Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014, Dorchester!

The Dorchester Times wishes all our friends, neighbors and readers a Happy New Year! 

We wish you all the very best for 2014. 

Let's use the new year to focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  

Moreover, let's work with our neighbors and neighboring communities to ensure a brighter tomorrow for Dorchester and all of Saline County.  Remember, we will always be most content when we concentrate foremost on the well-being of others.

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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thieves Steal Religious Figures From Dorchester Christmas Display

It seems the Grinch made his rounds in Dorchester this holiday season. 

We've heard reports that at least one Dorchester home -- that of Peg Bergmeyer -- was targeted by thieves in recent days.  

According to the report, figures representing Mary and Baby Jesus were stolen from the outdoor display last weekend.  Other homes may have been hit, as well.

If you are know who is responsible for this act, or you can offer clues to assist authorities in catching them, please call the Saline County Sheriff's Department at (402) 821-2111.

If you have video surveillance at your residence, please review the footage for suspicious activity.

Also, be on the lookout in case the thieves dumped the stolen property.  If you do spot it, please return it to its rightful owner.

Thompson Mansion Restored, Home To New Business

Restoration is nearing completion on one of Dorchester's most historic homes.

Over the past several months, Dorchester residents have likely seen progress being made on the old estate of Dorchester pioneer W.J. Thompson.  

The 3,000 sq. ft. home, built in 1901, sits on the corner of 10th and Lincoln Ave. and is an intriguing piece of Nebraska's past as it was the site of Dorchester's famous Elmwood Pony Farm.  (For those of you who aren't familiar, see our story on this historic home here.)

In 2007, the Times named the structure one of our favorite old homes in Dorchester, calling it "a diamond in the rough" with the potential to "be a crown jewel for the entire region."  The house was on the market just a few years ago.  (See what it looked like back then by clicking here.)

Now it is not only renovated, it's home to a new business owned by Julie and Joe Holly.  No details have been sent to the Times, and there's no signage in place yet, but we're told the mansion will house a spa and other business services.

The work done to the exterior of this historic Victorian mansion is remarkable. Restoring a beauty such of this is no easy task and we applaud the Hollys for taking on the project.  And we encourage local residents to patronize the Holly's new business.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Comments Coming In Regarding Support For Keeping B-Ball Teams In Dorchester

With all due respect, it appears the Dorchester Board of Education got this one wrong. 

In the six year-plus history of this online publication, we have always supported the tough decisions of our locally elected officials.  We vocally supported the school board's decision to build a new school and raise the money to pay for it.  We fervently backed the village board's decision to move forward with a plan to clean up neglected properties.  And we gave the thumbs up to the school board when they opted to ask Milford Public Schools to allow Dorchester boys to join their football and wrestling teams.

These decisions were made only after months or years of discussion and study.  They were demonstrations of sound judgement.  They reflected what the vast majority of residents wanted.

This past week, the DPS board, somewhat unexpectedly and in expedited fashion, voted to ask Milford Public Schools allow a two-year co-op arrangement for girls and boys basketball.  

DHS is enduring a cycle in which there is a smaller-than-usual number of boys in grades 9-12.  While participant numbers will be tight in future years, merging both basketball teams with Milford (or any other school) is unnecessary and unwise.  This is not like the situation facing the football program, where DHS students would be without a team if an alternative wasn't offered.  

The Dorchester school board should reconsider its latest decision, for several reasons:

1.)  School is still about academics.  Most of us on the Times staff participated in DHS athletics during our school days.  We get it -- athletics provide student athletes valuable lessons and instill pride.  They provide a lifetime of memories, even if 99% of our children never play beyond the high school or tiny college stage.  That said, it's still just a game.  Busing students to Milford unnecessarily (or parents opting to drive 10 or more miles to take their kids to another school) is a tremendously silly drain of time and taxpayer resources.  Just plain silly! DHS athletes will find themselves with considerably less time and energy to study and focus on schoolwork -- you know, the reason kids go to school in the first place? To make something of themselves? To be productive members of our society? So that they can get meaningful jobs and earn a decent living?

2.) Sports are still about the kids.  Here's a reminder for some of you: It's not about the number of wins and losses; it's about ensuring the maximum number of Dorchester boys and girls who want to play, get to play.  Period.  If you have five DHS boys who want to play, you field a team.  If they don't win a game all season, that's life in a small town -- and the ebb and flow of small school sports.  Five years later, your team may be playing in the Pinnacle Arena for the state championship.  In the meantime, don't deprive Dorchester kids the opportunity to wear their school colors and to represent the town in which they've been raised.  Treat your kids as you would have wanted to be treated when you were their age.  And remember: Lifelong lessons are learned even when you don't win all the time.

3.)  DPS athletics are still about representing Dorchester.  Some of our DPS parents have their loyalties all confused -- saying they prefer Milford, or Friend, or Crete, or Wilber.  Well, we prefer Dorchester.  And we bet your kids do, too.  As we said above, if we can field a basketball team, we should field it here at Dorchester Public School.  We should do everything we can to ensure that Dorchester kids who want to play get to wear the orange and black.  Communities smaller than Dorchester have united when such issues have arisen; we should not let DHS athletics -- a source of pride for generations -- be a dividing point.  Moreover, instead of threatening to enroll our child in another school, we should be teaching him the meaning of loyalty -- to classmates, to school, to hometown.  We should be teaching our child to play for something bigger than herself.

Again, this blog urges the Dorchester Board of Education to reconsider its request for an expanded co-op agreement, which would forfeit at least two seasons of DHS boys and girls basketball.  

We see little harm in waiting a year to re-evaluate the situation.  But we see potential long-term damage if this decision is rushed -- and if Dorchester boys and girls are unnecessarily deprived of the opportunity to wear the orange and black.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Attention All Area Businesses: Free Advertising At The Times


Dorchester is lucky to have its share of great businesses.  Some have been here for decades, while others are new on the scene.  

Here is an offer for all area businesses, whether you have a storefronts on main street (Washington Ave., for those who don't know) or you're in the countryside: You can advertise your business for free on the Dorchester Times.

  • In the comments section of this post, business owners are encouraged to let readers know about specials or new offerings for their customers.  Let us of why and how we can do business with you.  Share your business hours, website addresses, contact numbers or e-mail addresses, and perhaps a brief history of your business.
  • Those of you who patronize Dorchester area businesses, tell us which are your favorites and why others should give them a try.
Many services and products are available right here in the Dorchester area.  It is important to keep our dollars close to home, to ensure that our community businesses not only survive, but grow. The best way to do that is by spreading the word about our community's top-notch businesses.  

So go ahead -- tell us where we should be spending our dollars.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Paper: The Dimming Of Nebraska's Friday Night Lights

One of the biggest stories of 2013 was the loss of DHS' football team, marking the first season since 1948 our school didn't have a team of its own.

But Dorchester is far from alone in this story.  Rural Nebraska high school football is suffering a noticeable decline, border to boarder.  The Omaha World-Herald recently ran a well-written story profiling small-town football and its shrinking numbers.

Nebraska's declining rural population has had a dramatic impact on high school football, according to the World-Herald.  Since 1983, Nebraska's total number of football programs has dropped by more than 20%.

And while Dorchester's loss of a football team is temporary, we hope, many schools in western Nebraska and northeast Nebraska are halting their programs for good.  The further a community is from Lincoln or Omaha, the tougher the odds.  Every mile counts.

The story looks at Lindsay Holy Family as its example.  In 1980, Holy Family had 336 students in grades 1-12. In 2003, enrollment had dropped to 201. Now it's 98, including only 16 high school boys.  The cause?

» Advanced machinery allows farmers to work 10 times as many acres as their fathers did. The demand for help in small towns isn't what it used to be.

» Families choose two or three kids rather than six or nine. Kindergarten classes are consistently smaller than senior classes.

» The ebb and flow of rural economics leads to generation gaps. During the '80s, for instance, times got so tough that small farmers moved away.

» The lure of cities like Lincoln and Omaha, two hours east. More high school graduates go to college and don't come back.

» Decreased participation rates in football. Maybe it's the fear of injury. Maybe it's more extracurricular alternatives. Either way, fewer kids are playing.

And the article details those familiar stories of what happens whens schools try consolidation.

"Community rivalries aren't as nasty anymore.  But there's still bad blood, mostly among parents.  (P)artnerships have been ruined because towns can't agree on uniform colors or mascots or where to play home games.  Elba and North Loup-Scotia broke up and the latter had to cancel its season. Greeley-Wolbach split with Cedar Rapids and will join North Loup-Scotia. Now Cedar Rapids is merging with Spalding, leaving Spalding Academy on its own. It's like a homecoming dance. You don't want to be without a date. You also don't want to give up independence before necessary. A small town's greatest fear is losing the high school."

See the World-Herald's story by clicking here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dorchester Is SENDD's Spotlight Community

Be proud, Dorchester.  You are in the spotlight of the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) and its December publication.

In an article titled "Dorchester Planning = Success," the SENDD newsletter highlights the Dorchester's comprehensive planning strategy, which started nearly a decade ago, and the subsequent initiatives that have taken place in recent years.

The article reads as follows:

"The Village of Dorchester believes success comes from planning. This mantra was
adopted in 2004 as Dorchester began its first Community Strategic Planning project as part of organizing the Dorchester Community Foundation. Momentum from those meetings continues to pulse through the community. Activities that position the community for future growth and opportunities continue to be reviewed, prioritized and developed by citizen groups and local government agencies.

"Existing facilities have been renovated to continue to serve community needs and new facilities have been built to support future opportunities.  Investments have been made in schools, parks, government services and buildings throughout Dorchester. The Village Board has taken a leadership role in providing for the future delivery of government services, particularly water and waste water.

"Before any ground was broken for construction projects, planning activities prioritized the best available use of resources for infrastructure investments. The community has completed two community surveys, four planning projects and has just started a fifth planning project.

"Planning studies have included: Preliminary Engineering study for water improvements, Preliminary Engineering study for Waste Water improvements, a Street Improvement Study, and a Housing Market Study. Currently, the community is working through the planning activities to create a new Comprehensive Development Plan with updates to Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances.

"The Village prioritized projects and has completed three major infrastructure projects, and has initiated the design phase of a fourth. Investments have been made to provide more efficient services and meet regulatory requirements.

  • "In 2010 a new complete retention sewer lagoon was constructed, replacing an obsolete discharge lagoon system.
  • "In 2012 a new municipal well and water line replacement project was completed.  
  • "In 2013 a new water tower was constructed and the obsolete tower was removed. 
  • "A new storm water drainage project has been initiated in 2013 with completion expected in 2014.
"Other projects prioritized through community planning activities have included two nuisance abatement programs and a housing rehabilitation project. Homeowners and businesses worked with the Village to successfully complete the nuisance abatement programs over the last two years, improving community appearance and quality of life. The community is still pursuing opportunities to implement a housing rehabilitation program that will assist homeowners with substantial rehabilitation of their homes.

"There are many successful civic activities being developed and led by local organizations and citizens, as well as successful projects by the local school district and the fire department. The community foundation has been fundraising for a new community entrance sign. These investments not only preserve the community but also build the local leadership capacity and energize citizens that enable the community to adapt and prepare for its next 100 years as an endearing place to call home."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dorchester's Roth Receives Her Degree From UNL

More than 1,500 students received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in ceremonies Dec. 20-21.  Dorchester's Tonya Alice Roth was among those, receiving her bachelor's degree in education and human sciences.

UNL awarded postgraduate degrees on Dec. 20 and baccalaureate degrees on Dec. 21 in ceremonies at Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

The commencement speakers were Karen Kunc, Willa Cather Professor and professor of art at UNL (postgraduate ceremony), and former Nebraska Gov. and former U.S. $en. Ben Nelson (baccalaureate).

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Task Forces Sets Its Sights On Dorchester's Future

The Dorchester Times has learned a new community task force has been formed by village leaders to address Dorchester's future growth and quality of life.  

According to an e-mail we received, the Dorchester Community Task Force is comprised of younger residents who live within the village limits.  The group will study current challenges and opportunities facing Dorchester, as well as propose fresh solutions and a comprehensive plan moving forward.  Among the issues the group will analyze will be housing, infrastructure, businesses, and recreation.

"This is a wonderful step," the source wrote in her e-mail to the Times. "It is so refreshing to see a younger generation of leaders step forward and carry the water for our community.  

"Dorchester offers a lot of promise and good standard of living, with a new school, new water system, and good people who have many options nearby for jobs and careers.  We need younger residents to have a voice on some important decisions that will be made in the near future."

We are told the task force members are: LJ Barley, Kelly Vyhnalek, Penny Keller, and Brent Zoubek.

We tip our collective hat to these young Dorchester leaders and we offer our support in every way possible.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Longhorn Boys Go On Win Streak; Take On Osceola Tonight

The Dorchester boys basketball team is batting .500 in the young season, as the 2-2 Longhorns have won
consecutive games.  

The win streak started last Friday, as DHS came from behind to beat Bruning-Davenport-Shickley 48-47, despite trailing 41-31 going into the fourth quarter.  

Under the guidance of head coach Adrian Allen and  assistant coach Zach Rosenboom, DHS was led by Riley Zahourek, who had 19 points. Kevin Donohoe, who scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, helped spark the rally.  And senior Derek Pohl added another 12.  Corey Bird grabbed 15 rebounds in the game, and Donohoe contributed five steals.

“We fought back. That shows our character,” Allen said. “I’m happy with the effort.”

See the Friend Sentinel's recap of the game by clicking here.

On Tuesday, the Longhorn boys knocked off Harvard by more than doubling the tally on the Clay County team, 55-25.

The DHS boys and girls travel to Osceola tonight, Dec. 19.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This Christmas, Give The Gift Of Dorchester History

Are you searching for a unique, meaningful last-minute Christmas gift? We suggest searching the Internet for items from Dorchester's rich past.

We found this picture of Dorchester's Christian Church, likely taken around 1908, when the church was built on the NW corner of 9th and Jefferson. It included a tank behind the alter, since the members of the Christian Church practiced total immersion for baptism.  From the best we can tell, the 1908 Christian Church in town replaced this one from an earlier era.  

Both postcards featuring the two Dorchester Christian Churches are for sale -- and both are amazingly crisp, clear photographs.

We also found some very unique tokens, which were used by Dorchester retailers as a promotion to lure more customers into the story.  This beautiful brass token was issued by A.W. Simons on Dorchester's Main Street. Simons' drug store operated from 1895 to 1905. It was good for 5 cents' worth of merchandise. Click here to see several similar coins. 

We also found this unique square token -- good for 1 cent in merchandise -- distributed by F.B. Ireland's Grocery and Dry Goods store, which operated in Dorchester from 1900 to 1919.  It was located in the space that currently is home to the community building and American Legion Hall.

Finally, we came across this 2005 Dorchester Public School yearbook.  One member of our staff thinks this was a particularly good year for Dorchester High, for whatever reason.

These items and many others are out there.  We encourage to take a stroll on the Web for items uniquely Dorchester -- and make your loved ones' Christmas something special!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Is It Time To Close Some County Roads?

This is a fact: $2 million doesn't come easy.  Not even to local government.  But that is what Saline County appears to be spending annually on its gravel roads, if the current trend is any indication.  

The Saline County Board of Commissioners, which manages your taxpayer dollars -- primarily derived from property taxes -- provides some serious cash to maintain Saline County's roads and bridges.  At the Dec. 3 Saline County board meeting, the county's five commissioners gave their approval to spend roughly $75,000 on roads and bridges in Saline County. (Nearly $37,000 in gravel alone -- for a two-week period!)  

Keep in mind the commissioners meet every other Tuesday at the Saline County Courthouse (2nd floor beginning at 9:15 a.m.).  

At the Nov. 19 county board meeting, the commissioners OK'd nearly $70,000 on county roads and bridges.

At this pace, Saline County commissioners will have spent nearly $1.9 million on roads and bridges over the course of a full year.

Some of us can recall a time when the county's gravel roads were well traveled -- back when there were farms every quarter-mile or half-mile.  But those days are gone. In 2013, some country roads are lucky to see more than one or two vehicles a day. 

That leads us to this touchy question: Is it time to close some of the county's rural roads -- for the good of the taxpayer? We think the idea should at least be explored if mile-long stretches have no residents.

The mile-by-mile grid pattern of our county's rural roads means residents have multiple routes to take into town and back. If farmers need the roads for access to their fields, those farmers or landowners should be responsible for maintaining the roads, not the general taxpayer.

We'd love to hear our readers thoughts on this issue. Millions of taxpayer bucks are at stake.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Readers Nominate Best Christmas Decorations In Dorchester

In 2013, the Christmas spirit has been contagious in Dorchester.  

It has been many years since we've seen so many Christmas lights and other decorations on the homes within our vibrant little community.

From one end of the village to the other, Christmas displays have greeted residents and out-of-towners alike.  

And now it's time to honor the Dorchester homes our readers say best reflect the Christmas and holiday spirit.  

The Dorchester Times received several nominations at our official inbox (Dorchester.Times@gmail.com). 

The pictures below are of the homes and displays receiving the most nominations.  Perhaps you'll recognize them on your next drive around town.

Thanks to all those who took time to decorate their homes, and to those who took time to send us their nominations.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Letters From The Times Mailbag

Occasionally, we like to share with our readers some of the recent feedback we've received.  Today we're taking time to do just that.

We enjoy hearing directly from our readers.  Whether it's about what we are doing right or not so right, your input matters.

Below are some selected e-mails we've found in our official inbox (Dorchester.Times@gmail.com) throughout the past year.  The actual names have not been published to protect readers' identities.


Short note to advise that I thoroughly enjoy receiving  the "Dorchester Times"! The folks who put the news letter together should be congratulated on a job extremely well done!  While the town is small, it is a nice laid back place to live. While I wouldn't want to see Dorchester explode in growth like Crete and it's problems, it would be nice if a few more stores would elect to move in to offer some needed amenities.     



This is just a quick letter of gratitude to let the Times know how much some of us appreciate all the history stories you guys publish.  A lot of this history is being lost as the older generation passes on.  Keep up the good work.



The Dorchester Times should be ashamed of yourselves for constantly trying push paving [streets] in our town.  You did it again with your recent survey.  You must all be rich because most Dorchester residents couldn't afford the cost associated with new paved streets.  Most of us can barely afford property taxes as they are now. Quit trying to stir the pot by being a paving pusher. If you don't like our town as it is is, there are several exits out of town and I'll be happy to show you the door!!! 



One thing I like about your blog is that it shows some community initiative.  While I don't always agree with the editorial content of some of your stories, I am glad you are stepping up and filling a void in our community, in this case the lack of a newspaper or other news source.  We need others to do the same whether it is coaching kids, opening businesses, joining or running volunteer organizations, running for elected offices like town board or school board, or just looking out for the safety and well-being of their neighborhood.



When will you reveal the Times staff members? Will we ever know who is the "Village Dweller?" The world is dying to know. Lol!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DHS Basketball Teams Fall To 0-2 After Losses At Diller-Odell

The Dorchester High School boys and girls basketball teams are both off to an 0-2 start, despite showing considerable effort in their first couple of contests of the new season.  The teams both suffered a season-opener loss at Meridian last Friday.

Last night (Tuesday), the DHS boys came up a few points short in a road game at Diller-Odell.  The Longhorn boys, with little team depth this year, managed to score only 13 points the first half.  But the team fought back to outscore Diller-Odell in the second half, losing by a 39-36 tally.  The Longhorns' scorers were Donohoe 6, Zahourek 13, Bird 8, Pohl 7, and Nerud 2.

The DHS boys will play their first home game this Friday night at 8 p.m. when they take on Bruning-Davenport-Shickley.

Meanwhile, in the earlier game last night, the youthful Lady Longhorns struggled against Diller-Odell, unable to score beyond single digits in either half.  The DHS girls lost 56-17.  Scorers for DHS were Weber 2, Velder 1, Kahle 4, Wells 2, and Behrens 8.

The DHS girls will tip-off Friday at 6:15 p.m. in their home opener against BDS.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Saline County Property Taxes Above Average -- For Nebraska And U.S.

Ever wondered how Saline County's property taxes compare to those in other parts of the country -- or even other Nebraska counties? 

CNN Money has an interactive map showing the average amount of annual property taxes paid in every U.S. county from 2007-2011, based on data from the Tax Policy Center.  

Saline County's annual property tax bill was an average of $1,816 per property. That's above average compared to the rest of Nebraska.  While Saline County is considerably lower than Lancaster and Seward counties, and slightly lower than Gage, it is much higher than York, Fillmore, Jefferson and Thayer counties.  Thayer County, for example, saw an annual property tax of $1,020.

(Note: Recall our story from August that Crete and Friend school districts have significantly higher property tax levies than Dorchester.  That must be kept in mind when analyzing the Saline County figure.)

In our state, the counties with the highest average annual property tax burdens were Sarpy ($3,348), Douglas ($2,853), Washington ($2,849), Lancaster ($2,793) and Cass ($2,732).  The Nebraska counties with the lowest average annual property tax burdens were Wheeler ($790), Blaine ($815), Hitchcock ($859), Grant ($862) and Hooker ($867).    

On the national level, 60% of U.S. counties reported annual property taxes averaging between $500 and $1,500, says CNN Money.

The CNN Money map also shows property tax burden as a percentage of home price in each county; in this category, it is clear Nebraska has some of the nation's higher property tax burdens -- with several counties either at or near the 2% of home value range.  Saline County's average property tax burden was around 1.9% the average home price. Over a decade, that certainly adds up.

See the map here.

In Nebraska, the property tax is levied only by local governments -- mostly school districts, counties, cities, and NRDs.  The tax on real estate is levied based on the actual or market value of the real estate.  Most is assessed at 100% of actual value, but ag land has been assessed at only 75% of actual value since 2007.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Time's Running Out To Nominate Christmas Displays In Dorchester

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Dorchester.  Already, we are seeing so many displays of holiday cheer -- like this house on Jefferson Street.

From one end of the village to the other, Christmas lights and holiday displays have gone up quickly, greeting residents and out-of-towners alike. 

We want to know which Dorchester-area homes you think best reflect the Christmas and holiday spirit.  And we're taking your votes! But time is running out for nominations.

What Dorchester residence gets your vote for best holiday display? Give us your nomination by Sunday, Dec. 15, by leaving it in the "comments section" of this post. Or e-mail your nomination to Dorchester.Times@gmail.com.

We will announce which displays received the most nominations by Dec. 17.

Friday, December 6, 2013

DHS Basketball Teams Tip Off Tonight

Another season of Dorchester High School basketball tips off tonight at Meridian, as the Longhorns and Lady Longhorns prepare to play in Class D-2.

This season has special meaning for the DHS squads since there has been some discussion among school officials and district patrons about combining the DHS basketball programs with those at Milford, similar to what has already occurred with the football and wrestling programs.

Several parents and players have predicted that both DHS basketball teams will be competitive.  The boys squad faces a hurdle with participation, with fewer than 10 players on the team due to a much-declined number of boys currently in grades 9-12.

The girls team has stronger numbers, but the Lady Horns will face growing pains with a very young squad.  

One parent told us the teams are both coached by dedicated instructors who will get the most out of the talent they have.

We hope all DHS fans will turn out and support the Longhorns this basketball season! The first home contest for both teams is set for Dec. 13 against Bruning-Davenport-Shickley.

Dorchester Boys Basketball (2013-14)

12/06/13 @ Meridian  
12/10/13 @ Diller-Odell
12/13/13 BDS
12/17/13 Harvard 
12/19/13 @ Osceola
12/30/13 Sterling
01/04/14 @ St. Edward 
01/07/14 @ College View Academy
01/14/14 Friend
01/17/14 High Plains Community
01/21/14 Cross County
01/24/14 Shelby-Rising City
01/25-01/31  Crossroads Conference Tournament @ York
02/03/14 @ Parkview Christian
02/06/14 @ Nebraska Lutheran 
02/07/14 @ Giltner 
02/11/14 Hampton
02/14/14 McCool Junction
02/21/14 @ Exeter-Milligan

Dorchester Boys Basketball (2013-14)

12/06/13 @ Meridian
12/10/13 @ Diller-Odell
12/12/13 @ Exeter-Milligan
12/13/13 BDS
12/17/13 Harvard
12/19/13 @ Osceola 
12/30/13 Sterling
01/04/14 @ St. Edward 
01/07/14 @ College View Academy 
01/14/14 Friend
01/17/14 High Plains Community
01/21/14 Cross County
01/24/14 Shelby-Rising City
01/25-01/31  Crossroads Conference Tournament @ York
02/03/14 @ Parkview Christian
02/06/14 @ Nebraska Lutheran 
02/07/14 @ Giltner 
02/11/14 Hampton 
02/14/14 McCool Junction

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tom And Judy Weber Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Dorchester's Tom and Judy Weber are celebrating four decades of marriage this coming weekend.

The two were married Dec. 8, 1973.

A special tribute was paid to the Webers by their children and grandchildren in a special insert in last Sunday's Lincoln Journal Star.

Times readers who wish to send their congratulations and greetings to the Webers may do so at:  405 State Highway 15, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Be sure to wish the Webers a happy 40th anniversary!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dvorak Retiring After 32 Years At DPS

The year is 1982.

Ronald Reagan is president.  The federal debt is only $1.1 trillion.  Michael Jackson's "Thriller" sells 20 million albums to become the largest selling record ever.  E.T. is a smash hit on the big screen. John Belushi dies of a drug overdose.  Prince William is born to Charles and Di.

And Pat Dvorak begins working at Dorchester Public Schools.

Now, nearly 32 years later, Dvorak will retire at the end of the fall semester.  

She has served the DPS system as an instructional paraeducator and teacher's aide, helping guide more than three decades of Longhorn students.

Be sure to wish Pat all the best on her well-deserved retirement!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Co-Op Plans To Build Another New Silo

In the past few years, Dorchester has experienced a construction boom.

That boom continues as Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative plans to construct yet another mega silo.

According to information e-mailed to the Times, construction crews in 2014 will begin working on the eighth additional silo to complement the original Co-Op elevator. 

According to sources, the new silo will represent another $1 million-plus investment in our community. 

The last new silo was finished in 2010.

Since 2008, Dorchester has welcomed a new picnic shelter at the city park; a new K-12 school and campus renovation; a new concessions shack and restroom facility at Nerud Field; and several commercial building improvements.  Also, there have been several residential improvement projects throughout town -- the most housing renovation activity Dorchester has experienced in the past two decades. 

We applaud leaders at the Cooperative who continue to put Dorchester on the map in the agribusiness world.  The Co-Op and the jobs it supports are the economic hub of north central Saline County. 

This new activity signals positive developments for our community and our citizens' quality of life.  That means more property tax revenue for the village (streets, sewer and other projects) and the school.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers!

Happy Thanksgiving, from our family at the Dorchester Times to yours.

On this special day, we wanted to take a step back -- back to a simpler and more wholesome time, before things like the Internet and blogs -- to put things in perspective.

The Thanksgiving prayer from this scene in the classic 1950s sitcom "Father Knows Best" sums up perfectly our thoughts on this holiday and time spent with loved ones.  

For most of us, our lives are blessed and our troubles are tiny compared to those in other parts of the world.  Please take a moment to count your blessings and share your gratitude with your family and friends.  And remind them of the importance of giving thanks.

Train Derails Near Friend

Here's another reminder why you should never get too close to the tracks when you find yourself waiting at a
railroad crossing.

The Friend Sentinel reports that a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train derailed early Monday morning, Nov. 25, near Friend.

“The train derailed on the siding and was moving slowly when it derailed,” Andy Williams, BNSF public affairs director, said.

The Friend newspaper reports that out of the 75 cars, seven of them derailed and four fell on their sides.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Nebraska' Now Showing In Theaters

Today, we share with our readers a review of the movie "Nebraska," the new film by Nebraska native
Alexander Payne.

In his review published in today's Lincoln Journal Star, film critic L. Kent Wolgamott declares the movie "an homage to the small towns of the Plains."

He says it's a movie that’s so real and right we should be proud it bears the name of our state.

"Nebraska" was filmed mostly in the Norfolk area last year.  It opened in select theaters Nov. 15.  In Lincoln, the movie will begin showing Nov. 27.

Wolgamott writes: "If you’ve spent any time in any small Nebraska burg, Payne and (movie writer and Nebraska native Bob) Nelson nail it -- the insularity, the aging population, the oft-crumbling main street, the living connections to a  better time, the bullies and busybodies, and the good, just plain folks."

Will Forte, one of the main actors in the film and an alum of "Saturday Night Live," recently told The New York Times that he had never spent much time in the Plains states until the filming of "Nebraska."  On the state, itself, Forte said: "It’s certainly a lot of corn, Nebraska, but I found it really beautiful. I thought it was going to be this real monotonous visual experience, and it wasn’t. There was a lot of texture to it. It kept reminding me of a van Gogh painting — these big beautiful circular corn husk bales, the way the light would hit them and the shadows they’d cast. Brilliant hues of yellow — it was really striking."

You can read Wolgamott's review of "Nebraska" by clicking here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Reminders For Residents Of Dorchester

A few months ago, we informed readers that officials at City Hall in Dorchester had issued a couple of important notices.  

Today, we are reminding Dorchester residents of these recent changes in village administration rules:
  • Delinquent Electricity/Water Accounts:  Courtesy calls will no longer be made on delinquent accounts.  Delinquent payments must be received no later than the last day of the month for which the payment is due.  Electricity disconnections will be the first business day of each month for all unpaid delinquent accounts.  Reconnect fees are $50 with the total account due in cash or money order. Payment extensions will no longer be honored.
  • Pet License:  Your dog and/or cat must have a Dorchester license.  Period.  No exceptions.  Pet licenses are $2 each.  All dogs and cats must be chained, fenced or kept in a kennel or home at all times, per village law.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Survey: Readers Split On Reasons For Lower Student Participation

Why aren't kids today going out for athletics in the large numbers of generations past?

A new Dorchester Times survey of finds more than one-third of respondents blame "growing complacency and laziness of today's youth."

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of respondents say the low participation rates are due to the fact there is "less emphasis placed on athletic success and physical competition today compared to earlier generations."

Just over 17 percent say the Internet and other electronic entertainment is to blame; another 17 percent say the finger should be pointed at parents.

One reader wrote: "Maybe it's just because there weren't as many boys born for a period of time."  That reader is making reference to the fact that at DHS, male sports have suffered more than female.

The survey findings come after Dorchester School officials have told district patrons that DHS' participation rates are lower than they would like, and as the DPS Board weighs its options to include girls and boys basketball, as well as volleyball, in the athletics co-operative with Milford.

As the Times has noted, the problem of lower student participation in school activities is not unique to Dorchester.  It is impacting many schools all across the state.

Here's the full breakdown of the survey when readers were asked:  "Which ONE of the following do you believe is most responsible for the low student participation plaguing high school athletics all across Nebraska?"

The informal survey was conducted over a 24-hour period from Nov. 20-21.  Exactly 39 individuals from unique households or mobile devices took part.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DHS Grad, Crete Public Servant Tom Busboom Passes At 64

Dorchester High School alumnus and Crete City Council member Tom Busboom passed away Sunday at the age of 64.

According to the Crete News, Busboom served on the city's council for nearly 20 years, and was the current council president.

He grew up in rural Crete, graduating from DHS in 1967. He attended the UNL, majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Ag Economics. Busboom worked for Beatrice Concrete, Crete Ready Mix for 41 years and was manger for 26 of those years. He was a member of several local and state professional organizations over his career, including a charter member of the Board of Directors to the Crete Area Improvement and Development Corporation, Board of Directors of the Crete Chamber of Commerce and at one time, Vice President of the Nebraska Concrete and Aggregate Association. He had served on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Concrete Council.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela, their daughters, Elizabeth and Amanda, his mother, two brothers and one sister, as well as many other close relatives. Services were (Nov. 21) at the UCC Church in Crete.

Survey: 74% Say Keep Sports Co-Op With Milford

(UPDATE: 11/21/13 -- 4:57 p.m.) -- A new Dorchester Times survey of finds nearly three-quarters of respondents want to keep Dorchester Public School's current athletics co-operative with Milford Public School.

However, the majority is split over whether to add girls and boys basketball, as well as volleyball, to the arrangement.  

A little more than 28% of respondents said they favored adding the additional sports to the DHS-MHS pairing, while 46% said they thought DHS basketball and volleyball should remain unconsolidated.

Six respondents favored partnering with another school; and four respondents said DHS' discussions about athletic co-ops should end all together.

Here's the full breakdown of the survey when readers were asked: "Regarding the immediate future of DHS' athletic programs, what should the Dorchester School Board do?" 

The informal survey was conducted over a 24-hour period from Nov. 20-21.  Exactly 39 individuals from unique households or mobile devices took part.

As we reported yesterday, a special informative gathering was held at DPS on Monday night, Nov. 18. The town hall focused specifically on the future of DHS' athletic programs.  School officials told the crowd that DHS participation and enrollment numbers were lower than they would like, and that the DPS Board is weighing its options.  

As one Times reader pointed out, the projected number of Dorchester boys out for basketball next school year (2014-15) is six, although some DPS parents have questioned that estimate.  Meanwhile, there were 20 DHS girls participating in volleyball this year, one of the largest volleyball teams in school history.

A special meeting of the Dorchester School Board is scheduled for tonight, Nov. 21.  Board members may decide that DHS' current co-op arrangement with Milford -- in which the schools have combined football and wrestling squads -- should be extended to include girls and boys basketball, as well as volleyball.

There would certainly be pros and cons to expanding the co-op.  Students would likely not see as much playing time as they do in Class D athletics, but they would certainly learn to be more competitive and perhaps prioritize the activity for which they're best suited -- a skill that will come in handy later in life.  Also, the loss of a DHS-only team may discourage quality young teachers who also want to coach from applying at DPS, but there would likely be a cost savings realized by taxpayers who must foot the bill for school athletics via property taxes.