Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nebraska Named A Top 10 State For Retirement


Forget retirement in Florida.  A new study by financial website Bankrate.com finds that Nebraska is a top 10 state for retirees.  

Bankrate examined all 50 states, looking at a variety of factors that are important to seniors.  Fox Business noted that, surprisingly, most of the best states for retirement were those in the Midwest and West.  

Ranked No. 10 overall, Nebraska boasts a low cost-of-living and strong health care system, according to the Bankrate study.  

Nebraska posted high scores in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index, which measures residents' happiness and satisfaction with their surroundings in five areas: sense of purpose, feelings about their community, as well as social, financial and physical well-being.  

Despite its reputation for snow, Bankrate said Nebraska's weather was 21st best in the country, with abundant sunshine and relatively mild summers.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NEWS BRIEFS: DHS Journalists Compete; Weber And Behrens Named Academic All-Staters


  • DHS Journalists Compete Against Class A Schools: Continuing its long run of excellence in journalism, Dorchester High School recently sent some of its students to compete in the Journalism Education Association Winter High School Journalism Competition. Around two dozen schools competed in the even. Most of the schools were from Omaha or other Class A schools, while Dorchester was the smallest school represented. Brittney Zoubek received an "excellent" for her Yearbook Theme Copy Writing; Zoe McKnight received an honorable mention for in the category of Sports/Action Photography; Makenna Bird received an honorable mention for Yearbook Layout and an honorable mention for Yearbook Sports Feature; Marivelle Magana received an honorable mention for Yearbook Theme Copy Writing, and the team of Brittany Knorr, Marivelle Magana, and Brittney Zoubek received an honorable mention for Yearbook Theme Development. These Longhorns are advised by Mrs. Sandy Severance. 
  • Dorchester Girls Place 4th At Turkey Creek Track And Field: The DHS girls took fourth place yesterday at the Turkey Creek Track And Field Invitational in Friend, outscoring both Exeter-Milligan and the Bulldogs.  The Lady Longhorns placed first in the triple jump, shot put and discus events.  Word has it that the future for Dorchester's female athletics is bright, as a crop of talented junior high athletes are also making their presence known.
  • DHS Girls Named Academic All-Staters: Dorchester's Jacee Weber and Avery Behrens excelled on the court and in the classroom this year.  As a result, the Lincoln Journal Star has named the duo to its Class D2 Academic All-State Honorable Mention rolls for girls basketball.  Congrats to Jacee and Avery.
  • The Fiscal Insanity Of Gravel Streets: The minutes from the Dorchester Village Board's March meeting report that board members recently heard from an Olsson Associates representative, who made recommendations for street improvements.  Those recommendations dealt with intersections, as well as resurfacing existing paved streets, we have learned, but they were rejected "due to lack of available funds."  Meanwhile, the Village is currently accepting bids for delivery and spread of 480 tons of gravel -- for the latest round of gravel coating on those unpaved streets.  Consider that it will likely cost the Village at least $30 a ton (a conservative estimate) to bring the gravel and drop it on the streets.  This will cost around $15,000, plus the cost of labor for its employees to spread and maintain.  This gets to be an expensive annual habit and is proof that over the decades, gravel streets are quite expensive, too.  We say, "Stop the madness," and instead put some momentum into long-term street planning.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Dorchester Foundation Raising Funds For Cemetery Directory


The Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is working on its next project -- a directory for the Dorchester Cemetery.

This structure will help loved ones and friends find the burial site of those who have been laid to rest in our community's cemetery just east of the village.

To help raise the necessary funds for this important project, the Foundation is offering an engraved brick sponsorship, according to an e-mail we received.

Personalized engraved bricks will be used in the construction of the cemetery directory.  

  • The price for a 4” x 8” brick with one or two 16 character lines (spaces are counted) is $100 or 3 lines for $125.
  • An 8” x 8” brick with one to six lines is $200; or adding a logo with print on the 8” x 8” brick is $250.
  • This sponsorship is similar to the Park Shelter brick wall. 
  • DEADLINE TO PLACE ORDERS IS JUNE 15, 2016.

To download and print a contribution form, click here.

Established over a decade ago, the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is guided by one central mission:  To raise funds for worthy projects that will enhance Dorchester and our quality of life.  Contributions to the Foundation are deductible for income and estate tax purposes.  You may consider giving cash, outright gifts (including bushels of grain), memorial gifts, deferred gifts (trusts-life insurance policies etc.), gift annuity or real estate.

A non-profit affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation, the Dorchester Community Foundation has been instrumental in various projects and activities.  These include the city park's new playground equipment and shelter; annual scholarships; the Charlie Havlat Memorial; the village welcome signs; and the steak and chicken feeds.

See the contribution form for more details.  Make checks payable to: Dorchester Community Foundation Fund, c/o Peg Bergmeyer,101 Washington Ave., Dorchester, NE 68343.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Road Construction, Nice Homes For Sale


Road Construction Coming Soon:  With spring comes barricades, delayed traffic and all the other joys that come with road construction and repair.  It appears the Nebraska Dept. of Roads plans to be working in our area sometime in 2016 as Highway 6 between Friend and Dorchester will be resurfaced to repair damage from weather and heavy trucks and farm equipment.  Those traveling between Friend and Dorchester should plan accordingly.  We've also heard the spur on the west side of Dorchester may be getting resurfaced, complete with shoulders.  This is long overdue, but we won't hold our breath.

Do You Have News Or Announcements For The Times?: The Dorchester Times tries hard to be your community news source. We rely on information provided by area residents, community leaders, school officials, students and alumni. If you know of a Dorchester-area event or story, send your stories to Dorchester.Times@gmail.com.  Or message us on our Facebook 'Vil Dweller' account. Photos are also welcome.

Nice Homes Coming Up For Sale Soon In Dorchester: We been told by reliable sources that at least three upper-end homes will soon be for sale in Dorchester.  If you're looking for a nicer home in Dorchester, we expect the announcements to be made in the next few days or weeks.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dorchester Easter Egg Hunt Is Saturday; Egg Coloring Tonight


Hey, kids! 

The Easter Bunny is planning to drop by Dorchester. 

So mark your calendars and practice your egg hunting skills.  

The Dorchester Easter Egg Hunt will take place this Saturday, March 26. 

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at the high school football field.

All children in preschool through fourth grade are invited to take part and be part of this special holiday tradition in our community.

The hunt is sponsored by the DVFD and the Dorchester American Legion Post 264.

For those kids who want to have fun getting Easter eggs ready for the big hunt, all children are invited to help color the eggs on Friday evening, March 25, at 7 p.m. at the Dorchester Fire Hall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ALERT: Late March Snowfall Could Bring Accumulation


The calendar tells us it's spring. But this is Nebraska, so despite today's mid-70s on the thermometer, we could find ourselves shoveling snow in a matter of hours.

Snowfalls could exceed 8" in central and northeastern Nebraska.

According to our friends at 10/11 News in Lincoln, today's (Tuesday's) highs will be well above average, but by tonight and Wednesday, showers and thunderstorms will be possible. Precipitation will be possible through much of the day Wednesday, as temperatures will fall during the day. Rain is expected first before changing to snow from west to east across the state during the day and into the evening. Windy conditions are likely so that means blowing snow could be possible Wednesday afternoon and night. It is still a bit too early to tell exact snowfall amounts, but light to moderate snowfall accumulation is possible. 

Some lingering snow possible early Thursday, then becoming partly cloudy with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s and breezy.

Another system could move through the area late Friday into Saturday. Once again, rain and snow will be possible. Some small chances of rain and snow could linger into Sunday and next Monday as well.

Stay tuned to the Dorchester Times forecast for the latest details...


Sunday, March 20, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Ron Velder Named Ag-Business Man Of The Year


Velder Named Agri-Business Man Of The Year: Congratulations to Ron Velder of Farmers Cooperative.  Velder, an alumnus of DHS (Class of 1972) was recognized at the 48th annual Seward County Ag Recognition Banquet last week during National Ag Week.  For his vision and leadership, Velder was named the agri-businessman of the year before roughly 500 people.  Velder has been employed by Farmers Cooperative since 1973 and became CEO in 1994.  The Seward newspaper writes: "Velder has always put the farmer’s interest first and has made sound business decisions that have served Farmer’s Cooperative well. Velder has provided that unique blend of leadership and vision needed to consolidate and grow a farmer owned cooperative organization that serves the needs of more than 6,500 member producers." Congratulations, Ron.

Sponsors Of Dorchester Alumni Basketball Tournament: This weekend's DHS Alumni Tournament once again brought together alumni and old friends from far and near. (UPDATE: An e-mail received late Sunday afternoon reports that Drew Denker's team won the tournament, taking the championship contest 56-51.) It also provided an important to our main street, the Dorchester Foundation, the UMC, and the DHS athletic program.  The tournament was sponsored by:  Heath Sports and Tees (Crete), Stutzman Digging, Farmers Cooperative, First State Bank, The Well, Spring Creek Repair and Farm Supply, Runza (Crete), BZ Construction, Clark's Lawn Service, City Slickers Bar and Grill, Papik Seeds, Holly Well Drilling, Barley's Specialties, Rains Simmentals, Weber Feedyards LLC, JR's Stor-All, Complete Ag, Tyser Auto Sales, and Novak Auction Service.

Dorchester Siren Testing On Monday Night:  Dorchester will be testing its community siren emergency communication system on Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m.  When you hear the sirens, remember it is only a test.

Did The County Clerk's Office Send Confusing Signals?:  Regarding the filing deadline for Dorchester school board and village board seats, it seems mixed information came from the county clerk's office.  In a recent Times story, one reader wrote: "It's unfortunate that the individuals posting their great ideas didn't put their name on the ballot for election."  That remark drew this response: "When you have misinformation coming from the county clerk's office, I don't think you can blame people for not putting their name on the ballot. I know of at least three people who called the clerk's office and were told they had until August." A Times staffer was given a similar story by an individual who called the county clerk's office himself.  Taxpayers count on government (local, county, state and federal) to have correct information available at all times.  We hope this situation isn't repeated.

Friday, March 18, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Big Weekend In The Village


This is one of Dorchester's biggest weekends of the year.  The village will be busting with activity.  Here's a look at some of this weekend's events:
  • Alumni Basketball Tourney: The annual three-day DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year.  A tradition that started in March 1995 under then coach Mark Wragge and then Scott Pohl, the tournament is still going strong.  We've heard that at least eight or nine teams will be competing on the hardwood this year -- enough to ensure some fierce competition and friendly rivalries.  Games start tonight (Friday) at 6 p.m. at the DHS gym and will run until the championship at mid-afternoon on Sunday.
  • Community Foundation Dinner On Saturday Night: The annual Dorchester Community Foundation's Spring Steak and Hamburger Feed will be held at the Dorchester Community Hall and Legion Hall Saturday night from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Diners can choose a 12 oz. rib eye, along with salad, potato or chips, bread, drink and dessert. Or choose the hamburger meal, which includes all the aforementioned side dishes.  This event has been one of the most popular in Dorchester for the past seven years. Proceeds from the feed will go to help pay for Foundation projects. (By the way, the Foundation is currently raising funds to erect a much needed cemetery directory for the Village of Dorchester’s cemetery. If you would like to purchase an engraved brick to have placed on the Directory on behalf of your family or loved one, please complete the brick sponsorship form no later than June 15, 2016. The form can be found on the Foundation's Facebook page or by clicking here.)
  • City Slickers All Weekend Long: We've heard that City Slickers will be running food and drink specials all weekend long, just as Joe's Place and Ben's Iron Grill did in previous years.  The weekend will be a perfect opportunity for alumni and their friends and family to see all the recent renovations made inside and outside their favorite pub.
  • Soup And Sandwiches At UMC:  On Sunday, March 20, at the Dorchester Methodist Church, the UMC ladies will host their annual soup and sandwich luncheon.  This gathering always draws quite a crowd, so get there plenty early.  Doors will open at 11 a.m. and food will be served up until 1 p.m.  Whether you fancy chili, clam chowder, chicken noodle or liver dumpling soup, you'll be sure to find it.  Also served will be sandwiches, relishes and some of Nebraska's very best deserts.  There is no charge for the event -- just a free-will offering. 
  • Saline Center Consignment Sale:  The huge Saline Center Consignment Sale is also this Sunday, March 20, near Dorchester on Highway 15.  It starts at 9:30 a.m. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

OUR OPINION: Dorchester Needs A Housing Plan


Some interesting comments were left on our post regarding the hiring of a new superintendent for Dorchester Public Schools.

An anonymous reader wrote: "It would be great to see our superintendent live in the school district as Galen Johnson and others did. I know housing is a challenge but I think a superintendent living in the district can set the example for other school employees that 'we are all in this together.'"

That drew reaction from another anonymous reader who wrote: "Where exactly are they going to live in our district? Too bad the town doesn't have any (housing) options."

Dorchester's housing problem is not unique. A shortage of quality housing plagues most Nebraska communities that are either growing or sustaining their population.  In fact, housing is a problem throughout much of rural America.

Don't take just our word.  This week, Mark Hansen, president of West Gate Mortgage in Lincoln, wrote a column published by the Journal Star regarding Nebraska's housing shortage.  

Hansen heads a task force to address the housing shortage across the state.  He writes: "In many communities, a large portion of the housing stock is pre-1950. ... Proactive community leadership must become involved to solve this issue."

According to Hansen, the supply of houses available for sale is at historical lows due to "a shortage of builders and qualified trades people available in outstate Nebraska to remodel existing or build new."  Also, "new construction costs often exceed the market value in outstate markets."  (We know this is often the case in Dorchester.)

According to Hansen, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. "Each local community will have to exercise leadership, planning, collaboration, and persistence to achieve success," he writes.  "Nothing will happen without local leadership, but great things can happen with committed local leadership."

Hansen points to communities like North Platte, which has created a local grant program to stimulate new construction, and Scottsbluff, which operates a purchase-rehab-resale program that buys old homes, renovates them with local correctional labor, then puts the improved properties back on the market. 

He also noted that "more than 20 Nebraska communities are utilizing locally driven and locally approved tax increment financing (TIF) strategies to open new lots for construction. Without TIF, costs to install the modern, necessary, public infrastructure would make the lot construction cost prohibitive."

What can Dorchester do to address our housing challenge?  The Times recommends the following steps:

  • Get a housing plan in place.  As Hansen wrote, the housing problem calls for local leadership.  That means the village board, the school board, and even local volunteer groups need to collaborate and craft a long-term housing plan.  Government and volunteer groups can't fix the problem by themselves or fund the efforts, but they can build consensus, establish a blueprint and bring together those with resources.
  • Work with experts -- like those at the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) -- to study best practices, success stories, programs, and ideas implemented by regional towns of our size to encourage new housing development.
  • Focus on retaining our older residents and young people.  While it's always nice to attract new residents, no one will care about a community as much as those who've already lived there.  What does Dorchester need to keep are older residents here after they've reached an age they can no longer take care of their current homes? How do we convince young Dorchester natives they should consider making Dorchester their home, even if they currently live in a nearby community?
  • Attract smaller, more affordable housing projects.  While it may not make financial sense to build that $500,000 home in our community, Dorchester could easily support new apartments or duplexes, according to an informal poll conducted by Dorchester Times staff.  It's unlikely that a single investor would take the risk of such a project, so a collective effort will be needed to bring together investors who want to see Dorchester's housing market grow.  
  • Address abandoned houses.  About 10% of houses in Dorchester are currently unoccupied.  Nothing is harder on a small community than vacant homes -- especially run-down, deteriorating vacant homes.  In the past, this blog has conducted an online poll in which nearly two-thirds of Times readers wanted the Dorchester Village Board to consider imposing a blight tax on neglected or abandoned properties in town.  This concept has been implemented in communities across the country.  If a home has been unoccupied for more than 12 months (verified through water and electricity use), and there is no attempt to sell or rent the property, a $100 per month fine would surely get the owner's attention.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hundreds Of Jobs Available In Dorchester Area


Need a job? Know someone looking for a job?  

Our town needs more residents of working age.  That's why the folks behind this blog want to help current and potential future residents find a career that allows them to help Dorchester prosper.

The Times has scoured all our sources to ensure that Dorchester area residents who want to work can work. 

Here is what we've found in the current job market:
  • Monster.com:  Check out this site for current openings in the Dorchester area with the U.S. Boarder Patrol, Smithfield Meats, DirectTV, NestlePurina Petcare, and many others.
  • NE Works:  This website, run by the Nebraska Labor Department, shows 247 job opportunities within 10 minutes of Dorchester, including many in Crete and Milford.
  • Village Staff:  The Village of Dorchester is looking for part-time outdoor summer help, as well as a part-time dumpsite attendant.  If you or someone you know is interested, contact Village Hall at (402) 946-3201.
  • Dorchester School:  A business secretary will be needed beginning in at the end of this school year, the Times has been told.  Applicants should use this website for more information.
  • Farmers Cooperative:  Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Dorchester, currently has 11 openings but none is in Dorchester.  Nearby openings are in Wilber, Milford and Exeter.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dorchester Music Program Is Turning Heads


Decades ago, Dorchester Public Schools was recognized across the region for having a great band and music program. Those days are coming back, it appears.

Two weeks ago, on Feb. 29, the following students represented Dorchester Elementary at the Sing Around Nebraska music festival in Omaha:
  • Jacob Cerny
  • Brett Ladely
  • Kiarra Corning
  • Kayli Carey
  • Fernie Perez
  • Jose Tellez
  • Bayli Kratochvil
  • Carly Rains
  • Bryer Shaw
  • Dorothy Simmons
Meanwhile, the following Dorchester students were accepted into the Crossroads conference honor band competition that will take place March 21:  
  • Tim Havlat - trombone
  • Makenna Bird - trumpet
  • Moises Martinez - clarinet
  • Jacee Zoubek - clarinet (out of the 80-plus kids accepted, only three were 7th graders, and Jacee beat out numerous upper class men to gain a spot.) 
It's also worth mentioning that Keegan Sholty earned a spot in the Crossroads Conference honor choir as a tenor.  Breanna Muff (soprano) and Danni McKnight (alto) both made it into the Merdian honor choir competition that will take place April 1. This group only takes 20 students per part and more than 80 students auditioned per category.

Alli Novak (baritone sax) and Lena Zahourek (bass clarinet) and Abbey Zoubek (French horn) made the Meridian honor band, while the following students will be doing solos at Crete Band invitational on March 29:
  • Lena Zahourek - bass clarinet
  • Jacee Zoubek - clarinet
  • Alli Novak - alto sax
  • Jaki Acosta - snare
  • Abbey Zoubek - French horn 
  • Cassie Cervantes - flute
  • Holly Nigh - flute
  • Mitchell Kratochvil - snare
  • Christian Weber - French horn
The 6-8 concert band will also be performing/judged.  Dorchester band and choir will both be judged at the district music festival on April 22, in addition to the following soloists:
  • Tim Havlat - trombone
  • Moises Martinez - clarinet
  • Keegan Sholty - vocal 
  • Lynn Cooke - vocal
  • Harmony Shepherd - vocal 
A job well done to the DHS music program.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lisec, Zahourek, Duchek, Wells, Baehrens Honored For Artwork


Dorchester student Cole Lisec has been recognized for his art talent.

The Times has learned that a water droplet painting that Cole created last year when he was in the 8th grade has been selected by NebraskaLand Magazine as part of the Nebraska Statehood display. 

Cole's artwork is in very select company.  In total, there were only 12 student artworks from across the state selected for this honor.  

We are told that Cole's parents accompanied him to the capital last month for an awards presentation.  

Meanwhile, DPS junior high student Lena Zahourek's and elementary school student Jayana Duchek's state fair artwork was included in a photo presentation that won first place in the category of "Seasons in Nebraska."

In other art news, DPS students Lydia Wells (12th grade) and Baylor Behrens (3rd grade) currently have artwork on display for Youth Art Month at the State Capitol. They have been invited to a reception at the capitol this Saturday.  

The Times has been informed that March is "Celebrate the Arts Month in our schools.  The artwork of DPS students may be viewed online at Artsonia.com (search for Dorchester Elementary).  To see DPS artwork in person, check out the school hallways for current art projects, as elementary students are getting to create their clay projects this week.

BREAKING NEWS: Daryl Schrunk To Become Next Superintendent Of DPS


Daryl Schrunk of Columbus has accepted an offer to become the next superintendent of Dorchester Public Schools.

Schrunk is in his forties, and is currently serving his fifth year with the Columbus Lakeview Community School district. Lakeview has a statewide reputation for being an incredible district with great programs and high student achievement.

Schrunk has 13 years of experience as a Nebraska school administrator, and was principal at Platte Center Elementary before a districtwide elementary principal position was created for the current school year.  

The Times' research shows that Schrunk is not only an educator but a strong community leader, as well.  For example, he served as the Columbus Visitor Bureau’s Sports and Activities Council director.  We have received very positive reports from our contacts in the Columbus area.

This appears to be a tremendous hire by the Dorchester School Board and a fantastic opportunity for DPS to excel in the future.

Developing...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Marquee Is Up, New Superintendent Could Be Announced Soon


Here's the latest breaking news from Dorchester and the surrounding area:

Helen Stehlik Celebrates 80th Birthday: Helen (Lisec) Stehlik of Dorchester will celebrate her 80th birthday on Tuesday, March 15. She has four children, Joyce Chambers, Susan Sedlak, John Stehlik and Jim Stehlik.  To celebrate, her family is throwing her a card shower. Birthday greetings may be sent to her at 463 Co. Rd. 1700, Dorchester, NE 68343.

DPS Superintendent Announcement Expected Soon:  In January, Dorchester Public School Superintendent Mitch Kubicek announced he would be resigning from DPS at the end of the school year. Kubicek has been part of the DPS community since 2008, just as the new school building opened its doors for the first time.   Replacing him will be a difficult task, but school board members this week mulled over dozens of applications from those interested in becoming DPS' next superintendent.  Sources tell us an offer to an extremely talented leader has been made.  The hiring of a superintendent is is an important selection -- not only for the school but for the entire community.  If our sources are correct, this individual is well suited to help our students and community, and he understands the challenges and many opportunities facing Dorchester.

New Marquee Is Up And Running:  Dorchester's new electronic marquee up and running.  While the frame remains the same as the marquee installed in 2007, the orange-and-black electronic sign that now graces Dorchester's Main Street median now displays a color billboard face.  It's easier to read the date, time, temperature and announcements of town events. Town leaders deserve credit for replacing the broken marquee with something of this quality.  The electronic marquee keeps all of our community's residents in the know.

Need Work? Village Looking For Help:  The Village of Dorchester is looking for part-time outdoor summer help, as well as a part-time dumpsite attendant.  If you or someone you know is interested, contact Village Hall at 402-946-3201.

Dorchester Man Sentenced For Sex Assault Gets New Trial:  The Associated Press, which runs worldwide, is reporting that a Dorchester man found guilty of first-degree sexual assault of a child in 2014 has been granted a new trial by the Nebraska Court of Appeals.  The AP wire says 36-year-old Raymundo Perez-Cruz's trial court judge abused his discretion by denying Perez-Cruz a jury trial because he waived it while trying to work out a plea agreement.  Perez-Cruz is accused of grabbing a 13-year-old girl two summers ago and putting her in the backseat of his car before driving her to a lake near Crete, where prosecutors say the girl said he forced himself on her.  Perez-Cruz had been sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison last year. The conviction and sentence have been reversed and the case will go back to Lancaster County District Court.  

Farmers Co-op Mentioned In Story About Ethanol Business Bankruptcy:  Dorchester made the news again today in a story about the bankruptcy of a Spanish company, Abengoa, that owns shuttered ethanol plants at Ravenna and York. The company has millions of dollars in debts to Nebraska companies and local governments that may not be repaid.  Among the Nebraska businesses mentioned in the story is Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester, which has contested a $7 million bankruptcy loan to Abengoa Bioenergy last week over concerns that some of the money could be funneled to Spain, according to Reuters. 

Legislature Votes To Dole Out Food Stamps To Drug Dealers: While scanning the news wires, we read that Nebraska lawmakers voted 31-5 today to allow felons with drug convictions to receive food stamps.  That's right -- our $12,000-a-year state senators voted 31-5 to let convicted drug dealers get food stamps, which more than 40 million Americans already receive.  This comes a year after the Legislature repealed the state's death penalty and watered down the state's mandatory minimum criminal sentencing laws. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

How Well Do You Know Your Dorchester History?


Dorchester is a community with a deep, proud past.  

When it comes to the history of our community, there is much in our town that we take for granted -- and a lot more that most of us with Dorchester ties simply do not know.

The Times staff has compiled a handful of important Dorchester history questions for our readers.  

See how many you can answer correctly.

1.)  When was Dorchester's main street (Washington Ave.) paved?

2.)  How many newspapers has Dorchester had?

3.)  When did telephone service come to Dorchester?

4.)  How many taverns did Dorchester have 50 years ago -- in the 1960s?

5.)  Who owned Dorchester's first auto dealer and when?

---------------

Answers:

1.) Dorchester's main street was paved in late April 1936 and opened to traffic again on May 7 of that year.  The funding for the project came mostly from the federal Works Project Administration (PWA) under the Roosevelt administration, which was trying to work its way out of the Great Depression with public works spending. 


2.)  Three newspapers have been printed in Dorchester: the Dorchester Star (1870s-1950); the Dorchester Leader (1930s-1940s); and the Dorchester Booster (1941-1946).


3.) Telephone service came to Dorchester in 1905, when 247 phones were installed. The operator and switch board were located in the white building on the north end of main street. In 1952, dial phones came to the community, with 257 dial telephones installed.


4.) In the 1960s, Dorchester was home to three taverns.  Other businesses in Dorchester in the 1960s included the bank, two beauty salons, two auto garages, two grocery stores, one mortuary, one produce station, one blacksmith and welder, two farm implement retailers, a laundromat, one meat market, a plumbing and heating serviceman, one restaurant, one variety store, one ceramic store, one drug store, one lumber yard and the Farmers Cooperative.


5.) John Freeouf was Dorchester's first automobile dealer, starting in 1913.  He had to teach his customers to drive with every sale he made.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Soup And Sandwiches Luncheon At Church, March 20


The Dorchester United Methodist Women are planning an event that is sure to tantalize the taste buds.  

On Sunday, March 20, at the Dorchester Methodist Church, the UMC ladies will host their annual soup and sandwich luncheon.  This gathering always draws quite a crowd, so get there plenty early.  

Doors will open at 11 a.m. and food will be served up until 1 p.m.

This will be part of the DHS Alumni Tournament weekend, which also features the Dorchester Community Foundation Steak Dinner.  Use this time to catch up with old friends.

Whether you fancy chili, clam chowder, chicken noodle or liver dumpling soup, you'll be sure to find it.  Also served will be sandwiches, relishes and some of Nebraska's very best deserts.

There is no charge for the event -- just a free-will offering.  


Support a good cause; support the Dorchester UMW.

Investment Property Now Available In Dorchester


Dorchester is getting noticed for all the right reasons. Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • A new K-12 school.
  • A peaceful and safe community.
  • A new water tower and upgraded sewer system.
  • The lowest school property tax levy in the county.
  • Affordable cost of living.
  • One of the largest agri-business employers (Farmers Cooperative) in the state.
  • Good neighbors.
  • A 10-minute drive from Crete and Seward.  Only 30 minutes to Lincoln. Located next to two highways and 10 minutes from Interstate 80. 
However, one challenge facing Dorchester is available housing.  

We've heard from many readers who've said they would like to move to Dorchester, if only homes were available.


Today, we showcase a quality investment property.  For those who want to downsize, this home would be ideal -- to live in one half and rent the other.  
We encourage you to take a look.



806 Lincoln: Newly remodeled into a duplex. The main level offers a spacious 2 Bedroom unit with large Living Room, Kitchen and Bath/Laundry. The upper level has its own entrance with studio type apartment. Has vinyl siding, newer interior paint, flooring and much more. Great investment, or live in one unit and have the other make the house payment.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Blood Drive At DPS This Monday, Superintendent Search Underway


Blood Drive This Monday At School:  Donating blood is one of the most selfless acts.  When you donate blood, there's no telling who you'll be helping. Maybe a mother, a father, a son or daughter. A baby. Maybe a person involved in a car accident. Perhaps one of your own loved ones or friends. There will be a blood drive at the Dorchester School this coming Monday, March 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Those interested in donating blood can call the school (946-2781) or you can just walk in on Monday.

DPS Superintendent Search Underway:  In January, we informed readers that Dorchester Public School Superintendent Mitch Kubicek would be resigning from DPS at the end of the school year. Kubicek has been part of the DPS community since 2008, just as the new school building opened its doors for the first time.   Replacing him will be a difficult task, but school board members on Wednesday night met to review the nearly 30 applications that DPS received from those interested in becoming Dorchester's next superintendent.  The word we've received is that the applicant pool has been narrowed down to just a handful of individuals and a new hire will be made soon.

Upkeep Of Dorchester's Paved Streets:  Paving may be a dirty word to some residents when it comes to Dorchester's streets.  But we can all agree that Dorchester should and must maintain the paved streets we already have.  This year, most of Dorchester's paved streets turn 37 years old.  (Main street is older.)  While our town's gravel streets get new gravel and are maintained every year, paved streets are largely neglected.  Now they're showing major wear and tear -- from crumbling intersections to uneven surfaces -- thanks to the disproportionately high amount of traffic they get.  It would be great to see village leaders compromise and make plans to resurface and upkeep our main arteries and vital street infrastructure.  (Another suggestion: Perhaps intersections could be paved further back so that gravel doesn't flow onto our paved streets after heavy rainfalls.)

Politics In The Classroom: This week, we heard firsthand from a woman in a neighboring community who said her granddaughter's 8th grade class was told by their teacher that a certain Republican presidential candidate was "just like Hitler." It's sad how political our country has become. Perhaps we should not be surprised when this polarization creeps into the classroom. But school officials and school boards (and parents) are duty-bound to guard against the politicizing of the taxpayer-funded classroom.  The Supreme Court has ruled that school boards may adopt policies that prohibit employees from discussing personal political views with students during instructional time.  Moreover, if the employee is engaging in political activities during his or her working hours instead of performing work, the school district can take disciplinary action. Ask your kids if their teachers have discussed the election (which is completely appropriate, by the way) and what the teacher has said about the candidates.  Educators are paid by hardworking taxpayers of all political stripes; teachers should be encouraging developing minds to fairly consider all sides and issues, not exerting their political influence. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10/11 News Profiles Saline County Museum


10/11 News and its "Pure Nebraska" program this week spotlighted the Saline County Museum in Dorchester.  We learned about this at the museum's social media account.

Readers can see the 10/11 News special on the county museum by clicking here.

The Pure Nebraska segment notes that the Saline County Historical Society was established in 1957. The first museum building was put up in 1964 and now there are 11 on the property.

The museum is filled with memorabilia from all over Saline County. 

"We have a lot of things that catch people's interest," said Judy Rada, president, Saline County Historical Society.  There is a different part of history inside each building. The Dorchester depot, for example, sat cross Highway 33 for 100 years and today holds memories of the railroad. 

You can also see a log cabin dating back to 1866 and the Henry Burden home, which was built by the first (and perhaps only) black homesteader in the county.

The Pure Nebraska special mentions the woman who started the museum in the 1950's, Rosa Dusanek, who "was the one who pushed, pulled, whatever she needed to do to get the Saline County museum and going."

The museum isn't just a place for people to see old artifacts; they can also trace their family history.  Rada said: "We have about 20,000 obituaries here on the premises along with cemetery records, marriage records -- so people doing genealogy research have a connection at the Saline County Museum."