Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Looking Back: Dorchester's Secret Organizations Of The Past

Not too long ago, the Dorchester Times received a scathing e-mail from a critic who has serious issues with our blog's anonymous nature.

"I don't like the secretness [sic] of your publication," the writer said.  "If your [sic] so proud of your blog and you have so much to say, come out and let us know who is behind the Dorchester Times."

Tell us how you really feel.

The six staff members of the Dorchester Times have been anonymous since the blog's founding in April 2007.  We've lost only one member, who has passed away since we first started.  The Dorchester Times has done just fine, we think, despite being cloaked in our secrecy. 

Dorchester's history is rich with groups whose members remained anonymous while staying focused on the community's greater good.

One such group were the Dorchester Freemasons, who were active during the early 1900s. The Dorchester Freemasons met on the second floor of the building that now houses City Hall and Donna's Hair Creations. (It's rumored that second floor is haunted, but we're not checking to investigate.)

According to the Masons' website, "the Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being."  

When the old Dorchester school building was razed in 2008, Dorchester's residents received a history lesson on the Freemasons, who laid the cornerstone of the 1927 building.  Click here for our story on the opening of the 1927 cornerstone.

Another organization with ties to Dorchester's early past is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), which was concerned with local civic and political matters. Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was founded May 13, 1879.  While not as secretive as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows didn't exactly publicize their membership.

The purpose of Dorchester Odd Fellows' lodge was to "care for the sick, bury the dead, and care for the widows and orphans."  Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was active until 1973.

The staff of the Dorchester Times is not to be confused with the fine members of the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows or any of the world's elite secret organizations.  But in our own secretive way, this blog continues to serve a purpose and do some good.  We will stick with the formula that is working.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Estimate: Weekend Crowd Topped 2500, Raising Over $8000

The St. Patrick's Day weekend was quite profitable for Dorchester organizations, according to several reports, and brought a multitude of visitors to town.  

The annual Dorchester Alumni Basketball Tournament was the main event, attracting several former DHS players, as well as their family members and fans.  Social media reports that the tournament was won by the Drew Denker team, with the Brandon Bruha team finishing as runner-up.

The Dorchester Community Foundation's Annual Steak and Hamburger Feed was held Saturday evening, March 17, at the Dorchester American Legion Hall and Community Building.  

An estimated 2,500 people visited the village over three days based on figures collected by two of our staff members.

A community contact said he estimated that the Foundation and school raised more than $8,000 when accounting for sponsorships, admissions and fees, dinner sales, and raffle ticket sales.

In addition, both dining establishments in Dorchester -- Big T's and City Slickers -- drew large crowds throughout the weekend.  The Dorchester American Legion raised funds from the open cash bar during the Foundation's dinner.

Funds raised from the Foundation's steak dinner will help support the planned splash pad project.  

Funds from the alumni tournament will go towards DHS athletic activities, including the new six-man football program.

On a separate note, the Times has learned that the 2018 Dorchester Alumi Golf Tournament will be June 2.  Call DHS Athletic Director Brent Zoubek at 402-946-2781 for details or to register.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

NEWS ROUND-UP: Dorchester Students Excel In Statewide Competitions

Dorchester Design Selected As Statewide Winner For White House Easter Egg Roll:  Dorchester Public School has long been noted for its first-class art program, but now the program is receiving major national attention.  The Easter egg design submitted by Dorchester art students has been selected by the Nebraska Department of Education to represent the Cornhusker State at the White House Easter Egg Roll on April 2.  All schools across the country were invited to decorate an egg that represents their state or territory, using specific guidelines.  Dorchester students sat down with Mrs. Stacy Lutjemeyer, DPS' K-12 art instructor, and decided what to put on the design.  Students looked up Nebraska's state emblems and brainstormed how they would work into a design, while Mrs. Lutjemeyer sketched possible designs.  The students' final design was submitted to the State Department of Education and was selected by state officials as the state winner to be displayed at the White House Egg Roll.  Congratulations to Dorchester's creative art students for this national honor! (UPDATE: See the Friend Sentinel's article on this achievement by clicking here.)

Daisha Hoffman To Represent DHS At State Speech Contest: Dorchester High School's Daisha Hoffman will be representing her school and community at Nebraska's State Speech Competition this coming weekend at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.   This big news follows Daisha's stellar performance at the district speech competition at Lincoln Southwest High School on March 13 and her first-place finish in the conference speech meet Feb. 21. Congratulations to Daisha on this amazing accomplishment!

Dorchester's FBLA Adds To Its Long History Of Statewide Honors: This blog has often reported on the many accomplishments of Dorchester's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter.  Now we add more awards to that long list.  This past week, several DHS students attended the University of Nebraska's Business Day event, competing against students from all across Nebraska, including students from Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D schools.  The following Longhorn students walked away from the event with awards:
  • Makenna Bird - 1st place - Business Calculations 
  • Jacee Zoubek - 1st place - Financial Math
  • Kyra Creamer - 2nd place - FBLA Principles and Procedures 
  • Josh Thompson - 2nd place - Financial Math
  • Josh Thompson - 3rd place - Introduction to Business 
  • Dorchester - 2nd place - Chapter Scoring
For those who are unfamiliar, the (FBLA) is a nationwide career and technical student organization.  FBLA is the largest student-run organization in the United States.  Over the years, Dorchester has become a force to be reckoned within the FBLA universe and its statewide competitions, and DHS has produced several statewide FBLA officers.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dorchester Community Foundation's Steak, Hamburger Feed Tonight

The weekend of St. Patrick's Day will bring one of Dorchester's biggest weekends!

The Dorchester Community Foundation's Annual Steak and Hamburger Feed will be held Saturday evening, March 17, at the Dorchester American Legion Hall and Community Building.  

The feed will take place from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Those who have been to this event in the past know it's some of the best beef available anywhere -- and in a small-town, friendly environment.

Diners can choose a 16 oz. r
ib-eye steak meal, which comes with a salad, choice of potato or chips, bread, drink and dessert -- all for $18 (tax included).  

Alternatively, diners may choose the hamburger meal for $10, which includes all the aforementioned side dishes.  Or just get a hamburger and chips basket for $7.

Take-out or delivery are available by calling 402-946-3791.

This event has been one of the most popular in Dorchester for the past nine years.  And the food always gets top-notch reviews.

As in recent years, the steak and hamburger feed will again coincide with the DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament. 

The funds raised from this event will help support the Foundation's many good initiatives.  

Current fundraising efforts are for the planned splash pad project.

Come out, get a great meal, meet up with friends, and support Dorchester!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Source: Groundbreaking For Splash Pad 'Very Close'

An e-mail to the Dorchester Times confirms Dorchester could have its own small water park at the city park by this summer.

Groundbreaking could occur this spring, according to the e-mail.

A source who wishes to remain anonymous wrote the Times this week to say that members who sit on a splash pad committee affiliated with the Dorchester Community Foundation recently received bids on the project. The committee is in the final stages of making decisions, we're told.

"If all goes well, groundbreaking will take place this spring and we could have the splash pad up and running in July," the source said.

She noted that much of the timing will depend on how quickly remaining funds are raised for the project.

The Dorchester Community Foundation has raised around $110,000 of the estimated $150,000 in funds needed to construct the proposed splash pad, according to a promotional "thermometer" located on the Dorchester main street median.

The foundation is planning its popular steak and hamburger feed for this Saturday, March 17, where more funds will be raised. Also, Dorchester students have been selling raffle tickets to help raise funds.

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 March 17 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 Times encourages everyone to give generously so the splash pad can happen sooner rather than later.

Donations, made payable to the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund, can be 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.

Norm Sokolik Passes At Age 66

UPDATE: The Associated Press has reported the following: A 67-year-old man was killed in a fatal crash on March 10 in Saline County, authorities said. The Saline County Sheriff's Office said an investigation shows a 2002 Ford Ranger, driven by Norman Sokolik, 67, was driving west on County Road K when it attempted to turn North. While attempting to turn onto County Road 1300, the vehicle was not able to remain on the roadway and ended up on its side. Upon arrival, Sokolik was found deceased. The other passenger, Karen Sokolik, 63, was transported to a Lincoln hospital for her injuries. The crash is still under investigation.

Norman F. Sokolik passed away on March 10, 2018. He was born April 5, 1951, in Crete to Frank and Viola (Smisek) Sokolik. He was raised east of Milligan until the family moved to the farm south of Dorchester.  He graduated from Dorchester High School in 1969. 

He earned a degree from Southeast Community College – Milford in Building Construction Technology. He worked for Kenneth Kreshel before forming a partnership as Quality Construction. He later worked with Doug Oliva. 

Norm and Karen Jean Zelenka were united in marriage on November 8, 1980, at the Exeter United Methodist Church. They made their home on the Smisek family farm south of Dorchester where he took great pride in farming. Norm enjoyed his time road-tripping in the “buggy”; being Dede to his 10 grandchildren and travelling to see their many activities; browsing Menards for more unnecessary tools; giving construction advice to his daughters on their projects (“well that’s not quite how I would have done it, but I suppose it’ll work”); searching for the next community cookbook he could find at thrift shops; Friday night trips for lottery tickets and scratch cards; and socializing with his many, many friends at establishments throughout eastern Nebraska. 

As Norm had more time on his hands, he thoroughly enjoyed reading magazines, newspapers or maps so he could plan his next adventure. He enjoyed trips to the “home place” near Western whether it was to check the crops, go deer hunting with his wife and girls, nephew Dan, and then eventually his sons-in-law, or bummin’ around. He took great pride in that land that just this past year was awarded the Pioneer Farm Award for 100 years in the Sokolik name. 

Norm is survived by his wife, Karen Jean (Zelenka); daughters, Nikole (Jason) Marschman, Krystal (A.J.) Novak, Ashley (Ryan) Volk, and Katelyn (Kyle) Vrtiska; grandchildren, Tony, Addison, and Sophie Marschman; Samantha and Jacob Novak; Josiah, Trenten, and Ally Volk; and Quinn and Finley Vrtiska; sister, Carolyn (Virgil) Wahl; brothers-in-law, Ron (Bonnie) Zelenka, Gary Zelenka; sister-in-law, Susan (Richard) Brandow; and many nieces and nephews. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Viola; and uncle, Joe Sokolik. Memorial donations in Norm’s name can be made to the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund towards the Splash Pad, Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department, Dorchester American Legion, Dorchester United Methodist Church or your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to tie a few on and tell a few stories of the great Norm Sokolik. 

Celebration of Life: Wednesday, 11 a.m., Kuncl Funeral Home, Wilber.  Casual attire please. Visitation: Tuesday, 4 – 7 p.m., funeral home.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bird Earns State's FBLA Member Award For March

The Times has learned that Makenna Bird was this week named the Nebraska FBLA member of the month. 

Makenna, a DHS senior, has served in many officer positions, including chapter president this year. She has qualified for FBLA nationals, and received numerous honorable mentions and places at the organization's state leadership conference (SLC) and business competitions around Nebraska. 

Bird will compete at SLC again this year and at UNK's business day this Friday, March 16.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a nationwide career and technical student organization.  FBLA is the largest student-run organization in the United States.  

DHS did not have an FBLA charter until the 1991-92 school year.  A quarter century later, while numbers in some other DHS activities have declined, DHS' FBLA membership remains strong -- impressive for a Class D school.  (DHS dropped from Class C to Class D in school year 1991-92, ironically.) 

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 statewide FBLA competition for the Market Share Award, for example.

In the 2010-11 school year, Jessica Hansen, who received honorable mention top five percent in the areas of cyber security and sports management at the state FBLA competition, was elected as Nebraska's FBLA state secretary.

Other Dorchester students have served as state FBLA officers, as well, dating back to the 1990s.

The Dorchester Public School community should be proud of its FBLA chapter and the strong interest in business demonstrated by its many students.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

REDUCED: Dorchester Houses For Sale

Dorchester is one of Nebraska's best little communities under 1,000 -- and it is getting noticed for the right reasons. 

Consider what our community has to offer:
  • A newer K-12 school, built in 2008, with small class sizes and a big school budget surplus (meaning property taxes won't spike).
  • A clean, peaceful, safe community, with a new water park coming to the city park soon.
  • A new water tower and sewer infrastructure.
  • The lowest school property tax levy in Saline County.
  • Affordable living.
  • One of the largest agri-businesses headquarters (Farmers Cooperative) in the state.
  • Friendly, helpful neighbors in a closely knit community.
  • A 10-minute drive from employers in Crete, Milford and Seward. And just 25 minutes to Lincoln. Located next to two major highways and near I-80.
However, one challenge facing Dorchester is housing supply.  We've heard from readers who've said they would like to move to Dorchester, if only good homes were available.

Today, we showcase the latest Dorchester home available right now.  And it's a dandy! If you're ready to call Dorchester home, we encourage you to take a look.  Make Dorchester your home and grow with our community.

404 W 11th St.UPDATE - This home had been listed as "pending" a few weeks ago, but is now relisted with a realtor for $145,000, considerably lower than the seller had been asking.  Keep in mind the total tax assessment is $106,035, but that doesn't always include recent interior improvements. With four bedrooms and 1 bathroom, as well as 1,380 sq. ft., this home is for sale by owner.  It's a great home for a single family and is close to the Dorchester school. Remodeled with many updates just three years ago, renovations include roof, a/c, furnace, and water heater. Nice big corner lot for kids to play and on a quiet street. Large, new shop building is included with a whopping 1125 square feet. Must be pre-approved for a walk-through.  For more details and several pictures, click here.

508 Lincoln Ave.:  $60,000.  Sturdy two-story home with two bedrooms, living room, bathroom, dining room and large kitchen on main floor. Upstairs has a split stairway with two bedrooms on each side for a total of six bedrooms! Plus a second furnace for the upstairs. Large attractive lot. HUD Homes are sold "as is." FHA financing (Insured Escrow) 203K eligible subject to FHA appraisal. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Photos Show Commitment Of Dorchester's Volunteer First Responders

We've said it before; we'll write it again: The volunteers of the Dorchester Fire and Rescue Department make a big sacrifice to serve and protect the residents of our area, and the department is vital to our community.

The devotion and commitment of DVFD personnel were captured on film this past weekend by local photographer Sharon Axline.  

Axline took photos of the fire department's live fire training as firefighters took down the long-abandoned home at the intersection of Jefferson Ave. and 9th St.  

It was encouraging to see Friend FD volunteers take part in the joint training exercise since the units often have to work together on large fires.

Leaders of the DVFD for 2018 are:
  • Fire Chief - Brant Pracheil;
  • Assistant Fire Chief - Todd Axline;
  • Rescue Captain - Matt Steuk;
  • Assistant Rescue Captain - Cory Schlueter; and
  • Secretary/Treasurer - Chad Tuttle.
Hats off to our community's first responders and their leaders for serving Dorchester and the surrounding countryside.

If you'd like to show your appreciation and donate to the DVFD, you may do so by sending a contribution to:

Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. 
P.O. Box 36
Dorchester, NE  68343 

Or if you'd like information on becoming a volunteer yourself, talk to one of the members today.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dorchester Students' Artwork On Display At State Capitol

Dorchester Public School's got talent.

In honor of Youth Art Month, members of the Nebraska Art Teacher's Association were encourages to send two student artworks to be on display at the State Capitol.  

This year, DHS art instructor Mrs. Lutjemeyer sent in paintings from Atley Zoubek's (DPS fifth grade) and Diego Avellan's (DHS senior). 

Atley's watercolor painting is of her dog.  Diego's prisma color and acrylic painting is of a hummingbird.

The pieces has been on display at the capitol starting March 5.  You can see the paintings there until this Saturday, March 17.  

The students and their families are invited to attend a March 17 ceremony honoring the artists.

Congratulations to these budding Dorchester artists.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

SCHOOL NEWS: Kindergarten Registration Set For March 27

Dorchester Kindergarten Registration will be held March 27:  Dorchester's Kindergarten registration for school year 2018-19 will be Tuesday, March 27, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Then, the following Thursday (March 29), Kindergarten Round-Up will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  For more information, call Mrs. Carroll at 402-946-2781.

DHS Musical Will be April 13 and 14: The DHS spring musical will be April 13 and 14.  This year's musical is titled "Seussical the Musical."

Elementary Spring Concert is March 22:  The Dorchester Elementary spring concert will be March 22 at 7 p.m.  The theme of the concert will be "Songs from Around the World."  There will also be a "Make A Wish" silent auction held by the DPS Student Council.  The items will be set out by 6:30 p.m. and the bids will close 15 minutes after the concert.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Vacant Home On 9th St. Taken Down By Firefighters Saturday Morning

Photo by Sharon Axline
This morning, Dorchester was relieved of one of its most prominent vacant properties and eyesores.

While there are roughly two dozen neglected properties throughout Dorchester that are in need of immediate repair or removal, perhaps no site commanded more community attention than the long-abandoned home at the intersection of Jefferson Ave. and 9th St.  

It stuck out like a mangled thumb on a well-traveled street.

On Saturday morning, March 10, the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department, with assistance from Friend firefighters, burned down the blighted property.

The house had recently been acquired by Dale and Deanna Bird, who spent months cleaning up the two lots on which the house sat.  

In a social media post, Deanna Bird wrote, "The house was too far gone to save. It had black mold in it, and the floors were so weak that we fell through a couple times."

Today's action clears the way for new housing to be placed on a paved street in Dorchester, just two blocks from the school. 


Friday, March 9, 2018

Kohouts Celebrate 45th Wedding Anniversary;Tabor Hall Memories

The Feb. 15 edition of Fraternal Herald -- an official publication of Western Fraternal Life -- reports that Lorraine and Marvin Kohout of rural Dorchester recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to the Kohouts.


The same issue of the magazine features two brief accounts of Tabor Lodge, the well-known Czech community hall just south of Dorchester.

One account about Tabor Hall, written by Clarice Sabata, goes like this: 

"Our lodge in Dorchester, Neb. had dances every weekend. The whole family went and there were no babysitters. Mom and dad danced the night away while children learned to dance by dancing with their parents or each other. The teenagers eyed each other from various groups across the floor. Babies and toddlers were bounced on the knees of babičky (grandmothers). When the young ones got tired, they were put in a special corner of the hall that had a raised platform with protective sides built up to the wall. The tots were nestled in their blankets, while grandparents sat in chairs around the platform to keep an eye on them while tapping their toes to the music. On hot summer nights, cut-outs in the wall were opened to let any breezes in.  In winter, the pot-bellied stoves were used near the baby area and dining area. At midnight, the music stopped and all the happy people went home to prepare for a workweek ahead while anticipating the next dance."

Another story about Tabor Hall comes from Darlene Musil, who wrote:

"I became a member of No. 74 in Dorchester, Neb. as an infant. My dad had an orchestra, so I was introduced to dances at an early age. As a young child, I remember running and sliding on the dance floor. ... The day I was married in July 1954, the temperature was 107. There were very few dry clothes at the Charvari dance. Even with the windows open, it was stifling.  Our 25th and 40th anniversary dances were celebrated at Tabor, so there are many memories."

Tabor Lodge was organized Oct. 8, 1899, in Pleasant Hill -- the former county seat -- located two miles east of the lodge building's current location.  Tabor Lodge Hall was constructed in 1914 and dedicated Sept. 27, 19I4.  During WWI, when Czechoslovakia became involved, Tabor Lodge organized a chapter of the Czech National Association and raised several thousand dollars to help in the war effort.  Language classes were conducted at the hall.  The hall also helped promote the Sokol movement -- gymnastics designed to create and preserve a "sleek, well-tuned body."  

At one time, Tabor Lodge held the distinction of being the largest Czech lodge in Nebraska. 

By 1934, the organization had an urgent need for more space. A large dance pavilion was added to the existing lodge -- and the renovated, expanded Tabor Hall re-opened in June 1934 with a huge dance.  Soon, Tabor Hall became known to almost everyone in the Saline County area as it hosted political functions, farm organizations, class reunions, graduations, parties, flea markets, and wedding/anniversary celebrations.

In 1981, the building received an extensive makeover and restoration.  The ceiling was lowered to provide for a more energy efficient space. The walls were adorned with advertising signs as local businesses purchased their space and provided the sign painting.

Today, 104 years after its construction, Tabor Hall is well maintained by the members of Tabor Lodge.  The building still serves as a social hub for Saline County, regardless of ethnicity or family background.  Tabor Hall is a historical gem; its importance in shaping our regional community cannot be overlooked.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

NEWS ROUND-UP: Hoffman Pleads Not Guilty

DHS Gets New Boards To Mark Athletic Records:  Through social media, we've learned that Bruce and Brent Zoubek recently hung new athletic record boards at Dorchester High School.  The boards were funded with donations from the DHS Booster Club, D-Club, Youth Wrestling Club, and Novak Auction.  In other sports news, we're told that DHS' Makenna Bird and Ridge Hoffman were recently selected to the CRC Basketball honorable mention teams. Makenna will play in the CRC vs. Goldenrod All-Star Game on May 25 in Central City.

Hoffman Pleads Not Guilty:  10/11 News reports that Dorchester Village Board Chairman and former Crete High School teacher Matthew T. Hoffman pleaded not guilty in Saline County Court on Wednesday morning.  Hoffman, 41, is facing two charges of second-degree sexual assault of a protected individual and one charge of first-degree sexual assault.  A pretrial conference for Hoffman has been scheduled for May 2 at 9:30 a.m. Hoffman was arrested by the Saline County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 17 and was released on bail later in the month. Details surrounding the reported incidents are outlined in an affidavit for a search warrant issued on Feb. 2, that resulted in the possession of Hoffman’s work computer.  The superintendent of Crete Public Schools confirmed that Hoffman voluntarily resigned his position at Crete High School on Feb. 19.

Friend School Board Eliminates Principal Position:  The Friend newspaper reports that next-door in Friend, the FPS school board has voted to eliminate a principal position.  The move appears to be for budgetary reasons.  Friend Superintendent David Kraus said Alyson Dickinson, who is currently both the elementary school principal and the K-12 guidance counselor, will become the school’s full time K-12 counselor and curriculum and assessment director.  Kraus said the school will advertise for a K-12 principal.

Health Care Event In Friend, March 24:  The Friend Community Healthcare System will hosts its annual health fair from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Friend Community Building.  The event will include health screening profiles, lab draws and free blood pressure checks.  The Waffleman will be serving waffles, and proceeds will go toward the Friend hospital. Registration for the health fair may be done by calling (402) 947-2541 or online at Registration is encouraged but not required.  Anyone who does labwork needs to fast 10 to 14 hours before the event. No food and drink other than water is allowed.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Give Blood In Dorchester On Monday, March 5

Did you know that approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.? 

Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily.  Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year. 

And the average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.

Now is the time to be a hero in your community by donating blood.

On Monday, March 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., there will be a blood drive at Dorchester Public School.

Those interested in giving can call the school (402-946-2781) or they can walk in. 

If you don't think a blood donation will make a difference in your life or the life of someone you love, remember: 

  • According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.69 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Will you be a difference maker?

Friday, March 2, 2018

DPS Educators Lutjemeyer, Ridpath Nominated For National LifeChanger Award

The Times has learned that Dorchester Public School's art teacher Stacy Lutjemeyer and Title One teacher Karma Ridpath have been nominated for the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

The press release sent to the Times says, "Lutjemeyer brings passion and enthusiasm to her classroom and helps her students proudly display their work throughout the school. She’s very active outside of her classroom, planning sports events, staff gatherings and more to improve her school’s atmosphere. She works to expand networking opportunities for her students, and to help them expand their peer networks.

"Ridpath is a positive leader who holds her students to a high standard. She spends countless hours after school, on weekends and during the summer preparing lesson plans and finding new and creative ways to make a positive impact in the classroom. She is considered a mentor among her colleagues, and is deeply involved in her community outside of school."

Every school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2017-2018 school year.  The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.  Four grand prize finalists will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district. And 10 LifeChanger Award winners will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.

Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. 

To view Ms. Lutjemeyer and Ms. Ridpath’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profiles, visit

Thursday, March 1, 2018

MISSING: Dorchester's Online Library Of Yearbooks

UPDATE: As of Monday morning, the complete library of DPS yearbooks was back online.

What happened to the Dorchester Public School's online library of yearbooks?

Very recently, the Dorchester Public Schools website received a makeover.  Readers can check it out it at  

Unfortunately, our recent visit to the website's yearbook section uncovered that most of past 65-plus years' worth of yearbooks are missing, with only the 1937 and 1947-1950 editions available for viewing.

Five years ago, the Dorchester Public School and the DHS Alumni Association teamed up to put all the DPS yearbooks (1947 to current) on the school website.  

It was a huge undertaking -- and expensive, costing around $4,000, according to our research.

Also online was the 1981 Dorchester Centennial history book.

Those publications were all online by 2014, readily available for anyone who wanted to read them.  But now most of them are missing, having vanished from the redesigned website.

We hope this is a mere oversight that can be quickly fixed by the website's manager.

Many alumni are patiently awaiting the return of these important pieces of Dorchester history.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Survey Shows Four Primary Internet Providers For Dorchester Residents

Who do you use for an internet provider? 

Recently, through social media, the Dorchester Times asked our in-town readers who is providing their internet service -- and if they would recommend their carrier to others.

We received numerous responses, which indicated most town residents are using Zito Media and Windstream, with average or below average results.

Diode and Rise Broadband are the other primary internet providers in town.

The best results for reliability and speed, according to our survey, appears to be experienced by users of Rise Broadband, which has a satellite receptor atop the Dorchester grain elevator, we are told.   

Diode has a satellite receptor on the water tower, but has experienced difficulty reaching residents in the west portions of Dorchester, according to two online reports we've seen.

Here is a sampling of the survey comments we collected from town residents:

  • "We have only used Zito and Windstream...I would never go back to Windstream. I haven't tried any others."
  • "I had problems with mine. I blamed Windstream but turned out to be my old equipment. They installed new and I haven't had one problem since."
  • "I use Diode; sometimes it’s great and other times not so much."
  • "Zito now, but when we move to the farm we will have Rise Broadband."
  • "I was forced to switch to Rise Broadband after Diode told me they could no longer provide service to my home due to trees blocking their signal. So far so good."

This Friday Is Deadline To Enter DHS Alumni Basketball Tourney

The annual Dorchester High School alumni basketball tournament is just around the corner.  

We've been told we should remind alumni that if they want to play, teams and individual players will need to register soon.

Dates for this year’s tournament are March 16, 17 and 18, which happens to be St. Patrick's Day weekend.  

Deadline to enter is Friday, March 2.  

For questions and/or entry form, contact DHS Activities Director Brent Zoubek at: or call the school at (402) 946-2781. 

There is a player entry fee of $30.  

According to information in the school newsletter, teams may combine players "in any manner that promotes fairness, equity and good-natured competition.  The tournament director reserves the right to make changes or adjustments as he sees fit to allow these rules to be followed."

Sunday, February 25, 2018

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS' Ridge Hoffman Scores 21 In Season Finale

DHS' Hoffman Shines In Season Finale:  The Dorchester boy's basketball team has concluded its season.  The Longhorn men lost a close sub-district contest last week, falling to Osceola 43-39.  Nearly half of DHS' points were scored by sophomore Ridge Hoffman. The young Longhorns squad looked to Hoffman's leadership all season long as Hoffman emerged as a standout throughout the 2017-18 campaign, consistently scoring in double digits. The DHS starter earned a reputation for being adept inside the paint and from well behind the 3-point arc, scoring well over 20 points on several occasions. 

DHS Speech Team Has Strong Lineup In 2018: Dorchester's 2018 speech team has grown to seven this year.  The team is competing in several locations this season, from Crete to Meridian to Sutton to McCool Juntion.  This year's team is comprised of the following students: Daisha Hoffman, Ridge Hoffman, Harmony Shepherd, Timmy Newlin, Kohl Tyser, Breanna Muff and Jaki Acosta.  Coaches are Deb Nerud-Vernon and Karen Hrdlicka.

Saline County Sheriff To Step Up Patrol:  We've received word that the Saline County Sheriff's Department will have an increased presence in our community.  The reason is unclear and we've not reached out to the sheriff's department for comment, but our sources are reliable.  Citizens are encouraged to always be part of the solution by being watchful and vigilant, and reporting illegal or suspicious behavior by calling the Saline Sheriff's Department at 402-821-2111.  Dorchester is fortunate to have a strong relationship with our county law enforcement officials.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Polka, Polka, Polka This Sunday At Legion Hall

Don't let the dreary weather get you down.  Instead, get ready to party to polka.

Back by popular demand, the Dorchester American Legion on Sunday, February 25, will once again host a polka dance at the Dorchester Legion Hall.

According to a social media post, the Greg Blecha Trio will show you how polka was meant to be played.

Sunday's event will kick off at 3 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.

Only a $5 cover charge and the Dorchester Legion kitchen will be open, as well as the Legion bar.

Upcoming dances will be March 25 with the Polka Dudes and April 8 with the Bruha Trio.

All proceeds raised from the polka dances go to support the Dorchester American Legion and its efforts.

And here's a little trivia: 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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WINTER WEATHER ALERT: Here Come The Snow & Ice Again

Make the winter end.  

We've heard that more than once this week.

Now Old Man Winter has another surprise for us.  This winter weather alert for Thursday morning and afternoon has been posted by the National Weather Service: 


* WHAT...Mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of up to two inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch are expected.

* WHERE...Saline, Jefferson and Gage Counties.

* WHEN...From 3 AM to 6 PM CST Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The ice will result in difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Thursday. Be prepared for reduced visibilities at times. Ice accumulating on power lines could result in power disruptions.


A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5-1-1.

See the latest conditions and forecast for Dorchester and the surrounding area by visiting here.

10/11 News: Court Documents Reveal New Information On Village Official

As we wrote late last month, this one of those rare instances when the staff members of the Dorchester Times are conflicted about publishing a news story.  In this case, we simply do not know the facts.  We also adhere to John 8:7, which says: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone."

Because of the high-profile nature of this story, and the high-profile nature of the public servant who is well-known in Dorchester and Saline County, the Times feels it is our obligation to publish excerpts of a 10/11 News story so that the community is abreast about what is being reported locally and statewide.


Last month, Matthew Hoffaman, chairman of Dorchester's Village Board and a Crete High School teacher, age 41, was arrested by the Saline County Sheriff's Office for reportedly committing acts of sexual assault of a protected individual. Hoffman was released on bail in late January.

Tonight,  Feb. 21, 10/11 News is reporting that court documents reveal new information regarding the case.  The following excerpts are from the 10/11 story:

New details surrounding the reported incidents are outlined in an affidavit for a search warrant on Feb. 2 that resulted in the possession of Hoffman’s work computer, which was taken from Crete High School at the suggestion of the school district’s superintendent.

The documents state the superintendent was “concerned that a Crete Public School computer….that was operated and used by teacher Matthew Hoffman may have inappropriate material on it.”

In addition, the documents state two previous search warrants were served on Hoffman’s cell phones, which revealed Snapchat videos of minors drinking alcohol with Hoffman, and several text messages with one of the victims that are “sexual in nature.”

According to court records, the alleged assaults go as far back as June of 2017 and are as recent as January 8 of 2018.

Hoffman is scheduled to be arraigned in Saline County Court on March 7.

The superintendent of Crete Public Schools confirmed that Hoffman voluntarily resigned his position Crete High School on February 19.

Donkey Basketball Coming To Dorchester On March 26

Donkey basketball is coming to Dorchester.

On March 26, at 7 p.m., Dairyland Donkey Basketball will make its debut at the DHS gym.  

The event is a fundraiser for the Dorchester Future Business Leaders of America chapter.  

All proceeds will benefit DHS' FBLA national qualifiers.

Donkey basketball is a variation on the standard game of basketball, played on a standard basketball court, but in which the players ride donkeys.  Donkey basketball has been practiced in the United States since the 1930s.

At the Dorchester event, hometown players will play two donkey basketball games.

Tickets are on sale now.  $7 in advance or $10 at the door.

Come out, get some good laughs, and support Dorchester's FBLA students.