Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Salute To An Old Ballplayer: Miles Nerud

The Times has learned of the passing of one of Dorchester's favorite sons and local baseball hero, Miles J. Nerud.

Nerud, 91, passed away at 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Friend. Born April 2, 1916 to John and Anna Nerud, survivors include nieces, nephews and friends -- including special friends and neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Sehnert.

Nerud brought organized little league baseball to Dorchester in the 1950's. He served as one of the founding fathers of the Seward-Fillmore-Saline (SFS) League in 1957. Despite some changes from the original town teams, the SFS League remains strong today, half a century later.

Prior to Nerud's work with Little League ball, he organized the first Dorchester Legion baseball team in the late 1940s.

According to the Dorchester Centennial history book, Dorchester was known as a baseball town as early as 1905. Miles Nerud played a vital role in securing that reputation. He helped to grow the town's love for the game and produced some of the finest ball players in the region. From an early age, Nerud recognized that baseball was more than a game for our area community, but a social network that brought families together regardless of age, ethniciy or social standing. Around these parts, he will always be remembered as Mr. Baseball -- by players past and present. And we will be reminded of his contributions whenever we see a game played on Dorchester's Nerud Field, named in his honor.

Nerud was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Viola, as well as one brother and two sisters. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2, at the Dorchester United Methodist Church. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at church. Interment is at Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials in lieu of flowers to the Dorchester Methodist Church.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crete Student's Move Raises Eyebrows, Questions

The Dorchester Times rarely ventures outside of its own coverage area. However, we couldn't help but make note of the news that Crete junior all-state guard Marissa Kastanek confirmed Friday that she’s planning to transfer to Lincoln Southeast.

This story has fueled fervent reader comments on the Lincoln Journal Star's sports blog.

According to the Journal-Star, Kastanek said she’s making the move for personal reasons but would not elaborate. The 5-foot-9 Kastanek, a Division I college recruit who committed earlier this fall to North Carolina State, led Crete to a 25-1 record and a Class B state runner-up finish last March. The second-team Super-Stater, a point and shooting guard, averaged 18.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, five steals and 4.5 assists per game as a sophomore.

We are interested in what Times readers have to say about this development. Does this mean athletics are taking too much priority in the educational realm? Or does this move present opportunities for smaller schools like Dorchester to attract athletes from nearby communities?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pondering Dorchester's Haunts on Halloween

On this Halloween week, the Times takes another look at Dorchester area locations that are rumored to be haunted.

A couple of months ago, we told readers about a Web site called According to the site -- which bills itself as "the ultimate collection of the strange" -- the Dorchester area has two "officially haunted" sites: Gilbert's Cemetery and the Dorchester School boiler room. No other Saline County locations are listed as "haunted".

Regarding the school's boiler room, the Web site says that many decades ago, a child "locked himself in the boiler room and died." According to the site, school janitors today sometimes hear yells coming from the boiler room during the night -- and "when they go down into the boiler room, they don't find anyone."

On Gilbert's graveyard, the Web site says the cemetery is haunted by the Gilbert family and other pioneers of the late 1800s. "Strange noises and the movement of the tombstone are just the tip of this site," the site reports. Of course, Gilbert himself is not buried at the cemetery. His ashes are at Friend's Library.

For readers who do not know, John Gilbert was the son of Jonas Gilbert, one of Saline County's first commissioners. John Gilbert "never belonged to any church ... and called himself an agnostic," according to the Dorchester Centennial history book. In the late 1800s, Dr. Frank Hamilton of Friend once asked Gilbert to embrace Christianity. That is when Gilbert allegedly "went into a seizure for about two minutes, his muscles jerked, his eyes became bloodshot, his face became congested and red, his mouth became dry, and he kept wiping his lips with his tongue. During the attack, he venomously cursed God." Gilbert later donated money to build a library in Friend, on the condition that his anti-God books would be on the shelves.

You can explore for yourself. In August, several comments were left by Times readers. Undoubtedly, Times readers will continue to have their own opinions regarding this odd stop on the World Wide Web.

Let us know what you think about the "haunted places" listed by Or let other Times readers know about scary places in the Dorchester area that the Web site may have overlooked. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Business Spotlight: Rut Auction Service

Today, we spotlight one of the area's longest standing businesses, Rut Auction Service, Inc.

William E. Rut, who has been in auctioneering for more than 43 years, heads Rut Auction Service and serves as the both auctioneer and salesman. His daughter Jackie also is an auctioneer with the operation, while Bill's wife Aris is office manager. Recently, Anita Meyer linked her services with Rut Auction Service to expand the business' real estate arm, Home & Country, LLC. (Editor's note: For those looking for good homes in Dorchester, note the Dec. 15 auction in town.)

Bill Rut is no stranger to the Dorchester and Saline County area. In 1978, he started managing the Crete Livestock Market, which he purchased in 1981. In 1990, Rut was named president of Nebraska Auctioneers Association, and was honored as Nebraska Champion Auctioneer two years later. He was Nebraska Auctioneer of the Year in 1996.

Rut Auction Service offers many services including personal property, antiques, livestock and farm auctions, real estate sales and listings, real estate appraisals and crop insurance. Sales at the Crete Livestock Market are every Monday at the following times: Hay 11:45 a.m.; Hogs 12:30 p.m.; Cattle 12:30 p.m. Bill Rut can be contacted by e-mailing For real estate inquiries, e-mail

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Construction Boom Underway In Dorchester

It's beginning to look a lot like a construction boom in the village. Even businesses on Main Street are seeing additions and upgrades. (*Editors' note: Business owners may send photos and updates on their improvements to

Most notably, work on the Dorchester School renovation project has begun. Approved by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent last month by district patrons, the new high school and elementary facilities are slated to be open by the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, according to Superintendent Don Peiper.

Construction on the western portion of the project will be ongoing through the rest of this year and into the spring, as the gymnasium side of the school campus will be totally enclosed. Demolition of the 1927 building will go ahead in mid-to-late May of next year. The new construction -- including new high school classrooms, multi-purpose rooms and administration offices -- will total 33,500 square feet.

In addition to new elementary, junior high and high school additions, other improvements will include a new multipurpose/liberal arts room that can serve as a gym, as well as a new wrestling room and administrative offices.

Another new construction site includes the new Dorchester City Park shelter -- the first new construction project initiated by the Dorchester Area Community Foundation (DACF). The project appears to be nearing its completion. Many area residents, former residents and DHS alumni have contributed to this project, which totals around $39,000.

The shelter features a concrete floor and gable roof, with lighting and electrical sockets. Donations are still needed for extras such as landscaping. Those wishing to help should send donations to DACF, P.O. Box 115, Dorchester, NE 68343. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact Peg Bergmeyer at or 946-2471.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Stroll Around Town: Fall Decorations

Take a stroll around Dorchester and you will find some creative fall decorations and Halloween displays. We are pleased to see so many residents took time to to demonstrate their festive spirit. This year's trick-or-treaters will have plenty of treats as they roam from house to house, regardless of what is placed in their bags.

Below are a few of our favorite autumn displays that can currently be seen in Dorchester.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

DHS Faces Critical Test Tomorrow

As Nebraska high school football enters its final week of the regular season, the Longhorns face a must-win situation as they play host to district rival Pawnee City at Nerud Field tomorrow evening.

The Longhorns are coming off a 26-6 loss to Freeman last week and now stand at 3-4 this season. DHS is in need of a victory against Pawnee City (1-6) if they are to have a chance to qualify for the state playoffs.

High school teams must finish in the top 32 of their class point standings to qualify for the state playoffs. Dorchester is currently rated No. 37 in the Class D-1, according to the Nebraska School Activities Association.

While the Times predicts that DHS will beat Pawnee City, a DHS victory on Friday night may not be enough to secure a playoff birth. Due to Pawnee City's low point ranking at No. 43, the Longhorns will likely need several top 30 teams fall Friday night, in addition to securing their own victory at Nerud Field. In other sports news, the Lady Longhorns have maintained a .500 winning percentage for the month of October. Recent wins over McCool Junction and Rising City have DHS sitting on a 7-17 record this season. Dorchester next plays against Parkview Christian on Oct. 23.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Plan To Help Nov. 17 With Roadside Pick-Up

The “Great Nebraska Trash-Off” is in its 17th year of existence. The Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA) is doing its part by picking up litter along a two-mile stretch of Highway 33 west of Dorchester on Saturday Nov. 17.

According to DACA president Carol Olson, pizza will be provided for all volunteers. Anyone who is available to help with the Nov. 17 volunteer event is asked to meet in front of the Dorchester Community Building at 10 a.m.

Volunteers should bring gloves and wear old shoes and clothing. Upon completion, all helpers are invited to stop by the new park shelter for a lunch of pizza and drinks. This event will be held in conjunction with the Department of Roads' Adopt-a-Highway program. More than 6,000 volunteers across Nebraska are expected to participate in this marathon of picking up roadside litter.

If you are unable to help, please at least teach your children and grandchildren to keep Nebraska beautiful by disposing of litter properly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

DACA Meets Oct. 9, Discusses Times' Offer

The Dorchester Area Community Association held its monthly meeting Oct. 8 at the Dorchester Community Hall. Among the key topics discussed by DACA members was an offer made by the staff of the Dorchester Times to donate the Times' Web site to DACA for use as an online bulletin board for the community.

(Editor's note: Earlier this month, we at the Times wrote DACA president Carol Olson to report to her that the Times staff was considering ceasing publication of the Times. The primary reason for this consideration was the busy schedules of our staff members and their families, as well as the difficulty in producing new news reports.)

According to Olson, the seven members at last night's DACA meeting discussed the Dorchester Times' offer to turn over the Web site's maintenance to the organization. Olson said the discussion of the Times' offer "drew the strongest reaction of anything discussed in quite some time."

"All commented on the Times being the ‘best thing that has happened to Dorchester in a long time,'” Olson said. She stated that none of the attending members of DACA had enough knowledge of the blogger program to comfortably maintain the Times' Web site. However, the organization's members agreed to contribute stories from various organizations, clubs and other interests, such as Dorchester Public School, DACA, DACF, the City Office, Legion, Legion Auxiliary, Dorchester Methodist Church, Dorchester Fire Dept., FBLA, 4H, and others.

The Times has agreed to this arrangement and will continue to publish stories on a regular basis.

Also discussed at the DACA meeting was the "Morning with Santa" event; Crete Cares project; Dorchester Area Roadside Trash pick-up; and the Blue River Family Resource Holiday Giving project.

The Times looks forward to publishing stories written by our contributing reporters, as well as continuing to run stories by our own staff members.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Spanyers, School Featured In Crete News

The Oct. 3 edition of The Crete News features two Dorchester-related stories. We felt both are worth mentioning to Times' readers who may have not yet read them.

Article one spotlights Dorchester area resident and Saline county treasurer Deb Spanyers and her remarkable efforts to overcome the effects of the West Nile Virus and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The front-page story recounts Spanyers' rehabilitation efforts, including being honored recently at the 13th Annual Chairman's Goal Awards luncheon at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln.

Spanyers contracted West Nile after being bit by an infected mosquito in August 2005. Early in her rehabilitation, "holding her head up, dressing, and even eating became the hardest things" for Spanyers, according to the article.

Despite physical and emotional struggles, Spanyers returned as county treasurer in March 2006. Today, she now drives herself to her physical therapy sessions and gets her wheelchair into the car by herself. She credits her daughters, Morgan and Erica, for pulling her "out of the low spots." Spanyers won re-election last November. For more on Spanyers' story, click here.

Another Crete News story, this one on page 3, updates readers on the Dorchester School renovation which was approved 61%-39% last month by school district patrons. Superintendent Don Peiper "guaranteed the new high school and elementary facilities under (construction) ... will be open for the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year," according to the story.

Construction on the western portion of the project will start yet this fall -- possibly within the next two or three weeks, Pieper said. By early spring 2008, the west side "should be totally enclosed." Demolition of the 1927 building will then go ahead. The new construction -- including new high school classrooms, multi-purpose rooms and administration offices -- will total 33,500 square feet.

Friday, October 5, 2007

DHS Takes On Class D-1 No. 4 Point Leader Tonight

In the sixth week of high school football action, the 2-3 Longhorns tonight square off against 4-1 Johnson-Brock in a 7 p.m. road game.

In its pre-season predictions, the Times predicted a close game between the two teams, with Johnson-Brock emerging 24-21. However, we believe the Longhorns can come away victorious if they bring their "A" game to Nemaha County.

The Longhorns dropped last week's game 16-30 to Diller-Odell. Dorchester is currently ranked 46th in the Class D-1 rankings. Johnson-Brock is ranked fourth. Teams must finish in the top 32 at the regular season's end to qualify for the state playoffs.

** UPDATE: 10/05, 10:45 p.m. **

In a huge Class D-1 upset, the Longhorns pulled off a stunning, one-point victory over Johnson-Brock, 15-14. Johnson-Brock's point ranking will provide the Longhorns a considerable boost in their hopes for a playoff birth. It should also be noted that Johnson-Brock was a contender in this week's Lincoln Journal-Star rankings. The Times sends it's congratulations to the DHS players and coaches -- and we send our sincere apologies for ever doubting the Horns.

In other action, the Lady Longhorns opened October in fine fashion, topping Rising City and Parkview Christian. The Horns lost last night to Exeter-Milligan.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Co-op Is Featured in World-Herald Headline Story

As the season's corn harvest gets underway, Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative is featured in today's headline story of the Omaha World-Herald.

The World-Herald states that grain companies are working to reduce on-ground storage and potential deterioration as U.S. farmers are on track toward a record crop of 13.3 million bushels -- 26% more corn than last year.

Ron Velder, DHS graduate and Farmers Cooperative general manager, told the Omaha paper: "There is definitely more grain than there is (storage) space."

This year's expected 13.3 billion bushels of corn would make last year's 10.5 billion bushels seem small in comparison. Crop analysts say yields are through the roof, as growers in Southern states have reported getting 240 bushels an acre -- a number unheard of in that region of the country. "Those cotton boys down there ... are going to reap the benefits of switching to corn this year," a crop consultant said.

The good corn prices and record harvest is good news for the Dorchester area economy. Nonetheless, that doesn't mitigate the challenges presented to our area co-op workers this time of year.

"Corn in exposed piles can maintain its quality for a few months, if moisture isn't excessive. But canvas-covered, side-walled structures can keep corn for more than a year. How much corn ends up exposed on the ground depends on the timeliness of rail cars for exports, said Velder of Farmers Cooperative. "If you don't have a plan to pick it up," Velder said, "you probably shouldn't put it there in the first place." Farmers Cooperative is a full service cooperative with products and services offered in Energy, Grain, Feed, Agronomy, and TBA departments. The corporate office is in Dorchester, and facilities are located in 35 other communities.