something to do over this holiday break? Consider joining your friends and neighbors at
the Dorchester Fire Hall for
some warm adult beverages.
a Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. spokesman, the DVFD will again be
hosting a Tom and Jerry party on Sunday, Dec. 30. The event will kick off at 9
a.m. and continue until an unspecified time.
According to our
friends at Wikipedia, the Tom and Jerry -- now known as a traditional
Christmas time cocktail -- was devised by British writer Pierce Egan in the
1820s. The egg nog-brandy-rum drink was made popular by the 19th century
author's book "Life in London."
To publicize the
book, Egan introduced a variation of eggnog by adding ½ fl. oz. of brandy,
calling it a "Tom and Jerry." The additional fortification helped popularize
the drink. To try Tom and Jerrys at
your home this holiday season, here is an easy-to-follow
Tom and Jerrys
oz. Dark Rum
oz. Hot water milk, or coffee
Seperateliqour mixture. Pour into a coffee mug and top with the water,
milk or coffee.
The staff of the Dorchester Times wishes our readers and all area residents a Merry Christmas. Thank you for allowing us to come into your home and continue to be a part of the community. We are grateful for yet another wonderful year online and in Dorchester, and we celebrate this special day by sharing with you the following poem, which reminded us of our little town.
Dorchester area has many movers and shakers. But there can be only one individual selected for the Dorchester Times' citizen of the
Over the past 30 days, we have
thought about the many people who deserve recognition for their work to
improve our quality of life in this community. We have considered their contributions of time and resources -- as well as the results of their leadership.
In the end, the 2012 Times' Citizen of the Year
award goes to Dale Hayek, chairman
of the Dorchester Community Foundation. In his professional life, Dale is grain manager for Farmers Cooperative, which is
headquartered in Dorchester and has facilities in 40 other communities.
As reported earlier by this blog, the Dorchester Community Foundation is raising funds to finalize the town's new welcome signs. These signs will featurethe community's new logo, which will also be on the village's new water tower.The concrete and brick welcome signs will be rather substantial in size, measuring 8' tall (pillars) and 20' wide.They will stand on an elevated landing measuring 6' by 24'.Plans are to have them lighted, as well.(See ourAug. 30 storyon the new signs.)
You can contribute to this project by making tax-deductible donations now. Make your checks payable toDorchester Community Foundation.Donations should be sent to: Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343.
One reader told
us: "I’d like to nominate Dale Hayek. The guy works hard to get 'r done. He cares about the projects that will better
the community of Dorchester. Dale provides real
leadership and gets others involved to
accomplish the foundation's goals. Dorchester is a better place because of his efforts and passion for our town."
Congratulations to Dale Hayek -- our Times' citizen of the year!
UPDATE: Dorchester is in the heart of the predicted path of the season's first major snowstorm -- and the Times is predicting a whopper. Our staff has looked at more than half a dozen models and we predict at least 8-9" of blowing snow by late tonight or early tomorrow morning.
Strong winds and heavy snowfall may cause significant
travel problems by late this afternoon, according to the National
A mix of rain and snow
may signal the start of the storm, but it's expected to quickly transition to
snow by late afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m.
Strong 40-mph wind gusts will create near white-out conditions,
according to the weather service.
Motorists are advised to stay off the roads starting around 4 p.m. to allow the county and state road crews time to do their jobs. The photo here was taken around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near Grand Island by a Dorchester area resident. Tomorrow morning is forecast to be cold and windy, and
snow is expected to continue blowing about.
Those who are currently enrolled at Dorchester High School, as well as parents and DHS alumni, won't be shocked to learn that even the Dorchester Booster Club is now on Facebook, and has been since Aug. 31, in fact. (Our apologies for just now getting around to reporting this.)
The DHS Booster Club is the non-profit organization that was formed years ago to support the athletes and students of Dorchester Public School.
But now that the organization has joined Facebook, they can broaden their reach and support.
Click here if you wish to check out the Booster Club's Facebook page. Then hit "like" to keep up to date on all the Booster news and announcements. We did!
A posting on Small Biz Survival -- a blog dedicated to small and rural business interests -- recently asked the $1 million question: "Can Small Towns Be Cool?" The answer: "You bet!"
According Dave Ivan of Michigan State University Extension, small towns can be cool if they are willing to follow some common success themes. Here they are:
1. Strong Engagement Between Citizens, Community Organizations And Local Government. For example, in St. Joseph, Mich., approx. 8000 pop, city leaders hold neighborhood town hall gatherings in backyards all across town. They also produce a unified community calendar and hand-deliver it to residents. Coopersville, Mich., uses their town entry sign to salute a different nonprofit, business person, and teacher each quarter.
2. Local Entrepreneurial Investment. Ivan said this is often initiated by a local entrepreneur and then served as a tipping point to get others to invest. In New Carlisle, Indiana, Bill Owens expanded a floral shop into gifts, a furniture store, and transformed the community into a regional destination. This can also be a community initiative, such as economic gardening to grow entrepreneurs, where you may have village staff used to make things work for business. In Ord, Neb., they developed a wealth transfer plan to strategically fund their community economic development initiatives. By asking people to give 5% of their estate back to the community, they now have $8.5 million in hand or in pledges.
3. Willingness To Change. This may be the hardest part for many towns.These new opportunities may require changes in all sorts of local laws, including zoning. Suttons
4. Actively Pursues Cultural Elements To Economic Development. The most common cultural elements include the arts. In Three Oaks, Mich., the creatives are working to integrate with the existing parades and local celebrations. So it can work.
5. Cultural Efforts Reach Out To Community Youth. New York Mills, Minn., established a cultural center that capitalizes on the natural amenities.
6. A Deliberate Effort To Engage Youth. There is a continuum of efforts to involve youth. You can do things to youth, or do for youth, or do with youth, Ivan said. It can be tough to get a town moved along the continuum. One idea was to provide disposable cameras to young leaders. Ask them to take pictures of what they like and dislike about the town, and have them present it at a future meeting. Can you imagine the impact this could have?
7. Retaining Youth And Attracting Families. Create economic choices that are appealing to youth. Ord, Neb., for example, has a youth entrepreneurship program starting in grade schools. Brookfield gave kids a mailbox with their name on it. "Brookfield is always going to be your hometown. Go out, explore, learn, but come home."
8. Conviction That, In The Long Run, You Must Do It Yourself. Cool small towns are not waiting for an outside savior. Argonia, Kan., lost their grocery store. But they built a community convenience and grocery store. They are now doing spec houses to sell at cost to new families. And if you enroll kids in the school, Argonia will even cover your closing costs.
The real keys to small town success? Ivan says those keys are strong leadership and standing up to the CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything).
The Associated Press tells us that a recount has not
changed the overall result of the election for at-large seat on the Southeast
Community College Board of Governors.
According to the State Board of Canvassers, challenger
Steve Ottmann of Dorchester beat incumbent Jim Garver of Lincoln. The recount
showed a victory margin of 401 votes out of more than 126,000 total votes.
The original difference was less than 1 percent of
Ottmann’s total, which required a recount of all the votes unless the candidate
in second place declined. Votes were recounted in all 15 counties of the college
district’s territory in eastern Nebraska.
The Lincoln Journal Staris reporting that a candle is to blame for the Dec. 4 fire that destroyed the United Methodist Church of Friend.
Rev. Paixao Baptista declined comment, saying he was
waiting for the written report from the state Fire Marshal's Office.Baptista said he did not know whether the church was a
partial or total loss because the insurance company has not completed its
The church had just finished a $100,000 remodeling project.Firefighters from Friend, Dorchester, Exeter and Crete
battled the blaze for about three hours.
As this blog reported earlier, the Dorchester and Milford school board recenlty approved a two-year trial sports co-op that will begin next school year.
Several readers have sent us e-mails inquiring what are the latest developments on the situation. Here is a roundup of what we know:
The Milford-Dorchester junior high football merger will begin next season.
The schools' varsity wrestling co-op will begin next school year, as well.
A two-year varsity football co-op begins with the 2014-2015 season -- as long as projected combined enrollment numbers fall in the Class C-1 range. If the move would take the DHS-MHS squad into Class B, the co-op would be ended.
Junior high wrestling will be combined for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The two schools already coop in other activities -- and not just athletics. Activities already merged include Future Business Leaders of America activities.
If readers, including school administration officials or school board members, see any incorrect information or if we have failed to mention important details, please let us know in the "comments" section of this story.
The winter sports season in underway at Dorchester High
School and all across our great state.
Last night, the new-and-improved Dorchester Longhorns
boys team lost their season opener at home -- in The Corral -- falling to a
solid Diller-Odell squad by 47-35.The
Lady Longhorns lost to Diller-Odell 49-21.We were very impressed by the loud DHS crowd at both games last
night, as well as the efforts put forth by the student athletes.
We see much brighter days ahead for the
Dorchester athletic programs and we tip our black-and-orange hats to those
students (and coaches and parents) who are giving their all to represent their
school. In a few more years, with hard work and dedication, DHS may very well be one of the better sports programs around, especially with added competition with Milford students.
But for now, it's time we give credit where credit is due.It's time to reward our student athletes.
Consider that compared to 20 years ago in Nebraska...
* about 2200 fewer boys participate in high school
* more than 2000 fewer girls play volleyball in high
* more than 800 fewer girls go out for high school
* more than 1100 fewer boys go out for high school
This information was provided to the Times by the Nebraska School Activities Association.
The decline in athletic participants comes despite the fact that Nebraska's high school enrollment is
higher that it was two decades ago.
Here is why we care: Athletics prepare students for the real world by teaching
them to balance work and other obligations. Participating in sports teaches
kids how to handle success -- and failure -- in life. Athletics help instill
leadership qualities that simply can't be taught in the classroom. Sports teach
kids about the pride that comes with representing your school and community.
It is time to give students who participate in athletics and other school-sponsored activities a half-grade of extra credit per semester for every course. For example, a student who earned a B in algebra would get a
B+ that semester due to his/her heavier-than-normal workload.
The divide between those who "do" and those who "do not" is growing wider -- not only in our community and state, but across the nation.
We hope the Dorchester School Board will give this idea some thought.
If we truly believe in local control in education, let's set a model by showing we want to recognize those young people who choose not to just sit on the sidelines. Let's reward those who choose to be involved and who do their best to represent our community.
Five and a half years ago this month, we unveiled the
Dorchester Times. You know what they say: Time does fly. We have enjoyed bringing you the latest from our town, Dorchester. And we look forward to posting many more stories in the months
and years ahead. But even more, we look forward to hearing from
you. After all, the success of this publication will be determined by our
readers. (You can always leave a message by just clicking on the “comments” link
after each story. Readers are still encouraged to use a user name instead of
signing with “anonymous.”)
For those of you who may have not been readers in our early days, we looked
back at some of the more notable comments left by readers in that first month of publication. Some comments made us
laugh, others made us cry, and still others made us red in the face. But we published them
all and tried to keep our opinion out of the mix. Years later, you will see some of the issues were addressed; others are still a focal point of our community discussions.
As you read them, ask yourself: Have my opinions changed? Have I become more informed? Have I done anything to remedy a bad situation? Or am I still just leaving gripes online and with my little circle of friends?
adieu, here are some of the more memorable reader comments from this blog's first month, May 2007:
On Dorchester and the
Dorchester Times Blog…
"This is a
great start to promote a nice community. Dorchester is almost like 'Cheers', in
that 'everyone knows your name' (if you grew up there)."
the bomb digitity…"
SOMEONE PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TEAR DOWN THE OLD CONNER'S GIFT SHOP &
ROOFING BUILDING? AFTER 25 YEARS, IT AIN'T COMING BACK!"
"The grocery is
a must have for every community. Thank you for keeping the store
"I would be ashamed to send friends to our downtown area in the
shape it is in. Look how many people come to our July 4th celebration; it is
just as good if not better than most community events around here. However, what
does the appearance of the buildings say about
certainly could make a long list of improvements that need to be made. At the
top of the list should be those that will attract younger families and secure a future for Dorchester."
“The new sign (town marquee) is a
great improvement over the last one. In fact, in my lifetime, I would say that
the sign is the biggest improvement in town.”
"Improvements are NICE but where will the money come from?"
"If a swimming pool is needed, dig a big hole in someone's
On Paved Streets…
“If you had a
curb on the streets, people would be less likely to drive onto their lawn so
they could stagger three less steps into their front
remember the picketers? NO! However, I do remember today, driving down muddy
streets, dodging mud holes. I do remember never being able to open a window in
my house because the dust from the gravel streets gets everywhere."
hope our leadership has realized that pavement is not a flash in the pan idea,
just look and ANY of our neighboring communities.”
"Come on people, we
had more growth back in the days, and they didn’t have paved streets. Paving is
not going to bring new growth. Fix downtown and talk about streets
later." "Do I
dare to ask what we accomplished by not paving? We kept our community
stagnate..... No incentive for commercial or residential development. …The cost
to our community has been greater by not
On Dorchester Public
"Consolidate with Friend? And inherit their
$500,000 debt? Not in this lifetime."
"Build the new school and watch a
rebirth of the town's pride."
"I have strong feelings...we don't need a
new school...we need to take care of the one we have."
Dorchester school system, the community will fall apart. Families will leave and
the town will probably become very poor."
"The future of District #44
depends on planning for the future, growing not just
appearance needs to be as great as the people in Dorchester. Let's work on an
environment that will allow us to keep our young people and possibly invite ones
that have left back."
"Sticks in the mud make lousy pathways to the
"Time for leadership in the Village, not just nay
"Small town life is like wearing a dirty diaper: You can sit in
your own stink and blame others or you can get up and change
And finally, our favorite comment came
from 'Crete Guy' on the first story we ever posted…
“I didn't know there was enough news to
report in Dorchester.”
Do you know of a Dorchester area organization that is
doing tremendous good for our community? If so, it may be eligible for a
ServeNebraska has announced the 2013-2014 Competitive
AmeriCorps State grant opportunity.Competitive AmeriCorps State grants are awarded to Nebraska
organizations to implement projects that utilize AmeriCorps members to impact
community problems through an evidence-based approach. Projects funded tend to
be sophisticated in program design and experienced in delivering high quality
impactful initiatives. A subsequent AmeriCorps funding opportunity for smaller
scale or newer initiatives is projected for Spring 2013
For 2013-2014 investment of funds will prioritize
programs working in the focus areas of Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity,
Education, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, and Veterans &
Military Families. Programs funded will begin September 1, 2013.
Eligible applicants include Nebraska public or private
non-profit organizations; faith-based and other community organizations; and
institutions of higher education.ServeNebraska is eager to assist communities
and their leaders in designing and implementing services benefiting area
residents. If you would like to learn more about how AmeriCorps may be able to
benefit your organization and how ServeNebraska may be able to help you
implementing new AmeriCorps programs or creating partnerships with existing
Thanks for following the news, events and history of America's best small town. (We are averaging 19,780 page views per month.) Follow us on Twitter @vil_dweller. E-mail us your news, photos, announcements at: email@example.com (note the dot between "dorchester" and "times").
Main Street Dorchester in 1906 with ponies from Col. Thompson's Elmwood Pony Farm.
Got News? Want Alerts?
The Dorchester Times is your community news source. We rely on information provided by area residents, community leaders, school officials, students and alumni. If you know of a Dorchester-area event or story, send your stories to Dorchester.Times@gmail.com. Photos are also welcomed. If you would like to be notified when the Times publishes a new post, send us your e-mail address and we will add you to our contact list.
Dorchester Cooperative feed mill fire in the 1950s.
Dorchester: A Good Little Family Town
Dorchester, Nebraska (est. population 630) is located in northern Saline county. Close in proximity to Interstate 80, Dorchester is only 25 minutes from the state capital of Lincoln (est. population 250,000) and about 55 minutes from Omaha (metro population 725,000).
Dorchester's median resident age is 37 years. In 2005, Dorchester had a median family income of approximately $35,600. The median house value was about $63,000. About 95 percent of Dorchester residents commute to work via Interstate and highways.
The village has a quality public school, which received a $4.1 million expansion and modernization in 2008; it offers a small classrooms and individualized attention. Total enrollment of grades K-12 is around 230-250 students.
Ancestries of the Dorchester area are primarily German (42.4%), Czech (24.9%), Irish (12.5%), English (5.4%), and Dutch (4.9%).
Dorchester's West Mills, 1910. The mill, built by some of the area's first settlers, sat on the West Fork Big Blue River and was completed in 1864.
Dorchester-Area Job Listings
Live in Dorchester and still find a career in almost any sector. See today's latest Dorchster-area job listings by clicking here.
Dorchesters's Elmwood Pony Farm and W.J. Thompson, auctioneer, in 1912.
Join Dorchester Community Foundation Today
Want to make Dorchester an even better place to call home? Join the Dorchester Community Foundation. The Foundation and its fund have already spurred several community improvements, such as the city park renovation and the new 'Welcome to Dorchester' signs. To donate, simply click here.
Dorchester Historical Facts
* On July 4, 1871, the railroad reached Dorchester.
* Incorporated in 1881, Dorchester's population grew from 200 to 500 by 1882.
* In 1882, Dorchester had 90 buildings, 35 of which were businesses or public facilities. Brick buildings lined both sides of Washington Avenue for two blocks.
* Dorchester's longest-running newspaper was The Dorchester Star, which was published until the late 1940s.
* By 1889, Dorchester's population is said to have reached 800, while the town housed an opera house, a two-story brick schoolhouse with a bell tower, and four churches.
* By the 1910s, Dorchester had electricity, a water tower and a fire department.
* Dorchester's main arteries, Highways 6 and 33, were graveled in the 1940s.
* Dorchester's first irrigation well was drilled on Chris Weber's farm and rural electrification was finished following WWII.
Dorchester's Main Street, 1908, looking north.
A Village with History
Dorchester is one of the "alphabet towns" on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad line built west from Lincoln. The town site was selected for its pleasant location in the northern part of Saline County, about eight miles west of Crete. This situation is an attractive one, being on the level prairie land, midway between the West Blue River and Turkey Creek. The first named stream is three miles north, and the latter about the same distance south from the town. Dorchester was platted in 1870 and incorporated in 1881. The name "Dorchester" came from either for a suburb of Boston by that name or a town in England. No one is sure. Two of the very first settlers were James Seely and Edward McIntyre, who both made Dorchester their permanent home.
Dorchester's Methodist Church circa 1889-90, shortly after the building was moved from Pleasant Hill.
Turkey Creek stock farm, circa 1885, south of Dorchester.
Dorchester: In The Beginning
Here is a look at Dorchester around 1890, less than a decade after its official incorporation, as documented by Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska:
* POPULATION: "About 300, and is made up of a substantial and progressive class of citizens, who are moral and industrious. ... The town grew but very little until the year 1879, for the reason that Pleasant Hill, on Turkey Creek, a short distance south, was the county seat and naturally drew a trade for quite a large scope of country."
* BUSINESS: "The business and professional interests of the town are represented by three general merchandise stores, two drug, one grocery, one furniture, two hardware, and two millinery stores, one bank, two restaurants, two hotels, three livery stables, a post office, one newspaper office, two elevators, two lumber yards, two coal yards, two blacksmith shops, two lawyers and four physicians."
* SCHOOL: "The schoolhouse is a good one. The schoolhouse was built in 1872, since which time the public schools have been continually kept up. The present schoolhouse is 24' x 40' in size, two stories high. The school is graded and consists of three departments. The house is found too small, and arrangements will soon be made to increase its size."
* CHURCHES: "There are three substantial churches."
* HOMES: "The residence portion of the village is made up of neat houses of different styles of architecture, but none of them very large."
* NEWSPAPER: "The Dorchester Star, which was established August 21, 1881, by H. C. Bittenbender, who edited it until January 19, 1882, when he sold it to Ryerson & Bullock, the present proprietors. The Star is a bright weekly paper, five-column quarto, in size, and is Republican in politics."
Portrait of three boys in costume on a dirt road in Dorchester, early 1900s. One is dressed as a Uncle Sam, while the other two are dressed as Native Americans, complete with feathered headdresses, fringed clothing and bows. Photo by Russell Freidell.
Dorchester Homes For Sale
Dorchester offers friendly, small-community living for families and individuals. The cost of living here is one of the nation's most affordable, while the quality of life is tremendous. Click here for the latest Dorchester area real estate listings.
The "famous Dorchester race car" from the 1930s, built and raced by Henry Sehnert, the village's longtime Ford auto dealer.
Dorchester Items On eBay
See what Dorchester-related items are for sale on eBay by clicking here. It should be noted that the Dorchester Times is neither affiliated with eBay, nor do we receive compensation from the company.
1909 Dorchester baseball team.
Share News With Your Fellow Community Members
Let us know if there is something that you want to see covered or featured in the Dorchester Times. E-mail stories, photos and news tips to Dorchester.Times@gmail.com.
The Old Dorchester School used from 1890-1927.
Current Dorchester Demographics
Click here for the most up-to-date information on Dorchester, including information and statistics on our residents, housing, school, businesses and climate.
Dorchester's train depot as featured in a postcard from the early 1900s.
TIMES POLL: If DHS were to co-op with another school for activities, which would you prefer?
Today's city hall as it appeared circa 1920, when it housed the Citizens State Bank, post office and Masonic Hall (upstairs).
TIMES POLL: What Should Be Dorchester's Top Priority Over The Next 12 Months?
Gathering at Dorchester's fairgrounds, 1908
TIMES POLL: What Issue Is Most Important When Voting For School Board Members?
RESULTS: Student Behavior/Perfomance -- 48.1%; Teacher/Staff Evaluation -- 16.3%; Cooperation With Village -- 15.4%; New Spending -- 14.4%; School Renovation -- 5.8% (104 votes)
Freeouf's Garage & Livery of Dorchester, circa 1925
POLL: What Should Dorchester's Top Goal Be For 2015?
Dorchester's Charles Havlat was the very last U.S. soldier killed in action in the European operations of WWII. Private Havlat was shot May 7, 1945, while on patrol in Bohemia, by German soldiers who were unaware a ceasefire had been declared.
TIMES POLL: Bring Back The Summertime Street Dances?
RESULTS: Yes -- 78.4%; No -- 21.6% (102 readers surveyed.)
The Dorchester telephone building, which housed operators and switchboards, as it appeared in the 1920s.
TIMES POLL: When Do You Get In Touch With Old DHS Classmates?
RESULTS: Alumni Tournaments -- 62.7%; Stay in touch regularly -- 18.6%; Homecoming -- 8.5%; Christmas/New Years -- 6.8%; Fourth of July -- 3.4%. (59 votes)
Dorchester Methodist Church around the turn of the 20th century
TIMES POLL: The City of Crete recently spent $1.2 million of taxpayer funds to renovate their swimming pool. Should Dorchester consider a small pool for our community?
Dorchester's First Baptist Church (year unknown)
TIMES POLL: What Is Dorchester's Best Quality?
RESULTS: The people of Dorchester -- 32.6%; School -- 18.5%; Close to larger towns -- 17.4%; Cost of living -- 16.3%; Other -- 9.8%; Organizations and businesses -- 5.4%. (92 readers surveyed.)
Dorchester Christian Church, circa 1908
TIMES POLL: Which Nearby Community Do You Most Enjoy Visiting?
Depot, telegraph office and elevator at Dorchester, circa 1910
Times Poll: What Is The Biggest Advantage Of Living In Dorchester?
Dorchester's Elmwood Pony Farm, owned by W.J. Thompson, 1912
TIMES POLL: What Is The Most Positive Development In Dorchester Lately?
RESULTS: City Park Renovation - 40.2%; More Civic Participation - 22%; Main Street Improvements - 13.6%; Growth Of Co-op - 13.6%; Nerud Field Project - 10.6%. (132 votes.)
Dorchester's July 4th G.A.R. parade, 1908
TIMES POLL: Do You Support Providing Property Tax Incentives For Businesses Buying Main Street Buildings?
Dorchester's two-story depot, built in the 1870s, housed the station agent and his family upstairs
TIMES POLL: Which Era Had the Top Male Athletic Talent?