Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Community Leadership Program Offers Introductory Meetings

Free regional meetings in April and May will be held to review the new Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) and its Leadership Development Challenge -- including its curriculum and benefits, the application process, and why all community volunteers should boldly step up to the challenge.

NCIP is a program of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The NCIP Leadership Development Challenge is designed to increase communities' leadership, volunteer and planning capacity.

The meetings nearest to Dorchester will be held April 29, 7-9 p.m. at Hastings, Central Community College; and May 6, 7-9 p.m. at Pawnee City. The registration form can be found online at www.neded.org/content/view/117/243.

For more information, contact: Christina Bartels, (402) 471-3172 or christina.bartels@nebraska.gov.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jr. High Presents 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' On March 31

The public is invited to attend the Dorchester Junior High School's theater production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" tomorrow evening, March 31.

In addition to the play, high school and junior high drama and speech awards for the 2008-2009 school year will be presented at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The play will begin in the new multi-purpose room/theater immediately following the award ceremony.

Admission price for the play is $3 for kindergarten students through adults.

The Times has learned that audience members will be treated to a new twist in the use of technology used to enhance the play's scenery. OompaLoompas (K-4 grade students) and Oompa Loompa helpers (5th grade ladies) will also be on hand to add to the entertainment.

Concessions will be offered during intermission. A donation can will be available for free-will donations, which will be used to purchase a permanent bracket for a projector to be used in future productions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Meredith Behrens Named To Shooting Stars All-Staters

The Times has learned that DHS Lady Longhorn Meredith Behrens has been selected for this year's Cornhusker Shooting Stars 15-and-under girls basketball club regional team.

As a member of the Shooting Stars squad, the Dorchester freshman is joining the ranks of some of the state's top up-and-coming basketball players.

In addition to Behrens, the Shooting Stars Regional 15-under team roster includes: Payton Everett, Malcolm; Lauren Pfeiffer, Omaha Concordia; Jessica Taylor, Norris; Delaney Higgins, Kassi Nauman, C.B. Lewis Central; Paola Mwenentanda, Lincoln Southwest; Shelby Hemman, Amherst; Whitney Willcuts, Valentine; and Amanda Novacek, David City Aquinas.

We at the Times tip our Longhorn hat to Meredith and send our congratulations for her selection to this elite team of athletes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Denker Team Takes First At DHS Alumni B-Ball Tourney

For those who were unable to attend last weekend's 15th annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament, here are the results as reported by DHS Activities Director Scott Pohl:
  • Championship Game: Drew Denker's team defeated Andy Nichols' team, 43-32
  • Consolation Game: Brent Zoubek's team defeated Baxter Papik's team, 74-44
  • Fifth Place Game: Jordan Hromek's team defeated Lyle Weber's team, 67-60
  • Seventh Place Game: Kurt Bleach's team defeated Jason Weber's team, 39-37
  • Ninth Place Game: Rick Hays' team defeated Brandon Vyhnalek's team, 43-42
  • Eleventh Place Game: Andrea Hansen's team received a bye
On a related note, we hear that Pat Vyhnalek (Class of '89) did sustain a torn ACL on the court during his team's Friday night contest. He is scheduled to undergo surgery next week. Also, we are told that Nicole Vyhnalek's team took first place honors in the alumni volleyball tournament.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bruha, Boller and Lawver Take Basketball Honors

DHS senior Brandon Bruha has been named to the Lincoln Journal Star's Class D1 all-state second team for the 2008-09 basketball season. By averaging 19.2 points a game, along with 10.3 rebounds a contest, Bruha helped lead the Longhorns to a 12-7 season. (CORRECTION 3/23, 5: 30 p.m. -- As noted by DHS Head Coach Scott Leisy, Brandon Bruha was also selected to the Class D1 all-state second team by the Omaha World-Herald.)

Meanwhile, in all-state girls basketball honors, DHS senior Wendy Boller and junior Karmen Lawver were named to both the Omaha World-Herald and the Journal Star's honorable mention rolls. The duo was a key factor in the Lady Longhorns 18-4 season in 2008-09 -- a campaign in which DHS found itself ranked for most of the season by both major state newspapers.

We tip our orange and black hats to these fine DHS athletes and school ambassadors.

Friday, March 20, 2009

DHS Named As One Of State's Top 15 Economics Teams

Dorchester High School is home to one of the state's top 15 teams of economic students, according to a University of Nebraska press release. As a result, DHS is headed to the annual Nebraska Economics Challenge State Championship next weekend.

The annual championship "will pit high school teams from across the state in a competition to determine who has the greater knowledge of economics," according to the University news release. The top 15 teams were determined by an online qualifying round of testing.

The March 28 event will be held at the Nebraska Champions Club, 707 Stadium Drive on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is hosted by the UNL Center for Economic Education and is sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the economic literacy of Nebraska's students; the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Omaha Branch; the Council for Economic Education; and Goldman Sachs.

In addition to DHS, competing schools include: Ashland-Greenwood, Bellevue East, Bellevue West, Elkhorn, Fullerton, Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer, Lincoln Northeast, Omaha Central, Platteview, Southwest in Indianola, Spalding, Twin River and Waverly.

Two winning teams will advance to the regional competition April 27 in Houston, with the chance to go on to compete in the National Economics Challenge in New York City.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Senator Karpisek Takes On Illegal Immigration With Priority Legislation

We at the Dorchester Times thought we should take a minute to recognize the work of our own state Senator Russ Karpisek of Wilber, who, in his third year at the Legislature, is leading an effort to fight illegal immigration.

Last week, Nebraska's 49 state senators named their priority bills, according to the Unicameral's Web site. Senator Karpisek's LB 403 was named a priority bill by the Legislature's Judiciary Committee.

Senator Karpisek's bill -- if it wins approval in three separate Unicameral floor votes -- will do three things according to the summary found on the Unicameral's site:

  1. It will ensure that illegal immigrants do not receive federal, state or local welfare benefits.

  2. It will require public employers and businesses that contract with government to check the status of newly hired employees against the federal database known as E-Verify.

  3. It will require businesses that apply for state tax incentives to use E-Verify in the future.
The Times has oft noted the challenges that illegal immigration has brought to nearby Crete and the surrounding area. The problem is becoming especially dangerous with the proliferation and increased violence of Mexican drug gangs, which are more active than ever in Nebraska according to media accounts. One would be more than naive to think none of this gang activity is taking place in our backyard -- or that gang members are not actively seeking employment or welfare benefits while conducting their other activities.

We applaud Senator Karpisek for his comprehensive immigration legislation. Moreover, we note that Senator Karpisek, a Democrat, introduced the bill on behalf of Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican. Partisanship should never get in the way of protecting taxpayer dollars or the taxpayers themselves.

We are also glad to see the Karpisek bill has already received first-round approval by a vote of 45-2. Nice job, senator.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

School Board Minutes: New Time Capsule, Playground Equipment Ready Soon

(The following minutes from the March 9 Dorchester Board of Education meeting appear as submitted to the 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 p.m. on Monday, March 09, 2009. All members were present along with Superintendent Brian Redinger, Principal Mitch Kubicek, Joyce Karl and Activities Director Scott Pohl. Motion by Boller, second by Bors to approve minutes of the February regular meeting with the following amendment: Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to approve Mitch Kubicek’s 2009/2010 contract as Secondary Principal. Voting yes were Hansen, Kahle, Bors, Zoubek, Boller and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0. Members voting yes to the motion to approve the amended minutes were Boller, Bors, Hansen, Zoubek, Kahle and Havlat. Motion passed by a vote of 6-0.

There were no visitors present at this time.

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 a change of agenda.

The February Treasurer’s Report was reviewed. Motion by Kahle, second by Bors to approve the February Report. Voting yes were Kahle, Bors, Boller, Zoubek, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0. Motion to approve the March 2009 general fund expenditures was made by Kahle, second by Zoubek. (A complete listing of expenditures is available in the School office.) Voting yes were Kahle, Zoubek, Bors, Kahle and Havlat. Hansen abstained. Motion passed 5-0.

Committee Reports:

Building/Grounds Committee

* The time capsule will be completed by the end of this month with a cost of approximately $200. A committee will be formed to help decide on the contents of the new capsule.

* The playground equipment will be installed in the upcoming months. The Board members are all involved in this project but volunteers willing to help are asked to call Bill Boller. It was noted that the equipment will be set up east of the Industrial Tech building allowing an area for expansion.

* Egan Supply Company will be redoing the finish on the gym floor this summer.

* New bleachers and flooring for the gym were discussed. Mr. Redinger shared the results of a NDE report that would allow the school to utilize IDEA funding to help with this project if it is pursued.

Wellness Committee

* The meeting will be scheduled for Tuesday, March 24. Members of this committee will consist of Board members, parents and students.

Americanism Committee

* It was reported that grades 4, 5 and 6 participated in the Legion/Auxiliary Americanism Poster Contest. Results were not known at this time.

Principal’s Report: Mr. Kubicek discussed 2008/2009 attendance for grades 7-12. Compared to last year, absences and excessive tardies have decreased. Discipline logs have decreased with original incidents declining by 50%. Staff development was discussed. Mr. Kubicek noted that the staff is working on improving feedback to students as well as assessments. Otter Creek’s “math facts in a flash” program will be implemented (school improvement initiative) in the upcoming month. The interviewing process has started for the Social Studies position. Mr. Kubicek was optimistic that a contract would be offered by the end of this week.

Superintendent’s Report: No legislative updates at this time. Mr. Redinger noted that the gym project had already been discussed. Negotiations are ready to begin on next years contracts as soon as BC/BS insurance and state aid information is received. There was no unfinished business.

New Business:

a) Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to accept the resignation of Mr. Scott Leisy, K-12 Physical Education Teacher. All members voted aye.

b) Motion by Kahle, second by Boller to set long-term substitute teacher pay at 1/185th of base salary. Voting yes were Kahle, Boller, Zoubek, Bors and Hansen. Havlat abstained. Motion passed 5-0.

c) Motion by Bors, second by Zoubek to enter into a 5 year agreement with Pepsi of Lincoln. Voting yes were Bors, Zoubek, Boller, Kahle, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

d) The following summer projects were discussed: The condition of the boys locker room was reviewed and it was decided that it was not a priority. Shop improvements were discussed along with the addition of an exhaust system and air purifiers. A roof/building inspection will be done before making any final decisions. New carpet will be installed in the guidance office, 7th and 8th grade classrooms, and further research will be done before recommendations are made concerning the acoustics in the band/music room. Further discussion will be held at the April meeting.

e) After discussion on the acquisition of a new school bus and/or school van, it was decided that any purchases would be pushed back until next year.

f) Motion by Zoubek, second by Hansen to declare that the Special Education Program of School District 76-0044 will remain closed to option enrollment students in the school year of 2009/2010. Voting yes were Zoubek, Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

The next regular monthly meeting of the Dorchester Board of Education will be Monday, April 13, at 8 p.m. Motion by Boller, second by Zoubek to adjourn at 9:20 p.m. All members voted aye.

(signed) Ron Kahle, Secretary of the Board of Education

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Basketball & Volleyball Tourneys Set For March 20-22

  • Basketball & Volleyball Tourneys Set for March 20-22: The fifteenth annual Dorchester Alumni Basketball Tournament is set for March 20-22 at the Dorchester High School gymnasium, according to DHS activities director Scott Pohl. Eleven teams are registered for this year's tournament, Pohl told the Times. The first game will tip off Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and run through Sunday. The championship game is slated for 4 p.m. Sunday. There will also be an alumni volleyball tournament held in the Dorchester multi-purpose room (new gym). A round-robin tournament will take place Saturday morning to determine the seeding for a single elimination tournament, which will be held in the afternoon. All interested parties and Dorchester alumni are invited to attend. For questions or more information, call Scott Pohl at (402) 946-2781. (*UPDATE: Thanks to a DHS alumnus, Times readers may view the Alumni Basketball Tourney bracket by clicking on the image at the right.)

  • Boller, Lawver and Springer Receive CRC Honors: DHS' Wendy Boller has been selected to the Crossroads Conference all-conference girls basketball team. Meanwhile, juniors Karmen Lawver and Charity Springer were named to the CRC honorable mention list. Wendy will represent DHS as a member of the girls' CRC all-star team, which competes annually against the Goldenrod Conference all-star team.

  • Bruha, Walton Named For CRC Honors: Longhorn senior Brandon Bruha was recently named to the Crossroads Conference all-conference boys basketball team, while teammate and junior Alex Walton was named to the CRC honorable mention list. Brandon will represent DHS as a member of the boys' CRC all-star team, which will be pitted against the Goldenrod Conference team this summer.

  • Nelsens Celebrate Sixty Years: Longtime Dorchester residents Dwayne and Jerri Nelsen will soon celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married at the Dorchester Methodist Church on March 26, 1949. To commemorate a lifetime of memories, the couple plan on dining with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The Nelson's children are Sandi and Gene Witkowicz of Lincoln and Doug and Shari Nelsen of Dorchester. Their family invites you to celebrate this special milestone with a card shower. Cards may be sent to Dwayne and Jerri at 118 South Street, Seward, Neb 68434.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Severe Weather Workshop Set For March 29 At Saline Center

Area thunderstorms this weekend remind us that severe weather season is just around the corner. And Dorchester area residents can become better informed on how to protect themselves by attending an upcoming workshop.

The Regional Severe Weather and Spotter Training Workshop will be held Sunday, March 29 with an afternoon program at Saline Center Hall, southwest of Dorchester on Highway 15. Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy will make the opening remarks and several other dignitaries will be present to help kick off the event.

Storm-chasing videos; severe weather safety; communications; mass casualty and incident command equipment; and displays will all be part of the seminar, according to B.J. Fictum, Saline County emergency management coordinator. The event is free to the public event. It will begin at 1 p.m. and last until about 5 p.m. A free lunch will be provided. More information on the seminar is available by contacting Fictum at (402) 821-3010 or via email at scema@diodecom.net.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dorchester Will Receive $1.03M In Stimulus Funds For Sewer Project

Gov. Heineman has announced that Dorchester will receive funding to upgrade its aging sewer system. The news comes as the state prepares to distribute infrastructure dollars that were included in the $800 billion federal stimulus package last month.

With the help of the federal funds, the village will complete a retention lagoon and wastewater treatment facility that will replace the old mechanical treatment plant. Total cost of Dorchester's project is $1.03 million.

Dorchester's share of the funds will come from a pool of about $40 million for drinking water and wastewater projects across the state. About $21 million will go towards priority improvements to wastewater treatment facilities in 16 cities, including Dorchester and Western. Another $19.5 million will go towards public drinking water systems in 28 communities, including Friend and Pleasant Dale.

“These projects meet two important criteria,” Gov. Heineman said. “They represent some of the most pressing needs for communities and are projects that are ready to move forward.”

The federal stimulus dollars will provide Dorchester and other communities only a portion of the necessary funding. Stimulus funds will be combined with millions of dollars from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund -- also provided by the federal government -- to provide cities with a combination of loans and grants.

Half of Dorchester's funding package ($516,000) will be a low interest loan provided by existing state CWSRF funds. About 25 percent ($258,250) will be in the form of a no-interest loan from the stimulus funds; another 25 percent ($258,250) will be a grant from the stimulus funds. According to the governor, leveraging of loan and grant funds will reduce the burden for taxpayers in the communities with wastewater projects. For example, a city receiving $4 million of combined funding would be responsible for repaying $3.4 million over 20 years.

We at the Times recognize the good work of our village board members who ensured that Dorchester's sewer project was "shovel ready" and alerted the state of our community's need for assistance. They deserve our kudos.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fundraiser Dinners Planned For March 21, April 4

There will be more than just basketball in Dorchester during the alumni tournament weekend of March 20-22. Good food will be in order, too.

According to our sources, the Dorchester Area Community Foundation (DACF) is planning a soup and hamburger feed at the Dorchester Community Building on the evening of Saturday, March 21. Dinner will begin at 5 p.m. and meals will be served until 9 p.m., giving DHS alumni and their families plenty of options for dining times.

Then two weeks later, on April 4, the Foundation will hold a steak and hamburger feed at the Dorchester Legion Hall from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Proceeds from both events will go to the PFC Charles Havlat memorial. Havlat, a Dorchester area native who died in the process of freeing a monastery in Czechoslovakia, was the last solder confirmed killed in the World War II European front.

The Havlat historical marker and memorial will be placed at the Saline County Museum. For more on PFC Havlat, click here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Village Board Hires New Clerk

Dorchester has a new village clerk and treasurer.

The news comes after last month's village board meeting held on Feb. 16, when board members spent about two hours in a closed session interviewing candidates for the vacant position. After interviewing the applicants, the board voted unanimously to hire Dorchester native Robin Schweitzer for the village clerk/treasurer position.

In other news from the monthly meeting, board members were updated on the village sewer project and voted to purchase two new mowers.