Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Wonderland Arrives Jan. 31

It took a while for Mother Nature to remember that this is winter, not spring or fall, in Nebraska.  (UPDATE: See winter storm advisory due to blowing snow in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday by clicking here.  Travel is not advised.)

After nearly two weeks with high temperatures paying visits to the 50s or 60s, the Dorchester area has been graced with a slushy winter wonderland on the last day of January.

The forecast is calling for a total of 2-4 inches.  

But at 9 p.m., the Times estimates there was already close to 4 inches on the ground.  Totals were slightly less on the concrete, which had still retained some of the heat from the week's warmth.

With 48 days left until spring's arrival, it appears winter is going to be sticking around for a while.  

Sunday's forecast calls for high of 25 degrees, with the snow tapering off.  But careful Sunday night and Monday morning, since clear and frigid conditions will bring extreme cold and dangerous temperatures.  Look for a low of -7 Sunday night and Monday morning.

More snow is predicted Wednesday.  We won't see temperatures above 40 until Friday or Saturday.

Friday, January 30, 2015

City Slickers Hosting Super Bowl Watch Party

This Sunday, February 1, brings the 49th edition of the Super Bowl.  

This year's football classic features the Seattle Seahawks (14-4) versus the New England Patriots (14-4).

Even if we were living in a cave, we'd know this due to all the e-mails we've received in our inbox this week promoting Superbowl watching parties and Patriots sportswear.  

(We're shocked to learn some people still don't realize that we reside in and cover the events of Dorchester, Nebraska -- not the suburb of Boston from where some guy named Mark Wahlberg hails.)

Well, we are happy to announce that Boston and Seattle aren't the only places where Super Bowl watching parties will be sprouting.  Dorchester -- the one in Nebraska -- will be hopping, too.

City Slickers on Dorchester's main street will be hosting a watching party this Sunday.  The Super Bowl kicks off at 5:30 p.m. (CST), so you'll want to arrive at least 45 minutes early. Some of the specials at City Slickers for the big game day event include:

$5.00 super nachos
$0.60 wings
$2.00 domestics

May the better team win.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DHS Can't Handle E-M At CRC

The York News-Times provides coverage of the Dorchester High School boys basketball team's loss to Exeter-Milligan last night in the CRC Tournament.

It wasn't pretty.  

In fact, DHS, now 7-8 on the season, didn’t hit their first field goal of the game until the 7:18 mark of the second quarter.

DHS would go on to lose to the No. 3 seed Timberwolves  -- the No. 6 team in Class D-2 -- by a tally of 59-26 at the York City Auditorium.

In scoring, Dorchester was led by Augustine Perez with six, and Corey Bird with five.  

The rebounding numbers were staggering, as the T-Wolves were charted with a 40-18 advantage on the glass.

See the story by clicking here.

For pictures from the tourney, click here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making Small Towns Cool Again

We have a question: "Can small towns ever be a cool place to live in this day and age?"

According Dave Ivan of Michigan State University Extension, small towns can be cool if they are willing to follow some common success themes.  

Here they are:

1. Encourage strong engagement between citizens, community organizations and local government. For example, in St. Joseph, Mich., city leaders hold neighborhood town hall gatherings in backyards all across town. They also produce a unified community calendar and hand-deliver it to residents. Coopersville, Mich., uses their town entry sign to salute a different nonprofit, business person, and teacher each quarter.

2. Encourage local entrepreneurial investment. In New Carlisle, Indiana, Bill Owens expanded a floral shop into gifts, a furniture store, and transformed the community into a regional destination. This can also be a community initiative. In Ord, Neb., they developed a wealth transfer plan to strategically fund their community economic development initiatives. By asking people to give 5% of their estate back to the community, they now have $8.5 million in hand or in pledges.

3. Embrace change. This may be the hardest part for many towns. New opportunities may require changes in all sorts of local laws, including zoning or change of leadership.

4. Actively pursue cultural elements to economic development. Think about Wilber and the job that community does with Czech Days? Why do people from miles around descend on that town in August? It can work.

5. Reach out to community youth. It's simple -- the young people of today are the future of our community, including in Dorchester.  Let's get them involved in event planning and organizations and our business community.  One idea started by a small town in Michigan was to ask high school students to take pictures of what they like and dislike about the town, and have them present it at a future meeting. We adults need to see the world through younger eyes, too.

7. Retaining youth and attracting families. Create economic choices that are appealing to youth. Ord, Neb., for example, has a youth entrepreneurship program starting in grade schools. Another Nebraska town gave kids a mailbox with their name on it with a note that read: "We will always going to be your hometown. Go out, explore, learn, but come back home."

8. Know that, in the long run, you may have to do the work yourself. Cool small towns are not waiting for an outside savior. Argonia, Kan., lost their grocery store.  But they built a community convenience and grocery store. They are now building spec houses to sell at cost to new families. And if you enroll kids in the school, Argonia will even cover your closing costs. 

Dave Ivan says these are the keys to strong leadership and cool small towns.  Most importantly, he advises to stand up to the CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

DHS Boys Advance At CRC, Ladies Bow Out Early

The Dorchester boys basketball team (7-7) won in the first round of the Crossroads Conference Tournament last night, but it was took overtime to do so.

The Longhorns prevailed 56-53 over 11th-seed Meridian after the extra period of play.  The DHS boys relinquished a 33-19 lead at halftime, managing to score only 17 point in the second half.  

The Longhorns were lead by Corey Bird, who tossed in 20.  Other scorers in double figures were Anthony Cordona with 16 and Leo Conte with 10.  Tim Havlat had 8 points and Nixon Nerud scored 2.

The Longhorns will need to take their game up a notch Tuesday night in round No. 2 of the CRC, since they will face Exeter-Milligan, the No. 3 seed and the state's No. 4 rated team in Class D-2.

Meanwhile, the DHS Lady Lonhorns (1-14) bowed out early from CRC play, with a 53-33 loss to Osceola.  Scoring for Dorchester were the following players:  Plonkey 2, Weber 8, Velder 4, Bird 14, Wells 5.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Columnist Doesn't See DHS Teams Going Far In CRC

Tonight, the Dorchester High School boys basketball (5-7) and girls basketball (1-12) teams will go on the road to take on Class C-2 Shelby (7-7).

Then things get really serious.

Tomorrow (Saturday), both the DHS boys and girls teams will begin in action in York at the Crossroads Conference Tournament, an annual event DHS has participated in since joining the CRC back in the 1991-92 school year, according to our records.

Our good friend Ken Kush, the sports reporter for the York News-Times, is out with his CRC Tournament predictions, which he issues every year.

Kush does not give the Longhorns very good odds for going far in the 2015 edition of the tourney.

Regarding the girls' action that begins tomorrow night, Kush writes:  "The opening game of the tournament can always be the toughest since it’s a No. 8 vs. No.9 seed. Cross County (No. 9) has been inconsistent this season and it’s tough to go with a team who still seems to be searching for an identity. Shelby-RC to win over CC by about 7-10 points. High Plains will knock out McCool Junction in a No. 6 vs. No. 11 matchup and Osceola at No. 7 (a darkhorse) will take down No. 10 Dorchester."

The York columnist says the Hampton Hawks will win the CRC Tourney in the girls division.

Kush gives the DHS boys a little better odds.  He expects the No. 6 seeded Longhorns to defeat No. 11 Meridian on Saturday.  

But he writes that come Tuesday, the DHS boys will fall to the No. 3-seeded Exeter-Milligan Timberwolves.

Kush predicts High Plains (formerly Polk-Hordville) High Schol will take the CRC crown in the boys division.

If you travel to York to watch the action, be sure to cheer loudly for DHS.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dorchester Moving Sale Features Lots Of Free Furniture

Do you want a good deal on house furniture and appliances?

The Times staff has spotted on Craigslist a moving sale in Dorchester that begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 24.

There's a push mower listed for $100.  Dining room table and chairs advertised for $25.

But what really caught our eye is the large number of free items.  That's right -- we said "free."  

Among the items listed as free are:
  • couch
  • chair and ottoman
  • rocker 
  • foot stool
  • futon
  • microwave
  • toaster oven 
  • kitchen utensils
The Times cannot claim any responsibility regarding the veracity of this ad.  We're simply passing the information along to our readers.

See the ad at this link:

'Bigfoot-Like' Prints Spotted In Curtis, Neb.

Over the years, the Times has devoted a small amount of space on this blog to the bizarre news from across our state -- including the occasional UFO and Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) story.

We now have another one to add to the mix.

According to a report in the McCook newspaper, a walker on the snow-covered Arrowhead Meadows golf course in Curtis, Neb., last week discovered large barefoot tracks that could be a "Bigfoot-like" creature.

Sharon Jorgensen of Curtis told the Frontier County Enterprise newspaper that she and her dog, Babe, were walking the golf course about 8 a.m., Jan. 15, when they came across the large tracks in the snow between the third fairway and the fourth tee box. The Enterprise reports that the stride of the tracks appears to be about six feet, much larger than any bipedal animal in the area would make. 

The tracks emerged from the heavily-wooded area to the east of the golf course's cart path, traveled up the path, then disappeared into the brush on the east side of the path. 

Golf course superintendent Eric Senff found even more prints in pristine snow, near the area that Jorgensen found the first set of tracks. Senff said he's never seen tracks this big. 

The Enterprise reports that sightings of a "Bigfoot"-type creature are not unheard of in Nebraska, the latest being of a 7-foot-tall hairy creature, upright on two legs, spotted in March 2014 near Linwood, in Butler County.

NBC pulled "Unsolved Mysteries" from the air years ago.  The Dorchester Times will stay on the beat and gladly fill the void.

Will The State Force Our Hand In School Consolidation?

Could forced school consolidation be coming our way? Perhaps.

Below this post, we've published a list of reasons why small schools are superior to larger institutions.  Not everyone agrees -- and in Lincoln at the State Capitol, we know some lawmakers would love nothing more than to way a wand and have many small schools disappear.

The Times has been informed that Norfolk State Senator Jim Scheer has introduced legislation (Legislative Bill 49) to create what he calls "allied school systems."  (UPDATE:  The Times has been told that this bill will get a hearing by the Legislature's Education Committee on Tuesday January 27, in Room 1525 of the State Capitol at 1:30 p.m.  Any one from the public can testify.  Readers can see the bill language for themselves by clicking here.  The underlined language would become new law if the bill is approved, according to a source.)

The bill, according to information we were e-mailed, aims "to increase educational opportunities and equity for students statewide."  

If the bill were passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Ricketts, all Nebraska school districts with under 650 students in K-12 (that includes Dorchester, Friend, Milford, Exeter-Milligan, Wilber-Clatonia, Meridian and many other surrounding schools) would be forced to create "allied school systems" no later than July of next year.  

These systems would be, in essence, forced mergers consisting of at least three small school districts.  (To rub salt in the wound, one of the school districts in the system would need to have more than 150 students in K-6.)

If school districts did not voluntarily join an "allied school system," the Nebraska Commissioner of Education could force schools into a system of his choosing. 

We have no idea if this bill has a chance of getting through the Legislature, but apparently some in the Legislature believe small school districts cannot do an adequate job of educating our kids. 

This bill would be a major step in forcing small schools across the state to eventually consolidate, regardless of what contrived name a state senator calls the process.

We wonder if Senator Scheer has compared dropout rates in Omaha Public Schools and Lincoln Public Schools with those of Nebraska's small school districts.  

We wonder if he realizes that small, farm-based school districts (through the loss of state aid dollars, despite the heavy property tax burden) are helping subsidize Class A and B schools in Omaha and Lincoln -- and even those in smaller cities like Norfolk and Crete.

With rare exception, most small school districts in Nebraska are funded mainly by local tax dollars.  If the state wants to shoulder that financial burden, then maybe we can talk about consolidation.  

But until that occurs, what is it about "local control" that these politicians don't understand?

Bill Could Boost Athletic Participation In Small Schools

The past decade has seen declining student participation in athletics, especially at smaller schools.  Dorchester High has fallen victim to this trend, losing its own Orange and Black football and wrestling teams two years ago.

Today, we learned of one state lawmaker's proposal to help address the issue.

The news wires are reporting that a bill (LB103) in the Nebraska Legislature would allow home schooled and other students in Nebraska could be on public schools’ sports teams.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Bill Kintner of Omaha, is essentially an extension of an existing law, which allows students in private, denominational or parochial schools to be part-time students in public schools within their district. Under LB103, those students could also take part in the public schools’ extracurricular activities, like sports teams.

The bill received a hearing earlier this week.  While there were many supporters of the bill, two people testified in opposition to the bill, Rhonda Blanford-Green, executive director of Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA), and Brian Maher, the Kearney- based District IV NSAA director. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ideas To Pay For Dorchester's Street Paving

Dorchester has a lot going on right now, but there's still a large number of Dorchester residents who want village leaders to act on a plan to pave Dorchester's streets -- even if it's only a limited paving strategy.

Critics of such a plan will resort to their traditional response: How do you propose we pay for such an undertaking?  After all, Dorchester is trying to pay for water improvements, drainage projects and other endeavors.

But we still believe that with newly paved streets (in certain areas -- not every street) will come new home construction, more home improvements, increased property value, less damage to vehicles, better air quality, less money spent on gravel and labor, a renewal of community pride, and a better quality of life in general. 

So we decided to explore the methods of revenue collection used by other communities currently paying for new paving projects. We found a variety of approaches.
  • IMPACT FEES ON BLIGHTED PROPERTIES: The City of Lincoln, for example, relies heavily upon "impact fees" that are applied to new homes built in the city's outer limits. One member of the Times staff suggested "impact fees" on condemned properties (commercial and residential), abandoned homes, blighted buildings, and properties whose owners won't obey the village's clean-up orders.  Not a bad idea, we think.
  • NEW FEES ON SEWER/WATER HOOK-UPS: Smaller communities with populations more similar to Dorchester also impose impact fees. Ceresco has a water and sewer development fee of $2,250 per lot. Malcolm has a tap fee for sewer and water of $250 per lot, plus a sewer and water fee of $2,250 per lot. These fees are used, at least in part, for road improvements.
  • BONDING:  Since Dorchester doesn't have a boom in new home building -- not yet, anyway -- the village would likely need to utilize a bonding program.  Many communities that take on new paving projects have residents vote on a bond issue, typically paid for by an increase in property tax -- which is never too popular.
  • LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX:  Dorchester could impose up to a 2-cent sales tax on goods sold in the confines of the village, with the revenue being dedicated to paving. Such a tax would need to get voter approval first under the state's LB840 program.
  • GET CREATIVE:  There are some more creative and affordable ways of accomplishing the paving mission. Some communities hold special fundraising drives to offset the overall cost. One community even found "sponsors" who donated substantial sums and renamed streets after the largest donors.  In Washington state, one small community recently paved all of its streets thanks to a donated labor and machinery from a heavy equipment operation school.

Monday, January 19, 2015

DHS Yearbooks From 1963-1972 Available

The Times has learned that Dorchester High School alum Tom Scheffert -- the longtime president of the DHS Alumni Association -- is willing to part with his extra yearbooks from 1963 through 1972.

If you're looking for a yearbook from that particular 10-year span, it looks like you are in luck.  

But there's a catch.

Tom is willing to let you have a copy of your choice, but to get it, you'll need to donate to a worthy cause -- the Dorchester Alumni Association.

This is a generous gesture on Tom's part, since we know the Alumni Association could use the extra funding to continue its mission.

According to Tom, the condition of each yearbook varies -- so he's willing to work with interested parties on the donation amount based on the book's condition.

If you're interested, call Tom at (402) 641-1148.  

You can also find the annuals on the Seward and Saline County swap markets on Facebook.

We hope each yearbook goes to a good home!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dorchester Boys B-Ball Team Transforms As Season Advances

Don't look now, but the Dorchester High School boys basketball team is taking this season into its own hands and turning around its fortunes.

At the start of the season, many skeptics were writing off the Longhorns, saying they lacked the depth and experience to be much of a factor in Class D-2.  

But at mid-season, the boys team stands at 5 wins and 6 losses.  There are at least 9 games left, including two road games next week and the all-important Crossroads Conference Tournament beginning next Saturday.

The record of 5-6 may not sound impressive to those looking in from the outside, but one of those losses came in a double overtime defeat to a strong Osceola team; another loss came on a half-court buzzer beater by Sterling.  The DHS boys could very easily be over .500 right now.

On Friday night, the Longhorns were roughed up by an undefeated High Plains Community team -- one of the best squads in Class D-1.  But looking ahead at the nine games (or more) remaining in the 2014-15 campaign, each contest is very winnable for DHS.  

Longhorns' Head Coach Adrian Allen and his staff are credited for keeping the team's nose to the grindstone.  From here on, the Longhorns will need steady leadership and maximum effort from players such as Corey Bird, Nixon Nerud, Leo Conte, Anthony Cordona and Tim Havlat.

You heard it here first:  With the right focus, determination and grit, the DHS boys could very well be 14-7 or 13-8 by the third week of February.

Go Longhorns!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Loretta Janda Of Rural Dorchester Passes At 76

Loretta G. Janda, 76, formerly of rural Dorchester, passed away at the Utica Community Care Center on Sunday, January 11, 2015.  She had been a patient at Crete Tabitha for a short time before going to live in Utica. 

Loretta was born December 18, 1938 to Ada (Hill) and Carl Glaser and attended country school in Duncan, Neb. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, IA in 1956, where she enjoyed Glee Club, the music program, and journalism. She met her future husband, Elvin, at a dance in Council Bluffs, where he played in the Unita Dance Band. They had been pen pals through the Nebraska Farmer Magazine. 

Loretta Glaser and Elvin Janda were married on June 2, 1959, in Council Bluffs, IA. They lived on the farm near Dorchester, where Elvin was born. Five children were born to this union. She became the typical farm wife, raising a large garden, poultry, milking cows, and doing a lot of canning. She enjoyed the farm cats. They played board games with the children. She enjoyed country music. Loretta would drive to visit the children when they had homes of their own until her health began to fail. When the children were older, she worked at Doane College in Crete, the Dorchester School, and the Crete Manor. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and parents in-law, husband: Elvin, brothers: Bill and Vince, sister: Genevieve, and son in law: Jay Gilmore. She is survived by her sons: Emil and Pam Janda of Omaha, Leo Janda of Dorchester, Roy Janda of Lincoln. Daughters: Jamie and Dale Hollibaugh of Milford, Diane Berman of Norfolk. Grandchildren: Lori of Omaha, Kalyn of Kansas, Victoria of York. Step grandsons: Ryan and Ricky Gilmore. 

Services were today, Thursday, January 15, 2015 at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete with Rev. Roger Wolfe officiating. Interment is at the Dorchester Cemetery. Memorials are in care of the family.  Leave a note of sympathy by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stunning Fly-Over Video Shows Off Dorchester

Dorchester is not the little, sleepy, "nothing-is-going-on-here" community some say it is. 

Never has been.  Never will be.

But now we have video footage taken from hundreds of feet in the air to give a bird's eye perspective on just how bustling and hard-working Dorchester is.

This fly-over video captures the essence of daily life in Dorchester -- from the train cars moving parallel to Highway 6, to the shiny new water tower, to the vehicles driving main street, to the activity at the Co-op fueling station, to the new construction at the Farmers Cooperative headquarters.

We aren't sure who filmed the video and set it to inspiring music.  It's currently posted on Farmers Cooperative's Facebook page.  And that is fitting since Farmers Cooperative is responsible for much of our community's commercial activity and growth.

Perhaps the Co-op's board will use this video at the next investors meeting.  Maybe the DHS Class of 2015 will show it at their graduation ceremony.  

Whatever its use, this video makes all of us here in Dorchester quite proud of our town.

See the video by clicking here. (Be sure to click on the "HD" or high definition symbol at the bottom of the video.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

DHS Grad Dr. Richard Kahle Passes At 89

Richard (Doc) William Kahle, a retired optometrist, 89 of Lincoln, passed away Monday, January 5, 2015. Born February 16, 1925 in Crete to William and Martha (Plessman) Kahle. After Richards mother passed away he lived with his older married sister Martha and her husband Byron Panter. Richard graduated from Dorchester High School in 1943, then attended Doane College through the V-12 Program until Oct. 1944, then Midshipman School, Naval Officers School and Mine Warfare School. He served overseas in the South Pacific during WWII until 1946. He returned to Doane from 1946-1948 and graduated with a degree in Mathematics. He then attended Northern Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. He opened his professional office of Optometry Jan. 1951 in Crete. 

There will be a private Celebration of Life Service for friends and family on February 22, 2015.  See the full obituary here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ten Reasons To Put Paving On The Ballot

Since we published a top 10 list yesterday, we thought we would add one more for the weekend.

More than 35 years ago, the Dorchester Village Board decided to abandon its attempt to not pave all of the community's streets.  

Much has changed since 1979 -- and so have many of the people.  The residents of Dorchester 2015 deserve to have their voices heard on the issue of street paving.

The Times supports paving some of Dorchester's streets, those that are most traveled or hold potential for new housing development.  But since this blog was create in 2007, the Dorchester Village Board has not permitted the town's resident from voting on the street paving issue.

Once again we urge the village board to let the residents of Dorchester decide on paving. Now is the time.

Ten Reasons to Let the Voters Decide on Paving

  1. Isn't 35 years of wondering where the people stand enough?
  2. Paved streets would greatly improve Dorchester's overall quality of life.
  3. Paved streets would likely bring new and improved housing to town -- and increased property tax revenue for city hall and the school district.
  4. Paving would appeal to out-of-towners and rural residents considering a move to Dorchester.
  5. Paving would save money in the long term. Since 1979, the Village of Dorchester has spent roughly $2.2 million on upkeep of gravel streets (not including pay of village employees to do the work).
  6. Paved streets would help encourage more baby boomers to spend their retirement years here -- and encourage more young people to stay.
  7. Paved streets mean less damage to vehicles.
  8. Paved streets allow for healthier air quality.
  9. Paved streets will spark a renewal of community pride.
  10. A vote would finally put the paving matter to rest, one way or the other.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Small Schools Are Better

There always seems to be pressure coming down from Lincoln and the State Capitol for small schools to consolidate.  We recently found an editorial from the Dorchester Star in the mid-1940s blasting state lawmakers and the education commissioner for their suggestions that Nebraska needed fewer school districts. 

However, one thing on which most readers (and most Nebraskans) can agree is that a small school education offers several advantages that simply cannot be duplicated by Class A or Class B-sized institutions.

Smaller schools know how to educate their students and typically can do it with better results than their larger counterparts.

In a recent report by the Rural School and Community Trust, Lorna Jimerson, Ed.D, offered her top 10 research-based reasons why small works for schools. The list below was forwarded to us by a loyal reader, and we thought it was important to share it with other readers of the Times.

Residents of the Dorchester Public School district are encouraged to review the following from time to time:

'Top 10 Reasons Small Schools Work Better'
  1. There is greater participation in extracurricular activities, which have been linked to academic success.
  2. Small schools are safer.
  3. Kids feel they belong.
  4. Small class size allows more individualized instruction.
  5. Good teaching methods are easier to implement.
  6. Teachers feel better about their work.
  7. Mixed-ability classes avoid condemning some students to low expectations.
  8. Multi-age classes promote personalized learning and encourage positive social interactions.
  9. Smaller districts mean less bureaucracy.
  10. More graduates in one school alleviate many problems of transitions to new schools.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Happened To Dorchester's Missing Streets?

What happened to Dorchester's missing streets? Did they ever really exist? 

Those are the questions we are asking after examining an 1885 plot of Dorchester. 

According to the 130-year-old map, the village had several streets on its south section that do not exist today.

The 1885 map, published by mapmaker Everts and Kirk, showed that Sumner, Stephens, Jefferson, Lincoln and Fulton streets once extended well south beyond the railroad, Depot Street and what is now state Highway 33. 

Today, in 2015, only Washington Avenue extends from the heart of the village into its southern reaches.

The Everts and Kirk map also shows that the town's southern section had a Third Street and Fourth Street, both running east and west. 

Fourth Street would have been located approximately where the Saline County Museum's east entrance is today. Third Street would be present-day Whitmar St.  If there were ever a First Street, it would be today's County Road E.

In Dorchester 2015, the only other street besides Washington in the southern portion of town is Whitmar Street.

We can confirm that Third Street did exist. According to a 1914-1920 map published in the Dorchester centennial history book, Third Street ran east of Washington Avenue, beginning approximately where Whitmar Street begins today and continuing east until it met Depot St. near the railroad tracks. Situated at the eastern end of Third Street was Malek Slaughter Yards. 

According to the 1914-1920 map, it appears that a very small portion of Lincoln Avenue also extended into the south side. 

We welcome any information that our readers can pass along regarding Dorchester's missing streets.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dorchester Themed T-Shirts Make Fun Gifts

Sometimes, you just need a gift out of the ordinary.

We have stumbled across these fun Dorchester-themed t-shirts.  They are sure to put a smile on the face of any recipient.

How about a t-shirt that portrays a lovely female from the 1940s saying: "Oh, Bill -- I have a date.  I'm dining in Dorchester."  

We're sure that would get a few comments if you wore that to City Slickers for an evening on the town.

Or maybe you'd rather don a t-shirt that proclaims: "Smart boys live in Dorchester."

Then again, perhaps you just want to show your DHS pride and wear a shirt that announces you're a Longhorn fan.  You can find many Dorchester Longhorn shirts by clicking here. (UPDATE: You can also get on the school website and click in the "My Locker" link at the top and order your Dorchester gear. You can pick you sport, color, relationship to your athlete (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc.) and many other options. The proceeds help support the school.)

Be cool. Wear Dorchester apparel!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Windchill Could Drop To -30 Wednesday

We don't want to complain about the weather, but this cold is becoming ridiculous.

(*UPDATE @ 9 p.m. -- Here is a list of school closings for Wednesday.  DPS is not on the list.  Bundle up.)

In case you haven't heard, tonight the thermometer will drop below zero.  

Tomorrow's (Wednesday's) high temperature is expected to reach anywhere from 3 degrees to a whopping 5 degrees.  A whipping wind from the north will mean a windchill of -25 to -30 degrees.  

Wednesday night and early Thursday morning will bring an actual temperature of -3 degrees.

The good news? Spring is only 70 days away.  

That's called a heavy dose winter sarcasm, dear readers.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Clarence Pracheil Passes At Age 93

Clarence Pracheil, 93, of Crete, passed away Jan. 4, 2015 at the Wilber Care Center. 

Born July 6, 1921 to Vance and Emma (Wit) Pracheil. 

Funeral services are Wednesday, 2 p.m. at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete, with Rev. Roger Wolfe officiating. Interment will follow at the Camden Cemetery north of Crete. Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 – 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Survivors include his wife: Viola. Daughters and spouses: Cheryl and John Retherford, Debbie and Russ Skalak. Grandchildren: Tami and Tim Sass, Desi Rae and Brandon Nash. Great grandchildren: Brooke and Taylor Sass, Hayden and Kolby Nash. Preceded in death by his grandson: Ryan Dean Skalak, sister: Irene Bouman. 

Memorials to the Capitol Humane Society or the CAMC Auxillary.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

UPDATE: Winter Weather Advisory Issued For Our Area

The Dorchester area is in a winter weather advisory.  Here's the latest advisory issued by the National Weather Service:











Friday, January 2, 2015

Dorchester's Gayle Nichols Passes At 63

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 at Milford Mennonite Church with Pastors Tim Springer and Doug Witzke officiating. Interment will be in the Milford Mennonite Cemetery, Milford. Visitation will be Sunday, 1-5 pm at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Milford and from 6-8 p.m. with the family greeting relatives and friends at Milford Mennonite Church. Memorials in lieu of flowers have been established to Garden Square and Region V both of Crete.

Gayle Lynne Nichols was born Oct. 7, 1951 in Friend to Harold and Norma (Johnson) Stutzman, the first of seven children.  She was received unto the Lord on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 at the Bryan Health Center in Lincoln following her courageous battle with breast cancer. As a young girl, Gayle attended Friend Public School, graduating with her class in 1969. Gayle was employed as a caregiver at the Friend Manor until her marriage to Gary Nichols on October 10, 1970 at Milford Mennonite Church. To this union five children were born: Pamela Kay, Penelope Jane, Timothy Lee, Jessica Gayle and Andrew James.

Together they made their home in Friend before moving to Dorchester in 1978. Gayle provided transportation for children with special needs to and from the Geneva Success III program for nearly 25 years. She was an avid volunteer at Garden Square in Crete for 16 years where she played gospel music on her accordion.

Gayle was a loving mother and wife, an excellent cook and was always a supporter of her family whenever needed. She was faithful, compassionate, patient, giving and loving caregiver to all members of her family and friends.

She was baptized at Milford Mennonite Church and attended Cornerstone Bible Church in Crete for the last 20 years. Gayle loved her Lord and was a wonderful example of Christlikeness.

Gayle is survived by her husband, Gary, Dorchester, her children and spouses, Pamela and James Goddard, Longmont, CO, Penelope “Penny” Keller, Dorchester, Timothy Nichols, Dorchester, Jessica and Cyrill “Bob” Kovar, Omaha, Andrew and Bethany Nichols, Pickrell; seven grandchildren, Jordan Keller, Tyler Goddard, Jacob Keller, Hannah, Haley, Haidyn, and Huntley Nichols; mother, Norma Stutzman; brothers and sisters-in-law, Mark and Gretta Stutzman, Friend, Dave and Shane Stutzman, Friend, Jack and Chris Stutzman, Friend, Harve and Mary Stutzman, Milford; sisters and brothers-in-law, Pat and Brad Stauffer, Milford, Lisa and Chris Wells, Friend; sister-in-law, Charlene Nichols, Ephrata, PA; numerous nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, her father, Harold Stutzman; and parents-in-law, Charles and Macie Nichols.

Words of sympathy may be left here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Former County Commissioner Bill Wenz Passes At 83

Business leader and former Saline County Commissioner Bill Wenz, passed away on Dec. 30, 2014 at the age of 83 after a courageous battle with cancer. A Korean War vet, Wenz owned and operated Midland, and served for a time as President of the Nebraska Renderers Association, until divesting in 1994 and embarking on a variety of business ventures. Bill served on the Saline County Planning and Zoning Board and for 10 years worked diligently as a Saline County Commissioner. 

Visitation: Friday, January 2, from 4-8 PM at Kuncl Funeral Home, Crete. Funeral Services: Saturday January 3, 2015 at 10:30 at Heckman Auditorium at Doane College in Crete. There will be a reception at the Doane Cafeteria following the services. Interment: Blue Valley Cemetery in Saline County. Memorials have been established to the People's City Mission and the Crete Area Medical Center. Condolences may be left online at

OUR VIEW: A Rant About Selfies

We start 2015 with an observation.

The Dorchester Times staff has been using social media for about five months now -- long enough to know what all the buzz is about.  

We admit we were missing a valuable method of connecting with new readers.  But there are a few things we weren't missing -- primarily the so-called "selfies." 

We've been a little surprised by how often (daily, in some cases) that a few people like sharing images of their own faces.

Now if you're under 21, we cut you some slack. Let's face it: in our teenage years, it's difficult to ever get too much mirror time.  Even before the era of the smart phone, teens had been snapping photos of themselves.  (See this famous selfie from the 1950s!)

But we note a British newspaper article reporting on scientists who say the growing trend of taking smartphone selfies is linked to mental health conditions that focus on a person's obsession with looks.

According to psychiatrist Dr David Veal: "Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take selfies."

The article goes on to tell the tale of one British teen who spent ten hours a day taking up to 200 snaps of himself on his iPhone. Part of his treatment at a psychiatric clinic included taking away his iPhone for intervals of 10 minutes, which increased to 30 minutes and then an hour.

Maybe that's being too harsh on those who frequently take and share their selfies.  

Maybe it's evolution.  Maybe it's an intelligent way to capture the daily (or hourly) aging process.

Or maybe it's time the Dorchester Times staff and editor take our own selfies and share them with the Facebook universe.  

You know what? We are going to do just that.  After all, we think of ourselves as incredibly beautiful people. Why not impose our mugs?

Those of you who follow us on Facebook, you will want to be watching for our selfies to be posted sometime today.  

People will notice us.  People will be talking.  Yes, we are just that beautiful.

Happy 2015.