Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year From The Dorchester Times

The staff of the Dorchester Times wishes all our friends and readers a Happy New Year! 

We wish you all the very best for 2013. 

Thank you for another year online and for allowing us to be a part of your community life. 

"Here's to the new year ... may she be a damn sight better than the old one." 
 - Colonel Sherman T. Potter

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Sunday: Tom And Jerry Party At Fire Hall

Looking for something to do over this holiday break? Consider joining your friends and neighbors at the Dorchester Fire Hall for some warm adult beverages.
According to 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 recipe:

Tom and Jerrys
1 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Brandy
1 Egg
1 tsp. Sugar
6 oz. Hot water milk, or coffee

Seperateliqour mixture. Pour into a coffee mug and top with the water, milk or coffee.

Dorchester's Francis Coffey Passes

Francis Eugene Coffey, 81, of Dorchester, passed away on Monday, December 24, 2012.

Survivors include: wife, Goldie; sons, Francis and Alan; daughters and sons-in-law, Marilyn and Gene Brueggemann, as well as Bonnie and Glen Roebke.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. this Monday, December 31, at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. December 30, at the Kuncl Funeral Home.
Interment will be at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Dorchester!

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.
by Linda Watson Owen

At last! Tomorrow is the day
When our little church has its Christmas play.
Girls and boys, men, women, too,
Will deliver lines in quaint costumes.

Shepherds and wisemen will walk the aisle
To center front then stop and smile.
'The King is born!' will be the story
Of the infant Babe Who came from glory.

Tiny tots with fluffy stuff
Will be the lambs and sweet cherubs.
A star will shine and candles glow
When we perform our Christmas show.

Grandmas will "Ooh!" and gramps will grin
To see their grandkids marching in.
"Away in a Manger" was never so good
As it will be tomorrow in our neighborhood.

Tomorrow is it. All the practice is done.
The music will rise as the story is sung.
And somewhere far deep in the depths of our souls,
The glory of Christmas rises. It flows.

Amid all the flurry of costume and pageant,
A holiness greater than we can imagine,
Will visit our church, settle into our hearts
For that is where Christmas, God's Gift, truly starts.

The love Jesus brought, the joy that He brings,
Is the melody every heart here truly sings.
Yes, tomorrow our evening of pageant will say,
"It's Christmas again in Small Town USA."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dale Hayek Is Our 'Citizen Of The Year'


The Dorchester area has many movers and shakers. But there can be only one individual selected for the Dorchester Times' citizen of the year.
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 feature the 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 our Aug. 30 story on the new signs.)

You can contribute to this project by making tax-deductible donations now.  Make your checks payable to Dorchester 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!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVISED: 8-9" Of Snow Predicted For Dorchester Area

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 Weather Service.

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.

See our link to the Dorchester area's live radar by clicking here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Spotted Around Town: Dorchester FCA Choir

Christmas spirit is in the air in Dorchester.  And it's very jolly, thanks to some good-hearted citizens with gifted voices.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to see and hear the Dorchester Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) choir on Sunday evening as they sang Christmas carols to their fellow Dorchester residents.

We thought it was a special moment and deserved some recognition. Good work, guys and girls.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dorchester Booster Club Now On Facebook

For better or worse, we live in a virtual world. 

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!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can Small Towns Be Cool?

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).

After Recount, Dorchester's Ottmann Still On Top For SCC Board

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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candle Is To Blame For Friend Church Fire

The Lincoln Journal Star is 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 investigation.

The church had just finished a $100,000 remodeling project. Firefighters from Friend, Dorchester, Exeter and Crete battled the blaze for about three hours.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dorchester-Milford Activities Merger: Where We Stand To Date

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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Opinion: Give DHS Athletes Extra Credit -- In The Classroom

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 football.
* more than 2000 fewer girls play volleyball in high school.
* more than 800 fewer girls go out for high school basketball.
* more than 1100 fewer boys go out for high school basketball.

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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

LOOKING BACK: The Earliest Comments On Our Blog

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?

Without further 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)."

"Dorchester is the bomb digitity…"

On Downtown Dorchester…


"The grocery is a must have for every community. Thank you for keeping the store open."

"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 us?"

On Proposed Improvements…

"We 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 front yard."

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 door.”"Do I 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."

“I 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 paving."

On Dorchester Public School…

"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."

"Without the 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 surviving."

General Comments…

"Our 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 future."

"Time for leadership in the Village, not just nay saying!"

"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 yourself."

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.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

AmeriCorps Grant Opportunity For Area Groups

Do you know of a Dorchester area organization that is doing tremendous good for our community? If so, it may be eligible for a sizable grant.

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 programs, contact:

Greg Donovan (with ServeNebraska)                                                
(402) 471-6249