Friday, May 28, 2010

Havlat Memorial Dedication Set For This Sunday Afternoon

This Sunday, May 30, the Dorchester Area Community Foundation (DACF) will host a dedication ceremony for the Havlat memorial marker. The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Saline County Museum on the south side of town. (UPDATE: To see the Lincoln Journal Star's story on Private Havlat, click here.)

Speaking at the ceremony will be state Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber and Adolph Havlat (Private Havlat’s brother). The museum will be open Sunday afternoon and all area residents are encouraged to attend. This is a proper way to remember those who gave all.

A Dorchester native who died May 7, 1945, while helping to free a monastery in Czechoslovakia, Private Charles Havlat was the last soldier killed in the European Theater of World War II. Private Havlat's death occurred about six hours after the unconditional surrender of the Germans. For more on Private Havlat, click here.

In 2008, the Dorchester American Legion, Post 264, asked the State of Nebraska and the roads department to name the small stretch of Highway 33 between Dorchester and Crete after PFC Havlat, but the request was denied. The Dorchester Legion and the DACF worked to raise funds and place the historical marker on the grounds of the Saline County Museum. The project cost approximately $5,000.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Times Wants Your Suggestions

Have you ever wished the Dorchester Times would do things differently? Here is your chance to tell us what we are doing wrong -- and how we can fix it -- or what we are doing right.

Please take a minute and click on the "comments" link at the end of this post and give us some recommendations on how we can improve this website. We know you all have opinions, so don't be shy.

Also, the Times is constantly looking for community reporters. You can always send us news reports, pictures and other items to our permanent e-mail address:

We look forward to hearing your creative ideas and helpful suggestions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lawver Captures Gold At State -- Again

Dorchester's Karmen Lawver has again captured gold at the Nebraska State Track and Field Meet.

At the state meet held this past weekend, the DHS senior successfully defended her Class D discus title with a winning toss of 131'-4".

(Correction: Last year, Lawver made history by becoming the first DHS athlete to win a gold medal at the state meet since 1976, winning the discus event with a toss of 124' 6".)

In the shot put contest, Lawver fell only 10 inches short of repeating as state champion. Lawver took third place with a toss of 39' 1". Aundrea Jorgensen, Medicine Valley,won the gold with a throw of 39' 11". Last year, Karmen was crowned state shot put champ after her throw of 41' 7", beating the second place participant by nearly two feet.

Thanks to Lawver's two medals, DHS finished No. 12 in the the Class D team standings at the state track meet, beating conference rivals McCool Junction (No. 15) and Exeter-Milligan (No. 18). Lindsay Holy Family was No. 1 in team scores.

(FLASHBACK: In May 2007, Lawver placed 16th in the Class D discus event at the state track 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. For the second year in a row, we say good call, Mr. Vacek.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bricks Help Fund New School Landscaping

Bricks from the 1927 Dorchester school building are now helping to beautify the 2008 school, the Times has learned.

As many area residents know, DPS art instructor Stacy Lutjemeyer has been busy in her spare time painting bricks pulled from the remnants of the old school building after it was razed in May 2008. For the past two years, Lutjemeyer painting images of the old school building, longhorn logos, and other designs on the red bricks, charging $20 per brick.

When she started painting the bricks, Lutjemeyer wanted to donate half of the proceeds from sales towards the new school or a scholarship. She chose to donate the money to pay for landscaping in front of the school, so that everyone in town could benefit from the money.

The landscaping project came to fruition after DPS guidance counselor Diane Fisher conducted a service learning project with the eighth grade class in agriculture and landscaping. This allowed the eighth grade class members to do the landscaping themselves and take some ownership in the project.

Area residents are asked to drive or walk past the school to see the great landscaping work. For those who would still like to purchase a brick -- as a souvenir from the old school -- Lutjemeyer reports that there are still plenty left. Contact her by e-mailing


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To post your ad, simply click on the "comments" link at the end of this post and then, in the "Leave Your Comments" box, enter the details and information you want people to see -- including your phone number or e-mail, if you wish. Browsing the classifieds is easy, too. Just click on the "comments" link below and scroll down to view the ads in the left-hand column. If you sell your item or no longer want your ad to be seen, simply e-mail us at and we will remove your ad. Local businesses should also feel free to submit classifieds to promote new products, specials or events.

Friday, May 21, 2010

URGENT: Consider Joining Our Volunteer Fire Department, Chief Says

The Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. is looking for a few good individuals to join the ranks of this dedicated group of first responders. As our readers know, a small community depends heavily upon its volunteer firefighters and medical technicians.

According to DVFD Chief Zech Williams, the department's numbers are down and the current staff of volunteers are hoping fellow residents will help fill the shortfall by joining. Williams says the current DVFD staff includes only eight EMT’s and about 15 total members.

"We really need daytime coverage," Williams said, "but we will take the help if the individual works during the day."

Those interested in joining the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. questions should call Williams at (402) 525-4770 or e-mail

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Funds Available To Update Community Buildings

According to a communication sent to the Times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has awarded $2,900 to the Elba, Neb. Community Foundation. Leveraged with $5,437 from the Elba Foundation, the funds will purchase community center appliances and equipment to make the center more functional and operational for community functions. USDA funding for this project was provided through the Community Facility Grant program.

We urge Dorchester's leaders to look into this grant program to update our own community building. For more information contact USDA's Glen Gatz at (308) 237-3118 ext. 1121 or

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dorchester Public School Gets New Website

A couple of years ago, Dorchester Public School received a new home. Now the school has a new home page.

The website is still a work-in-progress. But when completed, it will provide parents and students a plethora of information, right at their fingertips.

The new site is sharp, clean and easy to read. Hit the "refresh" button on your Internet browser and you will see a new photo atop the DPS website, which contains links to staff information, the school calendar, lunch menus, handbooks and policies, and information on the DPS Board of Education.

One option that is certain to be used often is the "classroom websites" link found in the site's left column. Parents and students can go the classroom of their choice and learn the latest. For example, go to Mr. Rut's 5th Grade classroom and you will be able to see the latest announcements, discussion topics, quizzes, files, etc.

That means when Junior gets home, he can no longer say he did nothing in class today. Also, parents will no longer be able to say they can't get more involved in their children's academic work, assuming they have Internet access.

Check out the new website by clicking here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Large Number Of Czech Names Land Dorchester On National Rankings

In case you had any doubts, a recent national study has found that surnames of Czech descent are the most common in the Dorchester area. However, two of the top five names are of German origin. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, the most popular last names in the Dorchester zip code are:

  1. Nerud
  2. Sehnert
  3. Stehlik
  4. Mariska
  5. Weber
  6. Krivohlavek
  7. Parks
  8. Duchek
  9. Bruha
  10. Novak
The large number of Czech names have also landed Dorchester on some national lists. According to information compiled by, Dorchester is No. 55 on the list of "top 101 zip codes with the largest percentage of Czech first ancestries."

Moreover, Dorchester is No. 97 on the list of "top 101 zip codes with the largest percentage of Czechoslovakian first ancestries." And the 68343 zip code is No. 101 on the list of "top 101 zip codes with the largest percentage of Slavic first ancestries."

OPEN FORUM: May 2010

The Times' Open Forum gives readers their chance to say something, report breaking news or ask a question. Any topic is fair game, although the Times' comment policy still applies. Keep it clean; keep it civil. (Please see the bottom of the left-hand column.)

The Times' Web site averages around 600 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. Your Open Forum is also a great place to find out what old friends are up to, get advice, share and find information, and let the Times' staff know what you'd like to see on this community Web site.

Go ahead and sound off. We are listening.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

D-1 District Track & Field Meet Postponed Until Tomorrow

The D-1 district track and field meet in Auburn, which will feature Dorchester and several other local Class D school, has been moved from today until tomorrow, May 13, due to wet conditions.

According to Crete News reporter B.J. Fictum, the field events will begin at 10 a.m., while running events will start at 1 p.m.

Much local attention will be focused on DHS senior Karmen Lawver, who won gold medals at the state meet last year in both the discus and shot put. She is currently ranked near the top of all female discus participants throughout the state, regardless of school size. Lawver's top throw this year is 134-8.

The district meet tomorrow will determine which DHS tracksters advance to the state track and field meet, which will be held the fourth weekend of this month. (UPDATE: DHS' Karmen Lawver earned another trip to the state championship when she captured first place in the D-1 district's shot put event, with a toss of 37-10.25, and the discus throw, with a throw of 132-0. The state championship track and field meet will be held May 21-22, 2010
at Omaha Burke Stadium in Omaha.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oregon Paper Profiles Saline County's Altman, Wilber

The Eugene, Oregon newspaper has profiled Saline County native Dana Altman, the new basketball coach at the University of Oregon. The Register-Guard's profile of Altman is titled "The man from Wilber," and the story features a west coast reporter's observations of our county seat -- including the Wilber Czech Museum and the Czech Bakery, the grain elevator and the railroad tracks, and the traditional Czech polkas.

In the article, Altman, who the article says "made his name coaching 90 miles away at Creighton University in Omaha," is hailed as the hard-working, genuinely nice local boy who made really good."

The article delves deep into Wilber, calling it "Altman’s hometown, population 1,761, (that) is a square mile of good life in the midst of corn country (and wheat, and more and more these days, soybeans). ... It’s also the self-billed 'Czech Capital of the USA,' and there’s no reason to doubt the claim. Roughly half the population is of Czech descent; a few decades ago, it was 90%. The town’s annual Czech Festival — first weekend in August — draws as many as 50,000 people for roast duck and dumplings, polka music and traditional dancing and, well, lots of beer."

The article continues: "The second of four children born to Lyle and Barb Altman, Dana played football, baseball and basketball in his backyard, and the games could get intense. Dana was a fiercely competitive, highly active kid who hated to lose. 'His desire to win always overshadowed everything,' says Russ Rezny, a friend and classmate."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Third-Annual Garage Sale Weekend Set For June 19

For the past two years, the communities of Dorchester and Friend have teamed up to host a community garage sale weekend. This has helped boost the number of customers and draw more attention to local newspaper and online advertisements.

This year's garage sale weekend set is for Saturday, June 19. However, Friend has chosen not to participate.

Organizers tell the Times that if Dorchester can come up with at least 10 garage sales, Dorchester will go forward and host the event by itself. Thus far, at least two individuals have indicated they would hold a garage sale if the event is held. Businesses are also urged to take part with sidewalk sales or other special events.

Carol Olson is organizing the event. If you wish to hold a garage sale or other special event, e-mail her at before May 15.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vandals Strike New Park Shelter

The Times is saddened to report that one of the handicap picnic tables at the Dorchester City Park has been damaged by a group of vandals. According to sources, it will cost more then $500 to repair or replace.

One reader told the Times staff, "I'm curious if the person(s) that did the damage are readers of the Times and could tell the rest of us why they would do such damage." We are wondering the same.

Dorchester Area Community Foundation members and other community volunteers -- including the DHS wrestling team -- invested many hours to erect and finish the park shelter a few years ago. Scores of others donated money to make the new shelter a reality. It is a nice addition to the park and our town. We cannot understand why anyone -- regardless of their low IQ or lack of parental supervision -- would want to ruin a park shelter and source of town pride.

We urge young people in town to start help us safeguard our public resources, like the city park. Also, the Times hopes that anyone with information on this act of vandalism will report it to the Saline County Sheriff's Department at (402) 821-2111. Or send an e-mail with details and names to