Friday, November 30, 2007

Bruha, Boller Receive All-State Honors

Our congratulations to Dorchester Longhorns' quarterback Brandon Bruha, who has been named to the Lincoln Journal Star's All-State football honorable mention list.

Bruha is listed as the 13th best in passing efficiency in all of Nebraska high school football during the 2007 season. The junior threw 98 completions in 199 attempts, compiling 1,024 passing yards and 10 touchdown tosses.

We also congratulate DHS volleyball standout Wendy Boller. Boller, a junior, was also named to the Journal Star's honorable mention list. No statistics on Boller were available online.

Meanwhile, the DHS basketball season tips off tonight in Exeter as the Longhorns battle the Timberwolves of Exeter-Milligan. The boys team has a slim but reasonably experienced roster headed by Bruha. The Lady Longhorns, under second-year coach Steve Fusco, have a young team with only one senior returning.
** UPDATE: 12/06, 8:30 a.m. **
On Dec. 6, Brandon Bruha was also named to the Associated Press' honorable mention All-State Football Team for Class D-1. Congratulations!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hats Off: Dorchester High School Wrestling Team

The Dorchester Times sends a belated thanks to the 2007-2008 Dorchester High School wrestling team for their help in improving the appearance of our community.

This fall, the DHS wrestling team volunteered their time to paint the new Dorchester City Park shelter. The team, including coach Brian Redinger, spent hours painting the facility and did a great job.

We send the team our appreciation and our best wishes for the upcoming season, which begins Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Friend Invite, a one-day tourney.

Pictured are (back row): Brent Kasl, Jordan Inderlied, Lucas Apfelbeck, Chuck Parks, Russ Barak, Josh Inderlied, coach Brian Redinger; (front row) :Chris Gosselin, Adam Kahle, Jake Hedden, Jared Jensen, Jeremy Inderlied.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

4,000 Gallons Of Anhydrous Ammonia Spilled South Of Dorchester

The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that about 4,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia was spilled Saturday in Saline County, well south of Dorchester. The article states that officials believe someone intentionally opened the valves on four tanks north of Swanton, according to Saline County Emergency Manager B.J. Fictum. Two of the transportable tanks, the kind that would be pulled behind fertilizer applicators, were a quarter mile from the other two.

Anhydrous ammonia is stored as a liquid under pressure. When released to the environment, it becomes a toxic gas. Anhydrous ammonia is also a key ingredient in the illegal production of methamphetamines (meth).

“We believe it was criminal mischief,” Fictum said. “Fortunately, there were no residents in the path of the plume." Ammonia could be smelled three miles away and a cloud of fumes was visible near the site. “It’s a good time to warn people, if you smell ammonia and you see something that looks like a fog, don’t drive into it,” he said, because fumes could cause a car to shut down, and could injure passengers. The spill was large enough to be classified as a hazardous materials incident, Fictum said.

The tanks were owned by the Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 345-3361 or the Saline County Sheriff’s office at (402) 821-2111. Also, we encourage farmers and retailers to read the many online sources that outline ways to secure anhydrous ammonia tanks.

Considerable Progress Being Made On School Project

Progress continues on the Dorchester School expansion and renovation project approved by voters on Sept. 11 this year.

On Monday, Nov. 26, the first steps were taken in constructing the walls of the new classrooms that will comprise the western portion of the newly renovated Dorchester Public Schools campus.

The accompanying photos of the first "pour" of the west classroom walls were provided courtesy of the school.

According to information received by the Times, the last pour is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 19.

A large construction crane is slated to come to the work site soon after Christmas.

At that time, the walls will be erected and workers will beginning framing the roof, removing casting beds, pouring floors and starting interior work.

Construction on the western portion of the project will be continue into the spring, as the gymnasium side of the school campus will be completely enclosed. Demolition of the 1927 building will go ahead as planned sometime in May of 2008. It is not yet known whether there will be any special events to commemorate the 80 years of education provided in the 1927 school building.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Stroll Around Town: Christmas Lights

The holiday spirit is alive and well in the village! Take a stroll around Dorchester and you will already find some creative Christmas decorations.

It is encouraging to see so many residents are taking time to to display their holiday cheer, despite the fact that Dorchester experienced 78-degree temperatures only last week.

From one end of town to the other, friends, neighbors and passersby will have plenty of visual treats this Christmas season. Below are a few of our favorite Christmas displays that can currently be seen in Dorchester. (Note: Readers may click on each photo for a more detailed look.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dorchester Couple Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Nov. 18 Lincoln Journal Star's "Celebrate!" section noted the 40th wedding anniversary of Dorchester residents Larry and Bev Gish.

Larrry was a longtime teacher and coach at Dorchester Public Schools.

The special event was noted by the Gish's grandson, Creighton Gish of Lincoln.

A photo of Larry and Bev was featured, along with a note stating: "Grandpa and Grandma, congratulations on your 40th anniversary. I love you! Your grandson, Creighton."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vandalism In Crete Connected To Stolen Dorchester Car

The Lincoln Journal Star has reported that the Crete police and the Saline County Sheriff's Department are investigating vandalism that occurred at Tuxedo Park in Crete last weekend. A car reportedly stolen in Dorchester a few days earlier was found Saturday in the park. Hensel said the car had been used to vandalize fences, buildings and trees. Damage was estimated at a few thousand dollars.

Crete authorities are also investigating the theft of thousands of dollars worth of stereo equipment from cars at Doane College and Crete High School Saturday night. Crete Chief Steve Hensel said one vehicle was broken into at the college and three others at the high school.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wanted: Dorchester's Person Of The Year Nominations

The Dorchester area has plenty of movers and shakers. Now it's time to call them out.

From business owners to school teachers, elected officials to organization leaders, our town and area community are comprised of many people who deserve recognition for their work to improve their neighbors' quality of life.

As this year's hourglass begins to wind down, the Times wants to know which Dorchester area resident has contributed the most to his or her fellow citizens in 2007? In other words, who should be named Dorchester's Person of the Year?

We want your nominations. Tell us who gets your vote for Dorchester Person of the Year -- and why he or she is deserving of the accolade. Nominations may be submitted at the comments section of this story or sent to us via e-mail at

The Times will officially name its Dorchester Person of the Year on Dec. 26.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Former DHS Shop Instructor Gene Sloan Passes Away

Former Dorchester teacher Eugene Sloan has passed away. Sloan, 80, was a longtime industrial arts instructor at DHS until 1989, when he retired from teaching. Sloan had lived in Fremont since 1994.

According to the Fremont Tribune, funeral services were today at the Church of the Nazarene in Fremont. Sloan died Monday at Fremont Area Medical Center. He was born Aug. 21, 1927, in Hastings and was raised in the Kearney and Lexington area. He served six years in the Army and Air Force.

Following his military service, he completed his General Education Development certificate (GED), then in 1960, received his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts from Kearney State College. He taught in Cody, Arthur, Lynch and Gibbon, and retired from the Dorchester Public School system. While living in Fremont, he did substitute teaching in Cedar Bluffs. Survivors include: his wife, Katie; a daughter, Katy Coleen Stenger (and husband, Marvin) of Colon; three grandsons; and three sisters. Burial was at Ridge Cemetery in Fremont. Memorials to Church of the Nazarene.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Crete Player Ineligible For 2007-08 Season

As a follow-up to a previous Times' story, the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) ruled late Wednesday that former Crete basketball standout Marissa Kastanek must sit at least three months before she can play varsity competition for Lincoln Southeast High School, where Kastanek transferred late last month. The Times' post has spurred a flurry of comments from readers.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports the NSSA Board of Control ruled Wednesday that Kastanek must sit out "90 school days" before she is eligible for varsity competition.

The article continues: "The 90-day waiting period means the former Crete all-state junior guard will miss the 2007-08 basketball season, unless she plays on the Southeast JV team. Kastanek transferred to Southeast on Oct. 29. Her family moved into an apartment in the Southeast district, but still owns a farm just outside of Crete." The 5-foot-9 Kastanek committed earlier this fall to North Carolina State, and last season helped lead Crete to a 25-1 record and a Class B state runner-up finish.

As a side note, we will mention that Times' reader "Bob" made mention of this NSAA rule early in the comments on our original post.

More Than 67% Of Readers Want To Vote On Paving

According to an online poll conducted by the Dorchester Times, more than two-thirds of readers want to vote whether the village should pave the remainder of its streets. Approximately 70 percent of Dorchester streets are presently graveled.

The Times poll -- conducted Nov. 1-14 -- showed that 67.2 percent wanted to see the paving issue on the town ballot. Another 32.8 said they would prefer the issue not make its way to the polls. The poll surveyed 131 readers.

The Times has covered the paving discussion at length. Back in May, one of our reader uncovered two news articles from the summer of 1979, when the Lincoln Star covered Dorchester's paving debate.

Both articles are still available via our Web site. (Click here for article 1 and here for article 2.)

To date, the Dorchester Times has not taken a stance either for or against any town paving project. However, we continue to encourage Times readers to share their thoughts on this site, as well as with village board members.

Monday, November 12, 2007

News Briefs: School Expects Savings On Renovation

School News: It appears the Dorchester School renovation and expansion will cost less than originally estimated. According to the minutes from the Oct. 29 special meeting of the Dorchester School Board, lower interest rates will bring school district patrons a savings of about $132,000 on interest paid to bond holders who are financing the construction. The 20-year bonds, which will be issued this month, will hold an interest rate of 3.5% to 4.5% -- slightly lower than the 3.9% to 4.75% rates projected last June. The reduction in interest payments will be reflected on future levies, according to the minutes submitted by school board secretary Ron Kahle.

Village Board News: Village board members have approved a 35 cents-per-hour wage hike for city employees. At the October village board meeting, Dorchester Village Board members voted unanimously to enact the pay increase, which will go into effect immediately for four city employees. In other action, the board minutes reiterated that no open burning is allowed in town, and that leaves can be taken to the burn pile north of town. The board also approved a laundry list of city expenses and financial transactions, including the following:

  • Dorchester Library, Transfer .......................................... $2,277.31
  • Park Improvement Fund, Transfer ................................. $2,000.00
  • Shop Building Fund, Transfer ........................................ $5,000.00
  • Beatrice Concrete for Gravel .......................................... $2,114.15
  • JEO for Sewer Study ..................................................... $1,200.00
  • Micek & Crouch P.C. for Budget .................................. $3394.00
  • Village Emploees for Wages .......................................... $5,701.69
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield for Insurance Coverage ............ $3,701.60
  • Business World Products for Supplies ......................... $772.98
  • Davidson Ins. Agency for Life Ins. for DVFD ............. $858.00
  • Davidson Ins. for Disability Ins. for DVFD ................. $2591.00

Friday, November 9, 2007

Looking Back: Dorchester's Early Churches

Today we look back some of the strongest pillars of Dorchester's early years -- its churches. According to the Dorchester Centennial history book, religion played a vital role in the lives of the people who settled Nebraska.

In the early 1870s, a small group of German immigrants who settled northeast of Dorchester formed the first organized church, an Evangelical congregation. Soon after, other rural churches appeared in the Dorchester area countryside, including churches of Methodist, Christian and Congregational denominations.

In the fall of 1872, Rev. W.D. Gage moved to Dorchester from Nebraska City. He conducted services in the old frame school house, which was the only public building in town. Meanwhile, in the West Blue Area northeast of town, a growing Evangelical congregation attended services in a log home until 1875, when a small church was erected for $450. Dorchester's first church building came in 1879, with the construction of the Congregational Church that stood one block north and one block west of the present post office.

In 1880, the Methodist Church building came to Dorchester after town residents went to Pleasant Hill and tore down the structure and hauled it back by wagon. The Dorchester Methodist minister at that time, Rev. John Armstrong, was "a spirited man" according to accounts and did not mind controversy. In fact, he was also an attorney whose clients included two saloon keepers in Dorchester, considered by some to be a "city of rum."

As Dorchester's population increased in the 1880s, more rural churches appeared in the area, including two churches southwest of town (both United Brethren) and one northwest of town (Evangelical). Another denomination mentioned in the Dorchester Star was the "Dunkards," who apparently had no permanent house of worship. The Dunkards baptised converts in Turkey Creek. Also, in 1884, a Baptist group was formed and they went on to build the First Baptist Church of Dorchester (pictured at right).

By the turn of the century, local churches were becoming stronger due to more population stability and financial prosperity. In 1904, a new Methodist Church was built (pictured above left); the building would serve the needs of the community until the turn of the next century, when the current Dorchester Methodist Church was built. Also in 1904, a new parsonage was erected for the West Blue Church northeast of town (pictured at top). In 1908, the Christian congregation also built a new church in town (pictured at lower left). It included a tank behind the alter, since the Christian faith practiced total immersion for baptism. Previously, baptism had been held at Turkey Creek or the Blue River. By the 1910s, the rural churches found it difficult to keep their doors open, as people were no longer isolated within their own small rural neighborhoods, thanks to automobiles and better roads.

Looking back at our area's earliest years, it becomes clear that many of the first settlers had few possessions, but carried a devout faith in God. Not only did that shared faith offer comfort and hope, but it also united them. More than 130 years later, the same can hold true for Dorchester residents.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

DACA Seeking Sponsors For Christmas Gift Giving

The Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA) is again teaming with Blue Valley Community Action's holiday gift giving program.

For the past several years, DACA has created a brighter holiday season for less fortunate children and families in our area. Through the gift giving program, local citizens and groups adopt needy local residents and spread the warmth of giving during the holidays. DACA members have worked with the Blue Valley Community Action group in Crete on identifying needy participants. Recipients and donors remain anonymous.

Recipients' qualifications depend on income, job loss, unforeseen illness or disaster, etc. According to DACA leaders, Blue Valley Community Action does a great job identifying those in need. Last year, donors participating in the Blue Valley program supplied gifts to approximately 400 children in Saline County.

If you are interested in participating in the program and helping a local family this Christmas, contact or e-mail Dale Hayek at 402-641-4075 or by Tuesday, Nov. 13 -- the date of the next monthly DACA meeting. The collection location for the gifts will be the Farmers Cooperative office in Dorchester.

Monday, November 5, 2007

News Briefs: School Construction Continues

Here are updates on a couple of developing news stories.

  • Work on the Dorchester School renovation project continues, as the new foundation is being laid on the expanded west side of the campus. Construction on the western portion of the project will be continue 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 as planned in mid-to-late May of 2008.

  • Unfortunately, a "For Sale By Owner" sign remains on the door of the Dorchester Grocery. There is no official word yet on whether a prospective buyer have come forward and shown interest. In a recent Lincoln Journal Star article, the director of the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association said the number of independently owned grocery stores in Nebraska has dropped from 1,200 to about 600 over the past 15 years. In the article, Doug Cunningham, director of the Hometown Merchants Association of Nebraska, emphasized that small businesses need each other and that a community’s school, bank and grocery store are particularly important. “If you don’t have a minimum of those things, it’s pretty hard to compete with other communities to bring economic development into your community,” Cunningham said. We at the Times could not agree more.