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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Close Call for Arizona Pilot; Circus Elephant Wounded in Drive- By Shooting; ATF Investigating Possible Mail Bomb for Arizona Sheriff; Max Bogue Talks 3-Doodler; Best Housing Market for First-Time Buyers; CNN Hero Serves Free Meals to Motel Kids

Aired April 12, 2013 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans.

The Washington State Republican Party holds its annual fund-raising dinner this weekend. The "Seattle Times" reports one of the items up for auction is an AR-15 rifle, the type of weapon used in the Connecticut school massacre. The head of the state's GOP told the paper that auctioning the weapon is not meant to the political statement; it's merely a way to raise money.

BERMAN: A bizarre and fatal attack in Belarus. A fisherman apparently was trying to snap a picture of a beaver, similar to this one. But I guess he got too close, because the beaver bit him in the thigh, severed an artery and the man bled to death.

You know, beavers, of course, have powerful teeth and jaws, but they're not really known to attack humans, unless they are rabid.

ROMANS: A New York woman who faked cancer to get donations to feed her heroin habit pleading not guilty to 24 counts of fraud and forgery in court.

Twenty-one-year-old Brittany Ozarowski told donors and even relatives she needed the money for medical bills and for chemotherapy. What she was doing with the money was buying drugs. She was arrested earlier this month in front of a supermarket holding a donation jar. She is being held on $150,000 bond.

BERMAN: A pilot in Arizona is breathing easy this morning after one very close call. News chopper video caught a small plane coming in for a dicey landing at Scottsdale Municipal Airport. After its landing, gear jammed.

The pilot, 69-year-old Galen Finn (ph) managed to land the plane on its belly and walked away from the ordeal unharmed. His last request to air traffic control, was as he touched down, he said, "If I don't make it, tell my wife I loved her."

Let's take a look at this.

ROMANS: No landing gear, coming down, talking to the -- oh, unbelievable.

BERMAN: Look at him go. It's (inaudible) --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: -- really, really lucky. You know and -- ah, terrifying.

BERMAN: Such skill.

ROMANS: I'm sure his wife was very happy and said, let's stay out of air for a while.

BERMAN: Hopefully after he landed and he got he went and told his wife he loved her anyway.

ROMANS: Exactly. And had a nice steak dinner.

BERMAN: There he is.

ROMANS: And "Kickalicious" is coming to Motor City. The Detroit Lions signing Internet sensation Harvard Rugland to a contract on Thursday. This kicker from Norway worked out for the team last month. Rugland rose to fame with an online trick shot video, featuring him kicking footballs into moving trucks and garbage cans.

BERMAN: Wow. There is it. Nice kick.

All right. So this sounds like a plot from some awful comedy. But it's not funny at all; a circus elephant wounded in a drive-by shooting. This actually happened in Tupelo, Mississippi.

ROMANS: Carol the elephant is expected to be OK. And she's part of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. The bullet hit this 39- year-old Asian elephant in the neck between her ear and her shoulder. Ringling Brothers has moved Carol to its circus farm in Springfield, Missouri. That's where she is this morning, along with animal trainer Catherine Carden.

Good morning, good morning, how is Carol feeling?

CATHERINE CARDEN, ANIMAL TRAINER: She's doing well. She is doing very well.

BERMAN: What was going on at the time this happened? And what on Earth did you think? I mean, it must be the last thing you would ever expect.

CARDEN: Well, it was about 2:00 am. Carol was resting in a pen outside the arena, where we were to perform starting Thursday, and she was just, you know, resting in her pen. They usually go to sleep about 2:00 or 3:00 am. And they sleep for just a little while.

So she was probably getting ready to go to sleep, and one pulled up on the street, about 50 yards away, and pulled out a gun and took a shot at her, and hit her in the neck.

ROMANS: So someone shot at her specifically or she was caught in a drive-by?

CARDEN: No. Someone shot at her specifically. Shot at the elephant specifically.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Why would someone be shooting at the elephants? That just is -- that's just confounding to me that someone would try to shoot at the elephants.

CARDEN: I know. It's the million-dollar question. It was just a horrible act. And I believe that if it wasn't for a witness that actually jumped into action and chased the gunman, that he would have shot her again. I believe it was totally intentional. We just don't know why.

BERMAN: How did the elephant react when this happened? How did Carol react?

CARDEN: You know, oddly enough, I was with Carol within 30 seconds. We heard the loud boom. It was the loudest -- the loudest gunfire I had ever heard and I thought it was a bomb. I didn't know what it was, but I jumped outside. I was with her within a minute. I saw that she was shot. I screamed to the security -- we did have security -- and said the elephant is shot; call the police.

You know, everyone jumped into action; the vet tech called the vet. An on-call vet came right away to make her comfortable until our head elephant veterinarian was there the next morning to treat her and ultrasound her and then we found out that she was, you know, going to be OK.

BERMAN: Any remnants of the bullet inside? How is she being treated right now?

CARDEN: Yes.

Well, she is treated -- being treated with medication and antibiotics. She is going to be receiving that treatment for at least 10 days and her vet is actually local here, and that's why we came back, so she could see her vet daily if needed.

And she's going to be having physical therapy. And when she's ready, she'll go back to working, but right now she's going to have some rest and heal up and wait for the fragments to actually come out on their own.

ROMANS: Catherine, are you guys going to do anything differently? I don't know, I mean, because somebody just -- who could walk up and just shoot at Carol. I mean, are you going to do anything differently to make sure this doesn't happen again?

CARDEN: Yes. Actually, immediately the circus put more security into place. You know, at that moment, I mean, you really don't think someone's going to shoot an elephant that's just resting in a pen, but apparently, you know, it did happen, and they did step up security immediately and it's not just temporary, it's going to be forever.

And we are taking steps to protect everyone, not just the circus animals, but the performers as well and the public. We want everyone to be -- feel safe when they come to the circus. It's supposed to be a safe and fun place. So we're making sure of that.

BERMAN: It sure is.

You know, Catherine Carden, we are so glad that you are safe. We are glad that Carol is doing well. You know, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

ROMANS: Thank you.

CARDEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, it's the next generation of doodling: a three-dimensional pen.

ROMANS: The co-creator of the 3-Doodler will demonstrate it for us. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, the ATF now investigating a possible mail bomb that was addressed to controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix. Thanks to a savvy and suspicious employee, the package never made it past the post office in Flagstaff.

ROMANS: Joining us now is Tess Rafols from our affiliate from KTVK. She's in front of the county jail in Phoenix. Good morning. What is the latest, Tess?

TESS RAFOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, the latest is that they are following some investigative leads at this point. That's what we're hearing from the FBI, who's heading up thus investigation along with Flagstaff police.

Now Flagstaff is about an hour and a half north of Phoenix. Downtown Phoenix is where we are, and, again, this suspicious package was found yesterday afternoon by a postal inspector. He would not comment on exactly what it was that raised some red flags, but they go through a screening process. They look at who this package is addressed to, possibly excessive postage stamps.

And that's what pushed him to go ahead and do an x-ray on this package. That x-ray confirmed there's explosives in this package. So he called Flagstaff police in. The bomb squad was called in, and that's when they detonated this device yesterday afternoon.

The ball started rolling and clearing, of course, of this postal office, making sure it was safe. They had to evacuate some 80 employees at one point just to make sure they could take care of that package.

Once they did, they were able to collect any evidence that they had, and at this point, all they are saying is they are following some investigative leads. So we have yet to hear from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is not a stranger to any kind of threats because he has been a controversial figure. So that is the latest from Phoenix.

Back to you guys.

ROMANS: And he will have an 11:00 am news air, we know, so news conference. So we'll dip into that as well. Tess, thank you so much.

All right. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. First came 3D movies, then 3D TV, now much cooler: a pen that lets you draw in 3D. The 3- Doodler, as it's called, is the world's first 3D printing pen. You know, it looks like a marker sort of, but it dispenses melted plastic that instantly cools to take shape.

The co-creator of the 3-Doodler, Max Bogue is here and he is already demonstrating this miraculous, super-cool invention. Oh, my gosh, who is that handsome man in the picture?

MAX BOGUE, 3-DOODLER INVENTOR: Indeed.

ROMANS: It's John Berman. Can you make him look younger and richer?

(LAUGHTER)

BOGUE: I'll do my best.

ROMANS: I'm just teasing.

BERMAN: Explain to me how you got the idea for this?

BOGUE: So both Peter Dorth (ph) and I are avid 3D printers (inaudible). And we use it a lot for our work. And one day Pete (ph) was watching one of the three printers go along and it made a mistake. And he was like, damn it, I wish I could just pick it up and fill in that little spot right there and put it back.

Why can't we do that? He was like, oh, wait, we can.

So the next day we took apart our 3D printer and we created what we called a tea cup, which was this very ugly, nasty-looking thing that barely worked, but it worked.

So from there we went through, we made about five prototypes, revisions along the way, and so we got to the 3-Doodler. This is an actually an earlier version than the one that the people on Kickstarter will be receiving.

ROMANS: So a lot of people -- so, look, 3D printing is amazing and it's going to transform manufacturing. It's going to transform apparently art. Tell us just a little bit about that technology and how you could use this as the next step?

BOGUE: So the beauty of the 3-Doodler is, unlike a traditional 3D printer, which will create an object using a computer, this is a tactile device that you can just use to literally instantly create something in three dimensions. So there's no software, there's no computer, but it allows you to draw in the air.

BERMAN: Oh, my God.

BOGUE: So you can --

ROMANS: Draw up.

BOGUE: -- draw up.

So for artists and architects and teachers, there's just a number of applications that go far beyond what we were able to do before.

BERMAN: For the -- for the technically ignorant, explain to me how this is actually happening, that you are able to draw and create this 3D object.

BOGUE: So we load plastic in the back, either ABS or PLA. And then as the plastic is coming out of the pen, it cools almost instantly, allowing you to make these three-dimensional or up motions, as we like to call them.

BERMAN: Can you show us again?

BOGUE: Sure.

ROMANS: That is so neat.

BOGUE: I'll do my spring. I like to do my spring.

But you can draw in two dimensions with the stencils. So the same way that I did your face. You can do complicated objects.

ROMANS: So what is the commercial application for this? I mean, I know you say you guys are doing Kickstarter, I mean, when do you think this will be commercially available for people who want to use it?

BOGUE: So it's available right now on our website for preorder at the3doodler.com. But it will coming out in stores sometime in 2014, Q1.

BERMAN: Other than being incredibly cool, and always the coolest person on the block, what do you think the applications for it are? Look at that.

BOGUE: Yes. It's pretty strong material. The applications are kind of limitless. You know, we have got a lot of response from teachers that want to use it for geometry class, interior designers that want to decorate. It sticks really well to walls and stuff like that.

We also have gotten a lot of response from people who just want to doodle and have fun with it. It's a very addictive, fun thing to play around with. And we have a wide variety of color options as well. So you can --

ROMANS: (Inaudible) the process has been, with a new idea and getting it to market. BOGUE: It's very difficult. Kickstarter has done a fabulous job of making it a little bit easier. I released about 15 products into market already. But this is the first time that my company will be doing it ourselves. And so we're very excited about it.

BERMAN: How much do you think it will it sell for (inaudible)?

BOGUE: Probably around $99 retail.

BERMAN: (Inaudible), I guess the tip gets pretty hot, yes?

BOGUE: So the tip gets pretty hot now. We're offering a protective system, a silicone ring around it to help prevent that. But it is -- it's not a kid's item. This is more like, you know, a hot glue gun or a soldering iron. You know, you have to use a little --

ROMANS: Common sense?

BOGUE: -- common sense -- thank you -- before giving it to somebody. So...

BERMAN: That spring you just created out of thin air -- in thin air, I should say, how strong is that?

BOGUE: It's pretty strong. I think it -- oops.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: But seriously, this is so cool.

(CROSSTALK)

BOGUE: It is plastic. So it will do a lot of bending, whatnot. It's the same strength as your water bottle. It's the same material as this.

ROMANS: I'm telling you, 3D printing is so -- wow, it's so interesting, the technology applications on the factory floor or in manufacturing are pretty cool.

BOGUE: Yes, the manufacturing aspects of 3D printing are pretty neat. I mean, this is, as the name says, a doodler, so it's a lot less precise, but it's a lot of fun. It's the great part about that.

ROMANS: Well, lots of luck to you. Nice to meet you.

BERMAN: (Inaudible).

ROMANS: 3-Doodler is the name of the company and the product. Thank you so much, Max.

BERMAN: And I'm going to keep this spring for everyone (inaudible).

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, a bridge too low. This North Carolina crossing doesn't take kindly to anything over 11'8".

And on man spent years videotaping its greatest hits. You're about to see them --

BERMAN: Oh, wow.

ROMANS: -- on STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business" this morning, stocks headed for a lower open after three straight record closing highs for the Dow. Future a little bit lower right now after a very disappointing March retail sales report. Spending declined in electronics and appliance stores, at department stores and at gas stations. And that has spooked investors this morning.

When you are at a record high over and over and over again, investors tend to look for whatever it is that could be the reason to take some profit that's happening right now.

And now may be the time to buy for first-time home buyers. That's according to HLN's consumer finance guru Clark Howard.

He told me yesterday, despite big-time investors pushing home prices up, for first-time buyers, this is the chance of a lifetime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK HOWARD, TALK RADIO HOST: This is an absolutely great time to be a first-time home buyer, don't have a house to dump. Even with these increases we're talking about, houses are so much cheaper than they were years ago in so many markets. And interest rates, this is virtually a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with these ultracheap interest rates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: How ultracheap? The average on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, 3.43 percent this week, that's real close to the record low of 3.31 percent last November. You can see the rest of that interview with Clark tomorrow morning on my show, "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," 9:30 am Eastern.

BERMAN: Those rates so, so low.

ROMANS: They're so cheap.

BERMAN: All right. So a train crossing in North Carolina gives new meaning to the term low bridge.

ROMANS: Any number of too-tall trucks have been stopped in their tracks by a bridge that just won't budge. And one man is documenting the mayhem. Here is Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a bridge over troubled traffic. A bridge too low. Or trucks too tall.

For the past five years Jurgen Henn -- watch your back -- has been using cameras to record the results and posting them on his website, 11foot8. That happens to be the official clearance of the Gregson Street Railroad Trestle in Durham in North Carolina, affectionately known as the Can Opener Bridge.

Some vehicles just get a shave. Others get stopped cold. For nearby businesses it can be --

JURGEN HENN, VIDEOGRAPHER: -- almost earth shattering. And people jump out of their chairs.

MOOS (voice-over): Some get off easy. An RV loses its AC.

A POD gets left behind.

The trestle is a working railroad bridge that sometimes trucks hit as a train passes by.

The railroad, Norfolk Southern, installed a crash beam to protect the century-old bridge, so the bridge always wins.

Not only has Jurgen uploaded about 60 crashes, he also collects pieces of debris and sometimes gets drivers to sign them.

HENN: Just a hobby, you know, to have some fun.

MOOS (voice-over): Not so much fun for the drivers.

Authorities know of no serious injuries. The signs start warning of the low clearance several blocks away and vehicles that are too tall trigger the "overheight when flashing" lights, which drivers manage not to see.

Don't even think of trying to slowly sneak up on the Can Opener.

MOOS: So you say why doesn't someone fix it? Raise the bridge, lower the road.

MOOS (voice-over): But the sewer main runs right under the highway and the bridge would cost millions to raise. So the can opener keeps racking up hits that YouTubers enjoy putting to music, like "Rocky" and "The Good, The Bad" and some ugly crashes.

It's enough to make you want to burn your bridges, before the bridge burns you -- Jeanne Moos, CNN. New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: I don't know why that just gave me so much pleasure.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Does it make me a bad person that I love watching that as much as I do?

ROMANS: I don't know.

BERMAN: Questions to ponder.

Coming up --

ROMANS: Thanks, Jeanne.

BERMAN: -- when one chef saw a family struggling to make ends meet, he created his own recipe to help. We'll tell you about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: In Anaheim, California, cheap motels have become home to families facing hard times. And since 2005, Chef Bruno Serato has been serving up generosity to many of the so-called motel kids, making sure they don't go hungry.

ROMANS: Now this CNN Hero is going farther to give those families a chance at a better life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CHEF BRUNO SERATO, CNN HERO: Who likes the pasta?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me!

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Every night, Chef Bruno Serato serves free meals to 300 motel kids in Anaheim, California. It's work that he was honored for in 2011 as a Top Ten CNN Hero.

SERATO: Ciao, Mama!

It was the most amazing moment in my life. After the CNN show, lots of people has called me, what can we do for you?

COOPER (voice-over): But it was Bruno who wanted to do more to help families living in area motels.

SERATO: When I send the kids back to the motel, I always thought of their, like, mamas, because I know where they go back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you guys can all share those markers. Sit right here and color.

COOPER (voice-over): It's a hard life to escape. Just ask the Gutierrez family, who lived in a motel with their five children for more than a year.

MS. GUTIERREZ: This is our living room slash bedroom. Me and my husband sleep right here and then the rest of them sleep sardine-style on this bed.

He got laid off so I started working just a month ago. It's really hard for us to save up to get to into an actual home.

SERATO: I came over to see this, well, let's pay the first and last month.

COOPER (voice-over): By providing rent and a deposit, Bruno now helps families leave the motel life behind for good.

Working with a local nonprofit, 29 families have now gotten a fresh start in a home of their own.

SERATO: What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love it.

GUTIERREZ: So the kids just went around and explored, found their room.

SERATO: This is yours?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

SERATO: You got your wish.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

SERATO: And the house is really full of joy.

We are putting back people to their own home.

COOPER (voice-over): Bruno hopes to move 70 more families by the end of the year, a CNN Hero with a new recipe for helping others.

SERATO: Pasta!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.