Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July Was Extremely Dry Month For Area

Last month was a soaker for the Dorchester area. But according to official numbers, July erased those precipitation gains thanks to one of the driest month's experienced by Dorchester in the last several years.

According to the Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (RAIN), the immediate Dorchester area received amounts ranging from just over 1" to less than 0.10" over the past 29 days. A reporting site two miles north of town showed 1.01" for July; a site 4.5 miles southeast of town showed just 0.07".

Our rain gauge at the Times headquarters showed around 0.35" for the month. The average July rainfall amount for Dorchester is 3.3". As mentioned on the community marquee, Dorchester officials are urging the conservation of water by residents.

Tonight's Dorchester area forecast calls for a 60% chance of much-needed precipitation.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Share Your Photos & Videos With Times Readers

The Times wants you to share your pictures or videos with our readers. All you need is a digital camera or mobile phone. (*UPDATE 7/28: The Times has already received a handful of photos from Dorchester readers, including "Sunset Swim" by Tina Bayliss and "Nebraska Sunset" from a reader who asked to remain anonymous. Both are pictured at the right.)

If you find yourself with a front-row view of some major event, community gathering, sporting contest, severe weather, a beautiful sunset, or you are just strolling down Dorchester's streets, take a picture or video and share the experience with fellow Times' readers. We will select the best and use them in a future post.

Here's all you have to do:

1. Take the photograph or video with any picture-enabled mobile phone or digital camera.
2. Send it to
3. Include your name and a brief description in the message field.

Please remember that by submitting your video(s) or photograph(s) you confirm that you agree to grant the Dorchester Times a perpetual, royalty-free right to use your images and make them available to the public. You grant to the Times the right to edit and/or modify your material in any manner necessary in order to have the material comply with our formatting or publication needs. The Times does not guarantee in any manner that all material submitted will be displayed or the term or duration that any material may be displayed. Also, by submitting content, you agree that all images submitted by you are your original creation or otherwise free for us to use in this purpose. You further agree to indemnify and release the Times of any and all liabilities for any claims, charges, injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by, resulting from or arising out of your submission or the Times' use of the image(s). Now, with the legal terms out of the way, please submit your material. Fellow readers anxiously await to see your work.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DHS Football Schedule Announced

Dusting off from a rebuilding year in 2008, Dorchester football hopes to turn some heads this season in Nebraska eight-man football.

The Longhorns ended their 2008 gridiron campaign at 1-7. Although last season was marred by injuries to three standout players, there were plenty of positives, including the experience gained by underclassmen who will need to be ready for this season.

The loss of all-stater Brandon Bruha will be felt this year by the Orange and Black, but inside sources tell us that depth will be much better for this year's Longhorn squad. The 2009 schedule is comprised of all D1 opponents, except for Sterling, which is in Class D2.

The only notable rule change in high school football this season is the ban of the horse-collar tackle (via the shoulder pads). The penalty resulting from such a tackle will be 15 yards from the succeeding spot.

For the record, eight-man high school football is played in only 16 states. DHS converted from 11-man in the autumn 1991, according to our records, the same year Dorchester joined the CRC Conference.

-- 2009 DHS Football --

Sept. 4: @ Shelby
Sept. 11: @ Sterling
Sept. 18: McCool Junction @ Home
Sept. 25: @ Pawnee City
Oct. 2: Meridian @ Home
Oct. 9: Freeman @ Home
Oct. 16: @ Exeter-Milligan
Oct. 23: Deshler @ Home

Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 DHS Volleyball Schedule Announced

The official 2009 DHS volleyball schedule has been announced. This year's schedule includes several top-notch programs and four Class C teams, including next-door rival Friend. A large majority of the Longhorns' contests are on the road this year.

The Lady 'Horns finished their 2008 campaign at 11-13. DHS expects good things this year with key players returning to the court and impressive young talent, especially in the sophomore class.

Last fall, DHS senior-to-be Karmen Lawver was named among the handful of Journal Star's 2008 All-State Volleyball Honorable Mentions in Class D-1, and received Crossroads Conference honors.

--- 2009 DHS Volleyball ---

Sept. 3: Palmyra & Weeping Water (home)
Sept. 10: Giltner & Hampton (@ Giltner)
Sept. 17: @ Friend
Sept. 19: Shickley Invite, 4 Teams, TBD (@ Shickley)
Sept. 22: @ Osceola

Sept. 24: Shelby & High Plains Community (@ High Plains Community)
Sept. 29: Sterling (home)

Oct. 1: Diller-Odell & Meridian (@ Dorchester)
Oct. 6: @ Rising City

Oct. 8: Parkview Christian & Exeter-Milligan (@ Parkview Christian)
Oct. 13: McCool Junction & Shickley (@ McCool Junction)
Oct. 15: @ Clay Center

Oct. 17-22: To Be Determined, Crossroads Conference (@ York)
Oct. 27: @ Parkview Christian
Oct. 30: Nebraska Lutheran (home)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

News Tip: Federal Immigration Enforcement Coming To Saline County

Following the publication of our July 13 editorial, the Times has received two anonymous e-mail tips claiming federal authorities are planning an "immigration enforcement action" in Saline County in coming weeks.

The Times was unable to verify the veracity of the e-mail tips. However, such action would not be unprecedented.

Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided several places of business across the country. In May 2008, at an Iowa meat processing plant, ICE agents arrested 390 people on immigration charges. The raid was aimed at seeking evidence of identity theft, stolen Social Security numbers and people in the country illegally. Most of the illegal workers were from Mexico and Guatemala.

Then, two weeks ago, ICE issued "notices of inspection" to 652 business across the country. ICE’s announcement of this action stated: "This new initiative illustrates ICE's increased focus on holding employers accountable for their hiring practices and efforts to ensure a legal workforce."

The inspection notices alert business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether they are complying with employment eligibility and verification laws, as well as regulations. The 652 businesses presented with notices were selected as a result of investigations. The names and locations of the businesses were not released.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pipeline Nearing Saline County

Reminiscent of the grand public works projects of the Great Depression era, the $5.2 billion Keystone Oil Pipeline is an impressive private-sector investment that will ultimately stretch from Alberta, Canada to Pavoka, Ill. And it will soon be passing through Saline County. According to a story in today's Beatrice Sun, the project is helping create local Nebraska jobs in the struggling economy -- and Dorchester-area businesses may benefit from the large crews coming our way.

The Sun reports: "Keystone spokesman Jeff Rauh said the Nebraska-based crew (with 500 workers), headquartered in Lincoln, is in the process of heading south into Saline County and Jefferson County in the upcoming weeks. 'At this point, we’ve got the leading crews who are installing temporary gates and fences and doing some clearing of trees and brush,' Rauh said." According to the story, "earlier summer rains had slowed progress somewhat, but recent dry weather has allowed the pace to quicken."

The amount of workers in the area is bound to make an impact economically, Rauh said.“With a crew of 500 based out of Lincoln, some of these folks are traveling every day, but others are staying closer,” Rauh said. Rauh said workers may be staying in hotels, eating at restaurants or stopping at convenience stores -- all of which stimulates the local economy.“It certainly is a significant, temporary workforce in the local area,” Rauh added.

More Grants Available For Community Development

It has been brought to the attention of the Times that there are a few more grants now available for Dorchester leaders mulling community improvement projects.
  • Community Development Assistance Act: The CDAA grant was created by the Nebraska Legislature to encourage financial support by businesses to community betterment organizations in their efforts to implement community service and development projects in economically distressed areas. CDAA empowers the Department of Economic Development to distribute a 40% state tax credit to businesses, corporations, insurance firms or financial institutions or individuals that make eligible contributions of cash, services or materials to approved community betterment projects. An applicant must be a village, city or county government; or a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. No more than $25,000 in state tax credits can be approved per project. For information and application, contact: Kevin Andersen at the Nebraska Department of Economic Development at (402) 471-3775 or
  • Tree Planting and Landscape Grants: The 2009 Trees for Nebraska Towns grant program, part of the ReTree Nebraska initiative, provides nearly $300,000 in grant funding to help with tree planting and associated landscaping in communities across Nebraska. Application forms are available at Projects must be on public or non-profit property and provide direct public benefit. A 50% funding match is required; this required match can include donated and in-kind goods and services. Application deadline is July 31. Contact the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum at (402) 472-2971 or

Monday, July 13, 2009

EDITORIAL: More Steps Needed To Curb Illegal Immigration

The Dorchester Times has long lamented the impact of illegal immigration on the Saline County community and the rest of our nation. The current economic downturn has brought renewed urgency to the issue.

Nebraska lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman recently enacted new legislation prohibiting the issuance of public benefits to illegal aliens. It also requires public employers and businesses with state government contracts to use the E-Verify system before hiring.

While the new law does not address the loss of an estimated $126 million a year in state taxpayer funds for education, emergency medical care and incarceration of illegal immigrants, it does save much-needed funding that might have gone to pay for public housing, retirement, welfare, food assistance, and unemployment for illegals

Our own state Sen. Russ Karpisek played a key role in the passage of the new law. We thank him for his efforts.

Now the state and local communities need to take further steps to discourage illegal immigration in Nebraska, since the federal government lacks courage to do so. If we do not, we can expect the same woes currently facing California, which is currently issuing IOUs to its citizens -- including to taxpayers (legal citizens) who are due tax refunds!

Despite having one of the highest income tax rates in the nation (10.55%), California is raising taxes on legal residents and companies while paying about $80 million a day in unemployment insurance benefits. This month alone, California is expected to pay more than $1.5 billion in unemployment welfare. While another ballot proposition could be in the works to cut off some benefits, it may be too late. The state is insolvent and legal residents are leaving en masse.

A recent editorial by Investor's Business Daily notes, "California is a leader in both government debt and the sanctuary city movement," which prohibits enforcement action against illegals. As a result, "illegal aliens constitute about 7% of the state's population" and state officials say that illegals "add about $4 billion to $6 billion in costs, primarily in the area of schools, prisons and jails, and emergency rooms." According to statistics released by the FBI, more than 95% of arrest warrants issued in Los Angeles for the crime of murder are for illegal aliens, while "nearly 25% of the California prison population (and that of the rest of the nation) consists of illegal aliens."

Education costs for illegal immigrants exceed even the prison expenses. In Nebraska, for example, a 2004 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that educational expenditures for illegal immigration were costing Nebraska taxpayers $104.1 million dollars a year.

We hope that the State of Nebraska will make public the percentage of its incarcerated prisoners who are in the United States illegally. Then, to highlight the scope of the problem, state leaders should send the bill for incarceration expenses to the prisoners' countries of origin -- knowing full well, of course, that Nebraska taxpayers would ever be reimbursed.

We would also like to see Nebraska leaders disclose the cost of educating illegal immigrants and their children. Finally, we believe health providers and hospitals, both of whom receive large sums of taxpayer reimbursements every year, should announce their annual expenses for providing emergency care to uninsured illegals. The figures for these two sectors in the Crete area alone would be staggering. Perhaps those who employ illegals should be asked to foot the bill.

Of course, cost are only half the problem caused by undocumente residents. The growing presence of gangs, drug trafficking, communicable diseases, a growing underclass, and a cultural disconnect are the other side of the illegal immigration story. (We should note that one Crete professional tells us that as many as a dozen Mexican gangs have set up shop in the Crete area.)

Ultimately, only increased border and interior enforcement -- followed by timely deportation -- and requiring legal immigrants to renounce citizenship from their country of origin, will address the problem. Only the feds can do that. Sadly, it seems the Obama administration has even less political appetite for such action than the Bush administration in its early years.

One thing is clear. As stated by IBD, it is getting harder to argue that illegal aliens are here to do the jobs Americans won't do. And nowadays, there are fewer jobs, period.

Legal residents of Nebraska and the rest of the country -- those who file taxes and provide almost all of the tax revenue to local, state and the federal government -- should get to decide who gets free education and medical treatment. Legal taxpayers should get to decide who to resides in our nation's borders.

Illegal immigration is no longer just a question of law and borders. Now it is a question of economic survival.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dorchester Businesses & Ag Producers Have Grant Opportunities

Dorchester-area partnerships and entities wanting to apply for the next round of available grants through both the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act (BECA) and Value-Added Agriculture (VAA) have until noon, Friday, Sept. 25 to submit applications. The two programs will share the $1 million total funding available.

BECA grants are designed to help economically disadvantaged rural areas build and sustain programs that generate and retain income in communities in those areas. Partnerships applying for BECA grants are strongly encouraged to check eligibility lists for limited resources and distress criteria, however, as calculations have been updated using current numbers, and some counties and communities may fall into new eligibility categories. Individual communities wanting assistance with building coalitions may apply under the planning grant category.

The VAA program encourages development of the state’s agricultural innovation and value-added agriculture industries. Both programs are funded through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and administered by the Rural Development Commission.

For application criteria for either grant program, visit: For more information, contact Linda Fettig at 308-380-4966 or

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Saline Co. Jobless Rate Better Than State

  • Saline County Unemployment Rate 4.1%: Nebraska and Saline County are weathering the recession well. According to an interactive map compiled by the Associated Press, the Saline County unemployment rate was 4.1% in May, compared to the state's jobless rate of 4.4%. Nebraska's unemployment rate was the nation's second-lowest, bettered only by North Dakota's 4.0% figure.

  • Saline County Fair Moves To Earlier Date: The Beatrice Daily Sun notes that the Saline County Fair is set for July 22-26 this year. The earlier-than-usual date means "several entertainment changes, including a Branson-style family variety show, along with some well-liked fair venues of the past, according to Warren Vyhnalek, president of the Saline County Fair Board."

  • Pork Quality Assurance Certification Sessions Offered: To help area pork producers and their employees gain certification in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus Program and/or the Transport Quality Assurance program, a training session will be available at the Wilber Extension Office at 7 p.m. on Aug. 4. The Nebraska Pork Producers Association, the Nebraska Soybean Board and UNL Extension are sponsoring the PQA Plus and TQA producer certification sessions. Two major packing plants recently announced that hog suppliers will be required to have these certifications. To register, visit or call 1-888-627-7675 at least one week in advance.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pipeline Nearing Saline Co.

The Columbus Telegram reports that construction on the Keystone Pipeline in Butler County will wrap up "within the next few weeks" -- with the "pipe sections welded together, lowered into the ground and covered up."

The $5.2 billion Keystone pipeline will connect the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, with Illinois refineries, playing a crucial role in adding to the U.S. energy supply. As many as 900 construction workers are burying the sections of the 30-inch line that is making its way through the eastern portion of the state, including about 1.5 miles east of Dorchester.

The pipeline will bring "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in property tax revenue to Saline County, according to one local energy expert we interviewed. The Times has been told that work in the Dorchester area should begin in late July.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dorchester Set To Celebrate July 4th

Anyone in Saline County and nearby can attest that Dorchester has one of the very best small-community July 4th celebrations in the region. Below is the schedule of Dorchester's 2009 "Family 4th of July Celebration," as announced by the Dorchester 4th of July Committee.

At any time on Independence Day, residents and out-of-town visitors will find plenty of things to do in Dorchester, without the crowds of Seward or Lincoln. Of course, the highlight of the day comes after dark with the famous fireworks show, which has been pleasing crowds for 15 years.

Dorchester's 4th of July Celebration
2009 Schedule of Events

All Day ............................ Carp Weigh-In Contest @ Ben's Iron Grill (Winner gets two free dinners from Ben's Iron Grill. Will be announced after evening parade.)

9 a.m.-10 p.m. ................. Beer Garden @ Ben's Iron Grill

10 a.m.-5 p.m. .................. Saline County Museum (Open to the public all day)

11 a.m.-6 p.m. .................. Sons of American Legion BBQ (At Legion Hall)

1 p.m. ............................ Tractor "Show & Shine" on Main Street (South of Tyser's)

2 p.m. ............................ Auxiliary & Jr. Auxiliary Pie & Ice Cream Social (In front of Dorchester Grocery)

2:30 p.m. ........................ Bingo @ Community Building

2:30 p.m. ........................ Kiddy Tractor Pull
(South of Joe's Place II)

3 p.m. ............................ Dorchester Legion Balloon Release
(In front of Legion Hall)

7 p.m. ............................ BBQ Cook-Off @ Ben's Iron Grill.
(Bring your grill and prepare for a cook-off and taste test. Cooking begins at 4 p.m.; pork will be provided. Freewill donation go to fireworks fund. Winner receives a trophy. Register now at Ben's Iron Grill.)

7 p.m. ............................ Parade
(Line-up begins at 6:30 p.m., starting at Co-op parking lot. Bring a description of your entry for the announcer. For more information, e-mail

9:30 p.m. ........................ Taekwondo Performance @ Nerud Field

10 p.m. ........................... Fireworks @ Nerud Field

Dorchester's first-class 4th of July celebration depends on private support. Dorchester area residents and friends of Dorchester are encouraged to send their donations to:

First State Bank
4th of July Celebration
P.O. Box 264
Dorchester, NE 68343

Thursday, July 2, 2009

OPEN FORUM: July 2009

Once again, we are providing an open forum for our readers who want to say something, report something, or ask a question -- on any issue. Any topic is fair game, although the Times' comments policy still applies.

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

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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Kahle Farm Celebrates Milestone

  • Kahle Farm Marks 100 Years On The Land: The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and the Nebraska Fair Managers Association have announced that the Ron and Joyce Kahle family is a recipient of the 2009 Pioneer Farm Family Awards. To qualify, members of the same family must have owned a parcel of land consecutively for at least 100 years. Since its inception 53 years ago, the award has been presented to more than 7,000 families. Each honoree receives a plaque and a gatepost marker. The Kahles' award will be presented during the 2009 Saline County Fair.

  • Stehlik Named A Morningside Scholar: Dorchester's Kayla Stehlik has been named as Dimmitt Scholars at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA, in recognition of her high academic distinction during the 2008-09 academic year. Dimmitt Scholars must be full-time students who have completed at least 45 credits of college work with a cumulative grade point average between 3.50 and 3.75.

  • Dorchester On Flickr: For those who are unfamiliar, Flickr is one of the Internet's most prominent online photo management and sharing application. It allows professional photographers and novices alike to show off their best pictures or video. The Times conducted a Flickr search for pictures of taken in the Dorchester area. Some interesting photos can be found here and here.