Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'Mr. Garitty & The Graves'

All this Halloween week, the Dorchester Times is airing the scariest five episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone."  

We won't be sharing these with our Facebook followers!

We've selected these five episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because, thanks to one of our more senior staff members -- who actually remembers when CBS aired this series -- we've found these 30-minute programs to be wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and still family friendly.  Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "Mr. Garrity and the Graves."  

It's 1890 and the tiny desert town of Happiness, Arizona, has seen more than its share of murder and death.  Townsfolk are joyous and hopeful to see their dearly departed loved ones again after a stranger named Jared Garrity resurrects a dead dog and promises the same for the town cemetery -- for a small payment, of course.  Long before zombies were cool, "The Twilight Zone" used the living dead to provide a glimpse into the true hearts of the plain old living.

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave an extra light on... 

For Part I:

For Part II:

DHS Volleyball Team Plays Final Home Contests Of 2014 Season

The DHS volleyball team played its final home contests Tuesday evening at a Dorchester triangular. 

The Lady Longhorn, now 8-19 on the season, faced two very different teams on the DHS volleyball court last night.  Parkview Christian is struggling in Class D-2 (1-21), while Nebraska Christian (25-4) is shining in Class C-2.

In the first contest of the night, Dorchester handily defeated Parkview 25-10, 25-10.

Nebraska Christian then decisively knocked out Parkview, 25-12, 25-5.

While DHS showed it could be competitive, the young Lady Longhorns couldn't quite keep up with the strength and talent of the Nebraska Christian squad, which won 25-13, 25-18.

Dorchester has one final contest remaining this season.  On Friday evening, Oct. 31, DHS will travel to Waco to take on Nebraska Lutheran (14-9).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'The Grave'

It's Halloween week. For those of you who are still up, we once again have a special treat.

All this week, the Dorchester Times is airing the scariest five episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone." 

We've selected these five episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because, thanks to one of our more senior staff members -- who actually remembers when CBS aired this groundbreaking series -- we've found these 30-minute programs to be wildly creative, spine-tingling tense.  Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "The Grave."  

Lee Marvin plays Conny Miller -- a hired gun who misses killing his target, the evil Pinto Sykes, who is instead gun downed by the local townsfolk.  At a bar, several of the townspeople tell him that Sykes vowed to reach up and grab Conny if he ever dared to visit his grave.  After a drunken wager, Conny decides to prove his courage by doing just that, leading to one of the creepiest moments of the program's history. 

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave an extra light on...

Dorchester Elementary On 'Underachievement List'; Friend, Crete Schools Face Big Penalties

The Omaha newspaper is reporting that nearly 25% of Nebraska's public schools face penalties for underachievement in the classroom.  Unfortunately, Dorchester Elementary is one of 265 Title I Nebraska schools on the underachievement list.

But Dorchester Elementary isn't in nearly as bad of shape as schools in neighboring communities, which have been on the underachievement list for consecutive years -- and face much stiffer penalties.

Under the federal "No Child Left Behind" law, the Nebraska Department of Education must identify schools as in need of improvement when they miss the state’s goals for adequate yearly progress on state tests in the same subject and grade span for two or more consecutive years.  Schools that receive federal dollars for educating students in poverty — Title I schools — face consequences under the law.  Each year a school stays on the list, additional consequences are imposed.  

Dorchester's elementary school is one of 136 Nebraska schools that has been placed on the "Year 1" underachievement penalty list.  Schools on this list must notify parents in writing of the school’s status and give parents the opportunity to move their child to another school not on the needs-improvement list. The district must pay for transportation.  The school must also develop a two-year improvement plan and pay for extra teacher training.  Several area schools are on this "year 1" list, including Exeter-Milligan Public Schools, Meridian Public Schools and Shelby-Rising City Public Schools.

Meanwhile, 50 more Nebraska schools have been on the "underachievement list" for two consecutive years.  In addition to the year 1 requirements, year 2 schools must offer free tutoring to children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.  You read that correctly -- free tutoring!  Among the area school districts on this list is Friend Public Schools.

More than 40 Nebraska schools have been on the underachievement list for three consecutive years.  In addition to the year 1 and year 2 requirements, schools in year 3 must develop a corrective action plan and take at least one of the following actions:

-- Replace staff who were responsible for failing to make adequate yearly progress;
-- Implement a new curriculum and train teachers in ways to help low-achieving students;
-- Significantly decrease management authority at the school level;
-- Appoint an outside expert to advise the school;
-- Extend the school year or day;
-- Restructure the internal organizational structure of the school.

Among area schools, Crete Public Middle Schools has been placed on this particular list.

And more than 30 Nebraska schools have been on the underachievement list for four consecutive years.  In addition to the year 1-3 requirements, school districts in year 4 must begin to develop a restructuring plan with input from parents and teachers. The plan must include one of the following options:

-- Replacing all or most of the school staff, including the principal, who were responsible for the failure to make adequate yearly progress;
-- Entering into a contract with an entity, such as a proven, private management company to operate the school;
-- Making major changes to the school’s governance structure, such as significant staffing changes.

Sadly, Crete Elementary School is on this list.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  While we hate seeing Dorchester Elementary and other area schools on this list, and it's easy to point the finger of blame at school faculty, we know the challenges that teachers today face.  Teachers, in addition to educating, must also play the role of social worker, financial instructor, and even parent.  Let's not forget who is mostly to blame for underachieving youth today -- that is, their parents.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'Night Call'

It's Halloween week. For those of you who are still up, we have a special treat.

All this week, the Dorchester Times will air the scariest five episodes of that classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone."  We won't be sharing these with our Facebook followers!

We've selected these five episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because, thanks to one of our more senior staff members -- who actually remembers when CBS aired this imaginative series -- we've discovered these 30-minute programs to be wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "Night Call."  An elderly bed-ridden woman gets repeated phone calls late at night. The voice at the other end is garbled, yet ominous. He repeatedly asks "Where are you? I want to talk to you."  Frightened she asks the phone company to trace the calls.  When it's revealed who's making the calls, you'll be in for the scare of your life.

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave an extra light on...

See the episode by clicking 

Halloween Special: Dorchester's Spookiest Haunts

For years, beginning back in 2007, the Times has showcased reports claiming that Dorchester is home to haunted places.  We have always been skeptical, but since Halloween is this week, here is an update on the latest reports about Dorchester's spooky spots:

Gilbert's Graveyard:  The most famous of the Dorchester areas "haunted places," Gilbert's Graveyard continues to draw attention from inside and outside Saline County.  One of the latest reports on the old cemetery comes from a website called  "Hauntings," which features a "pre-haunt interview with the locals" in Dorchester.  The site recounts some of the history behind Gilbert's Graveyard and its namesake, using historical accounts published by the Dorchester Times and the 1981 Dorchester Centennial book.  As Hauntings reports, "a number of strange events have been reported here. Among them, strange noises and the movement of tombstones. ... Sadly, this location has been host to vandalism and disrespect for the dead. If you plan to visit this location, think on how you would want your remains and the stone markers of your final resting place treated."

The Hauntings website also features firsthand accounts from those who have visited the cemetery.  One visitor, named Chris, wrote: "The first trip we had made (to Gilbert's Graveyard) I ended up in tears; just the feeling of being there was enough to make you sick. We started to drive through the graveyard, and someone pointed at a tree that was knocked down over a grave, and when I looked over there I saw a black fog coming up from the grave, we decided to leave. As we left the graveyard, we looked over to the graveyard and about 9-plus flashing lights came up from the graveyard and seemed to follow us.  I was the driver and I looked in my rear view mirror to be horrified to see a older lady staring at me in the mirror, then scream and then i began to cry uncontrollably. I stepped on that gas and swore I would never return.  But consequently we did, and the second time it was more calmer then the first, not much happened except for hearing footsteps in the distant, and the feeling of you being followed closely."

Former "Squeaky Bridge":  According to, the site of the former ''squeaky bridge'' over Turkey Creek, south of Dorchester, is "extremely haunted" (County Rd. 1500 between county roads G and H). "According to legend several men were hanged on the bridge, which was closed and removed in the around 1994. However the ghosts still appear on a routine basis. They are transparent figures hanging by a noose right where the bridge once stood. Some have said the hanged men will occasionally look up and stare at observers."

Second Floor Above the Village Office:  According to, "there have been many reports of figures or shapes moving around in the second floor of the village office building."  The website claims to have a picture of the ghostly figure taken with a cell phone in 2009.

Dorchester School Boiler Room:  Without a doubt, we can confirm that the boiler room of the 1927 Dorchester School building is no longer haunted, if it ever was.  The old school building was razed in mid-2008 to make room for the current DPS campus.  But when it existed, there were reports that in the late 1920s, a child "locked himself in the boiler room and died." According to the old stories, school janitors in the modern era sometimes heard yells coming from the boiler room during the night -- and "when they went down into the boiler room, they didn't find anyone."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Longtime DHS Educator Lois Williams Dead At 86

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. this Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at the Milford United Methodist Church with Rev. Jeff Kelley officiating.  Private interment, prior to service at Blue Mound Cemetery. Visitation will be on Monday from 1-8:00 p.m. at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Milford. Family will not be present. There will be no viewing at church on Tuesday. Memorials have been established to Alzheimer’s Association.

Lois Ann (Gillett) Williams, was born January 4, 1928 in Lincoln Nebraska to Harold and Lettie Gillett, the third of five children. She went to be with the Lord on Friday, October 24, 2014, in Seward at the age of 86 years.

Lois graduated from Lincoln High School with the class of 1945. She attended the University of Nebraska, majoring in business education. She graduated in 1949 and took her first teaching position in Milford, Nebraska in the fall of 1949.

As a young girl she enjoyed roller skating, listening to radio shows, going to the library, playing softball, twirling her baton in the band, and going to Sunday School. She belonged to the first Girl Scouts Troop in Lincoln.

She met Don Williams on a blind date in Milford and was married July 29, 1951. They were married for 60 years. To this union three children, Barb, Dave and Beth, were born.

Lois was a member of the Milford United Methodist Church for 74 years. She enjoyed volunteering on church committees and taught Sunday School in her younger years. She was one of the first Tupperware sales reps in the Seward County area. She taught high school business in Milford for five years and was at Dorchester High School for 22 years. She retired in 1990.

After her retirement, she continued to be active by being a substitute teacher at SCC and she volunteered to help senior citizens prepare their tax forms. She enjoyed taking care of her many plants and flowers and she enjoyed mowing their acreage.

Lois is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Barb and Brent Adams, Lincoln, Beth and Dennis Green, Ivins, UT; son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Tammy Williams, Milford; six grandchildren and spouses, Mitch and Janna Olson, Kristin and Mike Sukraw, Megan and Nate Whitney, Lindsey Adams, Amanda and Heath Hansen, Abby and Toby Pickerill; 7 great- grandchildren, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Vida Roll, Friend, Julie Gillett, Bremerton, WA, Oris Williams, Friend, Calvin and Pat Williams, Visalia, CA, Ronald Williams, Henderson, NV, many nieces, nephews and host of other relatives and friends.

Lois was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Don, two sisters, Doris Carothers and Carol Groebe, two brothers, Warren and Bob Gillett.

Nina Papik, 90, Passes; Celebration Of Life Wednesday

Longtime area resident Nina May Papik passed away October 23, 2014, at Tabitha Care Center in Crete Nebraska at the age of 90.  Nina was born June 26, 1924 to Joseph and Clara Kohel in Wilber, the youngest of two daughters. Nina graduated Wilber High School in 1941 and taught in country schools south of Wilber before her marriage to Frank Papik on January 30, 1946. They moved to the Papik family farm south of Dorchester to farm with Frank’s father and moved their home to Crete in 1977 when Frank retired from the farm. Frank and Nina raised their two children, Allen and Janice, on that family farm.

In 1958, Nina began her career in the Saline County Courthouse working as a typist in the Abstract Office. For most of her working years, she was a social services/case worker in the Saline County office of the Nebraska Department of Social Services and at one time served as Vice President of the Southeast Nebraska Welfare Association. By 1985, Nina decided to spend more time traveling, crocheting, antiquing, farm toy shows, and enjoying her grandchildren so she chose to retire that summer.

Sports was always a big part of Nina and Frank’s life, so following their grandchildren’s sports activities became their passion and seldom missed a game. Also close to their hearts was Husker athletics. Nina and Frank spent many years attending Nebraska football games, as well as Husker men and women’s basketball games. They shared this love for Husker athletics with their children and grandchildren over the years. Travel also became treasured times that Frank and Nina spent together. They traveled to many Husker regular season and bowl games always making new friends, followed the Women’s basketball team to many tournaments, and also took trips to Czechoslovakia and Hawaii. Once the grandchildren started Little League baseball and T-Ball (softball), Nina and Frank were at almost every sporting competition that they could attend. Nina loved spending time her grandchildren, and in her later years was so excited to see her growing number of great-grandchildren.

She is survived by her children, Allen and Twila Papik of Dorchester, and Janice and Lee Eret of Lincoln. Grandchildren: Baxter and Magdalena Papik of Edmond, Oklahoma; Michelle and Mitch McCarthy of Lincoln; Lindsey Eret of Lincoln, Kelli and Brian Kohout of Crete. Great-Grandchildren: Baila Papik, Xander Papik, and Julia McCarthy.

Nina was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Frank, her sister Evelyna Burianek and brother-in-law Ed Burianek.

Celebration of Nina’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete. Pastor Rayl Robbins will officiate. Visitation will be on Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete. Cremation. Private family burial.

Memorials to the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Milford-DHS Football Is Playoff Bound

This past Friday evening, the Milford-Dorchester football team fell to top-10 ranked Wilber-Clatonia by a final score of 14-0.  

But the MHS-DHS team, now in its first season of merged varsity competition, has still managed to qualify for the State Class C-1 Playoffs.

At 6-3 following regular season play, Milford-DHS will play this Friday night in Albion, home of the No. 2-seed, undefeated Boone Central squad (9-0). 

Several other area teams are also headed to the state playoffs in their respective classes.  Also in Class C-1, No. 8 Wilber-Clatonia (9-0) will take on  No. 9 Grand Island Central Catholic in Wilber.

In Class B, No. 11 Blair will travel to No. 6 Crete (7-2).

In Class D-1 (eight-man), No. 16 Cross County will face No. 1 Friend (8-0) at Friend.  And in Class D-2, No. 16 Red Cloud will be at No. 1 Exeter-Milligan (8-0), while No. 14 Meridian (4-4) will travel to No. 3 Kenesaw.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative One Of Nation's Largest Co-Ops

Dorchester's Farmers Cooperative is one of the nation's largest cooperatives.  In fact, it's the 74th largest.

Nine Nebraska cooperatives have been ranked among the top 100 in the country based on revenue.

That's according to a report by National Cooperative Bank, as noted by the Lincoln Journal Star.

Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha was the largest co-op domiciled in Nebraska, and the seventh largest in the country, with 2013 revenue of $5.67 billion, up from $4.92 billion in 2012.

Affiliated Foods Midwest, a grocery co-op based in Norfolk, came in No. 34, one spot lower than in 2012. 

It was the only non-agriculture related Nebraska co-op on the list.

Other Nebraska co-ops on the NCB Top 100 list were: Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co., 54th; Cooperative Producers Inc. of Hastings, 57th; FCS of America of Omaha, 71st; Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester, 74th; United Farmers Cooperative of York, 87th; Frenchman Valley Farmers Co-op of Imperial, 93rd; and Central Valley Ag Cooperative of Oakland, 94th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clarissa Bors Featured For Jr. Auxiliary Leadership

Clarissa Bors of Dorchester is the focal point in a feature story just published by the Friend Sentinel.

The DHS junior is profiled because on top of her busy schedule balancing school, student council and Longhorn athletics, she is also extremely active in the American Legion Junior Auxiliary.

“I feel it is important to be active in school and your community,” Bors told the Friend paper.  “I enjoy helping others and showing my pride for our country.” 

As a life-long member of the Junior Auxiliary, she has participated in many activities in support of the U.S., those in service and veterans -- including making favors for veterans, Poppy Day events, Flag Burning ceremonies, Memorial Day services and holiday programs.  Bors has held unit, district and state offices, and this past year she was the 2013-14 Nebraska Department President. 

Bors got involved with the Auxiliary with help of her grandparents, Robert and Marva Kasl. The duo have been actively involved in the Dorchester Post 264 Legion and Auxiliary for several years. 

This past August, Bors attended the Junior Auxiliary Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she held the office of Northwest Division Vice-President and was elected as National Historian. 

“I’m excited to continue supporting our country and the ability to share my knowledge about the American Legion Auxiliary organization,” she said.

Girls who are in school, grades K-12, and would like to be involved with the Junior Auxiliary should contact Clarissa for information on how to join. 

For those wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, granddaughters and descendants of veterans who served our great country during times of war, check out this website:

Dorchester Baseball Players Earn New Equipment

Last month, we reported that the Dorchester Little League Baseball program had raised $655 for new equipment in just one week as baseball players in grades 5 through 8 sold raffle tickets to the Nebraska vs. Illinois football game.  

The tickets were donated to the Dorchester baseball program by Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Lincoln.

This week, the Times received an e-mail detailing the equipment purchases that were made due to the fund raising efforts of the players.  The program has acquired:
  • A dozen "gently used" bats from Play-It-Again Sports for all three Dorchester baseball leagues (Pee-Wee, American, National);
  • Two dozen new game balls;
  • Three dozen practice balls;
  • A dozen new balls for the pitching machine;
  • A "bounce-back" for pitching practice;
  • Four new batting helmets;
  • Replacement headgear for catchers; and
  • New tape for the handles on some of the older bats.
We are also informed that the boys held fall baseball practices on Saturdays for five weeks in September and early October.

The information sent to the Times indicates that the baseball program is looking for new coaches for all three leagues for 2015.  Any interested candidates should contact the Dorchester Baseball/Softball Parents Committee by contacting committee members Tricia Novak, Toni Ladely, Megan Weber or Lisa Wells.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Funeral Services For Nathan Casteel Will Be Friday, 11 A.M.

Former Dorchester High School student Nathan J. Casteel, 26, Crete, died early Sunday, October 19, 2014. 

Funeral services will be tomorrow, Friday, at 11 a.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete.  

Per the Casteel family, there will be no visitation.

As reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, Casteel was killed early Sunday morning after an ATV accident northwest of Crete, authorities said.

Casteel was the only person on the ATV when it hit a utility pole just before midnight.

That information was released by Saline County Sheriff Alan Moore in a news release.

Emergency crews took Casteel to Crete Area Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A Simple Reflection From Yesterday -- For Today

No breaking news.  No special feature.  Today's post is just a simple reflection from a member of a prominent Dorchester family who resided in our village quite some time ago.

We recently found this quote from former Dorchester resident George Kenney, who told the authors of the 1981 Centennial book this: 

"Growing up in the small town of Dorchester (in the 1930s) was a pleasant experience. We learned to have fun with what we had available and had respect of the rights of others. There was a strong tradition, especially in sports, of fair play and doing the best we could, win or lose. 

"It would be interesting to know if the tradition of doing one's best is still alive in Dorchester. To those of you that lived in Dorchester in the 1930s and early 1940s, thanks for establishing customs and mores that allowed my family and me to grow up and mature in a healthy environment."

Thank you, George, for reminding us what is really important.

Monday, October 20, 2014

'The Well' Celebrates One Year In Thompson Mansion

Anyone who has driven on west 10th Street over the past year has noticed the impressive restoration of one of Dorchester's most historic homes -- the old estate of Dorchester pioneer W.J. Thompson.  

The 3,000 sq. ft. home, built in 1901, sits on the corner of 10th and Lincoln Avenue and is an intriguing piece of Nebraska's past as it was the site of Dorchester's famous Elmwood Pony Farm.

The Thompson mansion is now home to Dorchester's newest business, The Well.

Co-owner Julie Holly says the businesses name is short for "wellness" -- and because her husband Joe drills water wells. 

Holly's goal for the Saline County community is wellness -- wellness through massage, eating healthy and exercise.  The Well, which opened about 11 months ago, has been visited by many healthy folk in our area, including the local Jolly Doer's Club.  

Word is spreading that this unique business is for those who are serious about living a healthier lifestyle.  The Well offers massages, essential oils, soaps and lotions, crafts -- even yoga class and learning sessions on essential oils.  The Well offers healthy snack items, fresh herbs grown at the Holly farm and herb plants started in the Holly green house. A faith-based weight loss group is also in the works.

"One day we  hope to have a bed and breakfast in the upper portion of the house," Holly said, noting that the renovation is ongoing so visitors are able to experience the house as it changes.  

Holly added, "Joe and I are trying to bring the house back to its early 1900's roots. ... Our hope is to share this house with the community. People are welcome to stop by whenever they see we are there. I post a sign at the door during massages so my clients are not disturbed."

Holly is currently in the process of getting the house on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Hours of operation are currently 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tues.-Thurs.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and by appointment.  The hours are subject to change. 

The Well's phone number is 402-418-1838.  The Well has a Facebook page, too, where specials are posted.  If you would like to come for a tour, it is best to make arrangements ahead of time to ensure there is no conflict. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekend Brings Big Wins For Football, Volleyball Teams

This weekend brought big wins for Dorchester student-athletes. 

On Friday evening, the Milford-Dorchester football team cruised to a convincing win in Class C1 football, beating Lincoln Lutheran 53-13.

The MHS-DHS squad took a commanding 20-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.  By halftime, it was 33-6.  At the end of the third quarter, it was 47-6.

The combined Eagles-Longhorns team are now 6-2 on the season and are No. 14 in the Nebraska School Activities Association power rankings.  They face top-10 ranked Wilber Clatonia on the road next week in the regular season finale. 

At York, at the Crossroads Conference volleyball tourney, the improving DHS Lady Longhorns showed some real determination, beating Class C2 Cross County in convincing fashion.  Then the Lady Longhorns gave Hampton, ranked No. 5 in the state, a serious scare.  

The DHS volleyball squad, now 7-17 on the season, will now take a week off to prepare for an Oct. 28 triangular at home.  

The Lady Longhorns hope to hit double digits in their season wins, as they still face Parkview Christian (1-16), Nebraska Christian (22-4), and Nebraska Lutheran (11-7).

OUR VIEW: Laura Ebke For Legislature

The Times rarely does political endorsements. We don't like when
newspapers in Omaha or Lincoln tell us how to vote -- why would we want to emulate them? 

We're making an exception today since races for Nebraska Legislature don't get much attention, even though our state -- with its unique one-house legislative branch -- gives a lot of power to 49 state senators who speak for us on important issues like taxes, school aid, criminal law and economic development.

After gathering much information, we're endorsing Laura Ebke of Crete for Legislature for many reasons:
  • Ebke demonstrates an overall better grasp on state issues.
  • Ebke has a conservative approach to government.
  • Ebke is better for our farmers, since her opponent has hinted he supports EPA efforts to stop so-called "man-made climate change."
  • Ebke wants to reduce Nebraska's total tax burden, including income and property taxes -- not just one piece of the puzzle.  
  • Ebke is an elected school board member and is better equipped to understand Nebraska's complex state-aid formula to schools.
Both Ms. Ebke and her opponent, Phil Hardenburger, are genuinely nice people who are running because they love Nebraska.  

But Ebke is a better study.  Her positions are more aligned with the majority of voters in our area.  

Mr. Hardenburger favors a big-government approach; he's too liberal to represent us in the Legislature -- especially considering left tilt of the Unicameral in recent years and its refusal to address Nebraska's high taxes or unwise policies like the "good time" law that allowed a killer to go free in Omaha.

According to our research, Hardenburger has supported allowing the state to go into debt to pay highway builders.  We find this very concerning, since state debt would mean higher taxes.

Also, Hardenburger is too closely tied to radical anti-energy activists who oppose the pipeline -- even though the original Keystone pipeline east of Dorchester has helped stabilize property taxes in our school district and provided new funding for schools across eastern Nebraska.  You don't have to be a politician to know a pipeline is safer for transporting oil compared to the trains currently running past our communities.

Mr. Haredenburger recently told a local gathering that humans are directly causing "global warming," according to a credible source who wrote down the comments.  Hardenburger told a crowd in Deshler that they "must be living in a vacuum" if they didn't subscribe to man-made global warming.  That talk might sit well with Al Gore, but it's extremist chatter here in Nebraska -- where those of us who aren't making six figures and who use electricity for heat are about to get punished with much higher electricity bills this winter due to the Obama administration's "war on coal."

Meanwhile, Ms. Ebke believes in limited government and wants lower taxes for all Nebraskans.  She wants more job growth in rural Nebraska.  She believes schools must do a better job educating our kids, and that parents are directly responsible for raising their own kids. This used to be called "common sense."

That's why Laura Ebke will make a good state senator.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dorchester Jr. High Presents 'Ha-Ha House' This Thursday

Prepared to be entertained.

The Dorchester Junior High will present its fall play this Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. at the school.

Come watch the Longhorn students in "Ha-Ha House" -- which takes the scary fun of a haunted house and transforms it into a play.

Here's a sneak preview of the play:  Brewster Havershome goes bananas when his wife dies and he's hauled off to the loony bin (Can we say that in this politically correct world?) as he laughs insanely.  Authorities say he killed her himself.  So naturally, four teenage girls are petrified when they stumble into the "Ha-Ha House" in search of a phone (We don't know why none of them had a smart phone in 2014, but we'll play along...).

When the more-than-creepy butler introduces them to the cook, who is dismembering something -- or possibly someone -- for dinner, a comedy-of-terror takes hold.  A floating head, a lost treasure and two young men to the rescue!  

The suspense kicks into high gear when Brewster Havershome escapes from the asylum, looking for his dead wife and his long lost treasure and wielding a cleaver.

Come be part of the fun Thursday evening!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DHS Wins One, Loses One At Home

While this season hasn't brought as much success as DHS volleyball players, coaches and fans were hoping for when school started, the young Lady Longhorns continue to improve.

DHS' record moved to 6-16 last night following another triangular tourney at home.  

While Bruning-Davenport/Shickley (10-10) defeated Dorchester, 25-15, 25-14, the Lady Longhorns managed to knock off McCool Junction (1-21) in a decisive victory, 25-14, 25-13.

The DHS girls now prepare for the important Crossroads Conference Tournament at York.  

The CRC tourney will take place from Saturday through next Tuesday at the York Auditorium.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Working With Students Is Best Plan For Rejuvenating Dorchester

We've heard it for years, for decades.  Dorchester has lost too many businesses, too many
young people.

Of course, Dorchester isn't the only community in Nebraska experiencing so-called "out-migration" and the loss of businesses over the decades.  An overwhelming majority of Nebraska's 570 communities have experienced the same thing to a lesser or greater degree, depending on their location.

Fortunately, the situation for many communities has begun to turn around.  And it's happening because leaders and educators in Nebraska's rural communities are focusing on the next generation.

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Extension, research shows that if by age 10 or 11 a child has had a positive experience in his/her community, that child is more likely to stay or return to his/her hometown.  This is further proof why young people -- not just high schoolers and middle schoolers, but also grade schoolers -- must be encouraged to be a part of community's affairs and future planning.

It's time to get serious; it's time to think outside the box.

We're not sure how many Dorchester teachers or school officials read this blog.  But for those who do, we'd like to point out the success experienced in Ord, Neb. and Valley County.  

About 10 years ago, when Ord started recognizing lasting effects of population loss from the 1990s, leaders got together and agreed that one of the best ways to revitalize the county would be to connect students to the local business community early on.  With a focus on entrepreneurship and a commitment to its youth, one of the most successful ways Valley County illustrates this economic revival is through the annual Entrepreneurship Investigation (ESI) Camp.  With curriculum developed by UNL and Nebraska 4-H, ESI Camp hosts 20-25 students from Valley County and surrounding communities. 

Don't think it can work? Valley County was the only rural Nebraska county that had experienced growth in the 25 and under population, according to the 2010 census.

An entrepreneurship camp for grade schoolers. What a great idea -- and one way Dorchester could rejuvenate its own business district.  After all, kids come up with some of the most creative ideas.  Their optimism and energy run circles around most adults over 30.

Watch how Valley County has rallied to engage its students by clicking here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Forget The Value Of Livestock

Sure, it's harvest time and there is a lot of cash in those corn fields and soybean acres.  
But let's not forget how much economic strength lies in the surrounding feedyard and livestock lots.

Last week, a group of three dozen young livestock producers from across southern and central Iowa embarked on a two day bus trip to Nebraska sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Beginning and Young Livestock Producers Network.

One of the group's first stops was Dorchester's Weber Feedyards.  When groups from outside our state travel here to inspect our local livestock facilities, that's a positive sign that producers in our area are doing something right.

According to a new UNL report, "Nebraska's uniquely intertwined agricultural economy, although still the engine of the state's economy, may not be operating to its full potential."

Saline County has nearly 26,000 head of cattle and more than 28,000 hogs. And we hope that number only grows -- for the sake of our farming community.  

Ethanol was booming ten years ago. Today, we know ethanol is not nearly as promising due to production efficiency and consumer preferences for regular gasoline.  Feeding domestic livestock is still the most profitable sector for our area farmers.  

Even the Nebraska Corn Board, when it isn't busy airing ethanol commercials, admits that "livestock production is the engine that powers state’s economy. It is a more than $7.5 billion industry that is fundamental to the well-being of Nebraska – and contributes in some way to the financial health of every Nebraskan."  

Saline County has been designated one of Nebraska's "livestock friendly counties."  We need to encourage more livestock producers to expand or relocate in our surrounding countryside.  If they did, our schools would see a boost in students and revenue; area businesses benefit; and any resident who pays property taxes would realize some relief in the pocketbook.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dorchester's Family Ties To The AL Baseball Championship

Dorchester has strong family ties to this year's Major League championship series in the American League between the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals.

One of the star pitchers for the Orioles, Kevin Gausman, traces his family roots back to Dorchester.  His grandfather, Clarence, and father, Clair, were both athletes at Dorchester; it's only fitting that Kevin is wearing the mighty Orange and Black in the Major Leagues.

Those who knew Kevin's dad, Clair, during his days at Dorchester can tell you he was serious on the field, too.  A 1969 DHS graduate, and known by his Longhorn teammates as "Gomez," Clair was a key part of the 7-1 football team in 1968.  He was all-conference for the 18-4 DHS basketball team in 1969, helping to ensure the squad finished No. 6 in the state his senior year.

Clair would go on to graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and earn graduate degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Denver. Clair served as president of the Colorado Football Officials Association and the Colorado Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Many Dorchester residents know Clair made the big time by officiating Division I college football for 25 years -- working in the Western Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference, Big 12 Conference and Conference USA. He was selected to referee 14 bowl games. 

Today, Clair is a retired educator with the Cherry Creek, Colo., School District and is now owner of Windmark Centennial Insurance. Clair and his wife Jo live in Centennial, Colo. 

They have three grown children, including Kevin, 23, who is on the mound for the Orioles. 

Kevin attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where he was an All-American.  He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round in 2012 -- fourth overall draft. He signed with the Orioles for $4.32 million on July 13, 2012.  Kevin throws four pitches, all with above average velocity: a four seam fastball at 96-99 MPH (tops out at 100), a slider at 83-86, a splitter at 84-86 and a change up at 84-89, according to Wikipedia.

Kevin and the Orioles will be fighting to keep their season alive, trailing the Royal 0-2 in the ALCS.  The teams will battle Monday evening at 7 p.m. in K.C.

Thanks to two loyal readers for suggesting this news story.

Looking Back: Dorchester Businesses In The Post-WWII War Years

Seven decades have passed since World War II.  Today we look back at the post-war economic boom that changed America's economy for the remainder of the century and dramatically altered life in Dorchester and other rural communities.


Dorchester businesses, like most others in the U.S., was booming in the mid-20th century.  During the war years and throughout the economic surge that followed in the 1950s, Dorchester's businesses community included a telephone company, three newspapers, three beauty salons, one bank, a drug store, three grocery stores, one dry goods store, two barbers, five produce stations, four garages, three restaurants, a bowling alley, a carpenter, a construction firm, three ag implements stores, an insurance agent, a mason, a meat market, two mortuaries, a plumbing and heating repair business, five taverns, a veterinarian, a hardware store, one lumber yard, and the Dorchester Farmers Cooperative.  Dorchester even supported an investment firm, Guggenmos' Citizens Investment Co., which was housed in the old telephone company building (pictured below as it appeared in the mid-1950s.)


The economic boom that followed WWII impacted every community in the United States, bringing a period of greater prosperity than any time before -- even to Dorchester.  The 1950s ushered in new industries that supplied Americans with cutting-edge technology, plastics, TVs, frozen foods, automatic home appliances, and improved automobiles.  

In 1952, for example, more than 250 dial telephones were installed in Dorchester and the surrounding area. Dorchester's mayor at the time, Miles Pospisil, made the first long-distance phone call to K.L. Lawson, general commercial superintendent of the Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Co. in Lincoln.


But the 1950s also brought the end of an era to Dorchester and many other small communities across the country.  Because of improved and more reliable automobiles, Dorchester lost many of its professional service providers during the '50s, including all of its doctors, dentists and lawyers.  A search committee was assembled to find a doctor for Dorchester.  The bank donated an office with a five-year lease providing free rent.  Money was donated by citizens and businesses to remodel the office -- and many people volunteered their time to help.  Dr. Avis Bray was recruited, but she was in town for only a short period after receiving more lucrative offers in larger communities.

By the mid-1960s, Dorchester had realized a dramatic downsizing of its business community.  Even so, it still claimed two grocery stores, the bank, two beauty salons, two garages, three taverns, one mortuary, one produce station, a laundromat, a meat market, a variety store, the lumber yard, a drug store, a ceramic shop, two construction firms, a welder and repair shop, a plumbing and heating repair shop, one restaurant and the Farmers Co-op, of course.

But a new, long-term course had been set.  More area residents were doing commerce in larger nearby communities.  More of Dorchester's young people left for college or jobs in the city.  While the post-war years brought more material wealth to Dorchester, they certainly presented new challenges that persist today.

Today, the Times asks our area residents -- including those who are under 18 years old -- how they would improve Dorchester's business district so that it becomes more viable, as it was in the immediate post WWII years.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DVFD Pork Roast Set For Tomorrow, Oct. 12

Get ready Dorchester area residents!

It's time for the annual hog roast hosted by the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department. 

This event is a fall favorite in our community.

The roast will be held tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Dorchester Fire Hall.  The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Help our volunteer first responders raise funds to update the DVFD.  All donations will go toward the purchase of an equipment/water truck.

Please join our brave men and women with the DVFD for a great gathering and a great cause.

Or send your donation to:  DVFD, P.O. Box 36, Dorchester, NE  68343.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flu Shots Available In Dorchester, Nov. 13 At Church

Plan now to get your flu shots in Dorchester.

On Nov. 13, the Crete Area Medical Center staff will be at the Dorchester Methodist Church from 5:30-7 p.m. to provide flu shots for residents.

If you don't want to wait until Nov. 13, you can schedule a flu shot, as well as a preventative health screening at the Crete Area Medical Center.  Just call (402) 826-7980 for an appointment.

Stay healthy and stay happy.

DHS Homecoming Royalty Crowned, But Longhorns Lose Both VB Games

Last night, Dorchester's homecoming royalty was crowned, as students report having a great time.  

However, the DHS Lady Longhorns fell in both of their homecoming contests, putting a bit of a downer on the evening.

The Lady Longhorns drop to 5-15 on the season.

In the homecoming triangular, Dorchester fell to Class C-2 Cross County, 25-15, 25-20, and lost to Class D-2 powerhouse Exeter-Milligan, 25-18, 25-17.

DHS will get a four-day break before returning to action early next week.

On Tuesday, the Lady Longhorns will host yet another triangular tournament at home, this time against Bruning-Davenport-Shickley (8-10) and McCool Junction (1-19).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dorchester Soon To Be A Quiet Zone For Trains?

The Times has learned that village leaders have given initial approval to a study that could silence the train horns echoing through Dorchester -- a problem that has worsened in recent years as the Farmers Cooperative has expanded its grain storage capacity.

In July, the Times reported on the blockades occurring regularly at the town's railroad crossings due to stopped train cars, as well as efforts by other communities to quiet trains as they approach crossings.

According to an e-mail sent to the Times, a resident who attended Monday's Dorchester Village Board meeting asked the board to consider imposing a quiet zone for both railroad crossings entering town.  

The resident told the board that Hickman and south Lincoln had created quiet zones, thereby improving the quality of life for residents there.  The resident reportedly complained that his grandchildren were extremely disturbed by the loud horns, and noted that some train conductors blow the horn the entire length of the community, despite moving at a very slow speed.

The e-mail sent to the Times informs us that the town board members who were present agreed to consider a study by an engineering firm to look at the feasibility of making Dorchester a "no horn zone."

The e-mail also notes board members were informed by attorneys that there are many factors to be considered before being designated a no-horn area, such as installing concrete medians at the railroad crossings.

Board members were also told that a study for a quiet zone can be quite expensive.  Our source did not indicate whether or not the Farmers Cooperative may contribute to the cost of the study.

According to the Times' research, Lincoln has four designated quiet zones, which include twelve crossings along the BNSF railroad.

The City of Lincoln's website says a quiet zone is a minimum one-half mile long railroad corridor containing one or more public roadway crossings where train horns are not routinely sounded. All crossings must have flashing lights, gates, and constant warning before a quiet zone can be established. Train horns may still be sounded in the case of an equipment malfunction or if a person or vehicle is near the tracks.

While the railroad is the reason that Dorchester exists today, the Times continues to believe making Dorchester a quiet zone would improve our community's quality of life.  After all, the co-op's expansion over the past decade -- while a positive for Dorchester and its tax base -- is a large reason for the increased duration and frequency of horns sounding at all hours of the night.  A quite zone seems like it would be a "win-win" and a common-sense compromise to a tough situation. 

A big "thumbs up" to the resident(s) who took time to attend the village board meeting this week.  (Our staff members all agree we should have thought of that.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DHS Homecoming Volleyball Contests To Be Streamed Live

The Times has learned that Thursday evening's homecoming volleyball games at Dorchester High School will be streamed live on a website called High School Cube.

Click here to go to the site.

The 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. games at the DHS gym will feature the Lady Longhorns against Nebraska Christian and Parkview Christian.

On Tuesday, the Lady Longhorns captured their fifth victory of the season by beating Parkview Christian 25-2, 25-8, 25-7.

We wish the girls best of luck on homecoming!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tight Lending Practices Hinder Dorchester Economic Devleopment

You recall Ben Bernanke? The former Federal Reserve chairman? The guy who was in charge of America's entire money supply?

This week, Bernanke told an audience the mortgage market is so tight that even he is having a hard time refinancing his own home loan.  Bloomberg reports that when the audience laughed, Bernanke said, “I’m not making that up. ... I think it’s entirely possible” that lenders “may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions."

We relay this story for one reason: the tight lending market is hindering economic development efforts here in Dorchester, it appears.

In recent months, the Times reported on plans to bring a cafe and bakery to Dorchester, as well as a serious attempt to build a bowling alley north of the current location of City Slickers Bar and Grill.

Both reports were accurate, but both have also hit a roadblock when it comes to financing, according to sources. (Note: Neither party was asked for comments by the Times.)

Since the banking crisis of 2008, banks and credit unions have become much more hesitant to lend to any home or business that presents even a small amount of risk.  Record low interest rates don't help, since there's a considerably smaller amount of reward for lenders to do business with borrowers without significant resources.  We can't say we blame the lenders for not wanting to stick their necks out.

This leads us to questions asked in a previous post:
  • What is the long-term plan to repair Dorchester's downtown structures? 
  • How do we encourage private owners to make the necessary improvements? 
  • Does Dorchester need a "building improvement fund" to match the efforts of business owners? 
Maybe the time has come for village leaders -- perhaps the good volunteers at the Dorchester Community Foundation -- to consider establishing a fund to help match the financial efforts of area businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do business in our town. Perhaps create a no-interest or low-interest loan program?

It's worth exploring.