Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
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.
"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
Mother, wife and farmer
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
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.)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
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.
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 email@example.com.) 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
- 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
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
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.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
- U.S. Senator Ben Nelson: Click on http://bennelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm
- U.S. Senator-elect Mike Johanns: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith: Click on http://www.house.gov/formadriansmith/issues_subscribe.htm
- State Senator Russ Karpisek: E-mail email@example.com
- State Senator/Judiciary Chairman Brad Ashford: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Governor Dave Heinemann: Click on http://www.governor.nebraska.gov/mail/govmail.html
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
(UPDATED: 10:30 p.m., 11/4) -- According to the Saline County Election Clerk's unofficial results, Lyle Weber (104 votes) and Brandon Koll (84 votes) are the newest members of the Dorchester Village Board. Only two votes separated Koll and third-place finisher/incumbent Alan Slepicka (82 votes), who was followed closely in the tally by incumbent Dean Pracheil (78 votes). Ron Kahle (329 votes), Lindsey Zoubek (281 votes) and Bill Boller (210 votes) have been elected to four-year terms on the Dorchester Board of Education. Only seven votes separated Boller and fourth-place finisher Lisa Wells. (Provisional ballots -- those cast by voters who have had recent, unreported changes of address -- have not yet been counted.) Based on exit poll interviews and discussions with Dorchester voters throughout the day, we at the Times had estimated the following local candidates have won their respective races at 8 p.m. Tuesday evening:
- Lyle Weber
- Brandon Koll
- Lindsey Zoubek
- Ron Kahle
- Bill Boller
We can confirm that more than 500 area residents cast votes today at Dorchester's Community Building, likely setting a record in voter turnout for Dorchester.
- U.S. Senate: Mike Johanns (R) defeated Scott Kleeb (D), 57%-40%.
- U.S. Congress (NE-03): Rep. Adrian Smith (R) beat Jay Stoddard (D), 77%-23%.
- State Affirmative Action Initiative: Affirmative action banned. 57% for the ban; 43% against.
Dorchester voted 257-217 for John McCain over Barack Obama, who won the presidency with 52% of the national vote.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The results of the May vote were as follows:
- Kahle (incumbent) -- 170 votes;
- Zoubek -- 131 votes;
- Boller (incumbent) -- 120 votes;
- Wells -- 92 votes;
- Burkey -- 79 votes;
- Jacobson -- 66 votes; and
- Hoffman -- 32 votes.
All the school board candidates listed above, except Mikki Hoffman, will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. The top three vote recipients will go on to serve four-year terms.
RACE FOR DORCHESTER VILLAGE BOARD
- Jeff Jacobson;
- Todd Jensen;
- Brandon Koll;
- Dean Pracheil (incumbent);
- Alan Slepicka (incumbent); and
- Lyle Weber.