Monday, December 31, 2007

Residents Take Part In Dorchester Caroling

The "Nurture Outreach Witness Committee" of the Dorchester United Methodist Church organized Christmas caroling a few days before the holiday. Our thanks to Carol Olson for sending us the accompanying picture of the Dorchester carolers. (Click on photo for larger view.)

Seventeen children and adults combined their voices for an hour of singing. The committee sends its thanks to Phil and Bernice Weber for the use of their flatbed trailer and to Georgie Kasl for adding the straw bales and for pulling the trailer.

According to Olson, better weather couldn't have been ordered as the temperature was above 30 degrees with no wind.

"Hopefully the people who were randomly serenaded enjoyed the little touch of holiday cheer," Olson said.

Hot cocoa and a variety of cookies left by the United Methodist Women were enjoyed after the carolers returned to the church.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dorchester Residents Thanked For Contributions To Holiday Food Program

Eight Dorchester area residents are being recognized for their volunteer work with the Crete Cares program.

Last Saturday, Dec. 15 -- despite the cold, wet conditions -- Don Eret, Sandy Rains, Doug Feeken, Dorchester United Methodist Church Pastor Baptista, Wayne and Velma Hansen, and Steve and Vicky Parks delivered food boxes to Dorchester families on hard times, as well as fruit baskets to honor area senior citizens for their longtime contributions to the community and county.

A special thanks was sent to John Bruha and his staff at the Dorchester Grocery for packing the boxes and baskets. Also, Crete Cares thanks the Dorchester residents and organizations who donated financially to Crete Cares, as well as Farmland for donating hams, and the Crete Area Ministerial Association for including Dorchester in this very worthwhile cause.

Contributions to Crete Cares can still be sent to: Crete Cares, P.O. Box 343, Crete, NE 68333.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Carol Olson Is Our 'Citizen Of The Year'

The Dorchester area has many movers and shakers. So last month, we asked Times readers to send us their nominations for the Times' Dorchester Citizen of the Year.

Over the past 30 days, we have received the names of many people who deserve recognition for their work to improve their neighbors' quality of life. Unfortunately, we can give the award to only one person.

The 2007 Times' Citizen of the Year award goes to longtime Dorchester resident Carol Olson. Carol is the president of the Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA) and the community foundation. She is also active within the Dorchester Methodist Church and other organizations; she is the Plymouth office manager for Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Dorchester.

One reader who nominated Olson told us: "I’d like to nominate Carol Olson ... I know of no one who works as tirelessly and enthusiastically as Carol on a multitude of projects to better the community of Dorchester. She’s skilled at working with people and providing leadership, and is experienced and talented at engaging others in teamwork to accomplish goals."

Carol told the Times: "I believe the Lord gives us tools and opportunities to accomplish much, and if our minds are open to listening and following, there is much to be done. Though I appreciate this award, it must be noted that one person cannot accomplish very much -- but teamed with the many good people of this community, there is much that can be done. So I accept this award for everyone who has done something to make Dorchester a better place to live." Our congratulations to Carol, as well as other residents who were nominated. To see the list of nominations and comments, click here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Redinger Named Next Superintendent Of Dorchester Schools

First, we wish all our readers a merry Christmas. Also, a reminder that tomorrow we will be naming our "Citizen of the Year."

We also want to provide an update to our readers who have not yet read the minutes of this month's Dorchester School Board meeting.

Dorchester Public School principal Brian Redinger has been appointed as superintendent for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. At the Dec. 19 school board meeting, a 6-0 vote by board members paved the way for the leadership change that will occur at the end of the current school year.

The Times has not received word on whether a new principal has yet been hired or if there are candidates for the position.

In other developments from the Dec. 19 meeting, Dorchester parent Deanna Sand presented a fundraising idea to use the bricks from the 1927 school building after it is razed in May 2008. The school board gave its approval and designated Sand to lead the committee in charge of the fundraiser. Superintendent Don Pieper plans to visit with local auctioneers and form a committee to oversee the school auction planned for May 9, 2008. The auction will feature items from the old school building.

Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA) president Carol Olson asked board members about the concept of combining the community and school libraries in the new school building, scheduled for completion in September. School officials agreed to inquire on the feasibility of the idea with the architects overseeing the school renovation, and to follow up with Olson following the consultation.

School board members running for re-election in 2008 have until Feb. 15 to file their paperwork. The next school board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

Friday, December 21, 2007

News Briefs: Chuck Parks Earns 100th Win At DHS

  • Parks Earns 100th Wrestling Win: Chuck Parks, a senior at Dorchester High School, won his 100th wrestling match at the Sutton Invitational on Dec. 20. Chuck is the son of Dave and Donna Parks. Our congratulations to Chuck on this impressive feat.

  • Easley Graduates from SCC-Milford: Dorchester High School graduate Garret Gene Easley was one of several students who received their degrees from Southeast Community College-Milford held Dec. 14. Easley received his associate of applied science degree with a focus on welding technology.

  • New Utility Poles Tested Near Dorchester: A company headquartered in Seward is creating power poles that will bend rather than break during ice storms -- and Dorchester is the lastest community to benefit from the innovation. According to KETV Omaha, Laminated Wood Systems has been testing the oddly shaped utility poles outside of town. "What you will notice about the poles is they are rectangular in shape," said company Vice President Doug Kotil. "It's not going to fall down where a round pole possibly could." Kotil said the poles get their strength as boards are spliced together, then glued -- similar to beams seen in some churches and buildings. The result is a pole that can better battle wind and ice. NPPD installed 1,100 of the laminated poles following last December's ice storm.

  • Did you know?: Here's a bit of trivia for Dorchester residents and natives. Our community can claim a U.S. congressman as one of its own. According, Fred Gustus Johnson, who was born near Dorchester in 1876, was a U.S. congressman who represented Nebraska's old 5th District from 1929-31. Johnson, a Republican, also served as a state senator from the Hastings area, as well as lieutenant governor of the state. Johnson passed away in 1951 and is buried at Hastings' Parkview Cemetary.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sights From Santa's Visit

Santa Claus may be coming to town, but he has already paid a visit to Dorchester this holiday season.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, Santa arrived at the Dorchester Community Building for the Dorchester Area Community Association's "Morning with Santa" event. With help from the students in FBLA, there were crafts and other activities -- including decorating of sugar cookies, making bead bracelets and bookmarks, making picture frames and more. About 60 area children attended the event.

Also, the Dorchester Legion served a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast from 10 a.m. to noon that morning. DACA recognized the following for donating money: Farmers Cooperative, Jolly Doers, United Methodist Women, Wal-Mart, Corrine Tyser, and Maxine & Arnold Filipi. DACA also thanked the FBLA students and their sponsors, Kathy Ricenbaw and Joyce Karl. Here are images from last Saturday at the Community Building:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wanted: Community Calendar Events

The Times wants you to send us events for our community calendar, located in the left column of the Web site. Just e-mail us the date, time, and location, along with a few details, to

We'll publish your event so that all Times readers save the date.

Also, we are still welcoming all letters to the editor. Just remember that actual names must be attributed to the letters for them to be considered for publishing. The Times will not print letters mentioning or referencing a specific individual, or containing explicit language or slurs. The Times also retains the right to edit letters for clarity or content.

Monday, December 10, 2007

DHS Students Earn $550 By Picking Corn

We at the Times continue to be impressed by the generosity of those in the Dorchester area community.

Last month, Tony and Judy Schweitzer allowed Dorchester High School students to pick up corn that had been toppled by wind and adverse weather. DHS alumni and parents Donna Parks and John Bruha initiated the project as a way to earn money for the DHS juniors and senior classes.

On Nov. 3, the group gathered corn for more than four hours. When all was said and picked, three grain wagons had been filled by the nine seniors and seven juniors who participated.

Following the Nov. 3 corn picking event, DHS senior Andrea Hansen convinced her father, Matt, to donate downed corn in a field west of town. So the group put their corn picking skills to work again on Nov. 9, filling two trailors that day -- and yet one more on the Nov. 10.

Parents and other supporters that helped the juniors and seniors in the effort include: John and Rochelle Bruha, Donna Parks, Judy Bors (along with Clarrisa
Bors), Brenda Inderlied, Marvin Kasl, Lisa Wells, Janet Alphabeck, Pam and Larry Burrows. Brad Kasl provided use of his combine so the group could husk the corn.

Nearly $550 was raised by the corn pickers. The profits will be split by the junior and senior classes, based on the number of class members who participated. Photos are courtesy of Donna Parks.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Questions Abound Over School Cornerstone

Earlier this year, we posed the question: Does Dorchester have its own 'National Treasure'? That 2004 movie -- which will boast a Dec. 21 sequel -- revolved around a treasure chest hidden by U.S. leaders during the Revolutionary War. In the movie, the story's characters relied on clues from the Founding Fathers' ties to the Freemasons.

Our question arose after longtime Dorchester School employee Ronald Sehnert alerted the Times that there might be some interesting items in the Dorchester school cornerstone, located in the southeast corner of the 1927 building. According to several older Dorchester residents we spoke with, many think that some of Dorchester's founding fathers may have placed items in the cornerstone during the construction of the building.

The Times has now received some firsthand accounts regarding the school cornerstone. According to resident Don Eret, the June 2, 1927 edition of The Dorchester Star contained the following notice: "The Grand Lodge of Nebraska Ancient Free and Accepted Masons will lay the corner stone of our new school house next Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm, June third. Everybody welcome."

Eret also reports that page 3 of the June 9, 1927 edition of The Dorchester Star reports:

The cornerstone of Dorchester’s new school building was laid last Friday
afternoon by the officers of AM Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of
Nebraska. Most worshipful Grand Master Edwin D. Critan of Chardron
conducting the ceremony, assisted by a large number of Masons from neighboring
lodges and Doric Lodge No. 118 of Dorchester. The address was delivered by
Charles M. Shepherd Grand, orator of the Grand Lodge of Lincoln. The Shrine Band
of Lincoln furnished the music for the occasion. Although the weather was
threatening, there were a large number present to witness the exercises.
Eret said he doubted there is anything inside the cornerstone. However, the Times has again asked a handful of other older town residents about the issue. They concur there is a strong possibility that some items are in the cornerstone.

As we noted in our
September story, the Dorchester Masons, who were extremely active in the early 1900s, met on the second floor of the building that now houses Village Hall. According to the Masons' own Web site, "the Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being." The organization dates back to the mid-1600s.

For centuries, Freemasonry has attracted criticism from many church officials for supposed competition with religion, and has long been the target of conspiracy theories that its members are the center of world power. It is unknown whether Dorchester still has active Freemasons in its ranks.

What is known, however, is that Dorchester residents will wait until May to see what relics, if any, were placed in the Dorchester school cornerstone 80 years ago.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Central Neb. Town Tries To Lure Back Former Residents

The community of Kearney is undertaking a serious effort to bring back former students and residents to the Buffalo County area. It is a model we think Dorchester leaders need to consider.

The Kearney Hub reports the Kearney Chamber of Commerce recently mailed 5,000 postcards to high school alumni from Kearney, Ravenna, Gibbon and Minden. The postcards promote the Kearney area as the ideal place to live, work and raise a family, and encourage alumni to consider job opportunities “back home,” said Bruce Blankenship, chair of the chamber workforce committee.

The first mailing — which included a holiday theme and photo of Santa’s Cottage in downtown Kearney — was mailed Thanksgiving week. Four additional mailings are planned in 2008. “We actually stole this idea from Norfolk, which has had a lot of success in using mailings to get graduates to return to that area,” Blankenship said. “We are trying to plant a seed with former residents and let them know we care.”

The postcards include a link to the chamber Web site, which includes a newly developed “Employment Opportunities” page that displays information on area job openings. “They already know what they’ll find here," Blankenship said. "We just want to let people know that Kearney would like to see them come back to the area.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

Jan. 12 Fundraiser For Aaron Stutzman

The Times has been informed of a planned January fundraiser for Aaron and Missy (Velder) Stutzman, both graduates of Dorchester High School.

According to our sources, the event will be Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at the Seward Ag Pavilion located at the Seward County Fairgrounds.

Earlier this autumn, Aaron was diagnosed with stage three cancer and is currently going through chemotherapy as often as five days a week. The fundraiser will help the Stutzmans with medical bills.

On Jan. 12, a noon meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a free-will offering. Following lunch, an auction will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Items for the auction will include: a family weekend get-a-way package; a meal for a family of four; a Mexican dinner once-a-month for a year for six people; NU basketball tickets; antiques; home furnishings and DecorHorse – a five-year-old paint mare; and a huge selection of services.

According to a handout, this list of auction items is just the beginning and many more items will be announced at a later date.

All proceeds will be given to the Stutzman's to help with medical expenses not covered by their limited insurance.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Santa Visit, Legion Breakfast Next Weekend

Santa Claus is coming to Dorchester next weekend! And all kids -- if they've been nice -- are invited.

Santa will be arriving at the Dorchester Community Building at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 and stay until 11 a.m. The Dorchester Area Community Association, with help from the students in FBLA, will be offering crafts and activities -- including decorating sugar cookies, making bead bracelets and bookmarks, having their picture taken, making a picture frame, and more.

Parents, bring the kids for a morning of fun. Also, the Dorcheter Legion will be serving a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast from 10 a.m. to noon that morning.

The breakfast is open to everyone who's hungry for a freewill offering. Make plans to attend.

Also, the staff of the Dorchester Times has noticed more Christmas decorations and lights appearing in and around town during the week.

We featured some of our favorite displays this week.
If you would like your display to be featured on our Web site, simply e-mail it to We hope to run another feature on Dorchester displays before Christmas. However, we need photos -- so send us yours today.