» When a customer began choking and stood in distress at an Omaha restaurant this week, a woman leapt up from her book club meeting.
“She was like Wonder Woman,” said Craig Gamble, a manager at McFoster's Natural Kind Cafe, 38th and Farnam Streets. “Before I could get around the bar, that lady tore from the other side of the dining room practically in a single bound.”
She got behind the customer, whose windpipe apparently was blocked, to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. After a couple of slaps on the back, she reached around with one hand in a fist and the other joining it and pulled upward from above the navel with three strong thrusts.
That dislodged the obstruction, and the customer, an elderly woman, breathed again. Patrons applauded the quick responder, Janice Batt of Omaha.
“I was a bit shaken up after the fact,” said Janice, 54. “It was rather amazing to me that I just recognized the need and acted from the training I received. It makes my heart smile.”
A fitness trainer at a Prairie Life center, Janice is trained in first aid and CPR. Though she didn't get the name of the woman who was choking, Janice said the woman and her husband gave effusive thanks.
Craig, the daytime bar manager, said the restaurant will make certain that all employees are well-trained.
The wife of Bob Batt, executive vice president of Nebraska Furniture Mart, Janice grew up in Detroit. Because of her love of sports, she said, she has been known all her life as “Jan the jock.”
She lives by the motto: “Through movement, you find health.”
Her quick movements across the room to save a choking person proved to be a great maneuver indeed.
» A 12-year-old girl has taken it upon herself to raise money for a gravestone for her sister.
Kaleah del Angel, who will be a seventh-grader at Fort Calhoun Middle School, was 4 when her sister, Estrella, died of natural causes at age 2.
Now living with foster parents J.B. and Wendy Keeler, who hope to adopt her, Kaleah visited the unmarked grave over Memorial Day in a “babyland” section of Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park, 57th and Center Streets.
Wendy is a captain in the Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department, and Kaleah made a presentation to volunteers, asking for their help in a fundraising carwash. They were affected by her simple request.
“She told us the story all by herself,” said Skip Rice, a member of the department. “She brought us all to our knees.”
The car wash, with the added attractions of clowns, a petting zoo and a bake sale, will take place today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fire department, 12919 Ponca Road. Workers will wear “Remembering Estrella” T-shirts. Donations also will be accepted for the Children's Hospital Foundation.
» After my column Thursday about Jane Fonda's praise of Omaha on her blog, our food writer, Sarah Baker Hansen, received several contacts from puzzled readers.
They had read the blog and noted that the famed actress enjoyed lunch with Susie Buffett and others at “Cuisine a la Flamande,” where Jane said she enjoyed “the best grilled-chicken salad I ever had.”
My column didn't mention that visit, but readers wondered where the restaurant was. It's actually Dario's near 50th Street and Underwood Avenue in the Dundee neighborhood.
It's easy to see why the name was wrong — in a photo posted on the blog, the wind had blown part of an awning with “Dario's” on it so that the name was partly obscured. Above it was the slogan meaning “Food in the Flemish Style,” which looked like the name of the restaurant.
Dario's manager Mike Heck said it was nice having Jane and friends there. “They had a great time,” Mike said. “She was cool. She was very impressive.”
» Kinda crazy the attention that our daughter Bridget's wedding to Eric Strauss in New York has received.
The New York Times carried an article and photos on Sunday, and ABC's “World News” on Friday evening made her the “person of the week.”
Click here to watch the ABC News segment honoring Bridget Kelly as "Person of the Week."
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