People are also talking about a woman who allegedly stole a trooper's patrol car; a bag with kittens in it; and Texans still dealing with water and power trouble.
Woman charged with stealing trooper's patrol car in St. Charles County
UPDATED at 7 a.m. Tuesday with additional details from court documents and to add booking photo.
ST. CHARLES COUNTY — A woman who sped off in a Missouri Highway Patrol car after being arrested on Saturday has been charged with three felonies.
Heather Rene Nesler, 32, of St. Charles, was able to slip out of her handcuffs and steal the trooper's car when the trooper went to retrieve her purse for her, authorities said.
St. Charles County prosecutors charged Nesler with tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and escaping from custody while under arrest. Her bail was set at $50,000. Online court records did not list an attorney for Nesler.
She lives in the 1100 block of Pike Street in St. Charles.
Nesler was a passenger in a speeding vehicle that was pulled over about 7 p.m. Saturday near the Bryan Road exit of Interstate 70, police said. She was detained because she had several outstanding warrants.
She was handcuffed and buckled into the front seat of the trooper's patrol car. Highway patrol officials say officers commonly put arrestees in the front passenger seat because their patrol cars don't have cages.
The trooper loosened Nesler's handcuffs on her left wrist because she said they were hurting her, police said. She asked for her purse and the trooper walked to the other vehicle to retrieve it.
Nesler drove off on I-70 with the car's emergency lights on — and the trooper's loaded AR15 rifle behind her, according to court documents. The patrol car was found abandoned, with its engine running, about 20 minutes later in the parking lot of the O'Fallon American Legion. She grabbed her cellphone and ran off.
Nothing from the patrol car was missing, authorities said.
A St. Charles County sheriff's deputy found Nesler inside a trash can in the 700 block of Cordes Street in O'Fallon.
Nesler was wanted in St. Charles for failure to appear in court, possession of a controlled substance and stealing. She was also wanted by O'Fallon police for a traffic offense and not having proof of insurance; she was sought by Troy police on allegations of stealing, trespassing and failure to appear in court; and was also wanted in Lincoln County for failure to appear.
Court records show Nesler previously served time in jail for stealing and has pending charges related to marijuana possession and stealing.
Taylor Tiamoyo Harris and Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Boeing: 777s with engine that blew apart should be grounded
Boeing has recommended that airlines ground all of its 777s with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver this weekend, as U.S. regulators ordered United Airlines to step up inspections of those aircraft.
United said Sunday it is temporarily removing the aircraft from service, a day after one of its planes made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport because its right engine blew apart just after takeoff. Pieces of the casing of the engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4000, rained down on suburban neighborhoods. None of the 231 passengers or 10 crew on board was reported hurt, and the plane landed safely, authorities said.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement Sunday that based on an initial review of safety data, inspectors “concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”
The statement said that would likely mean some planes would be grounded — and Boeing said they should be until the FAA sets an inspection regime.
Boeing said there were 69 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service and another 59 in storage. United is the only U.S. airline with the engine in its fleet, according to the FAA, and it had 24 of the planes in service. Two Japanese airlines had another 32 in service.
The emergency landing this past weekend is the latest trouble for Boeing, which saw its 737 Max planes grounded for more than a year after two deadly crashes in 2019. The planes began returning to the skies late last year — a huge boost for the aircraft maker, which lost billions during the Max grounding because it has been unable to deliver new planes to customers. — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
US coronavirus death toll approaches milestone of 500,000
The U.S. is at the brink of a once-unthinkable tally: 500,000 people lost to the coronavirus.
A year into the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000 — roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta. The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.
“It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on CNN's “State of the Union.”
The U.S. virus death toll reached 400,000 on Jan. 19 in the waning hours in office for President Donald Trump, whose handling of the crisis was judged by public health experts to be a singular failure.
The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. happened in early February 2020, both of them in Santa Clara County, California. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in September and 300,000 in December. Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.
The global death toll was approaching 2.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins.
While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real death toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and cases inaccurately attributed to other causes early on.
Despite efforts to administer coronavirus vaccines, a widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the U.S. death toll will surpass 589,000 by June 1. — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
An Ohio bomb squad was called to disarm an adorable bag of kittens
Sheriff's deputies in Ohio were called when a suspicious bag was found outside of a church, but what was inside was not what they were expecting.
Upon opening the "suspicious package" on Thursday, the bomb unit from the Butler County Sheriff's Office discovered a cat and her six adorable 1-day-old kittens.
"When Specialist Mike Grimes and Det. Detherage arrived, they didn't hear ticking they heard purring!" the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
Along with the family of felines, was a handwritten message written on a paper napkin stating that "Sprinkles" went into labor the day before.
"Mom's name is Sprinkles. She began giving birth at 2:00 p.m. Wed. Feb. 17th," according to the note.
The sheriff's office took the cat and her kittens to the Animal Friends Humane Society in Hamilton where they are "warm, cozy and fed."
The animal shelter said in a Facebook post on Friday that the kittens received baths when they arrived because they were soaked in their mother's urine.
"Sprinkles, purring throughout it all, received her vaccines and blood test and appears to be in good health," according to the shelter's post. "She's doing a fantastic job nursing and caring for her babies, and all 7 will be placed with their foster family this afternoon."
The shelter plans to provide regular updates on Sprinkles and her kittens on Facebook as they grow and mature over the next two months. — CNN
A third of Texans still have issues with their water supply after widespread power outages
Water service remained disrupted for nearly a third of Texas residents Sunday evening, a lingering consequence of the widespread power outages from devastating winter weather and an unprepared infrastructure.
While that number decreased by several million over the course of the day, more than 1,200 public water systems still reported disruptions in service, with many leading to boil-water notices, according to Gary Rasp, media specialist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The issues were still affecting more than 8.8 million people — or roughly a third of the state's population of 29 million — spread across 199 counties as of 7 p.m. Sunday.
The water issues are part of the sprawling impacts of extensive blackouts: families forced to sleep in frigid homes and cars, scavenge for a hot meal, forgo medical treatment or use melted snow to flush the toilet.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said around 30,000 people remained without power in his state.
"Based upon the speed that I've seen power get restored, I suspect that all power will be fully restored across the state of Texas to every house either later tonight or tomorrow," Abbott said.
The governor said water services were being restored throughout Texas and that more than 3 million bottles of water had been distributed in an effort by the Texas National Guard, US Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Warmer weather and the return of electricity has provided some relief for Texans, but many remain without clean water or in homes that have been damaged by broken pipes and flooding.
During his news conference Sunday, Abbott said uninsured residents with burst pipes could qualify for a FEMA reimbursement. — CNN
Fits like a glove: Golden third baseman Arenado warms to first Florida spring, Cardinals 'culture'
JUPITER, Fla. — The new, red jersey he could call his own for the rest of his career has yet to see the field this spring, left behind during informal workouts at his new locker nearby Yadier Molina’s. Nolan Arenado’s No. 28 has slid off its hanger, however, at least once.
“I put it on just to try it on,” Arenado said. “See if it fit.”
He paused and nodded.
The all-around All-Star the Cardinals have chased for years and centerpiece acquisition of their offseason, Arenado arrived at Roger Dean Stadium almost a week earlier than the start of official, full-squad workouts Monday. He was motivated by excitement and time zones. For the first time in his career spring training isn’t in Arizona, isn’t with the Colorado Rockies, and is three times zones away from his California home.
Those 7 a.m. workouts last week have felt to him like 4 a.m. During a Zoom conversation with the Post-Dispatch on Friday evening, he leaned back and laughed how he’s “wearing” the time change.
The reality of the trade that took months to manifest started sinking in as Arenado boarded a plane. Instead of the 4½-hour drive to camp, he had a 5-hour flight. Instead of cactus — palm trees. Everything about the past week would be new: the route to the batting cage, the coaches, the first time he ever has taken groundballs fired out of a pitching machine. And, of course, the jersey — and a clubhouse he’ll call home.
“Everything’s red,” he said. “All my clothes are . . . red. I wasn’t sad putting it on, but it was crazy realizing I’m in a different uniform. (Trevor) Story’s locker is not to my right. Those little things stood out to me. I’ve got Yadi, which is not bad, right? Looking to the right and where I once saw Story, now I see Yadi. It’s different. I love it so far. I love every part of it.”
Arenado, 29, is one of the position players cleared through COVID-19 protocols to participate in early workouts. It’s given the third baseman a chance to familiarize himself with the complex, the routine, the rhythm of camp, and the names of coaches and trainers before formal workouts begin. He referred to himself as “the new kid on the block.”
'The Cardinal Way'
As he described these first few days under the wing of his new team, Arenado mentioned two words familiar to St. Louis that he’s heard about from “afar” and are talked about “throughout the league.”
“The Cardinal Way — you always wonder what it’s like,” he said.
Asked if he meant the style of play, he said not entirely.
“I don’t know what style of play I would really say it is — they’re solid on pitching, they’re solid on defense, and quality at-bats — but can’t you say that about other teams, right?” Arenado asked. “It’s the culture. You can tell there are certain things that they do every day or guys do every day that’s different. I didn’t know. I know people work hard where I’ve been before. But the way they go about it here is a little different. There are a lot of coaches around. There are a lot of trainers around. It’s a different vibe than what I’ve ever seen.”
And that was before Jose Oquendo told him to go a day without throwing.
After his playing career, Arenado said he wants to stay in baseball and the lifetime role he finds intriguing is roving infield instructor. It’s the position “Secret Weapon” Oquendo has for the Cardinals, and each of Arenado’s early days gives him a chance to see, personally, how Oquendo got his reputation for coaching infielders.
Last week, Oquendo pulled out a pitching machine to skip high-speed grounders at fielders, the same way he once helped outfielder Skip Schumaker shift to second base. For several days, Arenado put on a show for his peers with, as shortstop Paul DeJong said, “some insane web gems on the practice field.”
A few times, Arenado has gone to his left, gloved the grounder, pirouetted, and finished his 360-degree turn with a jump throw to first. The eight-time Gold Glove-winner makes “insane” plays because he practices them, just as he takes infield from the grass lip well behind third base to tune his arm. And then Oquendo told him Thursday to take a day off from throwing.
Rest the arm.
They’ve seen it.
They get it.
It’s a long season.
“It seems like the attention to detail is pretty intense,” Arenado said. “There is a lot of attention to detail. They say things I haven’t really heard before — about the game, about this, about how we’re going to do things. Or, Oquendo saying, ‘You’re not throwing because we’re going to save your arm.’ So, he’s got me doing this other (drill) instead. I took groundballs off a machine (Friday), a pitching machine. Never done that before.”
Around the horn, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, prospect Nolan Gorman, DeJong are in the group working out with Arenado. Coaches Oquendo, Stubby Clapp, and Ron “Pop” Warner direct the drills. They use the Ozzie Smith Field in the middle of campus — the one with just an infield.
Everything around him has changed. Arenado’s throws have not.
“He’s just a joke sometimes how accurate he is,” DeJong said. “And how much he moves around, and he’s off balance, and it doesn’t faze him at all. 'Goldy' is over there and he hits right in the chest, over and over. See if I can learn from him and grow. I feel like he’s jumped right into our mold. I know he’s hungry to prove himself as a winner. We’ve seen what he can do through a season, but playing with something on the line, playing for the division (title), playing for the playoffs, all of that is so real now I think he’s going to turn it on to the next level.”
The Cardinals have envisioned how Arenado would look at third and in the middle of their lineup for more than a year. It was not until this offseason that Colorado’s crumble out of contention, their financial erosion, and Arenado’s wishes compelled the Rockies to engage.
A complicated deal that included cash coming to the Cardinals and Arenado’s willingness to rework his contract and defer salary was completed on Feb. 1. The Cardinals sent Austin Gomber and four minor leaguers to the Rockies. Their preference was to negotiate the opt-out clause out of Arenado’s contract, but instead, to maintain the present-day value of the deal had a second opt-out included.
Arenado is signed through 2027 and owed $215 million, though he holds the right to become a free agent after the 2021 season or after 2022.
That gives Arenado’s arrival this spring a similar hue to Goldschmidt’s in 2019. The Cardinals saw that spring and season as a chance to recruit Goldschmidt, to sell him on the idea of signing an extension before he reached free agency, and before he played a game at Busch Stadium he did. Arenado already has the contract — and the choice. He said he intends to stay with the Cardinals “for a long time.” First impressions can make for a lasting relationship.
“I feel pretty confident Nolan is going to want to be here for a long time,” said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals' president of baseball operations. “Obviously it’s a big commitment on both sides. My approach when you bring in a new player is let them take a deep breath, let them breathe. I’m not hovering over him. I’m not following him like a small puppy. I’m letting him adjust.”
From his place in Jupiter, Arenado said his family plans to join him once Grapefruit League games begin. He and manager Mike Shildt recently discussed the schedule he prefers each spring. He likes to play the first two games, back-to-back, to get “all that soreness out of the way,” but will not this year. He does want at least 50 at-bats because his “swing has a little bit of movement with my step I need to really hone the timing down.” With fewer spring games, that could send Arenado to the back fields for at-bats in simulated or B-games.
A benefit of those at-bats is the innings in the field that come with them, and that chance that will give Arenado to learn his new teammates, especially DeJong and second baseman Tommy Edman or whoever mans the pivot.
“It’s like basketball — when players come onto a new team they’ve got to get used to the scheme and how they run the offense,” Arenado said. “Same with us in baseball. We’ve got to get used to each other on defense and trust each other and communicate. I’m not afraid to make a play or try. As long as you’re there to help me out, I’m going for it. That should be smooth sailing.”
The tents popped up, coronavirus protocols in place, and distance kept will give this spring an unusual look for everyone. Arenado said he will have a real sense of the team and the camp’s verve when full-squad workouts begin Monday, when the pace picks up, when he’s in the batter’s box and the pitcher in the Cardinals jersey is now a teammate. When Shildt’s ball talk begins and Arenado will be one of the reasons five minutes about talking baseball becomes 30.
The last week has given him an early read on everything red. He’s tried it all on. When he wears that new jersey onto the field for the first time Monday, he’ll already have a feel for being a Cardinal.
“I want to be a part of a group like this,” Arenado said. “The expectations are high. The fans’ expectations are to get there, to the playoffs. It seems like here, ‘We’re the Cardinals. We should always be there.’ I like that. That’s a cool feeling to be a part of.”