Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pay Your Dorchester Utility Bill By Credit/Debit Card

Ever wish you could pay your Dorchester utility bill online? That option is here.

The Village of Dorchester has partnered with a payment processor so Dorchester residents can make onlinie payments using credit/debit cards, as well as electronic checks at Village Hall.

However, there is a price for convenience.  

If you pay by credit or debit card, an additional 2.49% will be added to your total.  

If you pay by electronic check, the charge will be $1.75.  

Also, if you prefer to have your monthly utilities bill e-mailed to you instead of waiting on the U.S. Postal Service, the village staff will e-mail directly to your inbox.  Just e-mail and tell them you want your utility bill e-mailed to your account.

You're paying taxes; make sure your local government is making things convenient as possible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

EPAC Wants Input From Parents For Oct. 25 Halloween Party

Hey kids! Are you ready for a Halloween party? 

Dorchester's Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (EPAC) is planing a Halloween party for Sunday, October 25, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

According to Amanda Cerny, the EPAC will meet tomorrow, October 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria to discuss and start planning for the party.

For questions or to volunteer, contact Kylie Kubicek, Amanda Cerny, or the school at (402) 946-2781.

EPAC is overseen by parents and the school to help DPS teachers and students with classroom supplies, while also advancing the academic pursuits of Dorchester's elementary students. 

EPAC hosts functions such as the Academic Extravaganza, Reading Carnival and fundraisers.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

At Midway Mark, DHS Boasts 6th Highest Win Total In Class D2

Fresh off their first place finish at this weekend's Nebraska Lutheran Invitational, the Dorchester Longhorns volleyball team has improved to 11-5 on the season.  

Saturday's scores from Waco looked like this:

Dorchester def. McCool Junction, 25-8, 25-19
Dorchester def. Parkview Christian, 25-8, 25-7
Dorchester def. Nebraska Lutheran, 25-8, 21-25, 25-17
Of the 57 schools playing volleyball in Nebraska's Class D2, only five have more wins than Dorchester -- two of which account for three of DHS' losses this year.  

Those teams are Stuart (12-0), Sandhills/Thedford (13-0), Hampton (13-4), Giltner (13-2), and Falls City Sacred Heart (12-6). 

Now at the halfway mark of the 2015 campaign, the Lady Longhorns look to take their game to a new level.

The second half of DHS' season will get underway this week, with a home contest against Sterling (5-6) this Tuesday, Sept. 29, and a triangular at home on Thursday, Oct. 1, against a tough Class D2 Meridian (5-5) and one of Class D-1's best teams, Diller-Odell (14-1).

The Lady Longhorns are looking to forge a culture of winning traditions under a third-year head coach Ty Peteranetz.  Coach Peteranetz is a self-described "transplanted, Colorado-born Husker fan" who moved to Omaha in 2011 after 30 years in Colorado to be the assistant volleyball coach at the College of St. Mary.  He missed teaching terribly, so he resigned his position with CSM to be an educator and coach at DHS.  He teaches Dorchester's fourth grade.

With six starters back, the Longhorns are much improved from last season's 8-21 record. Senior regulars returning are 6-0 MB Jessica Kalkwarf, L Clarissa Bors, and S Avery Behrens, while the juniors are OHs Bailey Velder and Jacee Weber and S/RS Ripley Creamer.  Freshmen and sophomore class talent is adding to the mix.

Here's a look at the remainder of this year's DHS volleyball schedule:

2015 DHS Longhorn Volleyball (Remaining Schedule) 

09/29/15  Sterling (at DHS)
10/01/15  Meridian -- Triangular (at DHS)
10/01/15  Diller-Odell -- Triangular (at DHS)
10/06/15  Parkview Christian (at DHS)
10/08/15  Cross County -- Triangular (at Cross County)
10/08/15  Exeter-Milligan -- Triangular (at Cross County)
10/13/15  McCool Junction -- Triangular (at McCool Junction)
10/13/15  BDS -- Triangular (at McCool Junction)
10/17-10/20 -- Crossroads Conference Tournament (2/3-Day Tournament at York)
10/22/15  at East Butler
10/29/15  Nebraska Lutheran (at DHS)

The Truth: Loss Of DHS Football Has Hurt Our Town In Many Ways

Earlier this weekend, we posted the following commentary on our Facebook page:  

"For 64 years -- for adults and students -- it was tradition to meet up at Joe's Place to socialize and grab a bite to eat. The loss of DHS football in Dorchester has hurt our community in the areas of economics and camaraderie."

We received a rather direct e-mail in response telling us that the Times should be more supportive of the Dorchester students who are playing this season for the Milford-Dorchester cooperative team.  

The truth is, we couldn't be more supportive of our current DHS kids, or more proud.  And we are grateful the Milford community and MHS administration have welcomed Dorchester student athletes with open arms.

But the truth still stands: Dorchester has been hurt in multiple ways by the loss of its Friday night lights at Nerud Field.  

Think of Dorchester's main street and how it should be lined with cars following a home game -- and how much money that used to bring to town.  Moreover, think of the friendships -- among fellow parents and school staff and even visitors -- that were created and strengthened by football Fridays hosted by our village.

Most importantly, think of the special bond between the students who wore the school colors and played hard for a common cause.

That's what we support.  And it's what we miss.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NSAA's Transgender Mandate Would Be Justification To Revive Six-Man Football

It was reported earlier this week that the Nebraska State Activities Association, which governs high most school sports, plans to draft a policy on participation of transgender students.

NSAA Executive Director Jim Tenopir said his staff will come up with a proposed policy and introduce it to the board for consideration.

The fact that the NSAA staff wants to open doors for transgender students to have access to your son's or daughter's locker room should give us all pause.

The NSAA in recent years has done more to diminish participation in high school athletics than to encourage it.  From scheduling that makes no geographic sense, to pushing its far-left social values on rural school districts, the NSAA is making matters worse.

This latest development is an opportunity for small school districts in Nebraska -- many of which are struggling to field football teams of their own. 

Instead of taking the NSAA's transgender, cross-dressing marching orders, it would make more sense for rural school districts to combine forces and create a statewide, independent six-man high school football conference.  NSAA staff have said repeatedly that the organization has no interest in overseeing six-man football, as it did years ago.

The timing for this is perfect.  Last year, 67% of participating Times' readers said they wanted to see DHS football return to Nerud Field in the form of the 6-man game.  

Currently, there are only a handful of Nebraska schools -- 18 to be exact -- currently playing the six-man game.  But many Class D schools have combined students with nearby schools, like Dorchester has done with Milford.  Other Class D schools have cancelled their seasons, like Elwood, due to lack of participation in the 8-man game.

Years ago, the NSAA stopped administering the six-man class of football. A separate group decided that they wanted to take control of the scheduling, playoffs and championship. The nearest school to Dorchester participating in the state's Six-Man Football Association is Deshler.  Most of the six-man schools are much further west.  

Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful. Sixty-six years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program, with only eleven players going out.  Reader and DHS alum Vern Johnson tells us that "the best 6-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a 2-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

The Longhorns played 6-man football for 10 full seasons before transitioning to the 8-man game in 1959, when DHS went undefeated. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jobs Available Now At Farmers' Cooperative In Dorchester

Need a job? Know someone who is looking for a job?  Dorchester-based Farmers Cooperative is hiring.

One of Nebraska's largest ag cooperatives, Farmers Cooperative currently has four open positions right here in Dorchester. (
Farmers Cooperative has over 40 locations across southeast Nebraska and Kansas.)

Benefits include but are not limited to health care, retirement, paid vacation, clothing allowance, personal time off and an annual discretionary bonus plan.

One full-time position at Farmers Cooperative in Dorchester is c
ustom applicator (applicators license required).  Other full-time openings in Dorchester include a propane truck driver (Class B CDL with hazmat endorsement required), as well an elevator operator.  

Click here for information on these full-time Dorchester jobs.

We've also heard of a part-time opening for harvest help at the co-op's numberous locations. This is a temporary position to work through December 2015 but may work into full time. A CDL license is preferred, but not required.  Must have a valid driver's license. Must be able to lift 75 pounds. Wage depends on experience and qualifications.  Click here for more information.

All applications should be sent to Jeff Adams in Dorchester by e-mailing

If you want to find work outside of Dorchester, you'll be glad to know there are more than 200 available jobs currently listed in the Saline County.  That is according to our search on NEWorks, a jobs listing site maintained by the Nebraska Department of Labor.  Click here to see a list of the more than 200 available career opportunities in Saline County right now.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Four Steps To Revive And Renew Dorchester

Like any other rural community, Dorchester needs to plan now if it is to survive well into the future.  

A drive through our downtown should be a wake-up call to every Dorchester area resident that we can no longer rely on the status quo.  The good old days are not coming back.

But Dorchester's best days can still lie ahead with the right game plan and strong community participation.  Here are the key steps: 

1.)  Grow our population.  Dorchester's population has remained steady since the 1950s, when our town's population was around 500.  But no one can deny that the farm population of the surrounding countryside has significantly declined over the last 20 to 30 years.  Dorchester desperately needs to look for smart ways to fill vacant housing in town, replace/renovate homes that are in disrepair, and attract new housing on the outskirts of town.  How to get that done is the million dollar question.

2.)  Support of existing businesses.  Dorchester's main street needs some help.  We all know that.  It starts by building from the foundation up -- that is, supporting the businesses that are already there (Tyser Auto Sales, Tyser Repair, First State Bank, Donna's Hair Creation, Barley's Specialties, City Slickers, and the forthcoming Dorchester Bakery).

3.)  Corporate leadership.  Dorchester's main street will never look like it did in the 1930s or 1940s, with every building filled by a traditional bricks-and-mortar business. But we do believe there are opportunities to establish and support niche businesses.  Consider a community like Ashland, where there is an art and wine gallery, a physical therapist, and a soda shop and cafe that also sells crafts.  Whatever the potential for Dorchester's main street, it won't be realized without the partnership and guidance of Dorchester's main financial brokers -- the Farmers Co-operative and First State Bank and area ag producers.  We can't think of any small community in Nebraska that has thrived without leadership from its local banks or major employer.  We need their leadership -- then residents need to follow up by pledging their own dollars and resources.

4.)  Have a vision.  Dorchester's town board and community organizations need to provide leadership -- plain and simple.  Without town leaders providing the tow, there will be no significant progress forward.  If there's one thing lacking in Dorchester, it's a vision of where we are going as a community.  What do we want Dorchester to look like in 2020? 2030? 2050? This is a call to town leaders -- including school personnel, board members, students, community groups, and all residents -- to get on the same page and craft a plan for their community.  The future of your village depends on you.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Annual Church Auction, Fall Celebration Is This Sunday, Sept. 20

One of Dorchester's favorite events takes place this weekend as the Dorchester United Methodist
Church’s 28th Annual Community Auction will be held Sunday, Sept. 20.

All area residents are invited to join the fun, which will be held on the church grounds at the corner of Lincoln Ave. and 6th St.

Sunday's activities begin with a beef and pork barbecue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Salads and desserts will also be available.  

Some more highlights planned for this Sunday:

  • A "pie in your face" contest.  (No, this is not a misprint.)
  • A silent auction.
  • Country market.
  • Bake sale.
  • Sunday School cake auction.
  • A "bounce house" for the kids.

The actual auction begins at 1 p.m. There will be many, many auction items that will be of special interest.  Some of the more notable auction items we've seen include:

* 12-in-1 game table
* Husker yard art
* Czech cookbooks
* Walnut jewelry chest with jewelry (made by Earl Moser)
* Cradle
* Husker volleyball package for two
* Fall yard art
* Pet toys and treat baskets
* Dozens of Christmas items
* Nebraska fight song alarm clock
* Wooden cross with stained glass insert
* Americana quilt
* Glow-in-the-dark football and basketball

Those who would like to place a bid but are unable to attend may still take part in this important fundraiser by calling (402) 946-3091.

We hope all Times' readers will enjoy the first weekend of fall by supporting the church and the good work of its members.

FLASHBACK: Nebraska Towns Set Example for Others

(This article originally ran in October 2007.)

Once again, we turn our attention to central Nebraska and its efforts to retain their youth and recruit young families back to their hometowns.

A recent article in The Grand Island Independent highlights small-town economic development proponents in central Nebraska who are aggressively seeking new ways stabilize their population and grow their economy. According to the Independent, Nancy Glaubke, the business development coordinator for Valley County Economic Development in Ord, said that decades ago, returning home usually meant you had failed someplace else. But now, after realizing the potential consequences of losing too many young people, she has seen her community begin to champion efforts to reverse that trend.

Valley County Economic Development launched a Young Professionals group last winter to nudge its younger residents toward making valuable social connections. The group was formed after a community survey revealed a resounding message from its young people: It's hard to get to know people my own age, and it's even tougher to get involved when it seems like everyone has known one another for most of their lives.

"We just kept hearing that over and over," said Bethanne Kunz, Valley County Economic Development's executive director. So the group started simply, with a Husker game last fall. They've steadily added names to a countywide database that's alerted to social events geared toward singles, couples and young families. Their database has grown to 170 adults under age 40. Ord is one of four Central Nebraska communities that have kicked off networking groups for young professionals in the past year, joining Grand Island, Hastings and Aurora.

To recruit natives back to their hometown, several communities have started targeting high school graduates with mailings and a Web site. For example, Burwell plans to launch its program, aimed at alumni ages 27 to 35, within the next month. The high school is developing a Web site touting the town's assets to alumni, and Burwell Economic Development will begin sending mailings this fall to about 200 alumni. 

The organization hopes to attract at least one or two new families back to the area each year by emphasizing Burwell's low cost-of-living and the area's opportunities in start-up businesses and working from home.

We think the model programs operating in Ord and Burwell especially make sense for smaller communities near large urban areas, such as our own community.

A few years ago, a group of committed leaders formed the Dorchester Area Community Association (DACA). We hope some of our younger residents will now form a young residents' group to allow Dorchester's people under 40 years old to network and plan for the community's future.

And we encourage those with DHS connections, perhaps the alumni association, to consider a campaign to recruit Dorchester area natives -- especially those with young families -- back home. 

Others are implementing these ideas. Dorchester would be wise to follow in their footsteps.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sandhills Town Seeks To Double Its Population -- Sort Of

Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News

Nebraska Educational Television reports that the population of the small central Nebraska village of Taylor is growing. Sort of.  

Black-and-white plywood villagers are filling the community, thanks to the work of artist Marah Sandoz.  

“I want as many wooden people as there are actual people in Taylor, which is only 182,” said Sandoz.

According to NET, it was her husband’s teaching job that brought Marah to Taylor. A couple decades ago she got involved with a local economic development group brainstorming about ways to help the fading village, which sits on the edge of the Sandhills near Calamus Reservoir.  Were there ways to use the history (in the form two buildings; the historic, but closed, Pavilion Hotel and a former filling station turned visitors center) and the two state highways that intersect here to Taylor’s advantage?

Sandoz hatched the idea of life-sized plywood cutouts depicting people who might have lived in the village between 1890 and 1920, the boom years when Taylor had twice as many people as its current population of less than 200. 

Why are the villager cutouts created for Taylor in black and white? "We went with black and white because it mimics that black and white film era, so it looked like it was from the past," Sandoz said. 

Taylor will get a lot of traffic Sept. 25-27, because the town is part of the route for the annual Nebraska Junk Jaunt. 

See the story by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nebraska Named One Of America's Happiest States -- Again

Congratulations, fellow Nebraskans.

The financial website reports that in addition to financial security, well-being also depends on one’s mental and physical health, job satisfaction, positive feelings, environment, social connectivity and general outlook on life.  In thier latest study, WalletHub considered all of these elements to identify the states that are home to the happiest Americans.  

In the study, Nebraska is ranked as the nation's sixth happiest state.  

Nebraska's top scores were in the following categories:

  • Community, environment and recreational activities. 
  • Lowest long-term unemployment rates.
  • Lowest divorce rates. 
  • Shortest commute times. 

The happiest states, according to the study, are Utah, Minnesota and Hawaii, while the unhappiest states are Kentucky, Alabama and West Virginia.

If you'd like to see the full study, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

DHS Homecoming Parade Returns To Main Street Wednesday

DHS Homecoming Parade of September 1988.
For years, it was a homecoming tradition in Dorchester.  Now the DHS homecoming parade is making a comeback.

In a last minute change of plans of DHS' homecoming ceremonies for Wednesday evening, each DHS class will be decorating floats for a parade.  The students of DHS and their floats will start lining up behind the school at 6:15 p.m.  At about 6:30 p.m., the floats will start from the school, go east down West 9th Street and then proceed south on main street (Washington Ave.).  

The final stop will be at the Dorchester City Park where they will eat dinner at approximately 6:45 p.m. with community members -- parents, supporters and anyone who wishes to join the fun.  Hamburgers, chips, and a dessert will be served.  Booster Club parents are asking for a free will offering when you go through the line to eat.   

Captains and coaches of the football and volleyball teams will speak following dinner, and then it will be time to burn the "D".

The DHS Booster Club invites all Longhorn faithful to come out and enjoy the homecoming festivities. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Students: Want To Earn Great Money When You're An Adult? Read This

Attention all Dorchester students who are old enough to read: You should read this.  (If you're a parent who doesn't want your child living at home when they are 30 or older, you should read this, too.)

Over the last few decades, our society has been brainwashed into believing a four-year college is the only path to a lucrative career and comfortable living.  But recent years have proven that's not the case.  

Our country is drowning in $1.5 TRILLION of student loan debt.  We know personally many young people who are saddled with big debt (more than $100,000) because they have one or more degrees in subjects like sociology, psychology, English, theater or history -- only to find they aren't employable in careers that command more than $25,000-$35,000 a year.

Well-paying job demand is currently highest in the trades and technical vocations -- careers in welding, construction, electrical, plumbing and the like.  

These careers often lead to business-ownership opportunities. Best of all, they only require a two-year degree that can be attained without using student loans.

However, for those who want a four-year degree -- or who've been told by their parents that they most obtain one -- here's an article we found at Kiplinger, the finance publication.  Kiplinger looked for courses of study that tend to lead to fat paychecks -- both right out of school and farther along in a career path.  They also sought out majors that are in high demand based on recent online job postings as well as long-term growth expectations for related occupations.

Here are Kiplinger's top 10 majors with the best shots at success in the workplace, complete with generous incomes and an abundance of job opportunities:

10. Nursing.  Starting salary: $56,900

9. Actuarial Mathematics. (Work in the insurance and finance industries analyzing the costs of risk and uncertainty.)  Starting salary: $60,800

8. Civil Engineering. (Energy projects, city planning.)  Starting salary: $55,100

7. Statistics.  (Data collection for businesses and government.)  Starting salary: $54,900

6. Physics. Starting salary: $57,200

5. Finance.  Starting salary: $50,900

4. Economics.  Starting salary: $51,400

3. Software Engineering.  Starting salary: $61,700

2. Management Information Systems. (Computer and information systems managers.)  Starting salary: $56,300

1. Computer Science. Starting salary: $61,600

Saturday, September 12, 2015

DPS' Homecoming Kickoff Pancake Feed Is Sunday

Are you ready for some homemade pancakes? 

Dorchester Public School's Homecoming Kickoff Pancake Feed is set for this Sunday, thanks to the hard work of the  Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (EPAC).

We are told that EPAC will be sending home notes home with students this week as a reminder of the big event.

Readers are encouraged to spread the word and let everyone in the community know they are welcome to attend.

The feed will be this Sunday, Sept. 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the school. Kids games will be available in the gym for the little ones.  Also, EPAC members will be distributing new Longhorn t-shirts to all elementary and high school students.

Volunteers are needed for two different shifts.  First shift will be from 5:00-6:30 -- three people are needed for gym supervision, and four people are needed in the kitchen for serving and cooking.  For the second shift from 6:30-8:00 (which will include clean-up), three people are needed in the gym and four in the kitchen.

For questions or to volunteer, contact Kylie Kubicek, Amanda Cerny, or the school at (402) 946-2781.

EPAC is overseen by parents and the school to help DPS teachers and students with classroom supplies, while also advancing the academic pursuits of Dorchester's elementary students. EPAC hosts functions such as the Academic Extravaganza, Reading Carnival and fundraisers. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

DHS Volleyball Squad Stumbles At Giltner, Loses Two

Credit: Faye Weber Photography
The Dorchester Longhorn volleyball team ran into two tough roadblocks on Thursday evening.

DHS traveled to Giltner to take on two of Class D2's most storied programs, Giltner and Hampton, in another triangular.

At the end of the night, the scores looked like this:

Giltner def. Dorchester, 25-18, 25-19 (2-0) 
Hampton def. Dorchester, 25-15, 25-15 (2-0)

Dorchester is now 4-2 on the season.

Now the Dorchester girls must prepare to battle Class D1 Friend, who wants to spoil DHS' homecoming on Thursday, Sept. 17.  Friend is currently 4-3 on the year.

After the homecoming dual, DHS will travel to Shickley on Saturday, Sept. 19 to take part in a one-day tourney with three other teams.

Go Lady Longhorns! Keep representing your school and community with pride.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Comparing Spending Of Area Schools

Last week, the Times reported on a statewide study that found the annual cost of educating Dorchester students significantly exceeded the state average.

According to the study, Dorchester Public School's per-pupil cost for school year 2013-14 was $16,911 when broken down by average daily membership of the student body.  

That is a lot of money, especially considering the average cost-per-pupil statewide was $11,364. 

Dorchester school board members -- who make spending decisions and set a large portion of our property tax levies -- need to be mindful of the taxpayers' resources.

But there's more to the story.  

We wanted to see how the education expenditures of DPS compare to other area schools. Keep in mind there are economies of scale involved in education, just like any other service in the private or public sector.  A larger number of students in a school district typically means more efficient use of tax dollars -- but not necessarily a higher quality of education.

Using state supplied data, here's a look at the per-pupil spending of area schools, from highest to lowest. (We hope all area taxpayers see this comparison since funding for K-12 education represents more than 60% of the average property tax bill in Nebraska.)

Comparing Per-Pupil Expenditures of Area Schools

Bruning-Davenport Schools ................ $27,995 per pupil
Exeter-Milligan Public Schools ........... $23,769 per pupil
Shickley Public Schools ...................... $22,082 per pupil
Friend Public Schools .......................... $18,007 per pupil
Meridian Public Schools ...................... $17,468 per pupil
Dorchester Public Schools ................... $16,911 per pupil
Tri-County Public Schools ................... $16,366 per pupil
Deshler Public Schools ........................ $16,201 per pupil
Fillmore Central Schools ..................... $16,068 per pupil
Diller-Odell Public Schools .................. $15,948 per pupil
Thayer Central Community Schools ... $14,799 per pupil
Fairbury Public Schools ....................... $12,852 per pupil
Freeman Public Schools ...................... $12,143 per pupil
Seward Public Schools ......................... $11,487 per pupil
Milford Public Schools ......................... $11,433 per pupil
Nebraska Average ................................ $11,364 per pupil
Crete Public Schools ............................ $11,088 per pupil
Wilber-Clatonia Public Schools ........... $10,746 per pupil
Beatrice Public Schools ....................... $10,491 per pupil
Norris School District ........................... $9,790 per pupil

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

DHS Volleyball Team Off To 4-0 Start

The Dorchester volleyball squad is the only team representing DHS this fall sports season.  And the 2015 version of the "Orange and Black Attack" is off to a roaring start.

The Lady Longhorns won Tuesday night's triangular at College View Academy in Lincoln.  The three-way competition also featured Parkview Christian of Lincoln.

Last week, DHS gathered its first two victories over Class C2 opponents.

Dorchester is now 4-0 on the young season.

One DHS fan said: "I do have to say it was impressive how well the girls played together. If they play like that all season, look out -- they will go far."

This year, there are higher expectations at DHS, with many returning sophomores, juniors and seniors representing their school and hometown under Dorchester's third-year head coach Ty Peteranetz.  

Senior regulars returning are 6-0 MB Jessica Kalkwarf, L Clarissa Bors, and S Avery Behrens, while the juniors are OHs Bailey Velder and Jacee Weber and S/RS Ripley Creamer.  Experts say to look for other emerging stars this season, including from the freshmen and sophomore classes.

This Thusday, DHS travels to Giltner to take on two of Class D2's most storied programs, Giltner and Hampton, in another triangular.

Go Lady Longhorns!

Monday, September 7, 2015

OUR VIEW: Lack Of Participation In Sports Will Have Consequences

Friday night lights should be shining in Dorchester tonight.  The smell of popcorn should fill the air.  Fans should be lining the sidelines.

Instead, the Nerud field is dark and empty.

The 2013 season marked the first time since 1948 that Dorchester had not had a high school team.
The reason? Not enough boys were going out.  
The same happened with wrestling -- not enough Dorchester boys participating meant DHS had to co-op with Milford to ensure an opportunity for those students who did wanted to wear the uniform.
Even basketball -- which only requires five players -- has been threatened due to low participation.
According to several reports, it may be some time before football returns to Nerud Field. Only three Dorchester junior high boys are participating in football this season, despite a healthy number of Dorchester boys enrolled in 7th and 8th grades.
It's not just Dorchester.  Schools across the state are reporting lower numbers of participation in male sports over the past five years.
Elwood, one of Nebraska's more successful Class D football programs, had to cancel its football season this week due to a lack of boys suiting up.
Elwood Superintendent Daren Hatch said only 12 boys went out for football this year, even though the team made it to the second round of the Class D2 playoffs last year -- and has made it to the playoffs 19 times over the last 30 years.  No Elwood football team this year -- despite there being 28 boys in high school.
“We have the boys, we just don’t have them out,” the Elwood superintendent said.

The Times staff recalls a time when the participation rate for Dorchester football exceeded 90 percent -- in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.  

But something happened about a decade ago in our culture when it comes to males taking part in athletics and society.  Suddenly, there was less encouragement from home.  

Maybe it was the increase in the number of single-parent households.

Maybe men in families were setting poor examples.

Perhaps it was media sensation regarding football injuries.  

Perhaps parents decided they would try to protect their kids by not forcing them to play sports to ensure nothing bad happens.  

Maybe the kids wanted to insulate themselves from failure on the athletic field.

Or maybe it was easier just to sit at home to, at best, play video games and "veg out" or, at worst, get involved with drugs and alcohol.  (Surveys show fewer and fewer students hold part-time jobs, so we know that can't be to blame.)

To those parents and kids who subscribe to any of the above, we have a simple message:  Bad things are going to happen -- in athletics, in academics, in work, in relationships and in life.  It's guaranteed.  It's how you persevere and overcome challenges that matters.

The experts agree: Participating in high school athletics provides essential life skills such as self-discipline and teamwork.  It doesn't matter whether you're an all-stater or a third string backup.

We aren't naive enough to think there aren't negative experiences in school sports -- but it's those negatives that build a more competent, more well-rounded adult later in life.

Some students just don't want to play sports.  We get that.  But if your child isn't going out for athletics, think about what he/she is missing out on, as documented by a teaching expert:

  • Athletics provide opportunities through relationships. In a team sport, players are typically close to one another. These relationships can span the length of a lifetime. Staying connected may provide you with a job or investment opportunity. It may simply provide you with life long friends who have your back in any situation.
  • Athletics is the building block of promoting school pride. Pre-game events such as homecoming, pep rallies, and parades are intended to show off that school pride. We love to support our team no matter whether we win or whether we lose. School pride creates a bond between an individual and the school. This bond spans the course of a lifetime.
  • Having a successful athlete and/or team will likely give you positive media coverage within and around your community. While a teacher with a successful academic program will garner little to no attention, a team with a 10-0 record will be followed closely by the media and the community.  This type of notoriety is celebrated. It makes the school attractive to families looking to move into the community that value an outstanding athletics program. It also puts fan in the stands which translates to more money being poured into the athletics department. 
  • Athletics can serve as a powerful academic motivator for athletes who would otherwise under perform in the classroom. There are many students who see school as secondary to athletics. As adults, we realize that academics are of far greater importance than athletics. However, as teenagers the academic side was probably not the center of our focus as it should have been.  Many students stay in school and keep their grades up only because of their desire to compete in athletics. 
  • Athletics also serves as motivation for staying out of trouble. Athletes know that if they get in trouble, there is a reasonable chance that they will be suspended for games or parts of a game.
  • Athletics provides athletes with several benefits including the acquisition of valuable life skills that will benefit them throughout their life. These skills are more beneficial than the games themselves, and their impact can be powerful and transcending. Some of these skills include: hard work, self-discipline, team work, and time management.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Beaver Crossing Residents Billed For Nine Months Of Water Use -- At Once

We recall a few years ago when Dorchester residents started receiving water bills.  

There were a lot of complaints -- because for years, Dorchester water was free.  But most residents realized that to pay for new wells, a new water tower and other new infrastructure, someone has to pay for it.

Now count your blessings that Dorchester has been managed well.

We have learned from a story in the Friend Sentinel that Beaver Crossing residents weren’t receiving water bills for more than a year, and now the village is back billing residents for nine months of water use.  It appears a mistake was made following the town's tornado that hit in the spring of 2014.

Imagine getting a bill for nine months of water use at once!

Beaver Crossing charges a flat rate of $50/month for water and sewer fees, according to the story.

The newspaper notes that Beaver Crossing is currently running at a $72,000 deficit, including the cost of $26,000 for a sewer re-lining project.

See the story here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Can Be Done To Lower DPS' Spending?

We love Dorchester Public School.  We love the building; the teachers; the administration; and the students.

To be clear, we think DPS ranks among the best Class D schools in the state.

But an investigation by the Times has found that the cost of educating our students significantly exceeds the state average.

That leads us to ask: Can our school and our school board do more to keep the costs of educating our kids in check?

According to our investigation, Dorchester Public School's per-student cost for school year 2013-14 was $16,911, when broken down by average daily membership.

When using average daily attendance, it cost our school district taxpayers $17,506 per pupil.  

Those are shocking figures -- especially considering that 20 years ago the cost per pupil was around $6,400 a year.

Why should you care? Consider that funding for K-12 education makes up 60% of the average property tax bill in Nebraska. 

Then consider that during the 2013-14 school year, the average cost per pupil across the state was about $11,364.  That means it costs DPS $5,547 more per year, per student.

Now keep in mind that Dorchester does not boast the most expensive per-pupil cost in the county.  That distinction belongs to Friend Public School, which has a per-student cost of $18,007 when tabulated by average daily membership.  Friend's per-student cost is $18,812 when figured by average daily attendance.

Crete Public Schools spent $11,088 per pupil.  Wilber-Clatonia Public Schools spent $10,746 per pupil.

Statewide, the lowest cost per pupil belongs to Gretna Public Schools, which spent $9,380 per student.  The highest cost per pupil belongs to Wheeler Central Public School, which spent a whopping $28,276 for every K-12 student.

The comparisons are at:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Is 'Support Dorchester Businesses Month'

September is "Support Dorchester Businesses Month."

Raise your right hand and repeat: "I pledge to support my fellow Dorchester residents by buying local. From gasoline and dining, mechanical repair to cars, antiques and crafts, to banking services and auction services, and haircuts to wellness services and baked goods, I’ll buy from Dorchester businesses whenever possible because I know it supports my friends, neighbors, and community."

Throughout the entire month, readers are especially encouraged to support our community businesses by doing all their business in Dorchester whenever possible. 

Whether its dining out, getting your hair done, filling up the tank, buying a new set of tires, opening a savings account, purchasing a used vehicle, or repairing the lawn mower, many forms of commerce can be conducted right here in town.

And every dollar counts, especially in these economically challenging times. In addition to doing your business in town, remind friends and family that it is important to keep their dollars in Dorchester. Also, consider referring those who reside in the country and nearby towns to give Dorchester a try.

Help your fellow Dorchester residents who choose to do business here and employ others in our community.  

Let the next 30 days be a reminder that the most important step in investing in the community is supporting our existing businesses.