Friday, May 30, 2014

Smile! You're In One Of America's Happiest States

Lets' start your weekend on a positive note by sharing a story from CNBC/Yahoo Finance.

According to the financial website, Gallup's most recent "Well-Being Index" has determined Nebraska is the third best state in America if you're searching for peace-of-mind and contentedness.

What comprises "well-being"?  Start with physical fitness.  Add some emotional health.  And then consider work opportunities, stress level, cost of living, and even dental care.

The five best states for well-being -- according to Gallup's thousands of surveys and comprehensive interviews -- are:
  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota 
  5. Montana.  
According to the story, Nebraskans rank first in "life evaluation." One reason? Three out of four Nebraskans consider themselves "well rested."

The state with the worst sense of well-being is West Virginia, for four years in a row.  It ranks dead last in all categories but one -- work environment, where it's 14th in the nation.

Which state has the worst work environment?  Mississippi.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Arrest Made In Saline County Shooting

KWBE Radio in Beatrice reports that Saline County Sheriff’s officers are investigating an early Wednesday morning shooting, which happened in Dewitt, and have made an arrest of a suspect. Sheriff Alan Moore says 28-year-old Joshua Voorhees, of Beatrice, was shot once in the chest.  He was taken to Beatrice Community Hospital and later transferred to Bryan LGH West Medical Center in Lincoln.  

Saline County authorities arrested 25-year-old Zachary Grummert at his residence, 210 North Apple Street, in DeWitt.  He’s being held for alleged 1st-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Sheriff’s officers investigated after receiving a 911 transfer call from Beatrice Communications Center, at about 1:24 a.m.Wednesday.  The call was regarding a report of a male victim being shot by another person in Dewitt.

Gage County Sheriff’s officers and the Nebraska State Patrol assisted in the investigation.  Grummert is being held at the Saline County Detention Center.  Witnesses tell police Voorhees was shot in the stomach at around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday after stepping between Grummert and another man who were arguing at a house party.

Voorhees underwent surgery to his colon and diaphragm. He is expected to recover.

Butch Plouzek Passes At 82

William D. "Butch" Plouzek, 82, of Lincoln, formerly Dorchester, passed away May 17, 2014. 

He was born on Oct. 7, 1931 to William and Abbie Plouzek. Retired farmer. 

He was the rock of the family and a friend to nearly everyone he met. Dearly loved, sorely missed.

Survivors include: devoted friend and companion, Verna Shannon of Lincoln. Sons and daughters-in-law: Bill and Mary of Dorchester, Bob and Jeri of Lincoln. Granddaughters: Alyssa and Gwen Plouzek of Lincoln. Grandsons: William James and wife Kim Plouzek of Dorchester, Michael Plouzek of Lincoln. Great grandchildren: Abbie and Dean Plouzek of Dorchester. Brothers: Raymond and wife Barb, Gene and wife Donna. And Babe the Wonder Dog.

Services were last Friday, May 23, at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Corey Bird Takes Third At State Track Meet

At the 2014 Nebraska State Track and Field Championships, held May 23 and 24, DHS junior Corey Bird brought a medal back home for dear old Dorchester High.

Bird led area athletes with a third-place finish in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6-3, tying his personal best.

DHS track coach Brian Rut told the Friend Sentinel:  “Corey is a great competitor and came through clutch late in the competition when he was down to his last jump. I think going into the state meet that he knew that if he jumped to his potential, a top three finish was in his reach. Corey stayed healthy the entire year and kept raising the bar each and every meet.”

Riley Zahourek of Dorchester was battling a groin/hamstring injury and did not jump his best in the triple jump or long jump. He finished with a 39-6.75 jump in the triple jump and at 19-1.25 in the long jump. “We are proud of the way that he went out and competed in both the triple and long jumps and did the best that he could under the conditions,” Rut said.

Dorchester had two athletes in the girls’ competitions — Cassidy Olson in the 100-meter dash and Bailey Velder in the shot put. Coach Rut said both competed well.

This was Olson’s second trip to state. She qualified as a freshman two years ago, also in the 100-meter dash. This year she finished in 13.59 seconds but did not make the finals. “She was comfortable coming into the meet, and although she didn’t place, she competed well,” Rut said.

Velder, a freshman, made her first trip to state and finished with a throw of 33-6. “Bailey worked hard getting to this point ... and she increased her distance in all three throws in Omaha. She finished up the day by throwing one of her better throws of the season,” Rut said.

Friday, May 23, 2014

DHS Alumni Banquet This Saturday, 6 P.M.

The 2014 Dorchester Alumni Banquet is set for this 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.

If you have not registered, the alumni of DHS would still love to see you there.  Just walk in and pay at the door.

Be true to your school -- attend this Saturday's Dorchester School's Alumni Banquet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Dorchester Residents Want A Vote On Street Paving

The paving issue is not going away.  That is the sentiment reflected in the latest Times' survey of Dorchester residents.

Earlier this month, we asked that only readers who reside in Dorchester's city limits answer our survey regarding support for paving more Dorchester streets.  The request generated some interesting comments, which you can read in the comments section of this story.

Exactly 100 readers responded to the survey.  In fact, there was such an overwhelming response that the host of the survey (Survey Monkey) shut it down at 100 votes -- which is why some of you had an "error" messages when you tried voting.

We asked: Should Dorchester residents be allowed to vote on the issue of paving, either on a block-by-block basis or for the entire village?  Exactly 75% voted yes to voting on street paving, while 25% said that such a vote should not be allowed.  There were no undecideds.

Then we asked: If you could choose between three options on the ballot, which would you choose? A majority -- 50% -- said they would vote to allow petitions for block-by-block street paving, while another 44% said they would vote for bonding to pave all Dorchester streets.  Only 6% said they would vote for bonding to develop new housing with a paved street.  (We were a bit surprised by that result.)

Finally, we asked: Will you vote for Dorchester Village Board candidates who support paving? A decisive 69% said, yes, they will vote for candidates who promise to support street paving, while around 13% said they would not.  Another 19% said they would take several issues into consideration when voting on board candidates.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DHS' Zahourek, Velder, Olson and Bird Represent Dorchester At State

The Longhorn track team is sending several members to the Nebraska State High School Track and Field Meet later this week.  And Dorchester couldn't be more proud.

DHS' Riley Zahourek will be representing the Orange and Black in the Class D boys triple jump and long jump.  

At the district meet, Riley placed 2nd with a 20-3 1/2 jump in the long jump and a 40-7 3/4 showing in the triple jump.

Bailey Velder will be competing in the girls' shot put. Bailey threw the shot put 34-11 1/4 for a second place showing at districts.

DHS' Cassidy Olson will compete in the 100 meter. She came in second at the district meet by running her race in a blazing 13.40 seconds.

DHS junior Corey Bird will appear in the boys' high jump.  He qualified for state by finishing first in the district meet with a top jump of 6'3".

We send our best wishes and congratulations to these standout Longhorns.

Our thanks to Nicole Schweitzer for her contribution to the Times for this story and the accompanying photo.  (We have named her the Dorchester Times' top contributor for the month.)

The Nebraska State Track and Field Meet will take place this Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24.  For a complete schedule of events, just click here.

A Simple Message For Dorchester Area Residents

Occasionally, we try to inspire our readers with words of wisdom from the past. Today is one of those days.

Please read, comprehend and live these simple words from 101 years ago if you are:

  • A resident of Dorchester;
  • A resident of the surrounding district;
  • A parent with children in Dorchester Schools;
  • A student of Dorchester Schools;
  • A member of the Dorchester School Board;
  • A member of the Dorchester Village Board;
  • A community volunteer;
  • An employee of any entity in Dorchester, public or private; or
  • An area retiree.
The message is simply:

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand."

President Woodrow Wilson, 1913

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ten New Longhorn Graduates Comprise Class Of 2014

This past Saturday, May 17, Dorchester High School added ten more alumni to its distinguished list of graduates.  

Here are the members of DHS' Class of 2014 and their post-graduation plans:
  • Kyla Brummett: Wayne State College, social work.
  • Tiernan Creamer:  SCC, Milford, building construction.
  • Laura Davidsen: Return to Denmark, further education.
  • Kevin Donohoe: SCC.
  • Lydia Kahle: Wayne State College, physical therapy.
  • Olivia Aaberg-Plonkey:  College of Hair Design.
  • Derek Pohl:  SCC, agriculture.
  • Eliseo Ruiz: Central Community College.
  • Justin Schwisow: Work, SCC.
  • Riley Zahourek: Doane College, health fitness.
Our heartiest of congratulations to these fine Longhorns in the Class of 2014!

Are You Contributing To The Dorchester Times?

In the past few days, we received questions from readers asking why the Times had not yet published a story on the DHS track and field members who qualified for state.

Our reply was the following:

Have you e-mailed us stories about results? Pictures? Links to stories online? If you had, they would be up.

Just a reminder -- the Times is operated free-of-charge by an all-volunteer staff that receives no compensation.  There's simply no way for us to keep on top all of the details surrounding everything going on in our area without reports from community members.  

For this site to be successful, we need reader input. 

Years ago, Dorchester and most of Nebraska's small communities were full of people who willfully volunteered and shared their life stories with others. Remember Marva Kasl's reports in The Crete News?  That has changed with the Internet age and with social media. There is now less community engagement, it seems. Many folks would rather keep to their gossip circles on outlets like Facebook or Twitter.

We hope our readers will become more active and send reports and photos to  

This site depends on reader interaction and communication.  Ultimately, it is your website -- whether you live in the Dorchester area, are an alum of the Dorchester Public School system, or just care about our community.  This website will thrive or fail based on your input.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Village Is Seeking Applicants For Potential Housing Rehabilitation Program

Does your home need renovation but you simply don't have the funds available?  

The Village of Dorchester may be submitting a Community Development Block Grant Application for funds to assist home owners with housing rehabilitation.

Village officials are requesting that residents who need financial assistance to complete housing rehabilitation projects submit a pre-application form by July 1, 2014.  The pre-applications are being requested from potential program participants to determine a market for financing through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

Please note, this program would be for owner-occupied homes only -- not abandoned properties or investment real estate.  Properties must be single-family residences and within Dorchester's city limits.  Annual household income limits apply.

If the application is approved, eligible homeowners may receive assistance to make improvements ranging from $5,000 to $24,000 to their homes.  If funded, eligible repairs include health and safety issues and all major systems to bring a property to acceptable housing standards and  to extend the effective life of the house for another 20 years.

The program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and will be implemented in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law.

Residents interested may stop at Village Hall and get a brochure with additional details, application, and return envelope.  Information and pre-application forms are also available at the offices of the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD), 2631 “O” Street, Lincoln, NE  68510-1398.  Questions may be directed to Emily Bausch at (402) 475.2560 or e-mail

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DHS' Tiernan Creamer Receives Duncan Aviation Award

Duncan Aviation has announced the selection of 20 students to receive awards through the Karen K. Duncan Scholarship program. Each scholarship winner will receive up to $4,000 for their college education — $1,000 a semester for up to two years.

Among the scholarship winners is Dorchester High School senior Tiernan Creamer. 

Dorchester was the only high school in our immediate area with a Duncan Aviation scholarship winner.  Milford also had a recipient.

The Karen K. Duncan Scholarship program was started in 1999 and is open to dependents of full-time Duncan Aviation team members.  Since its inception, more than 200 scholarships totaling $1,320,000 have been awarded through the Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Program.

An independent committee reviewed applicants’ essays and assigned point values to them. Students also earned points for academic achievement, leadership, citizenship, career goals and extracurricular activities.

Areas West And North Of Dorchester Part Of True 'Tornado Alley'?

Are the areas west and north of Dorchester part of the real "Tornado Alley"? 

Some residents in our area believe so.

On Sunday, several area communities were heavily hit by severe storms and tornadoes, including Beaver Crossing, Cordova and Sutton.  

Yesterday, Nebraskans started to clean up debris and assess the damage. (UPDATE: See this video of the Cordova area as seen on KMTV in Omaha. And this slide show from 10/11 News.)

The severe storms, including at least a dozen confirmed tornadoes, stretched approximately 90 miles, from west of Sutton to Omaha. 

Some of Sunday's tornadic activity formed in the areas immediately west and north of Dorchester.  

For many area residents, it brought back memories from years ago, including May 1992, when tornadoes wreaked havoc west and north of Dorchester.

Records dating back to the early 1900s show the tornadic activity that has come close to the Village of Dorchester has typically appeared west and north of town.

The photograph above was taken for the Associated Press on Sunday.  It shows Carlos Estrada watching a wall cloud that spawned a tornado warning northwest of Dorchester. 

The photo to the left shows is another AP image taken Sunday showing the same wall cloud near Dorchester. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Area Sees First Tornadic Weather, Heavy Rainfall Of 2014

The season's first extreme weather hit the Dorchester area yesterday and last night, along with some of 2014's first eye-popping precipitation amounts.

The National Weather Service says parts of York County received 5" or more of rain on Sunday. 

The Village of Dorchester has received around 2.25" to 2.50" over the past 36 hours, depending on whose rain gauge you check.

The storms that developed in southern Nebraska near Hastings on Sunday damaged homes and businesses in or near Sutton, Garland, Cordova and Daykin. (See the picture to the left for the damage in Sutton.)

The storms also left more than 18,000 utility customers without electricity.
The storms maintained their strength and continued to generate tornadoes for more than three hours as they moved across Nebraska. 

They knocked down several farm outbuildings west of Sutton and blew debris across U.S. Highway 6, forcing officials to close the highway. The town's business district was also damaged.

No damage has been reported in the Dorchester area, but our area remains in a flash flood warning in areas along the Blue River and Turkey Creek.

Here are the rainfall totals over the past 36 hours for our immediate area:

Seward, 8.8 miles NNW -- 4.74"
York, 1.0 ESE -- 3.68"  
Waco, 4.3 SE -- 3.51"
York, 4.9 SSW -- 3.37"  
McCool Junction, 1.1 ENE -- 3.29"  
Dorchester, 2.1 NW --  2.70"
Friend, 3.4 E --  2.59"   
Friend, 4.8 SSE -- 2.56" 
Tobias, 1.8 E -- 1.90"
Western, 4.4 NNE  -- 1.87"
Western, 1.2 SE -- 1.71"
Wilber, 4.1 W -- 1.62"
Milford, 5.9 SSE -- 0.75"
DeWitt, 0.3 WNW -- 0.26"

Friday, May 9, 2014

Primary Election Is Tuesday; Who Are You Voting For?

Nebraska's 2014 primary election is almost here.  Who are you voting for?

The polls will be open this Tuesday, May 13, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to information from the Secretary of State's office.  If you wish to vote in the primary election, where parties choose their nominees for state and county offices, you need to be registered already and have declared your party affiliation.

In the local races, Dorchester School Board members Matt Hansen, Carol Schnell and Steve Vyhnalek -- all incumbents -- have filed for re-election.  There are no challengers. (See the full list of filers for all offices in Saline County here.)

No one has yet filed for Dorchester Village Board.  The village board seats will be determined in the November election.

At the state level, six Republicans and one Democrat are running for governor.  Our legislative district also features a showdown between two Crete residents, Laura Ebke and Phil Hardenburger.  Both will go on to the November election to replace current state lawmaker Russ Karpisek of Wilber.

At the national level, there are five Republicans and two Democrats vying for Nebraska's U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns.

Let us know who you're voting for, or whom you've already voted for (if you've participated in the early voting program).  Our readers may find your reasons and insight very helpful as they make up their minds.

See you at the polls!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hooray For Community Colleges

Take a look at the story below ("DHS Graduation Is May 17") and you will see a high percentage of this year's DHS graduates plan to further their education by going to community college.  

Good for them!

In the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, many high school students were told that chasing a four-year degree was the only pathway to success.  As a result, our country and state have become too dependent on the service sector.  You'll find graduates of four-year institutions working at fast food joints and retail outlets for $8 an hour.  Put simply, there's more supply than demand for folks with a four-year liberal arts degree.  

Many four-year college students end up not completing their degree and/or are saddled with thousands of dollars of debt for years (decades) into the future.  In the U.S., one in five young people ages 25-32 currently live with their parents; many of them have a four-year degree.

Meanwhile, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and other skilled trades are hurting for workers because our nation lacks employees who know how to use both their heads and hands.  

Bloomberg has just published an interesting story about the growing trend across the nation to align the curriculum of America’s community colleges with the needs of employers. The article cites several examples of how community colleges have aligned with local industries to teach usable skills, including those needed for advanced manufacturing jobs.  

The article calls community colleges "a vital linchpin connecting the world of learning and the world of doing."

We agree.  And we hope Dorchester Public Schools' faculty are giving community colleges a good sales pitch to DHS (and junior high) students.  

Chances are, many DHS students will have a brighter future -- financially and occupationally -- if they at least start their higher education at a community college.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

OPINION: Money For New Gravel Would Be Better Spent On Concrete

Residents of Dorchester have likely seen the new gravel on our streets.  That 1,000 tons of gravel cost $18,000, according to information sent to the Times.

We started thinking about that figure.  Let's pretend, just for a second, that Dorchester leaders had paved our streets 40 years ago today.  The town could have saved nearly three-quarters of $1 million on gravel (adjusted for inflation).

In addition, we are told village leaders are considering purchasing a new street sweeper for around $20,000.  That's great -- but think about how much cleaner our streets would be if our side streets weren't gravel in the first place.

We just wanted to get that off our chests.

Hey, we love our town.  We think our town leaders are top-notch, caring neighbors who do work few others aren't willing to do.

We just wish the paving discussion would get more serious consideration.  Long-term thinking and planning make sense.  And it's long overdue.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

DHS Tracksters Accumulating Honors

This week's edition of the Friend Sentinel provides excellent coverage of area track and field athletes, including Dorchester’s Jacee Weber who finished second in the long jump and third in the triple jump at last week's Friend Invitational.

In the boys’ competition, DHS' Riley Zahourek placed in three events with a second and two thirds. He was second in the long jump with a jump of 20-7.5, third in the triple jump at 40-3 and third in the 100-meter dash in 11.8 seconds.  DHS teammate Corey Bird cleared the bar at 6-0 to finish second in the high jump. Bird was also fifth in the long jump and sixth in the 200-meter dash.

At the April 28 Tom White Invitational in McCool Junction, the Dorchester girls had a good day in the throws, with Bailey Velder and Avery Behrens each winning third place. Velder was third in the shot put with a throw of 33-2, while Behrens was third in the discus with a throw of 91-6.

Jacee Weber finished fourth in the triple jump at 32-2.5 and was part of the fourth-place 4x100-meter relay team with Kacey Zoubek, Velder and Cassidy Olson. Olson also finished fifth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 200.

Zahourek of Dorchester was the triple jump champion with a jump of 40-3.25 and was second in the long jump at 20-2.5. Bird won the high jump at 6-1.

Dorchester’s next meet is the Crossroads Conference meet at Osceola this Saturday, May 3. Events are scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

The Longhorns will end the regular season at a meet at McCool Junction Thursday, May 8, with events starting at 9:30 a.m.