Sunday, May 21, 2017

STATE TRACK: DHS' Weber Takes 2nd, 6th; Velder 10th

Three athletes represented Dorchester High School this weekend at Nebraska's State High School Track and Field Championship Meet in Omaha.

Braving chilly temperatures and rain, the following DHS seniors wore the orange and black at state:

Jacee Weber (Girls Triple Jump and Girls Long Jump); Maru Ruiz (Girls 100 Meter Dash); and Bailey Velder (Girls Shot Put).

When the dust settled, these were the results:
  • Jacee Weber took 6th place in the Class D long jump with a top jump of 16-06.75.  Weber took 2nd place in the triple jump with a top jump of 35-05.25.
  • Bailey Velder took 10th place in the Class D shot put with a toss of 34-10.00.
  • Maru Ruiz did not advance to the finals in the 100 meter dash, but still finished with a speedy 13.52 time in the preliminaries. 
All three DHS track and field standouts are seniors, and all three girls qualified for state last year, as well.

Dorchester finished No. 18 overall in the Class D scoring out of 54 schools represented at the state track meet.

Giltner finished with the No. 1 team score.  No. 29 McCool Junction was the only other conference school in the top 30.

Our congratulations to Dorchester's state athletes. You represented your school and community very well.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Meals On Wheels Delivers In Dorchester, Mondays Through Saturdays

If you are a Dorchester-area senior citizen and would like nutritious, delicious meals delivered to your door, you're in luck.

The Friend Community Healthcare System and its Meals on Wheels program delivers noon meals to Dorchester -- Monday through Saturday -- for just $5.50 a meal.  

If you are in need of a meal delivered to your front door every day, or even just once a week, contact Ashley Ziegler at 402-947-2541.

According to information sent to the Times, the FCHS staff serves the needs of many different folks, not just those who are elderly or unable to cook for themselves.  

Meals consist of an entree, one or two side dishes, dessert, bread and milk.

If you are in need, take advantage of this tremendous service.

Rainfall Totals For Our Area: Dorchester Gets 5"

This week has been a soaker in Saline County and most of southeast Nebraska.

The Dorchester Times' official rain gauge collected around 4.90" for the week as of late Saturday morning.

Here's a look at rainfall totals across our immediate region according to the NE RAIN reporting program:
  • Swanton area: 5.93"
  • Wilber area: 5.55"
  • DeWitt area: 5.20"
  • Dorchester area: 5.00"
  • Friend area: 4.55"
  • Milford area: 4.48"
  • Tobias area: 4.46"
A flood warning continues for the Big Blue River near Crete, as well as Turkey Creek near Wilber.

At 8:45 a.m. Saturday, the Big Blue River's stage near Crete was 21.5 feet, or 0.5 feet above flood stage. The river will continue rising to near 24.0 feet by this evening. 

The river will fall below flood stage Monday morning.

Friday, May 19, 2017

News Roundup: Mary Ann Sehnert Passes

Dorchester's Mary Ann Sehnert Passes at 80: The Lincoln Journal Star reports that longtime Dorchester resident Mary Ann Sehnert, 80, passed away May 17, 2017, in Seward. Born May 26, 1936, she is survived by husband, Ronald. No services were conducted. The burial was held in Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials to Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. Arrangements were through Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Milford.

Polka Party This Saturday at Dorchester Legion:  The Dorchester American Legion Hall will host one of its famous meals and polka dances again this Saturday night, May 20.  The polka will be provided by the Leo Lonnie Duo from 6-10 p.m.  The public is welcome, of course -- the more the merrier. These events are well attended and draw polka lovers from miles around.

Friday is Deadline to Sign Up for DHS Alumni Golf Tourney: Proud Dorchester High School alumni will soon gather for the fourth annual DHS Alumni Golf Tournament. The tourney is set for Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the Friend Country Club.  Four-person teams are asked to register by today, May 19. Captains of each four-man team should contact Activities Director Brent Zoubek at: or (402) 946-2781.  Cost is $40 per player (includes cart).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Reader Urges Dorchester Residents To Report Health Hazards From Neglected Homes

Courtesy photo sent by reader.

Vacant and abandoned houses are a concern for all communities, regardless of size.  But in a village, neglected properties can become a health hazard.

It appears one such home in Dorchester poses a real threat to human health due to its condition and the critters that now call it home.  That's the charge of one reader who e-mailed us this week.

The e-mail sent to the Times reports that "feral cats, mice, and snakes" have recently been seen emerging from the longtime vacant property at 813 Jefferson Ave.  

"This is a disease risk," the writer says.

This particular house has been the target of scorn for some time due to its prominent location on Dorchester's so-called "school street," also known as 9th Street.  According to sources, the village government tried to demolish the structure a few years ago, but a judge intervened saying that "improvements were being made."

Now, years later, the house's chimney has collapsed and the roof is caving in.  

"In recent months, cats and other animals have been seen emerging from the holes in the roof and snakes and mice have been seen in the tall grass," he wrote.  "This is unfair to those who work hard to keep nice, maintained properties in Dorchester and it gives our awesome community a big black eye.  Private property rights don't give you the right to ruin your neighbors' property values."

The Times can verify that the grass and weeds on this property is often as tall as one foot or higher, and that the structure is rapidly deteriorating, posing a threat to any children who might wander onto the property.

So what can be done?  

The e-mailer says those who have health concerns about this house (or any other neglected properties) should call Public Health Solutions in Crete at (402) 826-3880 or e-mail

The reader tell us: "Public Health Solutions is the public health district that oversees Saline County and the surrounding area. Callers can remain anonymous if they wish."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dorchester Library In Danger Of Closing Without Volunteers

Will you help save the Dorchester Public Library on our main street?

The Times has learned that the library is struggling to stay open due to lack of volunteers and lack of patrons.

A sign on the library's front door reads that without volunteers for Saturdays, the library is currently open on Wednesdays only (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

The sign also states that "there doesn't appear to be much interest in keeping the library open at all."

Could this be the start of a plan to close the library, which as been in operation more than 100 years?

If you would like to help keep the library open and can volunteer for a couple hours on Saturday mornings (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.), contact City Hall (402-946-3201 or

Dorchester needs to use its library more -- and Dorchester parents need to encourage and challenge their children to read more often. (At least reading more than whatever is on the screen of their smart phone.)

Despite Nebraska taxpayers spending more than $3 billion on K-12 education in 2016, nearly 30% of all Nebraska 11th graders failed to read at levels on statewide standardized tests.  Those who came from English-as-a-second language home performed even worse.  (No wonder so many Asian countries outperform the United States in producing doctors, engineers and scientists.  Many of our kids can't even read at appropriate grade levels.)

Perhaps some new volunteers can think of ways to attract more visitors to the library and encourage more reading.  For example, in Oxford, Neb., the town library has become a social hub for the kids.  The AP reports, "The kids come in their PJ's. They curl up with stuffed toys and munch on popcorn. And, while their parents are watching a grown-ups' movie at the Granada Theater next door, youngsters at the Oxford Public Library are enjoying a G-rated, kid-friendly movie on their own big screen, helping the library fulfill its mission to be a vital, vibrant educational, entertainment and social hub of the community."  The community's Oxford Foundation provided funds for an XBox game system and television. The library also has a variety of DVDs available for check-out. 

Are you willing to help the town and its library?

Deadline Nearing To Register For DHS Alumni Golf

Proud Dorchester High School alumni will soon gather for the fourth annual DHS Alumni Golf Tournament. The tourney is set for Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the Friend Country Club.

Four-person teams are asked to register by this Friday, May 19.

Captains of each four-man team should contact Activities Director Brent Zoubek at: or (402) 946-2781.  

This year's tourney will be only a 9-hole contest.  This way, alumni can get back to downtown Dorchester to catch up.  Keep in mind that Dorchester is expecting thousands that evening due to the Jarrod Neimann concert on Main Street.  (We hear that Mr. Neimann may be visiting DHS alumni on the golf course, but that's strictly rumor.)

The alumni golf event has become a big deal, so you will want to register if you haven't already.

Cost is $40 per player (includes cart).

Alumni tourney t-shirts are available for an additional $15.  

Check-ins will start at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  Shotgun starts at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  There will be pin prizes.

Players must be DHS alumni. (Sorry, Tiger.)  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Looking Back: Freidell Photos Capture Dorchester As It Was A Century Ago

Every now and again, we come across photos of the Dorchester area that will take all of our readers back to a time that we can safely say nobody alive today experienced.

And for this Mothers Day, we  wanted to share a few such photos taken by the celebrated Saline County photographer Russell Freidell.

Russell Freidell was the son of William Freidell, the legendary dry goods store owner and retailer who ran his business in Dorchester for more than 50 years. 

Russell Freidell was a 1907 Dorchester High School graduate.  

He would go on to become known for his photos and his parents' beautiful home on Washington Avenue.  (That Victorian home was renovated in the late 1990s and today it looks nothing as it once did.)  

The Freidell's dry goods business also managed to survive a 1896 fire that destroyed much of Dorchester's business district, when the buildings were mostly wood.

First, we feature a 1908 photo that Friedell took of the Big Blue River north of town.  (Click on the photo for a better view.) Notice the family gathered in the covered boat.  

Back then, boating and fishing on the Blue River was popular activity -- pastimes of the very early 20th century.  

Also, notice how thin the tree cover was more than 100 years ago.  With the lack of broken prairie grass, the river's water appears a bit clearer than it is today.

Another photograph captures an area country road -- with no road signs and certainly no wider than the width of a Model T or a horse-drawn carriage.

We are guessing this photo was taken circa 1908 just outside of Dorchester. 

Both photographs were turned into postcards, a common practice for Friedell.  

These particular postcards were sent to an acquaintance of Freidell's in Kansas; both were postmarked in Dorchester.

One of our favorite Freidell photos shows Dorchester's Independence Day in 1908.  It gives viewers a front row seat at the village's celebrated Fourth of July parade, which continues today, 109 years later. 

The theme of Dorchester's 1908 Fourth of July Parade was "Comic Parade." 

Another photograph by Freidell shows a clear, crisp view of the 1909 Dorchester baseball team. 

Back then, games were often played south of town in the space now occupied by the Saline County Museum.

Another popular spot for baseball was a cow pasture northwest of town called Grant Horner's pasture. 

Yet another location was Bankson's pasture, just on the outskirts of Dorchester.  

Most games were played during free time on Sundays, according to old timers quoted in the Dorchester centennial history book.

Freidell's postcards are occasionally available for purchase online and make a fine gift for any Dorchester native or resident who enjoys studying our area's history.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

These 13 Longhorns Graduate Today

Today, May 13, Dorchester High School will hold graduation ceremonies for 13 Longhorn seniors.

This Saturday's graduation ceremonies begin at 3:30 p.m. at the DHS gym.

Here are the members of DHS' Class of 2017 and their post-graduation plans:

  • Cesar Cervantes: Enter the workforce.
  • Ripley Logan Creamer: SCC in Lincoln and later transfer to a four-year school for healthcare.
  • Timothy Dean Havlat:  UNL for civil engineering.
  • Michelle Lynn Kotas: Wayne State College for early childhood education.
  • Moises Aron Martinez: Enter the workforce and take classes online.
  • Dustin Alan Nelson: Doane or SCC.
  • David Ortiz Ibarra: SCC in Lincoln for physical therapy.
  • Maru Ruiz: SCC for medical field.
  • Keegan Todd Sholty: Undecided.
  • Daisy Tellez: SCC.
  • Bailey Jane Velder: Doane for special education.
  • Jacee Kay Weber: Wayne State College for pre-med and biology.
  • Brittney Jean Zoubek: SCC in Milford for business administration, then four-year school.
Our heartiest of congratulations to these fine Longhorns in the Class of 2017!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Three Lady Longhorns Returning To State Track & Field Meet

When the dust settled at this week's Class D-4 District Track Meet at Sandy Creek, Dorchester High School found itself with three athletes qualifying for Nebraska's State High School Track and Field Championship Meet in Omaha later this month.

The following DHS seniors are headed to state:

  • Jacee Weber (Girls Triple Jump and Girls Long Jump);
  • Maru Ruiz (Girls 100 Meter Dash); and
  • Bailey Velder (Girls Shot Put).

All three DHS track and field standouts are seniors.  

All three girls qualified for state last year, as well.

Weber is the Class D leader in the triple jump with a best jump of 35-1.  Velder has the second best toss in Class D for the season.

The Nebraska State Track and Field Championships will be held Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, at Omaha Burke Stadium.  See the line-up of events here.

Our congratulations to the DHS state qualifiers.  Keep representing your school and community proudly.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Free Family Fishing Day & Fishing Derby, May 20 At Swan Lake


The Lower Big Blue NRD is hosting the 16th Annual Free Family Fishing Day and Youth Fishing and Casting Derby on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area near Tobias. 

Also referred to as Swan Lake, Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area is located three miles east and two miles north of Tobias. Or, from the Highway 74/Highway 15 intersection, the recreation area is five miles west and two miles north. (Click here for a map.) 

The day also coincides with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission’s statewide free fishing day, so no state park entry permits or fishing permits are required.

New events for this year include the Homestead 4-H Shooting Club BB Gun Shoot and J&J Outdoors hands-on trapping demonstration. Other events include a Youth Fishing Derby, Optimist Club Casting Contest, Hands-On Archery Demonstration by Big Indian Archers, Tri-County Burn Association Demo, Boat Rides with Boat Safety Presentations and Nebraska Game & Parks Fishery Display. 

The Fishing Derby will be held from 9:30 – 11 a.m. with check-in from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Limited bait, rods and reels are available by pre-registration only.  Medals and prizes will be awarded in four age groups (5 and under, 6-9, 10-12, 13-18) for largest, smallest and most fish caught. Pre-registration is required and the deadline is Thursday, May 18, 2017.

For more information or to pre-register, contact the Lower Big Blue NRD at 228-3402 ext. 6, or email

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Crowns Athletic Banquet King And Queen

Havlat, Velder Named DHS Athletic Banquet King and Queen:  Monday evening was the annual DHS Athletic Banquet.  Seniors Tim Havlat was selected as the year's athletic king, while Bailey Velder was chosen as athletic queen.

4-H Encourages Donations To Local School Backpack Programs:  Recently, the 4-H organization celebrated its "Make a Difference Day."  Saline County 4-H encourages everyone to “Make a Difference” by donating to the backpack program in their community school.  Each of the schools in Saline County has a Backpack Program that sends home backpacks with students who need help getting nutritious meals throughout the weekend or over holidays.  If you would like to  donate to Dorchester's school backpack program, checks can be made to: Dorchester Public School (note Backpack Program in memo) and sent to Dorchester Public School, P.O. Box 7, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Model of Famous Friend Home Now On Display at Saline Co. Museum:  Have you ever seen the old Victorian home by the Friend golf course? The Wilber newspaper reports that a model of that home -- known as the Kiddle House -- is on display at the Saline County Museum in Dorchester.  The Kiddle House was built by Richard Kiddle, an immigrant from England, in 1886 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  The home is currently owned by Lori Martin of Ohio, whose parents bought it in the mid-1960s.  The house is built in the Victorian French Second Empire style, Martin said.  One the house’s early occupants were the Sherdemans, who bought the Kiddle House in 1907.  Their grandson, Dr. W.F. Loomis of Ogden, Utah, built a model of the house in the 1980s. The model was donated to the state historical society by Loomis’s wife after his passing and is currently on loan to the Saline County Historical Society. It can be seen at the county museum in Dorchester on Sundays from 2-5 p.m.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Motorcycles, Mortarboards & Track Meet Masters

Here's what is trending right now in the village:

More than 250 motorcycles rolled into town Saturday:  We have received reports than somewhere between 260 to nearly 300 motorcycles were in Dorchester this weekend. City Slickers was a stop on the First Frontier H.O.G Poker Run.  With friendly locals and two top-tier restaurants and bars booming on main street -- City Slickers and Big T's BBQ -- Dorchester has become a top spot for bikers in southeast Nebraska.  We do know there was a rescue call yesterday afternoon to Big T's, but our staff has not heard any details.

Weber, Velder bring home more gold: This past week at the McCool Junction track meet, senior Longhorns Jacee Weber and Bailey Velder continued their dominance in their respective events.  In the long jump, Weber won the gold with a jump of 15-6¾.  She also took first in the triple jump with an impressive 34-10 jump. Velder took first in the shot put with a toss of 35-5.  Nice job, ladies.

Velder, Weber are leaders Class D field events: According to the Omaha newspaper, as of May 3, DHS senior Jacee Weber led Nebraska's Class D female long jumpers with a top jump of 35-1. Meanwhile, Bailey Velder leads Class D in the shot put with a best toss of 38-2½.  Two DHS athletes who lead by example!

UNL awards degrees to two Dorchester grads:  More than 3,100 degrees were awarded during commencement exercises this weekend at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Among those receiving their degrees were two Dorchester natives and DHS graduates.  Jordan David Jensen received his B.S. as a certified athletic trainer in Education and Human Sciences, while Sarah Michele Shrestha (Wenz) received her Master of Science.  Congrats to these two Longhorns.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dorchester Main Street Improvements Coincide With Traffic Boom

As Dorchester's reputation grows as top-notch venue for food, drink and music, its main street is seeing a lot more activity, including a face lift.  

This comes at a time when the village's main street traffic is at its highest volume in the past decade.

Last month, the historic building that houses Dorchester's Village Hall and Donna's Hair Creations saw significant repair, resurfacing and repainting -- improving the building's aesthetic appeal.  We commend the village board for making this much needed enhancement.

Shortly after that project, the owners of City Slickers Bar and Grill started work to resurface the face of the establishment, as well as the buildings they own to the north.  Times' staff has been told from reliable sources that the improvements are set to be completed by the June 3 concert with big-time country music star Jerrod Niemann.  (Some are calling Dorchester the "Little Nashville" of Nebraska.)

One reader on our Facebook site said: "It's awesome to see Jason and Kathy doing so much to improve our community," referring to City Slickers' exterior and interior renovations. "It will be exciting to show off our town at the street dance they are sponsoring in June," she added.

Some have expressed regret that metal will cover the 1880s brick facade -- and we agree that the original brick is best.  But brick repair can cost many tens-of-thousands of dollars, which is difficult to justify for empty buildings. Our staff continues to support a housing and business plan at the village level to find ways to fill and improve main street buildings.

We strongly support the efforts being made by the owners of City Slickers, who have added new life to the village along with the presence of Big T's BBQ Pit Stop last summer.

According to a study by the Times, weekend traffic on Dorchester's three-block business district has surged 440% on Friday and Saturday nights compared to just 10 years ago, when the Times started publishing.  The tallies were taken between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday or Saturday evenings, when Dorchester's main street (Washington Ave.) tends to be its busiest.

The traffic count has increased by 1100% on Sunday evenings -- and even more on Sundays when Dorchester's Legion Hall hosts polka concerts, which on average attracts around 40 vehicles.

The increase in traffic can obviously be attributed to the success of the continued success of City Slickers and new success of Big T's BBQ Pit Stop.

The extra vehicles mean big dollars for Dorchester, even when using conservative estimates. 
We estimate that each vehicle on Dorchester's Main Street on a Friday or Saturday evening equals at least $30 spent in town on food, drinks, keno, donations, gasoline or something else.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DHS Alumni Banquet, Rock & Country Concert Set For May 27

It's that special time of year when Dorchester alumni -- young and old and in-between -- gather to recall the good times.

The 2017 Dorchester Alumni Banquet is set for Saturday, May 27. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the banquet will start at 6 p.m.

Classes ending in "7" will be honored.  Guest speaker will be longtime kindergarten teacher Mrs. Susan Weber.  Also, there will be a special fundraising auction of the Longhorn Bucket.

On the menu for this year's banquet is a meat choice of chicken breast or pork chop dinner as prepared by Mrs. G's Country Cooking catering service.

A special tribute will be paid to the Class of 1997, as well as the Class of 1967.

A big bash is planned after the banquet when Omaha band One2Go -- headlined by DHS alum Anne (Kovar) Tidblom -- will perform rock, pop and country favorites at the Dorchester Community Building.  Donations are encouraged to help pay for the band.

For questions on the banquet, contact Josh June at 402-499-6377 or

Reservations should be sent by May 14.  Those who wish to attend should send their reservations to: 

Dorchester Alumni Association
P.O. Box 7
Dorchester, NE  68343.  

Use the following form:


                            DORCHESTER ALUMNI BANQUET - MAY 27, 2017

Please reserve ___ seats at $20 each ........................................ $_____________

Chicken Breast ___ or Pork Chop_____
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Association ................................. $_____________
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Scholarship Fund ....................... $_____________
(Optional: In Memory of ______________________)

Donation for band ........................................................... $_____________________

                                                                                         TOTAL ..... $______________

Name: ______________________ Class of _________  E-Mail___________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________

City:___________________________ State: _______ Zip:_______________________

Phone: ____________________________

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dairy Queen In Crete To Donate Portion Of Profits To Dorchester Schools

Despite the lingering cool temperatures outside, spring is always a good time for ice cream.

That's why we wanted to pass the word that the Dairy Queen in Crete will soon be raising funds for a good Dorchester cause.

According to the DPS newsletter, the DQ in Crete will give Dorchester Schools 10% of all sales on May 9 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

As if you needed another reason to visit Dairy Queen, right?

Show DQ in Crete that you appreciate their gesture and grab dinner, a cone, or a shake at DQ on May 9 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

By the way, the first DQ restaurant was located in Joliet, Illinois. It was operated by Sherb Noble and opened for business on June 22, 1940. It served a variety of frozen products, such as soft serve ice cream.

DQ was an early pioneer of food franchising, expanding its 10 stores in 1941 to 100 by 1947, 1,446 in 1950, and 2,600 in 1955. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Polka, Polka, Polka Tonight In Dorchester

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

Back by popular demand, the Dorchester American Legion today (Sunday, April 30) will once again host a polka dance at the Dorchester Legion Hall.

According to an e-mail sent to the Times, the Accordionettes Band will show you how polka was meant to be played.

Today's event will kick off at 5 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m.

Only a $10 cover charge and the Dorchester Legion kitchen will be open.

Dinner will be served and will feature two choice of meats.

Proceeds will go to the Dorchester American Legion.

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.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Antiques Roadshow-Like Event Comes To Dorchester This Sunday

Do you enjoy the "Antiques Roadshow" TV program on PBS?

Then you'll love this Sunday's event at the Saline County Museum in Dorchester -- and you'll be able to get your antiques' value appraised for free!

The Saline County Museum, located in south Dorchester just off Hwy. 33, will open at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday, April 30) as it hosts an Antique Appraisal Fair conducted by Tom Bassett of Lincoln.  

This event will be like Antiques Roadshow in our own community, according to information sent to the Times.  

Please note that while the museum will open at 1 p.m. tomorrow, the actual fair will start at 2 p.m. and is slated to last until 5 p.m.

There will be no charge for the event.  

Every person attending may bring up to three items for Mr. Bassett to appraise. 

Admission to the Saline County Museum is always free and donations are accepted.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Young Longhorns Go Fishing, DHS Journalists Rack Up More Awards

Dorchester Grade Schoolers Go Fishing:  It's fishing season and Dorchester Public Schools recently shared pictures from the 4th and 5th grades' Tuesday field trip to Aksarben Aquarium near Gretna. The young Longhorns went to release their trout, according to the schoool's Facebook post.

Dorchester Journalists Compete Against Some Of Nebraska's Largest Schools: Dorchester High School this week placed fifth in the the sweepstakes titles in the Nebraska School Activities Association state journalism contest in Norfolk. DHS, which is a small Class D-2 school, has a longstanding reputation for producing high quality journalism students.  At this week's NSAA contest, Longhorn journalists finished behind Columbus Scotus, Yutan, Sandy Creek and Mount Michael.  That's fifth place out of nearly 40 schools competing.  In the Yearbook Sports Writing contest, DHS' Brittney Zoubek took first place.  Meanwhile, Zoe McKnight placed 4th in Sports/Action Photography and 5th in Yearbook Theme Copy Writing; Makenna Bird placed 3rd in Yearbook Feature Writing and 3rd in Yearbook Sports Feature Writing; Michelle Kotas placed 5th in Advertising and 4th in Yearbook Theme Copy Writing; and Brittney Zoubek also placed 2nd in Yearbook Feature Writing. The team of Makenna Bird, Michelle Kotas, and Brittney Zoubek placed 7th in Yearbook Theme Development (just one place away from medaling). Breanna Muff placed 8th in News/Feature Photography. (She was the only freshman in the event, and almost all of the competitors were seniors).  Congrats to Brittney and all of DHS' budding journalists.

All About The Housing:  The Dorchester Times has frequently written about the lack of available housing in Dorchester, as well as the number of vacant homes that are neither for sale nor rent.  Recently, we received an e-mail from a reader who works in Dorchester who wrote this: "I am hoping you can help me. Several times, I have had people ask about available houses to rent or buy. The city has been of no help; they have told people to drive around and look for signs. Is there anyone or anything I can get more info? I would like to help Dorchester grow." Sounds like its time to get a housing plan in place, Dorchester.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Marilyn Hockman Passes At 78

Marilyn K. Hockman, 78, of Dorchester, passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Tabitha in Crete. 

She was born on January 3, 1939 to Earl and Bernice (Knabe) Hockman. She lived on a farm in the Dorchester area until she graduated from Crete High School in 1956. Marilyn then attended and graduated from the National Business Institute in Lincoln in 1957. 

She was employed at State Farm Insurance as a secretary while living in Lincoln until 1971 when she had to retire due to a disability. At that time, she moved back to the Dorchester area. Marilyn had a love for animals and nature and after she moved to town, she still always had a cat or two. 

She was preceded in death by her parents: Earl and Bernice. Survivors include 2 cousins: John Knabe and Margaret Staples, many more second cousins and family members and her cat: Flossy. 

Funeral services were held today, April 24th at 10:30 a.m. at the Dorchester United Methodist Church. Memorials are suggested to the Dorchester United Methodist Church. Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete was in charge of arrangements. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Meet Dorchester's Class Of 2030

What will life be like in 2030?

Futurists say more change will take place over the next 13 years than in any previous time in human history.  (Of course, that's their job.  These same folks said we'd be flying around like the Jetsons by the 1990s.)

Futurists tell us that by 2030 the average person in the U.S. will have 4.5 packages a week delivered with flying drones. They will travel 40% of the time in a driverless car, use a 3D printer to print hyper-individualized meals, and will spend most of their leisure time on an activity that hasn’t been invented yet.

They say 80% of all doctor visits will have been replaced by automated exams; that a growing number of highways will be designated for driverless-vehicle only; and that the space tourism industry will establish regular flights to space hotels.

Who knows if any of this will come true?

What we do know is that Dorchester got a glimpse of its future in mid-April when Dorchester Public School held its roundup for the 2017-2018 Kindergarten class.  

Dorchester's future looks bright with this sharp group of kids.

These Longhorns should inspire all of us, regardless of age, to help plan for Dorchester's coming years in the areas of business, housing, population growth, school growth, and quality of life.

The future starts now.

Friday, April 21, 2017

PSA: Award-Winning Dorchester School Now Accepting Option-Enrollment

Are you a student, or a parent of a student, in Crete or another nearby community who would like the benefit of a smaller school and individualized education?

We received an e-mail this week announcing that Dorchester Public School is currently offering option enrollment to students who live outside the Dorchester school district, but want to be part of DPS.

Below is an ad making the announcement.  

"At Dorchester, every student matters," the advertisement reads.

Those who would like their students to attend Dorchester next school year may contact the school at (402) 946-2781.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fairmont Learning Lessons From Other Towns To Save Grocery Store

Down the road, on Highway 6, the fine folks of Fairmont are trying to save their small grocery store. 

It's a familiar story -- one that Dorchester lived in 2010.  Earlier this year, Friend's longtime grocery store, Orv's, also closed.

The York News-Times earlier this week reported that "the Family Market on the main street of Fairmont is at risk to close … but not if a committee of local go-getters can find a way to keep it open."

According to the York newspaper, it's the same old story of minimum order requirements that makes maintaining a small-town grocery store so difficult.

Soon after learning of the current owner's plan to divest herself of her Fairmont store and her store in Kenesaw, Fairmont residents formed an SOS (Save Our Store) Committee to find a way to keep the Family Market open.

Derek Betka, Sheila Lauby, Rhonda Veleba and Village Clerk Linda Carroll of that committee sat on the bench in front of the business Monday to discuss the situation.  Other members of the committee include Aaron and Jodi Fintel and also Pat Lentfer, Fillmore Co Economic Development director.

The story continues: 

"The committee invited leaders from Henderson to explain how that community put together a group of investors to buy its grocery store and keep the lights on. Norm Yoder, retired Heartland superintendent of schools, was one of the key cogs of that successful project who brought what advice and information he could to Fairmont residents.

"Utica’s store was also purchased by locals there and relocated to a new building at the edge of downtown. Inventory for Utica is purchased through arrangement with a store in Seward."

The group in Fairmont is also working with Jim Crandall of the Cooperative Business Development Specialists and UNL. 

Here's what Cradall -- a small-town grocery store expert -- told the York paper:
“There are several small towns in Nebraska who have seen their grocery stores close due to a number of reasons. Most of the time it is lack of family to carry on as aging owners near retirement. Some instances of medical issues with owners not able to continue or other circumstances. A few places where stores closed from lack of customers patronizing the store and yet often times those stores were not meeting the needs of the community in a variety of ways from hours open, selection, lack of fresh produce or meats, etc.
“My experience has been that we are seeing struggles with store closures in towns under 1200-1500. On the other end of the spectrum, low population towns struggle with enough buying capacity to support a store. He said 350-400 seems to be the minimum size unless they are in a very, very rural area. 
“As towns lose their stores or see owners wanting to change ownership, communities first look for local solutions. Is there a family who will own the store, is there a larger grocery nearby that would put a branch store in our town? Corporate stores will not enter communities that small. 
“Sometimes communities find themselves in a situation where they consider some kind of community or small group ownership. That could be in a cooperative of community members who have purchased shares in the business to capitalize the costs of buildings, inventory and staffing. I have cooperatively owned grocery stores with 160-plus members, another has about 110 owners. Each owner invested money in the coop by purchasing one or more shares,” he explained. “I have an LLC in one community with about 80 shareholders. Another LLC has 20 and each shareholder put in fairly large amounts of money. So there are a variety of approaches, but the general approach is to spread the risk over many people, share the talents of many people, elect a board of directors from the membership to oversee the business and then hope that everyone spends more of their grocery dollars at home.”

The York News-Times reports that Fairmont leaders are hopeful someone will by the store because the community, just off Highway 81, is starting to turn things around.

“Young couples are moving back to town. They are leaders and they are active,” one town leader said, adding her opinion that those new folks be brought onto the village board.

The age old adage that losing its grocery store or school is hard for small communities to overcome may be true, “But we still have our school,” another Fairmont leader said, referring to Fillmore Central Middle School. “It still brings 200 people into this town every day.”

The railroad plays a role in local commerce. It’s the same for the ethanol plant nearby and Betka spoke of a wind turbine project in Fairmont’s future, too.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Former DPS Superintendent Takes Plea Deal

A former Dorchester Public School superintendent who was accused last year of threatening to kill his wife by driving into an oncoming semi and choking her took a plea deal Wednesday in Hall County District Court.  That's according to the Hastings Tribune.

Brian Redinger, 45, of Hastings, pleaded no contest to third-degree domestic assault and reckless driving.  Instead of facing 20 years in prison, he is most likely to receive between a couple months to a maximum 15 months.

Redinger had been superintendent of Shelton Public Schools at the time of the incident.

From 2008 through 2011, Redinger served as Dorchester's superintendent.  Prior to that, he served as principal of DPS.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped charges of terroristic threats, strangulation and attempted first-degree assault, which is a Class 2A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Third-degree domestic assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Reckless driving is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine.

Hall County District Judge John Marsh ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and scheduled Redinger’s sentencing for June 8 at 10 a.m.

The Hastings newspaper reports that "according to the arrest affidavit, Redinger was driving with his wife, Kelleene, in rural Hall County when he threatened to kill her on April 10, 2016.  Kelleene told police that Redinger told her to pick a color and he was going to drive in front of a semi of that color to kill them.

"Kelleene was scared and turned the vehicle off. Brian then allegedly put his hand around the back side of her head and started hitting her head against the dash. Then she said he started to choke her.

"Kelleene was able to get out of the vehicle and Brian continued driving. She said he turned around and started driving toward her at a high rate of speed, but she jumped off the side of the road so he didn’t hit her.  She then flagged down a truck driver who took her to a truck stop, where she called police."

Due to the sensitive nature of this story, and out of respect for the Redinger children who attended DPS, comments on this story will not be published by the Times.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Famous Dorchester Easter Egg Hunt Set For Saturday, 2 P.M.

It's a very important event on the kids' calendar.

Dorchester's famous annual Easter egg hunt will be held this Saturday, April 15.  

The evening before, children are invited to help with the dyeing of the eggs, which is half the fun of the hunt, of course.

Sponsored by the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department, along with the Dorchester American Legion and First State Bank - Dorchester Branch, this is a fun activity for kids and parents.

Here is the schedule, along with all the details:
  • Friday night, April 14, 7 p.m.: Come to the Dorchester Fire Hall to help dye Easter eggs! But be prepared to get messy. Old clothing is advised.
  • Saturday afternoon, April 15, 2 p.m.: The Easter egg hunt will begin promptly at 2:00 at the Dorchester football field, just northwest of the school. All kids from preschool through 4th grade are invited to take part.  It doesn't matter if you live in the Dorchester school district.  Dorchester welcomes all kids!
Come on and be part of this exciting, fun, family-friendly event!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dorchester Business Students Compete With State's Largest Schools

Can Dorchester High School compete with the likes of Lincoln East, Bellevue West, Bellevue East and Columbus?

In the area of business competition, it appears so!

Last Friday, April 7, DHS students competed at the FBLA State Leadership Conference in Omaha.

Here is a list of Dorchester students who won awards at FBLA Student Leadership Conference.

  • PSA 2nd Place – Kyra Creamer, Hailey Weber, Abi Plouzek
  • Marketing 5th Place – Tim Havlat, Jacee Weber, Brittney Zoubek
  • Sales Presentation 6th Place – Tim Havlat
  • Advertising 7th Place – Jacee Weber
  • Mobile App Development 8th Place – Josh Thompson
  • Leader Business Achievement – Jacee Weber
  • Who’s Who – Michelle Kotas
  • Sweepstakes – Dorchester Chapter
Honorable Mention: 
  • Business Calculations – Makenna Bird
  • Accounting I – Makenna Bird
  • Job Interview – Ripley Creamer & Michelle Kotas
  • Intro to Financial Math – Josh Thompson
  • FBLA Scholarship Runner Up – Brittney Zoubek
  • Intro to Business –Nathan Cochnar, Daisha Hoffman, Abi Plouzek
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, and DHS students have been elected as statewide FBLA officers.