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WATCH: Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater’s 11-yard touchdown run against the Chargers

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Surge in COVID hospitalizations makes transfers difficult

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COVID hospitalizations double overnight in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The current surge in virus cases in Missouri driven by the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant is straining hospital capacity and making it difficult to transfer patients to larger hospitals.

Kellie Meehan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she can hear the desperation in doctors’ and nurses’ voices when they call the Mercy transfer center that she oversees. But increasingly she has to turn down their transfer requests.

Virus hospitalizations have risen sharply across Missouri in recent weeks to hit 3,526 on Thursday, which is the most recent data available. That’s more than 700 higher than last year’s peak.

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‘Grateful to be alive’: Rabbi speaks out after synagogue hostage situation

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‘Grateful to be alive’: Rabbi speaks out after synagogue hostage situation

Law enforcement officials gather at a local school near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — The rabbi who was held hostage for nearly 12 hours at his Texas synagogue on Saturday wrote about the experience in an emotional Facebook post Sunday morning.

Charlie Cytron-Walker and the other hostages all made it out of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville alive after a standoff that lasted all day. The incident ended when an FBI SWAT team entered the building at about 9 p.m. The hostage taker, who was identified Sunday as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, was killed in a “shooting incident” that the FBI is investigating, Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said.

Cytron-Walker and two other hostages were able to get out of the synagogue moments before the shooting. A fourth hostage was released earlier in the afternoon.

In a Facebook post, the rabbi said he is “grateful to be alive.”

1642369042 931 ‘Grateful to be alive Rabbi speaks out after synagogue hostage
Police stand in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. A man held hostages for more than 10 hours Saturday inside the temple. The hostages were able to escape and the hostage taker was killed. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate “the shooting incident.” (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

“I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all of the vigils and prayers and love and support, all of the law enforcement and first responders who cared for us, all of the security training that helped save us,” Cytron-Walker wrote.

“I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for the CBI Community, the Jewish Community, the Human Community. I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive,” he wrote.

Cytron-Walker has been the synagogue’s full-time rabbi since 2006.

Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke out about the incident Sunday, expressing her gratitude that the hostages escaped, thanking law enforcement and denouncing antisemitism.

“We thank the brave men and women in federal, state, and local law enforcement, and we stand in solidarity with the Congregation Beth Israel community and the entire Jewish community,” Harris said.

1642369042 544 ‘Grateful to be alive Rabbi speaks out after synagogue hostage
Law enforcement officials gather at Colleyville Elementary School near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. Authorities said a man took hostages Saturday during services at the synagogue where the suspect could be heard ranting in a livestream and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

“While we will learn more about the hostage taker’s motivation, we know this: what happened yesterday at Congregation Beth Israel is a reminder that we must speak up and combat antisemitism and hate wherever it exists.

“Everyone has a right to pray, work, study, and spend time with loved ones not as the other – but as us,” she added.

Police in Colleyville were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. Saturday.

Akram could be heard ranting on a livestream of the synagogue’s service. About three hours later, the livestream feed cut out when Facebook removed the feed.

The Associated Press reports Akram was demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

Siddiqui is in custody at a federal prison in Texas, but it is unclear why Akram chose the Colleyville synagogue.

The FBI and police did not say who shot him. An investigation into the incident continues.

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This $7.9M Missouri mansion comes with three mines

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This $7.9M Missouri mansion comes with three mines

ELSBERRY, Mo. – What if we told you the most attractive feature of a home was not the home itself? A mansion located outside a quaint Lincoln County town features scenic views both above and below ground.

More than two decades before the founding of the City of Elsberry in 1879, Fielding Wiggington purchased 40 acres of land and built a rudimentary home out of logs. He would spend the next 50 years of his life accumulating more of the surrounding lands, totaling 350 acres.

In 1904, Fielding agreed to allow the Crystal Carbonate Lime Company mine for Kimmswick limestone on his property. By 1924, mining rights shifted to the Columbia Mining Company.

Ida Wigginton, Fielding’s granddaughter, married then-history professor Clarence Cannon in 1906. She would ultimately inherit the property and the mines. The mining continued even after Cannon was elected to Congress in 1922 and the couple remained on the property with their children. They converted Ida’s childhood home into a kitchen and built a larger house around it.

Cannon served in Congress until his death in 1964. Ida Wigginton moved back into the residence permanently in 1963. All the while, blasting continued in the nearby mines.

Ida finally grew tired of the constant noise and shaking, and demanded Independence Mining cease operations on her land.

She sold the property in 1972 to the Hoechst family on the condition she be allowed to live in her home. Ida Wigginton passed away in 1975 and the Hoechsts took full ownership of the land.

Emil E. Hoechst, the patriarch of the family, had plans to update the Wiggington-Cannon residence and considered several development ideas for the mines, but he died in 1982 before they could be brought to fruition.

His son, Emil A. Hoechst, remodeled the Wigginton-Cannon home and built a beautiful 7,400 square-foot home on the property for his family. The new home features high ceilings, a great room, and 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.

The mines

But as we alluded to earlier, the mansion is not the property’s most striking feature. After nearly 60 years, there are three pristine mines on the property sitting empty and dry.

The largest mine is 417,000-square feet, with two levels and railroad access. The second mine also has two levels and opens to 21,000-square feet. Even the smallest of the mines offers an impressive amount of space – 3,000-square feet. They’ve also never flooded in their 118-year history.

The mines seem rife for personal or commercial opportunities. According to the realtor, suggestions include a data center, office space, warehousing, a rec center, a shooting range, a waterpark, a motorbike park, a greenhouse, or even a brewery or winery. Or maybe you’d like to operate the world’s largest game of hide-and-go-seek?

You can see more pictures of the homes at the Zillow listing. Additional photos of the mines and surrounding property are located on the Mid America Regional Information Systems (MARIS) listing.

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