come from behind buzzer beater. You know, these days in college basketball, it seems like being number one is more of a curse. This game was tied 72-72 with nine-tenths of a second left.

Illinois has the ball in the inbound, Tyler Griffey is the hero. He slips free. You see no one is defending the basket. The lay-up is good. Illinois went on a 13-2 run to close it out. What a night and Champagne fans rush the court. Illinois, unranked, beats the number one Indiana, 74-72.

All right. It's official. Alex Collins will play football for the University of Arkansas. You know, he's considered one of the best high school running backs out there. But earlier this week, his mom refused to sign the Arkansas letter of intent. She split, left mid press conference. So, you know, when mom says no, you got to ask dad and it worked.

His father signed the papers yesterday. You know, mom, like a lot of people, were expecting him to play football closer to home at the University of Miami, which was his original verbal commitment.

Pitcher Mark Buehrle loves his dog so much, he'd rather spend the entire baseball season living alone than give up his best friend. Buehrle was recently traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where owning a pitbull is illegal. So rather than giving up his pup, he's going to spend his 14th major league season all alone in Canada while wife Jamie, their two kids, and Slater the dogs stay together in St. Louis some 800 miles away.

And here's a perk for winning the Super Bowl. On Monday night, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was on Letterman. Last night, Coach John Harbaugh's turn.


JOHN HARBAUGH, BALTIMORE RAVENS COACH: It started well. It finished well. There was that little thing in the middle that was a little distracting.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: Because I think we have some videotape here. This is, I believe, you during the blackout. Who are you talking to there?

HARBAUGH: That's Mike Kenso with the NFL.

LETTERMAN: And what is the issue?

HARBAUGH: Well, there was a concern about the restaurant after the game. New Orleans has a lot of great restaurants. We weren't sure about where to go.


CARTER: All right. So, for more entertaining sports news, go to Guys, it's between gumbo and char-grilled oysters.


CARTER: Tough decisions in New Orleans.

ROMANS: You can have both. You can have both. It's New Orleans.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you.

Today's "Best Advice" from comedian and mom Heather McDonald next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Should you get paid for all the extra time you spend checking work e-mails outside of work? Most folks would say yes. A Chicago police officer has actually filed lawsuit against the city, asking them to pay up for all the extra hours that he says he's frequently required to work while off duty and from home on his department-issued Blackberry.

The city says it has work policies and procedures in place, allowing police officers to actually request overtime. They say at best, this is a union grievance, it is not a federal lawsuit.

ROMANS: Certainly raise a lot of questions --

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it does.

ROMANS: -- for any of us who spend a lot of time on our BlackBerry. All right. We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." Today, we hear from comedian and author Heather McDonald.


HEATHER MCDONALD, COMEDIAN/AUTHOR: Best advice I ever received? When I was struggling if I should take the job working at "Chelsea Lately", my kids were little. And my friend who is a mother said, you better take that job and do what makes you happy, because in a few years, those kids aren't even going to look up from their Xbox when you walk into the room.

So, this way, I don't ever have to look my kids and say I gave you the best years of life at because I didn't. I got to write a book. I'm in New York with my sister. I'm wearing a cute outfit. I'm going to have a really fancy dinner, and I had some fun, and I got to write about my kids in my book so they realize what an incredible fabulous mother they have.



SAMBOLIN: Different strokes for different folks, I guess, right?

ROMANS: It's true. Oh, gosh. It's a long story. That's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT "with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.