» Peyton Manning, whose line-of-scrimmage calls of “Omaha! Omaha!” caused a national buzz, will pay a call on Omaha.
The Denver Broncos quarterback will be the featured speaker at the 60th annual B'nai B'rith charity sports banquet on May 15 at the CenturyLink Center downtown.
“We wanted somebody really big,” said Howard Shandell, the banquet chairman. “When Peyton implemented Omaha into his play-calling, it seemed to take on a life of its own. He is a great football player and a great guy.”
Tickets ($125) will go on sale in about a week at omahasportsbanquet.org. Shandell said he expects that more than 1,000 people will attend.
Manning and other quarterbacks have used the distinctive “Omaha!” call as code to teammates. Some opposing defenses say the word is just gibberish or an attempt to get them to jump offsides.
Earlier on the day of Peyton's speech, he will visit the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to receive a check for $67,300 for his Peyback Foundation for at-risk children.
That is being donated by 17 Omaha companies, who pledged money for every time he said “Omaha!” in the last two games of the year.
After shouting “Omaha!” a total of 75 times in the two playoff wins leading to the Super Bowl, Manning called our city's name very little in that title game.
And Denver lost 43-8 to Seattle. ... Just sayin'.
» The only profession that Jeff Kozeny ever aspired to was police officer, so you could say he is living his dream.
Married and the father of two, the 37-year-old detective in the Omaha Police Department's special victims unit doesn't have an easy job.
For the past four years, he has investigated crimes against children.
“I love working with kids,” he said. “That was kind of my goal from the beginning.”
A former University of Nebraska at Omaha baseball player and criminal justice major, Kozeny always had felt healthy — until last September.
He had “numbness” seizures on his right side, and eventually was diagnosed with a lemon-sized brain tumor. After two surgeries at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, about two-thirds of the tumor is gone.
Kozeny is back at work for now, though radiation and chemotherapy may lie ahead and his prognosis is uncertain.
He has health insurance, but a benefit fundraiser to help with related expenses is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Omaha Police Officer Association Hall, 13445 Cryer Ave., northwest of 132nd Street and West Center Road. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children over age 5.
The detective said he hasn't had headaches, and his main symptom is fatigue.
His wife, Suzy, a speech pathologist, “has been my rock.” The children are Mallory, 8, and Grady, 6.
Jeff spent eight years on uniformed patrol before joining the “child unit.”
Since fighting the cancer, he has lost 30 pounds but gained back about 10 and says he feels “totally positive” about the future.
His father, Mike Kozeny, a local sales manager for Omaha Steaks, said the generosity of so many people — including a wait staff at a previous fundraiser that returned its tip from the Kozeny family — has been inspiring.
Donations for Detective Kozeny and his family can be made to: Omaha Police Credit Union, Attn: Jeff Kozeny Fund, 3003 S. 82nd Ave., Omaha, NE 68124.
» Followup to my Sunday column on Nebraska's unique unicameral Legislature: A couple of readers questioned my reference to the State Capitol's East Chamber as the old “House chamber.”
They were right in this respect: the State Senate, not the House, was the last legislative body to use that room, in 1935.
And the names remaining today on the old voting board are those of the final Senate under the two-house system.
But the East Chamber was originally designed for the House of Representatives, said architect Bob Ripley of Lincoln, the Capitol administrator. He told me Friday that the House met in that chamber in the late 1920s before shifting in the early 1930s to the West Chamber, where today's Legislature meets.
The Capitol was built in the 1920s and '30s with two legislative chambers, but Nebraska voters in 1934 abolished the 100-member House of Representatives effective in 1937.
An aside: I've always thought the Capitol had three chambers: East, West — and Ernie.
State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the longest-serving legislator in Nebraska history, was born in 1937, the same year as the birth of the one-house Legislature.
In 1998, he wryly proposed naming a chamber for himself. The notion of a Chambers Chamber failed by a vote of 28-1.
» Scott Moreau, appearing as Johnny Cash at the Orpheum Theater this week in the nationally touring “Million Dollar Quartet,” feels at home in Omaha. “I love the Old Market,” he said, “and the Orpheum is gorgeous.”
The 6-foot-2 Maine native, who pursued a career in professional baseball before gaining success in theater, spent time here from 2001 to 2006 when rehearsing at the Omaha Community Playhouse for another national tour — the Nebraska Theater Caravan's Christmas-season “Scrooge.”
The Tony Award-winning “Quartet,” which runs through Sunday, features impersonations of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
» The performer T Luv, who grew up in Omaha as Gary Williams, is back in town to visit his mother and is singin' up a storm.
I enjoyed his tunes last week at the Ozone Lounge at Anthony's Restaurant, and he has scheduled three shows with his band at Love's Jazz & Arts Center, 2510 N. 24th St.
They are at 9 p.m. Wednesday and at the same time on March 6 and 27.
Matt Wallace, the Omaha saxophonist who toured with Maynard Ferguson, said he used to run into T Luv in Tokyo.
“He's an Omaha hero,” Matt said, “and spreads the good news of our town to the Orient.”
» Omaha attorney Roger Holthaus is mourning the death Thursday of his Carleton College roommate Garrick Utley, a longtime NBC News correspondent and anchor.
They last spoke when Roger called on his birthday in November, and Utley was dying from prostate cancer. Fluent in several languages, the 6-foot-6 newsman had reported from 75 countries.
“He could talk to people on any level, but he was an intellectual,” Holthaus said. “I stayed at his parents' home long ago, and if you had not read the New York Times, you'd be left out of the table talk.”