Kitty Cat Turns 'Survivor'

Heeeeeeere kitty, kitty, kitty.

Construction workers accidentally built a pussycat into the wall of a new house in Kansas, according to local KCMB-TV News.

"I thought I heard something earlier that morning," one worker told KCMB-TV.

After the little furball was sealed in the walls for what the builder thinks was three weeks, workers finally began to hear squeaky little meows as the captive kitty cried for help.

"We started banging on the walls and bathtub, and [the cat] started again," homeowner Emily Vano told KCMB-TV News. "Our voices probably triggered him to say, 'I'm here, I'm here!'"

Making little catcalls the entire time, workers tore a hole in the wall and coaxed the frightened feline out.

"Poor little thing. So sorry we built you into the house," Vano told KCMB-TV News.

The little guy was named Hal at the veterinary hospital afterwards because the workers found him right before Halloween.

— Thanks to Out There readers Jim P., Jeff H. and Brian K.

Bonjour Monsieur Kitty

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — When Emily the cat went missing a month ago, her owners looked for their wandering pet where she had ended up before — the local animal shelter. This week they learned Emily sailed to France.

Lesley McElhiney now figures her cat went prowling around a paper warehouse near home and ended up in a cargo container that went by ship across the Atlantic Ocean and was trucked to Nancy, a city in northeastern France near the border with Germany.

Employees at a French lamination company found her in the container, checked her tags and called Emily's veterinarian, John Palarski, in Kimberly, just east of Appleton.

Palarski called the McElhineys Monday to tell them their pet was safe, if a little hungry.

"It probably had access to food and water," Palarski said. "I doubt if it went three weeks without it. There must have been a lot of mice on the boat. Even if it was in the cargo department, you would assume there was water down there. She had to have something."

Palarski faxed French authorities with the cat's vaccination records to help remove her from quarantine, but the family is wondering how they will retrieve the pet.

Emily will need a health certificate from France to return home, and she will have to go through quarantine again on entering the United States, Palarski said.

The friend of a co-worker is going to Germany next week, but that's a country away.

"The only thing we can think right now is buying a plane ticket," McElhiney said. "She already cost us some the first time we got her from the humane society. She's getting to be an expensive little thing."

Oh, Sweet Ford Escort Most Holy

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A light blue 1975 Ford Escort GL once owned by Pope John Paul II sold for $690,000 Saturday to a Houston multimillionaire who said he plans to put it in a museum he wants to build in his hometown.

"To me, it's a piece of history," said John O'Quinn, 62, a Baptist who said he has a collection of about 600 vehicles. "What a great human being Pope John Paul was."

Built 30 years ago at a Ford plant in Cologne, Germany, the car sold Saturday in what auctioneer Dean Kruse said was original papal condition — no hubcaps, no air conditioning, no radio, but with several nicks and dents.

"The car will never be driven," said O'Quinn, who said that at least temporarily it will be warehoused with his other cars. "But hopefully, in my life, I'll be able to go back and touch this car and feel the pope's spirit."

O'Quinn, a personal injury lawyer who made a fortune in a multibillion dollar Texas tobacco settlement, outbid least seven other would-be buyers.

"I'm so glad it will be preserved and be in a major city in the U.S." he said.

The seller, Jim Rich, 41, of Sugar Grove, Ill., became emotional about giving up the car to pay bankruptcy debts to his father.

"I've been smothered by greed and courts," he said.

Rich bought the car for $102,000 at an auction in 1996, and said he promised the pope when he received the keys at the Vatican that he would display the vehicle proudly at his Chicago West restaurant and never part with it.

Standing with holes in his shoes and holding a buttonless blue blazer together at the front with his left hand, he pulled a food stamp card from his wallet and said he been using it for about nine months to buy groceries.

"The pope would think this is something I should do under extraordinary circumstances," he said.

Kruse previously said he thought the car might fetch as much as $3 million, but bidding was as labored as an uphill climb for the modest car's little 1.1 liter engine.

It began at $150,000, after Kruse failed repeatedly to get any of the 350 people at the Las Vegas Hilton auto auction to offer $1 million. It stalled several times while Kruse exhorted bidders to be generous.

The car came with what Kruse said were several papal possessions: carved wooden rosary beads, a box of wooden matches, a candy tin and a dashboard medallion bearing the likeness of St. Maria Goretti, patron of youth, young women, purity and victims of rape.

Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who has about 70 cars in his collection, didn't bid on the pope's car but watched with a smile as Kruse touted the blessings of a car that might have fetched $1,200 on a used car lot.

"He's selling the story," Jackson said.

— Click in the photo box above to see a picture of Pope John Paul II's 1975 Ford Escort.

Woman Sees Husband Off to Iraq, Gets Fired

CALEDONIA, Mich. (AP) — A woman who took an unpaid leave of absence from work to see her husband off to war has been fired after failing to show up for her part-time receptionist job the day following his departure.

"It was a shock," said Suzette Boler, a 40-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three. "I was hurt. I felt abandoned by people I thought cared for me. I sat down on the floor and cried for probably two hours."

Officials at her former workplace, Benefit Management Administrators Inc., confirmed that Boler was dismissed when she didn't report to work the day after she said goodbye to her husband of 22 years.

"We gave her sufficient time to get back to work," Clark Galloway, vice president of operations for Benefit Management, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Wednesday.

He added that other factors were involved in the decision but he declined to elaborate.

On Oct. 16, Boler went with her husband, Army Spc. Jerry Boler, 45, to an Indianapolis-area airfield, where he and others in his National Guard unit gathered to be transported to Fort Dix, N.J. The unit soon will be deployed to Iraq, where he will help guard convoys from insurgent attacks.

Suzette Boler had received permission to take off work the week leading up to her husband's departure. As a part-time employee at Benefit Management, she did not receive vacation pay and was not compensated for her time off.

When Boler returned home from Indiana on the night of Oct. 16, a few hours after leaving her husband at the airfield, she said she felt drained by the emotional ordeal.

She said she had told her bosses that she would try to return on Oct. 17 but if she could not, she would definitely be back Oct. 18, she said.

But on the afternoon of Oct. 17, she received a call from work telling her to come in the following day and get her things because she was being fired. Her pink slip said the reason was she failed to show up for work Oct. 17, a Monday, she said.

"If I had even an inkling that I would be fired for not coming in Monday, I would have been there," she said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

The World's Sexiest Soldier

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — He didn't get a medal to pin on his uniform. But then the people who honored Pvt. Jake Lybrook probably would like him better without a uniform anyway.

The 21-year-old Marine is one of America's 50 sexiest bachelors, according to Cosmopolitan magazine.

His mother, Robin Edinger, nominated Lybrook for Cosmo's contest at the urging of family members, never really thinking he'd win.

"He is a good-looking kid, but I don't view him as sexy or hot," she said. "He's a cutie pie to me."

Lybrook had nothing to do with it. He was in training with his unit -- Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines -- when his mother learned he had been chosen. Lybrook found out when he was checking phone messages one night while on field training with his unit.

"All the guys just started laughing and hooting and hollering," Edinger said. "They made a banner for him and started going around calling him Mr. North Carolina."

Peekaboo! You're in Jail

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A lawyer who was Columbus' "naked photographer" says in a deposition for a bar association panel investigating him that his nude stalking of women was an addictive behavior.

Stephen Linnen says he believes the time he served in jail and the counseling he has received will make him a better lawyer.

Linnen, 34, pleaded guilty in September 2004 to 53 misdemeanor counts of public indecency, sexual imposition and criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

He would jump naked out of bushes in front of women and take pictures of their shocked expressions.

He'll appear at a hearing next week before a three-member Columbus Bar Association panel, which will make a recommendation to the Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Linnen could face a suspension or disbarment. Linnen used to work for the Ohio House Republican caucus and now is in private practice.

In the depositions, made public this week by the bar association, Linnen says he has "such a revulsion towards my former behavior. I'm trying to be a better person in recovery and to manage my life in a healthy way."

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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