Sunday, May 31, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Saline County Cougar?

  • Mountain Lion Reported On Doane Campus: According to the Lincoln Journal Star, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission official said a mountain lion could be in the Crete area. Early Thursday evening, a Crete resident reported seeing a cougar on the Doane College campus near a grass dumping site east of Hansen Hall. Doane contacted game and parks, which sent a conservation officer to investigate. The officer found no tracks definitively left by a big cat, but there were animal tracks in the area. There was no way of knowing whether the tracks were left by the same animal spotted Thursday evening, but officials say "it’s conceivable a mountain lion could be in the area." Any sightings of the big cats in the Dorchester area should be reported to the Saline County Sheriff's Office at (402) 821-2111. In the meantime, if you should have an unexpected run-in with a mountain lion, experts recommend trying to scare the cat by making a lot of noise and movement, including stretching out your arms, in hopes that the cougar will feel threatened and decide to leave the scene. The worst move you can make is running away. Running will "automatically make you look like prey and the cougar will give chase," according to

  • Lawver's Feats Featured In The Crete News: In case you missed it, the May 27 issue of The Crete News features a story on Dorchester's Karmen Lawver, who captured gold medals in both the shot put and discus events at last weekend's Nebraska State Track and Field Meet in Omaha. As the Times reported May 24, the Longhorn junior made history by becoming the first DHS athlete to win a gold medal at the state meet. Karmen took first place in the discus with a toss of 124' 6". In the shot put, Karmen earned the gold with a throw of 41' 7", beating the second place participant by nearly two feet. The photo accompanying this brief is by The Crete News' B.J. Fictum. (FLASHBACK: In May 2007, Lawver placed 16th in the Class D discus event at the State Track & Field Meet. In the hours after her performance, Dorchester track coach Joshua Vacek told The Crete News that Lawver has "all the attributes a state champion needs" and that "she will win the girls state discuss before she is done here" at Dorchester. "I'd almost bet on it," Vacek said. Good call, Mr. Vacek.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Open Forum For Readers: June 2009

Once again, we are providing an open forum for our readers who want to say something on any issue, regardless of whether or not it is related to a Times story.

Because the Dorchester Times was designed to facilitate lively discussion and the free flow of ideas, we feel we are obligated to occasionally publish this "general comments" post, in which any topic is fair game.

We were reminded just how popular reader commentary is when, earlier this month, Times readers voted overwhelmingly (75% to 25%) in opposition to our staff's decision to limit remarks following stories.

The Times' decision was reversed May 14.

The Dorchester Times' Web site averages more than 235 hits a day, according to an independent Web tracking service. That means the Times is the perfect forum to air your thoughts, news tips, announcements, complaints and concerns -- on any issue.

So go ahead and sound off. We are listening. And so are hundreds of others.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MDA Philanthropy Brings 1,800 Bikers To Town

Earlier this month, Rob and Sherri Parks, owners of Dorchester's West Side Saloon, hosted a poker run for the Muscular Dystrophy Association -- a voluntary health agency that aims to conquer neuro-muscular diseases affecting more than a million Americans. Impressively, the MDA's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

According to Gerry Boller of Dorchester, the event brought a rare sight to Dorchester, as motorcycles lined the streets.

More than 1,800 riders registered for the event, which raised around $14,000 for the MDA.

Riders enjoyed their time in the community, as the West Side Saloon provided food and drink -- as well as plenty of Dorchester hospitality.

If you are interested in making a donation or learning more about the MDA, click here.

We thank Gerry for submitting her story and photo.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Bell Monument Dedicated May 23

A new sight welcomes students, faculty, alumni and visitors of Dorchester Public School.

Late Saturday afternoon, Dorchester school leaders dedicated the campus' new bell monument. The unveiling preceded the 2009 DHS Alumni Banquet.

The monument is located at the main entrance of the new school building, formerly the front entrance of the gym. It features the refurbished "traditional old bell" from the 1890 Dorchester school building.

The monument was built with private donations provided to the Dorchester Alumni Association. According to Tom Scheffert, longtime alumni association president, some additional funding will likely be required to pay the final bill.

For those old enough to remember, the old school bell was showcased as part of a 1932 brick monument that stood just east of the 1927 school building. The monument was demolished several years ago due to its weakened structure and safety concerns.

A time capsule will eventually be inserted inside the new monument.

If you would like to contribute to the bell monument fund, send your donation to: DHS Alumni Association, P.O. Box 247, Dorchester, NE 68343. Checks should be made payable to the Dorchester Alumni Association.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS' Lawver Brings Home Two Gold Medals From State

  • Lawver Makes DHS History, Earns Two Golds At State: Longhorn junior Karmen Lawver earned two gold medals at this weekend's Nebraska Track & Field Meet in Omaha. According to e-mails received by the Times, this marks the first time that any DHS athlete has won a gold medal at the state track and field meet. Karmen took first place in the discus with a toss of 124' 6". Her nearest competitor came in second at 117' 0". In the shot put, Karmen earned the gold with a throw of 41' 7", beating the second place participant by nearly two feet. To see all the Class D results from the state meet, click here. The community of Dorchester salutes Karmen for this amazing feat and her efforts throughout the season!

  • Gauging Interest In A Dorchester Adult Baseball Team: The Times has been contacted by Tommy Hicks, a Dorchester resident who coaches amateur baseball in the Lincoln Adult Baseball League. Hicks is interested in establishing an adult town baseball team for the Dorchester area, including the communities of Crete, Wilber and Friend, for 2010. According to Hicks, the team would participate in the Southeast Nebraska League, which is part of the Nebraska Baseball Association. According to Hicks, the league fee uses wood bats; games are held on Sundays and some Thursdays, with a 16 game schedule. Those interested or with questions should contact Hicks at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

DHS Alumni Banquet, Class of '89 Reunion Set For Tonight

Tonight, May 23, the DHS Class of 1989 will host the 2009 Dorchester Alumni Banquet at the school. Sources within the alumni association tell the Times they expect a record attendance bases on reservations.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. today, when tours of the new school will begin. At 5 p.m., school leaders will unveil and dedicate the new bell monument, featuring the "traditional school bell" from the 1890 Dorchester school building.

The banquet will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and will include Windsor Loins. The banquet will feature special recognition of former cheerleaders and student managers. Any cheerleader attending the banquet in her cheerleader uniform will receive free admission.)

According to the Times' records, the following DHS alumni are members of the Class of 1989:

Andy August
Matt Bolton
Rhonda Brummett
Kristi Nohavek
Stefanie Ottmann
W.J. Plouzek
Cory Roth
Shane Carr
Cheryl Fast
Lenny Gish
Chad Rut
Mark Schlamann
Michelle Slama
John Stern
Becky Kliment
Nicole Kremer
Chris Moore
Pam Nichols
Ken Uher
Kelly Vyhnalek
Pat Vyhnalek
B.J. Zalesky

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Dorchester Preschool Accepting Applications

  • Dorchester Preschool Taking Applications: The Dorchester Community Preschool is now taking applications for enrollment for the 2009-10 school year. The preschool is open to all children ages 3-5 (pre-Kindergarten). The goal of the preschool is to prepare children with the skills they will need when they begin school. Classes will be held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For more information, call Doris Broz at 946-2066 (school) or 821-2547 (home).

  • Milligan Announces 22nd Annual June Jubilee: We at the Times have always admired our neighbors in Milligan for their ability to successfully host community celebrations such as the annual June Jubilee. This year's Jubilee days will be June 12, 13 and 14. From co-ed softball and volleyball tournaments, to rock concerts and the Milligan Czech Brass Band, to a parade and kids' petting zoo, you can find several entertainment options at the festival just a few miles southwest of here. For more information, click here.

  • Hoffman Receives His Masters From Doane College: Last Sunday, May 17, approximately 260 graduate degrees were awarded during Doane College’s 132nd annual commencement exercises. Receiving his masters degree in educational leadership was Dorchester's Matthew Hoffman. We salute Matt on his educational achievement.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Plan To Attend DHS Booster Club Meeting Tomorrow Night

The DHS Booster Club will hold a meeting immediately following the athletic banquet tomorrow, May 19, at the DHS gymnasium.

According to Dorchester Public School Activities Director Scott Pohl, the booster club needs active members to maintain the organization and "support the various events and fundraisers" that it provides for the students. All area DHS supporters should consider attending and actively supporting the booster club.

Pohl noted that the election of officers will be one of the main items on the agenda tomorrow evening.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Times Recinds Its Restriction On Reader Comments

Following a 5 p.m. Thursday conference call between Times' staff members, this online publication will reverse the policy it implemented earlier this week, which limited reader comments. Beginning today, the Times will again permit comments following each story. This reversal is based on overwhelming reader response, including e-mails, in opposition to our earlier decision.

As noted this week, one of the goals of this Web site is to foster and renew community spirit and cohesiveness, while ensuring that area residents and natives are well-informed on community events, issues and fellow citizens. As a result, the Times' staff will be more selective when deciding which reader comments are published. Unnecessarily divisive and offensive comments will be rejected.

The Times' longstanding comment policy -- located at the bottom of the left hand column -- still applies. We thank our readers for their patience as the Times continues to evolve to meet community needs and expectations.

NEWS BRIEFS: Lawver Rocks Districts, Weber Gets His M.D.

  • Dr. Jason Weber Earns Degree From UNMC: 2001 DHS grad was one of 693 University of Nebraska Medical Center students to graduate earlier this month. Commencement was May 1 in Omaha for students receiving degrees in dentistry, dental hygiene, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, graduate studies and the allied health professions. Weber graduated with distinction. He will be conducting his residency at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. Our congratulations to Jason for this outstanding accomplishment.

  • Lawver Rocks D-1 District Meet: DHS junior Karmen Lawver is headed to the Nebraska State Track & Field Meet following an awesome performance at Wednesday's Class D-1 District Meet held in Auburn. Lawver threw the shot put 38'-6 1/4", bettering her closest competitor from Pawnee City by more than 4 feet. Lawver then threw the discus 122'-0", beating her nearest competitor from Meridian by nearly 11 feet. We want to wish Karmen the best of luck as she heads to the state meet in Omaha.

  • Kotas Named Butler Scholarship Recipient: The Friend Sentinel reports that DHS senior Ashton Kotas was recently selected as one of only five recipients of the 2009 Senator Hugh Butler Academic Leadership Scholarship. To be eligible for this full-tuition scholarship, students must have a very high GPA and score 30 points or higher on the ACT. We salute Ashton for this impressive academic honor and the example she provides for Dorchester's younger students.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School Board Minutes: Bell Monument Construction Begins This Week

(The following minutes are from the May 11 Dorchester Board of Education meeting. They 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 8:04 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2009. All members were present along with Superintendent Brian Redinger, Principal Mitch Kubicek, Joyce Karl and Scott Pohl, AD. Motion by Hansen, second by Bors to approve minutes of the April regular meeting. Members voting yes to approve the minutes were Hansen, Bors, Zoubek, Boller, Kahle and Havlat. Motion passed by a vote of 6-0.
Visitor present was Karma Ridpath.

After verification of publication of the meeting notice in The Crete News, local postings of the meeting notice (Dorchester Schools, Farmers Cooperative, 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 NE Open Meetings Law. It was also noted the Open Meeting Act Poster is posted in the boardroom. No request for change of agenda.

The April Treasurer’s Report was reviewed. Motion by Boller, second by Zoubek to approve the April Report. Voting yes were Boller, Zoubek, Bors, Hansen, Kahle and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0. Motion to approve the April 2009 end of the month and May 2009 general fund expenditures was made by Bors, second by Hansen. Voting yes were Bors, Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Zoubek and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

Committee Reports:

Building/Grounds Committee:
* Discussion was held on areas to be roped off around playground and parking lot. This will be done as soon as possible.
* The Bell Monument will be started this week (May 12-16, 2009). Items for the time capsule are being gathered. Items for the capsule will be on display the night of the Alumni Banquet and all alumni attending will be asked to sign a roster that will be included in the capsule.

Principal’s Report:
* A NETA Conference summary was given. New ideas were obtained utilizing technology in the classroom that would both benefit teachers and students.
* Dorchester will be an ACT testing site on June 13, 2009.
* Our current school mission statement and current belief statements were discussed. The addition of academic goals was also considered.
* Cohort school information was shared. ESU #6 is attempting to coordinate surrounding schools to meet and share successful strategies currently implemented. Three dates for next year are tentatively planned as this project is still in the planning stage.
* Otter Creek results were shared. Skills are measured weekly with positive results noted.
* Mr. Kubicek gave a clicker PowerPoint presentation. The school currently utilizes 148 clickers which are mostly used in secondary classes.

Superintendent’s Report:
* Mr. Redinger noted that State Aid figures would not be finalized until June 1.
* Concerning negotiations, it looks like the State will increase retirement by 1% instead of 2%.
* The 2009 Summer Projects list was discussed.
* Upgrading some of the weight equipment for the weight/strength training classes will be done this summer.

Unfinished Business:
The Board instructed Mr. Redinger to start the process of securing bids for the accessibility improvements to the south side of the building, gym project scheduled to begin the summer of 2010 and for the repairs to the shop roof. Also, the District will accept the bid from Midwest Floor Co. for the new carpet, Egan Supply Co. is scheduled to refinish the gym floor starting June 4, storm repairs will be scheduled and stage acoustics will be investigated and presented to the Board.

New Business:
Mrs. Ridpath presented information explaining the changes in Dorchester’s Title I Program. We will be moving from a target assisted program to a school wide program beginning the 2009/2010 school year. Motion by Kahle, second by Bors to move ahead with plans to become a School Wide Title I Program. Voting yes were Kahle, Bors, Zoubek, Boller, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

Discussion regarding the sale of the 1996 school van was held with the decision to sell. Discussion regarding the purchase of a new school van resulted with the decision to start looking at models/prices.

Motion by Boller, second by Bors to retain current student fees (policy #5045). All members voting aye.

Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to renew the Preschool contract with Mrs. Broz for the 2009/2010 school year. Voting yes were Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Bors, Zoubek and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

Motion by Kahle, second by Zoubek to approve the 2009/2010 Elementary and Secondary Student/Parent Handbooks. Voting yes were Kahle, Zoubek, Boller, Bors, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

Motion by Hansen, second by Zoubek to approve a Secondary Spanish and Elementary ELL contract with Kyla Petersen for the 2009/2010 school year. All members voting aye.

Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to move to executive session to discuss superintendent’s contract and classified staff assignments at 11:15 p.m.

Motion by Hansen, second by Kahle to come out of executive session at 12:30 am. Voting yes were Hansen, Kahle, Boller, Bors, Zoubek and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

The Board approved the extension of Superintendent’s contract through June 30, 2011.

The next regular monthly meeting of the Dorchester Board of Education will be Monday, June 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm in the Library. Motion by Bors, second by Boller to adjourn at 12:35 am. Voting yes were Bors, Boller, Kahle, Zoubek, Hansen and Havlat. Motion passed 6-0.

Signed: Ron Kahle
Secretary of the Board of Education

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pipeline Work To Begin Soon Near Dorchester

Drive a mile east of town and you cannot help but stumble upon about 10 acres and several thousand tons of steel pipe awaiting burial.

The piles of pipe on the edge of our community will play a crucial part in adding to America's energy supply. And the work of putting it in the ground will bring several hundred workers to the Dorchester area, providing an excellent opportunity for Dorchester's businesses to boost summer sales.

The news wires report that a groundbreaking ceremony was held late last week in Yankton, S.D., to mark the start of construction on the section of the TransCanada Keystone crude oil pipeline. Officials in Yankton say it will bring hundreds of jobs and stimulate the economy.

TransCanada expects to soon have as many as 900 construction workers in Nebraska burying the first sections of the 30-inch line that will make its way through the eastern portion of the state, including about 1.5 miles east of Dorchester.

The photo at the top of this story shows only a portion of the pipe piles near Dorchester. Each pipe weighs 522 to 623 lbs., according to TransCanada.

Once completed, the 2,148-mile, $5.2 billion pipeline will transport oil from the Alberta, Canada, region to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma. The project has the potential to add an additional 1.1 million barrels of oil per day to U.S. supply. All told, the project will create more than 5,000 jobs for U.S. workers in 2009 and thousands more in 2010.

In addition, the Keystone pipeline will generate millions in annual property tax revenue for local and state governments, including Saline County.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nerud Field Project Nears Completion

Work is nearing completion on the new Nerud Field project, bringing a much-needed improvement to the community's football/baseball/softball complex.

Late last year, the Nerud Field Project Committee announced that a new ball field concession stand and restroom facility were coming soon. Dorchester volunteers, headed by resident Bill Velder, have given resources and labor to construct the 24’ by 40’ building, which includes a covered dining area.

The project should be mostly completed soon, in time for the first home baseball and softball games. Thousands of donated dollars have made the project a reality, according to several sources. We are still urging Times' readers to donate time or money to the project as a way to honor the late Miles Nerud, who passed away in 2007. Nerud brought organized little league baseball to Dorchester in the 1950s and served as one of the founding fathers of the Seward-Fillmore-Saline (SFS) League.

Contributions may be sent to:

P.O. Box 67
Dorchester NE 68343

Notice: Times Makes Policy Change Regarding Reader Comments

Beginning today, the Times begins a new policy of permitting reader comments only on selected stories. The decision to limit reader comments comes after a lengthy Times' staff meeting this weekend.

We will still publish the occasional open forum to allow readers to submit comments on any issue, as long as they adhere to the Times' guidelines. Also, certain stories regarding issues critical to the community and its future will be open to reader comments.

As always, readers may submit signed letters-to-the-editor at any time. Also, news tips, ideas, photos, corrections and commentary can always be sent to us at

When the Dorchester Times when online in April 2007, one of its foremost goals was to foster and renew community spirit and cohesiveness, while ensuring that Dorchester area residents and natives are well informed on community events, issues and fellow citizens. A majority of the Times' staff believes some of divisive and, occasionally, offensive comments left after stories -- although complicit with the Times' guidelines -- can sour community spirit and turn off regular readers of our site.

We hope Times' readers will understand the rationale behind this move. (Note: Reader comments will be permitted following this notice.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Dorchester Beats U.S. Average In Key Statistics

  • Dorchester Beats U.S. Average For Education and Living Costs, Unemployment: According to Sterling's Best Places, Dorchester fares well in three key measurements for economic competitiveness. Dorchester's cost of living is 22.85% lower than the U.S. average, according to Sterling's 2009 data. Also, Dorchester Public Schools spend $5,669 per student, about $300 less than the average school expenditure in the U.S. of $6,058. "There are about 10 students per teacher in Dorchester," according to the Sterling report. The unemployment rate in Dorchester is 5.60% (U.S. avg. is 8.50%). Recent job growth is "positive," according to Sterling.

  • Flag Retirement Ceremony Set For June 18: The Dorchester American Legion, Post 264, will hold a flag retirement ceremony on June 18. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a covered dish dinner following the service. All color guards, Auxilary units and Sons of American Legion members are welcome and urged to attend. All Dorchester area residents are invited to come early and bring your unserviceable U.S. flags. Flags can also be left with Hersh Talley at The Brand in Crete. For more information, call Larry Kaspar at (402) 946-6711.

  • More Gold For Karmen Lawver: The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Dorchester junior Karmen Lawver continued her string of first-place finishes this week at the Freeman Invite at Doane College in Crete. Lawver earned another gold medal in the shot put with a throw of 40-3. She then went on to win the discus event with an impressive toss of 124-02. We at the Times again send our congratulations to Karmen for her efforts.

  • RSVPs For DHS Alumni Banquet Due Soon: The Class of 1989 will host the 2009 DHS Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 23, at the school. Doors will open at 4 p.m., when tours of the new school will begin. At 5 p.m., school leaders will unveil and dedicate the new bell monument. The banquet will start at 6 p.m. Dinner will include Windsor Loins. The banquet will feature special recognition of former cheerleaders and student managers. Any cheerleader attending the banquet in her cheerleading uniform will receive free admission.) Banquet tickets are $16. Reservations should be mailed by Friday, May 8, to: DHS Alumni Association, P.O. Box 247, Dorchester, NE 68343. Checks should be made payable to the Dorchester Alumni Association.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tell Us What's On Your Mind, Dorchester

Once again, we are offering an open forum for all of you who want to say something related to issues unrelated to recent Times stories.

Because the Dorchester Times was designed to facilitate lively discussion and the free flow of ideas, we are obligated to publish a "general comments" post, in which any topic is fair game.

From the beginning, we said we value the feedback from our readers. This is the community's blog. So let us know your thoughts, your complaints, your concerns -- on any issue.

We are listening.