Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, Dorchester!

The Times wishes all our readers a Happy New Year.

To those of you in Dorchester and the surrounding area, we echo the words of M*A*S*H*'s Col. Sherman T. Potter, who once toasted the 4077th in a New Year's episode of the hit TV program, saying: "Here's to the New Year. May she be a damned sight better than the old one."

To our readers who once called the Dorchester area home but now reside elsewhere, we quote Col. Potter again: "And may we all be home before she's over."

We hope the new year is your best year yet. See you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Chicago Comedy Set In Dorchester

They say any publicity is positive. We will have to see if that proves true after we read the reviews of one of the newest comedies to hit the stage in Chicago.

A new theater production in the Windy City is called "It Came Upon a Midnight Queen." The comedy is currently playing at Chicago's Chemically Imbalanced Theater.

The following is the theatre's summary of the play:

Dorchester Nebraska, population 700, is being hit hard by the tough economy. People are loosing jobs, and business are being closed. When ten year old Annie Mitchell finds out her town Community Center is going to close she decides to stage the BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER to save her town. All she needs is a big name celebrity to star in it. After she tries fan web sites, and calls to managers she makes a YouTube video plea to get Nebraska born native Nick Nolte to be in the play. The video becomes an overnight viral sensation and Annie becomes the celebrity needed to save her small town. She stars in the pageant she wrote, "It Came Upon a Midnight Queen" -- the birth, life and death of Jesus inspired by the music of Queen. But is an Internet star a big enough name to make the $10,000 needed to save her town? Find out in this hilarious and wild new holiday show.
Yes, you heard correctly. Dorchester is staring in the latest Windy City comedy. Is it destined to become a classic? (Moreover, why did the playwright choose Dorchester as her setting?) If you plan to be in the Chicago area soon, find out for yourself at the Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. Show dates are: Jan. 8 at 8 p.m.; Jan.9 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.; and Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; order by clicking here or calling (800) 838-3006.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DHS Hoopsters In Action Today, Tomorrow

In the world of high school hoops, it is holiday tournament time. This year, both DHS basketball teams will travel to Stromsburg for the Cross County holiday tourney.

Action for both the DHS boys and girls teams begins today (Dec. 29). The boys will take to the court at 1 p.m. to play the tourney host, Cross County. The winner will play again tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. in the championship game, challenging the victor of the Deshler vs. Exeter-Milligan contest. The boys' consolation game will start at 4:45 p.m. tomorrow.

The Lady Longhorns will play at 2:30 p.m. today, also doing battle with Cross County. The girls' championship will start tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and the consolation at 1 p.m.

Go 'Horns!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ring In 2010 In Dorchester

There are always plenty of things to do in Dorchester. This New Year's Eve will not be an exception.

On Dec. 31, Joe's Place Bar & Grill is offering its traditional Thursday night hot wings and beer specials, beginning at 5 p.m. Later in the evening, the party will really get started with the Joe's Place New Year Celebration, complete with karaoke. If you want to celebrate and let loose, Joe's is the place to be. Come early -- a full house is expected. Call (402) 946-2171 for more details.

On the other side of Main Street, be sure to check out Ben's Iron Grill, the finest restaurant in Saline County. Ben's Iron Grill features daily lunch specials if you prefer to get out early on Dec. 31. But if you'd rather do dinner, New Year's Eve will feature the grand opening of the new dining room and kitchen, which is getting rave reviews! The grand opening will begin at 5 p.m. Beat the crowd by calling for reservations at (402) 946-2104. Walk-ins are welcome, too.

Spend New Year's Eve in Dorchester and ring in 2010 on the right note.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dorchester Electric Rates Set To Spike 7%

Like residents in many other Nebraska communities, Dorchester citizens will soon see a sizable rate increase in their future electric bills. At this month's Village Board meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve a 7 percent increase on electric bills, according to the board minutes.

Other major actions taken by the village board include approving construction of the water treatment lagoon. The project will be completed by Van Kirk Brothers of Sutton. The board also voted unanimously to grant Ben's Iron Grill the authority to offer KENO.

The board voted 5-0 to increase fees for renting the Dorchester Community Building. Renting the community hall will now require a deposit of $250 plus damages.

The next board meeting will be held Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Whiteout Conditions As Wind Chill Values Hit -18

This is first time in two generations that blizzard conditions have ravaged the Dorchester area on Christmas Day. Power has been knocked out in several homes in the Dorchester area countryside and in nearby communities, such as Milford. Fortunately, no power outages are reported in Dorchester. The Nebraska State Patrol has closed Westbound Interstate 80 from Omaha to Lincoln and both directions of I-80 between Lincoln and Grand Island due to dangerous travel conditions. Highway 6 is also closed and county roads are not being maintained. Travel is not advised. Snow and blowing snow with wind gusts as high as 41 mph have virtually closed many secondary highways in the central and eastern parts of the state. (US Highway 6 is closed at Friend due to several jackknifed semis in town blocking all lanes. US Highway 81 has also been closed north and south about 1 mile south of Geneva due to an accident. Highway 74 in Saline County from Highway 15 west to the Saline-Fillmore county line is closed due to blowing, drifting snow. Travel is not allowed on this highway and is not encouraged on any county roads and highways within the county.) FORECAST FOR TONIGHT: Snow and widespread blowing snow. Temperature rising to around 17 by 2 a.m. Windy, with a northwest wind between 23 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. FORECAST FOR SATURDAY: Snow likely and areas of blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 20. Blustery, with a northwest wind between 18 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. See the latest radar by clicking here. For the latest weather warnings, please check with the National Weather Service.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS Alum Elected To Top Spot For Neb. Architects

  • DHS Grad Nohavec Named Architects' President: The Times has received an e-mail notifying us that DHS alumna Kristi M. Nohavec has been elected 2010 president of The American Institute of Architects, Nebraska Chapter. Nohavec is employed by The Clark Enersen Partners, Inc. in Lincoln. According to a spot in the Lincoln Journal Star, The American Institute of Architects is the voice of the architectural profession and the resource for its members in service to society. Our congratulations to Kristi.

  • Eret, Havlat Get Degrees From UNL: On Saturday, Dec. 19, two Dorchester graduates received their degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Earning her Bachelor of Journalism was Kelli Eret, while Brian Havlat received his B.S. in Business Administration. We salute both Longhorns on their notable academic achievement.

  • Former DPS Custodian Vossler Passes Away: On Dec. 19, Fred L. Vossler Sr., 95, of Dorchester, passed away in Crete. Born in 1914, Fred was an Amry veteran from WWII. He served as a custodian at Dorchester Public Schools for several years and was a long-time area farmer; member St. John's Lutheran Church, Kramer; former member Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Crete; and American Legion, Dorchester. He is survived by: wife, Ellen, Dorchester; daughter, Janice Casey, Alfred Station, N.Y.; stepdaughters and spouses, Mary and Marvin Stuenkel-Lang, Uehling, Neb., RoseMarie and Charles Hollingsworth, Cairo, Neb.; 13 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews. Preceded in death by parents; 1st wife, Helen; son, Fred, Jr.; granddaughter, Suzanne Stuenkel; great-granddaughter, Emily Tharp. Funeral and interment at Dorchester Cemetery were Dec. 22. Memorials to Dorchester Fire and Rescue or donor's choice. Condolences and full obituary by clicking here.

  • Leadership Program In Dorchester?: The Associated Press reports that three smaller Nebraska towns -- Pawnee City, Red Cloud and Union -- will participate in the Nebraska Community Improvement Program Leadership Development Challenge. The program, offered through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, offers curriculum to help communities build on their current leadership and volunteerism levels. We wonder if there is sufficient interest in Dorchester to establish such a partnership?

OPEN FORUM: December 2009

New month, new open forum for Times readers. Here is your chance to say something, report breaking news or ask a question -- on any issue. Any topic is fair game, although the Times' comment policy still applies. (Please see the bottom of the left-hand column.)

The Times' Web site averages nearly 400 hits a day, according to an independent tracking service. That means the Times is the perfect forum to air your thoughts, news tips, announcements, complaints and concerns.

Some experts say western culture is losing the spirit of community that once thrived in institutions including churches and community clubs. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg states that people need three places: 1) the home, 2) the office, and, 3) the community hangout or gathering place. With this philosophy in mind, consider this Dorchester's community online hangout. Go ahead and sound off. We are listening.

2010 Alumni Basketball Tourney Set For March 19-21

Two DHS alums have informed the Times that the annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament will be held this year on March 19, 20 and 21. We do not yet know if an alumni volleyball tourney will coincide with the yearly event, as was the case last year.

The Times will keep readers abreast of developments as more information is received.

For results from the 2009 DHS Alumni Tournament, click here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DHS Wrestlers Rolling Along Early In Season

The DHS wrestling team is off to another solid start this year, with three Longhorn grapplers ranked in the Lincoln Journal Star's statewide polls. (See the Times' story from earlier this week.) The DHS wrestling program continues to get noticed locally and by sports writers across Nebraska.

Thanks to a report by an insider with the DHS wrestling program, the Times can report the results from this season's first three wrestling matches. They are as follows:

Dec. 5 - Friend Lil' Dawg Invite (Team Finish: 3rd Place)
  • Jordan Jensen: 4th place
  • Jeremy Inderlied: 1st place
  • Brandon Schwisow: 2nd place
  • Sid Stern: 2nd place
  • Adam Kahle: 1st place
  • Russel Barak: 1st place
Dec. 10 - Bob Oliver Invite at Meridian (Team Finish: 1st Place)
  • Jordan Jensen: 1st place
  • Jeremy Inderlied: 1st place
  • Brandon Schwisow: 1st place
  • Kyle Cerny: 3rd place
  • Sid Stern: 2nd place
  • Alec Lisec: 4th place
  • Adam Kahle: 2nd place
  • Dave Hochstetler: 2nd place
  • Russel Barak: 1st place
Dec. 12 - Osceola Invite
  • Jordan Jensen: 4th place
  • Jeremy Inderlied: 2nd place
  • Brandon Schwisow: 1st place
  • Kyle Cerny: 3rd place
  • Sid Stern: 2nd place
  • Alec Lisec: 2nd place
  • Adam Kahle: 1st place
  • Dave Hochstetler: 3rd place
  • Russel Barak: 2nd place
The Longhorns' next tournament is this Saturday, Dec. 19, at Dorchester. Local wrestling fans and DHS supporters are encouraged to attend.

Burrows To Graduate With Health Sciences Degree Saturday

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the BryanLGH College of Health Sciences' graduation is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Sheridan Lutheran Church in Lincoln.

Among this year's graduates is DHS alumna Ashlee Burrows of Dorchester. We commend Ashlee for her hard work and graduation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS Dropping To Class D2 Next School Year

  • DHS Dropping To Class D2: According to an e-mail from a school insider, Dorchester High School will be dropping from Class D1 to Class D2 in athletic activities for the next two school years. It will not be the first time DHS has been in Class D2 since the early 1990s. The change was approved by the Nebraska School Activities Association at the organization's autumn meeting. Joining DHS in the switch to class D2 is Pawnee City, Bertrand, Creek Valley, Silver Lake, Exeter-Milligan, Humphrey, Howells, Meridian, Amherst, Wilcox-Hildreth, Mead, Eustis-Farnam, Wauneta-Palisade, Giltner, Clarkson, Leyton, Medicine Valley.

  • Longhorns Honored By World-Herald: DHS senior Adam Kahle has been named to the Omaha World-Herald's Nebraska high school football all-class honorable mention selections. In volleyball, DHS' Karmen Lawver, Charity Springer, and Melinda Havlat were all named to the World-Herald's honor roll. Our congratulations to all these Longhorn athletes.

  • Pot Use Up Among U.S. Teens: A wire story reports more teens nationwide are smoking pot, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. About 21% of U.S. 12-graders and 16% of 10-graders said they have used marijuana within the past month. The institute says the increase is due mostly to lax attitudes and the perception that pot is not dangerous. Meanwhile, thousands of police officers, innocent children in tough neighborhoods, family members, and others have been killed this year at the hands of drug dealers and cartels. We wonder if the teens who use drugs -- mostly middle and upper-class white kids -- or any of their parents would be willing to face the relatives of the victims who were killed thanks to their purchase of pot and other illegal drugs? Or do they even care?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Get Your Last Minute Gifts In Dorchester -- And Donate A Few Dollars

(Updated -- 12/15, 4:33 p.m.) With Christmas only days away, some of you are probably scrambling for last-minute gift ideas. Why not consider buying gift certificates from Ben's Iron Grill, Joe's Place Bar & Grill, Dorchester Grocery, Donna's Hair Creations, Farmers Cooperative Gas Station, Tysers Repair and other Dorchester area businesses?

As one reader e-mailed us recently, it just makes sense to buy Christmas gifts locally instead of purchasing "the cheap, imported Chinese products that add to America's trade deficit."

Other ideas include visiting Hedgehog & Hubbies Antique Shop on the west edge of town. The antique shop has a number of Dorchester and DHS vintage items. Or help a local farmer and buy a corn burning stove.

Finally, during this time of giving, don't forget the importance of contributing to area philanthropies and charitable groups, or volunteering to help with local projects and organizations. Consider sending some well-deserved funds to the Dorchester Area Community Foundation. As mentioned by a Times' reader, the Havlat Historical Marker is in place at the Saline County Museum. The next project on the list is "Welcome to Dorchester" signs. Your donations to the DACF are tax deductible. Make checks payable to: Dorchester Area Community Foundation, c/o Peg Bergmeyer, 101 Washington, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Also, think about sending monthly donation to the Dorchester Methodist Church or Dorchester's Saline Baptist Ministries, whether or not you're a member. Volunteer to see how you can improve the appearance of Dorchester's Main Street and the downtown business area.

The Times welcomes your ideas on how to make the Christmas season just a little better in our community.

Three DHS Wrestlers In Latest LJS Rankings

DHS has become a consistent power in Class D wrestling. The latest rankings of individual wrestlers is further proof of that fact. The Lincoln Journal Star has ranked the following Longhorn grapplers in the paper's top six:
  • 119 lbs.: No. 6. Jeremy Inderlied, DHS.
  • 145 lbs.: No. 5. Adam Kahle, DHS.
  • 189 lbs.: No. 3. Russell Barak, DHS.
Our congratulations to these outstanding DHS athletes and their coaches.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

State Accepting Community Block Grant Applications In Janurary

A reader has notified the Times that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development will award a third cycle of 2009 Community Development Block Grant planning grants soon. Dorchester leaders should note that applications will be accepted beginning Jan. 11.

The process will remain open until all funding is gone, according to the notice. For a copy of the application guidelines, click here. For more information, contact Kevin Andersen at 1-800-426-6505 or

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saline County Receives Between 9-10" Overnight

Reports from around Saline County reveal that most of the county's towns received between nine and 10 inches of snow as of 1 a.m. Wednesday morning and consistent wind speeds of 25-35 mph with gusts reaching 42 mph.

The National Weather Service warned of “extremely dangerous blizzard conditions” and near whiteout driving conditions throughout the Midwest. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph could build snow drifts between 8 and 15 feet tall.

Our location in Dorchester received an average of just over 8". Developing...

A Stroll Around Town: Dorchester's Top Christmas Displays

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Dorchester. We are encouraged once again this year to see so many displays of Christmas cheer. From one end of town to the other, friends, neighbors and passersby have plenty of visual treats. We want to know which Dorchester-area homes you think best reflect the Christmas spirit. What Dorchester residence gets your vote for best holiday display? Give us your nomination in the comments section of this post or e-mail us photos of your favorites at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

H1N1 Vaccinations Offered Dec. 10

According to a notice sent to the Times, Public Health Solutions District (PHSD) in Crete will hold an H1N1 vaccination clinic Thursday, Dec. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. for all priority groups, including pregnant women; persons who live with or provide care for infants less than 6 months old; healthcare providers and EMS personnel; children 6 months to 24 years of age; and those with chronic health conditions and long-term problems.

The clinics will be free of charge and run until capacity is reached. For additional information, click here or contact Kim Plouzek, Emergency Response Coordinator, at (402) 826-7075. 995 The PHSD office is located at East Highway 33, Suite 1, in Crete.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Up To 17 Inches Of New Snowfall In Dorchester; School Closed Tues.

(UPDATED -- 10:15 p.m.) After examining several computer models, including that of the National Weather Service, the Dorchester Times predicts up to 17 inches of new snowfall could be on the ground in town by early Wednesday. Dorchester Public School is closed Tuesday. Click here for the latest Dorchester forecast or click on the Times' forecast icon in the left sidebar. Any new snowfall would be on top of the three inches that fell Sunday night.

Beginning mid-Tuesday, wind gusts of nearly 40 mph will bring blizzard conditions. Law enforcement and emergency management officials are urging area residents to stay home. For those who must be on the roads, they are advised to slow down and wait for roads to be cleared.

Saline County Emergency Management coordinator B.J. Fictum said in a news release that the county is working to prepare for the upcoming storm. “We are currently coordinating the county’s response to the larger winter storm Tuesday and Wednesday and are urging people not to travel on Tuesday or early Wednesday unless absolutely necessary."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dorchester Loses Two Community Members

On Wednesday evening, Dorchester lost longtime resident LeRoy A. Vyhnalek, 65, when he passed at home. Born June 18, 1944 to William and Dorothy (Wendelin) Vyhnalek, LeRoy was a veteran and served in the Army from 1962 to 1966. He was also a former Dorchester village employee, businessman and community supporter.

He is preceded in death by his parents. Survivors are his children, LeAnna and Tim Hessheimer of Dorchester, Patrick and Erin Vyhnalek of Lincoln, Kelly Vyhnalek and fiance Jamie Bruns of Dorchester, Philip and Nicole Loseke of Milford, Pamela Loseke of Lincoln; grandchildren, Katlin and Karmen Lawver, Kelly, Grace, and Jack Vyhnalek, Tim Hessheimer, Jr.; sisters and spouses, Sherry and Dick Sehnert of Wildamor, Calif., Elaine and Jim Lantz of Lincoln; brother and spouse, Fred and Nancy Vyhnalek; nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete, with Rev. Roger Wolfe officiating. Visitation is Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Family will receive friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Interment: Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials in care of the family.

Also on Wednesday, former resident Mildred Mateja, 85, passed away peacefully at her home in Milford. She was born in Dorchester and is survived by daughter, Pat Dolan, Woodbine, Iowa; son, Micheal Mateja, Lincoln; ten grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; sisters, Marilyn Johnson, Milford; Eileen Cordry, Fairbury; brother, Forrest Simpson, Thornton, Colo.

Funeral service is 11 a.m., Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Seward. Interment, Dorchester Cemetery. Visitation, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home in Milford and one hour prior to service at the church. Memorials to family.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DHS Boys Rated No. 9 In Omaha W-H Poll; Season Starts Friday

The DHS boys' basketball team is charged up and ready for action in the corral. And sports reporters around the state think the team has some serious potential.

The Omaha World-Herald has DHS rated No. 9 in its pre-season poll for Class D1. Humphrey St. Francis sits atop the World-Herald poll, while rival Shelby is No. 6. The Longhorns will take on Shelby on Jan. 5. In Class D2, DHS opponents Sterling and Giltner are No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. No other Saline County schools are ranked.

The Longhorns, coming off a 12-7 season last year, will be led by first-year coach Jake Snodgrass. DHS will feature three senior starters, including Brandon Zoubek and Alex Walton, who each averaged in double figures last season.

Meanwhile, the DHS Lady Longhorns are also preparing for another successful run. The girls will be coached again by Coach Steve Fusco, now in his 4th year at DHS. The Lady Longhorns went 18-4 last season and finished with a No. 6 ranking. Seniors Charity Springer and Karmen Lawver return to lead DHS.

Both teams begin play tomorrow (Dec. 4) at Exeter, followed by another road contest on Dec. 8 at Diller-Odell.

Joe's Place Founder, Namesake Ladman Passes At 90

The Times has learned that longtime Dorchester resident Joe Ladman, who founded Joe's Place Bar and Grill, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Friend Manor. Ladman was 90.

Born March 1, 1919 to Joe and Matilda (Divoky) Ladman, Joe was a veteran and served during World War II.

Survivors include daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Dwayne Schmale of Dorchester; step-grandson and wife, Jeff and Nicki Schmale of Lincoln; sisters, Ella Vajgrt of Rupert, Idaho, Albie Hoffman of York, Tillie Soukup of Friend; brother-in-law, Joe Kudelka of Rupert, Idaho. Several nieces and nephews are also survivors. Ladman was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Shirley; brothers, Ed and Ray; sister, Irene Kudelka; and brothers-in-law James Vajgrt, Clarence Engel, Arnie Soukup, Clarence Hoffman.

Services will be held tomorrow (Dec. 4) at 10:30 a.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete, Rev. Roger Wolfe officiating. Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. today (Dec. 3) at the funeral home. Interment at Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials in care of the family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lawver Receives All-State Honors

DHS senior Karmen Lawver has been named to the Lincoln Journal Star's Class D1 all-state honorable mention team for the 2009 volleyball season, according to a note received by the Times. The full listing of Journal Star's all-state volleyball selections can be found here.

Our congratulations to Karmen on her outstanding DHS volleyball career.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Saline County Veterans Memorial Planned

According to The Crete News, a small group of residents from across Saline County are working to raise funds to honor the 3,200 veterans that have called Saline County home.

Organizations such as the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV) and Sons of the American Legion (SAL) are assisting in the project, which is being led in part by Bernice Weber of Dorchester, treasurer of the volunteer group.

The Crete News reports: "The northwest corner of the courthouse lawn in Wilber will be home to the Saline County Veterans Memorial. ... Ideas came from months of researching and traveling to look at memorials around the state including North Platte, Lincoln, Beatrice and Marysville, Kan. ... The committee chose the design from a total of 12 submitted by an architecture class as Southeast Community College at Milford."

The total estimated cost of the project is $100,000, including the kiosk, which is expected to be added at a later date. The committee plans on a summer construction schedule. About $53,000 has been raised already.

If you would like to help make the Saline County Veterans Memorial become a reality, send your contributions to Bernice Weber, Treasurer, SCVM, P.O. Box 251, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taking Time To Give Thanks

Every now and again, the Times receives an e-mail that we feel compelled to share with the all of our readers. Last year, we received the following message, reprinted here with the permission of the author. Happy Thanksgiving from the Times' staff.

Sweet home Dorchester! Oh sweet Nebraska! On thisThanksgiving 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 Imissed 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 (the producers and providers)
8.) Not being honked at in your car when you don't run a (the one and only) 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 that Dorchester is my home.


Name Withheld
Mother, Wife and Farmer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Business Spotlight: Kohout's Christmas Trees

With Christmas only a 30 days away, we wanted to recognize Kohout's Christmas and Landscape Trees, which has served the Dorchester area for several years.

The Kohout tree farm opens the right after Thanksgiving. This year's business days and hours are: Nov. 27-29; Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20; 9 a.m. until dark .Some of the customer perks include: hay rack rides to and from the field; complimentary hot chocolate , popcorn and cookies; and free coloring books for kids. Christmas tree varieties include Scotch Pine and White Pine.

At Kohout's, wreaths, swags, tree stands, bags and other Christmas items are also for sale. Trees will be shook and netted for free.

Located at 1214 State Highway 15, just southwest of Dorchester, the Kohout tree farm may be contacted by phone at (402) 946-6531 or by e-mail at

Another Grant Opportunity Found At Norris Public Power

Another grant opportunity has been brought to our attention. In 2001, the Norris Public Power District -- which serves the Village of Dorchester -- launched the "Operation Round Up" program and the Norris Power Goodwill Fund. This fund is administered by a board of directors that meets quarterly to consider requests and make disbursements.

The funding, which comes from voluntary contributions made by Norris customers, will be used to address crucial needs such as medical care, emergency shelter, life saving equipment, fire departments, rescue squads, scholarships, 4-H clubs, special school activities or projects, playgrounds, etc. within the District's five county service area including Saline County. Recently, the Tri County High School Booster Club received a donation to purchase a scorekeeper table for basketball and wrestling contests.

For grant guidelines, click here. To get an application, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Grow, Kansas Towns Give Away Free Land

Reader "90s Grad" sent us a link to a USA Today story that we thought should be shared with other Times' readers.

In Ellsworth, Kansas -- a town of 2,900 with one grocery store, one stoplight and no mall, no fast food and no movie theater -- free land awaits those who agree to build a house. "Got three kids in school? OK, that's worth $3,000 toward a down payment. Need jobs? We'll help you find them. Still not sure? Come visit, we'll show you around."

One former Louisiana family interviewed by USA Today say crime and poor schools drove them from Baton Rouge to Ellsworth, which they say "has everything you could want." "It's quiet. You don't have to worry about your kids. Very low crime rate. Lots of recreation."

The story continues: "The proactive mind-set here and in at least five other Kansas towns that give away lots to lure new residents is one wrinkle in a new economic development strategy sweeping across rural America. The goal is to reverse decades of population loss from the decline of small family farms and businesses, expand the tax base, keep schools from closing and preserve a way of life."

"The new mantra is don't waste time and money trolling for a major employer; instead, build one family at a time. Encourage small-business start-ups and develop aggressive local leaders. Fight 'brain drain' by reaching into high schools and finding students willing to return after college. Nurture them with internships or hitch them to a business owner looking to retire. Ask seniors to will 5% of their estates to the town they love to endow economic development. Preach entrepreneurship and the promise of the Internet economy."

"(E)conomic gardening is affordable and can unite a town. ... Ord, Neb. has made seven small-business loans from a 1-cent sales-tax fund."

See the Ellsworth, Kan. recruitment Web site by clicking here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crete Cares Campaign Begins In Dorchester

Carol Olson reports that Crete Cares is kicking off its 36th annual drive.

This year, as in many past, the Crete Ministerial Association has graciously included Dorchester in this very worthwhile cause. On Dec. 19, volunteers from the Dorchester United Methodist Church will meet at the Dorchester Grocery to deliver food boxes to families who have fallen on hard times, as well as fruit baskets to honor our seniors who reside in our community.

John Bruha of the Dorchester Grocery has accepted responsibility for packing the boxes and baskets again this year.

If you know of a family in need of a little extra lift this Christmas season -- or maybe you want to thank a senior citizen for their contribution to our community -- please call Bethlehem Lutheran Church at (402) 826-4359 and provide the name and address of the Dorchester area family or individual.

If you can afford to give a little and would like to donate to a worthy cause, now would be a good time to give back and send any dollars you can to Crete Cares, P.O. Box 343, Crete, NE 68333.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DHS Grad Blogging From South Korea

A faithful Dorchester Times reader informs us of a blog authored by 2001 DHS graduate Abe Springer, who has spent the past nine months half a world away -- in Seoul, South Korea -- where he teaches English to adults and youth.

On his blog, entitled The SoKo Gazette, Springer reports: "The Land of Morning Calm has been really good to me. I never imagined I would enjoy eastern civilization as much as I have thus far; but at the same time I also never fathomed being absent from my native soil for so long. I've made life long friends, enjoyed new customs, started writing for an international culture and entertainment magazine (that's now being distributed in New York and LA), been on dates with numerous Korean women (some who spoke very shoddy English) and learned so many things that I was oblivious to prior to coming to SoKo."

Springer also writes: "Koreans know that the majority of Americans haven't the foggiest of a clue where Samsung or LG are manufactured (along with dozens of other major companies that even small children should know about such as KIA, Hyundai, etc) and they are paying close attention to our world rankings slipping each and every month. There is great curiosity as to how a place with as much to offer as the U.S. is becoming a disturbing puppet for the Chinese. ... (T)hey just want to know what happened to the America from the past. And this is (from) a country that likes us! "

To see Springer's SoKo Gazettee blog, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saline County Journalist Featured In Journal Star

Lincoln Journal Star reporter and columnist Cindy Lange-Kubick dedicated her Saturday column to longtime area journalist and emergency management director B.J. Fictum of Wilber.

Fictum, who covers Dorchester athletics, has "suffered a run of bad luck. Complications from diabetes have settled in his left foot and surgery after surgery -- and months in and out of the hospital -- have left him saddled to a wheelchair, his medical expenses mounting." Click here for the Journal Star column.

Yesterday was B.J. Fictum day in Wilber. A big breakfast with a freewill donation and a silent auction were held at Sokol Hall. The fundraiser for Fictum was also featured on Sunday night's 10 p.m. KOLN-KGIN newscast.

The Times is unaware of any special accounts for additional donations to assist with Fictum's health care expenses. However, if such an account exists, we encourage readers to share information with fellow residents and Saline County natives. Moreover, we urge Dorchester area residents to be generous and show their appreciation for Fictum's extraordinary service to our community and county.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS Takes State's Top Journalism Award

  • DHS Takes Top Honors In Yearbook Contest: The Nebraska High School Press Association has announced that Dorchester High School is the Class D winner of the 2009 Cornhusker Awards, the association's highest honor for high school yearbooks and newspapers. DHS and Bertrand shared the Class D honor, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

  • Zemunski Gets Degree: Kaplan University's Lincoln campus held a graduation ceremony recently for 120 students. Receiving her bachelor of science degree was Tonya Zemunski of Dorchester.

  • Are Nebraska High School Athletes Losing A Step?: A link sent to us by read "CJ" asserts that Nebraska high school football players aren't what they used to be. According to a story posted on, Nebraka's high school class of 2009 had nine players that received Division 1A offers, but only seven signed on the dotted line. Only two Nebraskans in the 2009 class found their way to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a scholarship -- and the Nebraska ‘09 walk-on class was pretty small too. The blog asks: "What does this all say about the state of Nebraska high school football; its relationship with the current Husker staff; and the future ramifications of it all?"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Glimpse At Future Health Care In Saline County?

A local Saline County doctor has sent the Dorchester Times this link on federal health care reform initiatives.

In the physician's e-mail to the Times, he said this story, conducted by ABC News, provides "a glimpse at what future health care may look like in our area should Congress pass health care legislation now being debated on Capitol Hill."

The Times typically reserves its space for local issues. However, due to the impact that Washington, D.C. has on the lives of our fellow citizens, and the fact this was sent to us by a local health care provider, we decided to post this important story. Click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

OPEN FORUM: November 2009

New month, new open forum for Times readers.

Here is your chance to say something, report breaking news or ask a question -- on any issue. Any topic is fair game, although the Times' comment policy still applies. (Please see the bottom of the left-hand column.)

The Times' Web site averages more than 300 page views a day, according to an independent tracking service. That means the Times is the perfect forum to air your thoughts, news tips, announcements, complaints and concerns.

So go ahead and sound off. We are listening.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Property Cleanup Successful In Small Nebraska Town

Reader "90s Grad" reports on a successful cleanup program down the road on Highway 6 in southwest Nebraska. "Perhaps we in Dorchester can take a page from Wauneta (pop. 625) and model a program after their property improvement program," writes "90s Grad."

According to a report in The Wauneta Breeze, "significant strides have been made in cleaning up neglected and aging properties around Wauneta, and more improvements are in the works." Village Superintendent Bill Bischoff and board members "expressed their appreciation for property owners taking steps to help improve the community."

The Breeze also reports, "While a formal announcement is still pending from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, village board members received word that the request for $315,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds has been OK'd for owner-occupied housing upgrades and improvements in Wauneta."

Reader "90s Grad" wrote: "Why can't we in Dorchester be more pro-active in seeking grants for simple, realistic ideas like clean-up of neglected or abandoned properties? Would any board members pledge to insure that we do a better job of seeking such opportunities? I still think a town hall meeting at the community hall on this issue would be worthwhile."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Water Issue Generates Commentary, Questions

Our Oct. 26 post regarding drinking water issues has generated much conversation.

Reader Kelly Brummett reported that "all Dorchester residents need to vigorously boil all drinking and cooking water until further notice or use an alternate source." She also noted "there are contaminants in the water."

Many readers have been disappointed in the Village and this publication for not doing a better job in alerting residents. Others suggest new water policy. See the latest commentary on the water subject by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dorchester Cemetery Is Part Of Gravestone Project Archives

An anonymous reader has sent us the following report:

Dorchester Times readers should all know about the Nebraska Gravestone Photo Project. The mission of this project is to capture digital images of gravestones of our ancestors.

As decades pass, many stones are becoming harder, if not impossible, to read the inscriptions they originally contained. By archiving the images, we can help save these important records and also assist researchers using this valuable resource.

Nebraska Gravestone Photo Project has surpassed the 103,000 gravestone photographs. We are currently seeking volunteers to help take and upload photos for many counties across Nebraska. If you have an interest in volunteering for this rewarding part-time activity please contact the project's state administrator.

To see the Dorchester Cemetery archive at the Nebraska Gravestone Photo Project, click here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Residents Warned To Boil Water For Consumption

  • Report: Boil Your Water: Kelly Brummett reports that "all Dorchester residents need to vigorously boil all drinking and cooking water until further notice, or use an alternate source." She notes "there are contaminants in the water." This warning "is posted on the marque and there is a notice posted in the post office." Call the Village Office for more information at (402) 946-3201.

  • Ducks Unlimited Banquet Next Week: On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Saline County Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual banquet at 6 p.m., at the Saline County Fairgrounds, Ag Hall, in Crete. Contact: Robert, (402) 826-9052 or

  • Importance Of Small Town Grocery Stores: DHS alumnus Mike Feeken sent us an story from the Boomtown Institute on the importance of hometown grocery stores. "Rural grocery stores are small businesses, providing jobs and generating tax revenue that support the community. Without a local store, the payroll and tax revenue that our food purchases generate go elsewhere. ... Similar to a school, post office, restaurant and churches, a grocery store makes a community a more attractive place to live. Grocery stores can also be social places where you run into neighbors in the produce aisle, introduce yourself to someone new in town, or catch up on local news with the cashier. Without a local grocery store, residents miss out on these benefits." The story notes several models used by communities around the nation to keep their local grocery store. See the story by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saline County Farms See Drop In Ave. Size, Subsidies

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has just launched the results of its 2007 census of agriculture. Some of its findings may surprise you.

According to a USDA release, Saline County lost 26 farms from 2002 to 2007, a loss of 4%. The county's average farm size actually fell from 474 acres to 425 acres, a notable shift from recent trends.

About 200 Saline County farms are in the "50-179 acre" category. The second largest category is the "180-499 acre" group. Around 100 Saline County farms claim more than 1,000 acres, while another 100 hold 10-49 acres.

The average Saline County farm has a net farm income of $69,722, according to the census.

The average Saline County farm has seen a decrease in federal farm bill crop subsidies -- from $10,207 in 2002 to $9,293 in 2007. However, county farmers received about $5.6 million in 2007, an 8% increase from 2002.

Saline County ranks 34th of 93 Nebraska counties in corn production; 23rd in soybean production; and 6th in sorghum production. In livestock production, Saline County is 33rd of 93 in hogs and pigs; 83rd in cattle and calves; and 4th in broilers and other meat-type chickens.

To see the USDA agriculture census summary, click here.