Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year From The Times

The staff of the Dorchester Times wishes all our friends and readers a Happy New Year! We wish you all the very best for 2009.

Thank you for another year online and for allowing us to be a part of your community life.

DHS Boys Win Tourney; Lady 'Horns Snag 2nd Place

In a prime time match-up Tuesday night at "the coral" in Dorchester, the DHS boys' basketball team beat Class C-2 Cross County 55-51 to claim the top spot at the Dorchester Holiday Tournament . Despite trailing 27-17 at halftime, the Longhorns rallied on the shooting of Brandon Bruha as the team scored 38 points in the final two periods. Those scoring for DHS were Zoubek 8, Bruha 24, Lee 3, Morris 7, Walton 8, Palky 1, Kotas 4. Several who watched the game noted the solid defensive effort of the Orange and Black Attack.

In the girls' championship game, the Lady Longhorns suffered their first defeat of the season against a scrappy squad from Deshler in 66-60 contest. Despite scoring 44 points in the final two periods, the DHS girls could not overcome their slow start, in which they scored only six points in period No. 2. The Longhorn scorers were Pracheil 21, M. Havlat 13, Springer 12, Lawver 6, A. Havlat 4, Boller 2, Spanyers 2.

Both Dorchester basketball teams resume action Jan. 8 in a make-up contest at Sterling. On Jan. 9, both DHS squads will battle Meridian in another road contest.

Monday, December 29, 2008

DHS Basketball Returns To Action Today & Tomorrow

(UPDATE 12/30, 8:45 a.m. -- Both Dorchester teams are headed to today's championship matches at the Dorchester Holiday Tourney. The Lady Longhorns cruised by Class C-2 Cross County yesterday, Dec. 29, posting a 59-37 win. DHS was led in scoring by Pracheil 15, A. Havlat 13, Lawver 9, Boller 8, Springer 7, M. Havlat 5, Pariset 2. In boys' action, DHS edged Deshler in an overtime thriller, 69-67. The DHS boys will take on Cross County in tonight's 8:15 championship. The Lady Longhorns will play Deshler in the 6 p.m. championship.) After a long hiatus caused by the winter weather and Christmas holiday, DHS basketball returns to action Monday at the Dorchester Holiday Tournament. Longhorn fans are urged to take advantage of the warm weather and support the Longhorns in full force.

The Dorchester Holiday Tourney will tip off at 3 p.m. today when the DHS girls take on Class C-2 Cross County (2-2). Later, the Deshler girls will play Exeter-Milligan in the 6:30 p.m. contest. The winners of today's games will face off in the girls championship game at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 30), while the consolation game will be at 3 p.m.

The Lady Longhorns (4-0) remain No. 1 in the Nebraska School Activities Association Class D-1 point standings, leading by a full point over No. 2 Bancroft-Rosalie.

In boys action, DHS (3-1) will play Deshler (4-2) at 8:15 tonight. The Exeter-Milligan boys will play Top-20, Class C-2 Cross County at 4:45 p.m. today. The winners of today's contests play in the 8:15 boys championship tomorrow, while the consolation game will tip off at 4:45 p.m.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Village Board Members Take Oath; Schmale Elected Chairman

Dorchester's newest village board members were sworn in at this month's meeting, as Dwayne Schmale was selected as chairman of the village board.

According to the meeting minutes, published in Dec. 24 issue of The Crete News, new Dorchester Village Board members Lyle Weber and Brandon Koll were sworn-in at the Dec. 1 board meeting at Village Hall. Schmale was elected chairman of the board, following a motion by Koll. Harold Axline was elected Chairman Pro-Tem on a motion by Weber.

Chairman Schmale then appointed the following board members to head the following committees:
  • Parks & Streets: Weber;
  • Sewer & Cemetery: Schmale;
  • Water & Buildings: Axline;
  • Safety: Cerny and Ed Dvorak.
Several actions were taken by the new board on unanimous votes: Jessica Tuttle was named clerk and treasurer. Ed Dvorak was named utility superintendent, while Marvin Kasl was named assistant utility superintendent. Steven Parr was named street commissioner, while JEO was named village engineer.

Scott Gropp with Kalkwarf & Smith Law Offices was name attorney, while First State Bank in Dorchester was named bank depository. In other matters, the fire department was given permission to sell the old Jaws of Life device after new DVFD members were trained on the new Jaws of Life equipment. Major claims approved the board included $2,253 to Beatrice Concrete Co. for gravel for the streets, and $3,044 to Saline County for sheriff's patrol.

The next village board meeting is 7 p.m. on Jan. 5.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Visits The Village

It is the night before Christmas. But Santa's stop in Dorchester this evening won't be his first of the holiday season.

On Dec. 6 , St. Nick visited our town during the Dorchester Area Community Association's "Morning with Santa" at the Community Building. (Click on the pictures for close-up viewing.)

Sixty area children attended the event. Many brought non-perishable food items. Dorchester Methodist Church's Rev. Baptista delivered those items to Friend’s food bank.

All the children who sat on Santa’s lap received an instant photo as a token of remembrance. With the help of Dorchester High School's FBLA students, the children made frames for their photos, as well as puppets and ornaments. The main attraction again this year was decorating and eating Christmas cookies.

DACA member's would like to thank Farmers Cooperative, the Legion Auxiliary, and Corrine Tyser for donating money towards this event, as well as the United Methodist Women for supplying the cutout cookies.

DACA also thanks the FBLA members who took time out of their busy schedules to help throughout the morning.

(UPDATE: 12/24, 6:30 p.m. -- The Times has learned Santa is already en route to Dorchester. To track Santa's whereabouts, click here.)

Dorchester Residents Help With Crete Cares Campaign

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our community as several Dorchester area residents are being recognized for their volunteer work with the Crete Cares program.

Last Saturday, Dec. 20, despite the sub-zero and windy conditions, Larry and Bev Gish, Steve and Vicky Parks, Wayne and Velma Hansen, Kevin and Carol Olson, and Dorchester Methodist Rev. Paixao Baptista delivered food boxes -- a complete Christmas meal of turkey and all the trimmings -- to Dorchester area residents needing a little extra help this holiday season. Fruit baskets were also delivered to area residents who were honored for their longtime contributions to the community.

A special thanks has been sent to John Bruha at the Dorchester Grocery for packing the boxes and baskets; to Farmland Foods for donating the hams; to the Dorchester residents and organizations who donated financially to Crete Cares; and to the Crete Area Ministerial Association for including Dorchester in this very worthwhile cause.

There is still time to help. Contributions to Crete Cares may be sent to: Crete Cares, P.O. Box 343, Crete, NE 68333.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec. 22 Dorchester School Board Minutes

(The following minutes from the Dec. 22 Dorchester Board of Education meeting appear as submitted to the Dorchester Times by school administration staff.)

President Brad Havlat called the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education of Saline County School District 76-0044, a.k.a. as Dorchester Public Schools, to order at 7:35 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008. All members, except Mark Bors, were present along with Superintendent Brian Redinger, Principal Mitch Kubicek, Joyce Karl and Scott Pohl, Athletic Director. Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to approve the minutes of the November regular meeting, with appropriate date change for the December meeting. Members voting yes to the motion were Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Pracheil and Havlat. Bors absent. Motion passed 5-0.

After verification of publication of the meeting notice in the Crete News, local postings of the meeting notice (Dorchester Schools, Farmers Coop, First State Bank and the Village Office) and the advanced receipt of the meeting agenda and other meeting materials by individual board members, the President stipulated that meeting minutes should reflect that this meeting was held in compliance with the Neb. Open Meetings Law. It was also noted the Open Meeting Act Poster is posted in the boardroom. There was no request for change of agenda.

The November treasurer’s report was reviewed. Motion by Boller, second by Pracheil to approve report. Voting yes were Boller, Pracheil, Kahle, Hansen and Havlat. Bors absent. Motion passed 5-0.

Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to approve November end of month and December expenditures for the General Fund, Special Building Fund and Bond Fund. Voting yes were Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Pracheil and Havlat. Bors absent. Motion passed 5-0.

Mark Bors arrived at 8 p.m.

Committee Reports

Building/Grounds Committee: Supt. Redinger will call Crete Lumber to see when the inside gym doors can be installed. The estimate for ADA door openers for the front east doors was discussed, along with the installation of railing for the entrance. Handicapped accessible and van accessible parking stalls were discussed. Specs will be obtained with further discussion to be held in January. The heating regulation problem was also discussed and Supt. Redinger will continue to monitor room temps.

Principal’s Report: Principal Kubicek shared that he consulted with mental health therapists about a possible program for students who are not experiencing academic success. He stressed that this is just an investigative step only and will get back to the board at a later date. He reported that the Apex program being currently used in credit recovery class is a success with the possibility of being used for a rigorous summer program. Otter Creek and Accelerated Math will be implemented in the future and Mr. Kubicek has applied for a grant to help defray the costs of these programs. The data on our State Report Card was discussed. Mr. Kubicek has secured a grant that will make it possible for 17 teachers and our administration to take part in a book study. Student surveys were distributed and results will be shared with the Board at a later date. Dorchester Schools has been approved as an ACT testing site that will be able to host up to 36 students in April and June.

New Business: Building accessibility for our patrons was discussed and will be tabled until the January 2009 meeting. Motion by Kahle, second by Hansen to approve Horace Mann as the District 44’s 403(b) plan administrator. Voting yes were Kahle, Hansen, Boller, Pracheil, Bors and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0. The Board instructed AD Pohl to order the portable seating for the multi-purpose room.

The next meeting of the Dorchester Board of Education will be Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

Motion by Kahle, second by Hansen to adjourn at 10:30 pm. All members voted aye.

Signed: Ron Kahle, Secretary of the Dorchester Board of Education.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS Takes Second In D-Club Wresting Invite

  • DHS No. 2 In D-Club Invite: Despite wind chill temperatures around twenty below zero, the D-Club Round Robin Wrestling Invite was held in Dorchester on Saturday. Of the 11 squads competing, DHS finished finished second only to powerhouse East Butler, which had 138 points in team scoring to Dorchester's 98. DHS topped third-place Weeping Water and fourth-place Friend. Other teams competing were Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer/Pawnee City; Sutton; Meridian; Heartland; South Central; McCool Junction; and Tri County. Russel Barark was the Longhorns' lone gold medal winner, grabbing the top spot in the 215 lb. class. DHS Athletic Director expressed his "sincere thanks" to those who helped with the tournament. Pohl noted that "many students, alumni, parents, family members, and district patrons volunteered their time and expertise to help make the tournament successful." "The efforts of everyone involved proves what a great community Dorchester is," Pohl said.

  • Dec. 23 Basketball Games Postponed: Tuesday's DHS boys and girls basketball games at Sterling have been rescheduled for Thursday, Jan. 8,2009, due to Sterling canceling school because of icy conditions in the area. Also, no make-up date has yet been announced for last Thursday's (Dec. 18) postponed contests at home against Shickley. Stay tuned to the Times for details.

  • Two Dorchester Scholars Earn UNL Degrees: Two Dorchester scholars were among those who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Saturday, where U.S. Sen.-elect Mike Johanns delivered the commencement address. Earning her B.S. in chemical engineering was Tisha Amber Roth, while John Adam Havlat received his B.S. in Agribusiness. Our congratulations to both of these hard working students.

  • Schweitzers Welcome New Daughter: The Schweitzers will celebrate the holidays with a new member of the family this year. Kelli (Chrastil) and Shane Schweitzer of Dorchester became proud parents of a baby girl on Friday, Dec. 19, at BryanLGH East. (UPDATE 12/23: A reader has informed us the Schweitzer baby was delivered last Friday, not Wednesday as previously reported.)

Dec. 28 Tom & Jerry Party At DVFD

Looking for something to do over this holiday break? Consider joining your friends at the Dorchester Fire Hall for some warm adult beverages.

According to Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. Secretary Bret Cerny, the DVFD will again be hosting a Tom & Jerry party on Sunday, Dec. 28. The event will kick off at 9 a.m. and continue until an unspecified time.

For more information about the DVFD Tom and Jerry party, call Bret Cerny or e-mail

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the Tom & Jerry -- now known as a traditional Christmas time cocktail -- was devised by British writer Pierce Egan in the 1820s. The egg nog-brandy-rum drink was made popular by the 19th century author's book "Life in London."

To publicize the book, Egan introduced a variation of eggnog by adding ½ fl. oz. of brandy, calling it a "Tom & Jerry." The additional fortification helped popularize the drink. To try Tom & Jerrys at your home this Christmas season, here is an easy-to-follow recipe:

Tom & Jerrys

1 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Brandy
1 Egg
1 tsp. Sugar
6 oz. Hot water milk, or coffee

Seperate egg in two bowls. Add Rum & Brandy to the yolk and beat together until frothy. In the other bowl, beat the egg white until it peaks then add sugar and beat until stiff. Fold into the liqour mixture. Pour into a coffee mug and top with the water, milk or coffee.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nebraska Towns Submitting Infrastructure Priority Lists

President-elect Barack Obama has proposed spending hundreds of billions of dollars on road, sewer and other infrastructure projects as a way to boost the economy. The national news media is now reporting that Obama would like Congress to pass a five-pronged economic stimulus package in time for him to sign the legislation on Jan. 20, the day he is set to be sworn into office.

Would Dorchester be wise to submit its priority list to the Nebraska Dept. of Roads?

A story in today's Grand Island Independent reports that the City of Grand Island is submitting a $14.7 million wish list for Congress in hopes of garnering money for public infrastructure. "If there's any chance at all, we should take advantage of it and prepare what's being requested," G.I. City Administrator Jeff Pederson said.

Pederson told the Independent that many organizations are asking for lists, including the League of Nebraska Municipalities, Nebraska Department of Roads, U.S. Conference of Mayors and, for counties, the Nebraska Association of County Officials.

The Nebraska Department of Roads released its own ready-to-go list yesterday that totaled $370 million of state road projects, according to the Omaha World-Herald. That figure doesn't include projects under the control of city and county road departments. The state is seeking information by Dec. 31 from local officials about those projects.

Grand Island list includes paving projects. A few of us here at the Times wonder if the Village of Dorchester should hurry and submit a street paving plan to Nebraska's road department officials before their Dec. 31 deadline? In Bill O'Reilly's words, what say you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DHS Teams Win At Harvard; Girls No. 1 in Class D-1

(UPDATE -- 12/19: Due to last night's winter storm, the DHS basketball games against Shickley have been postponed until a later date.) Dorchester's basketball teams continue to impress. Not only did the DHS boys and girls teams each roll up another victory Tuesday night, both did so in very impressive fashion.

The Lady Longhorns improved to 4-0 on the season, as they handily defeated Harvard 54-31. This was the same Harvard squad that knocked off top 1o Giltner earlier this season.

With Tuesday night's victory, the Lady 'Horns took the lead over all other Class D-1 schools in the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) point standings.

According to the NSAA's updated standings, the top five girls' teams in Class D-1 are:

1. Dorchester (4-0), 46.7500
2. Humphrey St. Francis (3-1), 46.5000
3. Wauneta-Palisade (2-1), 45.6667
4. Alma (4-0), 45.2500
5. Sandhills/Thedford (4-0), 44.7500

The Lady Longhorns were No. 11 in the Lincoln Journal Star's preseason rankings for Class D-1. The newspaper has not published an updated poll since Dec. 5.

In boys' action, the Longhorns pasted Harvard 59-37, earning their first road win following last weekend's three-point loss at High Plains.

The DHS boys (3-1) are currently No. 28 in the NSAA's Class D-1 point standings.

Both Longhorn teams will be in action again Dec. 18 at home as Shickley comes to town. The Shickley boys are 3-1, while the SHS girls are 2-1.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SPORTS ROUND-UP: DHS Wrestlers Take Third At Daykin

  • DHS Grapplers Take 3rd At Bob Oliver Invitational: On Thursday, the Longhorn wrestlers took third place out of nine teams at the Bob Oliver Invitational in Daykin. DHS trailed only Palmyra and Friend in team scoring. DHS had three first-place finishers. In the 125 lb. class, DHS grappler Brandon Schwlsow won his championship match against a Sandy Creek/Lawrence-Nelson wrestler in a 7-5 decision. In the 145 class, DHS' Adam Kahle pinned his Heartland opponent in 3:43. And DHS' Russel Barak pinned his Sandy Creek/Lawrence-Nelson opponent in only 39 seconds in the 189 lb. championship match. In yesterday's (Dec. 13) meet at Osceola, Dorchester finished seventh out of 16 squads. The Times is still awaiting individual results.
  • Dorchester Invite To Be Held Saturday;Volunteers Needed: The Longhorn wrestlers will be in action this Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Dorcheter Invitational. The D-Club is looking for DHS wrestlers and student managers to assist with the many responsibilities of running the tournament, including keeping score, running the clocks, and other various duties. If you know of a former Longhorn wrestler or student manager who would like to volunteer at the Dorchester Tournament, or if you would like to volunteer yourself, please call Dorchester athletic director Scott Pohl at (402) 946-2781.
  • DHS Girls Get Win No. 3, While Boys Lose By Three at High Plains: On Friday night, the DHS Lady Longhorns (3-0) -- rated No. 11 in Class D-1 -- scored their third consecutive win of the young season, handily beating High Plains 49-26. The Lady 'Horns were led by Charity Springer with 13 points and Amy Havlat with a dozen. (For more, click here to see the York News-Times' game summary.) Meanwhile, the boys' basketball team (2-1) lost a heart breaker to High Plains, 61-58. DHS led 11-5 at the quarter and 30-22 at halftime, only to be outscored 30-15 in the final eight minutes. The Longhorns placed four players in double numbers, led by Brandon Zoubek and Spencer Kotas with 13 each. Alex Walton and Logan Morris both had 12. (See the York News Times' story here.) Both Longhorn teams will see action again this Tuesday, Dec. 16, in road contests at Harvard.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SPORTS ROUND-UP: Basketball Teams Get Win No. 2

  • DHS B-Ballers Now 2-0: Rollin', rollin', rollin'. That could be the theme song for the Longhorn basketball teams if this keeps up. Both Dorchester basketball squads emerged Tuesday evening with victories at home. The Dorchester boys (2-0) handily beat Diller-Odell, 67-54. DHS was led by Brandon Bruha, 20 pts., Alex Walton, 14 pts., and Brandon Zoubek, 13 pts. as the Longhorns gathered 33 rebounds. Meanwhile, the No. 11 Lady Longhorns (2-0) whipped Diller-Odell 56-44. Both Longhorn teams take the court again Friday in road contests against High Plains Community.
  • Kahle Ranked No. 6 In His Division: According to the Omaha World-Herald, DHS junior Adam Kahle is ranked No. 6 in Class D-1's 145 lb. division. Kahle and two Friend grapplers are the only wrestlers in Saline County rated by the Omaha paper.

  • Another Football Accolade For Bruha: The football honors continue to pour in for DHS senior Brandon Bruha, who was named this week to the Omaha World-Herald's Honorable Mention Class D-1 team.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Search Of Dorchester's Best Christmas Display

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in the village!

Take a stroll around Dorchester and you will find some creative holiday decorations. We are encouraged once again this year to see so many residents displaying their Christmas cheer.

From one end of town to the other, friends, neighbors and passersby have plenty of visual treats.

We want to know the Dorchester area homes you think best reflect the Christmas spirit so fellow Times readers can check out the decorations for themselves.

What Dorchester residence gets your vote for best holiday display? Let us know your nomination in the comments section of this post. Or e-mail us photos of your favorites at

In the meantime, our younger readers may be interested in Santa's whereabouts as Christmas nears. By clicking here, children can get a glimpse of Santa's journey around the world last year. And they can prepare to track Santa's Christmas Eve route by clicking here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

SPORTS ROUND-UP: DHS Hoops Off & Running; Kahle Gets Gold

DHS Basketball Teams Off To Positive Start: Both boys' and girls' DHS basketball teams lived up to pre-season hype Friday night, capturing big wins in their season-openers. The Lady Longhorns beat a solid No. 13 Exeter-Milligan 49-40, despite leading by only a point at halftime. The Havlat sisters -- Melinda and Amy -- led the Class D-1 No. 11 Longhorns with 11 points a piece. Other scorers included Boller 10, Lawver 8, Springer 8, Spanyers 6, and Wells 4. In boys' action, the Longhorns overpowered Exeter-Milligan as DHS coasted to a 69-57 victory, thanks to balanced scoring from the Orange & Black Attack. Both teams are again in action Tuesday night in home contests against Diller-Odell.

Adam Kahle Takes Gold At Season-Opening Wrestling Meet: DHS' Adam Kahle took first place at Friend's Lil' Dawg Invitational on Saturday. It took Kahle only 1:01 to pin a Wilber grappler in the championship match, as the Longhorn junior sets his sights on a repeat bid to State this February. DHS finished 8th in the team standings out of 11 teams. However, all but two of the squads (DHS and Bruning-Davenport) were Class C teams.

Bruha Is State's Leading Punter At Season's End: Now that the high school football season is over and the statistics have been tallied, DHS' Brandon Bruha is officially the state of Nebraska's leading punter for the 2008 campaign. Bruha led all Nebraska high school punters, regardless of class size, with a 41 yard-per-punt average in 22 kicks. Bruha also made the list of leaders in tacklers for 2008, landing at No. 19, withe 27 unassisted tackles and 79 assisted. Bruha was also named to the Lincoln Journal-Star's All-State Honorable Mention team for Class D-1. We salute this DHS football standout.

Osceola & Shelby Give New Look To CRC: The Crossroads Conference is getting a makeover in 2009. The York News-Times reports tha beginning next school year, members of the new CRC Conference will include: Dorchester, High Plains (formerly Polk-Hordville), Hampton, Exeter-Milligan, McCool Junction, Osceola, Shelby, Giltner, Meridian, Rising City, Shickley and Clay Center.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

DHS Tips Off Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the start of the DHS basketball season for both the girls and boys Longhorn teams, as Exeter-Milligan comes to town for the season opener.

The girls' contest is drawing considerable regional interest. Both the Lady Longhorns and Lady Timberwolves are ranked as contenders by the Lincoln Journal-Star, with Dorchester at No. 11 and Exeter-Milligan at No. 13.

The Lady Longhorns, guided by Coach Steve Fusco, are coming off an 11-8 record from last season. In its "team outlook" section, the Journal-Star reports that DHS "returns a good nucleus of four starters — Wendy Boller, Amy Havlat, Molly Pracheil and Karmen Lawver."

The Exeter-Milligan girls will give the Lady 'Horns a tough test right off the bat. The Timberwolves are coming off an impressive 17-5 record last season.

The boys' game also promises to be a solid match-up. The Longhorns are coming off a 8-11 season last year. Coach Scott Leisy is at the reigns for DHS. With only 12 players out this season, depth is a concern. However, "several players with varsity experience are returning and a winning season and deep post-season run are within reach," Leisy told the Journal-Star.

Exeter-Milligan is coming off an 11-10 record, with only one returning starter.

Election Results Now Official

The results of last month's general election are now official.

As a follow-up to our Nov. 4 post regarding the races for the Dorchester Village Board and Board of Education, the Times can now confirm the outcomes we reported on Election Day night.

Results could not be made official until all provisional ballots -- those cast by voters with recent, unreported changes of address -- had been counted and confirmed.

In the race for Dorchester Village Board, board member-elect Lyle Weber finished with 105 votes. Board member-elect Brandon Koll finished in second place with 85 votes.

Only two votes separated Koll and third-place finisher/incumbent Alan Slepicka, who finished with 83 votes. In fourth place was incumbent Dean Pracheil with 78 votes.

In the school board race, incumbent Ron Kahle cruised to re-election with 352 votes. New board member Lindsey Zoubek garnered 298 votes, while incumbent Bill Boller finished with 220 votes. Only three votes separated Boller and challenger Lisa Wells.

Both school board members and village board members serve four-year terms.

We at the Times congratulate the winning candidates and we tip our hat to all who had the courage and commitment to run for office. You are leaders of our community, regardless of the election results.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Carolers Plan For Dec. 21 Outing

For centuries, Christmas carols have united communities like ours during the Christmas season. Caroling is a tradition that dates back to Saint Francis Assassi, who first allowed carols to be sung in the church during a Christmas midnight mass in 1223.

The tradition will continue once again in Dorchester this year.

Dorchester's community caroling is set for Sunday, December 21, beginning at 6 p.m. The group will meet at the Dorchester Methodist Church.

According to organizer Vicky Parks, all area residents are welcome to join the fun. Carolers will be taken through town on a hay rack ride while singing to Dorchester residents.

Following the caroling, cookies and hot chocolate will be served at the church.

For more information, call Parks at (402) 946-4691.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Boller, Lawver Receive All-State Honors

The Lincoln Journal-Star has awarded all-state honors to two members of this year's Dorchester Longhorn volleyball squad.

DHS senior Wendy Boller and junior Karmen Lawver were named among the handful of Journal Star's 2008 All-State Volleyball Honorable Mentions in Class D-1.

Last month, both Boller and Lawver received Crossroads Conference honors.

Our congratulations to both Wendy and Karmen on this impressive accolade.

On a side note, we were particularly impressed by the comments of Papillion-La Vista’s Gina Mancuso, a Husker recruit who was named co-captain of the Journal Star's all-state team. Mancuso shared her philosophy on athletic leadership.

“When I was younger, I kept my mouth shut and led by example,” Mancuso said. “Now that I’m older, I try to make sure I say something after every play, either congratulating someone for a good play or encouraging someone if they need it. I’m not scared to tell people what to do if they’re doing something wrong.”

Good words of advice for all student leaders, whether they are on or off the court.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

D-Club Seeks Volunteers For Dec. 20 Tourney

The D-Club is looking for former DHS wrestlers to volunteer for the upcoming D-Club Wrestling Tourney, set for Saturday, Dec. 20.

D-Club leaders are requesting the help of former DHS wrestlers and student managers to assist with the many responsibilities of running the tournament, including keeping score, running the clocks, and other various duties.

If you know of a former Longhorn wrestler or student manager who would like to volunteer at the Dorchester Tournament, please call Dorchester athletic director Scott Pohl at (402) 946-2781.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008: A Reminder To Count Your Blessings

Every now and again, the Times receives an e-mail that we feel compelled to share with the rest of our readers. Today, we received such a note. With the permission of the author, the letter is reprinted below.

This message is especially relevant at a time when the outside world presents so much uncertainty and fear. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did, and that it will serve as a reminder to count your blessings -- everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving.

"Sweet home Dorchester! Oh sweet Nebraska! On this
Thanksgiving we have so many thing to be grateful for.

"You never really know how amazing something, or someplace,
or someone is when you don't have it or them. I lived out of state for several
years and during that time I reminded myself almost daily of the things I
missed back home and am thankful for.

"On this Thanksgiving, I will once again take time to give
thanks for those things that make life worth living. They are...

1.) The fall harvest
2.) My small town and the feeling of community
3.) A Main Street I can walk with no noise, litter or fear of violence
4.) Mom & pop businesses & no big box stores
5.) Dorchester sports
6.) Small town chatter, even the gossip
7.) Hunters, farmers and our community elders
8.) Not being honked at in your car when you don't run a red light
9.) The smell of a wood burning stove or fireplace
10.) Pumpkin pie, homemade jelly and all the great local baking

"This is a good start. Oh yes, I am also thankful for my
great-grand parents who came to Dorchester to start their
families. It is because of them Dorchester and Nebraska is my


-Name Withheld
Mother, wife and farmer

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cougars In Saline County?

(UPDATE 11/26, 3:15 p.m. -- Times' reader JR Wolfe has noted that the photos we were sent were not taken in Nebraska, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The photos actually originated from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Our thanks to JR for his timely correction and for recounting the story of his own siting.)

Earlier this week, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission announced it is looking into the shooting of a mountain lion south of Chadron. On Nov. 22, a 16-year-old boy shot and killed the 100-pound female cat when it approached within 15 steps of the hunter.

The mountain lion was reported to have shown no fear of the boy, who was with a group of deer hunters. Mountain lions are a protected species in Nebraska, but the Commission says the boy won't face charges because he apparently shot the cougar in self-defense.

Over the past 19 months, the Times has received a handful of e-mails from readers who claim to have spotted mountain lions or mountain lion tracks in the Dorchester area. There is no evidence of the cats in Saline County, according to the Game and Parks Commission. However, we certainly don't rule out the possibility that a mountain lion or two are roaming surrounding countryside -- especially after seeing the photos we received from a reader of who resides in Nebraska's Washington County, north of the Omaha metro.

According to our Washington County reader, the pictures accompanying this story were taken a few weeks ago by a wildlife camera attached to a deer stand near Fort Calhoun, Neb. on the county road back behind the local school. We have not been able to confirm whether or not these photos are legitimate.

Most of Nebraska's 56 confirmed cougar sightings since 1991 — some of them duplicates — have been in northwest Nebraska between Chadron and Harrison. However, in the last decade there have been several reported sightings of mountain lions in eastern Nebraska.

As the Omaha World-Herald reports, railroad workers near Blair said a mountain lion trapped them atop a railcar earlier this month. A Ponca Hills man watched a mountain lion eating acorns and apples outside his house in mid-October. A mushroom hunter saw a mountain lion near a deer carcass near Verdel in northeast Nebraska in May and later got photos of the cougar.

Bottom line, the Times staff doesn't fault any Saline County resident who is on the lookout for cougars in his or her own backyard.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dorchester School Compares Favorably To Peers

Education in Nebraska is expensive business. About 65 percent of your local property tax dollar goes to your local school district. At Dorchester Public School, more than 70 percent of receipts come from local taxpayers.

All things considered, school district patrons have every right to expect high standards from their school's administration, instructors and students. (It is also why district patrons should expect efforts to encourage young people to return to their home area after college so they can contribute to the local economy, but that is another story for another day.)

So how does Dorchester Public School compare to other Nebraska schools?

Using statistics found on the Nebraska Department of Education Web site, the Times has compiled key figures to give our readers a good idea of where Dorchester Public School is succeeding and where there is room for improvement.

For example, when it comes to preparation of college-bound student, Dorchester appears to be doing considerably better than the majority of other public schools in Nebraska. For school year 2006-07, the latest year for which statistics are available, the average composite ACT score of Dorchester students was 23.8. That compares favorably to the 22.1 statewide average and the 21.2 U.S. average.

Dorchester School earns an "exemplary" rating in both reading and mathematics following standardized tests taken in the 2006-07 school year -- again, the latest results available on the Education Department's site. The statewide assessment tests are given to students in grades 4, 8 and 11.

The vast majority of Dorchester students met the state's reading standards. For school year 2006-07, the 95 percent of fourth graders, 94 percent of eighth graders, and 84 percent of high school juniors could meet the reading standards. This included English Language Learners and Special Education students.

As a whole, Dorchester students scored slightly lower on mathematics and writing assessments. Still, scores in both subjects were well above 70 percent. The lone exception were the eleventh graders, with one-third of the class failing to meet the state's writing test. (While 100 percent of the class' females met the writing standards, only 43 percent of the class' males were able to do so.)

A few more interesting facts we found:
  • For school year 2006-2007, the average Dorchester teacher salary was $34,906 (not including health insurance and other benefits) compared to the state average teacher salary of $42,080.

  • About 98 percent of DHS teachers were endorsed, compared to the state average of 94 percent. (Endorsements mean the teachers majored in the subjects they teach.)

  • Dorchester's graduation rate in 2007 was 100 percent.

  • About 8 percent of Dorchester students were English Language Learners (primarily Spanish speaking) compared to the state average of 6.5 percent.

  • About 18 percent of Dorchester students were Special Education students, compared to the state average of about 15 percent, meaning additional expenses for the local school district.

  • Exactly 80 percent of Dorchester fourth graders receiving free or reduced-price lunches met or exceeded the state's writing standards (NOTE: This is a clarification of our orginial post.)
More Dorchester-specific information can be found here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

EDITORIAL: Entrepreneurial Communities Grant Is A Winner

Gov. Dave Heineman last week announced that nearly $320,000 in grants funding had been awarded to 13 Nebraska communities through the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act (BECA), which supports regional economic and community development partnerships in rural areas of the state.

According to the governor, BECA is a successful tool for rural development in part because it "brings city and counties together with local partners to promote a stronger regional economy."

Some of the projects receiving grants include:

  • $32,355 for the towns of Red Cloud and Guide Rock to promote regional businesses.

  • $39,600 for Dawson County and the city of Cozad to create marketing materials to help attract and retain residents, promote the Dawson County Careers Web site to those outside Nebraska, and provide entrepreneurship training in technical trades for area youth.

  • $32,000 for the Panhandle village of Lewellen and Garden County Schools to develop entrepreneurship skills among students and local residents, as well as develop green industry and eco-tourism opportunities.

  • $36,000 for the Norfolk Area Recruiters Initiative, a partnership between the cities of Battle Creek, Madison and Norfolk and Cuming County, to implement a recruiting campaign aimed at former northeast Nebraska residents that includes Web site development and direct mail.

  • $36,315 for a partnership between Phelps County and the village of Funk for marketing campaign to recruit alumni and others with compelling local connections to move back to the area.

It is worth noting that only 18 partnerships applied for funding this year. Again, 13 projects were funded.

We at the Times like the idea of smaller communities working together to grow their businesses and retain their younger residents. Perhaps the new members of the Dorchester Village Board can convince their peers that Dorchester needs to become more aggressive in forming a long-term strategy that includes partnering with local businesses and the school in pursuit of statewide grants -- and to allow and encourage the use of village staff resources to do so.

Maybe the members of Dorchester Area Community Association can work with the Village Board or help raise funds to provide matching dollars to improve the chances of Dorchester landing one of these statewide grants.

The BECA program seems to be a good place to start. (For more information on BECA or the application process, contact Linda Fettig at (308) 749-2291, or email We know there are bright, energetic folks in other small Saline County communities, such as Friend and Wilber, who would jump at the opportunity to collaborate with Dorchester on such an effort. It's worth a look.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NEWS BRIEFS: Dorchester Students & Scholars Earn Honors

  • DHS Takes Fifth Place At UNL Math Day: DHS students solidified their school's reputation for excellence in mathematics with a top five finish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's 19th-annual Math Day last week. UNL's Math Day brings together hundreds of students from across Nebraska. The event consists of two individual and two team mathematics competitions. All students started with a multiple-choice preliminary exam called PROBE I ( Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort ). In Class D, the top five teams in PROBE I were: Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran 50.0, College View Academy 49.33, Bertrand 49.0, Heartland Homeschoolers 48.67, Dorchester 43.33. Dorchester was the only Saline County school to place at UNL Math Day.

  • Longhorns Named To All-District Football Squads: District D1-2 football coaches have named Logan Morris to the all-district second team offense, while Spencer Kotas has received honorable mention. Brandon Bruha has been named to the all-district first team defense, with Morris named to the second team defense and Kotas again receiving honorable mention. Bruha has also been named all-district first team punter.

  • Lady Longhorns Recognized by CRC: DHS junior Karmen Lawver was recently named to the Crossroads Conference first team all-conference volleyball team, while senior Wendy Boller was recognized as an honorable mention recipient.

  • Rev. Roger Wolfe Makes Front Page Of Lincoln Journal Star: We at the Times were impressed a couple of weeks ago when we saw the face of Dorchester resident Rev. Roger Wolfe grace the front page of the Nov. 12 edition of the Lincoln Journal Star. Rev. Wolfe, who is chaplain of the American Legion Dist. 11, spoke at this month's Veterans Day program at Milford High School. One local reader who heard Rev. Wolfe's speech told the Times: "I wish I could have recorded it. He never says the same thing twice because he speaks from the heart and captures what he observes and hears from those surrounding him at the moment."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dorchester Resident Sues Farmland Over Wages

We at the Times have editorialized about the pitfalls of illegal immigration and undocumented workers. Today some of those workers, with the assistance of a Dorchester resident -- who is a legal resident as far as we know -- could end up biting the hand that feeds them.

The Associated Press reports that "former employees who say they weren't paid for work away from the production line are suing a Crete slaughterhouse." The federal lawsuit filed against Farmland Foods and Smithfield Foods alleges hourly employees haven't been paid for time spent dressing in protective gear, sanitizing tools, sharpening knives and walking to work stations, among other things.

The AP report continues: "Mauricio Guarjardo of Columbus and Maria Guzman Morales of Dorchester filed the class-action lawsuit Thursday on behalf of themselves and current and former employees going back to September 2005."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Accident East Of Dorchester Closes Hwy 33

A 25-year-old Saline County man was taken by LifeFlight to a Lincoln hospital after a crash about two miles west of Crete just before 7 a.m. Thursday.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Tyler Brandt of Friend had been driving a F-150 pickup westbound on Highway 33 near County Road 1900 when he rear-ended a westbound garbage truck driven by 51-year-old Michael Scott of Beaver Crossing. Saline County Deputy Tom Mitchell said Scott was attempting to make a right turn off the highway.

Crete firefighters extricated Brandt from the truck. There were no other reports of injuries. Brandt was taken by LifeFlight to BryanLGH Medical Center West. He was listed in serious condition as of early Thursday afternoon. The crash closed Highway 33 for at least an hour and a half.