Monday, July 25, 2016

Not Even Close: Dorchester Has Lowest Property Taxes In County

Over the years, this publication has tracked property taxes and how our tax dollars are spent.  

Today, we take another look at property taxes levied in Saline County, specifically by our public school boards. (Remember, property taxes are levied and collected by local government -- not the state or federal government.)

In 2015, the latest year available, Saline County's taxing entities collected more than $33.4 million dollars in property tax revenue.  School districts took nearly 64% of that amount -- or $21.1 million.

Here's where your property tax dollars go if you live in Saline County, by percentage:

* Your school district:  64%
* County government:  20%
* Your city:  7%
* Your community college district:  5%
* Misc. (NRD's, ESU's, etc.): Remaining  4%

Since we now know that almost 64% of our property tax dollars go to pay for our local school districts, how do area schools compare when it come to tax rates?  

Here's a look at the rates of area schools. (Generally speaking, these tax rates tell us about the financial condition of each school district and their board members willingness to tax and spend.  Remember, only voters in a particular school district can hold a school board accountable for its taxing and spending decisions.)

School District                                            2015 Tax Rate

CRETE                                         $1.29 for every $100 of valuation (includes bonds of $0.07 and $0.16)
FRIEND                                        $1.08 (includes bond of $0.14)
MILFORD                                     $0.99 (includes bond of $0.04)
WILBER-CLATONIA                    $0.91 (includes bonds of $0.01 and $0.08)
MERIDIAN                                    $0.72
DORCHESTER                            $0.70 (includes bond of $0.08)
EXETER-MILLIGAN                    $0.68

What does this mean in real life?
  • CRETE: If you have a $150,000 residence or commercial building in the Crete School District, you're paying $1,935 -- and that's just the school portion of your property tax bill.  Add the remaining liabilities and you'll own more than $3,020 on your $150,000 property in the Crete School District.
  • FRIEND:  Move that same $150,000 property to the Friend School District, you'll pay $1,620 for the school portion of your bill, and more than $2,530 overall.
  • WILBER: That $150,000 property in the Wilber-Clatonia School District means you'll pay $1,365 for the school portion, while you dish out roughly $2,130 overall.
  • DORCHESTER:  That $150,000 property in the Dorchester School District means your bill will come down to $1,050 for the school portion, and roughly $1,640 overall.
Now here's the real kicker.

Over a decade of property tax payments -- based on 2015 figures -- your total property tax bill for that $150,000 property in the Crete district would be $30,200.  

In the Friend district, your total would $25,300. 

In the the Wilber-Clatonia district, $21,300.  

And in the Dorchester district, $16,400 -- or about $14,000 less than you would have paid in the Crete district, or $9,000 less than the Friend district, or $5,000 less than the Wilber-Clatonia district.

Why the big difference? 

No matter what the elites in Omaha and Lincoln -- and the state Legislature -- say, smaller schools really are more economical in most cases.  Crete is Class B and Wilber is C-1.

Moreover, Dorchester school board members and district voters made a good call in 2007 when they chose build a new school at a time of lower costs.  School boards that chose to expand more recently -- and voters who gave them the OK -- have paid a high price.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Just Listed: Homes On 7th St. And Fulton Ave.

Dorchester has a lot going for it -- especially if you prefer living in a safe, friendly, closely knit 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.
  • QUALITY OF LIFE:  Extremely safe town.  New water system and sewer system. Near two major highways.
  • LOWER COSTS: Affordable cost of living. The cost of housing in Dorchester is 41% lower than the national average.
  • KEY BUSINESS: Headquarters for one of the state's largest agri-businesses (Farmers' Cooperative).
  • GEOGRAPHIC ADVANTAGE: A quick drive to jobs in Crete and Seward, and only 30 minutes to Lincoln, Dorchester is 10 minutes from Interstate 80.  Yet all the advantages of a 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 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 an offer.
  • 913 Fulton Ave.:  Located on the east side of town in a nice neighborhood, this home is for sale by owners Bret and Amanda Cerny. We spotted it on our Facebook page. It is billed as a two bedroom, one office and one bathroom home.  Phone number unknown.
  • 203 W. 7th St.:  Ranch house for sale. Updates include newer siding, windows, roof and doors thru out on the main level. Over 2,000 square feet with main level and basement. Located on a corner lot with a chain link fence. City park sits catty corner to this property. Year built: 1974.  Two bedrooms, two bathrooms. See more here
And click here for a list of all Dorchester area homes currently on the market.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Free Advertising For Dorchester Businesses

The Times wants to help support Dorchester's local businesses of all sizes.  We know running a business is hard work.  

That's why for a limited time the Dorchester Times will run free advertising for businesses with a Dorchester address.

Perhaps you have a new business and you want to spread the word.

Maybe your established business is running a sale or a special for new customers.

Or maybe you just want to remind readers of your business and its place in our community.

The Dorchester Times website averages approximately 19,000 hits every 30 days.  So our free advertising offer is a great opportunity to reach customers (or potential customers) who care about Dorchester.

If you'd like to take advantage of the Dorchester Times free advertisement offer, send your text and pictures to:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

FLASH: Mumps Returns To Saline County

This blog often covers historical events. But today's story is not from the 1930s or 1940s.

Mumps has returned to Saline County.

Area media report a mumps outbreak that began in June on the campus of Midland University in Fremont continues to spread across counties in Nebraska.

A total of 42 cases of mumps have been reported in Nebraska, including the most recent case of an adult testing positive for the disease in Saline County after contracting it in Iowa, where there have been more than 500 cases.

The mumps virus can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, and is most contagious the three days before symptoms appear and the five days following.

Because the mumps outbreak is continuing, people who have not had the mumps and have not been immunized are encouraged to get immunized.  To keep a patient from spreading the virus to others, isolation is recommended for five days after parotitis begins.  (In the old days, when our nation had survival instincts, health officials would quarantine entire families until the threat had passed.)

In addition to staying away from others if you contract the mumps, you can help prevent the virus from spreading by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid sharing drinks and frequently disinfect community surfaces.

So why is mumps -- along with other nasty diseases of the days gone by, like tuberculosis, measles and scarlet fever -- returning in large numbers decades after vaccines had reduced it to a mere blip on the radar? Two reasons: 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Saline County Fair Caused Tensions Between Towns In Late 1800s

It's county fair time again.  The fair is a great event that is enjoyed by many in our county and surrounding area.  (Click here for the fair schedule.)

But in years gone by, the fair was a source of tension in our Saline County community.

According to a loyal Times' reader ("History Buff"), Saline County’s first fair was held in October 1872.  There were 280 entries and 700 in attendance. 

The first fairs were held in Crete, in an area near present-day Crist Auto Body on the west end of town.  Key attractions included horse races and orators. Dorchester’s Ed McIntyre was treasurer of the Fair Board; nine of the judges at that first fair had Dorchester addresses.

By 1887, the fair was reported “better than ever,” but receipts were not enough to pay expenses.  

Meanwhile, Dorchester was busy preparing to host an area reunion of Civil War veterans. By May 1888, Dorchester leaders were so optimistic about the preparations that “a number of citizens from the vicinity” went to a meeting in Crete to propose moving the county fair to Dorchester. 

The Dorchester Star reported that “after ridiculing Dorchester in every conceivable manner for insinuating such a thing as having a fair, the meeting adjourned to see if Crete could raise $2,000 to keep it there.”

The June 1888 veterans' reunion was a huge success. There were grandstands, platforms, pavilions and tents and a crowd "estimated between 1,500 and 15,000." (Yes, we realize that is a big gap in the estimate.)  By July of 1888, W. P. Thompson purchased the ground in northeast Dorchester where the reunion was held. (Soon after, the parcel came to be known as “Thompson’s Rodeo Grounds.")

Meanwhile, the September 1888 County Fair at Crete was fraught with problems. The 1889 county fair was held in Wilber, then Crete and Wilber alternated for several years until 1900.  There were no Saline County fairs held again until 1925.  (Friend hosted a variety of fairs and racing meets during this time, and also hosted a Junior Fair from 1919 to 1921.)

The Saline County Fair was revived in October 1925 on Linden Ave. in Crete.  The following year there were exhibit tents at Tuxedo Park.  Gradually special show buildings were erected at Tuxedo; the Thompson ponies from Dorchester provided rides and shows; and rural schools built special floats for parades. 

The rest is history.

*** Fair Highlights From Years Gone By ***

  • In the ‘30s and 40’s, Lillian Vlcek (Rezabek), Bertha Dusanek (Zak), and Jerry Pracheil were rural students winning prizes for posters and penmanship. Harold Krivohlavek and Rudolph Freeouf showed 4-H livestock. Mrs. Albert Boden and Mrs. Stanley Nohavec brought embroidered pillowcases, and later still, Dorothy Feeken entered the hog calling contest.
  • There’s a photo at the Saline County Museum of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce parade entry. Herman Schultz, Mike Broz, Ed Spinar, Bill Sanburn, Leonard Pechoucek, Harry Spacek, and John Kenny donned fake moustaches and derby hats, while Frances Spacek and Merle Schultz stand by with long black dresses and Japanese fans. A 1929 Buick pulled a trailer for the musicians, and they all smiled for photographer.
  • In 1963, it was reported that Anton Tesar drove a 1917 Buick parade entry. The Buick had "9,000 miles on it and original tires."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

CONFIRMED: New BBQ Restaurant Planned For Dorchester

The Times can confirm that a new restaurant will be on Dorchester's main street.  

Some reports say that could happen by the end of this month.

According to official village documents and several sources, a new barbeque restaurant plans to set up shop in the building that most recently housed Ben's Iron Grill II.  

In recent years, the building on the east side of Dorchester's main street also housed Rough Reins, R Lounge, The Longhorn Saloon, Pit Stop, and Last Call Bar and Grill.

The name of the new restaurant: Big T's BBQ Pit Stop.

A special meeting will be held Monday, July 18 at 5:30 p.m., at Village Hall to consider the liquor license application of the BBQ Pit Stop's owner -- Timothy J. Vejraska.


News Roundup: Two Dorchester Ladies Celebrate Milestones 100 Years Apart

Dorchester's Josie Slama Turns 100: Dorchester's own Josie Slama turned 100 earlier this month.  Born to Frank and Christie (Sipek) Belohlavy on a farm near Pleasant Hill, Josie married Joe Slama in May 1939.  They had two sons, Richard and Gene, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  If you'd like to surprise Josie with a birthday card, it can be sent to: Josie Slama, 1540 Grove Street, Crete, NE 68333.  No gifts please.

Barleys Have Baby Girl:  Dorchester's Sam (Staley) and L.J. Barley are the newest parents in Dorchester after Sam gave birth to a baby girl at Bryan in Lincoln. Kyra Ann Barley was born July 12 at 3:21 a.m., weighing 7 lbs., 11 oz.

Mary Nerud Passes: Mary K. Nerud, 54, of Lincoln, passed away July 10, 2016. Daughter of the late James and Eileen Nerud. Graveside service was held Thursday, July 14, at Dorchester Cemetery, Dorchester. Memorials to family for future designation. Arrangements entrusted to Kuncl Funeral Home. Condolences at

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Plowing Bee, Craft Show At Tabor Hall On July 17

The annual tractor plow and craft show at Tabor Hall near Dorchester will be tomorrow, Sunday, July 17, 2016.

All visitors are welcome, as food and refreshments will be available inside the hall, with all the proceeds going to fix the hall, which hosts dances and receptions.

The craft show will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The famous tractor plow will begin at 1:30 p.m. in fields next to Tabor Hall, on County Road 1400, about five miles south of Dorchester.

The Tabor Hall kitchen will be open for food and drinks beginning at 10 a.m.

This event features around 30 antique tractors.  This year they will dig into at least 50 acres near Tabor Hall.  Organizer Larry Fuller has said the plowing event grew from a picnic at which a bunch of farm neighbors got together and used their old tractors to plow like they did years ago.

Shelley Bruha of Dorchester said it is important to hold this event because it encourages rural neighbors to come together and allows those who have old tractors to have a chance to work with them.

“Everyone always has a good time,” Bruha said.

For more on the tractor plow, contact Larry Fuller at 402-946-4051. For on the craft show, contact Laura Sysel at 402-580-8533.  Or click here for the Facebook event page.

Friday, July 15, 2016

ALERT: Days Of Triple-Digit Heat Predicted For Our Area Next Week

Dorchester and the surrounding area may be getting a break from summertime's heat today, but the furnace is about to be turned up again soon.  Big time.

Triple-digit heat will surge into the central U.S. next week.  

AccuWeather is forecasting triple digits for highs in our area from Wednesday, July 20, through Tuesday, July 26.

The actual temperature is expected to surge to 106 degrees on Wednesday in Dorchester.

"Heat will build to dangerous levels and bring the highest temperatures of the summer so far to many areas of the central United States later next week," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

The heat wave will be dangerous and could even be life-threatening if proper precautions are not taken. Pets, the elderly, children and anyone with respiratory or cardiovascular disease are most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

60th Anniversary For Phil And Bernice Weber

It's 1956. And much is happening in the world.
  • The most popular TV shows are "As The World Turns" and "The Price is Right."
  • Mothers can now buy disposable diapers and tefal non-stick frying pans. 
  • Elvis Presley is appearing on the Ed Sullivan show and entering the music charts for the first time with "Heartbreak Hotel."
  • Movie star Ronald Reagan is campaigning as a Democrat for President Dwight Eisenhower's re-election. 
  • And Phil and Bernice (Abrahams) Weber of Dorchester are getting married in Utica. 
This month, in 2016, the Webers are celebrating their 60th anniversary.  They have three children, Larry and Faye Weber, Lyle and Cathy Weber of Dorchester, and Ron and Lori Schultz of Seward; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In celebration of this milestone, they enjoyed an extended stay in Palm Springs, Calif., last February, hosting family and friends.

To honor them, cards can be sent to 419 County Rd. 1400, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Monday, July 11, 2016

News Roundup: New Code Compliance Officer; Car Port Permits Denied

Village Board Hires New Property Code Officer: It has been brought to our attention that a new enforcer has been hired to ensure that Dorchester residents are keeping their property up to community standards.  We confirmed this when we obtained the minutes from the Dorchester Village Board's May 2016 meeting.  Local resident Penny Keller was approved for hire by the board, which confirmed her as the village's new nuisance abatement and code compliance officer. The minutes confirm that Keller has been hired as an independent contractor, not a village employee.  This hire will help ensure that the clean-up notices and enforcement originally initiated by SENDD a few years ago continues.  Village leaders are to be commended for keeping the pressure on negligent property owners, as Keller cares deeply about Dorchester and its future.

Car Ports In Dorchester:  Let's face it -- car ports are popping up more often nowadays and they typically look rather shabby (looking like this.)  While car ports might be a better alternative than someone parking on their front lawn (c'mon -- show some pride), it appears the Dorchester Planning Commission is cracking down more often on their installation.  There are rules and regulations for car ports in Dorchester.  In recent months, permits for car ports have been denied and corrective actions have been ordered for existing car ports, including one right on main street.

Why Doesn't The Village Post Meeting Minutes Online?: Since the Village of Dorchester now has an official website, wouldn't it be nice if village board meeting minutes were posted online? The taxpayers deserve that much. Heck, if residents knew which topics were being discussed on a monthly basis, there might even be more civic engagement and attendance at board meetings. The Dorchester Board of Education posts their meeting minutes online -- surely the Dorchester Board of Trustees can do the same.

In Case You Missed It:  A couple weeks ago, we shared with our Facebook followers a posting by the Crete Police Department showing still shots of individuals using stolen credit card numbers at the Crete Wal-Mart and surrounding retail stores.  Good news -- those suspects have been nabbed. To them, we say: Adios! For some, it seems that working a legitimate, honorable job is just too difficult these days.  From shootings in Lincoln, to gangbangers in Omaha, to dope dealers, to crime rings like this one, there are lots of bad people out there.  We hope our Republican turned so-called Libertarian Senator Laura Ebke and her fellow state lawmakers will finally see the wisdom of providing for more law enforcement and additional corrections facilities instead of undoing Nebraska's strict criminal sentencing standards.  

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Parks-Kremer Wedding Is Sept. 10

Megan Kremer and Dorchester High School alum Charles Parks of Milford are planning a wedding on Sept. 10 at West Blue Church in rural Dorchester/Milford.

Parents of the couple are James and Janelle Kremer of Milford and Dave and Donna Parks of Dorchester. 

As our readers know, Donna is owner and operator of Dorchester's Donna's Hair Creations.

The bride-to-be is a 2010 Milford High School graduate. She graduted from Northwest Missouri State University in 2014. 

Megan currently works as an assistant benefits specialist at INSPRO Insurance.

The groom-elect graduated from Dorchester High School in 2008 and from Southeast Community College in Milford in 2010. 

Chuck currently works as a welder for Tuttle, Inc. in Friend.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Seven Key Ingredients To Successful Small-Town Life

What makes for a vibrant small town? One that has a bright future and involved citizenry?

Today we share with you a simple set of key ingredients for successful small communities across the nation.

This list was sent to us by a contributor to the Times.  

The middle of summer is a good time to reflect on our quality of life in Dorchester, why we live here, how we can preserve the aspects we enjoy, and how best we can fix the aspects that need improvement.    

All of us who call the Dorchester area home should read list this often.

We should constantly keep these simple factors in mind before we complain about any aspect of our corner of the world.

Seven Factors for a Successful Small Community

  • Leadership that matters: Leaders in a community must actively say: “We’re not fine with where we are. Here’s where we’d like to go; let’s figure out the steps that will take us there.”
  • Hopeful vision backed by grit.
  • Deliberate efforts to invite others into leadership roles, including people who might not otherwise participate.
  • Not letting fear be a barrier.
  • Willingness to invest in community.
  • Strong social networks.
  • Keeping in mind those residents who came (and sacrificed) before us, as well as the next generation of residents who will succeed us.

(Hastings, Lindsay. Nebraska Human Resources Institute)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dorchester Gets 1.70" Of Rain; Heavier Rains In Utica

A violent weather system packing strong winds, heavy rain and hail in some locations powered its way into eastern Nebraska early this morning, with the Dorchester area pounded by rain, stiff winds and lightning beginning about 1:30 a.m.

Dorchester received around 1.70" of precipitation, according to the Times official rain gauge.  Only pea-sized hail or smaller was recorded in our immediate area.

No power outages have been reported in the Dorchester area.  However, strong winds brought down some tree limbs onto power lines, leading to 1,700 outages in Douglas County this morning.

Here's a look at area rainfall totals beginning at midnight July 7 as reported by the NE Rain project:

* Utica: 3.04"
* Utica (2.6 mi. east-southeast): 2.53"
* Dorchester: 1.70"
* Friend (3.4 mi. E): 1.31"
* Seward (1.1 mi. NE): 1.12"
* Western (4.4 NNE): 0.81"
* Western (1.2 SE): 0.60"
* Wilber (7.0 WSW): 0.56"
* Wilber (4.1 W): 0.47"
* Tobias (4.7 SSW): 0.32"

Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible again this afternoon and into this evening across the region as a frontal boundary system drops southeast into the area, forecasters said. Quieter weather is expected for Friday and into much of Saturday. Temperatures in the 80s should prevail this weekend.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sights From Dorchester's Independence Day Parade

An estimated 1,300 Dorchester residents and out-of-town guests watched a top-notch parade on July 4.  Organizers called this year's Independence Day parade one of the best in recent years, with more than 50 individual parade participants making their way down main street (Washington Ave.) and school street (9th St.).

While the parade was only one of several events comprising the community's Independence Day celebration, it was undoubtedly one of the day's highlights.  

(UPDATE: For those who missed "The Big Show" -- also known as Dorchester's famous fireworks display -- you can see part of it here.  A Lincoln fireworks expert e-mailed the Times today and told us the Dorchester show was "easily one of the state's best" fireworks displays, "regardless of town size." High praise for Dorchester and its organizers.)

Parade observers were treated to antique tractors and classic cars, as well as floats featuring the members of the Dorchester Methodist Church; baseball teams; Farmers Co-op; polka music; and even Christmas in July.

For those who were unable to attend, as well as those who were there, here is a look back on one of Dorchester's best Fourth of July parades yet. (Photos were taken by "friends" of our Facebook account.  For credits of the photos, and more images, see our account here, or see the Times official page here.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dorchester's July 4 Schedule

We are sharing Dorchester's Independence Day events schedule with all our readers in hopes that many from our area of Nebraska will be able to experience one of the very best small-town July 4th celebrations in Nebraska. 

Dorchester's July 4th all-day celebration is an annual tradition that draws in folks from near and far, including residents from neighboring communities, friends, family and DHS alumni from across the country.  You will find plenty of things to do in Dorchester on Independence Day, without the hurried (and sometimes rude) crowds of Seward or larger communities.

Of course, the highlight of the day comes after dark with the famous fireworks show, which has been delighting crowds for over 20 years.  

(UPDATE: The Dorchester American Legion's Sportsmen/Gun Auction has been postponed until Sept. 11.  City Slicker's will be open from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. on the 4th of July for drinks and off-sale, but no kitchen.)


Dorchester's 4th of July Celebration
2016 Schedule of Events

All Day (July 3 and 4) ............ Co-ed Softball Tourney (@ Nerud Field. Call Jared Jensen at 402.641.1154)

10 a.m.-4 p.m. ....................... City Slickers open for beverages and off-sale (no kitchen).

11 a.m.- 7 p.m. ...................... Sons of American Legion BBQ (@ Legion Building)

11 a.m. ................................. Auxiliary/Jr. Auxiliary Pie and Ice Cream Social/Raffle (@ Legion Building)

1 p.m.-5 p.m. ........................ Visit the Saline County Museum (Open to public.)

1 p.m. ................................. "Show and Shine" @ Museum along Hwy 33. (Tractors, autos, motorcycles. Any year.  Call Matt Smith at 402.826.9303 for more information.)

1:30 p.m.................................Dorchester American Legion Sportsmen Auction (POSTPONED 'TIL SEPT. 11)

2 p.m. .................................. Bingo by Legion Auxiliary (Community Building)

4 p.m. ................................. Kiddy Tractor Pull. South of City Slickers on 7th St. (Sponsored by Farmers Co-Op. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m.  Participants must register.)

7 p.m. ................................. Parade (Line-up begins at 6:30 at Co-Op parking lot near elevator on Depot St. Bring a description of your entry. For more, e-mail

10 p.m. ............................. "The Big Show" -- Fireworks at Nerud Field.  (Alternate date is July 5.)


From June 25-July 4, firework sales will take place at the stand just south of the Dorchester Fire Hall.  All proceeds will support the Dorchester fireworks show on July 4.

Also, there will be a raffle drawing for "The Big Stuff" -- as in some of the big fireworks from the Dorchester fireworks stand.  Raffle tickets will be sold at the stand, and the drawing will be held July 3 at 5 p.m.  Need not be present to win.  "Big stuff" items are being donated due to the generous contributions of: BP Agronomics; Complete Ag; Novak Auction Service; Rut Auction Service; Weber Feedyards; Donna's Hair Creations; City Slickers; Ben's Iron Salvage; Smith's Tractor Salvage.

Dorchester's 4th of July celebration depends on private support. Dorchester area residents and friends of Dorchester are encouraged to send their donations to: 

First State Bank
4th of July Celebration
P.O. Box 264
Dorchester, NE 68343

Friday, July 1, 2016

News Roundup: Family Missing Dog; Post Office Accolades; Legion Open Sunday

Here is what is trending in Dorchester:

Our 'Main Street Improvement Award' Goes To Post Office:  About a year ago, we wrote, "For those who haven't noticed, Dorchester's Post Office Building looks more attractive than it has in a long time, perhaps since the building was erected in the 1960s.  We salute those responsible, including Dorchester's new postmaster.  This is a model hometown of pride and for how buildings along main street should be maintained." Well, more improvements have been done recently.  That is why the post office is being awarded the Dorchester Times "Main Street Improvement Award" for 2016 -- for the attention and dedication to Dorchester's main street appearance.

American Legion Bar Is Open This Sunday:  The Dorchester 4th of July Softball Tournament begins Sunday, July 3.  The good news for all the players is that the Dorchester American Legion bar will be open Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.  On Independence Day, City Slicker's will be open from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. for drinks and off-sale, but no kitchen.  For the Legion BBQ and Legion Auxilary ice cream social, stop by the Legion Hall 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on July 4.  See Dorchester's full July 4 schedule here.

Dorchester Family Is Missing Dog:  We recently spotted a sign in town, asking for help to locate a family's missing chihuahua.  The female dog is white and four years old, and its name is Chivtia.  The dog "comes from a loving family," according to the sign, which was composed by one of the family's children.  Call 620-408-4854 if you see Chivtia the missing chihuahua.

10-Year-Old Dorchester Boy Wants Mowing Job: Too many kids don't have any ambition to work nowadays.  That's why we were encouraged to see a sign in town posted by a 10-year-old named Dylan.  The sign reads: "I will mow your lawn for $10.  I will need to use your mower.  Call 402-418-1032.  I am 10 years old."  If you need your lawn mowed, we suggest you give hardworking Dylan a chance.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

News Round-Up: Greg Tyser, Mystery Woman Get Our 'Good Neighbor' Award

Here's what is trending in Dorchester:

'Good Neighbor' Award Goes To Greg Tyser And Mystery Woman:  Recently seen on social media was a post from Jennifer Kolterman Gaede of Blue Hill, Neb.  Mrs. Kolternman Gaede posted the following: "I want to share a story that helped to restore in me a little bit of faith in mankind.  My son, Gage, and his friend Wyatt were heading back home from Crete on Saturday afternoon. The water pump went out in Gage's Jeep, leaving them on the side of Highway 33 in between Crete and Dorchester.  A very kind woman stopped to see what she could do.  She said she knew a gentleman who owns a repair shop in Dorchester and she had his cell phone number.  She called him and he agreed to head out and see what he could diagnose on the highway. Before leaving them, she asked if they needed food, water or anything else. The boys didn't get her name, but would like to say THANK YOU to our mystery woman, and appreciate what you did for us. So after diagnosing the problem, auto shop owner Greg Tyser took the boys back to Dorchester to the bar, and they waited for my daughter Linsey, who lives in Lincoln, to rescue them. Mr. Tyser went back, towed the jeep back to his shop, and said he would try to fix it so Gage could make it to work Sunday afternoon. He followed through on his promise, and had the Jeep fixed and ready to go by noon -- ON A SUNDAY! Just a great example of small town, good hearted people who are still willing to help those in need. If anyone knows Mr. Tyser or the woman who stopped, give them a hug for me. The world needs more people like you!" 

Dorchester's West Spur Getting Resurfaced: Today, resurfacing started on Dorchester's west spur -- the main connection between the two key arteries that go into Dorchester, Hwy. 33 and Hwy. 6.  The project will likely continue through the week.  Meanwhile, the Nebraska Department of Roads has also started a "chip seal" project on Hwy. 6 near Milford -- and on June 30, a similar project will begin on Hwy. 33 near Crete.  Chip seal is an application of an asphalt binder to a roadway surface followed by an aggregate.  (We think the Dept. of Roads should generously donate any extra materials and manpower to resurface Dorchester's paved streets.  Our wishful thinking.)

Dorchester Legion Auction Moved To Sept. 11:  The Dorchester American Legion has moved its Sportsman/Gun Auction originally set for July 4 to Sunday, Sept. 11.  A social media post from the Legion states: "Please support the Dorchester Legion by consigning your items at this auction. 20% of every sale goes to the Dorchester Legion and 80% goes to the seller. Novak Auction Services is generously donating its services and time, for no profit of its own."  Call one of the following members to describe your item(s) to be on the auction: Roger Glenn (402.946.4181); Tom Cerny (402.381.8049); Jamie Karl (402.418.1021); Kelly Vyhnalek (402.610.5104).

Dorchester Youth Football Camp Set For July 11-12: For Dorchester's future gridiron stars, it is never too early to start brushing up their skills. This is especially important if parents want football to return to DHS and Nerud Field.  On July 11 and 12, DHS football coaches Ryan Voelker and Brent Zoubek will hold the Dorchester Area Youth Football Camp for boys entering grades 3 through 8. The camp will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. both nights at Dorchester's Nerud Field.  Dorchester boys should encourage fellow Dorchester boys to attned. The cost is only $15 per player (make checks payable to Dorchester School). Both payment and entry form are due no later than the day of camp. Participants will receive a Dorchester Longhorns t-shirt.  For more information or to register, contact Brent Zoubek at (402) 418-1019 or Ryan Voelker at 416-8058.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It's Up To You, Dorchester: Housing

NOTE: This post is part of a series entitled, "It's Up To You, Dorchester."  Not long ago, the early authors of this blog believed that improving Dorchester and ensuring a successful future were dependent mostly on the actions of elected leaders.  The truth is that such actions must be initiated by individual residents, with the help of those in the surrounding countryside and others with strong Dorchester ties and/or roots.  We hope you -- the reader -- will be part of the solution.


Two things really define a small town -- the character of its people and the quality of its housing.

With that in mind, here's a statistic that should concern Dorchester residents: Nearly 13% of housing units in the community are unoccupied, according to data collected by Sperling's Best Places. 

Meanwhile, Dorchester's population has slipped below 500 for the first time since the 1970s (when the surrounding farm population was four times bigger), according to recent Census figures.  This is a trend that must be reversed to ensure the well-being of Dorchester's school and future.

While some Dorchester homes are currently vacant due to an elderly owner being placed in long-term care, most vacant properties in our town sit empty and run down because owners have no financial incentive to fill them or repair them.  

Nothing is harder on a town than unoccupied homes -- especially deteriorating, hazardous properties (residential and commercial).

Meanwhile, the majority of Dorchester homeowners are working very hard to improve their properties. (See our story on recent home improvements throughout town.) What's more, home price appreciation in Dorchester is up 5.40% over the last year.  

Dorchester homes are a source of pride for the vast majority of our town's residents. That is why it is unfair when a handful of severely deteriorating properties (such as the home pictured above, at 8th and Jefferson) threaten either the health of residents or the investments of nearby homeowners.

Here are steps we can all take, as individuals, to make Dorchester even better when it comes to housing:

  • Ask Town Representatives To Look At A Blight Tax And Fees On Vacant Properties:  We think all town residents should ask Dorchester Village Board members to consider a blight tax and fee on abandoned properties in town.  (Of course, exceptions would need to be made for properties owned by residents in long-term care and in extreme cases of hardship.) Keep in mind that a recent Times survey of readers found that 64% supported the blight tax concept and another 14% said the village board should at least obtain legal counsel and consider whether such a tax makes sense. But board members need to hear from constituents. We're guessing they would actually appreciate the interest and support.
  • Gather Willing Investors And Get A Plan For New Housing Options:  Individuals are needed to invest in Dorchester's housing, whether as residents or investors. This includes DHS alumni, families with ties to our town, and area farmers -- they can all collaborate and help craft a long-term housing plan for Dorchester, to meet its needs for today and in the future.  Maybe a townhouse or duplex development makes more sense in our small town today? Perhaps apartments? Those looking for expert housing help can get it from the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD), to study best practices, success stories, programs and ideas implemented by towns of our size.  
  • Incentives For School Staff To Make A Home In The Community That Provides Their Salary: The school board could consider providing financial incentives for faculty to reside in town.  This makes sense since every teacher and administrator is paid with district property tax dollars.  While homes are rarely for sale in town, there are plenty of homes that could be renovated if owners had reason to sell.  And lots are currently available to build.  Renting is also a possibility, since renters make up 20.91% of the Dorchester population, according to new Census data.
  • Get Help For Those Homeowners In Dire Need:  Nebraska USDA Rural Development recently announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development's Housing Preservation Grant program.  Additionally, there are programs for those who want to own their own home but don't qualify for a traditional mortgage.  As individuals, we can point deserving families and others towards the path of assistance.  For those who truly need financial assistance with home repairs, call USDA's Nebraska office at 402-437-5563.
Some will say this is too simplistic.  To them we can only ask: How's the current approach working? Better yet, share your ideas in the comments section.  You may do so anonymously.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

News Round-Up: Hoffman Leads Neb. Jr. Legion Auxiliary; Foundation Plans Golf Event

It is a busy week in Dorchester as the buildup begins towards the July 4 celebration.  Here's what's trending in Dorchester:

Dorchester's Hoffman Is President Of Nebraska's Jr. Legion Auxiliary:  Dorchester continues to produce impressive upcoming female leaders. Dorchester's Daisha Rae Hoffman has been elected to serve as president of Nebraska's American Legion Auxiliary Honorary Junior Department.  The group convened last week in Kearney.  In April, Dorchester's Carly Rains and Allison Wiles were elected as officers for the District 11 Jr. Legion Auxiliary. Clarissa Bors of Dorchester, a 2016 DHS graduate, has just concluded her term as the national American Legion Junior Auxiliary historian. In 2013-2014, Bors was the Nebraska president of the Jr. Legion Auxiliary.

Community Foundation Plans Aug. 21 Golf Fundraiser:  The Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is planning a Golf Tournament fundraiser for Aug. 21, 2016, at the College Heights Country Club in Crete.  The Foundation is seeking sponsors who would like to donate prizes for each of the nine holes. If you are interested in donating or sponsoring a hole, please contact Linda Easley at (402) 641-0564.  Meanwhile, the Times has learned via an e-mail that the Foundation successfully raised its needed funding for the new cemetery directory in just over four months.  Impressive work by this group and the folks from all over the country who financially support it.

Joyce Karl Retiring From DPS; New Superintendent Begins Next Week:  An e-mail to the Times confirms that longtime Dorchester School secretary Joyce Karl, a 1969 DHS alum, is retiring from DPS after 34 years in the front office.  A retirement celebration was held at City Slickers last month.  We're also told this is the final week for DPS Superintendent Mitch Kubicek, who is taking a job at Milford Public School after eight years at Dorchester. Incoming Superintendent Daryl Schrunk will begin his duties next week, we are told.  He most recently served at the Columbus Lakeview Community School district and has 13 years of experience as a Nebraska school administrator.

Precipitation Possible This Week:  Dorchester and much of the rest of southeast Nebraska could used some moisture.  It looks like our area has a good shot at getting some, with meteorologists at AccuWeather placing the chances as high as 60% tonight through Tuesday, and somewhere between 25% and 40% through Thursday.  See the latest Dorchester forecast here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fireworks Now On Sale In Dorchester

If you have heard the booms in your neighborhood, this isn't news.

Firework sales started today (Saturday) in Dorchester.  

The village's one and only fireworks stand is just south of the Dorchester Fire Hall.  All proceeds from every firecracker sold will support the Dorchester's big fireworks show on July 4.

Hours are:

5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through July 1.

1 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 2 and July 3.

10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 4.

Also, there will be a raffle drawing for "The Big Stuff" -- as in some of largest, most impressive fireworks from the fireworks stand.  Raffle tickets will be sold at the stand, and the drawing will be held July 3 at 5 p.m.  Need not be present to win.  

"Big stuff" items are being donated due to the generous contributions of: BP Agronomics; Complete Ag; Novak Auction Service; Rut Auction Service; Weber Feedyards; Donna's Hair Creations; City Slickers; Ben's Iron Salvage; Smith's Tractor Salvage.

Dorchester's 4th of July celebration depends on private support. Dorchester area residents and friends of Dorchester are encouraged to send their donations to: 

First State Bank
4th of July Celebration
P.O. Box 264
Dorchester, NE 68343

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Happy 135th Birthday, Dorchester!

Today marks the 135th anniversary of Dorchester's incorporation as a village. Happy Birthday, Dorchester!


As Dorchester's population grew to nearly 300 by the early 1880s, it became necessary to establish a formal system of government. 

On June 23, 1881, a petition was presented to and granted by the Saline County commissioners for the incorporation of the village.

The following residents were appointed by the commissioners as village trustees: D.G. Panter, John Oberlies, N.B. Alley, Thomas Jarrett and W.H. Pallett. 

C.F. Thomas, J.H. Clark and M.O. Alley were named village clerk, treasurer and marshal, respectively.

On July 6, 1881, the first meeting of the Dorchester Village Board was held.  At this meeting, the trustees designated that the first Monday of each month would be the regular meeting time for the board, which is still adhered to today, 135 years later.

Four other ordinances were approved at this first meeting of the Dorchester village board.  

They were:
  • Ordinance 1:  Regulating the sales of intoxicating liquors in the village;
  • Ordinance 2:  Imposing a license tax on dogs in the village;
  • Ordinance 3:  Levying a five mills to the dollar valuation taxes for the year 1881; and
  • Ordinance 4:  Providing for the grading and guttering of streets and alleys, as well as construction of wooden sidewalks.
These ordinances showed the concerns of a new community that was trying to improve conditions and encourage growth of our village.

Just a little history lesson on Dorchester's 135th birthday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ken Nohavec's 75th Birthday Party Is This Friday

At this time in 1941, Franklin D Roosevelt was president as the nation debated whether or not to enter the second world war.

Congress had passed the Lend-Lease Act, giving president the power to sell, lend, and lease war supplies to other nations. 

The U.S. population was 133,402,471.

Federal debt had ballooned to $57.5 billion under FDR's New Deal.

U.S. unemployment was 10%.

The cost of a first-class stamp was $0.03.

And Dorchester-area farmer Ken Nohavec was making his grand entrance into the world. 

Ken turns 75 on June 23.  To celebrate, his family is throwing a birthday bash at the Dorchester Legion hall this Friday, June 24.

In Ken's honor, an open house and social will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A wild and crazy polka dance -- with the Polka Dudes -- will start at 6 p.m., going strong until 10 p.m. 

Birthday cards may be sent to 747 County Road 1800, Crete, NE 68333.