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."