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New Info in Princess Diana's Death; Abducted Teen Out in Public; Expanding Medical Marijuana in New Jersey; Abducted Teen Turns to Social Media; First Lady Talks about Motherhood; Area 51 Exists; Thieves Strike Park Avenue Apartments; Florida Hit Hard by Sinkholes; "Duck Dynasty" Shatters Ratings Records

Aired August 17, 2013 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. A look at our top stories that we're following.

New information about the death of Princess Diana. We'll have the latest on this story just in to the CNN NEWSROOM.

And the super secret site known as Area 51 portrayed for years in movies as the government's holding ground for aliens. Now the CIA admits it actually exists.

And a reality star gets the cold shoulder treatment at a fancy New York hotel. We'll tell you just how a "Duck Dynasty" star was supremely dissed.

British police say they are looking at new information in the death of Princess Diana. They have not given details, but they just announced they are, quote, "scoping new information that has recently been received," end quote.

Atika Shubert joining me now on the phone from London.

Atika, what more can you tell us?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you point out, they haven't given any details about what this new information might be. They simply say they are assessing it for its relevance and credibility, and they're also -- British police are very clear that they are not reopening the investigation at this point, but the fact is that they are reviewing this evidence, so it is a possibility that they may at some point, reopen the investigation if they find that this information is in fact credible, but we just don't know at this point.

What we should point out is that there had been numerous investigations into Princess Diana's death. Of course it happened in August 31st in 1997, almost 16 years ago. And there was an exhaustive inquiry here in the U.K. An 800-page police report was filed and basically found that this was an unlawful killing caused by the negligent behavior of the driver of the car, but also the vehicles following her car, and they didn't find anything to suggest some of the many conspiracy theories behind her death. So there have been rumors circulating, but this is the first time we've seen in a long time that police say they have new information and are investigating it.

WHITFIELD: OK. So Atika Shubert, keep us posted on that. So it was considered kind of case closed. It was a negligent behavior of the driver and other vehicles pursuing, but investigators are not necessarily saying that this will reopen the case, just that they are purviewing this new information, right?

SHUBERT: Exactly. So we don't know where this will end up. Basically police are saying we have something new, but we need to take a look and see if it's actually credible first.

WHITFIELD: All right. Atika Shubert, thanks so much, from London.

All right, meantime, Diana's son and now a new father, Prince William, is headed back to work this week after taking some time off following the birth of his son, Prince George. But before going back to his job at the Royal Air Force, he sat down with CNN's Max Foster to talk about his new baby, his wife Catherine, and his most important new title, that of dad. And you can see parts of the interview this Monday morning on CNN's "NEW DAY" with Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo beginning at 6:00 a.m.

Kidnapping survivor, Hannah Anderson, appeared in public for the first time this week. She was rescued in the wilderness in Idaho last Saturday. A week after a family friend abducted her. Well, on Thursday night, her family and friends held a fundraiser for her and, as Casey reports, she made a surprise appearance.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, Hannah Anderson looked uncomfortable, perhaps a little scared, as she hurried past a dozen cameras or more without speaking to reporters when she walked into the fundraiser. Once she was inside, though, people who were there said she was much more comfortable.

What she really wanted to accomplish was to thank all of those people who have supported her throughout her ordeal and are continuing to support her going forward.


WIAN (voice-over): Hannah Anderson's arrival at a fundraiser for her family came as a surprise to her relatives and friends.

BRANDON FAMBROUGH, HANNAH'S COUSIN: This night was an unexpected reunion, honestly. All our friends were here. It was like we haven't skipped a beat.

WIAN: The media were invited to Boll Weevil Restaurant in Lakeside, California, but weren't allowed inside during Anderson's reunion.

BRETT ANDERSON, HANNAH ANDERSON'S FATHER: Hannah sends her love. She's doing good day by day. And we'll just keep moving forward from here. WIAN: Wearing "Hannah Strong" and "Pray for Hannah" T-shirts, neighbors, friends and the teenager's grandparents helped raise money for Anderson's mother and brother's funeral.

ANDERSON: I wanted to say thank you all for coming. This is a small community that we're a part of and the community came together putting on this great fundraiser for Hannah and hopefully her future in healing.

WIAN (on camera): What has it meant to this community to have to go through this ordeal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying that that guy did what he did. It's just sickening to me and I just want to put them all to rest.

WIAN (voice-over): The fundraising event drew a large crowd, raffle ticket sales, cash donations and 20 percent of the restaurant sales all donated to the Anderson family.

ANDERSON: We have a lot of expenses in front of us and right now we're just looking for her future and get her settled.

WIAN: A family hoping to help Hannah adjust after she was allegedly kidnapped by her father's best friend.

FAMBROUGH: You keep hearing the term Uncle Jim. He really was like an Uncle Jim to them.

WIAN: Meanwhile, we're still learning new information about what police discovered at DiMaggio's burned down home. This newly released search warrant obtained by CNN affiliate KFMB says that police discovered a handwritten note and letters from Hannah. The detectives say proves DiMaggio had control over that house.

Police also recovered incendiary devices leading them to believe the house fire was caused by human actions.


WIAN: Given what we've learned about Hannah Anderson's kidnapping, some of the other items that were seized by police very, very chilling. Empty boxes that once contained camping gear, an empty box that once contained handcuffs and lots of ammunition -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Casey Wian.

All right. More heavy rain hitting the area drenched already. I'm talking about the south and the southeast.

Joining me right now, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado.

It is really wet, but also, it is cool.

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is. It's rather cool.

WHITFIELD: I don't mean like cool like that's hit cool. I mean, temperature cool.

DELGADO: Yes, it's not yet cool, it's cold and it feels like fall. We don't like cool.


DELGADO: And we are all blaming this on the rain that's coming down across parts of Florida as well as into Georgia and Alabama. Look what's happening on the radar right now. The rain coming down quite heavy. Now what we're going to be dealing with are rounds of heavy rainfall over the next 48 hours.

As we go over, I want to show you some video coming in to us out of North Carolina and this video here, this was just taken just hours ago. This is out of Wilmington and this is showing you flooded streets. Now as we go over to our radar, we kind of show you where the rain is coming down to give you a better idea.

This is Wilmington, North Carolina. A local meteorologist shot this video here and he said that he was planning a fancy football party and he can't get anybody over to his house because everybody's flooded out, so you know it's getting serious there, right, Fredricka.


DELGADO: I mean, you can't have your fantasy football. But on a serious note, we are certainly talking about a dangerous situation here with all this rain out there. And the ground is so saturated, then you add in another two to four inches of rainfall, certainly doesn't have anywhere to go. So we're going to be talking about more problems with flooding and then as we look across the Gulf of Mexico, we have an area of low pressure that we're watching and this is going to be providing all this fuel for the heavy rainfall across parts of the southeast.

This is that tropical connection, that moisture flow and this is what's producing all this rainfall all along the stationary front and this is providing rain from areas from New Orleans all the way over towards Florida, so it is going to be a wet 48 hours and then of course, it really starts to move up towards north as we go later into tomorrow night -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So we're going to share the love.

DELGADO: We are sharing the love, a little bit, but we're getting a lot of it.

WHITFIELD: Yes. But it also could be really potentially dangerous. So people have to be careful especially with these potential flash floods that come with a lot of rain.

DELGADO: A lot of flood watches out there. Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Jennifer.

DELGADO: You're welcome. WHITFIELD: On to Idaho now. Wildfire conditions had worsened in the past 24 hours there. Dry, hot conditions and gusty winds sent massive fire walls dangerously close to homes and resorts in Sun Valley area. At least 1600 homes have been evacuated near the towns of Hailey and Ketchum. The Beaver Creek Fire had now destroyed some 64,000 acres and the fire is only 6 percent contained.

All right. Now to Egypt and the escalating crisis there. This was the scene earlier outside a mosque in Cairo.

Violent clashes broke out between security forces and protesters backing ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The demonstrators had been holed out there overnight and they were surrounded by security forces. Police have cleared out the last few protesters from that mosque and both sides are blaming each other now for starting the violence in the first place.

Back here in the U.S., New Jersey could be on the verge of expanding medical marijuana options for patients, including children. Governor Chris Christie said yesterday he'll sign off on a bill just a few changes have to be made first.

It's a big win for one father who has been fighting to get edible marijuana for his 2-year-old daughter who has a seizure disorder. For her other drugs just simply have not worked.

Alina Cho joining me live now from New York.

So, Alina, what are the changes that the governor is proposing?

ALINA CHO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I'll get to that in just a minute but, you know, it was really hard not to feel for this father, Brian Wilson. He confronted Governor Christie earlier this week with the words, "Please don't let my daughter die, Governor." And the governor took action. Two days later.

He has essentially sent this bill back to the New Jersey legislature. He has indicate d he will sign it under three conditions. Number one, edible forms of marijuana would be allowed, but it would be given only to minors. Number two, he also wants to keep in place the requirements that parents have a note from a psychiatrist, a pediatrician, and also that they get a prescription from a qualifying doctor.

Now some people believe that that's too strict. Here's what little Vivian's father told our Wolf Blitzer on "AC 360" last night. Watch.


BRIAN WILSON, SAYS DAUGHTER NEEDS MEDICAL MARIJUANA: This makes a lot of headache and heartache for parents to go around, shopping around for doctors who understand anything about medical marijuana to get them to sign up for this. So, you know, for parents who are already going through a lot of trouble just with what their children's ailments are, they now have to go through this extra step that you don't have to go through for any other medical condition or for any other medication.


CHO: The third condition Governor Christie supports, removing this three-strain limit on the kinds of marijuana that can be prescribed. Now that means children like Vivian, and you just heard from her father there, would be able to get this edible oil based strain of marijuana that they need.

Now for those of you who aren't familiar with this story, look it there. That is 2-year-old Vivian. She wears an eye patch because seeing certain patterns brings on seizures. She has this rare form of epilepsy. It's called Dravet Syndrome, and it causes severe seizures on a daily basis. They can last up to an hour at times.

She is on a special diet. She has special medication but her parents, especially her father, believes very strongly, Fredricka, that the only thing that will control her seizures is this special form of medical marijuana. High in something called CBD, low in THC, which is the agent that makes you high.

Now the bottom line is this is a victory for this family and others just like Vivian's if the state legislature goes along with Governor Christie's suggestions -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Hearts go out to them for sure. Thanks so much, Alina Cho.

All right. Right now, a hemp fest is in full swing in Seattle. The 22nd annual event is different this year. It's the first one since the state of Washington legalized pot. Police are giving out free bags of Doritos. But it's not just to help smokers with the munchies, the bags have messages to help people understand the law and its limits.

All right. Is marijuana harmful of helpful? CNN's Dr. Gupta cuts through the smoke on America's green rush and journeys around the world to uncover the highs and the lows of weed tonight on CNN at 8:00 Eastern and Pacific.

All right. Here's a look at what's trending online. We used to think it was just a part of conspiracy theories and on TV's the "X Files," but this week, the CIA revealed Area 51 does exist. New documents show the large Nevada base was a testing ground for aerial surveillance programs used to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams are suing Marvin Gaye's family. Their lawyer is asking a federal judge to determine if this song titled "Blurred Lines" infringes on the late iconic singer's copyrights. Marvin Gaye's family says the trio's new song sounds just like Gaye's famous hit "Got to Give It Up."

And "Duck Dynasty" has shattered TV viewership records. "Entertainment Weekly" says the A&E reality series broke records with its return on Wednesday night as the most watched nonfiction series telecast in cable television history. Can you believe that? 11.8 million people tuned in to watch season four of the continued adventures of the Robertson family.

The family owns a multi-million dollar duck calling manufacturing business and they continue to cash in.

All right, one of the "Duck Dynasty" stars was just kicked out by the way of a hotel in New York. He says it was facial profiling. Coming up, we'll tell you if it ruffled his feathers.

And home after home, teetering on the edge. Sinkholes swallowing the ground beneath the houses in a Florida neighborhood. We'll take you there, carefully.

And first, a teen who was abducted by a family friend, a man who allegedly killed her mother and brother, shares her story online days after her rescue. She opens up on social media. A forensic psychologist weighs in on what she has to say.


WHITFIELD: Sixteen-year-old Hannah Anderson surprised people when she spoke out online. Days after she was rescued from a traumatic alleged kidnapping. Well, just a few days after the whole horrific ordeal, she answered questions on social media on the site Ask.FM.

So one question was about the man accused of abducting her, James DiMaggio. He was killed by FBI agents. The question asked, "Are you glad he's dead?" Hannah's answer, "Absolutely." But some are wondering is social media the right place for this kind of conversation and is it too soon?

Let's bring in tech reporter Laurie Segall and forensic psychologist Buzz Von Ornsteiner.

So, Laurie, you first. You know, Hannah, like many teens all over social media. And that doesn't just mean Facebook anymore, does it?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not. I mean, she was on, as you mentioned, Ask.FM. She's also on Pinterest. And you really get the idea that she's a true 16-year-old if you look at her Pinterest board. She's got pictures of hairstyles and look, you can see she likes different nail styles, fashion. You know, she's definitely a 16-year-old and what is pretty fascinating here is if you look at her Instagram photos, she's really kind of coming out when it comes to Instagram and grieving online.

She actually updated her bio on Instagram to say "Rest in peace, Ethan and mom." She also has been posting all types of pictures. You can see right there. "My two beautiful angels." Her last post was, "I wish heaven had visiting hours."

And Fredrick, I should mentioned these are public posts. So they're not just getting hundreds of likes. They're getting thousands of likes. People commenting saying everything from, "Hannah, our thoughts are with you," to, "You're beautiful, I want to take you out, to "I don't believe you." So a lot of attention. She's almost becoming a little bit of a mini social media celebrity at a --


SEGALL: At a very tragic time.

WHITFIELD: So, then, Dr. Buzz, you know, especially hearing that, that she's become kind of a celebrity in all this by way of social media, that seems a little troublesome. That seems like it might be a little too much too soon. Am I wrong on that?

J. BUZZ VON ORNSTEINER, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: No, I understand, and I hear your concerns. Truly, when we are in grief, I think we need to remember that whoever we are, what we're suffering in, and we are grief stricken, it's highly individual. And we kind of have to go with where that person is and sometimes it can be generational.

Of course, when you're in grief or you're emotionally troubled, you want to be able to express yourself and you want to be able to express yourself to a supportive person or a group that you perceive as being supportive.

When we look at Hannah Anderson, you know, obviously the Internet and social media has played a major part in her life. Probably has affected her social life, has affected her social connections. And in many ways, although I understand and hear your concern, she at least is not in isolation. She at least is reaching out to the social network in a situation and a structure that she feels comfortable with.

WHITFIELD: So you are saying -- yes, so you're saying that this really -- it makes sense that this would be a coping mechanism, if it's so much a part of the fabric of her life, this social media outlet has to be part of her healing as well.

ORNSTEINER: Yes, in many way, I think we have to remember, you know, I'm not a teenager. I'm a baby boomer, and maybe I would write my emotional thoughts down on a piece of paper, maybe I would go work out at the gym or go to the psychiatrist for sleeping medication, if I was experiencing grief. But Hannah Anderson is a teenager who grew up with the Internet and Hannah has embraced it.

She may not feel comfortable at this time talking to an adult. She may not feel comfortable talking to her father. She may not be ready or feel that she had the emotional control to talk to a therapist, so she turns to the Internet, something she does feel comfortable with.


ORNSTEINER: Something that she probably has daily in her structure. I know that's hard to understand, but I'm pleased that she's not in isolation, that she's reaching out on some level trying to rejoin the living, breathing world.

WHITFIELD: Well, I think you have just made an awful lot of people better understand the dynamics here at play.

So, Doctor Buzz Von Ornsteiner, thanks so much. Laurie Segall, we appreciate your input as well. To both of you, thank you.


WHITFIELD: All right. Tonight the full story of this unimaginable crime and rescue. CNN brings you the dramatic details of the alleged kidnapping, the heroic effort that led to the rescue of Hannah Anderson. That's CNN tonight, 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

All right. The first lady opens up about motherhood in the White House. What does she want for her daughters that the president perhaps doesn't do? All that coming up. And it's home to the rich and famous and it's also the scene of a series of jewelry heists. Who's snatching things from Park Avenue millionaires?


WHITFIELD: All right, moms out there. Whew, we know raising children, that's quite the job in it of itself. Well, how about doing it while the world's spotlight is on you and you're the wife of the president of the United States? No easy feat for sure.

Well, First Lady Michelle Obama is opening up about that role and our Athena Jones has the inside look -- Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, in this Sunday's "Parade" magazine, the first lady dishes on turning 50, her rules for parenting in the White House, and whether a woman could soon be president. We got an early look.


JONES (voice-over): First Lady Michelle Obama, biking with her family Friday on Martha's Vineyard, and opening up to "Parade" magazine about raising 15-year-old Malia and 12-year-old Sasha. "What I tell my kids is, I'm preparing you for college and for life so having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance."

Asked about these comments to CNN affiliate WCAX --

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: As a busy single mother or I should say single as a busy mother --

JONES: The first lady told "Parade," "I give my husband credit, he knows who their friends are, he knows what their schedule is, but he is not making the calls to the dance studio to figure out what classes they're taking next year."

Mrs. Obama has also made a point of promoting healthy eating with her own White House garden, and exercise, often serving as first example.

Taking on Jimmy Fallon in a fitness battle and teaching workout moves to kids. And the coveted cover model is not above a little vanity as she approaches 50. "I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. I want to be this really fly 80-, 90- year-old." I asked her former campaign chief of staff, Stephanie Cutter, how she'll be remembered.

STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": Fun, passionate. A good mom. A great spouse. Somebody that so many women across this country can relate to.

JONES: When it comes to presidential politics and whether there will be a female commander-in-chief in her lifetime, Mrs. Obama says, "Yes, I think the country is ready for it. It's just a question of who's the best person out there."


JONES: And while she insisted she will never run for president, Mrs. Obama wouldn't comment on whether another first lady by the name of Hillary Clinton could get the job, saying she didn't want to get ahead of any announcement Clinton might make -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: OK. We're going to have to wait and see what happens. Thank you so much, Athena, in Washington.

All right. There are no UFOs, no aliens, but the government now admits Area 51 does exist. We'll take you inside the newly declassified information.

And the uproar after a Chinese zoo tries to pass this fluffy dog off as a lion.


WHITFIELD: British police say they're looking into new information about Princess Diana's death. Princess Di was killed in a car crash almost 16 years ago in France. Police say they are, quote, "scoping information," end quote, that has recently been received and determining if it's relevant and credible, but they didn't have any other details to share.

An investigation in 2008 found both the driver of Princess Diana's car and the cars following her were being grossly negligent.

All right. Here's a look at what's trending online. Yankees star, Alex Rodriguez, is denying that his inner circle leaked names of players in the Major League Baseball doping scandal. Rodriguez, who is appealing a 211-game suspension, told reporters in Boston Friday night that the report, quote, "was not true at all," end quote, and that it was simply an attempt to alienate him from other players.

To Hong Kong Now. A zoo tried to pass off a hairy dog as a lion. And people are kind of mad about it. Roaring mad. A visitor said she discovered the fraud when visiting the zoo in a park with her son and the hairy dog was on display as an African lion and then it barked.


And we used to think it was just a part of conspiracy theories and on the TV show "The X Files," but this week the CIA revealed Area 51 does exist. New documents show the large Nevada base was a testing ground for aerial surveillance programs used to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Chad Myers is here to tell us more about it -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Fred, it's official. There's an Area 51. Not like we didn't know it for a long time and not like we couldn't see it on Google Earth for many, many years, but there's a runway. There's a building. There's a longer runway. There's a lake bed. All in effect developing the spy program back in the '50s, so what's it all about?

Well, it was about the U2. The U2 spy plane right here. Developed there, flown there, tested there. It could go 60,000 feet in the sky and fly for a very long time. Declassified, U2 spy plane developed.

Something else that was developed there, too, was the Blackbird. Get to that in a second. This is the picture of a NASA plane, although not really. It was a cover-up a long time ago with the U2 markings of a NASA plane here. And NASA saying, yes, that's our plane, we were just checking the atmosphere.

Everyone knew that didn't occur. And then here we go with the predecessor to the SR-71 Blackbird, the A-12 was developed out there. The Oxcart program. All out there in the Nevada desert in the cloak of darkness or at least behind big fences -- Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Chad.

All right. One of New York's most glamorous addresses is a crime scene. Four times over. The series of jewelry heists striking the rich and famous.


WHITFIELD: All right. Those family jewels, they're probably not safe at this address, 740 Park Avenue in New York, home to the rich and famous. Well, apparently, it's also been a target of serial jewel thieves out there.

Alina Cho has more.

CHO: Hey, Fred, imagine having neighbors like Vera Wang, Ronald Lauder, David Koch. 740 Park Avenue was just that kind of building. The New York City address that says you've arrived.

Now imagine not one, not two, not three, but four separate jewelry heists in this very building. No sign of who did it. It sounds like fiction, but it's real.


CHO (voice-over): The story has hints of the one you see in the film "Tower Heist."

TEA LEONI, ACTRESS, "TOWER HEIST": All these guys keep cash close by. CHO: Only this time, the tower is 740 Park Avenue, New York City's most famous white glove residential building. Hit with a series of jewelry heists. Four burglaries on four separate occasions in four different apartments while the ritzy residents were away on summer vacation.

Among the items stolen, diamond earrings and necklaces, Rolex and Patti Philippe watches. Total value, nearly $250,000 and in all of the thefts, no signs of forced entry.

MICHAEL GROSS, AUTHOR, "740 PARK": What for (INAUDIBLE) is to gold, 740 Park is to rich guys. If you are that rich, this is where you live. It's a club. And it's a really small club because there are only 31 apartments.

CHO: Michael Gross wrote a book on 740 Park Avenue, storied home to the rich and famous. Jackie O. grew up here. John D. Rockefeller once lived here. Today's residents include fashion designer Vera Wang and cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder and billionaire businessman David Koch and Steve Schwartzman.

GROSS: 740 Park means that you've arrived. You're there. You're it. And you're rich as creases because the only way that you can buy an apartment in this building is if you have $100 million liquid.

CHO: But who could have pulled this off?

WALTER SHAW, FORMER CAREER THIEF: I think it's an inside job. If they go back to the surveillance tapes and cameras, they'll just see they don't recognize anybody that doesn't belong there. It's either construction or a new maid that came on or a carpet cleaner. Somebody inside the building.


CHO: Something to keep in mind, yes, a lot of jewelry was stolen, but as one person put it to me, at 740 Park Avenue, a Rolex is like a teaspoon. This apartment building is filled with museum worthy art. Just take Ronald Lauder for example. He owns his own museum, Fredricka. And as one person said, the better stuff is probably inside his home -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: A teaspoon. I love that analogy. That's cute. Thanks so much, Alina.

All right. House after house on a Florida street could be swallowed into the ground. An entire neighborhood on edge as sinkholes threaten to destroy everything they own.

And he is on one of the most watched shows on television, but not everyone knows the long beards and camo of "Duck Dynasty." The so- called facial profiling incident that had one of the stars booted from his hotel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Those condos have disappeared into a sinkhole near Orlando, Florida, on Sunday are expected to be demolished soon. Sinkholes caused a whole lot of damage and as our John Zarrella reports, they're not as rare as you might think.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Neatly kept lawns, a quiet neighborhood in Weeki Wache, Florida. But beneath the ground, there is a commotion going on. John Furlough stepped in it, literally.

JOHN FURLOUGH, HOMEOWNER: I came over and as I was walking out here, I stepped right here and my foot went down in the hole.

ZARRELLA: It was a sinkhole right under the Furloughs' bedroom. It started out five feet deep. Since it opened more than a year and a half ago, the Furloughs have watched it morph from deep to shallow, shrinking and expanding. They don't use the bedroom any longer. The pool, they tell me, loses an inch of water a day.

So why on earth live in a home with a sinkhole beneath it?

J. FURLOUGH: We put everything into this house in the beginning.

TINA FURLOUGH, HOMEOWNER: Even our inheritance. We thought we'd live in and die here. We don't have a -- we didn't have a plan B.

ZARRELLA: Now they wait for an insurance settlement so they'll have the money to fill the hole.

(On camera): If you thought the Furloughs' problem was isolated, well, you'd be wrong. 9239. Sinkhole. Down the street, 9191. Sinkhole. Several other properties on this street all dealing with sinkholes.

(Voice-over): There is a bit of consolation for the folks in this neighborhood. The sinkholes beneath their homes can be dealt with. The ground can be filled and the homes re-enforced. That wasn't the case on February 28th.

The 911 call came in from Seffner, Florida, near Tampa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bedroom floor just collapsed and my brother- in-law is in there. He's underneath the house.

ZARRELLA: Within hours the world was buzzing about a bizarre and tragic event. A rate catastrophic collapsed sinkhole had swallowed a young man lying in his bed. Jeremy Bush tried saving his brother.

JEREMY BUSH, TRIED TO SAVE BROTHER FROM SINKHOLE: I couldn't get him out. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.

ZARRELLA: Until it collapsed, the family says they had no idea what was or, in this case, wasn't beneath them. Geologists say it works like this. A cavity slowly develops in the limestone bedrock. Over thousands of year, it widens, eventually breaching the limestone's surface. Then the clay and sand above collapse into the hole and everything is swallowed up.

While catastrophic collapsed events are rare, sinkholes in Florida are certainly not. According to state insurance statistic, between 2006 and 2009, there were nearly 12,000 claims in the state's most sinkhole prone counties. Weeki Wache happens to be in one of those countries. Many of the people here are retirees to Florida.

PAUL BRASWELL, WEEKI WACHE, FLORIDA RESIDENT: We came from Colorado and I didn't even know how to spell sinkhole.

ZARRELLA: Now they're living with one.

John Zarrella, CNN, Weeki Wache, Florida.


WHITFIELD: And coming up in the 3:00 Eastern hour of the CNN NEWSROOM, we're going to give you a rare view from inside a sinkhole.

CNN's David Mattingly dives for a peek, literally swimming in one. Wow. Stick around for that here on CNN.

All right. "Duck Dynasty" has taken the cable world by storm, but sometimes all that facial hair, they -- well, it can kind of get in the way. It might have gotten one of the brothers kicked out of a fancy hotel.


WHITFIELD: The reality show "Duck Dynasty" on A&E is setting records. People can't seem to get enough of the Louisiana family, their back country lifestyle and their long beards. But not everyone knows who they are.

One of the brothers was in New York promoting the show's fourth season. And he says he was kicked out of his hotel when someone mistook him for a homeless man. He joked that he was a victim of facial profiling.

CNN's Jake Tapper takes a closer look at the family and their calling, and why millions of viewers are flocking to them.


JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" (voice-over): Come listen to my story about the Robertson clan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My idea of happiness is killing things.

TAPPER: Multi-millionaire's Commander Duck Call businessman. They star in a reality show on the channel A&E by kind of mocking proletariats on behalf of bourgeoisie. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't marry some of the other girl. I'm a low- tech man in a high-tech world. I don't think I even need a razor.

TAPPER: "Duck Dynasty," that is. Ratings gold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody happy, happy, happy.

TAPPER: Fifty years ago, "The Beverly Hillbillies" endeared America to the idea of a backcountry clans sticking to their roots after striking it rich. But the Clampetts could never have imagined a dynasty like this one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you shooting at?


TAPPER: "Duck Dynasty" broke records last season with nearly 10 million viewers tuning in for the finale. By the way, that's more than 700 times the population of the family's hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana.

BRIAN LOWRY, TV CRITIC, VARIETY: Really what the show is is it's a very effective sitcom. They've managed to create a patina of authenticity around a show that is very carefully shaped into a very familiar sitcom format.

TAPPER: And unlike the Clampetts, not only are the Robertsons real people, but they still live in their hometown. One official tour invites visitors to duck into the city of Monroe and follow the beards.

Now to the beards. The famously unkempt facial hair has become a star of its own. I even felt a bit bare when I met Willie Robertson at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year. Luckily the show is so popular there's an app for that. The "Duck Dynasty Beard Booth." Problem solved.

There is a dark side to this bayou business. Many of Hollywood's more traditional scripted TV comedies and drama see "Duck Dynasty" and its astounding ratings as a threat and an example of how TV entertainment is being dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.

LOWRY: What we're seeing is there are all kinds of viewers watching some of these shows for different reasons. Some watch them because they relate to the characters, and some people watch it to feel superior to the characters. The truth is, for A&E's purposes, it doesn't matter why people watch as long as they keep doing it.

TAPPER: Fans, however, argue it's not the beards or the camouflage that make the show attractive to its core audience, it's the Clampetts' style clean humor and values.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to learn about a hard day's work. It's a new concept for you all.

WILL ROBERTSON, DUCK DYNASTY: You know, you just don't feel bad about watching it. It's good, it's family values and it pulls people together, and that's what people tell me that's the parts they like about it, and it's funny.

TAPPER: So a wholesome family man of faith from the south with rock star popularity, you say? Queue political parties smelling a winner. And yes, the Twitter-verse is outgoing with calls for the Duck Commander's CEO to fill the congressional seat being left vacant this year by Louisiana representative Rodney Alexander.

ROBERTSON: I'm kind of busy right now.

TAPPER: But in his appearance on FOX News Tuesday, Willie Robertson did not seem all that interested.

ROBERTSON: Are you scared of my policies and what I would bring in?


ROBERTSON: Exactly what we need to take the Duck Commander empire to the next level.

TAPPER (on camera): And now Deadline Hollywood reports that the Robertson clan has successfully negotiated and 400 to 500 percent raise for this season. Earning more than $200,000 an episode, though of course that will be divided up among the nine adults and 11 children who make up the family.

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. My ducks might like it wet but most especially the southeast are asking, who will stop the rain? Yet another front. Something more heavy moisture on an area that is already waterlogged. We'll take a look at one of the wettest summers ever.


WHITFIELD: All wash-up? Well, yes, you could say that, at least for many parts of the country, this wettest of summers have a lot of people asking, what summer?

CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons has more.


INDRA PETERSONS, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): In Charleston, South Carolina, the rain has been relentless. Check out this video of a cyclist struggling to get through the flooded downtown streets.

Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas have seen flash flooding this season as storms continue to drench the south. For many places, it has been the wettest summer on record. In just July, Miami Beach got a whopping 18.5 inches of rain. In Ft. Lauderdale, they saw nearly 15.5 inches of rainfall. In Wichita, this minivan needed a boost after stalling out in the flooded street. In fact, Kansas broke 144 rainfall records in the first week of August alone. And they're not alone.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, has already seen more than 4 inches of rain this month. That's more rain in the first two weeks of August than they usually see in the entire month. Philadelphia is having its so soggiest summer yet. Last month they set an all-time record for rainfall in a single day when storms dumped eight inches in just six hours.

And the northeast is still reeling from severe thunderstorms from just this week. In Newark, Delaware, torrential rains shut down roads while high winds downed power lines and snapped trees.


WHITFIELD: Yes. Don't put those umbrellas away just yet. All right. Let's go to Hayward, California, where they did a little bit of demolition this morning.

That was the Cal State East Campus building. Workers brought the building down because it was built too close to a fault line and considered vulnerable to earthquakes.

Not to be outdone, demolition experts in Dayton, Ohio, brought down a 12-story building sandwiched between two others.

Whoa. That was a delicate takedown there. The 100-year-old building was demolished to make way for a condo development.

All right, that's going to do it for now. I'll see you right back here 3:00 Eastern Time. Here's what's coming up. You probably never thought you could get to see this kind of sinkhole up close and personal. We'll take you inside.

And shocking news from British police. They have been given new information about the death of Princess Diana. The latest on what we know coming up at 3:00 Eastern Time.

And from the American dream to America's reality. Millions still feel like they are missing out on the recovery. So when will it be their turn? Christine Romans has answers. "YOUR MONEY" starts now.