Kelly: In 'holiday miracle,' cat tossed out of car on W. Dodge Expressway survives, finds new home -
Published Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 10:30 am
Kelly: In 'holiday miracle,' cat tossed out of car on W. Dodge Expressway survives, finds new home

The Nebraska Humane Society calls it “a holiday miracle” for a cat that survived being thrown out of a car on the West Dodge Expressway.

Cats are said to have nine lives and to always land on their feet. This one ended up on its paws, but first rolled after hitting the pavement.

The 4-month-old orange tabby wasn't seriously injured, the society said, in part because a good Samaritan took pity on the kitty, stopped her car and snatched the cat before it was run over.

Omaha singer Susie Thorne, music director of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, was driving eastbound between 192nd and 180th Streets about 1 p.m. on Dec. 12. She was shocked to see an orange object coming out of a white car ahead of her.

When she realized it was a cat, she braked, pulled over to the left shoulder and backed up before getting out and capturing the frightened animal.

“It was so bizarre and overwhelming,” said Susie, who owns two dogs but is allergic to cats. “I grabbed him by the back of the neck. He was shaking, and so was I.”

She took him to the Humane Society, which said on its website late this week that the cat had only a few bumps and bruises.

After Susie mentioned the incident on her Facebook page, Andrea Hoig, CEO of Metro Magazine, adopted the cat, which she named Benny.

“God bless Susie,” she said. “She is the hero in this chain of events.”

The Humane Society posted Benny's photo Thursday and said “he's in a home that will ensure he is spoiled and stays out of harm's way.” But there are “many animals at NHS waiting for a family to love them.”

The City of Omaha retirees group honored a former city employee who recently turned 100.

Kathryn Von Seggern retired in 1979 after 17 years on the reference desk at the Omaha Public Library. Before that, she taught lower grades for many years for the Omaha Public Schools.

At a luncheon Tuesday at Anthony's Restaurant, she told 52 attendees that she grew up on a farm near Beemer, Neb., as Kathryn McNamara and attended a one-room schoolhouse.

After high school, she attended the College of St. Mary for two years and then earned a degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When she was 30, she married Vernon Von Seggern, who served in the Army during World War II. He died in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

They had a son, David, whom her husband saw once when the boy was a baby. David now lives in Nevada but returned to Omaha for Kathryn's birthday on Dec. 5. She has two grandchildren and three great-grandkids.

Kathryn never remarried and today lives at the Via Christie Assisted Living Community, 36th and California Streets. She has led an active life, including traveling, and remains an avid reader of books and The World-Herald.

Omaha native George Dare helped kick off the Christmas season Dec. 7 in Las Vegas by leading more than 11,000 runners dressed as Santa Claus in the singing of “Run, Santa, Run.”

Dare, a singer-songwriter who lives in Vegas and grew up in Omaha as George Dahir, wrote that official theme for the Las Vegas Great Santa Run. It's a fundraiser for Opportunity Village, which serves those with intellectual disabilities.

Las Vegas claims that the annual event produces a world record for “most Santas in one place.”

The Union Pacific Railroad observed its 150th anniversary last year, but a related sesquicentennial passed quietly this month.

OWH Columnists
Columnists Michael Kelly, Erin Grace and Matthew Hansen write about people, places and events around Omaha. Read more of their work here.

David Seidel, president of the Camerail Club, says Dec. 2 marked a century and a half since a groundbreaking near the old ferry landing at Seventh and Davenport Streets. The first shovel of dirt was turned, he said, to confirm the presence of the U.P. in Omaha.

The main orator was a local promoter of the railroad, the appropriately named George Train. He read a note of congratulations from President Abraham Lincoln, who had declared Council Bluffs across the Missouri River as the eastern terminus for the transcontinental railroad.

“Bands played, cavalry cannons blew, flags waved and fireworks lit up the early evening sky,” Seidel said. “The event itself sparked the beginning of land speculation and was the first major building boom for Omaha, setting it on the course to become the major city in Nebraska.”

Though the actual building of track waited until 1865, Seidel said, the groundbreaking “began the road to growth for Omaha.”

About 200 people, including many in politics and the news media, attended a memorial service last week at Faith Westwood Church for Jim Fagin.

The officiant was the Rev. Merlyn Klaus, a prison chaplain and a former sportscaster who worked with Fagin at WOWT. Among the speakers was former Sen. Ben Nelson, for whom Fagin had worked.

Jim died recently at 68, four years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Retired sportscaster Dave Webber played his guitar and sang “Danny Boy,” and many attendees related humorous memories.

My favorite was Jim's “investment” in Warren Buffett's shorts. At the 2009 Omaha Press Club Show, Fagin paid $1,400 at an auction for a pair of undies autographed by Buffett and business partner Charlie Munger.

The Fruit of the Loom underwear was embroidered with, “2008 – the year the stock market took it in the shorts.”

Jim had the shorts framed and tried to sell them on eBay but got no takers even at $1,000. The underwear never did sell, and he ended up calling his short-selling strategy “Fagin's Folly.”

Contact the writer: Michael Kelly    |   402-444-1000

Mike writes three columns a week on a variety of topics.

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