Friday, May 30, 2008

News Briefs: School Clean-Up Complete

  • Clean-Up From Old School Complete: Now that the debris from the 1927 school building has been cleared from the site, construction on the elementary classrooms can begin. The 2008-09 school year is expected to start around Sept. 10 in the new 33,500 square foot addition, which will feature both elementary and high school classrooms, a multi-purpose room with stage, library and administrative offices. Photos of Ayars & Ayars' work on the renovation can be found on the company's site by clicking here. However, no new photos have been added in recent weeks.

  • KETV Features Farmers Co-op: Omaha news crews were in town earlier this week, as KETV in Omaha reported on the rising cost of agricultural inputs, such as fuel and fertilizer. In one year, seed prices have doubled, diesel prices have jumped by $2 and fertilizer prices have tripled, according to KETV's report. Featured in KETV's story was an interview with Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative manager Ron Velder. Velder said the co-op's diesel fuel expenses are $600,000 higher compared to last year. Video of the segment can be viewed on KETV's Web site.

  • Two DHS Hoopsters On All-Nebraska Teams: Two Lady Longhorns are playing summer basketball for statewide elite teams this summer. DHS' Molly Pracheil is a member of the Cornhusker Shooting Stars Regional 17 & under team, while Karmen Lawver is on the roster of the CSS Regional 15 & under team. Many of the summer teams already have begun their seasons. We wish both Molly and Karmen successful summer seasons.

  • Storm Packs Punch, Little Rain: Despite the howling -- and, in some cases, damaging -- winds of Thursday's storms, the Dorchester area received little precipitation. Totals from the Nebraska Rainfall Assessment & Information Network (RAIN), Dorchester area total ranged from 0.35" to 0.28".

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

July 4 Fireworks & Activities Will Go On

The show will go on.

According to Bret Cerny with the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept., the community's annual Independence Day fireworks display and community celebration is back on track and scheduled to take place July 4. There had been serious doubt whether the event would take place this year after Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA) members voted in March to disassociate the organization from the celebration, due in large part to a lawsuit stemming from a July 4 incident in 2005.

In past years, DACA organized the Fourth activities and financed the evening fireworks. However, start-up funds that would normally be used for the 2008 celebration have been consumed by attorney fees to defend DACA against pending legal action by a town resident. "The $2,500 that the DACA normally provides Jeff Stilwagon for the evening fireworks would all have to be raised prior to July 4, a daunting task for a small community," said DACA president Carol Olson earlier this year.

As a result, private citizens will be responsible for raising funds for fireworks and other July 4 activities -- and town residents will be looked upon to provide financial resources for the celebration. According to information sent to the Times, fundraising efforts for this year's fireworks display have already begun.

Donation requests will be mailed shortly to area residents, according to Cerny. All donations can be sent directly to: Saline State Bank Dorchester Branch, 611 Washington St., Dorchester, NE 68343. Donations should be marked as "fireworks."

In addition to the evening fireworks, there will be food at the Legion from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., as well as a taekwondo demonstration at 9:30 p.m. Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

Other activities are currently in the planning process.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Than 170 DHS Alumni Gather At Tabor Hall

More than 170 DHS alumni and guests gathered Saturday at Tabor Hall for the annual alumni banquet. Among the evening's highlights was the display of items recovered from the cornerstone of the 1927 school.

Former physical education instructor and coach Larry Gish was the banquet's keynote speaker. A few former teachers were also in attendance, according to reports, including former business instructor Lois Williams; former principal and teacher Terry Gautreaux; and former art instructor Jan Stehlik. The oldest alumnus attending the event was from DHS' class of 1933, while several members from the class of 2008 also took part in the special evening.

The Times has been informed that Tom Scheffert -- who heads the school's alumni association operations -- gathered five volunteers for the bell monument committee. The old school bell, which once sat atop of the 1890 school, was part of a monument that stood near the 1927 school until about 20 years ago. The bell is currently in storage and will be featured as part of a new monument when the current school construction is complete.

This year's honored class -- the class of 1988 -- held a family picnic at the home of Donnetta (Sand) Hoffman on Friday. All but six of 22 classmates were present. At the banquet, the class members were joined by Jack and Ann Bruha, parents of the late Brian Bruha, who passed tragically just days before graduation 20 years ago. "It was wonderful seeing everyone again as we laughed and reminisced about high school days and got caught up on what we are doing presently," Hoffman said.

Lisa (Vossler) Veprovsky assembled a memory book for each class member; a copy of the book was also given to the alumni association.

On Saturday morning, some of the class members and other DHS alumni got together to golf at the Friend Country Club. They were served lunch by class of 1988 member John Weber’s parents, Bob and Judy, at their home in Friend. (The photos below are courtesy of Times readers and contributors.)

Class of 1988 Family Picnic. Front row: Karen (Krivohlavek) Wiles, Jenny Weber, Bob Kovar, Jason June (holding Brian Bruha’s memorial plaque), Lisa (Vossler) Veprovsky, Michelle (Bors) Hatfield, Donnetta (Sand) Hoffman, Rhonda (Slama) Zoubek, Patty (Logan) Prisbe, LeAnna (Vyhnalek) Hessheimer. Back Row: Brad Andelt, Tim Axline, Dan Rezabek, Greg Kotas.

The Class of 1988 Members & Former High School Teachers. Back Row: Doug Frahm, former principal and teacher Terry Gautreaux, Greg Kotas, Brad Andelt, Karen (Krivohlavek) Wiles. Middle Row: LeAnna (Vyhnalek) Hessheimer, Donnetta (Sand) Hoffman, Bob Kovar, Patty (Logan) Prisbe, Jenny Weber, Michelle (Bors) Hatfield. Sitting, Front Row: former teachers Lois Williams and Larry Gish. Not Pictured: former teacher Jan Stehlik.

Alumni Golf at Friend Country Club. Bob Kovar ('88), Lenny Gish ('89), Angie Andelt Conner ('95), Steve Conner ('87), Greg Kotas ('88), Doug Frahm ('88), Pat Vyhnalek ('89), Brad Andelt ('88), Kelly Vyhnalek ('89), Jenny Weber ('88) and Tim Axline ('88).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cornerstone Contains Mementos From 1920s

There was something inside the old school cornerstone after all. Perhaps not a national treasure, but a town treasure, nonetheless.

The cornerstone was opened Thursday evening, as dozens of onlookers watched.

Sealed inside a metal container, items in the cornerstone included newspapers from Dorchester, Lincoln and Omaha; autographed pictures of the DHS Class of 1928; materials pertaining to Dorchester's Masonic lodge; and information regarding a handful of Dorchester area citizens who resorted to legal tactics in an attempt to prevent the construction of the 1927 school.

The items will be on display at the Dorchester Alumni Banquet this Saturday, the Times has been informed. (UPDATE: 5/22, 11 a.m.) The photos from the cornerstone opening are courtesy of a reader and contributor to the Times. (Click onto pictures for a closer view.)


News Briefs: Alumni Banquet This Saturday

  • DHS Alumni Banquet At Tabor This Saturday: This year's Dorchester High School Alumni Banquet will be held at Tabor Hall this Saturday at 6 p.m. Tabor Hall will open at 4 p.m. for early conversation. The new venue is due to the ongoing school renovation and expansion project. Members of the 20-year class -- the class of 1988 -- sent recently invitations to DHS alumni. If you did not receive an invitation or wish to make a late reservation, alumni are encouraged to call Lois Eret at (402) 946-3981. Other questions should be directed to Donnetta (Sand) Hoffman at (402) 946-2551.

  • Deadline For Garage Sale Listings Is May 28: As reported previously in the Times, Dorchester and Friend are teaming up to co-host a community garage sale day on Saturday, June 14. Event organizers remind us that the Friend Sentinel is running an advertising special -- and the Sentinel's advertising deadline is May 28. For $12, those holding garage sale hosts can get a classified ad of 20 words or less and your address posted on a map that will run in the Sentinel's June 11 issue. Readers may call Carol Olson at or 946-3531, or Vicky Parks at 946-4691 with questions. Forms are available at the village office -- or can be faxed or e-mailed by Olson. Classes and organizations are also encouraged to host garage or sidewalk sales to raise money.
  • Dorchester Flag Retirement Will Be June 14: The Dorchester American Legion Post 264 will host a flag retirement ceremony on June 14. The Flag Day event will begin at 6 p.m. Guest speaker will be state Senator Russ Karpisek. All color guards, Auxilary units and Sons of the American Legion members are encouraged to attend. Those attending are urged to bring their unserviceable flags. For those who cannot attend, worn flags may be dropped off at the Farmers Co-op office in Dorchester. For questions or more information, call Larry Kaspar at (402) 946-6711 or Richard Kasl at (402) 946-7651.

  • Denker, Simmons Graduate From Doane College: Two Dorchester residents were among approximately 350 college graduates who were awarded undergraduate degrees last Sunday during Doane College’s annual commencement exercises. Katy Anne Simmons was awarded her bachelor of science, while Drew Denker received his bachelor of arts. Our hats off to both of our newest college graduates.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Old School Cornerstone To Be Opened 7 P.M. Thursday

The old school cornerstone will be opened tomorrow, May 22, at school board member Matt Hansen's residence at 601 West 9th Street.

Anyone who wants to attend is welcome, according to information sent to the Times.

There has been considerable interest in the cornerstone after some Dorchester area residents speculated last fall that it could contain some interesting items. The cornerstone, which was located in the southeast corner of the 1927 building, was removed by school staff and board members two weeks ago and will be preserved for historical purposes.


Only In Our Memories Now

And just like that, she's gone.

Exactly 80 years and five months after the old Dorchester school was occupied for the first time, the front portion of the building was razed Tuesday. (Equipment and teachers moved into the old school on Dec. 20, 1927 -- eleven months after district voters approved construction of the building -- according to the Dorchester Centennial history book.)

One onlooker who watched the demolition e-mailed the Times, saying: "It wasn't until the building came down did we realize how much work and thought had gone into that building. ...It wasn't until the first wall was knocked down did I realize how many memories that place held. Brick by brick, the old girl was a tribute to the construction and work ethic of that era. She served us well and did us proud."

We couldn't have said it better. We will miss the old school, which stands proudly only in our memories now.

The following pictures were sent to us by a loyal reader and contributor. (UPDATE: 5/21, 10:30 a.m.) New pictures of the fall of the north chimney have been added. (To get a closer view, simply click on the photo.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Demolition Of Old School Begins

It's the final chapter for our old school. At approximately 9:20 a.m. today, crews began the demolition of the 1927 Dorchester School building. At least 125 onlookers gathered on the streets and alley throughout the morning. Many stood in silence as the first bricks fell.

As of 11:30 a.m., most of the old gym and a portion of the new addition hallway had been reduced to rubble.

Earlier in the morning, the one-room schoolhouse -- which had served as a classroom for pre-school, as well as fourth, fifth and sixth grades throughout the years -- was razed.

According to officials at the school, the demolition process will likely take two full days to complete.

* UPDATE: 5/19, 10 p.m. *

As of this evening, much of the main building remained standing for one more sunset. The stage of the old gym remained, as well.

The Times was e-mailed several dozen photos from half a dozen bystanders who witnessed today's historic event. We thank those who took time to send us their shots, since only two members of the Times' staff were able to attend the first day of the demolition -- and neither owned nor felt comfortable using a digital camera.

Here are scenes from today, as crews put an exclamation on the end of an era. (Simply click on a picture for a closer view.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

News Briefs: DHS' Lawver Takes Sixth At State

  • DHS' Lawver Takes Sixth At State: DHS standout Karmen Lawver finished sixth in the discus competition at this weekend's Nebraska State Track & Field Meet in Omaha. The Longhorn sophomore finished her state performance with a toss of 109-5. The gold in the Class D discus event went to Sadie Waugh, Paxton, who threw 127-1. Lawver also competed in the shot put at at the state meet. She finished the regular track & field season in Class D's No. 5 spot for shot put with a top throw of 38-9, and in the No. 3 spot for the discus with a top toss of 120-9. DHS junior Jordan Inderlied also competed at the state meet in the 110 m hurdles. Our congratulations go to both athletes on a successful season. We look forward to seeing your performances again next season.

  • Times Mentioned In Journal Star: In Saturday's Lincoln Journal Star, LJS reporter Cara Pesek cites the Dorchester Times as one of the new alternative media sources sprouting across Nebraska. The article states: "In April 2007 in Dorchester, an anonymous blogger started 'The Dorchester Times,' an online collection of historical facts, calendar information, links to stories about Dorchester in other media and stories and editorials about Dorchester news events." For the record, the Times was started -- and is still maintained -- by our staff of nine Dorchester residents. Nonetheless, we are honored to be mentioned in this piece. As one of the journalists told the Journal Star, there is a demand for services such as the Dorchester Times -- and a niche that larger media outlets simply cannot fill. While we admit there is a steep learning curve in endeavors such as this, we are happy with the results of our community Web site some 13 months since its inception. We hope other Dorchester residents are, as well.

    Feral Cats Takeover Towns: Today, the Omaha World-Herald reports on feral cats plaguing small towns in Nebraska and Iowa. "We've got hundreds of cats, but we don't know what to do," said the mayor of Sidney, Iowa. In Randolph, Iowa, the town has instituted a $5 bounty, or catch fee, for every live cat turned over to the mayor, who planned to find the cats homes or have them euthanized. The story mentions that feral cats largely are the result of irresponsible pet owners. That's not news. What is news is the estimate that two feral cats can produce more than 1,200 cats in two years, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. With more stray cats roaming Dorchester, we hope residents and pet owners will take steps now to insure Dorchester inherit its own army of feral felines.