Thursday, December 15, 2016
Dorchester's Citizen Of The Year: Penny Keller
The Dorchester Times is proud to name Penny Keller as its "Dorchester Citizen of the Year."
Keller is receiving this honor based largely on her efforts to clean up neglected properties throughout Dorchester. Many small towns in Nebraska -- from Wymore to Lyman -- have neglected to be proactive in this area, and it shows.
One reader told us: "I’d like to nominate Penny Keller. She cares about the community of Dorchester. She is a loyal and tireless citizen who wants to make our wonderful village an even a better place. She has passion for Dorchester."
In the summer of 2016, Keller was hired by the village board as Dorchester's new nuisance abatement and code compliance officer to ensure that residents and other property owners are keeping their properties up to community standards and ordinances.
Keller, who is working as a contract employee, started her duties in early August, according to official documents. Her job is to help ensure the continuation of property clean-up notices and enforcement originally initiated by SENDD.
Within just weeks of Keller starting her job, residents noticed the difference. For example, one clean-up of commercial property south of the city park received rave reviews. The Times received several e-mails and online comments praising the village for requiring action.
"It's good to see property owners willingly and promptly complying with the village requests for clean-up," we wrote in August. "They, too, should be applauded for their efforts. Those who ignore the warnings and requests should face consequences."
Run-down, neglected, and unsafe pieces of property trample the rights of those who live nearby. Moreover, they harm Dorchester's public image, which matters if we want to grow our village. Approaching people to tell them it's time to clean up their mess -- whether in person, by phone or by mail -- is no easy task. We commend Keller for the work she has done over the past several months.
If you suspect a property in Dorchester is non-compliant with village standards, call 402-418-8670 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keller has also volunteered for several years by serving on the Dorchester Planning Commission. This commission is charged with guiding village efforts to grow and improve Dorchester's quality of life. Among the actions the commission undertakes is dealing with zoning issues.
Our previous Citizen of the Year winners include Carol Olson, Dale Hayek, and Bill Velder.
Honorable mentions submitted to the Times (Dorchester.Times@gmail.com) this year and in years past include: Peg Bergmeyer, Lyle Weber, Greg Tyser, Todd Axline, all members of the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. and Rescue, Ben Haufle, Brent Zoubek, Kyleigh Jo Lewis, Phil Weber, Steve Ottmann, Scott Pohl, Eric Stehlik, Joyce Karl, Adam Briggs, Rob "Bert" Parks, John Bruha, Mark Bors, Tom Cerny, Amanda Cerny, Julie and Joe Holly of "The Well", LJ Barley, Bob and Marva Kasl, and Ryan Voelker.
Congratulations to Penny Keller, our Times' Citizen of 2016!