Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Gatherings Start Early This Year In Dorchester

Dorchester has some serious Christmas spirit.

The village has its Christmas lights up.  Nearly a quarter of the homes in Dorchester already have Christmas decorations displayed.  And there are many Christmas gatherings planned for the first 10 days of December.

The first is Thursday night's (Dec. 1) Dorchester Elementary School concert, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the school.  This is always a seasonal favorite in the community.

On Sunday, Dec. 4., the Dorchester Legion and Legion Auxiliary will host their Christmas program and supper.  This popular event begins at 5:30 p.m. and the entire community is invited.

And don't forget that Dorchester's "Morning with Santa" is set for Saturday, December 10, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Dorchester Community Building.  There is no charge for this special event, which is sponsored by the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DHS Girls Basketball Team Shooting For Even More Success In 2016-17

Dorchester's Lady Longhorn basketball team is entering a new season with big expectations.

Last year, DHS went 12-10 to wrap up the year with a winning season.  The Lady Longhorns want to improve on that foundation this season.

Under now-veteran coach and DHS alum Brandon Bruha, the Dorchester girls will return some key players, including seniors Jacee Weber and Bailey Velder, as well as junior Makenna Bird.

DHS will also be introducing some younger talent into this year's lineup, insiders say.

(UPDATE 12/1: The DHS girls' basketball team made the contenders list for the preseason Class D2 rankings by the Lincoln Journal Star.  Click here to see the rankings.  In Class D1, Friend is No. 2.  In Class B, Crete is a contender.)

The team will tip off at 6 p.m. this Friday at home against Meridian to open the 2016-2017 campaign. 

Dorchester Girls 2016-2017 Basketball

12/02/16  Meridian  
12/06/16  Diller-Odell  
12/08/16  Exeter-Milligan
12/09/16  @ BDS
12/13/16  @ Harvard
12/15/16  Osceola
12/29-12/30 (To Be Determined) Weeping Water Holiday Tournament Weeping Water
01/03/17  College View Academy
01/05/17  Sterling
01/10/17  @ Friend
01/12/17  @ East Butler
01/13/17  @ High Plains Community  
01/17/17  Cross County
01/20/17  @ Shelby-Rising City
01/21-01/27 (To Be Determined) Crossroads Conference Tournament @ York
01/31/17  Parkview Christian
02/02/17  @ Nebraska Lutheran
02/03/17  Giltner
02/07/17  @ Hampton
02/10/17  @ McCool Junction

Monday, November 28, 2016

SPORTS ROUNDUP: DHS Volleyballers Get Recognized By Lincoln Newspaper

Here's what's trending at the Times:
  • Jacee Weber Earns Spot on LJS All-State Team:  DHS senior Jacee Weber was named to the Lincoln Journal Star's second team for Class D2.  Weber has committed to playing volleyball next season for Division II Wayne State.  Weber was also named to the first team of the Crossroads Conference, while DHS senior Maru Ruiz earned honorable mention all conference.  DHS freshman Abby Plouzek received honorable mention from the LJS for her volleyball efforts.
  • Dustin Nelson Named First Team For District:  Milford-Dorchester's Dustin Nelson was named first team all district for his play on the gridiron this season, showing that Dorchester students can indeed play Class C1 football.
  • Tim Havlat, Ridge Hoffan Receive One-Act Play Honors:  Tim Havlat and Ridge Hoffman put the spotlight on DHS' drama program recently when they received superior ratings at the Crossroads Conference one-act performance.  (We know this isn't necessary a sporting activity, but we wanted to recognize DHS' budding talent on the stage.)  For more, see the Friend Sentinel's stand-alone photo with caption by clicking here.
  • Junior High Basketball Tourney Is Dec. 3:  This Saturday, Dec. 3, Dorchester will host a junior high boys and girls basketball tournament.  The public is encouraged to attend this special event and cheer on the up-and-coming Longhorn athletes.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

DHS Boys Basketball Team Tips Off Friday Night

Basketball season begins this week.  The Dorchester boys team will tip off for the first time this season on Friday night, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at home against the Meridian Mustangs.

Last season, a very young DHS team concluded its campaign with only a handful of wins, as DHS boys athletics continued to suffer from low participation numbers and small class sizes.

This year's Longhorns boys squad looks to build a strong foundation for the future, according to insiders.

Stay tuned all season long to get the latest Dorchester sports news.  

And be sure to support the Longhorns!


12/02/16 Meridian
12/06/16 Diller-Odell
12/09/16 @ BDS 
12/13/16 @ Harvard
12/15/16 Osceola
12/29-12/30  (To Be Determined)  Weeping Water Holiday Tournament
01/03/17 College View Academy
01/05/17 Sterling
01/10/17 @ Friend
01/12/17 @ East Butler
01/13/17 @ High Plains Community
01/17/17 Cross County
01/20/17 @ Shelby-Rising City
01/21-01/27   (To Be Determined)   Crossroads Conference Tournament @York
02/02/17 @ Nebraska Lutheran
02/03/17 Giltner
02/07/17 @ Hampton
02/10/17 @ McCool Junction
02/17/17 Exeter-Milligan

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunday Shopping Spree Awaits At Dorchester FBLA's Holiday Vendor Gathering

Dorchester's Future Business Leaders of America chapter will be hosting a Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School Gymnasium this Sunday, Nov. 27, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

The event is intended to raise money for Longhorn students who attend the National FBLA Conference. 

There will be dozens of vendors at this huge event, making it the perfect venue to find high quality and unique Christmas gifts for your friends and loved ones.

For those who are unfamiliar, the FBLA is a nationwide career and technical student organization.  Established in 1940, FBLA is non-profit organization of high school ("FBLA"), middle school ("Middle Level"), and even college ("PBL") students, as well as professional members ("Professional Division"), who primarily help students transition to the business world. 

FBLA is the largest student-run organization in the United States.  It is also one of the top 10 organizations listed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dorchester's FBLA charter has been active for 25 years.  While participation numbers in some other DHS activities have declined, DHS' FBLA membership today claims around three dozen students -- impressive for a Class D school.

Over the years, Dorchester has become a force to be reckoned within the FBLA universe and its statewide competitions. Last year, Dorchester took second place at the Nebraska FBLA competition for the Market Share Award, for example.

In the 2010-11 school year, Dorchester's Jessica Hansen was elected as Nebraska's FBLA state secretary.  Other Dorchester alumni have served as state FBLA officers over the years.

The Dorchester community can be proud of its FBLA chapter and should support its FBLA members by attending this Sunday's Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Well-Paying Jobs Now Available In Dorchester

Need a job? 

Know someone who's looking for a job? We have good news.

One of Nebraska's largest ag cooperatives, Farmers Cooperative currently has three 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 the position of accounts payable/accounts receivable (accounting degree preferred).

Other full-time openings in Dorchester include agronomy billing/accounting, as well a scale operator.  

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

All applications should be sent to Taylor in Dorchester by e-mailing Taylor at

If you want to find work outside of Dorchester, you'll be glad to know there are more than 300 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 available career opportunities in Saline County right now.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can Small Towns Be Cool?

A few years ago, a posting on Small Biz Survival -- a blog dedicated to small and rural business interests -- asked the $1 million question: "Can Small Towns Be Cool?" 

The answer: "You bet! Small towns can be cool."

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. Strong Engagement Between Citizens, Community Organizations And Local GovernmentFor example, in St. Joseph, Mich., approx. 8,000 pop, 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 non-profit, business person, and teacher each quarter.

2. Local Entrepreneurial InvestmentIvan said this is often initiated by a local entrepreneur and then served as a tipping point to get others to invest. 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, such as economic gardening to grow entrepreneurs, where you may have village staff used to make things work for business. 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. Willingness To Change. This may be the hardest part for many towns. These new opportunities may require changes in all sorts of local laws, including zoning. 

4. Actively Pursues Cultural Elements To Economic Development. The most common cultural elements include the arts. In Three Oaks, Mich., the creatives are working to integrate with the existing parades and local celebrations. So it can work.

5. Cultural Efforts Reach Out To Community YouthNew York Mills, Minn., established a cultural center that capitalizes on the natural amenities. 

6. A Deliberate Effort To Engage Youth. There is a continuum of efforts to involve youth. You can do things to youth, or do for youth, or do with youth, Ivan said. It can be tough to get a town moved along the continuum. One idea was to provide disposable cameras to young leaders. Ask them to take pictures of what they like and dislike about the town, and have them present it at a future meeting. 

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. Anoter town gave kids a mailbox with their name on it, saying: "Brookfield is always going to be your hometown."

8. Conviction That, In The Long Run, You Must Do It Yourself.  Cool small towns cannot wait for an outside savior. Argonia, Kan., lost their grocery store. But they built a community convenience and grocery store. They are now doing spec houses to sell at cost to new families. And if you enroll kids in the school, Argonia will even cover your closing costs. 
The real key to small town success, Ivan says, is strong leadership that is willing to stand up to the CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Looking Back: Freshman Initiation At DHS

To any high school freshman who may be reading this, you might think you have it a little rough right now.  After all, new routines, new classes, a faster pace of life, and those mean upperclassmen.  

A freshman's life can be tough.

But here's a look back in time to remind you and your contemporaries that you don't have it so bad -- not compared to the Dorchester High School freshmen who came before you decades ago.

We searched through the old yearbooks and found this excerpt written by the DHS Class of 1947.  Read it with a smile on your face.

DHS Freshman Initiation

When we, the seniors of 1947, were mere freshmen, we were subjected to the trickery and pranks of the seniors of 1943 in the form of Freshman Initiation.  After preparing us for weeks in advance by telling us weird tales of the fate that awaited us on our initiation, the seniors finally announced the day.  We were instructed to wear all our clothes backwards, our hair uncombed or unbraided.  The girls could wear no makeup and the boys were forced to wear makeup, with ribbons in their hair and donning aprons.  

At school, we were expected to salute the seniors and carry their books from class to class. The seniors lined us up in front of the student body and painted green "F's" on our foreheads.

In the evening, the seniors made us do humorous tasks.  Some of us had to measure the stage with wieners, while others were forced to drink milk from baby bottles or throw tomatoes at one another.  At the end of the night, ice cream was served to everyone.

The Class of 1947 got the chance to show their senior power on the 27th of September, 1946.  When we initiated the freshmen class, they were ordered to come to school dressed in the fashion of Mother Goose characters.  Every hour, they were to bow down and say a prayer suitable to the occasion.  

At noon, the seniors marched the freshmen through main street.  In the evening, a final ceremony was held with various stunts played on the freshmen.  A watermelon feed followed the activities.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Election Results From Last Tuesday

It's been a week since the general election of 2016, and local voters still don't know the full results of the race for Dorchester School Board.

The reason? Write-in votes take longer to certify.

Readers will recall that the school board has three seats open -- those of retiring board members Lindsey Zoubek, Mark Bors and Brad Havlat.  

The two candidates who filed in time appeared on the ballot: Neal Pavlish and Mike Hatfield.  Both Pavlish and Hatfield will be on the school board in 2017.

Two others, Donald B. Hoffman and Kelli Schweitzer, were write-in candidates.  Combined, Hoffman and Schweitzer garnered 197 votes.

Here is a look at the results:

Dorchester School Board - Dist. #44

 Mike Hatfield .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       300    (36.06%)             
 Neal Pavlish  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        335    (40.26%)          
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       197    (23.68%)           

It is unknown when the official results of the write-in contest will be announced.  

The Times' unofficial sampling of more than 50 district voters shows Schweitzer with a considerable lead, but we have no way of knowing the accuracy of our survey.

Meanwhile, Dorchester's village board had two of its five seats up for election.  One seat is that of retiring board member Lyle Weber, while the other is that of Matthew Hoffman, appointed to the board last year following the resignation of Brandon Koll.  

Hoffman and newcomer Andrea Pracheil appeared on the ballot and were virtual shoo-in's.  Here's a look at the final results:

Dorchester Village Board Member

 Andrea Pracheil  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        155   (45.06%)
 Matthew Hoffman  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     178   (51.74%)
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .         11      (3.20%)

Our thanks to all who had the guts to put their name on the ballot and the willingness to serve. 

NEWS ROUNDUP: Jacee Weber Commits To Wayne State For Volleyball

DHS' Jacee Weber Signs With Wayne State:  It appears Dorchester will soon have another Division II athlete in its ranks.  DHS senior Jacee Weber signed last week to play volleyball for the Wayne State Wildcats.  Meanwhile, Logan Hayek of Wilber-Clatonia committed to Division I Augustana for women's track and field.  To our knowledge, those were the only Saline County Division I or II signings for 2016.

Dorchester Community Foundation Serves Around 250:  We are told that around 250 attended the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund's popular grilled chicken luncheon and hamburger feed this past Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Dorchester Legion and Community Hall.  Funds raised by the Foundation will go to a new splash pad planned for the city park.  Unfortunately, we have no details on the splash pad project or its timeline.  However, we do know that donations may be sent to the DCFF at anytime, made payable to the Dorchester Foundation and mailed to: Peg Bergmeyer, 101 Washington Ave., Dorchester, NE 68343; or Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343. Donations are tax deductible.

Need Christmas Gifts? Dorchester FBLA Vendor Gathering Is Nov. 27: Dorchester's Future Business Leaders of America chapter will be hosting a Holiday Vendor Extravaganza in the high school gyms on Nov. 27, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  The event is intended to raise money for Longhorn students who attend the National FBLA Conference. If you know of vendors, craft booths, or businesses that would like to advertise for the holiday season, please have them contact the school at 402-946-2781. The word is there are already many, many vendors for this huge event.  To purchase a booth space for your business, organization or craft, e-mail Mrs. Lewis at

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Today Is Dorchester Community Foundation Splash Pad Fundraiser Lunch

The Friend newspaper reports that the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund (DCFF) is planning its popular grilled chicken luncheon and hamburger feed for today, Nov. 13, at the Dorchester Legion and Community Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The story points out that "with the cemetery directory and Dorchester welcome sign projects so close to completion, the foundation has targeted a splash pad as the next project. A splash pad is a small scale water park without a pool, but includes several water fountain or spray type features to help cool anyone off on those hot summer days. There are no lifeguard expenses, and it shuts off automatically when there is no activity. Splash pads are a popular, less expensive way for adding summer fun."
"With the lingering harvest, the dinners can be prepared to go so the field crew can keep working. Delivery will also be offered in town to those that may not be able to make it downtown. The grilled chicken dinner includes your choice of mashed potatoes and gravy, potato salad or chips; dinner salad; baked beans; roll; and drink. The hamburger dinner will include the same options, and a hamburger and chips are also available for youth or those with smaller appetites. All meals are available with a free-will donation."

"Donations for the current and future improvements by the DCFF are accepted anytime, made payable to the Dorchester Foundation and mailed to: Peg Bergmeyer, 101 Washington Ave., Dorchester, NE 68343; or Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343."

The DCFF is a non-profit subsidiary of the Nebraska Community Foundation so all donations are tax deductible.

Friday, November 11, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Lincoln Paper Spotlights Crete Vet's Patriotic 1946 Chevy

Here's what is trending in the Dorchester area...

Lincoln Paper Spotlights Crete Veteran And His 1946 Autographed Chevy:  Lincoln Journal Star has featured a Crete veteran,  Sam Aughe, and his unique, patriotic 1946 Chevy Delivery Sedan, covered in some 1,300 autographs by area veterans.  See the story here

Community Foundation Chicken/Burger Dinner This Sunday:  The Dorchester Community Foundation Fund (DCFF) is planning its popular grilled chicken dinner and hamburger feed for this Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Dorchester Legion and Community Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Profits raised from the dinner will go to a splash pad at the Dorchester City Park.  Donations will be accepted anytime, made payable to the Dorchester Foundation and mailed to: Peg Bergmeyer, 101 Washington Ave., Dorchester, NE 68343; or Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343.

DHS Greek Mythology Play Will Be Nov. 19, 20:  It appears Dorchester High School's full play will take place Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. on the DHS stage.  The play will be "The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza" by Don Zolidis.

Trump Will End Up With More Than 300 Electoral Votes: Whenever Michigan gets around to confirming its presidential election results, President-Elect Donald Trump will end up with more than 300 electoral votes.  The final tally will be Trump with 306 electoral votes compared to Hillary Clinton's 228.  Not the close election or Clinton blowout the Washington media predicted. By the way, President-Elect Trump won handily in Saline County, beating Clinton 58.5% to 33.5%.  Statewide, Trump easily won 60.3% to 33.9%.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Recognize America's Veterans At Dorchester Legion's Nov. 11 Soup Supper

Come pay tribute to America's veterans tomorrow, Nov. 11, at a Veterans Day soup supper at the Dorchester American Legion Hall.

The supper will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  All are invited!

We also will take this opportunity to pay tribute to Dorchester's August-Vanek American Legion Post #264, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary and Junior Auxiliary.

Many in our community may not realize that Dorchester's Legion Post is nearing its 97th anniversary.

Following World War I, the veterans of Dorchester wanted to join the American Legion, a national organization for U.S. veterans. State Department Adjutant Frank B. O'Connell of Lincoln presided at the May 24, 1920, meeting to organize a Legion Post in Dorchester. 

The following Dorchester men signed an application for a charter: Claude Kennedy, Frank Mares, William Sanburn, Joe Mateja, Casper Schuerhoff, Frank Grant, Tony Wolfe, Fred Littlefield. Russell Freidell, Frank Kozak, Russell Bruning, Vincent Rogers, Clark West, Cecil Ward, John Cerny, William Johnson, Nels Hansen,Walter Hartly, Albert Peterson, and Ray Ward. 

The charter was presented on August 1, 1920 and filed August 10. 1920. Dr. N.P. Hansen was the first Commander of the Post of the American Legion #264.  The name August was selected for the Post in honor of Ernest R. August who was killed in W.W.I. 

In those early years, the Dorchester Legion was housed in a few different locations.  In 1954, the Post bought a building from W.O. Howlett. This building was remodeled for the use of the Legion. the Auxiliary and also club facilities and dedicated on March 23. 1956. It is still the present Post. 

In January 1955 the Post added another nnme "Vanek" to their Post name honoring Emil Vanek killed in action in the Pacific theatre of action in W.W.II. 

Legion activities throughout the years have been a key part of community life in Dorchester.  Way back in 1922, there was a Model-T Ford raffle drawing.  

In the 1930s and '40s, the Legion held home talent plays.  Legion members built a cabin for the Scouts on the Kenney farm in the '30s.  In 1933, lights and light poles were purchased and erected north of the elevator for all types of softball league games and tournaments.  

By the 1950s and '60s, the Dorchester Legion was sponsoring representatives to attend Boys State -- and later on, Girls State. 

Many community activities have been and are sponsored by the Legion, and its Auxiliary, to serve veterans in need and in final rites for the deceased. 

Ninety-six years have proven that the stronger our American Legion, the stronger and more patriotic our community.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Source: New Lights Could Be Coming To Dorchester Ball Field

Are new baseball and softball lights coming to Dorchester's Nerud Field?

That's the word on the street that we've picked up.

According to the Times sources, the Dorchester Village Board recently moved to apply for a federal grant to help secure funds to provide new ball field lighting.

If true, this would be the first major improvements made to the town's shared football/baseball/softball facilities since 2009.

Nerud Field is named after Miles Nerud, who brought organized little league baseball to Dorchester in the 1950s.  Nerud served as one of the founding fathers of the Seward-Fillmore-Saline (SFS) League in 1957, which is approximately when Nerud Field's current lighting was installed.


Congratulations, President-Elect Trump

Back in early May of this year, the Dorchester Times took the rare step of endorsing a candidate in the presidential primary election.  And we endorsed Donald Trump.

Now, half a year later, the nation's citizens have elected Mr. Trump the next president of the United States.

We won't rehash all the reasons why they made the correct choice.  We will, however, rejuvenate an optimistic phrase from years ago: It's morning again in America.

Godspeed, President-Elect Trump and Vice President-Elect Pence.  Both the American people and their government face tremendous challenges.  It will undoubtedly take the country working together, unified as one, to overcome them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Special: Who's Running For School Board, Village Board

The 2016 general election is finally here -- and not too soon for most.

Here's a look at which seats are up locally:  

Dorchester Village Board

Dorchester's village board will have two of its five seats up for election.  

One seat will be that of board member Lyle Weber. Weber, who was elected in 2008, is not running for re-election. 

The other seat up for election is that of Matthew Hoffman, who was appointed to the board last year following the resignation of Brandon Koll.  

Hoffman, Andrea Pracheil, and Gerald Sehnert (write-in candidate) have filed for village board, according to sources who contacted the Wilber courthouse.  Hoffman and Pracheil will appear on the ballot, while Sehnert filed as a write-in candidate, we're told.

Dorchester School Board

The school board has three seats open -- those of current board members Lindsey Zoubek, Mark Bors and Brad Havlat.  None of these incumbents are seeking re-election, we were told in an e-mail to the Times.

It appears the school board race will have some drama, as one seat will be filled by a write-in candidate.

Two candidates who have filed and will appear on the ballot: Neil Pavlish and Mike Hatfield. Two others, Donald B. Hoffman and Kelli Schweitzer, are write-in candidates.

Monday, November 7, 2016

ONLINE POLL: 90% Want A Splash Pad Water Park In Dorchester

More than 90% of respondents to a Dorchester Times poll want to see a splash pad water park in Dorchester.

The Times used this blog as well as social media to solicit the opinions of our readers. The unscientific poll was conducted for five hours (2 p.m. to 7 p.m.) today, Nov. 7. More than 90% of respondents (90.2%) said yes to the idea of a splash pad project in Dorchester's city park. Only five (9.8%) said no to the proposal.

Last week, the Times reported that on possible plans for a water park splash pad for Dorchester's city park. Through e-mail communication, we are told the Village Board has officially given the project its blessing.

We're told a large, private fundraising effort will need to be headed up by the Dorchester Community Foundation if the splash pad is to become reality.

A Nov. 13 chicken and burger dinner will be held at the Dorchester Community Building as a kickoff for this effort.

Earlier today we were asked by an organizer if we would consider conducting an online poll to gauge how much support there is in the Dorchester area for such a project.

We were happy to help.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Looking Back: Dorchester's Racing Pioneers

The Times published this post originally in August 2008.

We received an interesting e-mail last week from a loyal Times' reader, "History Buff."

The e-mail stated: "A recent visitor at the Saline County Museum, seeking information on memories of childhood visits with his Dorchester relatives, asked about the famous Dorchester race car from the 1930s." 

The car, as he remembered it, was built and raced by Henry "Heinie" Sehnert, Dorchester's longtime Ford dealer, garage owner and mechanic. We're told the retired car "hung from the rafters of Sehnert's Garage at 8th and Washington for many years."

Our reader, "History Buff," as well as the visitor at the Saline County Museum wanted to know the rest of the story. 

Where was the car raced? Was it a winner? Does anyone have a photo? What became of the car? 

Pictured is Henry Sehnert and his race car. Today, the car is showcased in the Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, sponsored by Speedway Motors. 

Sehnert's S7 Race Car, built around 1927, was actually raced by a young man named Chris Petersen -- who would eventually go on to make a lot of money at his father's Petersen Manufacturing facility in Dewitt, where the Vise-Grip was produced and patented.  

Petersen would drive for Sehnert in a successful career at several area race tracks. 

Sehnert built his S7 race car from a set of Model T frame rails with a Frontenac overhead valve conversion on a Model T block. Both the engine and the body of the car are reunited at the museum of American Speed. This was a true barn find, according to the museum's social media accounts.  The decision was made to not restore the S7 body, but to leave it in it's natural state. 

Pictured is Sehnert at his South Side Garage (which is north of the present-day car wash building), which operated from 1925 to 1930.  In late 1930, Sehnert switched over to a Ford dealership that continued until 1974, according to the Dorchester Centennial history book. In addition to the latest models of Ford vehicles, Sehnert's Garage provided a number of services, including auto repairs and a towing service.

By the way, the Saline County Museum visitor was Wayne Panter of Lubbock, Texas. His Dorchester relatives were John Panter (Dorchester's first real estate agent in 1884-1885); Dr. S. G. Panter (Dorchester's medical doctor from 1909-1933); and Dr. R. G. Panter (Dorchester's pharmacist from 1888-1911). 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

CONFIRMED: Water Park/Splash Pad Planned For Dorchester

Apparently the news is true. 

Earlier this year, the Times reported that one of our staffers had caught wind of possible plans for a water park for downtown Dorchester. 

Through e-mail communication, this blog has confirmed there have indeed been detailed discussions and plans to pursue such a project, which would be located in Dorchester's City Park.  This would certainly be an entertainment boon for area children and families if the project becomes reality.  

We are told the Village Board has officially given the project its blessing, and that a large private fundraising effort will need to be undertaken by the Dorchester Community Foundation through donations.

Sources tell the Dorchester Times that plans call for a large splash pad-type facility. 

According to several websites we saw, a splash pad has little standing water. Therefore there is no need for lifeguards. Typically there are ground nozzles that spray water upwards out of the splash pad. Typically, there are also many other water features such as a rainbow (semicircular pipe shower) or a tree shower. 

Some splash pads feature movable nozzles similar to those found on fire trucks to allow users to spray others.  The showers and ground nozzles are often controlled by a hand activated-motion sensor, to run for limited time. These splash pads are often surfaced in textured non-slip concrete or in crumb rubber.


102 Years Later: Tabor Hall And Its Significance

Those of us who live in this area sometimes take it for granted, but Tabor Hall, located just southwest of Dorchester, has played a significant role in the ethnic culture of Saline County.  

Today, we examine the historical importance of Tabor Hall and the people behind it.


If you've been to Tabor Hall, you've likely noticed the lettering atop the front entrance.  And many of you have probably scratched your head in bewilderment.

The Zapadni Cesko Bratrske Jednota (Z.C.B.J.) or Western Bohemian Fraternal Association emerged in 1897 from the oldest fraternal Czech organization in the United States. The purpose of this group was to provide life insurance and sickness benefits to members, and to aid immigrants as they settled in their new homeland. The headquarters of the Z.C.B.J. were in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with lodges in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The Z.C.B.J. lodges nurtured the Czech culture's so-called "free-thinking movement" on the Great Plains. The free-thinking movement had begun in Czechoslovakia in the 1800s.  The Young Czech party -- made up mostly of peasants, farmers and tradesmen -- was organized as a force against the upper-middle class Czechs against the ruling forces of the Catholic Church, which was a dominant political force.

The Z.C.B.J. lodge was critical in promoting the preservation of the Czech language and culture in Saline County.  It also provided a place of fellowship and social interaction for the rural Czech community.

Tabor Hall

Throughout the 20th century, Tabor Hall served as a social nucleus for Saline County and the surrounding area.  But many area residents aren't aware of how Tabor Hall came to be.

Tabor Lodge was organized Oct. 8, 1899, in Pleasant Hill -- the former county seat -- located two miles east of the lodge building's current location.  The 14 charter members of Tabor Lodge were: John Cerny, Joseph Cihal, Joseph Freeouf, Frank Hajek, Paul Kasl, Anton Koci, Joseph Kozeluh, Jarlim Vrbsky, Vaclav Kucera, Anton Prokop, Vaclav Prokop, Jerry Shestak, Thonas Sokolik and Frank Zumpfe.

Tabor Lodge Hall was constructed in 1914 and dedicated Sept. 27, 19I4.  During WWI, when Czechoslovakia became involved, Tabor Lodge organized a chapter of the Czech National Association and raised several thousand dollars to help in the war effort.  Language classes were conducted at the hall.  The hall also helped promote the Sokol movement -- gymnastics designed to create and preserve a "sleek, well-tuned body."  

At one time, Tabor Lodge held the distinction of being the largest Czech lodge in Nebraska.

By 1934, the organization had an urgent need for more space. A large dance pavilion was added to the existing lodge -- and the renovated, expanded Tabor Hall re-opened in June 1934 with a huge dance.  Soon, Tabor Hall became known to almost everyone in the Saline County area as it hosted political functions, farm organizations, class reunions, graduations, parties, flea markets, and wedding/anniversary celebrations.

In 1981, the building received an extensive makeover and restoration.  The ceiling was lowered to provide for a more energy efficient space. The walls were adorned with advertising signs as local businesses purchased their space and provided the sign painting.

Today, 102 years after its construction, Tabor Hall is well maintained by the members of Tabor Lodge.  The building still serves as a social hub for Saline County, regardless of ethnicity or family background.  Tabor Hall is a historical gem; its importance in shaping our regional community cannot be overlooked.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Our Prediction For First Hard Frost Is Still On Track

Way back on Sept. 22, this blog predicted that the first hard, killing frost wouldn't hit Saline County until Nov. 10, 11, or 12.  

We hate to brag, but it appears we're going to be right.  In fact, some long-range forecasts don't have a killing frost (below 30 or 29 degrees) until Nov. 19 or later!

The prolonged heat and humidity wave that has hit Saline County -- and much of the rest of southeast Nebraska -- throughout the autumn has been a bit surprising. And it has the insects, snakes and rodents -- as well as vegetation -- loving it.

If our prediction holds true, it will set a record for the latest first frost ever recorded in our area.  

The current record for latest first frost for our area is Nov. 7, 1956, as some of our readers might recall.  (Note: The first frost record for Omaha is even later, occurring on Nov. 13, 1915.)

As a point of reference, the average first frost date for our area is Oct. 12.