Saturday, August 19, 2017

UPDATE: Dorchester One Of Best Places In U.S. To See Monday's Eclipse

This Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, parts of this country will see day turn to twilight as the sun disappears behind the moon, causing the temperature drop rapidly and revealing massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the moon.

On that day, a relatively select swath of America will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse.  And Dorchester, Nebraska will be right in the heart of this unforgettable (and extremely rare) occurrence.

In Dorchester, the moon will be in the sun's path starting at 11:36 a.m. and continue for 2 hours, 52 minutes. The total eclipse will start at 1:01 p.m. and continue for 2
minutes, 34 seconds

To give Dorchester residents a great view and experience, there are two great options to view the eclipse in Dorchester:

* Tyser Auto Sales lot on main street.  This will be a community potluck lunch, with Greg Tyser providing pulled pork, brisket and stuffed cabbage.  Everyone is invited, and encouraged to bring goods to share will fellow eclipse watchers.  Come on out beginning just before 11:30 a.m.

* Saline County Museum: The Saline County Museum in Dorchester, just off Highway 33, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.  The museum will offer wide open space to see the eclipse.

The so-called Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this "path of totality" for the big event are in for quite an experience.

We are fortunate that Dorchester will be one of the best places in the nation to view the Aug. 21 eclipse.

Here are the facts on the total solar eclipse in Dorchester:
  • The eclipse event will begin at 11:36 a.m. on Aug. 21.
  • The total eclipse (sun being fully blocked by the moon) will start at 1:01 p.m.
  • The total eclipse will last roughly 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
You will need ISO- or NASA-approved eye protection to view most phases of the eclipse.  

The Times staffers are not astronomers, astrophysicists, or experts regrading the cosmos, but we know that the basics of a total eclipse are that the moon goes in between the sun and the earth -- and as the moon "moves" across the face of the sun. 

You will need to be in that path in order to see the "total" eclipse.  Dorchester is nearly in the heart of the total eclipse path.  Click here for the 2017 solar eclipse map.

Here is what one solar eclipse expert wrote:
"We cannot stress this enough -- if you're in the path, you see what is perhaps one of the most phenomenal sights that human eyes can convey to a brain! If you're not in the path, even by only a mile or so (!!!!!), you will come away wondering what in the heck we even bothered to make this site for! And you will have completely missed the whole show. People fly to the remotest deserts, jungles, islands -- frozen, desolate, and mosquito-infested places -- just to be in the path of a total eclipse. So please, please, please: walk, run, fly, drive, hike, roll, thumb, or cycle yourself into the path on eclipse day, and you will not regret it! Miss it, and you'll have to wait till the next one in the USA (not till 2024). Take it from us -- do not think that you're "close enough" to the path to see something cool. Look at the maps ... please, please get yourself there by whatever means are necessary! Even if it's 1,000 miles or more! People will come from all over the world to see this grand spectacle."
The experts encourage people to look at the eclipse videos to prepare yourself for what you'll experience.  But they warn that these videos are NOTHING compared to what you will see with your own eyes during totality.

One experienced eclipse viewer wrote this:
"I've kissed the Blarney Stone, and seen the Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, Ayers Rock, the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall, the Taj Mahal, the West Edmonton Mall, the Pyramids in Egypt, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Stonehenge, the giant Sequoia Trees, Victoria Falls, Death Valley, the Panama Canal, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Meteor Crater, Yellowstone, the North Pole, the Midnight Sun over the Arctic Ocean, Shakespeare's grave, the Alps in Switzerland, the Grand Mosque in Istanbul, the geysers in Iceland, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel tower, the CN tower, Sydney Tower, Shanghai Tower, Auckland Tower, Berlin tower, the Ring at Bayreuth and the Met, the Berlin Philharmonic playing Mahler, and my kids being born -- and I'm not kidding: A total eclipse is a spectacle to rival them all."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Family Donates Governor's Proclamation Honoring PFC Havlat To Museum

Photo by Friend Sentinel
Dorchester native Charley Havlat was the last confirmed American casualty in the European Theater of World War II.

Now, a 2015 proclamation by Governor Ricketts honoring Private Havlat has been donated to the Saline County Museum in Dorchester, which is home to the historical roadside marker telling Havlat's story.  (See the Dorchester Times story from 2015 here.)

The Friend Sentinel reports, "In 2015, on the 70th anniversary of Havlat’s death, Gov. Pete Ricketts visited Havlat’s state historical marker in Dorchester to proclaim May 7 as PFC Charley Havlat Day."

Now, "Havlat’s family has donated the family’s copy of the proclamation to the Saline County Museum."

Sharon Toovey, Havlat’s niece, said they decided to make the donation after her mother’s death, along with $200 from her mother’s memorials.

“They did this proclamation to honor him,” she said. “[Ricketts] presented it to my mom and we decided to give it to the museum for his booth there.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FLASHBACK: 67% Of Readers Want 6-Man Football At DHS

(The following article was originally published in the Dorchester Times on Sept. 17, 2014.)

The readers of the Dorchester Times have spoken: 67% of them want to see DHS football return to Nerud Field in the form of the 6-man game.  Thirty percent of respondents said no to the idea.

Last week, the Times asked: Should Dorchester High School play 6-man football in 2015 -- after the two-year cooperative agreement with Milford has concluded?  Please note that this was not a scientific survey, and fewer than 50 readers took the time or effort to participate.   

As we noted last week, we see benefits of trying to establish a 6-man football program at DHS. However, there are also clear drawbacks -- the biggest being there are only a handful of Nebraska schools -- 18 to be exact -- currently playing the six-man game.  

While the number of six-man schools is definitely growing, six-man football isn't a sanctioned sport unde the Nebraska School Athletics Association, and it appears the NSAA has no intentions of taking it back.  An NSAA official e-mailed a Dorchester Times reader, "Years ago, the NSAA stopped administering the 6-man class of football. A separate group decided that they wanted to take control of the scheduling, playoffs and championship. 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 is Deshler.  Most of the six-man schools are much further west.  

The most obvious negative to playing six-man football would be the travel time. However, with an organized effort and some phone calls by eastern Nebraska school administrators and coaches, we are certain that six-man football could return to its glorious past.

As we wrote on our Facebook page, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful. Sixty-five years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program, with only eleven players going out.  Reader and DHS alum Vern Johnson tells us that "the best 6-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a 2-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

The Longhorns played 6-man football for 10 full seasons before transitioning to the 8-man game in 1959, when DHS went undefeated.  (Back then, Nebraska had many more classes for school sports, but did not have a state playoff system for football.)

DHS was playing 11-man football by 1969, a tradition that continued until the early 90s, when DHS reverted to 8-man ball and dropping in size to a Class D school.

REMINDER: Dorchester Foundation's Golf Fundraiser For Splash Pad Is This Weekend

The Dorchester Community Foundation will soon host another fundraiser as it focuses its efforts on building a small water park in Dorchester's city park.

On Sunday, Aug. 20, the foundation will hold its second annual Dorchester Community Foundation Golf Tournament.

The golf outing will be held at the College Heights Country Club in Crete, with lunch at noon and a shotgun start at 1 p.m.  

The golf tournament is open is open to anyone who would like to support Dorchester and the foundation's water park effort.

The tournament will be a two-person scramble.  Cost is $50 per golfer or $100 per two-person team.

Price includes nine holes of golf, a cart, meal and pin prizes.

For more information, contact Linda Easley at 402-641-0564 or

Make checks payable to: Dorchester Community Foundation Fund.  Mail them to Linda Easley, 294 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343.

OUR VIEW: It's Time To Bring Back Dorchester's Fall Festival

We have received word that next door in Crete, they're planning its annual "Great Pumpkin Festival" on Oct. 8. (See details here.)

Good for Crete, we say.  And we encourage our readers to make plans to attend.  After all, fall is a time of celebration.  It's appropriate in this part of the country.

Some of our readers may recall that in the late 1970s, Dorchester held its own fall festival, an idea conceived and organized by school administrators and educators and town leaders. 

Dorchester's autumn celebration was complete with a parade, kid activities, performances and food, like kettle corn and carmel apples.

This recollection made us wonder aloud: Why in the world doesn't Dorchester rekindle this tradition? 
Dorchester needs more community events to get everyone together again -- and get us talking to one another, other than through blogs, text messages or social media posts.
Dorchester -- home of one of the state's largest farmers cooperatives -- is a perfect site for a fall festival.

We already have a fantastic farmers' market each and every Friday during the production months.

In the late '70s, school leaders helped bring about the town's fall festival as a way to unite the entire community and school.  

With no football team playing at Nerud Field again this year, solidifying the bond between DPS and the rest of the Dorchester area community is vital.  (To re-invigorate football, it's time to initiate plans for six man football and all-fall, youth flag football games, some of our staff members say.  But we'll save that for another day.)

Perhaps the Dorchester Community Foundation, business owners, church leaders and Dorchester School personnel can plan a weekend this fall for a town get-together.  There have been crazier ideas.

A parade, fundraisers for student events or organizations, caramel apples, kettle corn -- the opportunities for an enjoyable (and even profitable) weekend are endless.

Doesn't a Dorchester fall festival sound nice? It's an idea whose time has come -- again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dorchester School To Host Open House Tonight, 6:30 to 7:30

The school bells will soon be ringing once again!

The first day of school for Dorchester, students K-12, is tomorrow (Wednesday), August 16, from 8:10 a.m. until 1:20 p.m.  (Preschool begins Monday, August 21.)

To help the kids prepare -- mentally and physically -- the school is hosting an open house this evening, August 15, from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

This open house will give students and parents a chance to meet their teachers and see their classrooms.

Also, students can bring their supplies to the open house tonight, meaning that is one less thing to worry about.

The Times wishes all Dorchester students and teachers a happy, successful 2017-18 school year.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Will Your Business Or Group Be Part Of Dorchester School's Greeting Program?

To continue community involvement at Dorchester Public School, school officials are continuing the "Monday Morning Adopt-A-Door" program to get businesses and organizations into our school.  

Here's how the program works, according to DPS Superintendent Daryl Schrunk:
  • Once a month -- on a Monday morning between 7:45-8:15 a.m. -- two to four representatives (employees/volunteers) from local businesses/organizations will take turns greeting students in the entrance of the school as students are walking into the school building.  
  • Each business/organization would be signed up to greet at least once during the school year and multiple times, if willing.  Volunteers are encouraged to wear their work uniform/attire to represent their business/organization.
  • At approximately 8:15 a.m., a school representative will give them a tour of the school.  Please consider having personnel from your business/organization to greet students on a Monday morning.  School officials hope this is a joint effort in promoting a business/organization while also showing off the wonderful education afforded at Dorchester Public School.

Please sign up if interested in participating in this program, which will start in September. Return the form below to the school office or send to the address listed.

For questions, call (402) 946-2781.


We are interested in the Adopt-A-Door program at Dorchester Public School.  Please assign us to once this year / multiple times this year (circle one).

_______________________________            ___________________________
Name of Business/Organization                       Contact Name & Phone #

Please return to Dorchester Public School
           506 W. 9th Street, Box 7
           Dorchester, NE 68343

7:45-8:15 a.m. on the following Mondays

* Business/Organization listed below with contact(s)


Friday, August 11, 2017

Superintendent Plans To Grow DPS Student Enrollment; Asks For Community Help

Today, we feature another editorial from Daryl Schrunk, who gives his thoughts on Dorchester and its school after a year on the job.  Mr. Schrunk took over as superintendent of Dorchester's K-12 school at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

I feel honored and blessed to be in my second year serving Dorchester Public School as superintendent.  I want to thank all the students, parents, staff, board and patrons for all your support.  I look forward to another year committed to offering a quality education with many opportunities for our students in grades PK-12.

The district hired Spencer Kotas as 7th and 8th grade math/science teacher; Alison Nickel as preschool teacher; Leanne Josoff as preschool para; and Kim Petrzilka as head cook.  I would encourage everyone to take some time to introduce yourself and welcome them to the district.

K-12 enrollment for 2017-18 is projected to mirror 2016-17 (approximately 170 students).  It is good to at least maintain similar numbers as last year.  However, we are still down quite a few students from just a few years ago (185-190 students).  Although, I am encouraged by the projected future enrollment from our Census report, I believe we must continue to seek ways to increase enrollment.   

One of my goals last year was to start a school-based preschool.  As you know, we were fortunate to get a three-year grant from Nebraska Department of Education.  I am very excited for this opportunity for our community.  However, it is just a piece of the puzzle to increase and maintain enrollment.

Like I have stated before (in previous articles), my goal is to average 15-16 students per grade level, which would give us a K-12 enrollment of 195-208 students.   One of my superintendent goals that I have presented to the board of education is to increase enrollment with these plans: 

  • Seek option enrollment students (explore marketing opportunities).
  • Not losing students opting into other districts.
  • Students who have opted out return to district.
  • Lots of conversations have been taking place around the community.  I sense movement in housing development taking place, which is good for the school and community.   

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize the Dorchester Board of Education.  They are very committed to providing Dorchester children with a quality education, yet being mindful and prudent with taxpayer’s money.  

A huge goal of their's is to "maintain clean, safe, attractive facilities that foster a positive learning environment."  We are fortunate to have such a beautiful facility, but we must continue to replace and repair things in a timely manner.  The board has also recently approved the purchase of more technology for the students using various grant funds. 
This year's DPS Board of Education is comprised of the following individuals: Matt Hansen, Carol Schnell, Mike Hatfield, Kelli Schweitzer, Neal Pavlish and Steve Vyhnalek.

Here’s to a successful, safe school year for our students and staff!

Daryl Schrunk
(402) 946-2781
Dorchester offers a quality education, supportive staff, new facilities, advanced technology and many opportunities for students in grades pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.  At Dorchester, every student truly matters.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Deadline Nears To List Items For Sale At Dorchester Legion's Sept. 9 Auction

Autumn is auction time in Nebraska.  And a big one is coming to Dorchester on Sept. 9.

The Dorchester American Legion will hold its third annual Outdoor Sportsman consignment auction beginning at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, as a fundraiser for the organization.

Consignments should be submitted by tomorrow (Friday), Aug. 11, if you want to have the item(s) you're selling listed on the auction's sale bill and other advertising.  The advertising is free to those selling items on this unique auction.

Sellers: If you have any item you'd like to sell on an auction, you're encouraged to call Tom Cerny (402.381.8049) as soon as possible. 

The auction will be held on Dorchester's main street.

The e-mail we received said there will be "guns, hunting and fishing equipment, campers, boats, jet skis, ATVs, motorcycles and much, much more."

An e-mail sent to the Times informs us that many more items will be added to the auction list, and that the lineup of offering will go far beyond "outdoor items," including antiques, electronics and even shop tools and equipment.  

Because this is a fundraising event, the Dorchester Legion will keep small percentage of the final sale price, we are told.  

Auction services are being donated by Novak Auction for the Legion free of charge.

This is your chance to free up some space and earn some cash, too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Home For Sale: Nice Home At 806 Fulton Set For Sept. 16 Auction

Dorchester's real estate market is hot!  As we've reported recently, with demand for small-town life growing, this village of around 600 cannot keep quality homes on the market for 24 hours. 

This comes as no big surprise since Dorchester has a lot going for it, if you prefer living in a safe, friendly and affordable community that has much potential for the future. Consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • TOP-NOTCH SCHOOL: A new K-12 school with some of the state's best educators. The lowest school tax levy in the county and one of the lower property rates in southeast Nebraska.
  • SAFE COMMUNITY:  With a new water system and sewer system.
  • LOWER COSTS: Affordable cost of living.
  • KEY BUSINESS: Headquarters for one of the state's largest agri-businesses (Farmers' Cooperative) and is situated on the thriving Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line and along two major highways.
  • GEOGRAPHIC ADVANTAGE: A quick drive to many employers in Crete, Milford, Friend and Seward, and just 30 minutes to Lincoln and 10 minutes to Interstate 80.  Yet all the advantages of a rural small town.
However, one challenge facing Dorchester is available housing.  We often hear from many readers who say they would like to move to Dorchester, if only good homes were available.

Today, we are showcasing the latest Dorchester homes available right now.

If you're ready to call Dorchester home, we encourage you to take a look and make a timely offer (again, things are moving fast in this market).  Make Dorchester your home and enjoy a great small-town way of life.

806 Fulton Ave.:  We don't have all the details on this home yet, but we know it is a very nice and well-kept home, with an amazing yard in the back and good space.  A quality constructed home.  Listed with Novak Auction Service, which is aparently planning a Sept. 16 auction to sell this property.  See the Novak Auction Service website for details, when available.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Readers Ask: Where Can We Purchase Dorchester Road Sign Shirt?

When you have Dorchester on your chest, you're plain cool.  

Everyone knows it.

And whether Dorchester is your hometown or you are just a fan, you'll enjoy this City Limit road sign shirt.

The Times has been hit with requests from readers asking where they can purchase the Dorchester shirt shown here.  

The picture was originally posted on our Vil Dweller Facebook account.

So today we're letting folks know how they can get their own shirt.

It should be noted that the Times and its staffers are in no way affiliated with Zazzle -- the company selling this shirt -- nor can we be held liable for any transaction with the business.  We are simply letting readers know how they can buy this shirt for themselves.

Cost is $18.95 per shirt, according to the website, although it appears that customers can get 15% off by using a code.

See the website by clicking here.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

NEWS UPDATE: Dorchester Renews Law Enforcement Agreement

Dorchester Will Pay Saline County $11,720 For Law Enforcement:  The Friend newspaper reports the Saline County commissioners recently approved new law enforcement contracts with the villages of Dorchester, Western and Swanton.  The contracts had been left unaltered either by the county or the villages since the 1980s and had been re-ratified each year without review.  Under the new contract, the county will charge each village $20 per person, using the 2010 census data, in exchange for law enforcement duties by the sheriff’s department. The contract requires the county to enforce all state statutes and village ordinances, with the exception of “such Village ordinances that pertain to maintenance or supervising of trash removal and disposal of domestic animals unless the same are proven unsafe.”  Under the agreement, the county will charge Dorchester $11,720, Western $4,700, and Swanton $1,880 annually until the 2020 Census. 

'Renew Dorchester' Announced: An organization called "Renew Dorchester" has been announced in the Crete News public notices.  According to the notice, Renew Dorchester is being formed by Jamie Karl, Chris Kirkpatrick and Deanna Bird.  We don't have any other information about this group other than that Renew Dorchester is being formed under the Nebraska Non-Profit Corporation Act, the notice says.   

Dorchester Village Board Meeting Is Monday Night:  The Dorchester Village Board will hold their regular August meeting on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Dorchester Fire Hall.  The meeting is open to the public.

Friday, August 4, 2017

DHS Booster Club To Hold Meeting Thursday, Aug. 10

The Times has learned there will be Dorchester Booster Club meeting this coming Thursday, Aug. 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

The DHS Boosters will be discussing the fall preview set for Aug. 17 and this fall's homecoming pep rally to be held on Sept. 13.

Everyone is welcome to attend the DHS Booster Club meeting, and those who attend are encouraged to bring a friend.

The DHS Booster Club is comprised of supporters of all DHS sports teams who work to raise money for much-needed supplies, equipment, uniforms, and/or capital items beyond what the school budget can provide.  Through such financial support, the Booster Club enriches DHS' extra curricular activities for both students and community members.

If you are a DHS parent, alum, or a friend of Dorchester School, you may send your contribution to the DHS Booster Club at:

DHS Booster Club
506 W 9th St., Box 7
Dorchester, NE 68343

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Czech Out Wilber This Weekend

The first weekend of August is nearly here and area residents will soon be headed to the annual Wilber Czech Days Festival, one of Saline County's most noted and celebrated events -- and a tradition since John F. Kennedy was president.

This year's theme for the festival: "150 Years of Czech Pioneers in Nebraska." 

Readers in Wilber tell us town officials have spent months preparing for the 2017 National Czech Festival (Thurs., Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 6).

Every year at this time, the population of Wilber swells to as many as 50,000 as folks traverse from miles around to celebrate their own Czech ancestry or just to pay tribute to some of the county's early pioneers and traditions. 

The community of approximately 1,700 has been the official Czech capital of Nebraska since 1963 -- and of the United States since 1987.  

See the 2017 Czech Days schedule at

This year, Czech Days activities will include a free dance at Hotel Wilber, Czech bingo, the accordion jamboree, a sand volleyball tournament, a children's parade, an art show, dance contest, Czech dinners, museum tours, quilt show, Czech heritage demonstrations, and the sounds of various polka bands.

The official Czech Days' parade starts at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Miss Czech-Slovak U.S.A. Queen Pageant begins at 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the outdoor theater.  

If you go, have fun and be safe.  And if you speak Czech, just tell them: Ahoj k├ímo! (Hello, friend!)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dorchester Antiques Store Makes Nationwide Directory

Dorchester's Hedgehog And Hubby's antiques shop has made an elite listing of the nation's most established antiques stores.

The 2017 listing of about 60 noteworthy antique stores in Nebraska can be found at, or by clicking here.

Located in northwest Dorchester, just off the Highway 6 spur, Hedgehog and Hubby's Antiques has been in business a dozen years already.  The business is owned by Evy Thalmann.  

The business' phone is 402-946-2193.

The store offers a wide range of findings, such as architectural antiques like wood doors, oak columns, antique door casings, baseboards, porch posts, chairs, dressers. 

Other items include flour sacks, metal ice boxes, needlework, buttons, sewing antiques, costume jewelry, German dinnerware, vintage quilts, clocks and watches, hats/hat boxes, dolls/doll clothes, children's books and much more. 

Need a quick gift? Evy can readily find anything for you if you are looking for something specific.

Congratulations to this longtime Dorchester business for making the list of Nebraska's top antique stores.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Looking Back: Dorchester's Elmwood Pony Farm (And Rodeo)

Today we look back at one of the most intriguing pieces of Dorchester's past: The Thompson Elmwood Pony Farm. 

Owned and operated by Colonel W.J. Thompson, the Elmwood Pony Farm was located in the northeast corner of Dorchester. The farm sat on present day 10th Street, between Lincoln and Fulton Avenues -- home of the present-day "The Well" spa and health business.

Dating back to the 1890s, the Elmwood Pony Farm was one of the largest pony farms west of the Mississippi River. By the 1920s, the pony farm was home to more than 300 ponies.  

Thompson's pony farm was a popular destination for children from miles around, according to accounts of longtime residents. Children who lived in the country were even permitted to take home a pony and ride it all summer, if they agreed to keep it fed well.

Each September, Colonel Thompson took as many as 35 Shetland ponies to the Nebraska State Fair for rides. He entered many more of the animals in the fair's show contests. All of the ponies were herded overland from Dorchester to Lincoln by Thompson farm employees.

In 1930, Colonel Thompson's son, Wallace, started the Thompson Rodeo. It was usually a three-day event held each fall, complete with fighting broncos, cowboys, clowns, trick riders, cowgirls, bull dodgers, concessions, rides, dancing and "whoopee." The Dorchester rodeo attracted many top riders from around the country, as well as local talent. An Oklahoma rider even came within 0.7 seconds of the world's record in calf roping at the Dorchester Rodeo.

At one time, more than 7,000 spectators were reported in attendance at the Dorchester Rodeo. Many people had high hopes that Dorchester would become a permanent rodeo on the famous circuit that included Cheyenne Frontier Days, as well as the Burwell and Sidney rodeos. But by 1940, the rodeo hit a spell of heavy rain and events were cancelled.

By 1942, the country was fighting WWII and the Thompson Rodeo closed its doors permanently, becoming another chapter in the history book of our community.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Our Message To The News Media On Reviving The Cold War

To The National News Media -- Don't Make History Repeat Itself: For those old enough to remember the lowest points of the Cold War -- when the former Soviet Union rattled its sabers weekly -- it now seems like a distant memory.  But we still recall the fear of knowing the world as we knew it could end any minute.  Fortunately, America had JFK and Ronald Reagan at the helm when US-USSR relations were most testy.  To remind Americans about how bad things would be if the missiles were launched, we had doomsday movies airing throughout the 1980s, one of which was titled The Day After.  It aired in 1983 on ABC and shocked the country.  (Many experts say it was the reaction to this movie, which was set in nearby Kansas, that helped produce to Reagan's 49-state landslide re-election in 1984, although the movie's makers likely wanted it to have the opposite effect.)  Some 34 years after the airing of The Day After, it's worth noting that when the entire national news media -- along with most of the Democratic Party and some hawkish Republicans (most of whom never served in the military) -- focus on demonizing Russia on the world stage, they're forcing the ex-Soviets to align even more closely with North Korea and Iran (two emerging nuclear nations led by leaders who seem suicidal).  With the news media's contrived "Russian scandals" and politicians' phony outrage, those Cold War days could return soon -- this time, more ominous than ever.

Erica Spanyers Wedding Set For Aug. 12: According to the Wilber newspaper, DHS graduate and Dorchester native Erica Spanyers will soon wed John Gross of Wilber, as the couple plans a wedding on Aug. 12 at the First United Methodist Church in Waverly.  Parents of the couple are Keith Spanyers and Debbie Spanyers of Dorchester, Gary Gross of Wilber and Marge Sonder of Lincoln.  The bride-to-be graduated from DHS and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Chadron State College.  She also earned a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the UNMC’s college of dentistry. She works as a dental hygienist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lincoln.

Is Your Child Enrolled In Dorchester's New Preschool?:  Mounting evidence from across the nation suggests that America’s K–12 schooling is falling short in preparing new generations for the ever-changing demands of the 21st century workplace.  (Have you noticed all the 30-somethings in America still living with their parents?)  One key way to improve your child's chances is through early childhood education.  Studies show that starting at birth, young children are continuously and rapidly learning -- wherever they are and from whomever they’re with. As we reported a while ago, Dorchester Public Schools this coming school year will be administering its own preschool.  Mrs. Alison Nickel was hired earlier this year as DPS' preschool teacher.  School officials say preschool students at DPS will have a caring, friendly environment in which they are exposed to play, social skills and academic learning."  Now we know the preschool's hours as announced on the DPS website.  The 2017-2018 Dorchester Preschool hours are: AM Class (3 year-olds) will be 8:10 a.m. until 11:25 a.m. [Mondays-Thursdays]; and PM Class (4 year-olds) will be 12:15 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. [Mondays-Thursdays].  The first day for preschool is Monday, August 21.  Questions? Call 402-946-2781.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Looking Back: Gold Fever Struck Our Area More Than 120 Years Ago

"Is there gold in them thar plains?"

Yes, if you believe guys like this one, who posted a video on YouTube of a successful prospecting trip on a creek near the Niobrara River.

There aren’t high concentrations of gold in Nebraska, but the gold that is found here comes primarily from two distinct sources, according to experts.  From the west, rivers that drain the rich gold bearing lands in Colorado and Wyoming that flow through Nebraska carry very fine placer gold. And in the eastern portion of the state, like Saline County, there are glacial gold sources.

More than 120 years ago, believe it or not, there was a gold rush in the Dorchester area.

The Oct. 7, 1895 edition of The New York Times reported: "A raging gold fever has settled down on this section of country over a startling discovery" of gold just north of Dorchester.

Back then, it was a discovery that caught the attention of gold prospectors from as far away as Denver.

According to The Times, the primary source of speculation was a gravel pit near Milford, which was said to be "rich in gold dust."

The gravel pit had been used by Burlington Railway in the construction and upgrade of its rail system.

The New York Times noted that there was "great excitement in the vicinity of the reputed find" and that speculation was active. 

See The New York Times' 1895 article by clicking here.

And if you are too skeptical to go panning for gold on the West Fork or Turkey Creek, you can always look for buried treasure in old outhouses.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dorchester's Cost Of Living Advantage

We've said it before: Dorchester has a lot going for it if you prefer living in a safe, friendly and affordable small-town community.  A new K-12 school with top-notch staff; a new water delivery system; and a quick drive to many employers in Crete, Milford, Friend and Seward, and just 25 minutes to Lincoln.  

But perhaps one of Dorchester's biggest benefits is its affordable cost-of-living, with the lowest school tax levy rates in the county and one of the lower property rates in southeast Nebraska.

The Dorchester Times has run the numbers.  Those numbers show that couples and individuals living in Lincoln or Omaha -- especially if they desire a close-knit, smaller community and saving money for the future -- may want to consider relocating to Dorchester.  Here's why:

Dorchester's Vs. Lincoln's Cost of Living

Dorchester's median home cost is $87,800 compared to Lincoln's $148,600.  So a couple or individual could live in the same quality of home in Dorchester for roughly $60,000 less, right up front.  

Then, over a decade, that couple would save roughly $17,000 on property taxes, according to tax data.

Over 10 years, a couple or individual would save roughly $77,000 just on housing costs and property taxes by moving from Lincoln to Dorchester.  What could you do with an extra $77,000? (Remember, this is just the average.)

Of course, this doesn't include the intangibles such as safety, quality of a child's upbringing, knowing your neighbors, peace and quiet, etc.

Dorchester's Vs. Omaha's Cost of Living

Omaha's median home cost is $155,000 compared to Dorchester's $87,800.  A couple or individual could live in the same grade of home in Dorchester for roughly $67,000 less, right up front.

Then, over a course of 10 years, that couple would save roughly $21,000 on property taxes (Sarpy County is even higher than Douglas County).

After a decade, a couple or individual would save roughly $88,000 just on housing and property taxes by moving from Omaha to Dorchester.  That savings would buy you another median-priced home in Dorchester, which could be used for rental income.

While a small town cannot compete in the area of amenities with cities that have populations over 250,000, there is a cost-of-living advantage that cannot be denied.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Dorchester Residents In The News

Dorchester's Cecrle Featured in Omaha Newspaper:  A news story in the July 20 edition of the Omaha World-Herald shines the spotlight on Dorchester's Justin Cecrle and his experience with the Nebraska Figure 8 racing series.  The Omaha paper reports that Cecrle won the Open Class season opener on July 8 at the Clay County Fair in Clay Center.  Cecrle told the paper: “This is my sixth year in racing. My first year, I bought a cheap 1975 Chevy Monte Carlo. It was pretty much turn-key and I ended up bending the frame and needed to do something different, although I did win Rookie of the Year. I got a rolling chassis from a guy over in Iowa. It was one of the ‘box cars’ that are lighter and faster than the original Figure 8 cars. I still race that car today.” The paper reports that Cecrle said he likes being involved with the local county fair and always enjoyed when the Figure 8s came to the fair.  “I like the fairly short season compared to a circle track season and the pay in the Open Class, $800-$1,000 to win, isn’t bad, either,” he said.

Dorchester's Nerud Touts Governor's Trade Efforts:  The Associated Press reports that Dan Nerud, a Dorchester farmer and vice president for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, was part of news conference held earlier this month to kick off Gov. Pete Ricketts' international trade council.  Nerud tells the AP that the effort is particularly important because so many of Nebraska's corn markets lie beyond the nation's borders.  "We must continue to expand upon these opportunities," Nerud said. "Our competition is not standing still, and neither should we."

DHS Volleyball Fundraiser is Aug. 2: DHS volleyball head coach Ty Peteranetz informs the Times that on Wednesday, Aug. 2, the Raising Cane's location near 56th and Old Cheney will donate 20% of their proceeds to the Dorchester Volleyball program. To get the 20% donation sent to DHS, you will have to tell the cashier that you're supporting the program when you order. If you have questions, contact Peteranetz via the Facebook page set up for this event.