Monday, April 28, 2014

Main Street Banners Coming Soon

Coming to Dorchester:  Banners for our main street light poles!

That's the word from the Dorchester Community Foundation and its leaders.

These new banners will line Washington Ave. -- Dorchester's main drive -- and help welcome residents and visitors to our community.  Many of the citizens we have spoken with say this is the Foundation's best project yet and will be a key first step in improving the village's business district.  

Currently, Foundation members are pondering the message and image that will be on the banners.

Established a decade ago, the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is guided by one central mission:  To raise funds for worthy projects that will enhance Dorchester and our quality of life. To become a member of the Dorchester Community Foundation, annual dues are $20 a person -- or a lifetime membership is $250.  

Contributions to the Foundation are deductible for income and estate tax purposes.  You may consider giving cash, outright gifts (including bushels of grain), memorial gifts, deferred gifts (trusts-life insurance policies etc.), gift annuity or real estate.
Join the Dorchester Community Foundation today -- and contribute to its projects! Make your checks payable to:
Dorchester Community Foundation Fund
c/o Mr. Dale Hayek
652 County Road 1200
Dorchester, NE  68343
A non-profit affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation, the Dorchester Community Foundation has been instrumental in various projects.  These include the city park's new playground equipment and shelter; annual scholarships; the Charlie Havlat Memorial at the Saline County Museum; and the steak and hamburger feeds. The Foundation's most recent project is the construction of new welcome signs along Highway 33 and Highways 6 and 15.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Judy Weber Passes At 72

Judith A. "Judy" Weber, a longtime Dorchester area resident and involved community member, passed away early Wednesday, April 23, 2014. She was born Aug. 28, 1941 to Rudolph and Eliese (Ehlers) Polenz. Graduate of Leigh High School; Bachelor of Science and master's degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. United in marriage to Robert "Bob" Weber on June 27, 1964 in Leigh. Active member of Dorchester United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women, Chapter DQ P.E.O. and Jolly Doers Extension Club

Survivors: loving husband, Bob Weber, Friend; sons and daughters-in-law, John and Shannon Weber, Bozeman, Mont., Joel and Amy Weber, Dorchester, Doug and Christi Weber, Bozeman, Mont.; brother Allan and wife Marla Polenz, Bend, Ore.; grandchildren, Christian, Jacob, Miles and Sophia

Visitation: Noon to 3:30 p.m., Friday, April 25, at Zabka Funeral Home, Seward and 5-8 p.m. Friday at Dorchester United Methodist Church, Dorchester with family receiving friends from 6-8 p.m.

Memorial service: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Dorchester United Methodist Church, 612 Lincoln Ave., Dorchester; Rev. Dr. Paixao Baptista, officiating. Private family graveside service and interment. Memorials to the Weber family for future designation. Funeral srrangements entrusted to Zabka Funeral Home, Seward. Condolences at

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DHS Alumni Banquet, May 24

The 2014 Dorchester Alumni Banquet is set for Saturday night, May 24. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the banquet starts at 6 p.m.  Classes ending in "4" will be honored.

On the agenda for this year's banquet is the traditional dinner as prepared by the Dorchester American Legion Auxiliary.

This year's guest speaker will be legendary former Longhorn coach Jack Guggenmos.

A special tribute will be paid to the Class of 1964.

Reservations should be sent by May 5! Those who wish to attend should send their reservations to: 

Dorchester Alumni Association
P.O. Box 247
Dorchester, NE  68343.  

Use the following form:

                            DORCHESTER ALUMNI BANQUET - 6 P.M., MAY 24, 2014

Please reserve ___ seats at $20 each ........................................ $_____________
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Association ............................... $_____________
Donation to Dorchester Alumni Scholarship Fund ........................ $_____________

                                                                                                  TOTAL $_____________

Name: __________________________ Class of _________  E-Mail___________________

Address: __________________________________________________________________

City:______________________________ State: _______ Zip:_______________________

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ten Ways To Ruin A Small Town

(This post was originally published in July 2007.)

Recently, a Times reader sent us a thought-provoking piece that appeared in the Keith County News. Since both attitudes and actions play an important role in community development and prosperity, we thought it would be worthwhile to share this list of "ways to ruin a town" with other readers. Regardless of where you live, we think the following list serves as a good reminder of what not to do if you want to improve your community.

'Ten Ways to Ruin a Town'

1. Never attend public meetings. Criticize the way “they” do things.

2. Always remind others about the cold winters, hot summers and general tough conditions for those who live here.

3. Complain about community groups, volunteers, etc.

4. Keep convincing yourself that it’s not important to attend school programs, church services, concerts, ballgames, etc. You won’t be missed.

5. Knock your public officials, including school teachers and administrators. Talk about the “kickbacks” that the city council and school board must be getting.

6. Stay away from church. You might attend on Easter or Christmas to reassure yourself that all who attend are hypocrites.

7. Make purchases out of town or through catalogs or Internet sites. These firms will give back a lot to your community.

8. Remind others that your local newspaper and other communications are no good and have less local news than out-of-town media.

9. Remember: all kids are delinquents, all businessmen are crooks, and bad remarks about your town are the order of the day.

10. Above all, always be skeptical, cynical and negative about anything designed for the community’s progress and betterment.

If any of this sounds like something you do, even occasionally, do something about it. Try helping to build your community. You can make a difference. (This list originally appeared in "101 Ideas on Economic Development" by Cal Clark.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Saline County Ag Land Soars 40% In Value In One Year

A story in the Omaha newspaper this week reported that "booming agriculture land values last year drove a nearly $21 billion increase in the state's taxable property valuation."  

This is bad news for area farmers who own land, due to the likelihood of soaring property taxes that follow sizable valuation increases.  It's also bad news for younger farmer who'd would like to buy their own farm ground.  

However, since property tax dollars pay for schools and roads, the ever-increasing portion of property tax revenues derived from farm land is probably good news for residential property owners, since their property taxes are kept in check.  (Readers should note that the amount property owners pay depends on the value of their property and the tax rates set by local governments -- not state government.  Around 65%-70% of your property tax dollar goes to pay for K-12 education, as a general rule.)

According to Nebraska's Department of Revenue, ag land valuations increased 29% between 2013 and 2014, following nearly 23% growth the prior year. This marks the sixth consecutive year in which ag land values grew by double-digits, based on sales.  

Chase County in southwest Nebraska experienced the largest jump in ag land values at 58.48%, but 16 other counties -- including Saline -- saw increases between 40% and 50%.  

According to our research, Saline County's ag land grew 40% in value from 2013 to 2014.  

Saline County's residential properties -- when new growth is excluded -- realized a 0.36% increase in value over the past year.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ideas From Around Nebraska: Oxford Library Is Youth Social Hub

According to a story on the news wires, the folks in Oxford, Neb., are making the town library a social hub for the kiddos.

The AP reports, "The kids come in their PJ's. They curl up with stuffed toys and munch on popcorn. And, while their parents are watching a grown-ups' movie at the Granada Theater next door, youngsters at the Oxford Public Library are enjoying a G-rated kid-friendly movie on their own big screen, helping the library fulfill its mission to be a vital, vibrant educational, entertainment and social hub of the community."

"We've done movie night all winter. It has become very popular," says library director Danielle Burns, who has, with her teen board, board of directors and "Friends of the Library," created other new programs and activities that are keeping the public library in residents' minds and hearts. "The library has lots of support and lots of volunteer time and talent from the community," Burns said.

Help with homework after school is part of the library's new "strategic plan" developed this year, and retired teacher Jan Anderson volunteered to help by offering tutoring. "It's free to the students, and has been very successful," Danielle said.

The community's Oxford Foundation provided funds for an XBox game system and television. The library also has a variety of DVDs available for check-out. "We feel very fortunate that we have so much support from the community," Burns said.

To further involve young readers in the library, Burns has created a five-member board of teens who are freshmen through seniors in high school. The board makes suggestions and recommendations of books of particular interest to teens and kids, and helps set up and clean up on Movie Night. "They're very, very helpful," she said. "And it helps them feel useful and part of the library."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dorchester's Axlines Celebrate 50th Anniversary

A lot was going on in 1964.

The Rolling Stones conducted their first tour as headline act. 

President Lyndon B Johnson declared a "War on Poverty."  

The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" hit No. 1 in the U.S.

The Warren Commission determined that "Oswald acted alone" in killing JFK.

Space probe Mariner IV flew by Mars, transmitting pictures of the planet's surface back to earth.

Indiana Governor Mathew Walsh tried to ban the song "Louie Louie" for obscenity.

And most importantly, Dorchester's Sharon and Harold Axline were married.

A loyal Times reader sent us this picture to let us know the Axlines will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend.

Tell them congratulations on this remarkable achievement!

Tax Credits Available For Town Restoration Projects

Did you know that the Community Development Assistance Act (CDAA) empowers the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NDED) to distribute a 40% state tax credit to businesses, corporations, insurance firms, financial institutions, or individuals that make eligible contributions of cash, services or materials to approved community betterment projects?

It's true. 

And non-profit community betterment organizations -- like the Dorchester Community Foundation -- can apply to the NDED to become qualified for CDAA tax credits. Upon approval of a project, the community betterment organization can notify donors they are eligible for tax credits. The donors then submit a tax credit request form to the NDED.

Think of the potential Dorchester renovation projects you know that could benefit from this program.  

Recently, the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) assisted two communities with developing and submitting CDAA applications that have been funded.  The Friend Historical Society was awarded $25,000 in credits for their restoration of the Warren Opera House.  Deshler residents were made eligible for credits due to their renovation of their community library.

We hope Dorchester leaders will pursue opportunities made possible by the CDAA.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bird, Zahourek Capture Top Honors At Turkey Creek Meet

The Friend Sentinel reports that the Turkey Creek Relays held earlier this month marked the first opportunity for area high school track teams to compete outdoors this spring.

Dorchester Coach Ryan Voelker is quoted as saying he didn’t think some of his athletes warmed up enough. “Don’t think the athletes were loving the weather. It was cold and it takes a good deal of warming up, which is unmotivated when windy and cold. Some athletes were tight,” he said.

Still, several Longhorns performed well at the event.

Dorchester took won the long jump with great performances from Corey Bird and Riley Zahourek.  The combo then took second place in the high jump.  In the triple jump, Dorchester took fifth thanks to Nixon Nerud and Tim Havlat.

The DHS girls 4x200-meter relay team captured sixth place, while capturing sixth in the 4,800-meter distance medley.

In the 4x60-meter hurdle shuttle, the Lady Lonhorns took third place thanks to Jordan Keller, Jacee Weber, Avery Behrens, Cassidy Olson.  

In the triple jump, Dorchester's Jacee Weber Lydia Kahle both took home medals. In the shot put, Bailey Velder and Avery Behrens took fifth place. DHS's Lydia Wells and Avery Behrens took fourth place in the discus.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tonight: Meeting For Parents Of DPS Elementary Students Interested In Sports

Dorchester School officials are planning for the future.

There will be a Dorchester Elementary School athletics meeting tonight, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.  

According to officials, this meeting is being held to brief parents of Dorchester Elementary School students on the current sports opportunities being offered -- as well as the outlook for Dorchester athletics.  

School officials also want to use this opportunity to gather input from parents.

All Dorchester parents with a student in elementary school -- or soon to be in elementary school -- are encouraged to attend.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dorchester Sees 166% Gain In Weekend Traffic Since 2008

While Dorchester village officials probably won't hear any grumbling about traffic jams anytime too soon, they may want to take notice of the dramatic spike of weekend traffic on Main Street from just half a dozen years ago. 

They may also want to recognize the sizable increase in economic activity created by those who arrive in the additional vehicles.

According to a study conducted by the Times, weekend traffic on Dorchester's three-block business district has surged 166% on Friday and Saturday nights compared to just six years ago.

The Times compared ten random traffic counts taken in 2008 and another ten taken in 2014. The tallies were taken between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday or Saturday evenings, when Dorchester's Main Street (Washington Ave.) tends to be its busiest.

In 2008, the average number of cars or trucks parked in the business district was 12. This year, the average number of autos was 32.

The increase in traffic can likely be attributed to the success of Ben's Iron Grill (and its successors), Joe's Place (and now City Slickers) and increased community activity at the Legion Hall and Dorchester Community Building.

The extra vehicles mean big dollars for Dorchester, even using conservative estimates. 

We estimate that each vehicle on Dorchester's Main Street on a Friday or Saturday evening equals at least $30 spent in town on food, drinks, donations, gasoline or something else. 

Using that figure, the additional 20 vehicles appearing in the business district on weekend nights would translate into an extra $62,400 spent in Dorchester throughout the course of a year.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baked Potatoes & Ice Cream Sundae Bar Next Sunday

Spring, no matter how slow its arrival, has us thinking warm and sweet thoughts.

That's why next Sunday, April 13, you will find us and many others at the Dorchester United Methodist Church's Baked and Sweet Potato Bar.

Serving will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. at the church.

You will have a choice of more than 10 toppings -- as well as the famous Ice Cream Sundae Bar.

Free will offering.  

See you at the Dorchester UMC!

Longhorn Volleyball Camps Being Offered This Summer

Hey, DHS Longhorn volleyballers (and parents)!

On June 12 and 13, Dorchester High School volleyball staff will be holding the Lil' Longhorn Camps at the DHS gymnasium.  

The Lil' Longhorns Volleyball Camp is open to any girls or boys in grades 3-9 during the 2014-2015 school year.  

The 3rd-6th grade camps will be conducted from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. both days.

The 6th-9th grade camp will be conducted from 12:30 p.m. -2:30 p.m. both days. 

Also, on June 9 and 11, the College of St. Mary will be conducting a volleyball camp with the Dorchester and Wilber-Clatonia teams.  The St. Mary's camp is only open to volleyball players who will be in 9th-12th grade at those schools during the 2014-15 school year.  

Any 6th-9th grade athlete who attends both camps will get a $5 discount on the $20 cost of the Lil' Longhorn Camp.  

Registration forms and more information are available at or by contacting Coach Ty Peteranetz at  Or call (402) 946-2781.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Does Your Young Child Have A Learning Disability?

Do you have a child 5 years or younger who displays a delay with learning, moving, playing, hearing, seeing and/or speaking?

Dorchester Public Schools wants to help.

A free dinner will be served at DPS next Tuesday, April 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to all district residents who need assistance in identifying if their child could be at risk for learning disabilities and could benefit from special education services.

If your child is five years or younger and you're interested in this event, call (402) 946-2781 to reserve your spot for this April 8 event.

If you have questions, e-mail Cheryl Perkins at

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DHS' Weber Wins Triple Jump At Doane, Other Longhorns Place

The Friend Sentinel reports that the Dorchester track team had some highlight reel moments at the Doane Invitational held recently in Crete, and that coaches were happy with the marks the athletes turned in.

“We put up some marks and times that are a good starting point where our goal will be to continually improve upon them,” Dorchester Coach Ryan Voelker said. “There is always room for growth, and it will start for us in being in solid physical condition.”

Jacee Weber led the way for the Longhorns, winning the triple jump with a leap of 33-3.75. Lydia Kahle finished third in the discus with a throw of 84-8, and the 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays were both sixth.

The Longhorn boys’ teams is down in numbers, the story points out, and that meant fewer team points. 

Riley Zahourek and Corey Bird each placed in two events for the Longhorns. Zahourek was second in the triple jump at 39-6.25 and third in the long jump at 20-3.5. Bird finished fifth in both the long jump and high jump.

Today, April 1, DHS was in the field for the Turkey Creek Relays held at Friend High.