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Chris Brown was arrested; The Boston Red Sox lost last night's World Series game in excruciating fashion; Howard Dean and Jim Nicholson face to face; Quincy Jones is taking Sony Music and the estate of Michael Jackson to court; Day Of Celebration In Cambodian Village; Chris Brown Charged With Felony Assault In Washington, D.C.; Residents Of Tiny Island Off Georgia Coast Face 600 Percent Tax Increase; This Week Marks Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Aired October 27, 2013 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here are the top stories this hour in the newsroom.

In just a few hours, the Cardinals and the Red Sox face off after a wild game last night. The controversial decision ends game three in St. Louis' favor. Hear why Boston fans are calling it an obstruction of justice.

And a stabbing spree in Brooklyn leaves a mother and her four children dead. Now we're learning new information about the man accused of this horrifying crime.

And the former heads of the Democratic and Republican National Committees go head to head over Obamacare, the 2014 elections and the toxic climate in Washington.

But, first, the Boston Red Sox lost last night's World Series game in excruciating fashion. The game ended after umpire has called obstruction on a play in the ninth inning. They awarded the game- winning run to the St. Louis Cardinals right there. It was the first time an obstruction call had ever ended a World Series game. The cards are up two games to one in the series. Game four is tonight. And we will of course, have more on the call that left come fans screaming and other scratching their heads in about ten minutes from now.

Rock & Roll icon Lieu Reed has died. Reed influenced as a song writer and guitarist first with the bell that underground and later as a solo artist fan 50 years. And an inspiring artist in the variety of (INAUDIBLE). But he was probably best known for his song "take a walk on the wild side" and his worked with artist, Andy Warhol. Lou Reed was 71-years-old.

Singer Chris Brown was arrested after police say he and his bodyguard got in a fight with another man in Washington, D.C. Police say it broke out around 4:30 this morning outside the W. Hotel there. Brown and his bodyguard were charged with felony assault. The other man was taken to the hospital. Last night, Brown tweeted he was hosting a party at a nightclub. This video from this You Tubes page showing him dancing. So this could spell big trouble for Brown who is still on probation. Coming up in half an hour from now, our legal experts will break down what could be the legal road for Chris Brown.

All right, a mother and four children are dead following a stabbing spree at a Brooklyn home. A 25-year-old suspect is now in custody. But officials say charges have not yet been filed. A knife has been seized from the crime scene.

Rosa Flores is live for us right now in New York with more on this.

So Rosa, tells more about the suspect and what the motive may have been for these killings.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, this is a top story. The suspect in custody is 25-year-old, Mingdon Chin (ph). Now police say he is the cousin of the slain woman's husband. And while no motive has been spelled out yet, we are learning more about the weapon recovered from the scene.

Now, here's what we know, folks. Police respond today a call about a stabbing in a Brooklyn apartment last night. When they arrived on the scene, they made a grisly discovery. A 37-year-old mother and her four children age 9-1, dead. Now, authorities say they were clearly stabbed multiple times to their upper bodies.

Now, we are hearing more from NYPD so, take a listen as to how they described the scene.


CHIEF PHILIP BANKS, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: You have like you said a mother, to males and -- two of her sons and two of her daughters that were cut and butch it with a kitchen knife. We have the knife. The perpetrator made statements eluding that he utilized the knife to commit this act.


FLORES: Like you have heard there, the NYPD describing the weapon as a kitchen knife. They had described it earlier as butcher's knife as well. Now, the man in custody again, is a 25-year-old Asian male who NYPD says is the cousin of the slain woman's husband. He has been staying at that resident for about a week, they say. But his latest known address was in Chicago. And police officers say that he appears to have been bouncing a lot addresses since 2004, they tell us.

Now again, the name of that suspect in custody is Mindong Chin (ph), cousin of the slain woman's husband. You know, we asked, Fred, about potential mental illness. No word yet on that, as of now. But just a horrendous, just heinous act here in New York City and, of course, police are still investigating -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Heartbreaking.

All right, Rosa Flores. Thank you so much. WHITFIELD: Germany had a sharp words for the U.S. today about claims the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. Interior minister told the newspaper that if the U.S. intercepted cell phone in Germany that breaks German law. And he said confidence in the U.S. is shaking.

Erin McPike is joining us live now from Washington.

So Erin, you know, claims of the NSA spying have been reported, you know, around the world. But, as the NSA responding to these latest accusations?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Fred, yes, we did get a statement from the spokesman for the NSA just a little bit ago. I want to read that to you. It mentions the chief of the NSA General Keith Alexander.

And it says, General Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010, an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel news report claiming otherwise are not true.

Now, Fred, as we parse those words of try to sort out what we are learning here, all that statement is that Alexander and the president have never discussed it. And Alexander himself has discussed it. It doesn't mean it didn't happen. And it doesn't mean, necessarily, that President Obama didn't know about it.

That's all we know for now. And I'm sure we'll see more heat on this in the next week -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And what are we hearing from U.S. lawmakers, if anything?

MCPIKE: Well Fred, just yesterday, you and I were talking about Hillary Clinton and how she was sort of defending these practices in remarks on Friday night at Colgate University. The defense from the U.S. is coming from high powered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. And just this morning, Republican Mike Rogers shares the House intelligence committee with 'ON STATE OF THE UNION" and we want to play for you what he had to say about this too.


REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: We need to be respectful. But we also need to be -- and we need to be accurate. It needs to be overseen and we need to make sure that we are not collecting information we don't need, but we should collect information that's helpful to the United States interest.


MCPIKE: So there you have it. Again, politicians on both sides of the aisle who are in very big decisions of power are, in essence, defending U.S. surveillance tactics, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McPike. Thanks so much in Washington.

On to Italy now, now Aetna has erupted sending a large flume of ash seen over much of eastern Sicily. It even forced the closure of air space in the area for a few hours early this morning.

In the U.K., residents are being told to brace, meantime, for a big storm headed their way. Alexandra Steele is in the severe weather center and explains that this could be above one.


Well, a significant storm moving into the U.K., most likely here the center of the U.K. The calling card of this? Some very strong winds. Gusts, 60-80 miles per hour. That's tonight and until tomorrow. Some of it flying into London, Paris, ever Amsterdam. Some very strong winds -- this is the forecast winds. The next 48 hours, look at 51 mile per hour gust in London. We are going to watch this elevate though on Tuesday.

Here in the U.S., the biggest story, temperature is finally beginning to warm up. Although, a cool day today. It is not as cold as it has been. And also, in terms of the temperatures here in the southeast, warmer today and even warmer as we head toward tomorrow -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Alexandra Steele.

All right, it is the World Series game that everyone has been talking about all day long. An ump's decision to hand St. Louis a critical victory, but Boston says they were robbed. So, what major league baseball saying about the controversial call, the answer coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know the rules, but the fact he calls him safe and then calls interference. How do you do that? How do you wait until he gets to the home base calling it safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was clearly out. I mean, it was so obvious.


WHITFIELD: Lots of questions. Everyone see it differently. It was obvious the St. Louis Cardinal fans, maybe not to Boston Red Sox fans, however, after game three at the World Series. Major league baseball officials insisted over and over the (INAUDIBLE) got the last call right: We will try him that to Sox fans who saw their team lose and nail biter.

Here now is CNN's Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of the most bizarre ends of any baseball games, not to mention of games in the World Series spent on Saturday night with two outs in the bottom of the night, this happens.

A rare obstruction called end the game giving the St. Louis Cardinals have two to one edge in the series.

JOHN FARRELL, BOSTON RED SOX MANAGER: He's on the ground. If he tries to raise up then he's clearly getting in his way for Craig to try to advance to home plate. But, you know, that you can tangle up with him and that was the call.

WILL MIDDLEBROOKS, BOSTON RED SOX, THIRD BASEMAN: There was an obstruction there, obviously. I was inside the base line. I had the dodge worth. As I'm getting out he trips over me. I don't know what to say.

VALENCIA (voice-over): After the game, a rare press conference with the umpire depended his call.

JIM JOYCE, THIRD BASE UMPIRE FOR GAME THREE: The base runner has every right to go unobstructed to home plate. And unfortunately for Middlebrooks, he was right there and there was contact and so, he could not advance the home plate naturally.

VALENCIA (voice-over): At home plate, the Red Sox storm the field to argue while a lady pardon players ran to celebrate. Both sides thought they were right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what, last night was history. It was an obstruction walk off.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Jesse Sanchez writes for Last night, he is in the middle of the defense. A baseball dish was he thought it was the right call.

JESSE SANCHEZ, WRITER, MLB.COM: These are the rules of the game. And really, the rules apply all yearlong and you can't change that as a matter of what point of the season you were in. This will be one of the those bizarre moments in history.


WHITFIELD: Oh, my God. People are heated over this.

Nick Valencia joining us live now.

OK. So, you know, this is the first time, particularly for this wrap to be involved in something as glaring as last night's moment. I feel sorry for him, too.

VALENCIA: He got it strange the controversial call. Back in 2010, there was a pitcher who was working on a perfect game for baseball fans, you know, how rare that is. And he made a bad call at first. He was, you know, tearful press conference afterwards. He admitted he take this pride, that's right and only for something like this.

This time, Fred, he stood by his call and there is a lot of people including Jesse Sanchez, He was the objective observer. They thought they got the right call.

WHITFIELD: Oh, OK. We'll see what happens tonight.

VALENCIA: Yes, you don't know what kind of momentum swing when something like this can happen. And Red Sox, they got a history of, you know, a bad things happening for the organizations. So, we hope that this is not one of those.

WHITFIELD: Well, this is one of the things that makes World Series red hot --

VALENCIA: You are right.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Nick. Appreciate that.

VALENCIA: You bet.

WHITFIELD: All right, also, plenty of controversy these days in Washington. And the former heads of the Democratic and Republican national committee aren't afraid to weigh in on them. Up next, Howard Dean and Jim Nicholson facing off live on today's hot button issues including the president's health care law and the upcoming 2014 elections.


WHITFIELD: This week, the president plays offense on his health care law while his health and human services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius goes on defense testifying before a House committee on Capitol Hills. The president, meantime, will be in Boston touting his health care law at Samuel Hall, the place where in 2006 then-governor Mitt Romney signed the Massachusetts health care reform into law.

So joining me to talk more about all of this, two men who once run the nation's top political party, former Vermont governor Howard Dean who was chairman of the Democratic National committee. Good to see you.

And former secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Bush White House, Jim Nicholson, ran the Republican National Committee. Goo to see as well.

OK. So, gentlemen, the White House says this problem will be fix, at least the Web site will be fixed November 30th.

Governor Dean, you say this mess has been over blown, a small price to pay for a long term plan. Why do you feel that way.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I think most the (INAUDIBLE), whether they are in the private sector or the public sector have these kinds of problems. And surely, some they could have been done better. But we eventually get over this problems. I don't believe the Obama administration be so foolish as to give a deadline of the 30th of November for once it is all going to be fixed. If they don't think they can beat it and I think they will.

WHITFIELD: And so, secretary Nicholson, do you feel like this Web site, mass system anonymous with a messy plan or do you see, you know, there to be hope in this plan?

JIM NICHOLSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF VETERAN'S AFFAIRS: Well, it's the colossal mess but it's even more serious than that. This is one of the most deceitful political projects ever perpetrated on the American people. The president told the people and, by the way, he told the member of his own party in Congress, some of them who took very painful votes for this thing and it got no Republican vote, but he told them, he said if people have a plan that they like, they can keep it. If they have a doctor provider that they like, they can keep it. And that this will not cause them more money. Well, it is now palpably clear to everyone that all three of those statements were false and this is a serious matter.

Over Blue Cross in Florida, has canceled the policies of over 300,000 of their insurance patience. Millions have been canceled across the country and there are about 20 million individual policies intact out there. And A.J. Jessie (ph) saying that over 10 million of those are inadequate for the standards of Obamacare.

So, this is a colossal disaster. And it's a real tough political problem for the Democrats, as well.

WHITFIELD: And we're going to talk about how it's a problem for the Democrats a little bit later as we head to midterm election. But, why do you disagree, Governor?

DEAN: Well, because this has been done by Mitt Romney in Boston. And it was pretty successful. 98.5 percent of all Massachusetts have health care. It is true that insurance policies have been canceled. And the reason for that is they are inadequate. We know, we did a lot of the staff in the Obamacare 20 years ago in Vermont. All right, our kids have had health insurance for the last 20 years under 18. We've had community ratings. You cannot be turned down for preexisting conditions that is going only for 20 years. We have guaranteed issue. And so, I know what these reforms do:

And we did get rid of insurance policies that were inadequate. We got rid of insurance companies that were charging people a lot of money and then pulling their insurance once they got sick.

I think Obama is going to be a big plus for the Democrats going into the 2014 election. Because the fact of the matter is, well, there will be bad examples, the things that happen to people that shouldn't have. The by far, the best news about this is a lot of good things are going to happen to a lot of people who were really getting screwed before:

WHITFIELD: So, you see it as plus, Mr. Secretary, you see it as a real detriment to the Democrats. But especially following the government shutdown. Then, how do you see Republicans being able to recover from that come those midterm elections?

NICHOLSON: Well, that is going to become a distant memory by November 2014. What's really interesting is it now, I think it is up to 16 senators, Democrat senators in the U.S. Senate are asking the administration to delay the implementation of Obamacare. If it's so cool, why are nay asked to be delayed.

And the other thing that I think people can ask themselves, including the good governor who is out there faithfully blocking this for the administration is, if this is so good, why have they sought to be exempted that lies the members of Congress and their staffs demanded that they would be exempted from the coverage of Obamacare?

WHITFIELD: So, quickly. I don't know if Governor will be able to this thing.

DEAN: Sure. First of all, you know, the Republicans could have decided they shouldn't be exempt. I don't think they should be exempt. And I --see, I'm not faithfully flagging for the plan.

NICHOLSON: It wasn't the Republicans that has decide. That was the Democrats and the administration--


DEAN: The Republicans have voted to repeal this thing about 44 tiles. All they had to do is offer a rider on the budget, on the continuing resolution to say that their staff is exempted. And they had backed off when they had to. Look, I think everybody ought to be in the same boat. I agree. I don't think the federal people ought to be exempt for Social Security. I don't think they ought to get a special health care plan. I think they ought to be treated just like everybody else.

The fact of the matter is, it isn't hard for me to support this plan. I didn't like it in the first place. I thought there were a lot of things they could have done better. We are where we were. These are private sector plan. Mitt Romney showed that it worked in Massachusetts. It is going to work for the country.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will have to leave it there.

Governor Howard Dean and Secretary Jim Nicholson, thanks to both of you, gentlemen, for joining us this Sunday afternoon. Appreciate that.

DEAN: Thanks very much.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk music. The marriage of music straight ahead. Quincy Jones (ph) and Michael Jackson, well, they made great music together and millions of dollar. But now, Jones says he deserves even more. And he is doing the Jackson state to get it.

We will have more on that legal battle. And here, Jones' impressions of the late pop icon.


WHITFIELD: All right, bottom of the hour now, welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, Quincy Jones is taking Sony Music and the estate of Michael Jackson to court. The music producer says he has owed millions in royalties generated from some of the king of pop's biggest hit after his death. He says those hits were reproduced to deprive him of compensation.

A spokesman for Jackson's estate, of course, denying the claim. There was no immediate comment from Sony. So the partnership between Jackson and Jones is one of the most productive of all time. I spoke with Q early this year about the early years of their relationship. And Quincy Jones told me about how Michael Jackson, at one point, wanted to sing with two very notable female icons.


QUINCY JONES, PRODUCER: He was planning to get Streisand and Whitney. But Michael said, I'm going to sing a love song with my production. You know, Barbara's stuff. She said I'm old enough to be his mother.

WHITFIELD: Speaking of Michael Jackson, thriller, you know, of the wall, incredible albums that you were a part of. What was that relationship, that working relationship, musical relationship and personal relationship like with Michael?

JONES: Well, you can't be an effective producer unless it's love. You have to love them enough to give them a thorough examination silently of the ranges, you know, how far you can push them on the microphone, when it's time to take a break. Because you tell people like Ray Charles, (INAUDIBLE), and Sinatra are, these guys, to jump without a net, you wetter know want you're talking about. They are tough.

Michael was too young to be tough, you know. We worked on "The Wiz" first. And he said I'm going to go up here on epic and I would like you to help me find a producer. So, Michael, I don't want to talk about that. You don't have a song on the (INAUDIBLE). And I better get you a song outside of this right down the road. Absolutely, finally we got motion pictures, you can't win with the pros of gold. That's how we got that. And then, I saw that the Watson's, how intuitive people are single. He did make-up for five hours. He did all of the songs and all of the dance steps. He just had inquisitiveness, he was always watching and learning and growing. I was trying to find something that nobody saw before because when I first started working with him, his father and everybody else says you can't make it any bigger. I said we'll see. One thing led to another.


WHITFIELD: Led to a lot. That partnership worked out very well. Michael Jackson sold more than 75 million albums.

All right. Chris Brown has also sold millions of albums but that is not why he is the headlines today. We'll tell you about the singer's latest run-in with the law coming up.

But first, Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon is known for her passion both on and off the screen. The actress was recently honored for her commitment to end world hunger. Here is Michaela Pereira with how Sarandon is impacting our world. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is a day of celebration at a village in Cambodia. Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon and her daughter have come to watch one of Heifer International's Core programs in action.

SUSAN SARANDON, OSCAR WINNER: Heifer International figured out a very efficient way to spend your money by having you sponsor an animal for families that they then help for a year to make sure that they understand that they know how to nurture that animal. And when that animal has off springs they pass that on. The feeling of pride and satisfaction as being able to pass on something as valuable as that gift to another person. Is as important as filling their bellies.

PEREIRA: Heifer believes empowering women is a key to ending world hunger and poverty.

SARANDON: The families that I was fortunate enough to visit in Cambodia is certainly a testament to the power of women. They are the glue that bonds the community together. It showed me just how much we can accomplish when as women we recognize our ability, our voice, and the fact that we can pull together to create some kind of change.



WHITFIELD: All right. Two big legal stories that we are keeping a close watch on. The first case from just this morning we told you earlier. Chris Brown is in trouble again, the singer and his bodyguard have been arrested and charged with felony assault for beating up, allegedly, another man outside the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The other case is the MacNeill murder trial out of Utah. Dr. McNeil is accused of murdering his wife Michele MacNeill back in 2007. And last week his mistress on the right there Gypsy Willis was on the stand. And she revealed some very salacious details of their relationship.

So, let's talk about these two cases. Here with me in studio Attorneys Carrie Hackett and Tanya Miller. All right. Let's talk about Chris Brown first. Oh my goodness, I mean everyone kind of knows about the history involving Rihanna and being on probation. And now, something like this happening, after a party that he threw in Washington, this does not look good. No matter the outcome of the allegation.

Right Tanya?

TANYA MILLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. Because he is on felony probation in California. And because he is under sentence, he is being supervised and watched. He has conditions he must comply with. He cannot get involved in anything like this. And the mere fact that it's alleged, it doesn't have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It could be enough to have his probation revoked.

WHITFIELD: But Carrie the discretion is on the probation officer or who makes this determination?

CARRIE HACKETT, SPECIALIST IN CRIMINAL LAW: It is complicated. Ultimately it is the judge. But the probation officer does weigh in with their opinion essentially on whether the probation should be pulled or not. But in a case like this, where he knows that if he gets into any kind of trouble, when you get on probation, the judge, the probation officer, they tell you exactly what you can do and what you cannot do in order to get in even deeper trouble with the probation. So they have told him look, if you receive any new charge regardless of outcome, regardless of whether you are convicted, judicated, not guilty that could still be trouble for you. So he should know better and he should have people handling this for him.

WHITFIELD: So this comes after some other kind of hit and run incident earlier in the year. How does that ultimately impact his probation? Was that kind of swept under the rug, no problem and move on?

MILLER: Kind of. I mean the prosecutors brought a petition basically saying look; he should be violated for this hit and run. Ultimately they negotiated a resolution his attorneys with the prosecutor and just added some more I think it was community service hours on there.

HACKETT: I think it was a thousand hours of community service and that's a big deal.

MILLER: But he didn't get any jail time. So it was kind of a slap on the wrist. But still I mean this is number two for him.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh, and as far as we know at least this morning, he was still being held. His release is contingent upon what?

MILLER: He could -

WHITFIELD: A first court appearance and all that?

MILLER: That is right and he could at this point even had a probation warrant issued for I don't think it has been yet. But the probation officer in California could issue a warrant for him. Which would require him to be held, as well.

MILLER: but he will certainly be held through tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. OK. Let's talk about the other case. This one unfolding in a Utah court and this involves everything from the alleged mistress to the alleged murder to a family just simply falling apart. We saw some powerful testimony, one of the daughter's Rachel MacNeill who just was just inconsolable on the stand talking about when she learned that her dad had a mistress not long after the death of her mother. How powerful is that testimony? Not because of what she said, but even just her behavior, you know her physical appearance on the stand. How influential is that?

MILLER: I think that's going to be very powerful. I think that is a problem for the doctor. Because this is his own daughter and his own daughter is saying essentially she believes that her father killed her mother. That's powerful evidence for a jury. I think it is problematic.

HACKETT: I agree. And I think it's even more powerful because she testified to the very close relationship that she had with her father growing up. She said she on the stand that she was closer to her father than her mother. They were best friends. It was just these actions that he had taken after her mother's death joking about being a single man immediately after her mother dies that led her to feel some discomfort and believe that he could be the one that perpetrated this act.

WHITFIELD: And then Gypsy Miller actually took the stand too. And talked about when they met and how they would meet, etc, how frequently. But I guess what's upcoming and has a lot of people at the edge of their seat is whether the then-6-year-old daughter who actually discovered the mother's body, Michelle, whether she will now twelve years old take the stand and if so what kind of testimony would she deliver. What is the expectation Carrie?

HACKETT: Well I think at this point the judge has decided that at least her testimony; her prior statements to a counselor are going to come in. That's when she's described seeing her mother Michelle's body in the tub and kind of outlined how she saw her there with her face facing up and her body in the tub and her eyes open. So that should come in and I think --

WHITFIELD: And clothes on.

HACKETT: With clothes on. And I think the judge also said that she could be cross examined by the prosecutor. That's what we know now.

WHITFIELD: All right. Last word on that?

MILLER: Yes. I think that the prosecution lost that battle. Because as we know, the defense tried to exclude her testimony all together. The prosecutor only gets to play the tape. She doesn't get the child doesn't get to testify because she has been tainted by the sisters. So I think that was a lost battle for the prosecution. But we will see how that cross examination turns out.

WHITFIELD: All right. Very good. We'll be watching both cases all week long. Starting with of course tomorrow. Tanya and Carrie thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you.

HACKETT: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, a tax increase of more than 500 percent? Does that seem possible? That's certainly a nightmare for anyone. But sadly it is the reality for a culture struggling to survive on a Georgia island. That story right after this.


WHITFIELD: What would you do if your property taxes went up 600 percent? That's happening to people living on a tiny island off the coast of Georgia. And it could force them off the land that they lived on for generations. But the residents say it's not just about the land. It's about their culture. David Mattingly has more.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Slave descendents on Georgia's Sapelo Island have held onto their ancestral land since the end of the Civil War. But this to the island today reveals a humble lifestyle. Under the shade of a sprawling live oak and curtains of Spanish moss. But there is also a desperation here.

What were the taxes before?


MATTINGLY: What did they go up to?

HALL: $10,836.

MATTINGLY: Reginald Hall saw the taxes on his families land increase over night more than 500 percent. And he is not alone. The problem new county assessments spiked by demand for expensive vacation homes on this undeveloped island. How basic is life here?

HALL: As basic as it gets.

MATTINGLY: Paul takes me on a tour down the bumpy road through the islands' only residential area. A place scenery rich but job poor.

What are you getting for your tax money?

HALL: Nothing.

MATTINGLY: There are no paved roads, no schools and the only ferry to the island doesn't run at night. But that hasn't stopped outsiders from setting off an up scaled building boom. But unaffordable taxes as the fall-out.

BENJAMIN HALL, SAPELO ISLAND RESIDENT: Once we lose the land through this strategy of increasing taxes, we're gone as a people.

MATTINGLY: These residents are descendents of the hundreds of slaves brought to Sapelo from West Africa in the 1800s. They are living remnants of what is known as the Gullah Geechee culture. Fewer than 50 still live here.

CHARLES HALL, SAPELO ISLAND RESIDENT: That is part of what built this country. And Sapelo being the only intact Gullah Geechee Community in the country that is left.

MATTINGLY: For most selling out is not an option. Cornelia Bailey is ninth generation Sapelo.

CORNELIA BAILEY, SAPELO ISLAND RESIDENT: I told one guy, I said it is priceless. And he said everything has a price. I said no, you don't know me. I said this is priceless you don't have enough money to buy it. So forget it.

MATTINGLY: Residents say they get no help from county officials. To find out why we had to hop the ferry back to the mainland where answers were unusually hard to come by. No county official we approached would agree to either talk to us on camera or even return our calls. We were able to reach the head of the tax assessor's board who said that when it comes to preserving the culture on Sapelo and taxes, they're just following state law. Tax assessors board chairman James Larkin suggests the Sapelo residents brought this on themselves saying if they haven't started selling their property, there wouldn't be a problem.

Do you buy that?

HALL: Not at all.

MATTINGLY: A group of residents plans to sue in state and federal courts. Reginald Hall is fifth generation Sapelo. What do you think about when you come out here?

HALL: My grandmother.

MATTINGLY: At the island's historic cemetery, Hall can't help but get emotional thinking about how the struggles of the past could be forgotten.

HALL: They humbled themselves most of the times in certain disgrace, they weren't allowed to live. They were only able to survive.

MATTINGLY: And the fight for survival continues. With hopes there will be future generations calling the island home.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN, Sapelo Island, Georgia.


WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, it has been a year since Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast. Some of the devastated communities are still trying to come back. We'll look at the science behind human resiliency.

But, first, each week, we're shining a spotlight on the top ten CNN heroes of 20123. And you can vote for the one who inspires you the most at This week's honoree has it his mission to clean up the trash dumped in American rivers.


CHAD PREGRACKE, DEFENDING THE PLANET: Sixty seven thousand tires, 951 refrigerators, 233 stoves, it is crazy what you find in the rivers. I grew up right on the Mississippi River. Around the age of 17, I really started to focus on the problem. Eighteen million people get their daily drinking water from the river. I'm thinking this should not be like this. This stuff just collects here and it goes on for blocks like this. It is a bad view. I said you know what no one is going to do anything about it, I will.

I'm Chad Pregracke with the help of over 70,000 volunteers; we've removed over 7 million pounds of garbage from America's rivers.

You guys ready?

Our primary focus is the Mississippi River. You guys will be amazed in two hours how much stuff we get. In all, we've worked on 22 rivers in 18 states. We do everything in our power to get people excited about it. Because at the end of the day you are out there picking up garbage.

It's yours.


PREGRACKE: It is totally yours. Little by little we are getting it. But you are having fun they will have fun.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): I knew I would be sweating for sure but I didn't think I'd be singing karaoke on a boat.

PREGRACKE: People want to see change. And we are stepping up to make change. That was the last bag come on let's give it up. Yes.

This is a problem that people created. But a problem that people can fix.



WHITFIELD: This week marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The storm killed more than a hundred people and caused billions of dollars in damage. This week in science behind Alexandra Field looks at the resiliency of those who made it through the storm and are rebuilding their lives.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): I'm waiting to hear. A lot can happen in a year. In good times Madelaine Chocolate Factory turns out 20 million pounds of chocolate. Last year there was none.


FIELD: How high has the water come up?

FARBER: The water probably comes in about 40 some inches high.

FIELD: The spilt chocolate was the least of the problem. When super storm Sandy laid waste to the Rockaway's largest employer, all 454 workers lost their jobs.

Was there a part of you that said let's just turn the lights off and walk away.

FARBER: More than once. FIELD: The power never came back on at Allie Hagen's place.

ALLIE HAGEN, HOMEOWNER: We had a beautiful front deck.

FIELD: Her house in Breezy Point whisked from the storm, but it ground in the fire that torched her neighborhood after it seems the worst had passed.

HAGEN: Oh, I love you. I miss you.

FIELD: Making hopes that in another year she'll be back here. There's a word for people like her.

DENNIS CHARNEY, AUTHOR: It's one of those things that if you meet somebody who's resilient you kind of know it.

FIELD: For more than twenty years Dr. Dennis Charney has been setting the science behind resilience in his book co-author "The Doctor Stevens Southwick" they tackled the question why is it that some people seem to naturally bend without breaking. Charney says it's partially genetic. But we can all learn to adopt trades that will make us more resilient like optimism and altruistic.

CHARNEY: People who are altruistic and get back to others that helps them in their own recovery.

FIELD: Consider the survivors of 9/11. Or Hurricane Katrina. Those who put others first. Now consider the faces of super storm Sandy.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Many of these employees have been here ten, twenty, thirty years.

FIELD: Knowing people are counting on him gave Jorge Farber the steam to get up and get half of his chocolate factory back open.

HAGEN: These were basement windows.

FIELD: For Allie Hagen it was about her neighbor she helped organize a support group of sorts to rebuild together.

HAGEN: Oh, my goodness, we've had 50, 60 people. We've had e-mail chains. We're talking to each other all of the time.

FIELD: Charney says their studies prove role models in support systems increases the odds of weathering any of life's storms.

CHARNEY: You're working together as a team to overcome a community tragedy, or a city tragedy; it makes it a lot easier.

FIELD: A lot happened to Allie Hagen last year, but she's determined to do a lot more next year.

Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: And on you can read about Ocean Breeze that is a beach front neighborhood in New York Stanton Island and it is where a year after the storm some residents are still trying to put their lives back together. You can see that story at

All right. It's a very busy week ahead here are some of the stories that are sure to make the headlines.

Tomorrow, Michael Jackson's former doctor is scheduled to be released from a Los Angeles jail. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anaesthetic Popathal. He is getting out of jail early for good behavior, serving only half of his four-year sentence.

Basketball fans have Tuesday, the 29th circled on their calendars. That is when the new NBA season kicks off. There are three games on the schedule that day. Including a faceoff between defending champ Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

Wednesday, Health secretary Kathleen Sebelius is in the hot seat. She will be testifying before a house committee investigating the technical problems with the Obamacare web site. The same day President Obama will be taunting the law in Boston. He is also expected to address efforts to fix the web site's problem.

On Thursday, Cory Booker gets sworn into the U.S. Senate. The New Jersey Democrat who is also Newark's mayor won a special election to fill the seat held by the late Senator Frank Lautenburg.

On Friday, former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. heads to prison. The Illinois Democrat plead guilty earlier this year to miss using $750,000 in campaign cash. Jackson was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

All right. Busy, a new week ahead. That is going to do it for me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, the CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with there he is, Don Lemon.