Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DPS Superintendent Looks To Boost Student Numbers


DPS Superintendent Aims To Increase Student Body Numbers: Superintendent Daryl Schrunk has made public his goal to expand the average class size at DPS to 16 students per grade level over the next two years.  He is encouraging folks to reach out to friends and family in surrounding communities to encourage them to consider option enrolling their students at Dorchester.  DPS even offers daily bus service to and from Crete.  (May 1 is the paperwork deadline for those students who want to option enroll.)  Mr. Schrunk is to be commended for his goals and thoughtful approach. But it will take more than just option enrollment students to create long-term growth in class sizes, especially as the number of farm kids continues to decline.  A good first step would be for the Village Board to devise a plan to fill vacant homes and lots in Dorchester.  (See last week's story on ideas from Elwood, Neb.) Another step would be to encourage DPS teachers with children to live in the school district and grow our community. (A no-brainer in days gone by, but it isn't happening much nowadays.) Bottom line: Dorchester needs more young families, a goal that can be accomplished with a plan and the right mindset.

Next School Board Meeting Is Feb. 6:  Do you have an issue you want to discuss with the Dorchester School Board? Your next chance is Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the school.  This year's board members are Matt Hansen, Mike Hatfield, Neal Pavlish, Carol Schnell, Kelli Schweitzer, and Steve Vyhnalek.

DHS Parents' Night Is Feb. 3:  DHS Parents' Night is set for Friday, Feb. 3.  The parents of DHS' basketball and wrestlers will be honored at the conclusion of the DHS vs. Giltner varsity game, which starts at 6 p.m.

Crete's Growing Police Force: Does a large influx of immigrants in a short time cause the crime rate to rise? The major media tell us no -- and to quit being xenophobic for raising the question.  But in Crete, they've had to add two more new police officers, bring the city's total to 14 sworn officers, which is being paid for by an increase in the city's sales tax.  We can remember when there were six or eight police officers in Crete not that long ago.  However, in the Jan. 25 issue of The Crete News, the weekly crime record took up four columns, with crimes ranging from driving with no insurance or license, to speeding, to disturbing the peace, to possession of K2 or marijuana. That's not our opinion; those are the facts.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dorchester Street Planning Discussion Will Be Feb. 6 At Fire Hall


A decade ago, when the Dorchester Times first started publishing, some of our earliest reader comments had to do with the condition of Dorchester's streets.

Currently, the Dorchester Village Board is preparing to review its one and six-year street plan for our community.  And the public is invited to weigh in.

The street plan discussion will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at the Dorchester Fire Hall.

Residents who want to join the discussion can share their thoughts, data, and real life stories about Dorchester's streets.

One of the blessings of living in a small town is your opinion counts.  

Board members will value the thoughts of people they know and who look them in the eyes when sharing their opinions.  They will also value input that is constructive, practical and helps them accomplish the job, such as how to pay for improvements.

Our advice to those who care about Dorchester streets: Attend this meeting on Feb. 6 at the Fire Hall.

Former Dorchester Resident, School Cook Ellen Vossler Passes At 102


Longtime Dorchester resident Ellen (Simons) Vossler passed away at the age of 102 in Grand Island last week, on Sunday, Jan. 22.  Services were held Thursday.  Many Dorchester residents and former DPS students will recall Ellen worked as a school cook for decades.

Ellen was born August 4, 1914 in Walthill, NE to Rudolf and Lizzie (Burger) Wenger. She attended rural school in Thurston County, Neb., attending high school in Walthill, graduating in 1933. She was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran Church in 1934. She helped her parents on the farm until she started working out cleaning/cooking in Jefferson, South Dakota, where she met Albert Simons. They were married in December 1938. They had 2 children. They made their home on a farm near Jefferson, SD and later in the Sioux City, Iowa area. Ellen also worked as a Nurse’s Aide for several years at the Lutheran Hospital in Sioux City. Albert passed away December 1970.

Ellen met Fred Vossler, Sr. and they were married June 1979 and made their home in Dorchester, until Fred’s death December 2009. Ellen remained in her home until 2010 when she moved in with her daughter in Cairo, Neb. and most recently resided at Wedgewood Care Center in Grand Island.

She loved her family and helping others. She enjoyed sewing, quilting, crocheting and baking bread. Ellen had a great faith and loved the Lord and enjoyed reading her Bible every day.

Ellen was preceded in death by her parents; husbands; three brothers, Sam, Frank and Ruben; three sisters, Susie, Rosa and Nellie; step-son, Fred Vossler, Jr; granddaughter, Suzanne Stuenkel; great-granddaughter, Emily Tharp; son-in-law, Marvin Lang.

Survivors include 2 daughters, Mary Sue (Stuenkel) Lang of Uehling, Neb. and Rose Marie (Charles) Hollingsworth of Cairo; 1 step-daughter Janice (Larry) Casey of Alfred Station, NY; 8 grandchildren; 5 step-grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; 12 great-great grandchildren 3 step-great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials are suggested to Trinity Lutheran School, Grand Island, Neb.; Cairo Quick Response Team (QRT) in Cairo, Neb. or to Donor’s choice.  Condolences for the family may be submitted online at http://apfelfuneralhome.com/.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dorchester's Legion Buffalo Feed Is This Sunday, Jan. 29


January in Nebraska is a long month with few highlights.  

But this Sunday, January 29, will bring one of those highlights in Dorchester.

It is that time of year when area residents flock to Dorchester's main street to get their fill of the best buffalo served in all of Nebraska.

The Dorchester American Legion annual January buffalo feed is a decades-long tradition.  This year, a special touch will be added as the Skalak Band will be providing entertainment.

The luncheon will begin at noon on Sunday and continue until 2 p.m. Then, an evening dinner will start at 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m., or until supplies last. 

Meal includes buffalo roast, barbecue and meatloaf, with homemade sides, bread and beverage.

There will be multiple raffles, pickle cards and a cash bar. Also, lunch specials will be available Monday, Jan. 30, at the Legion if all the food isn't sold Sunday.

The event raises money for community projects and scholarships provided by the Legion. 

You will want to come early for this very popular event, as finding parking can be difficult. Bring your friends!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Elwood, Neb. Provides Examples On How Small Towns Can Improve




"Our town is too small to see any real progress." 

"No one will ever build a new home in our small town."


"We can't get people to move here. We're too small."


Sound familiar?


If anyone ever whines like that in Elwood, Neb. -- population 707 -- we're fairly certain the town as a whole responds to the whiner the way former President Reagan responded to his interrupting critics.


Like Dorchester, Elwood contains fewer than 750 people.  And like Dorchester, Elwood is about 12 minutes south of I-80 and near a packing plant community (Lexington). 


But what makes Elwood stand out are its ongoing efforts to maintain, grow and develop itself, all of which were highlighted in a story we were e-mailed.

  
Just look at what this small town has done to improve:
  • Elwood is the smallest of 38 communities to earn the Nebraska Department of Economic Development's certification to designate those communities that are taking important steps to attract new industries and grow existing businesses.  State officials honored village leaders last week during Elwood’s annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.
  • Among Elwood’s development programs is its “Free Lot Program,” to recruit new residents to the community through homesteading efforts.  Since 2011, the free lots spurred seven new homes and eight more lots are currently available for construction.  The program gained praise on the late Paul Harvey’s radio show and PBS’s “This Old House” television series. Consumer Reports also mentioned Elwood in an article about America’s top five towns that still offer homesteading (free land if you live there for a set number of years).
  • In addition, Elwood developed a Speculative House Risk Sharing Program, which allows contractors and home builders to share the risk of interest during a home’s construction.
  • Since 2011, program leaders have successfully recruited an attorney, a new beauty salon, and a daycare to the area.  
  • Fourteen full-time jobs have been created in several new businesses there, including the Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market, Northern Agri Service, Elwood Auto Sales, Turkey Creek Seed Solutions, Scharf Construction, and Weissert Hardwood Floors.
  • A Community Development Block Grant for downtown revitalization was secured in 2012, which resulted in the completion of a new library and rehab assistance to 12 businesses. In addition, a Nebraska Civic and Convention Center Financing Act grant began efforts to build a community wellness center spearheaded by school and village officials.
  • Private donations allowed for structural and energy improvements at the Gosper County Senior Center.
  • In 2015, the community completed a housing market study, in 2016, Elwood was selected to participate in a Nebraska Investment Finance Authority-supported initiative to create workforce housing.  Elwood is currently working with Dawson Area Development and the communities of Lexington and Cozad on a regional housing program to create a viable workforce within Gosper and Dawson Counties.
  • Over the past five years, the Elwood Area Foundation raised $55,000 annually to contribute to community improvements. The village’s Redevelopment Authority funds have also been used to recruit talent through payment assistance of student loans, housing costs, and business start-ups.
  • In 2015, voters enacted a 1% sales tax increase to fund village development projects.    
Too small to grow? Too tiny to improve? To that, Elwood, Neb. says: "Oh, shut up!" 

Nice going, Elwood.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Dorchester Boy Scouts Looking For A Few, Good Young Men


Dorchester Boy Scouts recently checked out DHS' industrial
arts building and received instruction from Mr. Bruha.
How do you get boys more engaged in their community and school? How do you get them to care?

You start at a young age.  No politician or government program can do it for you.

One tried and true method over the years has been the Boy Scouts of America.

The Boy Scouts is the largest scouting organization in the United States and one of the largest youth organizations in the country with more than 2.4 million youth participants -- and nearly one million adult volunteers. 

Dorchester Boy Scouts Troop 343 is currently looking for a few, good young men.  Those interested should contact Amanda Cerny via Facebook or at the school at (402) 946-2781.

The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for boys ages 7 to 10½ years, Boy Scouting for boys ages 10½ to 18.

The Scout's goals are to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, and educational programs.  At older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations is the primary missing. 

For younger members, the Scouting method is part of the program to instill typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills.

There's no reason Dorchester shouldn't have a strong scouting program.  Our hats off to the volunteers and mentors helping with the program.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

SPORTS ROUNDUP: DHS Girls Breeze Into Second Round Of CRC Tourney


* DHS Girls Are Cruising In Crossroads Tourney:  The Dorchester Lady Longhorns demolished East Butler Saturday in the first round of the annual CRC Basketball Tournament in the York Civic Center by a score of 61 to 38.  DHS was up 32-14 at the half and never looked back.  The Lady Longhorns, now 9-6 on the season, will take on BDS this Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

* DHS Boys Bow Out Of CRC Tourney Early: The DHS boys basketball team, low on players, made an early exit this year in the Crossroads Tournament in York.  Despite scoring from Longhorns Kratochvil, Vielma, Havlat, and Nelson, the Longhorns fell to East Butler by a count of 62-31.  The boys are now 1-12 on the season.

* Exeter-Milligan Considers Merging Volleyball With Fillmore Central:  West of us on Highway 6, another area school is suffering from kids not going out for extracurricular activities -- and parents not encouraging them to do so.  According to the Friend newspaper, the Exeter-Milligan School Board met earlier this month with community members to decide on the future of the school's volleyball -- and possibly merging the successful E-M program with Fillmore Central School in Geneva.  The news is surprising to many, since E-M's volleyball team has gone to state eight times in the past 10 years.  While the E-M board voted 5-1 to keep the volleyball program, it appears the program doesn't have good odds over the long term and could merge with Fillmore Central, or even Friend, within another season or two.  E-M Volleyball Coach Darcy White said "it is not just the volleyball program that is suffering."  White told the E-M school board, “It’s not just a volleyball issue – you can’t have teams with five volleyball players and six basketball players. Our numbers are not getting better. ... I am not going to go out and beg girls to play volleyball because those aren’t the girls I want to play for me.”  Board member Kendra Jansky asked White what her thoughts were on students not participating in basketball.  “I think it’s a trend in society, not just at E-M, but you will have to ask the kids,” White said.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Notice: DVFD Will Host Feb. 18 Chili Cook-Off


The following advertisement is running as our show of support for the community's volunteer first-responders and their dedicated efforts to keep Dorchester safe.  



Thursday, January 19, 2017

DHS Grad Owes His Life To Guardian Angel Tony Hernandez


You never know who's assisting your guardian angel.
  
For one Dorchester native and DHS graduate, the helper was Tony Hernandez, who was recently honored with the Life Saving Award.

The story begins on a sunny, humid Saturday afternoon this past September when a couple was shopping at the Gateway Mall.  When the wife noticed her 58-year-old husband had fallen, she scurried to check on him, only to find he was not breathing.

Panic set in.  She yelled for help.  Fortunately, Tony Hernandez was close by.

Hernandez began to administer CPR to the fallen man.  He continued to do so for approximately five minutes until the arrival of emergency medical personnel from Lincoln Fire and Rescue.  

Hernandez reported that several times during that time, the man would begin breathing on his own, then lapse again into cardiac arrest.  

Ultimately, emergency medical personnel were able to regain a pulse on the victim.  By the time he was transported to the Nebraska Heart Hospital, he was breathing on his own and speaking with his wife.

The man who suffered the heart attack and flirted with death was Kevin Znamenacek, a 1976 graduate of Dorchester High.  He is the son of Lester and Joann Znamenacek, who owned and operated Znamenacek Implement Co. for many years from the 1960s to 1970s, selling and servicing  Massey Ferguson, Hesston and other brands of farming machinery.

Sadly, Kevin's younger brother Gary, a 1978 DHS graduate, passed away just two years earlier at the age of 54.  Gary's passing occurred during the same week as Kevin's heart attack.

As for Tony Hernandez, he's no stranger to helping others.  He was an officer with the Lincoln Police Department for 22 years.  Although retired, his selfless spirit and drive to help others has obviously not diminished.

If not been for Hernandez's immediate response in this situation and his willingness to step in, the end result would have likely been tragically different.

Thank God for guardian angels -- and their helpers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: 40 Years Ago, DHS Industrial Arts Building Got The Go-Ahead

Dorchester School Board in 1977.

* DHS Industrial Arts Building Turns 40 Years Old: Records show the DHS industrial arts building is about to hit the big 4-0. It was in 1977 the DPS Board -- comprised of Bob Kasl, Wayne Hansen, Phil Weber, Chuck Bolton, Kathy Palky, and Alan Slepicka --- voted to give the OK for construction of a new building dedicated to industrial arts.  Forty years later, many areas of the nation, including our own, suffer from a serious shortage of skilled workers who specialize in trades such as welding, plumbing, automotive repair and electrical.  That's due, in part, to school officials and parents who have de-emphasized and even ridiculed the importance of vocational education.  Yet have you noticed how many unskilled, four-year-school graduates today are working retail or unemployed, saddled with thousands in student loan debt and living at home? Something's broken.

* DHS Girls Are Contenders In Class D-2 Ranking: The Lincoln Journal Star has the DHS girls basketball team listed as contenders in the statewide Class D-2 rankings for this week. The Lady Longhorns have won the last seven of eight games, handily defeating High Plains, East Butler and Sterling in recent days.  Under the tutelage of head coach and Dorchester alum Brandon Bruha, DHS' record now stands at 8-5 overall.  Up next is Shelby-Rising City in an away contest Thursday. The Crossroads Conference tournament begins in York on Saturday and continues into the following week.

* DHS Students Will Have School Feb. 15: DPS will be hosting the Crossroads Conference Junior High and High School Quiz Bowls on Wednesday, Feb. 15.  The original DPS calendar had listed no school for K-9 on Feb. 15.  However, this was changed at the January school board meeting to no school for K-8.  Grades 9-12 will be in school from 8:10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 15, so high school students can work on annual assessments.


* Senator Ebke Joins Legislature's White Guilt P.C. Club: Years ago, it was fairly easy to distinguish the malcontents among us.  One way was to watch certain white people, who thought they were well educated, get their panties in a bunch over Columbus Day. That's the day that most of us recognize the trials of the Italian explorer who wrote the first chapter of the New World by advancing western civilization. (No, not all civilizations evolved equally.)  But in an era of collective white guilt, often fueled by public education and media, it has become more difficult to pinpoint the malcontents, especially if you're not on social media. Thanks to legislative bill 485 offered by liberal state lawmaker Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln (a well-to-do, white attorney), it just got easier. Pansing Brooks hopes to kill Columbus Day in Nebraska and instead create a state holiday to honor Ponca chief Standing Bear and other Native American leaders.  Six affluent, white senators have cosponsored the bill, including state Senator Laura Ebke of Crete.  Despite his faults as judged by 2017 standards, Columbus took on the jabbering naysayers of his time with courageous action and in doing so, changed the world. He lived in the reality of his era, not one of theory, philosophy or bill writing.  In this time of much talk, we could use more like him now. Yep, Columbus Day -- and you thought they had important work to do at the Capitol.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dorchester On Ice


This photo, sent to us by a loyal reader, shows Dorchester this morning as the village was covered by a glaze of ice.  Sunrise temperatures hovered around 25 degrees, as the ice followed more than 48 hours of rain, mist and ice storms.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: Soup Luncheon, Polka Party Set For Jan. 22


Lots of things currently trending in the Dorchester area...

* Dorchester Methodist Church Soup Luncheon Is Jan. 22:  Next Sunday, Jan. 22, will bring the Dorchester United Methodist Church's annual soup and sandwich luncheon.  The ladies will be serving from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. On the menu will be chicken noodle soup, chili, clam chowder and liver dumpling soup, along with sandwiches, relishes and many desserts.  The entertainment will be provided by Jim Sprague. Everyone is welcome.

* Polka At Dorchester Legion Hall On Jan. 22:  Also on next Sunday, Jan. 22, Dorchester's Legion Hall will be rocking -- or perhaps we should say polka-ing. The Brad Husak Combo will be playing from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.  Covered dish dinner will be served. Again, everyone is welcome! The cover is only $5.  

* Dorchester Girls Basketball Has Won Last 7 Of 8 Games:  With the exception of their loss last week at Friend, the DHS girls basketball team is on a notable surge.  The Class D-2 Lady Longhorns have won the last seven of eight ball games, handily defeating High Plains, East Butler and Sterling in recent days.  Under the tutelage of head coach and Dorchester alum Brandon Bruha, DHS' record now stands at 8-5 overall.  Up this week are two Class C-2 schools -- Cross County (at DHS on Tuesday) and Shelby-Rising City in an away contest.  (Click here for the York News-Times story on DHS' win over High Plains. Click here for the Friend paper's story on DHS' six game win streak.) The Crossroads Conference tournament begins in York on Saturday and continues into the following week.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ice-ageddon? Major Storm Could Paralyze Area Sunday, Monday


(UPDATE: As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday:

*ICE STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 AM CST TUESDAY...

* TIMING...PERIODS OF LIGHT FREEZING RAIN ARE EXPECTED TODAY.
THE FREEZING RAIN INTENSITY IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE LATE
TONIGHT AND INTO MONDAY MORNING. TEMPERATURES WILL CLIMB TO
NEAR OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE FREEZING ON MONDAY MORNING INTO THE
AFTERNOON POTENTIALLY ALLOWING FOR A MIX OF FREEZING RAIN AND
RAIN. THE INTENSITY WILL DIMINISH BY MONDAY AFTERNOON WITH THE
LIGHT MIX POTENTIALLY ENDING AS A PERIOD OF LIGHT SNOW MONDAY
NIGHT.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF A QUARTER
TO HALF INCH OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS STORM SYSTEM.

* IMPACT...HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE TRAVEL DUE TO ICY ROADS.
SIDEWALKS AND PARKING LOTS WILL BE VERY SLIPPERY AS WELL.
SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. DAMAGE TO TREE LIMBS AND
OTHER OUTDOOR OBJECTS IS POSSIBLE.

* OTHER PRECIPITATION TYPES...SLEET MAY MIX WITH THE FREEZING
RAIN AT TIMES...WITH LITTLE OR NO ACCUMULATION EXPECTED. A
DUSTING OF SNOW MAY FALL AS THE STORM ENDS ON MONDAY NIGHT...
AGAIN WITH LITTLE OR NO ACCUMULATION EXPECTED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS
WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY
DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU
MUST TRAVEL... KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD... AND WATER IN
YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS
WILL LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES
THAT ADD TO THE DANGER.)

Before it even arrives, some are calling it "Ice-ageddon." 

A storm system that is brewing along the west coast could cause big problems for the Midwest early next week. Cathy Zapotocny is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Omaha and says there is a lot of concern with this storm system because it packs a lot of moisture.  The temperature in Nebraska is very cold right now and we have a potential of a wintry mix of precipitation, icing and snow.

Zapotocny says, “The storm system will be affecting the area later on Sunday, into Monday and Monday night. That would be the time frame we are most concerned with and that is when the storm system would be coming in and that is when the greatest amount of influx of moisture and the potential for that icing and snow accumulations will be coming in.  Parts of the area will see rain but the icing is what we are most concerned about.”

She says significant icing means a half-inch or more. This system could impact a wide area, including the Dorchester area.

Some weather models show icing is expected in eastern Nebraska with snowfall in the central and western parts of the state.

Stay tuned to the Dorchester area weather forecast, available here on the Times.

Developing...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saline Co. Residents Can Now Get Local Emergency Alerts Sent To Phone


Dorchester residents and others living in Saline County are now eligible to receive emergency alert sent to their phones or other electronic device.

The service is being offered by Saline, Jefferson and Gage Counties.

Blue Rivers Basin Alerts will provide emergency alerts and severe weather warnings that could directly impact you and your family.

Emergency officials are utilizing this system because many households no longer have traditional land-based telephone lines. 

The system, powered by AlertSense, is intended to be used for emergency alerts, as well as non-emergency incidents that may have significant impacts to residents. Emergency alerts could be related to specific hazards that require some kind of action be taken such as evacuation, shelter in place, boil water orders, etc. 

Non-emergency alerts could include significant transportation problems with prolonged impacts or significant ongoing police or fire activity. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, and demonstrates that this system will not be used for routine information. 

In addition to receiving information on your wireless device, you may also receive notification on your land telephone line (if you have one) depending on the type of incident or event. 

These alerts are provided free of charge, however standard text messaging rates and other charges may apply.

To sign up for free, simply click here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

What Could Have Been: Major Dorchester Business Ideas That Failed


From time to time, this blog has examined Dorchester's business history.  

For example, a while back we looked at Dorchester's business scene in the post-World War II years.

Dorchester's history is replete with hundreds of mom-and-pop businesses -- small operations.  Some thrived for decades or still exist today.  Others didn't even make it a year.  


Many of our readers could name some of those former businesses right now.

But did you know at the turn of last century, Dorchester was on the brink of being home to some major businesses -- at least in concept? 


Had those businesses been successful, they would have turned into major area employers and likely shaped Dorchester's climate of commerce for at least the 20th century.


In a publication called "Obsolete American Securities and Corporations, Volume 2," the Times staff located the following proposed business from Dorchester that didn't quite get off the ground in the first decade of the 1900s:

  • Dorchester Butter and Cheese Co.
  • Dorchester Grain and Live Stock Co.
  • Dorchester Telephone Co.
  • Buntin Mining and Coal Co.
We look at the history books and wonder what might have been. 

But we also take time to pause and be thankful for the success stories Dorchester has produced. After all, being home of the nation's 61st largest cooperative isn't too shabby.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

NEWS ROUNDUP: DHS Girls Win Sixth Consecutive Game


Here's what is trending in our area:

DHS Girls Win Six Straight: Don't look now, but Dorchester's lady Longhorns basketball team has won six straight games -- just as 8-4 Friend prepares to host DHS this Tuesday, Jan. 10.  The Dorchester girls got off to a rocky start, losing to their first four opponents (only one of which was a fellow Class D-2 school, and that was top-ranked Exeter-Milligan).  Under the tutelage of head coach Brandon Bruha, DHS has turned it around, most recently beating Sterling by 52-30 this past Thursday, which came on the heels of winning the Weeping Water Holiday Tournament.  The Lady Longhorns have a favorable schedule ahead, as only Class D-1 Friend and Class D-2 Hampton have winning records as of today.  If Dorchester's girls play hard and smart, the team could easily win 14 or 15 games this season and be a real contender in D-2.

Saline County Pheasants Forever Banquet Is Jan. 28:  Saline County Chapter Pheasants Forever banquet will be Jan. 28 in Willber's Sokol Hall. 5:30 p.m. doors open; 7 p.m. meal.  $60/membership and meal, $20/spouse, $10/youth. Jim Aschenbach, 402-477-6227.

Famous DeWitt Agribusiness Suffers Major Fire: A feed mill at Waldo Genetics in DeWitt was damaged during a fire on Friday night, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.  The business' feed mill was destroyed and the business is contacting others to find alternative sources for animal feed, but that it will not affect business. Waldo Genetics was known as Waldo Farms until 2014, when it rebranded.

Orv's Grocery In Friend Closes:  The Friend newspaper reports that Orv’s Grocery in Friend closed in December, leaving the town of over 1,000 people -- and 25 minutes from a major box store -- without a grocery store.  Owner Vickie Himmelberg said she closed the store down on Dec. 17. She and her husband, Brian, purchased the store from his father, Orville Himmelberg in 1994. In recent years the store struggled to attract customers, which when added to increasing utility bills, forced the Himmelbergs to close up shop, despite their efforts to attract customers.  Orv's owned a grocery store in Dorchester, as well, until the late 1980s, before the Dorchester mainstreet store re-opened as Torson's Grocery.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dorchester Loses Community Stalwart Don Eret At Age 85


Longtime Dorchester citizen Don Eret was a lot of things: scholar, veteran, rocket engineer, farmer, state lawmaker, activist, community volunteer and leader.  But to most of us, he was simply known as Don -- a man who loved Dorchester.

Don passed away Wednesday at the age of 85.  His funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at the Dorchester United Methodist Church with Pastor Paixao Baptista officiating. Interment is in the Dorchester Cemetery with military services. Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. on Sunday at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Friend. Family will greet relatives and friends from 6-8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service on Monday. Memorials have been established to the Dorchester Alumni Association for scholarships. 

His obituary follows.

Donald Lee Eret, was born May 31, 1931 on a farm south of Dorchester to Adolph and Emma (Nejdl) Eret, the oldest of three children and of Dorchester, passed away suddenly, on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at the age of 85 years 7 months and 5 days. As a young boy, he attended country school south of Dorchester and graduated with the Class of 1948 from Dorchester High School. Don furthered his education at the University of Nebraska, and completed his BS Degree in Agriculture in 1953. While attending the University, he was united in marriage to Lois Naomi Arnold on December 22, 1950, at the United Methodist Church in Dorchester and to this union three children, Joyce, Lee and Larry were born. 

Don joined the US Army and during his service, he served on the staff at the Ordinance Guided Missile School in Huntsville, AL where Don and his family lived for 17 years. When Don was discharged from the service in 1956, he went to work for Brown-Teledyne Corporation as a mechanical-aerospace engineer. This position included providing engineering services to NASA on the Saturn V booster moon landing program. 


In 1970 Don and Lois returned to Nebraska and took over the family farm in 1972. Don was a long and faithful member of the United Methodist Church of Dorchester. He was also a member of the Dorchester American Legion Post, WFLA Tabor Lodge and the Farmer’s Union.


He was active in the American Agriculture movement and participated in the tractorcade to Washington in 1978 when several thousand farmers drove tractors to Washington, DC in response to the US ag policies. Don organized supporters to keep the Nebraska Testing Laboratory active, which became the official designated tractor testing station for the US.


From 1983 to 1987, Don served in the Nebraska State Legislature. He was active in the Saline County Democrats and was honored with the Nebraska Democratic Party Hall of Fame Award in 2011. 


He had kind heart and a smile for everyone he met. He was an excellent care-giver to Lois for many years. He had a special love for his grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with them and making them laugh.


He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Joyce and Bobby Boyd, Madison, AL, sons and daughters-in-law, Lee and Janice Eret, Lincoln, Larry and Betty Eret, Goehner, nine grandchildren and spouses, Brian and Melissa TeGantvoort, Garth TeGantvoort, Jessie and Josh Franklin, Michelle and Mitch McCarthy, Lindsey Eret and Jordan Wilmes, Kelli and Brian Kohout, Nikki Avery, Jamie and Jeff Bishop, Andrea Eret and fiancĂ© Jack Classen, 17 great-grandchildren, sisters and brother-in-law, Doris Richtarik, Wilber, Gladys and Ted Schmidt, Fremont, sister-in-law, Belva Johnson, York, numerous nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends. 


Don was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Lois in 2015, grandson, Dale Boyd, brothers-in-law, Dale Arnold, Chuck Johnson and Gene Richtarik.


Condolences to the family may be sent by clicking here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Looking Back: Dorchester's Secretive Organizations Of The Past


This week, the Dorchester Times received a scathing e-mail from a critic who has issues with our blog's anonymous nature.

"I don't like the secretness [sic] of your publication," the writer said.  "If your [sic] so proud of your little blog and you think you can get so much done in our town, come out and let us know who is behind the Dorchester Times."

OK. Thanks for your input.

The six staff members of the Dorchester Times have been anonymous since the blog's founding in April 2007.  We've lost only one member, who passed away a few years ago.  We have done just fine cloaked in our secrecy. 

Dorchester's history is rich with groups whose members remained anonymous while staying focused on the community's greater good.

One such group were the Dorchester Freemasons, who were active during the early 1900s. The Dorchester Freemasons met on the second floor of the building that now houses City Hall and Donna's Hair Creations. 

According to the Masons' website, "the Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being."  

When the old Dorchester school building was razed in 2008, Dorchester's residents received a history lesson on the Freemasons, who laid the cornerstone of the 1927 building.  Click here for our story on the opening of the 1927 cornerstone.

Another organization with ties to Dorchester's early past is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), which was concerned with local civic and political matters.  Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was founded May 13, 1879.  While not as secretive as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows didn't exactly publicize their membership.

The purpose of Dorchester Odd Fellows' lodge was to "care for the sick, bury the dead, and care for the widows and orphans."  Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was active until 1973.

No one will confuse the Dorchester Times with the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows or any of the world's other elite secret organizations.  But in our own, secretive way, this blog continues to serve a purpose and do some good.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Soup Supper This Thursday At Dorchester School, 5-8 P.M.


The Dorchester Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (EPAC) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will once again be hosting a free-will donation soup supper during the home basketball games with Sterling High School this Thursday, Jan. 5, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

On the menu will be chili and chicken noodle soup, along with sandwiches and dessert provided by the FBLA members.

Soup donations and volunteers to help work the event are still requested. 

Those interested should text Amanda Cerny at (402) 720-8640, or Facebook message her by clicking here.

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