Saturday, November 18, 2017

Christmas Shopping Alert: Major Holiday Vendor Event This Sunday At DHS Gym

Want to get your Christmas shopping done early? 

Or maybe you want to sell a line of products to local customers?

Here's your chance.

Dorchester's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter will be hosting a Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School Gymnasium (506 W. 9th St.) on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

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

The event will also feature a free-will soup luncheon to benefit Dorchester's FBLA, complete with desserts and other goodies.   

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.

More information is available for sellers and buyers by contacting Kyleigh Lewis at

Last year's holiday vendor extravaganza in Dorchester was a smashing success.

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 26 years.  

While DHS' participation numbers in some activities have declined, DHS' FBLA membership today claims numerous 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. 

In 2015, 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 year's Holiday Vendor Extravaganza at the Dorchester School.

TONIGHT: One Act Show And Dinner At DHS

Tonight, Saturday, Nov. 18, Dorchester High School will host a one act play and dinner.  And attendees are sure to have a blast.

Dinner will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and the show will start at 7:15 p.m.  Dinner includes pasta, salad, garlic bread and dessert.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children (10 and under).

The one act play being presented by Dorchester thespians is called "Dinner with the MacGuffins."

At first glance, this is a typical family comedy: teenager James and girlfriend Karen try to make out one afternoon, only to face repeated interruptions by other members of James' family. But the ultimate interruption comes when a cell phone goes off in the audience, breaking the "fourth wall" so that James can see the spectators. 

As James tries to convince his increasingly worried family that a wall is missing from their house, and that people are watching them, the play takes more left turns than Bugs Bunny should have taken at Albuquerque -- until it reaches a happy (if twisted) ending.

Come out to the DHS theater tonight and catch a great time!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Want To Build In Dorchester? We Know A Place For That

A reader e-mailed the Times this past weekend to notify us of "lot for sale" signs that have appeared in Dorchester's northeast corner.

We checked it out for ourselves, and sure enough -- the signs are there.  (See the photo above just off Jackson Ave.  Click photo for closer view.)

For those considering building in Dorchester, here are the options we know of:
  • EAST, NORTHEAST DORCHESTER:  We are told that Jack Bruha has housing lots available for new construction east of Fulton Street and Jackson Ave., as well as north of 10th Street.  This is a pretty part of the community and one of most peaceful. (As seen on the sign, Jack's phone number is 402-946-2321. Confirmed by the Times.)
  • NORTH DORCHESTER:  We were also informed that Ron Zoubek has a handful of lots in north Dorchester just off of 11th Street and north of the football field.  This is a very nice neighborhood, and allows for quick access to the school and Highway 6.
  • FAR SOUTH DORCHESTER:  If you don't want cars driving past your home often, there are at least four lots available for new construction on Whitmar Street in south Dorchester, south of the museum grounds.  Bob Kasl has them for sale on this dead end street in a well-kept and quiet neighborhood.
The Times is passing this information along since it comes from a well-informed and trustworthy resident.  

Those interested in these lots should contact the owners directly, not the Times.  Of course, not only would the land need to be purchased, but the village government would need to approve the permitting for construction.

As we've reported recently, with demand for small town life growing fast, Dorchester cannot keep quality homes on the market for 24 hours.  This comes as no big surprise since Dorchester has a lot going for it -- if you prefer living in a safe, friendly and affordable community that has much potential for the future. 

If you're ready to call Dorchester home, we encourage you to take a look at these lots and consider building in our community.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sunday's Chicken & Hamburger Feed Will Help Make Splash Pad A Reality

Inside sources say Dorchester is getting closer to have a its own small water park!

To make a community splash pad a reality, the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is working extra hard to raise funds needed to construct the splash pad in the Dorchester City Park.

The Foundation is planning its popular grilled chicken luncheon and hamburger feed for this Sunday, November 12, at the Dorchester Legion and Community Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
As we've reported previously, the Foundation has targeted a splash pad as the next project. Around $100,000 has already been raised in the past year, according to a sign located near the village's main street marquee.

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, as with a pool, and it shuts off automatically when there is no activity. 
The Foundation's November 12 dinners can be eaten at the community hall, or prepared to go (just call 402-946-3791). 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, dinner roll, and drink. The hamburger dinner will include the same options. All meals are available with a free-will donation.  

The Times encourages everyone to give generously so the splash pad can happen sooner rather than later.

Donations for the current and future improvements by the Foundation 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 Dorchester Foundation is a non-profit subsidiary of the Nebraska Community Foundation, so all donations are tax deductible.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Shirley Gautreaux Passes At Age 69

Shirley A Gautreaux, wife of longtime Dorchester High School educator and principal Terry Gautreaux, passed on Nov. 8, 2017, as a result of complications from a stroke at Warren Memorial Hospital in Friend at the age of 69 years, 4 months and 21 days. 

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at Friend Public School's East Gym officiated by Rev. Brian Tuma. Interment will be in Andrew Cemetery. Visitation is from 2-6 p.m. on Sunday and 2-9 p.m. Tuesday, with the family greeting relatives and friends from 6-8 p.m. at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Friend.   Memorial Donations are suggested to: LCMS Mission Central, Friend School Scholarship Fund or Warren Memorial Hospital.

Shirley Ann Gautreaux, was born June 18, 1948 in Tecumseh, Nebraska, to Gerald “Jerry W. and Mildred M. (Bartels) Rinne, the oldest of three children.  As a young girl she attended school in several locations as she moved with her parents. Shirley graduated from Gering High School in 1966 and later attended the University of Nebraska. She graduated in 1970 with a degree in German and Education. While at the University of Nebraska, Shirley met Terrence “Terry” Michael Gautreaux of Chalmette, Louisiana. Shirley and Terry were married on June 7, 1970 in Gering, Nebraska and to this union three sons were born, Keith, Jeffrey and Elliott.

Shirley began her teaching career in 1972 in Waukegan, IL. She started teaching at Friend Public School in 1973 and, having found the perfect small town, never left. She taught at Friend until her retirement in 2013 after 40 years of dedication to students, parents, and the school district. She spent most of her life, youth and adult, in school as a student or a teacher.  She was an encouraging mother and teacher, loving her sons, and especially her grandchildren who were the highlight of her life. Shirley especially enjoyed the many trips she took to spend time with her grandchildren after her retirement as a teacher.

Shirley’s life was dedicated to her family, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Cordova, and Friend Public School. She was “Mrs. G” to thousands of students from Friend. She taught Geography, Social Studies, Speech, English, and German at Friend. She drove the school bus, coached Speech, directed one-act plays, coached junior high track, kept statistics for the football team, and organized school events too numerous to mention. Shirley taught Sunday School and was a constant presence at the church for Bible study, potlucks, weddings and funerals. Shirley was always thinking of those in need of prayer, assistance, or, her special lasagna.
In 2004, Shirley was honored as Friend’s Citizen of the Year. This award recognized the significant impact she made on Friend and its residents. Shirley exemplified what it meant to be a citizen and always was proud to call Friend her hometown. After Shirley retired from teaching, she became even more active in her community as she became a member of the Friend Rotary Club, and was an active helper with the Friend Historical Society.  Even after she retired from teaching, Shirley remained a fixture at Friend Public School, as a substitute teacher and driving the bus for extracurriculars, as well as attending many sporting events and activities. 
For the full obituary and to leave your condolences to the family, click here.

Events To Honor Veterans Will Be Today In Dorchester

This weekend, most of the nation -- at least those who aren't taking a knee at an NFL game during the national anthem -- will pay tribute to our veterans.

Veterans Day, November 11, gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. (Don't confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, which honors our military men and women who have died in service to our country.)  

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- made it official that Nov. 11 would be a day to honor all American veterans of all wars -- not just the end of WWI, as the day had originally been designated.

After signing the legislation making November 11 "Veterans Day," President Eisenhower said, "It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. ... I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day."

Today, Friday, November 10, the Dorchester American Legion, Post 264 will be hosting a 10 a.m. Veterans' Day Service at the Dorchester Public School.  The ceremony will be conducted in cooperation with the Dorchester Junior Auxiliary.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend to honor our veterans.  

Then later today, a soup supper will be held at the Dorchester Legion Hall from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.  There will be a free-will offering to help the Dorchester Legion.  The public is invited to attend.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Limestone Houses Still Stand Near Dorchester

As the leaves continue to drop from the trees, take a late autumn drive in the countryside south of Dorchester and you will spot an old stone house or two. 

These structures played an important role in the permanent settlement of the Dorchester and Pleasant Hill areas.  

Fortunately for us, more than 125 years after their construction, some of these homes still stand, allowing the residents of the 21st century to take a step back in time.

When the first European settlers came to Saline County in the 1850s and 1860s, quality lumber had to be brought via the Missouri River and by wagon from Nebraska City.  That was a trip that could take several weeks.  As an alternative, most homes were either dugouts or made from sod or limestone.

Luckily for our pioneer ancestors, a vein of limestone runs near Pleasant Hill and Turkey Creek. Quarries and lime kilns could be found throughout the Pleasant Hill precinct, according to the Dorchester Centennial history book. 

Some of these quarries operated until the mid-twentieth century, when they ceased to be financially viable.

The Sukraw house, Brown house, Pisar house and barn, Freude house and See house were prime examples of this early architecture.  

They were as practical as they were sturdy.

A map of the stone home locations can be found on page 198 of the Dorchester Centennial history book.  (Note: The centennial book can be found here, using the username "dorchester" and password "longhorns".)

We encourage Times readers to explore the living history and heritage of their home area. But please respect the rights of the owners and don't set foot on these properties without getting permission.

Dorchester Jr. High Play Set For Tuesday Night, 7 P.M.

Lights! Action!

The Dorchester Public School Junior High Thespians will be performing "Bottle of Joy" on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 in the Multi-Purpose Room at the school.  (That's just east of the basketball gymnasium, for those unfamiliar.)

The show will start at 7 p.m.  

Admission for the event will be $3 for kindergarten students through adults.  

The theme of the production centers around the idea that happiness doesn’t come from a bottle, box, envelope, etc.  It comes from each of our hearts and grows the more it is shared.  

Please join Dorchester's junior high students for an evening of entertainment.  There will be snacks available at the end of the evening -- a free-will donation project to help cover the cost of the production.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dorchester Youth Volleyball Teams Give Glimpse Of Bright Future

Photo credit: Sharon Axline

We rarely make predictions, but it's a safe bet that Dorchester's volleyball future is bright.

This fall, Dorchester's fifth and sixth grade Lady Longhorns and their capable coaches have captured the spotlight in YMCA club league action.  

On the season, the Dorchester girls racked up six wins and only one loss.

This comes as Dorchester's third and fourth grade girls have also shaped up to formidable force, with frequent practices and an eagerness to learn and get better.  

What is driving this positive change following several years of down participation in youth sports?

Photo Credit: Amanda Johnson Nohavec
"It appears more parental involvement is paying off for Dorchester's elementary athletics," one parent told the Times.  

"Dorchester's younger kids, especially the girls, are excited about participating, working as a team and representing their school by wearing the orange and black."

Another parent said, "Good things are happening in Dorchester's youth sports.  The culture is changing back to the positive.  It helps when parents help lead the charge."  

The same parent told us that he sensed the return of Dorchester football in 2018 was "already creating positive vibes" throughout Dorchester elementary, as the younger students "saw the older kids wearing their DHS football shirts" and were "just as excited as the older guys."

As we reported, last month an anonymous donor purchased t-shirts for the projected members of the 2018 Longhorn football team.  The DPS newsletter this month reported there were 24 t-shirts purchased for grades 8-11 boys saying they were going out for football next year -- strong participation rate (about 80%) out of approximately 30 boys.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Monday's Town Board Meeting Will Address Dorchester's Trash Service

Is it time for the Village of Dorchester to include trash pick-up as part of its utility service?

On Monday, November 6, at 7 p.m., the Dorchester Village Board will hold its monthly meeting at the fire hall.  

As part of the meeting, there will be a public forum to discuss a proposal to make trash pickup mandatory at every residence in town.

Currently, Dorchester residents have few options regarding trash pickup, with most residents in the village using Waste Connections of Nebraska.  Those who go with Waste Connections typically pay around $20 to $25 in monthly fees.

Some say a village-wide mandatory service would lower the cost of trash service, while also helping to ensure trash doesn't build up outside certain homes.

According to public information, if the Village Board idea is approved, households would pay for the trash service as a line-item on their monthly utility bill, along with electrical, water and sewage services.

At Monday's board meeting, taxpayers of Dorchester will be allowed to state their position on the trash pick-up plan. Those speaking will need to state their names and addresses for the public record, and will have three minutes to give their opinion on the matter.

For information on the meeting, click here.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: 24 DHS Boys Pledge To Go Out For Football In 2018

  • Don't Forget to Set Your Clocks Back, Dorchester.  Daylight savings ends at 2 a.m. Sunday!
  • 24 DHS Boys Pledge to Go Out for Football in 2018.  As we've reported, Dorchester High School is bringing back football next year as the school is experimenting with the return of six-man football.  We also reported last month that an anonymous donor purchased t-shirts for the projected members of the 2018 Longhorn football team.  The DPS newsletter this month reported there were 24 t-shirts purchased for grades 8-11 boys saying they were going out for football next year.  That's a strong participation rate (about 80%) out of approximately 30 boys, although it would be great to see that rate near 90%.
  • Friend Co-oping Football With Exeter and Milligan. Exeter-Milligan has agreed to a two-year co-op with Friend for football, according to the Friend newspaper.  Exeter-Milligan started the season with just 13 players but were down to eight players due to injury by season's end.  It will be an interesting experiment.  The newspaper reports that E-M Superintendent Paul Sheffield met with E-M's 7th through 11th grade boys at mid-season and "were given information on the three options for the football program, including continuing as an eight-man program, dropping to six-man football or joining with Friend."  According to Sheffield, "the original survey showed the boys preferred to stay on their own by a 15% margin. Sheffield reissued the survey the week before the school board meeting, and the results were 50/50 to stay on their own or go with Friend."
  • Farmers Cooperative Has Job Openings. Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Dorchester, has more than a dozen current job openings.  Click here to see them
  • Crete News Looking for News Editor.  The Crete newspaper is looking for a full-time news editor.  The paper is looking for a "web savvy story teller" with lots of new ideas.  Candidates should have media experience.  Apply at the Crete News.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Volleyball Season Concludes

York News-Times photo.
DHS Volleyball Season Concludes: The Dorchester High School volleyball squad saw its 2017 season come to an end earlier this week.  While the Lady Longhorns were able to defeat Lincoln Parkview Christian in the first round of the Class D2-2 district competition at Shelby, DHS was not able to beat Exeter-Milligan's top-notch program, falling in three sets by a tally of 25-15, 25-12, 25-11.  The young Dorchester squad finished 9-22 on the season, but expects to be a strong contender in Class D2 next season thanks to several returning starters and new talent.

Veterans' Day Service Set For Next Friday: The Dorchester American Legion, Post 264 will be hosting a Veterans' Day Service next Friday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m.  The service will be held at the Dorchester Public School and will be conducted in cooperation with the Dorchester Junior Auxiliary.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend to honor our veterans.  Later on Nov. 10, a soup supper will be held at the Dorchester Legion Hall from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.  There will be a free-will offering to help the Dorchester Legion.

Help Needed For Nov. 17 Jr. High Wrestling Tourney: Help is needed at Dorchester's annual junior high wrestling tournament, set for Friday, Nov. 17.  Experienced individuals are primarily needed at the tables to help with the scoring of matches and to ensure that wrestlers are where they need to be when it's their turn.  If you want to help, call Brent Zoubek at 402.946.2781 or 402.418.1019.

Excited For The Return Of DHS Football?: If you're counting down the days to the return of Dorchester High School football, get a little help from a countdown clock we found on the Web.  Just click here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'The Doll'

For Halloween week, the Dorchester Times has aired the three scariest episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone." 

We've selected these three episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because some of us Times staff members actually remember when CBS aired this imaginative series.

These 30-minute programs are wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  

Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "Living Doll" -- one of the most memorable "Twilight Zone" stories.

"Talky Tina" is a gift from a mother to her daughter Christie. It can talk, saying things like "I'm Talky Tina and I love you very much."   

But Tina's petty, bitter and mean stepfather Erik (Telly Savalas) thinks it talks too much, and is resentful of its presence.  In his efforts to get rid of the doll, he gets more than he bargained for.

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave on an extra light. Or maybe two. Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'The Grave'

From now through Halloween, the Dorchester Times is airing the three scariest episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone." 

We've selected these three episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because some of us Times staff members actually remember when CBS aired this imaginative series.

These 30-minute programs are wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  

Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "The Grave."  Lee Marvin plays Conny Miller -- a hired gun who misses killing his target, the evil Pinto Sykes, who is instead gun downed by the local townsfolk.  

At a bar, several of the townspeople tell him that Sykes vowed to reach up and grab Conny if he ever dared to visit his grave.  

After a drunken wager, Conny decides to prove his courage by doing just that, leading to one of the creepiest moments in the history of The Twilight Zone. 

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave on an extra light.  And Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

UPDATE: Missing Dorchester 14-Year-Old Is Found Safe

(UPDATE, Oct. 29: A social media post reports that Isabelle Magana, a Dorchester student, has been found safe.  She had been missing since mid-September.)

Norfolk radio station US92 reports that Saline County Sheriff’s officials continue to investigate the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl who is a student at Dorchester Public Schools.  But Sheriff Alan Moore says his office has no information to indicate that Isabelle “Izzy” Magana has come to any harm.

She was last seen in mid-September.  Moore says she may have left in the company of a 17-year-old male, identified as Brayan Arevalo.

Moore says his officers are continuing to work with family members of both youths, following up on leads regarding where they may have gone. But, he says there’s no solid information about where they may be.  Arevalo, like Magana, was also a student at Dorchester Public Schools.

Moore adds that his officers have been in contact with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as the investigation continues.  He says his office has not received any tips on the whereabouts of the pair, from non-family members.

The sheriff says his office has not received any evidence of financial transactions that may provide clues as to where the youths have gone.

Isabelle Magana is described as Hispanic, 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighing about 135 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.  Brayan Arevalo is Hispanic, 5-feet, 6-inches tall, about 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation, is asked to call the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, at 1-402-821-2111.

Tonight's Scary Show -- Twilight Zone: 'Nightmare At 20,000 Feet'

From now until Halloween, the Dorchester Times is airing the three scariest episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone." 

We've selected these three episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because some of us Times staff members actually remember when CBS aired this imaginative series.

These 30-minute programs are wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  

Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

Tonight's episode is called "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" -- perhaps the most recognized in the series.  

William Shatner plays Bob Wilson, a man recently discharged from a sanitarium after having a nervous breakdown on a passenger plane. Convinced he's cured, he boards a flight home with his wife. But then he sees it, a maniacal creature tampering with the wing of the jet, to bring it down.  Is it for real? Is he relapsing into insanity? It's that tension that makes this such a wonderful watch.

Enjoy tonight's episode.  But be sure to leave on an extra light.  And Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dorchester's Bill Wenz Passes At 65

Dorchester's William "Bill" Michael Wenz passed on October 25, 2017.   Services were Monday, Oct. 30, at Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete. He was 65.

Bill passed away at his home in Dorchester from an apparent heart attack. He was born on the 6th day of May, 1952 to William F. Wenz and Jane Anne (Timothy) Wenz in Fort Riley Kansas where his father was stationed while serving during the Korean War. Bill was the second of eight children.

Bill attended Eight Mile Grove, a K-8 country school in Cass County until the family moved to the Seven Oaks Farm east of Union where he and his siblings attended the Nehawka School District. There he participated in football for 4 years and basketball for one year, attaining All Conference status as an offensive lineman his senior year. He also enjoyed his involvement in several all school music productions including “Lil Abner” and “Oklahoma”. He graduated from Nehawka High School in 1970.

Bill married Shannon Colleen Anderson on September 27, 1974, at the United Methodist Church in Milford, Ne. First residing in Plattsmouth, the couple then moved to Friend where they raised their daughter Sarah. Upon purchasing the first of two houses in Dorchester, the Bill Wenz family called this town their home .

Bill Jr. spent most of his working career working with his father in the rendering business both at Aaron Corp in Omaha, and then later helping build Midland By-Products into a regionally recognized rendering facility. Bill learned his mechanical crafts from the ground level up as a maintenance man and then as a foreman for several years before being promoted to the position of vice-president of the company, a position he held until the facility was sold in 1994. Bill managed another rendering facility in Booker, Texas, commuting regularly from his home in Dorchester. 

Bill will be remembered as an avid hunter, regularly organizing hunting parties for family and friends. He was a gun and coin collector, enjoyed fishing, golf and was a skilled carpenter. He immersed himself into whatever his current interest was and remained committed to the endeavor until he had mastered it. His varied interests were only exceeded by his willingness to lend a hand to others. If there were tasks to be done or needs to be met, a simple phone call would be sufficient to send him running with tools in hand. Bill kept no ledger. If you needed assistance, he would help. It was really that simple.

William M. Wenz is survived by his daughter Sarah Wenz-Shrestha of McCook, his dear companion, Teresa Salinger of Plattsmouth, his siblings Kathleen (Curt McKean) Wenz of Omaha, James (Mary) Wenz of Roca, Douglas (Deborah) Wenz of Crete, Laura (Gary) Gammel of Crete, Jeffrey (Tammy) Wenz of Crete and Shari (Richard) Tretheway of Lincoln. Bill also has fourteen nieces and nephews who all held a very special place in his heart. He was preceded in death by his mother, Jane Wenz, father, William F. Wenz, his wife, Shannon, and his brother Timothy Wenz.

Bill's wit, his telling of tales, (some fairly tall, to be sure!), his generosity and his humor will be sorely missed by his many close friends, by his family and by some simply gathered to share weekday morning coffee.

For the online obituary or to leave your condolences, click here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dorchester Raffle Will Benefit Splash Pad Construction

The Times has learned that the Dorchester Community Foundation Fund will is conducting a raffle to help raise funds for the new splash pad, which could soon be built in Dorchester's city park.

According to an e-mail we received, the Foundation will raffle off two Nebraska volleyball tickets (for the game on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.) and two Husker football tickets for the Nov. 24 game against Iowa.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for a $1 donation, or donate $5 and get six tickets, or donate $10 and get 15 tickets.  

Again, all proceeds will go towards the new splash pad in the park.

If you would like to get your raffle tickets and help make the Dorchester splash pad a reality, contact Dale Hayek at 641-4075, or Mike Pracheil at 641-1921, or Judy Schweitzer at 641-7050.

Go Huskers! And go Dorchester Community Foundation!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Special: Dorchester's Spookiest Places

Beginning back in 2007, the Times started publicizing reports claiming that the Dorchester area is home to haunted places. 

We have always been skeptical, but since Halloween will soon be here we are publishing this update on the latest reports regarding the Dorchester area's spooky spots:

Gilbert's Graveyard:  
The most famous of Dorchester's "haunted places," Gilbert's Cemetery -- the final resting place of the family of John W. Gilbert -- continues to draw attention from inside and outside Saline County.  (There's even this video of some brave souls who went into the graveyard at night for electronic readings.)  Click here to see some of the stories left about Gilbert's Cemetery on a site called "Strange USA."  Another report on the pioneer cemetery came from a website called  "Hauntings" (no longer active), which featured a "pre-haunt interview with the locals" in Dorchester.  The site recounts some of the history behind Gilbert's Graveyard and its namesake, using historical accounts published by this blog and the 1981 Dorchester Centennial book.  As Hauntings reports, "a number of strange events have been reported here. Among them, strange noises and the movement of tombstones. ... Sadly, this location has been host to vandalism and disrespect for the dead. If you plan to visit this location, think on how you would want your remains and the stone markers of your final resting place treated."

The website also featured firsthand accounts from those who have visited the cemetery.  One visitor named Chris wrote the following: 

"The first trip we had made (to Gilbert's Graveyard) I ended up in tears; just the feeling of being there was enough to make you sick. We started to drive through the graveyard, and someone pointed at a tree that was knocked down over a grave, and when I looked over there I saw a black fog coming up from the grave, we decided to leave. As we left the graveyard, we looked over to the graveyard and about 9-plus flashing lights came up from the graveyard and seemed to follow us.  I was the driver and I looked in my rear view mirror to be horrified to see a older lady staring at me in the mirror, then scream and then i began to cry uncontrollably. I stepped on that gas and swore I would never return.  But consequently we did, and the second time it was more calmer then the first, not much happened except for hearing footsteps in the distant, and the feeling of you being followed closely."
Former "Squeaky Bridge":  According to, the site of the former ''squeaky bridge'' over Turkey Creek, south of Dorchester, is "extremely haunted" (County Rd. 1500 between county roads G and H). "According to legend several men were hanged on the bridge, which was closed and removed in or around 1994. However the ghosts still appear on a routine basis. They are transparent figures hanging by a noose right where the bridge once stood. Some have said the hanged men will occasionally look up and stare at observers."

Specter of Highway 33:  The Times staff has for years heard reports of a "man" who supposedly walks on Highway 33 as you near Crete. People have reported seeing him on the road, or just off to the side, and swerve to miss him.  When they look back, he is gone. The Times has investigated the story further.  Some say the apparition is that of a Dorchester lad who died decades ago in a very bad accident a mile west of Crete.  Others say it is the ghost of an Oregon Trail pioneer who lost his way and died on the journey.  

Second Floor Above the Village Office:  According to, "there have been many reports of figures or shapes moving around in the second floor of the village office building" on main street Dorchester.  The website claims to have a picture of the ghostly figure taken with a cell phone in 2009.

Dorchester School Boiler Room:  Without a doubt, we can confirm that the boiler room of the 1927 Dorchester School building is no longer haunted, if it ever was.  The old school building was razed in mid-2008 to make room for the current DPS campus.  But when it existed, there were reports that in the late 1920s, a child "locked himself in the boiler room and died." According to the old stories, school janitors in the modern era sometimes heard yells coming from the boiler room during the night -- and "when they went down into the boiler room, they didn't find anyone."  So convincing were the reports, that the Lincoln Journal Star in 2006 wrote a story on the the old boiler room.  The story quotes former school secretary Joyce Karl and former custodians Ron Sehnert and Sharri Kasl, who said: "I never go down there in the mornings if I’m ever here by myself."  Another publication ranked the Dorchester boiler room the second-most haunted site in Nebraska.

Doane College Library: The old library seems to be haunted by a woman in a white dress. On a full moon, she will appear in front of one of the windows. She has been reported to roam about the basement, also. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Study Says Nebraska Kids Among Nation's Fattest, Adults Not Far Behind

Media reports are saying that a new study finds Nebraska’s kids are becoming just as sedentary and chunky as their parents.

The report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds almost 30% of Nebraska children between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese.

The report also found almost 17% of young Nebraska children, between the ages of two and four years, were overweight or obese.

The obesity report for young children ranks Nebraska the 5th worst state in the nation.

It follows a report earlier this month that found 32% of Nebraska adults in that category.  Nebraska is the 13th most obese state, a rate that’s also holding steady.

Parents are a tremendous influence on their children in many ways, so given the number of obese Nebraska adults, it’s little surprise so many children are shaping up the same way.

“It’s what’s being served and sold in schools, what kind of physical activity policies are in place in schools,” one expert says. “It’s also the practice of eating healthfully and being physically active and there have often been recommendations that parents and kids be active together, walk outside together, so that the parents can model healthy behavior.”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Anonymous DHS Booster Provides 2018 Football Team Tees

An anonymous donor has purchased Dorchester Longhorn Football t-shirts for Dorchester boys participating in football next year.  Students were spotted on social media wearing their shirts today (Friday).

Next football season will bring the return of high school football to Dorchester on Friday nights, following a unanimous vote by the Dorchester Public School board earlier this month.  Dorchester leaders had been exploring six-man football as an option, and board members decided there was sufficient support from parents and student interest to bring back DHS football in the six-man form.

An online survey of Times readers, conducted in late September, showed nearly three-quarters of readers said they wanted DHS football to return. 

Dorchester has been without a football team of its own since 2013, as fewer enrolled boys in grades 9-12 and decreased participation rates raised questions whether a viable eight-man team could be fielded.  Soon after, DHS decided to co-op with Milford, which is in Class C-1.

DHS is entering six-man football as the version of the game is gaining popular support, with more than 40 Nebraska high schools expected to be play six-man ball next season, including nearby schools.  

This is the last season the Nebraska Six-Man Coaches Association will be overseeing six-man football in the state.  It will move under the umbrella of the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) in 2018, just as Dorchester restarts its own team on Nerud Field.

The idea of six-man football at Dorchester is not new.  Sixty-nine years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program (following an hiatus in the program following the 1930s death of a DHS player) with only 11 players going out.  From the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, the Longhorns played six-man ball for 10 seasons, getting better with every snap.  In fact, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful.   DHS alum Vern Johnson once told us that "the best six-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a two-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

DHS transitioned to eight-man football in 1959, when DHS went undefeated.  (Back then, Nebraska did not have a state playoff system for football.)  By 1969, Dorchester was playing 11-man football, a tradition that continued until 1991, when DHS reverted to eight-man ball and dropped to Class D.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Grad Dan Stehlik Plays Key Role At NU's Tech College

  • DHS Grad Dan Stehlik Has Key Role at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: Dorchester native and DHS graduate Dan Stehlik is playing a key role in enhancing the technical, hands-on skills of Nebraska's young people.  According to a report in The Fence Post, an ag news publication, Stehlik is now in his third year at the University of Nebraska's Curtis campus, where technical agricultural skills are taught.  At Curtis, Stehlik is a senior agricultural mechanics instructor, which includes welding, electricity, irrigation technology, farm machinery maintenance and small engines courses.  Prior to his time in Curtis, he taught agricultural education for 19 years in Kansas high schools. Stehlik was featured prominently in the story for his leading role in facilitating the expansion of the college's welding program in 2016, leading to an upgrade in equipment, facilities and the overall program.  Great to see Longhorn alumni doing great things to improve the Good Life.
  • Nice Acreage On 40 Acres South Of Dorchester Still For Sale:  A nice farmstead is still for sale at 1057 County Road 1300, which is south and west of town.  According to the listing, this secluded farmstead featuring countless trees and wandering creek.  There are "plenty of outbuildings for anyone's imagination. There is approximately 40 +/- acres total with over 11 acres of farm ground for personal use, income or the farmer in you. It features "a charming home with over 1200 sq. feet. Some wood flooring is beaming through."  The seller is leaving their cell-phone range extender.  "The covered deck is fabulous for sitting and enjoying the evenings or having morning breakfasts."  Listing price is $294,000.  See the listing by clicking here.
  • Deshler Provides Model For Six-Man Football Success: The Lincoln Journal Star this week featured a story on Deshler's six-man football program, which is 6-1 on the season and ranked No. 5 in the state.  This is Year 4 for the Deshler football program playing in six-man, and the Dragons appear to be getting the hang of it, the Journal Star reports.  "In its first two seasons after dropping from eight-man, Deshler went 2-6 and 1-7 with young teams. A year ago, the Dragons were 5-3, and with seven players with starting experience back from that squad, they’ve taken it to another level." Deshler's head coach said switching to six-man "was a learning process for all of us."  This season, Deshler's QB has thrown for 1,447 yards and 30 touchdowns while scoring six on the ground himself.  Sounds like exciting football -- and it looks like Deshler is a program Dorchester coaches and players should aim to imitate.  The article also points out that "this is the last season the Nebraska Six-Man Coaches Association will be overseeing six-man football in the state. It will move under the umbrella of the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) in 2018," when Dorchester restarts its own team on Nerud Field.

Monday, October 16, 2017

DHS' Abigail Plouzek Grabs CRC Spotlight In York

Photo Credit: York News-Times

At this past weekend's Crossroads Conference tournament play in York, 6-foot-2 DHS Longhorn sophomore Abigail Plouzek captured the spotlight.

As reported by the York News-Times, Dorchester's Plouzek recorded a match-high eight kills for Dorchester in the third set as the Lady Longhorns won 2-1 over the Mustangs behind scores of 25-20, 10-25, 25-12.

The win advanced DHS' Orange and Black Attack to the CRC quarter-final against top-seeded Meridian on Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, DHS wasn't quite up to the test against Meridian.  The Lady Longhorns lost to the Lady Mustangs in two straight sets, 25-11, 25-22.

The York newspaper lauded DHS' second match effort as Dorchester "went blow for blow with Meridian in a set that saw 13 ties."  Plouzek recorded an ace block that tied the set at 10 and she followed that up with a kill to tie things at 11.

A Dorchester ace from freshman Jacee Zoubek led to a Meridian timeout, and after the break the Mustangs fell behind 14-11 but eventually worked their way back to tie at 16 thanks to hitting errors from the Longhorns.

The final tie came at 22, but Meridian benefited from an attack that landed out of bounds and a block from MHS to give the Mustangs a 24-22 advantage.  Dorchester committed a foul on the following possession to end the match.

The young Dorchester squad is 8-18 on the season, with two regular season contests remaining, including a home game on October 26 against Nebraska Lutheran.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dorchester-Based Farmers Co-op Is 73rd Largest Co-op In U.S.; 6th In State

My how you've grown over the years!

Nebraska is home to eight of the country's largest cooperative businesses, according to the latest annual report from the National Cooperative Bank.

Dorchester-based Farmers Cooperative, with numerous locations throughout southeast and central Nebraska, as well as northern Kansas, is 73rd on the list.  

The NCB Co-op 100 list ranks the top co-ops in the country based on revenue. 

Other Nebraska co-ops that made the NCB list and their rankings were: Ag Processing Inc., Omaha, 11th largest; FCS America, Omaha, 40th; Central Valley Ag Cooperative of York, 42nd; Livestock Producers Marketing Association of Omaha, 43rd; Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co., Aurora, 54th; Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative, Imperial, 82nd; and Cooperative Producers Inc., Hastings, 94th.