Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Website Uncovers New Data On Dorchester

Think you know just about everything about our community and surrounding area? See if you know the following:
  • Dorchester faces no major environmental hazards, according to the EPA.
  • There is currently one sex offender residing in our town limits.
  • Dorchester votes 53.77% Republican.
  • Dorchester is 48% male and 52% female.
  • The largest age group in Dorchester is the 35-44 category, which comprises about 16% of our community.
  • There is a 1.192% chance of a major earthquake hitting Dorchester within the next 50 years.
  • The largest tornado in the Dorchester area was an F5 in 1964 that caused 50 injuries and 4 deaths.
  • Crete (the closest town in our area that reports crime stats to the FBI) exceeds the national average for cases of forcible rape and larceny (non-violent) theft.
This is all according to a website called  Click this link to see Dorchester's page on HomeFacts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

USDA Names Dorchester As Target Location For Rental Housing Program

The Times has just learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has announced its 2012 designated place list for the Rural Rental Housing (RRH) loan program. Dorchester is included on this list.

The program helps build and maintain affordable multi-family housing rental developments in rural areas. Potential applicants include individuals, corporations, associations, partnerships, limited partnerships, state or local public agencies, and nonprofit organizations.  Only rural rental housing proposals located in the state’s designated places will be accepted for review.
Designated places were selected based upon certain demographic data that indicated a possible need for additional affordable rental units.  The only other nearby towns the Times noticed on the USDA list were Friend, Hickman, Milford, and Wilber. 

Since new and renovated housing is a need in our community (see our latest Times poll), this may be a good opportunity for a respected property investor to enter the Dorchester housing market.

Contact the Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Office for loan proposal information at (402) 437-5734.  Or visit

Monday, May 28, 2012

DHS Alumni Gather May 26; Classes Of '92 And '62 Honored

Nearly 120 Dorchester alumni, faculty and their spouses gathered at the Dorchester High School gym on Saturday evening, May 26, for the annual DHS Alumni Banquet. 

According to three e-mail reports sent to the Dorchester Times, the event featured speakers Dan O'Brien (former Dorchester coach and teacher), Larry Gish (former Dorchester teacher and coach), Doris Kohout (former Dorchester elementary school teacher) and Scott Pohl (current Dorchester teacher and coach).  Videos of the 1992 graduating class were also shown between speeches. (*UPDATE* -- Thanks to an e-mail from a reader, we have links to the videos.  See video #1, video #2, video #3, and video #4.  Click on the video you wish to view.  We apprecieate the heads up.)

The banquet honored the DHS Class of 1992 and the 50-year DHS Class of 1962, as well as all other Dorchester graduates who graduated in years ending in "2."  More than half of the Class of 1962 was in attendance (four are deceased). 

One alum who e-mailed us wrote that more than $1600 was raised through a live auction conducted by Jackie and Bill Rut's auction services, as well as a raffle ticket drawing.  The funds will go to the DHS Alumni Association.

Don and Louis Eret were honored after helping lead the alumni association for more than two decades, the Times has learned.  We are also told that alumni association president Joyce Karl announced Bob Weber had agreed to oversee the organization and that she would continue to serve as treasurer.  Three alumni association scholarships were awarded to members of the DHS Class of 2012.

Those unable to attend may send their donations to: Dorchester Alumni Association, PO Box 247, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Ceremonies At 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Many of us are welcoming the unofficial start of the summer season this weekend.  Some of us choose to hit the lakes, camp, swim, play ball, grill, or just relax with friends and family. 

But we should all take a significant amount of time tomorrow to  pay homage to the true meaning of this holiday weekend.

The Dorchester American Legion's Veterans Memorial program is a tradition in our area that we are proud to honor. It is a heartfelt tribute to our military heroes -- past and present -- so many of whom sacrificed their lives for freedom and to protect our country.

If you can, take 30 minutes out of your day to salute our fallen heroes who died serving our great nation. 

The Dorchester Legion's ceremonies will be Monday morning -- 10 a.m. at the Dorchester Cemetery, followed by 11 a.m. service at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

Lunch will be served at Tabor Hall for all who wish to attend.

Fourth Of July Committee Meets Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Do you enjoy Dorchester's Independence Day celebration?

Do you have ideas on on how our community can improve the day's events and draw even more folks from nearby towns to help us commemorate America's birthday?

The Dorchester Fourth of July Committee will meet this Tuesday, May 29, at 7 p.m. at the Dorchester Community Hall. 

Bring your ideas and help us make this year's Independence Day the best yet in Dorchester!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Do You Like Best About Dorchester? In 140 Words Or Less

We at the Dorchester Times don't subscribe toTwitter, the online social network that allows users to post comments ("tweets") of only 140 characters or less. 

We have never really understood the appeal of Twitter.  So you won't see the Dorchester Times utilizing that platform anytime soon.

Still, we know our readers appreciate concise, substantive comments from fellow readers. 

We also know most of our readers like positive commentary.

So our challenge for readers today is this: We want to hear what you like best about Dorchester -- in 140 words or less. 

Why do you live here? What is an overlooked aspect of Dorchester life?

If you've moved away, what do you miss about home?

If you are a long-time resident, what good qualities have stayed the same or improved?

We all need to be reminded of our many blessings from time to time.  Here is your chance to remind readers why they should be grateful that the community of Dorchester is a part of their lives.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dorchester Home Values 33% Below State Avg.

As staff members of the Times walked around town over the last several days, we counted only a handful of homes for sale.  That's a good sign. 

It also prompted us to ask, what's the real estate market like in Dorchester compared to surrounding towns and the rest of Nebraska?

According to real estate website, the average listing price for Dorchester homes currently on the market is $95,750. 

This is compared to an average home price of nearly $103,000 in Wilber and nearly $108,000 in Crete -- two nearby cities that have paved streets, which typically enhance housing values.

For more comparison, the average listing price in Pleasant Dale is $119,900.  In Seward, it's $143,257.  In Lincoln, it's $171,269.

The average price of owner-occupied housing units in Dorchester is $59,200.  That is compared to just over $88,000 statewide, meaning the average home in Dorchester is 33% less ($28,800) than the average Nebraska home.

To see the homes for sale in Dorchester, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

WANTED: Your Ideas To Make Our Town, School Even Better

Let us be clear: We think Dorchester is a wonderful place to grow up, raise a family and retire.  It's safe, clean and affordable.  

We like it here -- a lot.

But we can always make our village and our school better.  New approaches and new ideas can always be utilized.

We want to hear your suggestions on how  our village services, town administration, school operations, and the business community could be improved. 

No idea is too "outside of the box" for this discussion.

Regardless of your age or situation, if you live in Dorchester, you have a stake in how are community fares.  You are a direct investor in our village.  And your family's future here matters.

Please keep your comments civil and constructive, and be respectful of elected officials and volunteers who have the guts to put their name out there.

First State Bank Is Rural Lender Of The Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized First State Bank Nebraska as the 2012 Rural/Community Lender of the Year for Nebraska. First State Bank owns and operates the bank in Dorchester.

"Bank employees serve their community in a wide range of ways, from volunteer firefighters, paramedics and EMTs; leading high school 4-H clubs; mentoring at local schools; and serving on chambers of commerce, village and city boards," Leon Milobar, Nebraska district director for the SBA, said in a news release.

"Through its visionary leadership, based on building relationships with clients in Southeast Nebraska, by looking beyond their immediate financial needs, they help boost the confidence of existing small business in its economically underserved markets in the southeast part of our state, allowing them to expand despite difficult economic times," said SBA Nebraska District Office Lead Lender Relations Specialist Mike Niehaus, who nominated the lender for the honor.

First State Bank, which originated in Hickman, but now is based in Lincoln, has 17 branch locations, including in downtown Dorchester.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fischer Beats Bruning In Dorchester

According to official results obtained by the Times, Dorchester voters have given U.S. Senate Republican candidate Deb Fischer a victory in the Dorchester precinct tonight.   The Nebraska race for U.S. Senate is being followed closely by all the national media outlets.

UPDATE:  Deb Fisher has beat Jon Bruning statewide by 41.1% to 35.9%.  Don Stenberg finished thired with 18.75%.  Fisher won Saline County by more than 10%.

The results from Dorchester are as follows:
REP Party Jon Bruning 3133.33%
REP Party Sharyn Elander 00.00%
REP Party Deb Fischer 4548.39%
REP Party Pat Flynn 11.08%
REP Party Don Stenberg 1617.20%
REP Party Spencer Zimmerman 00.00%
Total Votes93100%

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dorchester Student Council Raises Big Bucks For Make-A-Wish

According to Dorchester Public School faculty member Stacy Lutjemeyer, the Dorchester Student Council recently raised more than $850 for the Make-A-Wish Nebraska Chapter.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation enriches the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work.

The successful fundraising at DPS was the result of activities sponsored by the student council on May 9. An after-school movie for K-6 students, along with free-will donations, snacks, a sloppy joe/hotdog supper, and a silent auction were all part of the effort.  
According to Lutjemeyer, about 60 Dorchester school students stayed for the movie, "Alvin and the Chipmunks -- Chipwrecked."  For all who donated items or came to help support this event, the DPS Student Council and its sponsors say "thank you."
For more on how you can donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Nebraska Champter, go to

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lincoln Paper Examines Dorchester's May 15 School Bond Vote, Loss Of State Aid

We all work hard to pay our property taxes -- be it on our residences, businesses or farm ground.  Most of those property taxes are used to pay for operation of our local school.  But it appears that fewer and fewer rural school districts, like Dorchester, are getting the state aid dollars they were promised long ago.  Instead, Lincoln, Omaha and more mid-sized cities with large Hispanic populations -- like our next-door neighbor Crete -- are taking our tax dollars for their own use.

The Lincoln Journal Star reported last week that of 249 school districts in the state, 102 rural districts are being shut out from receiving state aid funds. That's more than twice as many as were in that unenviable category as recently as school year 2008-09, according to the paper. This situation is due mostly to a surge in agricultural prosperity in the state that has pushed farmland values into record territory.

Because the state aid formula deems schools like Dorchester as unworthy and unqualified, more state aid is being funneled into Lincoln, Omaha "and an array of districts including Lexington, Crete and South Sioux City, where poverty and English proficiency figure strongly in aid eligibility," the Journal Star reports.

The story continues:

"Meanwhile, the list of those being shut out keeps getting longer. Among others already on it in Southeast Nebraska are Dorchester, Friend, Osceola, Mead, Shelby, Johnson-Brock, Humboldt Table Rock Steinauer, Deshler and Sutton.

"Many of the rural districts losing equalization aid have room to raise their property taxes without hitting the state lid, she said.  That, however, is not true everywhere. Dorchester, which no longer qualifies for equalization aid, will have a levy override vote May 15 on its property tax financing."

OPEN FORUM: May 2012

We are reviving this feature from the past.  It's the open forum section for Times readers.

Here is your chance to make your statement or announcement on any issue.

Any topic is fair game, although the Times' comment policy still applies. (Please see the left-hand column -- and please keep it classy.)

The Dorchester Times' website is averaging nearly 200 a day, according to an independent tracking service.
hat 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 -- and so are many others in the community. 

Morgan Spanyers Graduates With Nursing Degree, Honors

According to a news release sent to us by Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha, Dorchester graduate and native Morgan Spanyers graduated Cum Laude from the college on May 4.

The college awarded degrees or certificates to more than 150 students during graduation ceremonies held at St. Andrew's Methodist Church in Omaha. 

Spanyers was only one of 17 honors students receiving their bachelor degrees in nursing.

For more information on the Nebraska Methodist College's nursing programs and other health care related coursework, contact Ed Rider, communications/public relations manager, at (402) 354-6813.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Times Endorsement: Deb Fischer For Senate

The Dorchester Times staff (all six of us) has endorsed state Senator Deb Fischer for U.S. Senate.

Deb Fischer is a state senator from Valentine who began her service in political office in 2004.  She is not a career politician -- and we consider that a very positive quality.  At the same time, she has proved herself time and again as a true leader who gets things done, even if it means ruffling a few feathers.

Currently, the United States is swimming in $15.7 trillion in debt.  We can't walk away from it; we can't declare bankruptcy.  The longer we wait to address it, the less your dollar is worth.  It is unthinkable, we believe, to leave this burden to our kids and grand kids.  To change this immoral situation, we must first change the type of person we send to Washington.  Deb Fischer has the courage to do the hard, often thankless task of balancing our budgets.

The Times staff is comprised of both Democrats and Republicans.  But we all agree Deb Fischer is right when she says she will work to repeal the federal health care law known as Obamacare.  We agree with her that the federal government should have a very limited role in the economy -- and the best thing the feds can do is to get out of the way and allow small businesses to create jobs.

We agree Deb Fischer is right for the job.  That is why after careful consideration, Deb Fischer will be getting our vote on Tuesday. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DHS Students Recognized For Journalism Talent

Last week, Dorchester High School made another strong showing at the State Journalism Championships.  Held May 7 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the one-day championship event was sponsored by the Nebraska School Activities Association, the Nebraska High School Press Association and UNL.

DHS' Meredith Behrens took third place overall, regardless of class size, in the category of yearbook sports feature writing.  

DHS placed second in the Class D state journalism sweepstakes, finishing behind only Yutan.  
See the Omaha World-Herald story on the contest by clicking here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

DHS Alumni Banquet Set For May 26

The 2012 Dorchester Alumni Banquet is set for May 26. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the banquet starts at 6 p.m., according to e-mails received by the Times. 

On the agenda for this year's banquet is the traditional dinner, as well as guest speakers, including Mrs. Doris Kohout, Mr. Scott Pohl, Mr. Larry Gish, and Mr. Dan O'Brien.  Videos of the class of 1992 will also be shown.

All classes who graduated in the years ending with "2" will be honored.  Those from the class of 2012 will receive iTunes gift cards.

The event will conclude with an auction conducted by Rut Auction Service, according to e-mails.  Items on the auction block will include tickets to NU football and volleyball games, as well as many other items donated by local individuals and businesses.

Those who wish to attend should send their reservations to: Dorchester Alumni Association, PO Box 247, Dorchester, NE  68343.  Use the following form:

Please reserve ___ seats at $18 each .................................... $_____________
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Association ............................. $_____________
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Scholarship Fund ...................... $_____________

                                                                                          TOTAL $_____________

Name: __________________________ Class of _________  E-Mail___________________

Address: __________________________________________________________________

City:______________________________ State: _______ Zip:_______________________

Saturday, May 5, 2012

DHS Graduation, Last Day Of School Approaching

The Dorchester High School class of 2012 will receive their diplomas on Saturday, May 12, at 3:30 p.m, according to school officials.  The graduation ceremony will be heavily attended, so guests are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes early.

The last day of school for K-11 students at Dorchester will be Friday, May 18.  Students will be released at 11 a.m.  Busses will run accordingly.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Award-Winning Quilt Made By Dorchester Residents Now On Display

Nebraska Radio Network says that a detailed and colorful quilt that was part of a statewide contest is now on display at the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice. The winning design was created by Jan Stehlik of Dorchester, a retired teacher and history buff. As many as 20 women from the Homestead Quilt Club and the Nebraska State Quilt Guild worked on the quilt. The Guild’s Susan Weber, a former educator at Dorchester Public Schools, says the squares aim to represent the homesteading experience.

Items from prairie life depicted in the quilt blocks include: flying geese, the guiding star, a wind mill, a wild rose, the goldenrod, corn plants, a sod house and a plow breaking the sod. “It will hang on permanent display here at the Homestead Monument,” Weber says. “It has about three public viewings after the big celebration,” with showings across Nebraska in July, August and October.  The quilt is entitled, “Images of Homesteading,” and it was produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing by President Abraham Lincoln of the Homestead Act of 1862. The actual document is also on display at the monument throughout May.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dorchester, Saline Co. Rocked By T-Storms

Last night and this morning brought the fiercest thunderstorms of the spring to the Dorchester area, with the action beginning around 11 p.m. 

Here at Dorchester Times headquarters, we saw quarter-sized hail hit the ground, accompanied by 60- to 70-mph winds that toppled many trees.

Much of Saline County had reported at least 2 inches of rain by 2:30 a.m. Thursday. 

The Times' rain gauge showed around 2.35 inches, although the wind made it difficult to get an accurate read.

Meanwhile, flooding advisories have been issued for parts of Nuckolls, Thayer, Clay and Fillmore Counties. 
Hail, high winds and a possible tornado damaged structures and vehicles near Shickley, the National Weather Service said.

A house and garage were damaged about five miles southwest of Shickley in Fillmore County, reportedly by a tornado.  Two-inch hail damaged vehicles in Hastings.

From now through Friday night, we can expect similar conditions to what the area has experienced over the past couple of days, with at least a 50% chance of late-day to evening thunderstorms, hail and winds.