Sunday, September 29, 2013

Longhorns Take Fourth Place At Neb. Lutheran Tourney

Dorchester's Lady Longhorn volleyball team keeps improving, capturing another fourth place finish Saturday.  

DHS took down Parkview Christian 26-28, 25-19, 25-12, earning a spot in the third-place game, which the Longhorns lost to Nebraska Lutheran, 25-19, 26-24.

Earlier in the day, Exeter-Milligan defeated Dorchester in a well-played contest, 25-18, 25-21.

Exeter-Milligan took the first-place trophy, beating Lawrence-Nelson 25-22, 25-20.

Friday, September 27, 2013

DHS Art Students Making Museum Mural

Dorchester High School's Art I class has been working on a mural on a wall in the newest building of the Saline County Museum, located on Dorchester's south side.  

The DHS art class was sought for the job after their tremendous work on the Veteran's Memorial at the Saline County Courthouse a couple years ago.  

Local resident Larry Kaspar became aware that Judy Rada, director of the county museum, was looking for someone to paint mural in the building, so he asked DHS art teacher Stacy Lutjemeyer if she would be interested. She accepted, saying, "It is very important to keep students involved with their community."  

Seven DHS students comprise the current Art I class: Lydia Wells, Laura Davidsen, Bryce Rockenbach, Taylor Vavra, Agustine Perez, Justin Schwiso, and Derek Pohl.  These students are responsible for starting the museum mural, which will show the transition of farming in Saline County, while paying tribute to the communities of our county -- all under a sunset sky.  

Other students will be brought in to help with detail work.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hostetlers Dedicate Park Bench To Bob

This week, the Shawn Hostetler family dedicated a beautiful new bench in the city park to Dorchester's Bob Hostetler, who passed away a year ago following his long, courageous battle with cancer.

In an e-mail forwarded to the Times, Shawn (a 1997 graduate of DHS) wrote:  "I want to say thank you to everyone who helped with this beautiful and awesome gift we were able to leave in memory of my dad, a beautiful and awesome guy who we lost one year ago today.  

"I'm so thankful for all of you and your support -- not just financially, but emotionally as well.  I thought it was very important to do something in memory of my dad and something my kids could see in memory of their grandpa.  Thanks again -- and if you get a chance stop by and check it out in person."

Bob Hostetler was an active member of the Dorchester community.  Over a span of three years, he had surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from his esophagus and stomach. Remarkably, he continued to stay active and productive, continuing his lawn care service and even returning to work in Seward after months of treatment.

One Times reader wrote: "Bob was part of Dorchester's community backbone. Always willing to lend a hand and help a fellow resident. He was also one hell of a fighter, defying cancer and the doctors' odds just so he could spend more time with his family and friends. Dorchester lost one of its best ... God bless Bob and God bless the Hostetlers."

Monday, September 23, 2013

DHS Volleyball Team Captures Fourth Place At BDS

The DHS volleyball team captured fourth place at the Bruning-Davenport-Shickley (BDS) Invitational at Shickley on Saturday after winning their first contest of the young season.  

Dorchester defeated Harvard in two sets 26-24, 25-19 to advance to the semi-finals of the tourney, but fell to Hampton 25-9, 25-18.  

In the third-place match, the Lady Longhorns fell to Silver Lake in a well-played contest, 25-19, 25-18. 

BDS took top spot in the event, while Hampton claimed the runner-up trophy.

Dorchester is back in action tomorrow, Sept. 24, at Osceola.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

State Lawmakers Coming To Saline County Re: Education Funding

Should you be forced to fund your own school district -- while also being required to subsidize schools with large populations of non-English speaking students?  Should you be forced to fund your own school -- while you're also forced to subsidize Lincoln and Omaha schools?

Like it or not, that is how it is working in Nebraska. 

In our state, most property tax dollars go to your local K-12 school district.  To help those districts that are outspending their property tax revenues, the state government has traditionally kicked in around $1 billion of state aid every year. It's all based on a complex, ever-changing formula that even governors can't explain.

But did you know that currently 114 out of 249 districts receive no equalization aid? Not a dime. 
And Dorchester Public Schools is one of those districts that receive no state aid. (Recall our previous report that showed Dorchester has the lowest levies in the county, which, combined with no state aid, makes for another reason to praise current DPS administrators and school board officials.)

However, next door, Crete Public Schools is a huge recipient of equalization dollars, primarily due to their Spanish speaking population.  Schools in Omaha and Lincoln and most of Nebraska's larger cities are also large state aid recipients.  

In short, the state is telling small, rural school districts to provide for themselves, while subsidizing urban school districts with general tax dollars from income and sales taxes.

Seems like a raw deal to us.  Most Nebraskans we talk with don't think it's fair, either.

State lawmakers want to hear what you think about public school funding.  The Nebraska Legislature's Education Committee is studying possible changes to funding of K-12 schools.  

One of the Education Committee's upcoming stops will be in Crete.  The meeting is set for 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7 at the Crete High School Auditorium, 1500 E. 15th Street in Crete.  

We think it's worth our time time to show up and tell lawmakers to stop forcing rural school districts, like Dorchester's, to pay for larger school districts that have much more residential wealth and assets.  

If they don't hear from us, we have no room to complain.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bert Hrdlicka Passes At 87

Albert Joseph Hrdlicka (better known as Bert), 87, of Dorchester died Thursday, September 12, 2013.

He was born November 1, 1925 near Western, Neb. to Emil &amp and Ida (Kotas) Hrdlicka. Attended Country School District #120 Fairview and graduated Wilber High School 1943.

Bert served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1944 to July 1946 on the USS Karnes and the Pine Island ships.

He married Betty Ann Rezabek of Dorchester on April 15, 1947. They were married for 66 years, having moved to Dorchester on October 1, 1949.

Bert is survived by his brothers Harold and Robert Hrdlicka, children Sandra Lynn, Roger Warren and Joyce Ann (Ozolins), grand daughter Jasmin Amber Ozolins and great grandson Zerano Lux.

He was a member of the Crete VFW

Services will be Friday, September 20, 10 a.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home, Crete. No Visitation. Interment at Wilber Czech Cemetery with military services conducted by Crete VFW Post 4959. Memorials to Saline Center.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Property Owners Who Haven't Cleaned Up Get Heard This Week

Last year, the Village of Dorchester kicked off its new Nuisance Abatement Program to encourage residents to clean up their unsightly properties. Dorchester officials are working with Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) to help identify and notify resident of potential violations. 

The first area of town assessed was the area between 7th Street to 11th Street and Washington Avenue to West Line.  To date, most owners of properties requiring clean-up have responded properly.  However, some have not, while others are still objecting to the clean-up notice.  

This week, special meetings are being held for property owners who have not complied with the clean-up orders, as well as those who feel they have been unfairly targeted.  The meetings will include elected officials on the village board, as well as the village's legal representation.

In the meantime, residents in all areas of town are encouraged to keep their properties maintained.  Common concerns include unlicensed vehicles (including yard and boat trailers), auto parts, dead trees, brush, lumber and trash.

The village board will review properties with continued nuisance concerns at their regular board meetings.  For those properties not cleared, formal action may be taken and the property could be declared a nuisance by the board.  SENDD is the designated nuisance officer for this project.

One village leader, a business owner, told us that he agrees with the clean-up effort being conducted by village officials.  He added that he hopes people don't forget all of the improvements that have been made across town in the past few years.

Friday, September 13, 2013

DHS Crowns Kahle, Creamer Homecoming Queen, King

On Sept. 12, Dorchester High School celebrated its 2013 homecoming during a volleyball
triagular held in the refurbished DHS gym.  

This year marked the first time since the late 1940s that the traditional homecoming ceremonies were not held in coordination with a Longhorn football game.

By popular vote of the student body, DHS seniors Lydia Kahle and Tiernan Creamer were crowed queen and king.

On the volleyball court, DHS dropped both contests, one to Giltner and one to Hampton. 

The young Lady Longhorns showed more signs of improvements and had strong support from the DHS faithful, which seemed to realize 80 percent of the team is comprised of freshmen and sophomores.

Meanwhile, the Milford-Dorchester Eagles football team will host Ashland-Greenwood tonight at 7 p.m. in Milford.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dorchester's Old Water Tower

Dorchester's skyline changed significantly earlier this year with the erection of its new
water tower, complete with modern village logo.

Last Thursday, it changed once again as the old water tower -- a Dorchester landmark since the early 1900s -- was taken down in a matter of hours. 

(UPDATE: Our friendly friends from the Friend Sentinel were on site to take pictures of the deconstruction crew last week.  See the photos here. And Crete News reporter Jenn Lampila composed a nice story this week capturing the event and comments of onlookers.  See it here.)

The new village water tower, which went into service last month, is located in the southeastern corner of town near the rail line. With it imposing shadow, it offers a much more modern appearance compared to the older structure, as well as better water pressure and water quality.

However, we've heard several residents saying already how they miss the rustic charm of the old tower.

Records show Dorchester's old water tower had been in its current location since the late 1880s. It is believed that the old tower was constructed prior to the the passage of Dorchester's $15,000 water works bond in 1914.  The exact construction date is unknown due to a 1913 fire that destroyed all of the village records.

Over the decades, the structure had undergone several upgrades and renovations.  

Dorchester leaders decided in 2010 to replace the old tower based on cost estimates to refurbish it, as well as its short life expectancy even had the restoration been completed.

Saline Co. Law Enforcement Cracks Down On Drunk Drivers, Dopers

The Saline County Sheriff’s Office has announced the results of the “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose” national DUI/DWI enforcement mobilization, which took place Aug. 16-Sept. 2, 2013.

The campaign resulted in 37 citations being issued/and or arrests being made in Saline County alone.

The 37 citations and/or arrests issued during the event included two DUI arrests, 10 speeding citations, four possession of drug paraphernalia arrests, six drug arrests, three driving under suspension arrests, one open container citation, one possession of prescription drugs arrest, one resisting arrest arrest and five warrants cleared.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Nebraska participated in this nationwide high-visibility enforcement effort.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nearby Community Considers Restrictions On Sex Offenders

Just 45 minutes to the southwest of Dorchester, the Village of Alexandria has proposed a new ordinance that would restrict where sex offenders can live, while levying $500-a-day fines on landlords who rent to sex offenders.  The ordinance would forbid registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, village-owned and maintained parks, licensed day care centers and any school bus stops on village property.

The Lincoln Journal Star covers the story here.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday. Opponents say it would force landlords to unlawfully evict tenants or deny them housing, while proponents believe the law is in the best interest of the village’s children.

In a letter sent to the board Monday, the left-leaning ACLU asked that the village strike several parts of the proposal, which it says violate both the Nebraska and U.S. constitutions, including the proposed penalty to landlords.

News of the proposed ordinance caused one registered offender to leave town for Colorado last month.

Friday, September 6, 2013

DHS Volleyball Team Shows Signs Of Improvement, But Off To 0-2 Start

With their season openers at last night's Palmyra Triangular, the DHS volleyball team showed some solid signs of improvement and maturity, but the team is off to an 0-2 start after dropping both contests.

Under new head coach Ty Peteranetz, the Dorchester squad lost to Class C2 Palmyra in two sets, 25-11, 25-10.  DHS also fell to Class C2 Weeping Water in two sets, 25-16, 25-17.

The Lady Longhorns, with 20 players participating this year, look to improve on their 3-24 record from 2012.  DHS returns two seniors from last season -- S Lydia Kahle and OH Kyla Brummett -- and has six returning starters.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

52% Of Saline County H.S. Seniors Use Alcohol With Parents' Permission: Report

More than half (52%) of high school seniors surveyed in Saline county reported using alcohol in someone else’s home with parent permission.  This information comes directly from the 2012 Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Student Survey.

The study notes other risk factors faced by Saline County teens, including, cigarettes, marijuana, crack, cocaine, meth, speed and other street drugs that are becoming more readily available due to looser laws and law enforcement, as well as federal surveillance.

Saline County is working to create a coalition to specifically address issues such as these and improve prevention efforts to help communities take an active role in creating a positive change in Saline County. 

On Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. there will be an organizational meeting of the Saline County Coalition.  The meeting will be held in the Wilber-Clatonia Elementary commons area. 

The meeting is an opportunity for everyone living in Crete, DeWitt, Dorchester, Friend and Wilber to be informed about what is happening in our country and to determine the most important priorities in the communities.  

Dorchester parents and other concerned citizens are encouraged to get involved.

'Under The Nets' Event Is Success

On the evening of Aug. 17 and into morning hours of Aug. 18, several members of the
Dorchester United Methodist Church and Igniting Youth took part in a memorable event to raise proceeds to help eradicate malaria.

There were 14 youth and eight adults that canvased the town for funds and to raise awareness.   On Sunday, Aug. 18, they helped with the morning worship and collected money by having a Dough for Nets fundraiser. 

With these fundraisers and various other donations, they have raised over $700 to date.

Malaria kills an estimated 800,000 people each year. The United Methodist Church urges you to join the fight to eliminate this killer disease by 2015 through prevention, treatment, education, communication and advocacy.

If you would like to donate you may send it to: Dorchester UMC, 612 Lincoln, Dorchester, NE 68343.  Or just go to

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Look At Farm Subsidies In Saline County

Harvest is just around the corner, which means area farmers will soon be
reaping what they sowed.

Dorchester, and nearly every other Nebraska community, is extremely dependent on the agricultural economy.  When our farmers do well, our businesses tend to do well and our schools tend to do well.  Throughout the past four or five years, crop prices have been high, enabling areas like our to endure the national recession without too much pain. The recent years have been very good to our farm community and, in turn, the businesses and lenders that depend on the farm dollar.

Considering all this and our area's economy, should we -- as taxpayers -- be troubled by the large federal subsidies still flowing to ag producers and huge landowners in an era in which few small farmers remain and the largest operations are doubling or tripling their net profits from just a few years ago?

From 1995 to 2012, Nebraska farmers and landowners received $16.4 billion in subsidies.  That includes $10.8 billion in commodity subsidies and $3.19 billion in crop insurance subsidies.

Donna's hair salon doesn't get such subsidies, nor does Tyser's Repair or Auto Sales. Neither City Slickers nor Rough Reins gets government payments to help keep the doors open. Nor does any other small business on any main street in America, unless they're selling "green" energy or another government-favored product or service.

Let's look at just one crop: corn.  Among Nebraska's 93 counties, No. 1 Custer County in 2012 took in more than $7.7 million in corn subsidies alone -- mostly in the form of direct payments, which go to large landowners, as well as working farmers.  (We are told those direct payments will be going away if the U.S. House and Senate finally pass a new farm bill by Sept. 30.)

Now let's look at all crop subsidies just in Saline County. When broken down by zip code, farmers in the Friend area have received more in government payments than those around any other Saline County community. According to USDA data, from 1995-2012, Friend farmers received nearly $49 million in federal subsidies courtesy of you, the taxpayer. (More than a dozen of those Friend-area operations received more than $1 million each, including one that netted around $5.5 million in subsidies.)  Dorchester farmers took in $30.9 million over the same time period.  Crete farmers received $31.3 million, while Wilber farmers took in $32 million.  Tobias and Western farmers netted around $15 million, while Swanton farmers received around $7 million.

Readers can find this information for themselves by visiting this website.

As you consider this, keep in mind that last year, some area farmers sold their corn for more than $8.50 a bushel.  Twelve months later, bids at the Dorchester Farmers Cooperative are around $4.50 a bushel for delivery this fall -- nearly a 50% drop in a year.

No doubt about it, farming is risky business.  But we still don't know if that justifies $16.4 billion in government support.  No matter how much paper rolls off the government printing press, money still doesn't grow on trees.