Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rudy Freeouf Passes At 91

Rudolph Joseph Freeouf of Dorchester passed away Feb. 16, 2014.

The youngest of five children, he was born June 24, 1922, on a farm southwest of Dorchester to Stephen and Albina Freeouf.

Rudy served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After completing his time in the service, he met Delma Esteraich at a dance at Saline Center and married her June 8, 1948. They farmed southeast of Dorchester and he also worked at the Crete Mill and Alpo.  He was active in the Dorchester Legion for all of his life and enjoyed raising animals, especially cattle.  He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Dorchester, WFLA Tabor and served on the Dorchester School Board.

He was an expert tractor driver and enjoyed figuring out how to complete projects as a one-man show. He loved dancing with his bride, listening to Czech music, playing cards and visiting with his friends and neighbors, and especially playing with the grandchildren.

Rudy was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Irma Ourecky and Olga Hoffman. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Delma (Esteraich); daughters, Kathryn Knapp, Sherry Meyers and Susan Becia; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren; sisters Gertrude Askamit and Mildred Brodt ; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials to the Dorchester Legion/Auxiliary or Dorchester Rescue Squad. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Craigslist Now Featured On The Times

The popular website now reigns supreme over the old-fashioned newspaper classified ads.  

If you want to sell something or buy something, you can probably do it on Craigslist.

For those of you who read the Dorchester Times on your desktop or laptop computer -- not your smart phone -- you can find current Dorchester area listings on Craigslist by visiting the Times' left-hand column.  Just click on the link under "Dorchester Area Classifieds."

Currently, there are 36 Craigslist ads posted by Dorchester area residents.  Everything from a prom dresses to pickup trucks to a chocolate lab to a PlayStation 2.  It's quite a list.

See the Dorchester Craigslist listing here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Saline Co. Bucks Trend, Gaining Nearly 250 Jobs Since Great Recession

An interesting post at reports that while many urban counties across the
U.S. have recovered from the job losses suffered during the Great Recession, non-metro America has 830,000 fewer jobs today than there in 2007.  That's according to new data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

But Nebraska is bucking the trend, with most of its rural counties showing jobs gains over the past six years.  

A map accompanying the article shows the change in the number of jobs by county from 2007 (yearly average) to December 2013.  

Fewer than 20 Nebraska counties -- urban or rural -- have a smaller number jobs today than compared to 2007, according to the data.

We did a little digging of our own only to learn that Saline County has definitely fared well above average, despite the nation's rough economic conditions.  

Since 2007, the county has realized a net gain of 242 jobs -- thanks in part to our strong manufacturing and grain handling sectors.  

Compare this to a net jobs gain of 42 for Seward County or a loss of more than 100 jobs in Jefferson County and more than 200 lost in York County.

Saline County's current unemployment rate of 3.2% is well below the national average of around 7% and is even better than the state jobless rate of 3.5%.

With key employers like Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative, along with manufacturers in next-door Crete and Friend, the Saline County has shown it can hold its own.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Boys Basketball Team Looks To Reverse Fortunes In Subdistricts

(UPDATE: The DHS boys basketball season has come to a heartbreaking close.  The Longhorns fell 41-44 to 19-3 and top-seeded Exeter-Milligan in the second round of the D2-2 Subdistrict in Wilber.  DHS had scored only 10 points at the half, but would go on to outscore and outplay EMHS in the second half -- but not enough to seal the victory.  DHS seniors go out on high note, with tonight's top Longhorn scorers being: Donohoe 11, Zahourek 18, Bird 3, Pohl 7, Nerud 2.  On Monday evening in the D2-2 Subdistrict, DHS knocked off Meridian by a tally of 34-28.)

The Dorchester High School boys basketball team figures the ball has to eventually bounce their way as the squad prepares for its final game of the regular season Friday.

The 5-14 Longhorns have lost their last three games (against Giltner, Hampton and McCool) by only a point or two.  Overall this season, eight of Dorchester's losses have been by six points or fewer.  Two other losses were by fewer than 10.

Had DHS found a way to win those contests -- or even half of them -- the team would be raising eyebrows, despite the small number of participants on this year's squad.

Now DHS must try to prove itself against 18-3 Exeter-Milligan this Friday at DHS.  Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Then the Longhorns will prepare for the D2-2 Subdistrict tournament to be held in Wilber.  The tournament starts Monday, Feb. 24, as fourth-seeded Dorchester will take on fifth-seeded Meridian at 7 p.m.   If DHS wins Monday, they will face top-seeded Exeter-Milligan for the second time in less than a week on on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. 

The final game of the subdistrict tournament will be Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Registrations Due For DHS Alumni Basketball Tourney, March 21-23

The annual Dorchester High School alumni basketball tournament is just around the corner.  And school officials are reminding alumni that if they want to play, teams and individual players will need to register soon.

Dates for this year’s tournament are March 21-23.  If you have any questions regarding the tournament, please contact DHS Activities Director Brent Zoubek at: or call the school at (402) 946-2781. Team and individual registrations must be turned in no later than Friday, March 7.

There is a $25.00 per player entry fee. Teams may combine players "in any manner that promotes fairness, equity and good-natured competition.  The tournament director reserves the right to make changes or adjustments as he sees fit to allow these rules to be followed."

For those who have not yet registered, just return the completed form below and the $25.00/player registration fee by March 7 to: 

Dorchester High School Alumni Tournament
c/o Brent Zoubek
P.O. Box 7
Dorchester, NE  68343

List the names of your team members, their year of graduation, the number they wish to have and shirt size:

Shirt                       Name                                         Year of                   Shirt   Number                                                                   Graduation               Size

Monday, February 24, 2014

Study: Crete Has Highest Property Taxes In Statewide Comparison

A new study comparing property taxes paid in Nebraska's 30 largest cities confirms that Crete property owners pay more in taxes than in any other sizable city in Nebraska. In some cases, much more.

Last fall, voters in the Crete School District narrowly passed a $33 million bond referendum by mail-in vote.  The $33 million in new debt and spending is being used to complete Crete Schools "most comprehensive overhaul" in district history.

The debate over the Crete Schools bond issue was very emotional, with supporters prevailing by only a handful of votes.

Now an annual comparison of property taxes paid in 30 of Nebraska's largest communities -- other than Omaha and Lincoln -- has been released.  The study, conducted by the City of Norfolk, looked at total property taxes paid on a $100,000 house.  The range is from York, the lowest at $1,759, to Crete, the highest at $2,411.

If that doesn't sound like much difference, think of it this way: Over ten years, a homeowner would pay $6,520 more on the exact same $100,000 house if it were in Crete instead of York.  Over 40 years, the difference would be more than $26,000.  Over 50 years, it would be nearly $33,000.

Among school districts, the lowest levy is Chadron’s $1.05 and highest is Crete’s $1.34, according to the study.  (In the Dorchester School District, the levy is $1.11, according to our check last fall. Friend is $1.28.  Wilber is $1.12. Milford is $1.04.  Exeter-Milligan is $0.96, the lowest of the levies in the Times' local comparison.  Here in Nebraska, about 70 cents of your property tax dollar goes to your school district, in most cases.)

Once again, it has been proved that elections have consequences.

State Legislation Would Deter Student Athletes From Option Enrolling

Throughout the years that the Dorchester Times has been around, there has been some talk from proud parents who have threatened to send their kids to other schools to play team sports.  Others, meanwhile, have talked about trying to "recruit" student-athletes in nearby school districts to play for Dorchester.

At least one lawmaker in Nebraska appears to disagree with both of groups.  His message: Play for the school district in which you live.

According to the Omaha newspaper, under a bill now being considered in Nebraska, high school athletes who transferred after May 1, without changing residence, would be ineligible to participate in varsity sports for 180 school days. That would eliminate them from competition for a whole school year.

Currently, athletes who transfer after the deadline must sit out for 90 days.

The bill was offered by Dorchester's state representative, Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber.  He said his LB1081 would “level the playing field” by making athletes sit out for fall, winter and spring sports.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, "the bill already has generated controversy because it contains Karpisek's proposal to create a point system to bump teams with repeated tournament success into a bigger enrollment classification to give other schools a shot at the championship."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remembering Dorchester's 1927 School Building

More than five years have passed since Dorchester's 1927 school building was razed, bringing an era to an end.

The main section of the old Dorchester Public School building came down May 19-20, 2008. The three-story brick building stood for more than 80 years and had seen as many as four generations of some families pass through its hallways.  

Today's more efficient and easy-to-access school building is the fourth school building in Dorchester since the organization of District 44.  We at the Times hearing mostly glowing reviews on the new school, complete with more classroom space and meeting rooms, as well as a cutting-edge stage and two gymnasiums. 

But we still hear plenty of area residents say they miss the old building, especially now that some time has passed.  
As it was said on the 1980s television series The Wonder Years, a memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

We recently enjoyed re-reading all the May 2008 comments from Times readers who attended school in Dorchester -- readers who took time to recall special memories from their days at the old school. (Click the links embedded in the first paragraph for more comments, in addition to those at the end of this story.) 

We hope our readers will take a few moments to share their own wonderful memories that were made in the old schoolhouse.

Friday, February 14, 2014

DHS Girls Wrap Up Regular Season Tonight, Then Prepare For Subdistricts

The Dorchester High School Lady Longhorns basketball team will wrap up their regular season tonight, taking on McCool Junction at DHS.   

Then the girls team will focus their attention on next week's subdistrict tournament.  

The Lady Longhorns, now 6-12 on the season, beat a good Hampton team earlier this week by a tally of 54-35, as the young Lady 'Horns continue to show improvement. 

Tonight's match-up will feature a 1-16 McCool team.  

(The 5-13 Longhorn boys team will face an 8-10 McCool team later in the evening.)

In next week's Subdistrict D2-2 tourney, which will be played at Wilber-Clatonia High School, the DHS girls will play Hampton (8-11) in the first-round game at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17.  

The winner of that contest will face Diller-Odell (12-8) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. 

On the other side of the tournament bracket, Exeter-Milligan (13-8) and Meridian (8-13) will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Finals will be Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Send-Off Party This Saturday For Navy Officer Candidate Cory Woerner

It seems that Dorchester High School alumnus (2005) Cory Woerner just can't get enough of that "Anchors Aweigh" melody.  

It's not only the fight song of DHS, it's also the U.S. Navy's theme.  

And soon, Woerner will be on his way to Newport, Rhode Island, where he will attend Naval Officer Candidate School.  

Navy OCS recently accepted Woerner as a flight school candidate.

An open house will be held at City Slickers (a.k.a. Joe's Place) this Saturday night, Feb. 15, from 5-10 p.m., in honor of Woerner to wish him good luck before he ships out later this month.

If you know Cory -- or even if you don't -- please make sure to stop by and wish him good luck before he heads off to pursue his goal of helping defend freedom and the republic.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Czech Cuisine Class This Saturday At Dorchester School

Do you miss grandma's Czech cooking and baking? Ever wish you could do it like she did?

Here's your chance.

The Southeast Community College Continuing Education program is offering a Czech Cuisine class this Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Dorchester High School cafeteria.

Doris Broz-Clauss serves as the coordinator for the program in Saline and Jefferson counties.  

Broz-Clauss will lead the instruction during Saturday's class.  She can be reached at 402-821-2547 or at

Or see SCC's continuing education website by clicking here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Check Out This Available Dorchester Home Today

Dorchester has a lot going for it.  

One high profile state leader recently sent the Times an e-mail to commend our community for all it has done.  Dorchester is getting noticed for all the right reasons.

Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:

  • A brand new K-12 school.
  • A clean, peaceful and safe community.
  • A new water system and new sewer system.
  • The lowest school tax levy in the county -- and one of the lower property rates in southeast Nebraska.
  • Affordable cost of living.
  • One of the largest agri-businesses in the state.
  • Friendly, helpful neighbors.
  • A 10 minute drive from many employers in Crete and Seward. And only 30 minutes to job opportunities in Lincoln. Located next to two highways and minutes from Interstate 80.
However, one challenge facing Dorchester is available housing.  Since the Dorchester Times has been in operation, we've heard from many readers who've said they would like to move to Dorchester, if only homes were available.

Today, we are showcasing the latest Dorchester home available right now.  If you're ready to call Dorchester home, we encourage you to take a look and make an offer.  Make Dorchester your home and grow with this standout community.

1003 Jefferson Ave.: Need two bedrooms? Main floor laundry? Enjoy entertaining indoors and out? This may be the home you have been waiting has a huge dining area, comfortable living space and fabulous enclosed wrap-around porch. Enjoy privacy with a separate toilet/vanity with extra storage. The kitchen appliances stay....So much house for under $50,000! Own cheaper than rent. Located 8 minutes from Crete, 8 min from Milford, or 15 min from Seward. Hop on I-80 for an easy commute to Lincoln. Many recent improvements: New windows in '04 and '06; furnace in 2004, a/c in '07; roof in 2011; sump pump in '04; water heater in '09; New exterior doors too! Sits on a large corner lot with mature trees. Plenty of room to build a new garage if desired, and alley access too! Would also make great investment property-Click here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Study: A Quarter Of U.S. 26-Year-Olds Living With Parents

Every now and again, we feel compelled to share one of those attention-grabbing stories that spotlights trends in our American culture, and perhaps even trends in and around Dorchester.

A new survey released today finds that almost one in four (22.6%) 26-year-olds are still living with their parents.  The survey was conducted over a ten year period.

This is embarrassing news for our nation.

According to one news story we found on the survey, there is a common theme between those young people who are now on their own and independent of their parents -- they did well in school and stayed in school. Generally those with more schooling were less likely to be living at home. 

However, the study found that student loan debt from four-year schools, along with a decrease in young people getting married as major factors in the increase of millennials living at home. 

The survey of 26-year-olds also found:
  • 40% of them had been unemployed for one or more months since January 2009.
  • 13% reported they were neither working for pay nor taking post-secondary courses
  • 60.2 % of those who had enrolled in college reported they had taken out student loans.
We are thankful that here in Nebraska -- especially our corner of Nebraska -- most young adults are responsible, productive and hard-working.  Many of their counterparts across the country could learn something from them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Help Plan Dorchester's Future, Feb. 19

It's time to move Dorchester forward. But the community needs your input and ideas if we are to grow and improve.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., a town hall meeting will be held at the Community Hall to discuss options and ideas for Dorchester's future.  

The event will be hosted by the Dorchester Comprehensive Planning Commission, which is charged with guiding village efforts to grow and improve quality of life.

Bring your ideas, concerns and opinions on what can be done to move Dorchester forward and better our outstanding village.  Refreshments will be provided.

Your ideas and recommendations are needed on the following:
  • Housing.
  • Streets.
  • Recreational Opportunities.
  • Business Growth.
  • Utilities.
  • Entertainment, Religious, Educational and Cultural Pursuits.
  • Cleanup Efforts.
  • Recruiting and Retaining Young People.
See you on Feb. 19 at the Community Hall.

'Sun Dog' Captured By Dorchester's Gary Nichols

This "sun dog" photo was taken the morning of Feb. 5 by Dorchester resident Gary Nichols,
just outside of Dorchester limits on the southwest edge of town.

So what's a sun dog?

According to the experts, a "sun dog" -- or parhelion, if you want to get scientific -- is a atmospheric optical phenomenon.

It is associated with the reflection/refraction of sunlight by the numerous small ice crystals.  

These are the same type of ice crystals that make up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds.

With temperatures around 0 on Wednesday morning, it's no wonder Gary was able to capture this image.

Our thanks to all our area photographers who share their images with readers of the Dorchester Times.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

School News Roundup: Winter Sports Seasons Wind Down

Here are the latest bits of news from Dorchester Public School:

  • Winter Sports Seasons Wind Down: The winter sports season is in its final weeks.  The DHS-Milford wrestling team will head to district competition next week, Feb. 14-15, in Hastings.  The DHS girls basketball squad will bring their improved play to subdistricts in Wilber on Feb. 17, 18 and 20.  And the scrappy DHS boys team will be ready for their subdistrict play in Wilber on Feb. 24, 25 and 27.
  • DHS Alumni Basketball Tourney is Next Month:  The annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tourney will be March 21-23.  Those interested should contact DHS Activities Director Brent Zoubek at (402) 418-1019 or Teams must be registered by March 7.
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences Next Week:  In case you have forgotten, parent-teacher conferences are next Thursday, Feb. 13, at Dorchester Public School during the following periods: 8:30-11:30 a.m., 12:30-5 p.m., and 6-8 p.m.
  • Post-Prom Fundraiser:  The DHS Post-Prom Committee is selling Pizza Hut (Crete location only) discount cards.  Each card features 12 offers -- six free medium pizzas with the purchase of a large pizza, and six free orders of breadsticks or two liters of soda with the purchase of a large pizza.  To get your discount card for only $10, call Karen Hrdlicka (402-826-0105) or Deanna Bird (402-826-9275).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Senior Housing Complex Coming To Dorchester?

(UPDATE: The Times has learned that the Dorchester Village Board will be meeting with a housing developer next month, likely during the board's regularly scheduled March meeting.) 

Is a new senior housing complex in Dorchester's near future? That's the buzz from at least one well-placed source.

According to an e-mail sent to the Times this week, the Dorchester Village Board will soon meet with a well-known housing developer from Lincoln.  According to our information, the developer has considerable experience building affordable housing for older individuals and couples who want to downsize their living quarters, but also remain in the community they call home.

Our source wrote in his e-mail: "I encourage any Dorchester residents who themselves have an interest in affordable senior housing, or who support the concept, to tell the Village Board to pursue the idea.  It's a shame we have so many Dorchester residents who want to stay in town but can no longer take care of their large properties.  There are also retired farmers who want to move to town, but face a shortage on available residences."

Our informant did not provide the name of the developer, but he said the company had worked on successful senior housing projects in several Nebraska communities, including this wonderful complex in Alliance.

Stay tuned.

City Of Crete Now Maintaining Dorchester's Electric Utilities

By now, residents of Dorchester should have received word that the Village of Dorchester has reached an agreement with the City of Crete to operate and maintain the Dorchester Electric System.  The maintenance hand-off took place on Feb. 1

The move was the result of the upcoming retirement of Dorchester's longtime utilities manager Ed Dvorak.  Instead of replacing Dvorak, the village opted to save money by hiring experts from the City of Crete to oversee its electricity delivery system.

The move has received mostly positive reviews from the residents we have spoken with, however there are some concerns with the agreement, including what happens in the case of power outages.

If you live inside Dorchester's city limits and you experience an electrical power outage, call Village Hall at (402) 946-3201 anytime between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

For outages that occur after business hours or during weekends or holidays, call (402) 826-4312 for emergency power outages only.

For problems with sewer, water, downed branches, street lights and other village issues other than electrical service, call Dorchester utility personnel at (402) 540-1057.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

4"-7" Of Blowing Snow Expected For Dorchester

Dorchester and the surrounding area are under a winter weather advisory.

Snow is expected to move into our area early Tuesday morning, leaving behind several inches by Wednesday.  We can expect a wind chill factor of around 15-20 below zero.

It is predicted that the Dorchester area will get 4-7 inches from the first significant winter storm to hit the region with heavy snow since early December.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Dorchester that extends through Wednesday morning.  With winds picking up on Tuesday, there is a significant threat of blowing and drifting snow.  

Brutally cold temperatures will follow the storm with highs holding in the single digits Wednesday and Thursday. The low Wednesday night could dip to minus 10 degrees.

Dorchester has received under 10 inches of snow this season, and the bulk of that total came in a storm that dropped 5.4 inches Dec. 7-8. In a normal season, Dorchester receives 25.9 inches.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dorchester Street Plan To Be Unveiled Monday Night

Citzens of Dorchester: The condition of our community's streets is a favorite topic around here.  Now is your chance to stop complaining and tell the people who can actually do something about it.

On Monday, Feb. 3, the Dorchester Village Board will hold a review and listening session of the village's six-year road and street plan.  

This public event will start at 7 p.m. sharp in the Community Building, in conjunction with the village board meeting.

If you're tired of the muddy road that fronts your home, or you're concerned about worn pavement, now is the time to weigh in.

One thing to keep in mind:  Since the days of the "great paving debate of 1979," the Times estimates that the Village of Dorchester has spent roughly $2 million on upkeep of gravel roads (not including labor).  

The cost of maintaining the streets, even in a small town, doesn't come inexpensively.