Josh Jones always made sparks fly on the basketball court, but he often has done so in class, too.
“When Josh walks into the classroom, he is engaged,” said Eileen Wirth, who chairs Creighton University's Department of Journalism, Media and Computing. “He makes it much more lively, exciting and fun for everyone.”
The former Creighton Bluejay, whose career ended this season because of a recurrence of heart problems, will be honored Friday not for his basketball skills but for his “outstanding potential in the field of journalism.”
A journalism/public relations major, Josh will receive the Rising Star Award at the Hilton Omaha from the Mildred D. Brown Memorial Study Center, organized in 2008 “to help students, especially African-Americans, envision career possibilities in journalism and communication.”
The study center is a nonprofit affiliate of the Omaha Star newspaper, celebrating 75 years as “Nebraska's only black-owned newspaper.”
The guest speaker Friday is Dorothy R. Leavell of Chicago, former president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. For tickets ($75 each), call 402-346-4041, ext. 4.
I am an honorary co-chairman of the dinner, along with KETV general manager Ariel Roblin and Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers.
>> Partly personal While the number of YouTube hits neared 7 million Friday for 7-year-old Jack Hoffman's 69-yard touchdown run in last Saturday's Nebraska spring football game, a video from an Ohio State scrimmage the same day reached a hefty 460,000.
The video of Jack, who has a brain tumor, going all the way in a little Husker uniform and helmet in front of 60,000 fans, has warmed many hearts.
The Ohio State video wasn't exactly heartwarming. At a scrimmage on a practice field, student mascot Brutus Buckeye lined up in the backfield, took a snap in a shotgun formation and started running.
That's when an OSU linebacker leveled the poor student mascot hard — on Student Appreciation Day. Brutus couldn't have appreciated the lick, but at least the student wearing the outfit got up, not seriously injured.
The video, shot from close range, ran numerous times on ESPN under a YouTube account that included “Omahabeef”' in its name.
Omahabeef? That's the longtime monicker used by my son Nick, now 25, a 2010 Ohio State grad who is working in Columbus. He shot the video with his phone at field level, just to the left of the backfield.
>> With about half of all marriages ending in divorce, it's remarkable that three sisters each have been married at least 60 years.
So what's the key to a long marriage?
“You have to realize we are all flawed people,” said Ruth Cowles of Omaha. “Nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. It's part of living, not the end of the world. You forgive, you forget and you move on.”
Ruth and husband Don Cowles celebrated their 60th anniversary Friday. A mutual friend introduced them in 1950 when he was home on leave from the Navy, and they wrote letters after he went back.
Now they have seven children, 18 grandchildren and their fifth great-grandchild on the way. So the marriage apparently will last?
“I don't think I'll go out and look for a lawyer,” Don quipped. “It's been a good 60 years.”
The couple plan to meet today for breakfast with Ruth's sisters and their husbands, who already have surpassed the 60-year mark — Jerry and Mary Mahoney of Omaha and Ken and Barb Marshall of Council Bluffs.
Ruth, Mary and Barb grew up in the Bluffs as the Schmidt sisters.
>> The late attorney Thomas R. Burke was always an active player in legal, civic and volunteer work, certainly not what you would call a benchwarmer.
But he will be remembered at the Creighton Law School at 4 p.m. Monday — what would have been his 87th birthday — with the presentation of an outdoor bench, donated by his family.
He was a leader of the law class of 1951, a “band of brothers” who stayed in close contact over the years, and organized its weeklong 60-year reunion. He died last June.
A former president of the Omaha and Nebraska bar associations, Burke published a memoir, “A Life Lived for Others.”
“He always was excited to hear about the latest news at the law school,” said CU Law Dean Marianne Culhane. “He was a sweet man and truly is missed by the Creighton community.”
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