Saturday, October 21, 2017

Nov. 12 Chicken & Hamburger Feed Will Help Make Splash Pad A Reality

Inside sources say Dorchester is getting closer to have a its own small water park!

To make a community splash pad a reality, the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is working extra hard to raise funds needed to construct the splash pad in the Dorchester City Park.

The Times has learned that the Foundation is planning its popular grilled chicken luncheon and hamburger feed for Sunday, November 12, at the Dorchester Legion and Community Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
As we've reported previously, the Foundation has targeted a splash pad as the next project. Around $100,000 has already been raised in the past year, according to a sign located near the village's main street marquee.

A splash pad is a small scale water park without a pool, but includes several water fountain or spray type features to help cool anyone off on those hot summer days. There are no lifeguard expenses, as with a pool, and it shuts off automatically when there is no activity. 
The Foundation's November 12 dinners can be eaten at the community hall, or prepared to go (just call 402-946-3791). Delivery will also be offered in town to those that may not be able to make it downtown. 

The grilled chicken dinner includes your choice of mashed potatoes and gravy, potato salad or chips, dinner salad, baked beans, dinner roll, and drink. The hamburger dinner will include the same options. All meals are available with a free-will donation.  

The Times encourages everyone to give generously so the splash pad can happen sooner rather than later.

Donations for the current and future improvements by the Foundation are accepted anytime, made payable to the Dorchester Foundation and mailed to: Peg Bergmeyer, 101 Washington Ave., Dorchester, NE 68343; or Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343.

The Dorchester Foundation is a non-profit subsidiary of the Nebraska Community Foundation, so all donations are tax deductible.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Anonymous DHS Booster Provides 2018 Football Team Tees

An anonymous donor has purchased Dorchester Longhorn Football t-shirts for Dorchester boys participating in football next year.  Students were spotted on social media wearing their shirts today (Friday).

Next football season will bring the return of high school football to Dorchester on Friday nights, following a unanimous vote by the Dorchester Public School board earlier this month.  Dorchester leaders had been exploring six-man football as an option, and board members decided there was sufficient support from parents and student interest to bring back DHS football in the six-man form.

An online survey of Times readers, conducted in late September, showed nearly three-quarters of readers said they wanted DHS football to return. 

Dorchester has been without a football team of its own since 2013, as fewer enrolled boys in grades 9-12 and decreased participation rates raised questions whether a viable eight-man team could be fielded.  Soon after, DHS decided to co-op with Milford, which is in Class C-1.

DHS is entering six-man football as the version of the game is gaining popular support, with more than 40 Nebraska high schools expected to be play six-man ball next season, including nearby schools.  

This is the last season the Nebraska Six-Man Coaches Association will be overseeing six-man football in the state.  It will move under the umbrella of the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) in 2018, just as Dorchester restarts its own team on Nerud Field.

The idea of six-man football at Dorchester is not new.  Sixty-nine years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program (following an hiatus in the program following the 1930s death of a DHS player) with only 11 players going out.  From the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, the Longhorns played six-man ball for 10 seasons, getting better with every snap.  In fact, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful.   DHS alum Vern Johnson once told us that "the best six-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a two-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

DHS transitioned to eight-man football in 1959, when DHS went undefeated.  (Back then, Nebraska did not have a state playoff system for football.)  By 1969, Dorchester was playing 11-man football, a tradition that continued until 1991, when DHS reverted to eight-man ball and dropped to Class D.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Grad Dan Stehlik Plays Key Role At NU's Tech College

  • DHS Grad Dan Stehlik Has Key Role at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: Dorchester native and DHS graduate Dan Stehlik is playing a key role in enhancing the technical, hands-on skills of Nebraska's young people.  According to a report in The Fence Post, an ag news publication, Stehlik is now in his third year at the University of Nebraska's Curtis campus, where technical agricultural skills are taught.  At Curtis, Stehlik is a senior agricultural mechanics instructor, which includes welding, electricity, irrigation technology, farm machinery maintenance and small engines courses.  Prior to his time in Curtis, he taught agricultural education for 19 years in Kansas high schools. Stehlik was featured prominently in the story for his leading role in facilitating the expansion of the college's welding program in 2016, leading to an upgrade in equipment, facilities and the overall program.  Great to see Longhorn alumni doing great things to improve the Good Life.
  • Nice Acreage On 40 Acres South Of Dorchester Still For Sale:  A nice farmstead is still for sale at 1057 County Road 1300, which is south and west of town.  According to the listing, this secluded farmstead featuring countless trees and wandering creek.  There are "plenty of outbuildings for anyone's imagination. There is approximately 40 +/- acres total with over 11 acres of farm ground for personal use, income or the farmer in you. It features "a charming home with over 1200 sq. feet. Some wood flooring is beaming through."  The seller is leaving their cell-phone range extender.  "The covered deck is fabulous for sitting and enjoying the evenings or having morning breakfasts."  Listing price is $294,000.  See the listing by clicking here.
  • Deshler Provides Model For Six-Man Football Success: The Lincoln Journal Star this week featured a story on Deshler's six-man football program, which is 6-1 on the season and ranked No. 5 in the state.  This is Year 4 for the Deshler football program playing in six-man, and the Dragons appear to be getting the hang of it, the Journal Star reports.  "In its first two seasons after dropping from eight-man, Deshler went 2-6 and 1-7 with young teams. A year ago, the Dragons were 5-3, and with seven players with starting experience back from that squad, they’ve taken it to another level." Deshler's head coach said switching to six-man "was a learning process for all of us."  This season, Deshler's QB has thrown for 1,447 yards and 30 touchdowns while scoring six on the ground himself.  Sounds like exciting football -- and it looks like Deshler is a program Dorchester coaches and players should aim to imitate.  The article also points out that "this is the last season the Nebraska Six-Man Coaches Association will be overseeing six-man football in the state. It will move under the umbrella of the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) in 2018," when Dorchester restarts its own team on Nerud Field.

Monday, October 16, 2017

DHS' Abigail Plouzek Grabs CRC Spotlight In York

Photo Credit: York News-Times

At this past weekend's Crossroads Conference tournament play in York, 6-foot-2 DHS Longhorn sophomore Abigail Plouzek captured the spotlight.

As reported by the York News-Times, Dorchester's Plouzek recorded a match-high eight kills for Dorchester in the third set as the Lady Longhorns won 2-1 over the Mustangs behind scores of 25-20, 10-25, 25-12.

The win advanced DHS' Orange and Black Attack to the CRC quarter-final against top-seeded Meridian on Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, DHS wasn't quite up to the test against Meridian.  The Lady Longhorns lost to the Lady Mustangs in two straight sets, 25-11, 25-22.

The York newspaper lauded DHS' second match effort as Dorchester "went blow for blow with Meridian in a set that saw 13 ties."  Plouzek recorded an ace block that tied the set at 10 and she followed that up with a kill to tie things at 11.

A Dorchester ace from freshman Jacee Zoubek led to a Meridian timeout, and after the break the Mustangs fell behind 14-11 but eventually worked their way back to tie at 16 thanks to hitting errors from the Longhorns.

The final tie came at 22, but Meridian benefited from an attack that landed out of bounds and a block from MHS to give the Mustangs a 24-22 advantage.  Dorchester committed a foul on the following possession to end the match.

The young Dorchester squad is 8-18 on the season, with two regular season contests remaining, including a home game on October 26 against Nebraska Lutheran.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Authorities Continue To Search For Missing Dorchester 14-Year-Old

Norfolk radio station US92 reports that Saline County Sheriff’s officials continue to investigate the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl who is a student at Dorchester Public Schools.  But Sheriff Alan Moore says his office has no information to indicate that Isabelle “Izzy” Magana has come to any harm.

She was last seen in mid-September.  Moore says she may have left in the company of a 17-year-old male, identified as Brayan Arevalo.

Moore says his officers are continuing to work with family members of both youths, following up on leads regarding where they may have gone. But, he says there’s no solid information about where they may be.  Arevalo, like Magana, was also a student at Dorchester Public Schools.

Moore adds that his officers have been in contact with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as the investigation continues.  He says his office has not received any tips on the whereabouts of the pair, from non-family members.

The sheriff says his office has not received any evidence of financial transactions that may provide clues as to where the youths have gone.

Isabelle Magana is described as Hispanic, 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighing about 135 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.  Brayan Arevalo is Hispanic, 5-feet, 6-inches tall, about 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation, is asked to call the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, at 1-402-821-2111.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nov. 19 Holiday Vendor Event Offers Christmas Shoppers Early Bargains

Want to get your Christmas shopping done early? 

Or maybe you want to sell a line of products to local customers?

Here's your chance.

Dorchester's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter will be hosting a Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School Gymnasium (506 W. 9th St.) on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

The event is intended to raise money for Longhorn students who attend the National FBLA Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. 

There will be dozens of vendors at this huge event, making it the perfect venue to find high quality and unique Christmas gifts for your friends and loved ones.

More information is available for sellers and buyers by contacting Kyleigh Lewis at

Last year's holiday vendor extravaganza in Dorchester was a smashing success.

For those who are unfamiliar, the FBLA is a nationwide career and technical student organization.  

Established in 1940, FBLA is non-profit organization of high school ("FBLA"), middle school ("Middle Level"), and even college ("PBL") students, as well as professional members ("Professional Division"), who primarily help students transition to the business world.

FBLA is the largest student-run organization in the United States.  It is also one of the top 10 organizations listed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dorchester's FBLA charter has been active for 26 years.  

While DHS' participation numbers in some activities have declined, DHS' FBLA membership today claims numerous students -- impressive for a Class D school.

Over the years, Dorchester has become a force to be reckoned within the FBLA universe and its statewide competitions. 

In 2015, Dorchester took second place at the Nebraska FBLA competition for the Market Share Award, for example.

In the 2010-11 school year, Dorchester's Jessica Hansen was elected as Nebraska's FBLA state secretary.  

Other Dorchester alumni have served as state FBLA officers over the years.

The Dorchester community can be proud of its FBLA chapter and should support its FBLA members by attending this year's Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dorchester-Based Farmers Co-op Is 73rd Largest Co-op In U.S.; 6th In State

My how you've grown over the years!

Nebraska is home to eight of the country's largest cooperative businesses, according to the latest annual report from the National Cooperative Bank.

Dorchester-based Farmers Cooperative, with numerous locations throughout southeast and central Nebraska, as well as northern Kansas, is 73rd on the list.  

The NCB Co-op 100 list ranks the top co-ops in the country based on revenue. 

Other Nebraska co-ops that made the NCB list and their rankings were: Ag Processing Inc., Omaha, 11th largest; FCS America, Omaha, 40th; Central Valley Ag Cooperative of York, 42nd; Livestock Producers Marketing Association of Omaha, 43rd; Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co., Aurora, 54th; Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative, Imperial, 82nd; and Cooperative Producers Inc., Hastings, 94th.

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Football Is Coming Back After Monday School Board Vote

Sources Say DHS Football Will Return In 2018: Next football season will bring the return of high school football to Dorchester on Friday nights.  That's according to sources who attended Monday night's Dorchester Public School board meeting.  The board vote was unanimous, we are told.  As we reported last month, Dorchester leaders have been exploring six-man football as an option for the past several months. A meeting of DPS parents and students was held in late September to discuss the options and requirements to go forward with the plan. An online survey of Times readers, conducted in late September, showed nearly three-quarters of readers said they do want DHS football to return. Dorchester has been without a football team of its own since 2013, as fewer enrolled boys in grades 9-12 and decreased participation rates raised questions whether a viable 8-man team could be fielded.  However, it seems six-man football is gaining popular support and more teams in our corner of the state, and the revival of Longhorn football is a real possibility next season.  There are reports that more than 40 Nebraska high schools will be playing the game next season, including Friend and other nearby schools.

Last Night's Volleyball Game Featured 'Pink Out':  Tuesday night's Dorchester High School volleyball games featured a lot of pink.  The school and its fan base conducted a "pink out" to support a cure to breast cancer.  The Lady 'Horns took on BDS and McCool Junction with games starting at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.  DHS fell in both matches, dropping to 7-17 on the season.  The volleyball squad is off for the rest of the week until Saturday's CRC tournament in York.

Effort To Get Dorchester's Vacant Homes Filled By Spring 2018?: We received an e-mail from a town resident who wishes to remain anonymous, but says she wants this blog to explore ways to fill Dorchester's vacant homes within the next six months.  That would be a heavy lift and we're not exactly sure what a blog could do to instigate such a movement, but we do agree some kind of formal effort needs to be undertaken.  At one point within the past year, more than 20 homes in Dorchester were sitting vacant.  That is harmful in a community that needs more family housing, especially when the community sits just 8 minutes from Crete, 15 minutes from Seward, and 25 minutes from Lincoln.  If you have ideas to combat the issue of homes sitting vacant, please leave them in the "comments" section below.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Freeze Warning: First Frost Expected Tonight, Wednesday Morning

UPDATED: The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for our area, in effect from Wednesday, 12:00 a.m. CDT until Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. CDT.  Lows are expected to fall to the upper 20s to around 30 for a few hours late tonight into early Wednesday morning. Prolonged sub-freezing temperatures will kill any unprotected outdoor plants.  A freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.


For those excited for the season's first frost, you may not have much longer to wait.  

According to the National Weather Service -- the Dorchester Times' official forecasting firm -- the first killing frost could hit Saline County early Wednesday morning, Oct. 11.  Click here for the official warning.  

As a point of reference, the average first frost date for our area is Oct. 12.

If our area emerges frost free, the next possible first frost would be Oct. 18, according to the long-term forecast.

And if we don't see frost by then, our area could go without its first frost until Nov. 5 through Nov. 7, according to AccuWeather.

Enjoy the green while it lasts.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Stop The Biting Bugs! Minute Pirate Bugs Take Over Area

"What keeps biting me?!"

That was heard all over southeastern Nebraska this past weekend, as folks were squashing tiny black bugs and itching soon thereafter.

According to UNL Extension, during the late summer and early fall, small insects known as minute pirate bugs cause painful bites that seem out of proportion with their size.

The minute pirate bug is about 1/8-inch long, oval to triangular in shape, flattened and black with whitish markings on the back. Normally, they are predators and feed on insect eggs and small insects. They feed by impaling their prey with their short blunt beak and sucking the juices.

Minute pirate bugs are found throughout the summer in fields, woodlands, gardens and landscapes. In the late summer, they begin the unpleasant behavior of biting humans. They do not feed on blood or inject a venom or saliva.

People differ in their response to pirate bug bites. Some people have no reaction to the bite, but others have bites that swell like a mosquito bite or turn red. Because the bite is noticeable and the pirate bug doesn't fly quickly, the victim is usually able to successfully smash the offending insect.

Control of minute pirate bugs is not practical. Repellents are generally not effective, although some people have found applying baby oil or suntan oil liberally to the skin may prevent some bites by coating the pirate bugs with oil.

One thing is for sure -- the coming frost will provide relief. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Longtime DPS Custodian Ron Sehnert Passes At Age 81

Ronald David Sehnert was born June 15, 1936 at Dorchester, Nebraska to Harry and Emma (Boshart) Sehnert, the 4th of five children.  He passed away suddenly, September 27, 2017 at his home in Seward at the age of 81 years, 3 months and 12 days. 

As a young boy, he attended Dorchester Public School and graduated with the DHS class of 1954. On October 15, 1954, Ronald was united in marriage to Mary Ann Jirsa at the Friend Methodist Church. He was inducted into the US Armed Forces on September 19, 1957 and was discharged on September 18, 1959.

Upon his return from his service to his country, Ronald became a custodian at Dorchester Public Schools and retired in 2001 after more than 25 years of service. He also served his community as a member of the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department for 22 years. In his spare time, Ronald enjoyed woodworking and made many wood intarsia items, selling them at craft fairs around the area. He also enjoyed fishing in the lakes around Crete. 

Ronald is survived by his sisters and brother-in-law, Marlene and Harry Axline, Dorchester, Jane Hopper, Omaha, brother and sister-in-law, Gerald (Jerry) and Geraldine Sehnert, Dorchester, nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary Ann in May of 2017, a sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Harry Spacek, a niece Stacie Lynn Sehnert.

A private graveside service will be held at Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials have been established to the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department or Dorchester Public School Scholarship Fund.  (Click here to leave your condolences.)

Looking Back: Dorchester's Early Churches

Today we look back at some of the early churches of the Dorchester area community.

ng to the 1981 Dorchester Centennial history book, religion played a vital role in the lives of the people who settled Nebraska, just as it does today.

In the early 1870s, a small group of German immigrants who settled northeast of Dorchester formed the first organized church, an Evangelical congregation. Soon after, other rural churches appeared in the Dorchester area countryside, including churches of Methodist, Christian and Congregational denominations.

In the fall of 1872, Rev. W.D. Gage moved to Dorchester from Nebraska City. He conducted services in the old frame school house, which was the only public building in town. Meanwhile, in the West Blue Area northeast of town, a growing Evangelical congregation attended services in a log home until 1875, when a small church was erected for $450.

The first church building located in Dorchester limits was built in 1879 with the construction of the Congregational Church.  It stood one block north and one block west of the present-day post office.

In 1880, the Methodist Church building came to Dorchester after town residents went to Pleasant Hill and tore down the structure and hauled it back by wagon.  

The Dorchester Methodist minister at that time, Rev. John Armstrong, was "a spirited man" according to accounts and did not mind controversy. In fact, he was also an attorney whose clients included two saloon keepers in Dorchester, considered by some to be a "city of rum."

As Dorchester's population increased in the 1880s, more rural churches appeared in the area, including two churches southwest of town (both United Brethren) and one northwest of town (Evangelical).

Another local denomination was the "Dunkards," who apparently had no permanent house of worship. According to The Dorchester Star, the Dunkards baptized converts in Turkey Creek.

By 1884, an area Baptist group had formed and they went on to build the First Baptist Church of Dorchester (pictured).

By the turn of the 20th century, local churches had becoming stronger and more organized due to more population stability and financial prosperity. In 1904, a new Methodist Church was built (pictured at top right). The building would serve the needs of the community until the turn of the next century, when the current Dorchester Methodist Church was built in the 1990s.

Also in 1904, a new parsonage was erected for the West Blue Church northeast of town (pictured). In 1908, the Christian congregation also built a new church in town (pictured). It included a tank behind the alter, since the members of the Christian Church practiced total immersion for baptism. Previously, baptism had been held at Turkey Creek or the Blue River.

By the late 1910s and early 1920s, the rural churches found it difficult to keep their doors open, as people were no longer isolated within their own small rural neighborhoods, thanks to automobiles and better roads.

Looking back more than a century ago, examining Dorchester's earliest years, it becomes clear that while many of the area's first settlers had few possessions, they carried a devout faith. Such spirituality not only provided comfort and hope in uncertain times, it served as a unifying force that solidified the bond between neighbors, in town and country.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

This Sunday, Oct. 8, Is Dorchester Clean-Up Day

To address unkempt yards or untidy properties, Dorchester residents have organized Village Clean-Up Campaign.

And it comes to a climax this Sunday, October 8, when volunteers will hit Dorchester's streets to help those residents whose properties have gotten away from them. 

According to organizer Carol Olsen, Dorchester United Methodist Church members will be meeting at the church parking lot around 9:15 a.m. Sunday. They will then depart the church to help fellow residents with their property issues. 

Anyone wanting to pitch in to help, can join by being at the church parking lot no later than 9:15 a.m.  Volunteers will break up into groups and go tackle any Dorchester property issues. Volunteers are being asked to wear bright clothing and bring gloves. Then the group will meet back at the church for a potluck lunch.

You don't want your property sticking out like an ugly, swollen thumb. So all Dorchester residents are encouraged to take the time to clean their yards and other properties to show that they have pride in Dorchester.

For more details and to volunteer for this clean-up effort, contact Carol Olson at 402-656-3615 or

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Will DHS Football Return? Oct. 9 DPS Board Meeting Should Tell

When it comes to the possible return of high school football to Dorchester on Friday nights, it appears a decision will likely be made Monday, Oct. 9, at the Dorchester Public School board meeting.  

The board meeting will begin at 8 p.m. at the school.

As we reported last month, Dorchester leaders are seriously exploring bringing back six-man football to Dorchester High School in time for the 2018 football season.  

A meeting of DPS parents was held in late September to discuss the options and requirements to go forward with the plan. 

An online survey of Times readers, conducted in late September, showed nearly three-quarters of readers said they do want DHS football to return. That is up from 68% in 2014. (Some readers who opposed cited Dorchester's unwillingness to merge with Friend High School several years ago.)

Dorchester has been without a football team of its own since 2013, as fewer enrolled boys in grades 9-12 and decreased participation rates raised questions whether a viable 8-man team could be fielded. However, it seems six-man football is gaining popular support and more teams in our corner of the state, and the revival of Longhorn football is a real possibility next season.

To see reader comments on this topic, click here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Next Polka Party Is Oct. 22 At Dorchester Legion

Are you ready to party to polka?

Back by popular demand, the Dorchester American Legion will again host a polka dance on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Legion Hall.

According to flyers spotted around town, polka queen Angie Kriz and the PolkaToons will show you how polka was meant to be played. 

The Oct. 22 event will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. 

Only a $5 cover charge and the Dorchester Legion kitchen will be open. So plan to have dinner at the Legion.

Free will donations will be accepted.

Proceeds will go to the Dorchester American Legion.

And here's a little trivia for some of you with curious minds: Polka originated as a Czech peasant dance. Historic folklore has it that a peasant girl named Anna Slezak invented the steps one day for her own amusement.  The word “pulka” is derived from the Czech phrase for “half-step,” which refers to the dance pattern of lightly stepping from one foot to the other.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Looking Back: The Mills Of Turkey Creek

Today, the rivers and creeks of Saline County are used mostly for irrigation and fishing. 

But in an earlier era, the nearby Turkey Creek and west fork of the Big Blue River played a more substantial role, including providing Dorchester with its first electricity.

In Dorchester's pioneer days, the milling industry was a staple of the area's economy, and the 1880's saw rapid growth of the milling business on Turkey Creek. 

In fact, Turkey Creek became recognized as "The Old Mill Stream", according to the Nebraska State Historical Society. (Editor's note: The accompanying photo of West Mills is courtesy of Ron Sehnert.)

Of the five mills on Turkey Creek in Saline County, two predominately served the Dorchester area. 

One was Amity Mill at Pleasant Hill. Constructed in 1870, the Amity Mill produced flour and meal -- and later provided the first electricity for Dorchester. 

The other Dorchester-area mill, Lawrence Mill, was located near the current Gilbert Cemetery.

A trip to the nearest mill, with a team and wagon loaded with grain, occupied most of a farmer's day back in those early years -- and when the weather was pleasant, such a trip often provided a holiday for Saline County settlers.  This allowed farm families to picnic, as well as taking in the sights and sounds of water pouring over the log dam. 

The dams also provided excellent havens for large catfish.

The Amity Mill at Pleasant Hill was destroyed by a fire started by lightning and was not rebuilt. In 1934, the dam was removed by dynamite. 

No specific details are known about the demise of the Lawrence Mill. However, the millstones from the Amity Mill can be seen at the Saline County Museum at Dorchester.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Looking Back: Dorchester's Main Street -- South Side

The photo at the right shows Dorchester's bustling main street (officially Washington Avenue) as it appeared in the 1920s. The image is from a 1929 postcard.

The photo shows the South Side Garage, located on the west side of the block between 6th and 7th Streets. Henry Sehnert owned and operated the garage from 1925 to 1930, before moving to the other side of the street, where he would operate his Ford garage for half a century. The South Side Garage was located near the present-day car wash. 

Also housed in this building, in later years, was: Floyd Beck's John Deere dealership, the Dorchester roller rink for skaters, and Bob Wanek's furniture storage warehouse.

Today's Village Hall can clearly be seen in the photo, looking north. At the time the picture was taken, present-day Village Hall actually housed Citizen's State Bank -- Dorchester oldest continuous business, despite the name change.  Also picture are the post office, as well as the Masonic and Good Fellows Hall (the second floor of today's City Hall and Donna's Hair Creations building.)

Prior to the 1920s (see left photo), this area of main street was home to Skinkle Cafe and the H. Oetkin Machine Shop, according to a 1914-1920 map of Dorchester. Just north of the machine shop were Ireland's Dry Goods and Grocery and Randell's Shoe Shop. Continuing north up Main Street -- separated by the narrow alley and present-day bank drive-through -- were the Bank of Dorchester and Dr. Waller's Drug Store.  

In later years, these buildings would house businesses such as the Dorchester opera house, a second fire department station, Dick's Auto Body and Repair, and Max Harling's "Brand X" tractor repair.

On the east side of the street on the same block -- circa the 1920s -- sat the Commercial Hotel; Cookus Blacksmith; Parker's Cream and Poultry; the Chamber of Commerce; City Hall; Dillon's Blue Front Cafe; and Malek's Butcher Shop.

Dorchester was a hub of business activity and free enterprise. We are certain that Times' readers would enjoy hearing any residents, past or present, who have heard stories from friends or family about Dorchester in the 1910s, '20s, '30s and beyond.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Where Do You Stand On Bringing Back Dorchester Football?

UPDATE: When it comes to the possible return of high school football to Dorchester on Friday nights, it appears Times readers are solidly on board with the idea.  An online survey of Times readers, conducted from Sept. 23 through 3 p.m. today, shows that nearly three-quarters (73.53%) of respondents want football to return to Dorchester, even if only in the six-man form.  That's up from 68% in 2014.  Of the 68 readers who answered the survey, only 20% opposed bringing back DHS football.  Of those, only three explained their reasons for opposition, which were: 
  • "Dorchester missed the boat when a single board member swayed the entire board away from cooping sports with Friend."
  • "The team won't have the full support of the teachers!"
  • "No, don't have any interest in watching 6 man teams. The scoring is completely different and it is not as exciting. It's only a matter of time before these small schools that do play 6 man will be forced to consolidate with other schools anyway. So I don't see the need for the unnecessary costs and wasted time."
When asked if they supported the expansion of six-man football in the state, nearly 8 in ten readers (79.41%) said yes.


As we reported earlier this week, the Times has learned from reliable sources that Dorchester leaders are seriously exploring bringing back six-man football to Dorchester High School in time for the 2018 football season.

DPS Superintendent Daryl Schrunk has informed our readers that this Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library, there will be a parent meeting to discuss bringing football back to Dorchester. 

Dorchester has been without a football team of its own since 2013, as fewer enrolled boys in grades 9-12 and decreased participation rates raised questions whether a viable 8-man team could be fielded. 

Now it seems six-man football is gaining popular support in our corner of the state, and the revival of Longhorn football at Nerud Field is a real possibility next season.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dorchester Area About To Get Gorgeous Autumn Weather

Tired of the hot, humid weather? Don't sweat it -- a change is coming in Dorchester's weather, ushering out summer temps that have dominated September.

According to AccuWeather -- the official forecasting service of the Times -- our area won't see temps get above 75 again until next week, as an early autumn cool front blankets our region.

Tomorrow (Monday, Sept. 25) will bring heavy rains and a high temperature of 68 degrees.  Gorgeous fall weather -- sunny and temps of upper 60s and low 70s -- with comprise the rest of the week.

See this week's forecast here

So what can we expect for October?

According to the Farmers Almanac, which has a good track record for its long-term weather predictions, our area will see the following for the month:

  • Oct 1-9: A few showers, cool; 
  • Oct 10-12: Sunny, cold; 
  • Oct 13-18: Rain, then sunny, chilly; 
  • Oct 19-22: Sunny, mild; 
  • Oct 23-29: Rain, then sunny, cool; 
  • Oct 30-31: Rain.

Want to look further ahead?

The Farmers Almanac says our winter will be milder than normal, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall. The coldest periods will be from late November into early December, from late December into early January, and in early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, early to mid- and late December, and early February.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sign Up Now For Women's Volleyball League In Dorchester

A women's volleyball league is coming to the Big D, with a possible co-ed league to follow.

The Times has learned that the Village of Dorchester and Dorchester Public School are teaming up to start a 3 x 3 women's volleyball league. 

Games will be played Sunday evenings, running from Oct. 8 through Dec. 10. 

The registration fee is $30 a team. Participants cannot be currently enrolled in high school.

Registration forms can be downloaded from the Village of Dorchester website or picked up at the school office. 

Forms and fee are due in Dorchester's Village Hall office by Oct. 4.

The plan is to have a co-ed 6 x 6 league start in January, according to our sources.

Monday, September 18, 2017

REPORT: 6-Man Football May Be Returning To DHS Next Year

UPDATE: In the comments section of this post, DPS Superintendent Daryl Schrunk wrote: "On Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library, we will be having a parent meeting to discuss bringing football back to Dorchester. This Wednesday (9/20), I will be attending a NSAA meeting in Lincoln regarding football around the state. Also, I have visited with many superintendents around the area that are highly considering six-man football. The state could potentially have 40+ six-man teams for Fall 2018." Superintendent Shrunk notes that a decision will need to be made at or around the "October board meeting" since the DPS board will "need to approve the contract with Milford or commit to six-man football."  Superintendent Schrunk adds that he has "been in constant communication with the administration at Milford" regarding the situation, and that DHS has "been fortunate that Milford has allowed our students to play football. If we are unable to bring football back to Dorchester, we certainly would like to continue our football co-op with Milford so our students who wish to play football have that opportunity."

The Times has learned from reliable sources that Dorchester leaders are seriously exploring bringing back six-man football to Dorchester High School in time for the 2018 football season.

That's according to extremely reliable sources.

According to reports, school leaders are now gathering input from parents and students to gauge support for the idea.

One town resident and DHS parent told us that he supported starting six-man football next fall.

"The contract with Milford [allowing DHS to co-op with MHS for two more seasons] will need to be renewed or declined soon," the parent wrote in an e-mail.  "While co-oping with Milford was a worthwhile experiment, and a few kids were able to see the playing field, busing our football kids 15 minutes away has hurt our school pride and our sense of community.  Average and young Dorchester boys aren't going out.  It has hurt Dorchester's football culture.  It's time to get that back.  I want that for my son. He wants it, too."
The idea of six-man football at Dorchester is not new.  Sixty-nine years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program (following an hiatus in the program following the 1930s death of a DHS player) with only eleven players going out.

In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, the Longhorns played six-man ball for ten seasons, getting better with every snap.  In fact, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful.   DHS alum Vern Johnson once told us that "the best six-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a two-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

DHS transitioned to eight-man football in 1959, when DHS went undefeated.  (Back then, Nebraska did not have a state playoff system for football.)  By 1969, Dorchester was playing 11-man football, a tradition that continued until 1991, when DHS reverted to eight-man ball and dropped in size to a Class D school.  Due to fewer enrolled boys and decreased participation rates, DHS ceased to have its own football team in 2013, when it decided to co-op with Milford.

A Times poll in 2014 found that nearly 70% of Times readers wanted to see DHS football return to Nerud Field in the form of the six-man game.  

There would be challenges to starting a six-man team at DHS -- the biggest being there are only a handful of Nebraska schools currently playing the six-man game.  Currently, 26 Nebraska schools play six-man ball, up from just 18 three years ago.

The six-man game is no longer sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association, although that may change in the near future considering the large number of eight-man schools that are struggling to field a team.

Currently, a separate group oversees the scheduling, playoffs and championship for Nebraska's six-man football. That group of individuals and the membership have not indicated that they want the NSAA to take administrative control.

The nearest school to Dorchester participating in the state's Six-Man Football Association's Hampton, Deshler and Harvard.  Most of the six-man schools are much further west, but the trend is definitely moving east. 


FLASHBACK: DHS Homecoming, 56 Years Ago

Maybe this photo will jog a few memories.

This image is from Dorchester High School's 1961 homecoming king, queen and candidates. 

Thanks to our reader who has e-mailed this blast from the past.

How many of you can recall when this photo was taken? A couple of individuals on our staff can.

Pictured in this photo, from left to right, are: Jimmy McReynolds, Bill August (No. 11), homecoming king Doug Sysel (No. 10), Dan Tesar (No. 3), Sharon Nohavec, homecoming queen Judy Woehrle, Connie Johnson, and Cindy Drake. 

Once a Longhorn, always a Longhorn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

DHS Seniors Bird, Jensen Are 2017 Homecoming Royalty

Courtesy photo
This past Thursday, Sept. 14, Dorchester High School celebrated its 2017 homecoming by hosting a volleyball contest against next-door rival Friend.  

DHS fell to the Class D1 Bulldogs in three sets, but the Orange and Black still put up a good fight.

With two losses yesterday, Sept. 16, the Lady Longhorns volleyball team slip to 3-7 on the season, but are projected as favorites in their contest this Tuesday at Osceola.

By popular vote of the student body, senior Longhorns Jason Jensen and Makenna Bird were crowned DHS homecoming king and queen for 2017.  

The crowning ceremony capped a festive spirit week at DHS, which included theme-driven dress-up days at school and an impressive homecoming parade and pep rally at the city park.

This year marked the fourth consecutive year since the late 1940s that the traditional homecoming ceremonies were not held in coordination with a Longhorn football game.

Meanwhile, the Milford-Dorchester Eagles football team lost 47-7 on Friday evening to Bishop Neumann (Wahoo).  

Only half a dozen DHS players contribute to the combined Milford-Dorchester squad.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rural Dorchester Girl Missing; Sheriff's Dept. Asks For Help

The Saline County Sheriff's Office is asking for help finding a missing teenage girl.

The sheriff's department said 14-year-old Isabelle Magana is missing from the Dorchester area.

Isabelle is described as being 5'6" tall, between 130-135 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.

The above are accurate pictures of Isabelle, who is a student at Dorchester Public School.

She has been missing since Thursday, September 14.

She was last seen wearing black leggings with white arrows going down the side of the legs, a black tank top and grey "DC" hat with a red bill.

She is believed to be in the rural Dorchester and Crete area.

Anyone with information about Isabelle is asked to contact the Saline County Sheriff's Office at 402-821-2111 or call 911.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Dorchester FBLA Members Win State Fair Awards

DHS FBLA Members Win State Fair Awards: Congratulations are due to Dorchester High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students and their achievements at the Nebraska State Fair.  According to media reports, Kyra Creamer took home two second place finishes in PowerPoint and Computer Graphics. She received a $50 scholarship for each event. Jaki Acosta and Haley Weber received a third place finish. They each received a $25 scholarship.  The community applauds the continued growth and achievements of Dorchester's FBLA chapter.

DHS Homecoming Parade Tonight: It's homecoming week at Dorchester. The 2017 DHS Homecoming Parade will take place tonight (Wednesday) around 6:15 p.m., with the parade beginning at the school and finishing at the park for a cook out.  Alumni, parents and all community members are encouraged to participate!

Dorchester Dump Site Open for Fall Yard Waste:  Fall is a time when most homeowners are doing a lot of yard work -- raking leaves, frequent lawn mowing, tree and shrub trimming, and clearing the garden.  To dispose of yard and tree waste, the Dorchester dump site will be open Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  No trash -- just yard and tree waste is accepted.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Award Winners For Dorchester's Recent Home Improvements: West Side

When it comes to Dorchester's housing stock, sometimes, this blog is rightly criticized for focusing on the negative.  As a collective group, the Times staff believes that shining the spotlight on the most critical areas -- especially vacant or neglected properties -- is the most effective way to achieve different results.

However, we also believe it's necessary to point out the positive.

Today, we are giving our "Home Improvement Awards" to three sets of homeowners on Dorchester's west side.  (Don't worry, east siders; we will soon do the same for that side of town, too.)

All three of these homes have seen dramatic improvements over the past couple of years or more recently.  We think these property owners need to be heralded and celebrated for investing in their homes and their community.

The West Side Home Improve Awards for 2017 go to:

702 Jefferson: This is one of the more impressive home improvements we've seen in some time.  The owners took an already solid home and turned it into an eye catcher, while adding a new garage.  Kudos to these proud Dorchester residents for owning and renovating a great place!

1103 Franklin: This historic home renovation deserves a standing applause.   Formerly the Fermin Rediger home, and located at the northwest corner of W. 11th and Franklin Ave., this remarkable home has been restored to its historic self.  A showcase house since it was built at the turn of last century, the house's new owners took on a major restoration by lifting the home and putting in a new foundation.  A cleaner appearing yard with underground sprinkler and a new garage sets this home apart.  What's old is amazingly new again!

1013 Jefferson:  This home was looking rather rough just a few months ago.  But new owners have invested in the home and completely turned it around, making a run-down house into a beautiful home and refurbished yard.  (We think it's a shame that the negligent property owner to the south of this house doesn't clean the property or sell it -- but we urge village officials and neighbors to continue to pursue a clean-up solution.)