Monday, March 31, 2014

Zahourek, Donohoe Named To All-State Honor List

Three Dorchester High School basketball players have been awarded Class D-2 all-state honors this past weekend.

The March 30 issue of the Lincoln Journal Star listed Dorchester seniors Riley Zahourek and Kevin Donohoe in in its boys' all-state honorable mention rolls.

We salute both both of these outstanding Longhorn players for their accomplishments on the court.

The Dorchester Times staff is glad to see the hard work of these players pay off in the form of deserved recognition.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Severe Weather Workshop Today At Saline Center

Our area is in the heart of Tornado Alley. That is why the Times recommends that area residents consider attending the 20th annual Regional Severe Weather, set for 12:30 p.m. today, March 29, at Saline Center Hall, just southwest of Dorchester at the intersection of County Road M and Hwy. 15.

Storm-chasing videos, severe weather safety, communications, mass casualty and emergency management and displays will be part of the seminar.  

Special presenters will be experts from the National Weather Service, Dr. Ken Dewey of UNL, and 10/11 News meteorologist Brad Anderson and Channel 8's Luke Dorris.

This afternoon's keynote presentation will be given by the Twister Sisters, also known as Peggy Willenbeg and Melanie Metz, who will recognize the 10th anniversary of the Hallam tornado. 

More information is available by calling (402) 821-3010 or emailing at

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saline County One Of Nebraska's Growing Counties

Population loss has plagued rural Nebraska since the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.  But recently, the problem has become worse in many counties due to agriculture's rapid technological boom.

Fortunately, Saline County is one of 24 Nebraska counties that grew in population in the first decade of the 2000s.

Now comes a report that Saline County is one of 31 Nebraska counties that have grew in the first three years of the 2010s.

A report by the Omaha World-Herald says the latest estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau show that 61 of Nebraska's 93 counties have lost residents since the official 2010 Census.  

Meanwhile, eight Nebraska counties — Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, Lancaster, Hall, Buffalo, Adams and Seward — set all-time population records last year.  

Lancaster County will probably hit 300,000 next year.  And the Omaha metro area, which is made up of eight counties in Nebraska and Iowa, now has more than 895,000 residents.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Coming To Dorchester: Bowling Alley?

Did you know that archaeologists have discovered bowling balls, pins and other related bowling equipment in a child’s tomb in Egypt, dating the game as far back as 5200 B.C.

And yet all these years later, Dorchester is without a bowling alley.  

That could change in the near future, according to several sources who have either spoken to Times staff or e-mailed us in recent weeks.

Information provided to the Times indicates strong interest is growing in a Dorchester bowling alley, especially after feedback given to Dorchester's new planning commission and community task force.  One of our sources said initial plans would place a Dorchester bowling alley in the two buildings north of City Slickers Bar and Grill (one of those buildings is blighted and vacant residential space), or perhaps the former Sehnert Garage, were those buildings to be made available.

Of course, a future bowling alley is currently in the speculation stage only, but it appears there is strong demand for such a social and entertainment venue.  As readers know, Friend and Crete both lost their bowling facilities in recent years.   As a result, those who want to bowl on league teams must wait years before they can bowl in nearby towns like Wilber or Seward.

"If Dorchester residents were willing to contribute their own money towards a bowling alley, this community would have real ownership," wrote one town resident who e-mailed the Times about this potential development.  "It would finally give local residents a place to come together and share good times, just like social clubs used to provide years ago in the 1940s, '50s and '60s."

We have not yet heard from any members of the Dorchester Planning Commission/Task Force on this matter specifically, but we welcome their input, as well as information from other knowledgeable sources.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

MVPs For Alumni Tourney Weekend

Another DHS Alumni Tournament weekend has come and gone.  Unfortunately, none of the Times staff was able to see the tournament action this year, but we heard there were several exciting games, including a few buzzer beaters that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

Alumni weekend is an important weekend that brings together the DHS alumni brotherhood (and sisterhood) for fun, laughs and conversation.  It also is important to our main street and business community, as well as the DHS athletic program.  

So this year, we are naming the 2014 DHS Alumni Tournament MVPs -- the sponsors of the tournament:

Ben's Iron Grill 2
Heath Sports and Tees (Crete)
Stutzman Digging
Farmers Cooperative
First State Bank
Spring Creek Repair and Farm Supply
Runza (Crete)
BZ Construction
Clark's Lawn Service 
City Slickers Bar and Grill
Papik Seeds
Holly Well Drilling
Barley's Specialties
Rains Simmentals
Weber Feedyards, LLC
Velder's Taxidermy
Novak Auction Service

Without these sponsors, the tournament would not be possible.  Nor would adequate money be raised to benefit current and future Dorchester students.

Be sure to thank these sponsors and patronize their businesses.

We also want to name the volunteers of the Dorchester Community Foundation as MVPs due to their hard work.  This year's steak and hamburger feed -- held Saturday night -- was the most successful feed yet.   All the Times staff were there, and we know firsthand that this event was made possible by selfless volunteers who gave up their Saturday to benefit our community.  We even heard reports of Foundation volunteers cleaning up the community hall and Legion building after midnight on Sunday morning.  That's dedication!

Congratulations to all the players, fans and alumni who made it back for this year's tourney.  We're grateful for your dedication to Dorchester.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big Weekend In Dorchester Begins Tonight

The 19th annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament begins tonight and continues through Sunday at the school gymnasium. 

This is typically one of the year's biggest weekends in the village.

Several teams are registered for this years tourney, according to DHS Activities Director Brent Zoubek, who assumes management duties following Scott Pohl's retirement last year. 

The first game tips off at 6 p.m. tonight, and the championship game is slated for Sunday afternoon. 

On Saturday night, March 22, the Dorchester Area Community Foundation is planning a steak and hamburger feed at the Community Building and Legion Hall from 5-9 p.m., giving DHS alumni and their families plenty of time to dine and catch up. 

Diners can choose a 12 oz. ribeye, along with salad, potato or chips, bread, drink and dessert -- all for $16.  Or choose the hamburger meal for $8.50, which includes all the aforementioned side dishes.  Or just get a hamburger and chips for $5.

This event has been one of the most popular in Dorchester for the past five years.  And the food always gets top-notch reviews.

Friday Is Dorchester Elementary's Excellence Rally At 8 A.M.

Get ready, Dorchester students and parents.  Tomorrow -- Friday -- is the big day.

Friday, March 21 is Dorchester Public School's Elementary Excellence Rally.  

This is a popular event that is back by popular demand.

The event starts at 8 a.m. in the school gymnasium.  Everyone is welcome!

Last year's event featured a "tunnel walk" of sorts that recognized every student of Dorchester Elementary School.

This is an excellent morale booster that also serves as a reminder of the importance of doing well in school -- not only academically, but also socially and in the realm of physical fitness.

Come be a part of this special event that pays special tribute to Dorchester's future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dorchester Resident Pleads For Puppy's Return

The Times' staff recently read a heartbreaking post on Craigslist from a fellow Dorchester resident who lost her puppy.

It reads:  "HELP!! My puppy was taken from our yard and we cannot find the one responsible! He's an Australian Shepherd, six months old. We've looked everywhere but if you have seen him or know of anyone who has recently 'gotten' a puppy that is like this one, LET ME KNOW."

The puppy's owner continues:  "We would really love to have him back home! I know his ID marks so it wouldn't be a problem for me to tell if it's him. He's very friendly and I'm sure he misses his puppy sister and his family. Please e-mail me! I check everyday!"

If you have seen this dog, e-mail the rightful owner simply by clicking on this link, then click the "reply" button at the top of the Craigslist page.

Let's get this puppy back home.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Friend Opera House Receives Tax Credits As Renovation Nears Completion

The Times has learned that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is awarding $25,000 in Community Development Assistance Act (CDAA) tax credits to help restore Friend's historic opera house.

The Friend Historical Society will use the tax credits to retain architectural services for the renovation and restoration to the theater as it relates to future plans to host local, regional and national events.

To date, the Friend Historical Society and its partners have invested more than $250,000 to renovate the Warren Building. Nearly 90 percent of structural and cosmetic street-level improvements are completed.

According to the Friend Chamber of Commerce website, the Warren Opera House was the premier place for social gatherings beginning 1885. It served Friend and neighboring communities for 34 years, providing a venue for plays, dances, lectures, political and sporting events, and even a circus. Though abandoned years ago, the theater still features most of its seats intact and in place, old props displayed on stage, and a curtain that is rolled and stored.

Notable are hundreds of signatures of traveling and local theater troupe actors, and band members inscribed on the wardrobe room walls. 

The Yokel family, long-time purveyors of hardware and furniture, donated the building (home of the opera house) to the Society. 

The Warren Opera House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and available for touring by appointment.  Contact Carey Potter, Friend Historical Society, at (402) 730-0276, or

For information about the CDAA program, contact Jenny Bindrum, CDAA coordinator, at 402-471-6280, or

Monday, March 17, 2014

Journal Star Pays Tribute To Saline Center Auction

The Dorchester area is known for its quality auctioneers and auction services. 

And Sunday's Lincoln Journal Star paid tribute to the annual Saline Center Consignment Sale.

The story notes the "seven auctioneers ride in pickup beds, shouting through bullhorns at crowds of farmers in Carhartts and camo. You can buy a 1996 John Deere combine for $10,000 cheaper than usual, a miniature horse for $37.50 and worn-down wheels with their rusty axle still attached for $5."

As the Journal Star points out, the auction, in its 30th year, is hosted by the Saline Center Lodge and local volunteers. 

The money made from the equipment helps the Saline Center Czech Lodge support local philanthropic ventures, including the lodge and the Dorchester and Friend fire departments. And as far as volunteer Don Divoky knows, it's the biggest consignment sale around.

See the story here.

Saline Co. Pheasants Forever Banquet, March 22

Calling all Dorchester-area hunters.

You are invited to the Pheasants Forever Saline County Chapter's annual banquet this Saturday, March 22.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. at Sokol Hall, 315 S. Wilson St., in Wilber.

For tickets, call:

Dean, 402-429-1638, or;
Denny, 402-676-4278, or;
Jack, 402-826-5550, or

See you out there!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

News From Next Door: Crete Getting New Bank Building, Dairy Queen

For those who missed it, Crete's private sector is making a few changes in our neighboring community.

According to The Crete News, the east side of Crete, which is already home to a new, state-of-the-art Runza restaurant, will also soon see a new Union Bank building at the corner of Hwy. 33 and Grove Street.  

Furthermore, the famous Dairy Queen barn and accompanying business has been sold to a Lincoln group, whose plan includes demolition of the old building and construction of a new restaurant.

The Crete News also reports that Crete's Economic Development Director Max Kathol has told the Crete City Council that the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is considering Saline County for its annual county historic survey.  

Kathol said the state office itself does one county-wide survey per year and Kathol did the legwork in starting the process for Saline County being considered for the state office survey. 

The Times advocates Dorchester leaders, who have already partnered with the City of Crete for electrical service, working with Crete on its historical reservations for guidance and advice on work that could be done in our community.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dorchester Student Council Silent Auction, March 18

The Dorchester Student Council will be holding their annual Make-A-Wish silent auction on Tuesday, March 18.  This event will coincide with the elementary's spring concert, so make plans now to attend both.

All proceeds go to the Nebraska Make-A-Wish chapter, which benefits children who have been diagnosed with cancer. 

The items for the auction will be displayed for viewing and bidding no later than 6:30 p.m.  

The DPS elementary spring concert will begin at 7 p.m.  After the concert, bidding will remain open until approximately 8 p.m.  Winners will be announced at that time.  

Last year the Student Council raised nearly $1,000 from the auction, which was matched by a private sector sponsor.  Dorchester's district of student councils raised almost $10,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  

Any donations would be great appreciated.  Giving ailing kids the dream of their lifetime is extremely rewarding.  

Any questions? Contact Stacy Lutjemeyer at

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Youth Baseball, Softball Sign-Up Is March 17

(CORRECTION: This event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 17.)

Hey kids! 

Next Monday, March 17, is your chance to sign up for the Dorchester baseball and softball teams.  The sign-up for both boys and girls will be at the Dorchester School cafeteria (enter on the south side) at 7:30 p.m. 

Any boy ages 6-15 (15 years old on or before Dec. 31, 2014) can play Dorchester baseball.  

Any girl ages 6-18 (18 years of age on or before Dec 31, 2014) are eligible to play Dorchester softball. 

Fees will be due at time of registration.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Despite Possible Snow, Today's Precipitation Is Welcomed

Today's forecast calls for a 60% chance of rain, which could turn into a wintery mix of snow and ice later in the day and in the evening.  And it could be accompanied by wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

Sounds rough -- but we should not complain.  

As drought continues to ravage Nebraska, forecasters say there isn't a lot of hope in the immediate future for precipitation aside from today's system.  

The picture above of Turkey Creek near Pleasant Hill was taken by a reader yesterday.  

It shows how dry conditions are following a colder-than-usual winter that brought little snowfall.  And what snow did fall had very low moisture content.

According to UNL's drought monitor, Saline County and eastern Nebraska are currently abnormally dry, with drier conditions creeping in from the southwest.

Click here for the long-range forecast for the Dorchester area.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Former DPS Principle Stan Knapp Passes At 64

Stan Knapp
Former Dorchester Public Schools principal Stan Knapp, 64, passed away last Friday, March 7, from complications brought on by ALS. 

Born Aug. 16, 1949 in Akron, Iowa to Jack and Phyllis Knapp, Stan was a son, brother, husband, Army first lieutenant, father, grandfather, educator, coach, realtor, Kiwanian, longtime UNL Women's sports supporter, world traveler, and golfer.

Family members include wife, Diane; brothers, Gordon (Ritta) and Brian (Terresa); sister, Barb Brown (Craig); daughter, Maggie (Colin); son, Mitch (Kenna); grandchildren, Paige and Landon; sister-in-law, Terri Small (Scott); and nieces and nephews.

A skilled educator. A wonderful father and grandfather. A respected colleague. A dear friend. A truly beautiful man. Stan touched many lives and all are better for knowing him.

A celebration of Stan's life will be 11 a.m., Tues., March 11, 2014, at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 8550 Pioneers Blvd. in Lincoln, with family greeting friends from 10-11 a.m.  Memorials may be made to family for later designation. Condolences online at

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Readers Pick Best Ideas To Boost Dorchester's Downtown

Over the past week, the Dorchester Times asked readers what they would do to enhance Dorchester's business district and downtown area.  

The results are a bit surprising. (Keep in mind voters were allowed to vote for more than one option.)

The Times survey, conducted March 1-6, found nearly half (47.17%) of respondents said the Village of Dorchester should recruit businesses and/or offer incentives to encourage businesses to open shop in town.

Nearly 40% of respondents said they wanted to see the Dorchester Area Community Foundation raise funds to renovate vacant commercial buildings.

Nearly 34% of readers said they wanted to "help young residents start businesses of their own" -- while 17% said more should be done to encourage/help existing businesses to expand.

One reader offered his/her own recommendation in the "comments" section: "Bulldoze the vacant buildings."  (We would prefer rehabilitation of such buildings, ourselves -- although Dorchester doesn't have more than a few uninhabited commercial buildings.)

Here is the breakdown of the survey results:

Friday, March 7, 2014

SURVEY: Readers Say Seward, Wilber Have Best Downtowns

Without a doubt, maintaining a vibrant, healthy downtown in a smaller community today is a challenge in rural Nebraska.

Fortunately, here in southeast Nebraska, we have some great examples of how smaller towns can have a healthy business sector.

So the Dorchester Times asked our readers which area business district they would most like to see Dorchester emulate? Which neighboring town's business district is best?

The Times survey, conducted March 1-6, found more than 37% of respondents said Seward had the best downtown of nearby communities.  

Seward's business district was followed by Wilber (32.2%), then Crete and Friend (16.95% each) and Milford (11.86%).

Here is the breakdown of the survey results:

Tomorrow, we will report on the rest of the survey results -- and what steps Times readers said would be most effective at enhancing Dorchester's own business district.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Expert: How Badly Do You Want Your Small Town To Succeed?

Interesting comments were made this past weekend by the director of the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Charles Schroeder says there’s no trick to developing the state’s small, rural towns -- one of the biggest challenges is the community’s confidence level.  In short, he said, a town's perceptions about the years to come are the key to success or failure.

“Eighty-five percent of people will agree they would like to see communities of 500 and fewer population survive and thrive going forward,” Schroeder says.

Yet Schroeder says when people were asked if they believe those towns of 500 would still be around 20 years from now, only 35% said “yes.”

Schroeder says each community faces challenges and they vary from one town to the next. Issues include education, youth engagement, health care, transportation, housing, infrastructure and immigration.

He says one fundamental issue in a town’s growth and development is that its leaders have confidence in tomorrow.

“It wasn’t the four oldest, fattest, whitest-haired guys in town,” he says. “It was teachers and farmers and students. It was young people and old people, librarians, business leaders who had a vision for that community.”

Schroeder says small communities are the preferred incubator for the start-up of small businesses in Nebraska, which economists agree are the source of the vast majority of jobs in the U.S.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

ALERT: Wind Chill Dips To -30 Tonight, Sunday

More Information

Looking Back: Dorchester Baseball

This is the winter that will not end -- or so it seems.  But spring is just around the corner, as are the sounds of children's laughter and the crack of the bat coming from the diamond at Nerud Field.

Dorchester is home to rich baseball history.  Our community was known as a baseball town as early as the start of the 1900s, as the rough-and-tumble young men of Dorchester gained a reputation for beating teams from towns much larger in population than the village.  (Town-team baseball -- played by teens and men in their 20s, 30s and even 40s -- was a main attraction for many eastern and central Nebraska towns in the first half of the 20th century, until the 1950s, when youth baseball gained in popularity.)

In those early days, most games were played during free time on Sundays, according to old timers.  By 1905, the teams from Dorchester became more organized and well-practiced.

Readers will recall a while back, we stumbled upon a photo taken by Russell Freidell (DHS Class of 1907) who captured a perfect image of the 1909 Dorchester baseball team -- one of the best baseball teams in southeast Nebraska at the time, according to records.

Now, thanks to an e-mail tip from a reader, we've discovered one of the uniforms worn by a member of the 1918 Dorchester club.  The nearly century-old jersey top, which is in perfect condition, was worn by the Dorchester team from 1918 through the early 1920s.  

This particular jersey housed in the museum was donated by the late Thomas Jarrett, whose parents owned Jarrett Hardware and sponsored the jersey.  (Each uniform was sponsored by a different Dorchester business of that era.)  It sports the big, black letter "D" -- similar to those on the uniforms worn by the 1909 club in Freidell's photograph.

Also stored in the museum is the succeeding jersey of Dorchester's baseball club, worn from the mid-1920s through the start of the Great Depression.  It is fancier in its design, with the town's name spelled out and donning flashier colors on the thick wool material.

At last check, neither Dorchester uniform is currently on display in the county museum.  We hope that the museum caretakers can find a way to properly display, protect and preserve these magnificent relics of Dorchester's glorious past.

In the meantime, spring is on its way.  Let's count down the days until we hear: "Play ball!"