Monday, July 28, 2014

Milford-Dorchester Football Schedule Announced

It's still July, but the football schedule for the Dorchester-Milford varsity football team was announced today.

This season will mark the first time in Dorchester High School history that DHS student-athletes will play varsity football with another school.  

Last season, the Milford-Dorchester sports co-operative was in effect; however, the Nebraska School Activities Association imposed a probationary period on the joining school and DHS football players were prohibited from playing in Milford's varsity competition.

The 2013 season marked the first time since 1948 that Dorchester had not had a high school team. (In 1949, DHS' football program was rejuvenated after years of not playing the game due to a student's death on the gridiron in the early 1930s.)

Two years ago, Milford school administrators and board members agreed to allow DHS to join in what is now officially deemed an "athletic cooperative" between the two schools, on a two-year basis or until DHS has sufficient numbers to resume playing at the Class D level.  The impacted athletics include football and wrestling.

One parent told us last year that while there was some controversy in the creation of the cooperative, Milford was a great and flexible partner in the process.  He also told this blog that DHS football was in a serious rebuilding process, since many parents were not encouraging boys to play the sport.  

"Dorchester can have a proud football culture once again," he said.  "But we need to take advantage of this merger with Milford to get our kids interested in playing the game, regardless if those kids come from town, the farm, from single-parent households, or from low-income homes."

Below is this season's football schedule for the Class C1 Milford-Dorchester squad, which host the season-opener in Milford on Aug. 29.

Milford-Dorchester 2014 Schedule

Week 1 -- Louisville
Week 2 -- @Grand Island Central Catholic
Week 3 -- @David City
Week 4 -- Holdrege
Week 5 -- @Fairbury
Week 6 -- Lincoln Christian
Week 7 -- @Raymond Central
Week 8 -- Lincoln Lutheran
Week 9 -- @Wilber-Clatonia

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Options For Addressing Unsightly, Dangerous Properties In Town

Earlier this week, the Times received a letter from a resident who complained about the condition of some unkempt properties in town.

Old complaint.  Old problem.  The question is: What to do about it?

We asked three friends of this blog what they would do -- if made king/queen of Dorchester for a day -- to address homes and commercial buildings in major disrepair? We received three different answers.  Here they are:

  1. Crack down more on negligent and/or messy property owners, using heavier fines and legal means.
  2. Create a "cost-share incentive program" to financially assist clean-up and restoration efforts made by low-income property owners.  (When we asked how this fund would be financed, the resident told us through donations, fundraisers, property tax revenues and perhaps a new sales tax.)
  3. Declare certain blocks in Dorchester as blighted and substandard, then use tax increment financing to encourage rebuilding and/or renovation.  (The person who gave us this answer said this could bring a new retirement facility to town, or maybe a new apartment building.) 

Readers of this blog might not be too familiar with tax increment financing, but it's a tool being used in many Nebraska communities to encourage the redevelopment of deteriorating, dilapidated properties.  Nebraska law permits its use. 

We aren't experts on tax increment financing, or TIF for short, but it seems to be a pretty straight-forward concept.  It takes property tax revenue that would normally be paid by developers (once a property is improved and valued at a much higher price) and diverts it back into their projects.  That money can even be used for for public infrastructure near the project.

Under Nebraska law, TIF projects may be commercial, residential, industrial, or mixed use.  After a project is approved by the town board, the locality authorizes the issuance of warrants or TIF bonds to undertake public improvements in the designated area.  

We are interested in what our readers would do to encourage clean-up and repair of dilapidated properties in town?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Looking Back: Dorchester Telephone Building

Today we look back at one of Dorchester's most unique pieces of architecture and a central part of the town's history.

It's one of those few old buildings, anywhere in Nebraska, that elicits the following question from almost every out-of-towner: What did that used to be?

The Dorchester Telephone Building -- which now stands vacant on the northeast corner of the intersection of 8th and Washington Ave. -- was once the hub of communication in our community. 

Most telephones first came to Dorchester in 1905, when 247 phones were installed in town and the surrounding countryside. In those early years, switchboard operators were housed on the top floors of the old Longanecker Building, which sat in the current location of Tyser Welding and Repair.

By the late 1910s and early 1920s, telephone traffic and switchboard equipment were both growing, so extra space was needed for Dorchester's phone operators. In the late 1920s, the Dorchester Telephone Building was erected. The building was used for switchboard operators until the early 1950s, when dialing phones were installed in the Dorchester area.

At least three businesses -- that we know of -- have occupied the building since it was vacated by Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph: Guggenmos Insurance Co. (1950s and 1960s); Snip 'N Curl beauty salon (1970s); and a short-lived dime store (1980s).

The Times has not heard of any immediate plans for the building, which has fallen into disrepair -- although several area residents have expressed interest in buying and renovating the building. 

Journal Star Story Spotlights Saline County's Generosity

Some on the Dorchester Times staff are in our 60s and 70s.  As long as we can recall, Saline County has always been comprised of good-hearted, generous people.

Today's Lincoln Journal Star is spreading the word.

An article in today's paper shines a light on the story of Breauna Derr, a 14 year-old from Friend who was diagnosed last fall with a painful form of bone cancer.

Breauna is a big player in Saline County's 4-H club.  At last week's Saline County Fair at Tuxedo Park in Crete, Breauna's brother showed her two market goats, her feeder calf and Ralph, an 18-month-old red roan shorthorn she’d bottle fed on her family’s acreage.

At the livestock auction at the fair, following the showing and the judging, something special occurred -- openly displaying the generosity and caring spirit of Saline County residents.

The Journal Star features a photo of Dorchester's Joel Weber, shown hugging Breauna at the auction. His eyes are rimmed in red.  Weber runs a feed yard in Dorchester, and his two boys are in Breauna’s 4-H club, The Live Wires.

Weber also belongs to Exeter Feeders and Breeders -- a chapter of Nebraska Cattleman -- a group that set aside $500 to spend at the auction to help Breauna, according to the Journal Star.

Thanks to the Feeders and Breeders bid, Breauna's steer brought $3,500 on the auction, which far surpassed any of the sale prices from earlier in the day.  Some of Breauna's fellow 4-Hers even donated their earnings to her cause.

But things really got weepy after the bidding ended, when folks started holding up $100 in cash, to add to the bid. And then more people, waving their hands and bid cards and more money.

“It was just a spur of the moment deal, all just bang bang,” said Randy Pryor, an extension educator at UNL’s Saline County Extension office.

“It was just unbelievable the number of people who stepped forward out of the sky blue,” said Bill Rut of Dorchester, the auctioneer.

All together, more than $8,000 was raised for Breauna's fight.

“I tell you what, we have an awesome county,” Breauna's mom, Kim Derr, said. “They are good people.”

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guest Letter: C'mon, Man! Clean Up That Property

(Note: The following letter and photos were submitted to this blog by a guest reader and a Dorchester resident.  The Times staff has determined that, despite its controversial nature, the article is appropriate for publication.  Other guest articles may be e-mailed to for consideration.)


Dear Dorchester Times,

If you have watched ESPN's Monday Night Countdown during football season, you know
 the phrase I'm about to invoke. During the show, the hosts will describe a play or series of plays that made them scratch their heads and say "C'mon man!"

Every community in Nebraska has a handful of neglected properties that also make you want to scream, "C'mon, man!" You know the ones I'm talking about.  The ones that look like the owner is purposely trying to recreate the set of that old TV show "Sanford and Son."  Dorchester is no different in that regard, even if it's just a very small percentage of homes that are painful eyesores.

Recently, on a walk around our town of Dorchester, my wife and I decided to snap pictures of the most offensive properties in Dorchester.  I do understand not everyone is physically able to take care of their yards and homes the way they would like, but I'm talking about the properties that someone actually had to work hard to mess up!

I can count about seven or eight truly offensive properties. I am sending you pictures of some of them, though I know you've seen them, too.  One is on main street! The owners of these properties should be forced to clean up immediately.  How would you like to be a home owner next to one of these "beauties"? Neighbors have rights, too. We pay taxes, too.

What happened to consideration for our fellow man (and woman)? What happened to hometown pride? What happened to self dignity?

Sorry for this rant, but I am proud to be a Dorchester resident.  I love our community and want it to never stop improving.  I don't know how to force someone to take care of or clean up their property.  Obviously, the town's threats of fines or even bulldozing isn't motivating some people, so maybe public pressure and shame are the only alternatives.  It's sad to think so.

I doubt your blog will run this or my photos.  I won't blame you if you don't, but I don't know what else to do other than to say, "C'mon, man! Clean up your act."



New Virus Spreading In U.S., Even In Our Area

First it was West Nile.  Then the Swine Flu.  Now it's Chikungunya, a painful virus spread by mosquitos, that is being reported across the country.

Nebraska reported its first case in June.

The Centers for Disease Control has listed a total of 497 cases in the U.S. in 35 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, 197 locally transmitted. reports that other state and local health agencies noted 40 cases, bringing the total to 537.

Nebraska's chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Acierno, says the disease is fairly uncommon in the United States but will likely increase in the coming years. Deaths from the virus are rare, but the pain can be severe and debilitating.

DHHS says outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Europe, Asia and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says no mosquitoes that carry the virus have been found in the United States.

The disease is spread through mosquito bites, usually aedes species mosquitoes, which bite mostly in the daytime.  Chikungunya, discovered in Africa 60 years ago, can't spread human to human. The best way to ward off the disease is to take precautions against mosquito bites-wear repellent with DEET, dress in light-colored long sleeves and pants when venturing outdoors, drain any standing water around the house, and try to stay inside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are out buzzing the most.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Plowing Bee, Tabor Hall Fundraiser This Sunday

There will be a tractor plowing bee this Sunday to help raise money to renovate Tabor Hall near Dorchester.

Visitors are welcome, and food and refreshments will be available inside the hall, with all the proceeds going to fix the hall, which hosts dances and receptions.

The hall will open at 11 a.m. Plowing with restored antique tractors begins at 2 p.m. in fields next to Tabor Hall, on County Road 1400, 5 miles south of town.

Last year there were nearly 30 tractors, said organizer Larry Fuller. This year they will dig into 50 acres near the hall.  Fuller said the bee grew from a picnic at which a bunch of farm neighbors got together and used their old tractors to plow like they did years ago.

Shelley Bruha of Dorchester said it is important to hold this event because it allows the neighborhood to come together and allows those who have old tractors to have a chance to work with them.

“Everyone always has a good time,” Bruha said.

For more information, call (402) 641-4840.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Cafe Coming To Dorchester

It's some of the most exciting news we have heard in some time regarding Dorchester's
business district.

According to several well-placed sources, a new cafe will soon make its way to the west side of Dorchester's main street.

The cafe will occupy the building that was most recently the Dorchester Hardware Store and the additional space in Dorchester Grocery.  Older residents will remember the site as the former location of the West Side Cafe and Rec Room.

There's no word yet on when the cafe will open, but we are told the owners are individuals with strong Dorchester ties.

Operating a restaurant or cafe in a small community isn't easy, and Dorchester's newest entrepreneurs have a heavy task ahead of them.  We can all recall the short-lived restaurants, ice cream shops, and cafes that have been here in the past.  To be successful, this endeavor will need a unique spin on its operations, good marketing, as well as strong support by the community and area residents.

Community members we spoke with are elated by the news and anxious to see the cafe open.  In a 2010 Times survey, readers said that a "cafe with a bakery" was one of the most needed businesses in Dorchester.  In fact, a cafe commanded the second highest number of votes, behind only a convenience store.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Looking Back: 2007 Reader Comments For The Village Board

Seven years ago, in July 2007, we published the first of our "Suggestion Box" series.  These posts provided an open online forum for readers to offer suggestions, complaints and compliments for village leaders.  

Today, we decided to dust off that very first "Suggestion Box," which was entitled "Comments for the Village Board."

A lot has changed from seven years ago.  A lot has not.

The key topics of concern back then, according to reader comments, were:

1.) Paving (or not paving) Dorchester streets.
2.) Illegal immigration.  (And that was during the Bush years.)
3.) Water quality.
4.) Condition of the business district and water tower. (Hey, one of those has improved.)
5.) Did we mention paving?

In the comments section of this post, you'll be able to see all the reader comments -- good and bad -- left back in July 2007.

Which ones are relevant today? Feel free to add your 2014 comments for village leaders.

Survey: Lack Of Immigration Control Is Biggest Problem Facing U.S.

With thousands of undocumented immigrant minors crossing the nation's southern border in recent months, a new Gallup poll finds the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006. 

As a result, immigration now virtually ties "dissatisfaction with government," at 16%, as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country's top problem.

See the survey here.

So what do you think, Times readers? Do you agree with the survey? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DPS Announces New Hires For 2014-15 School Year

This past spring, Dorchester Public School lost four faculty members who left our community for advanced positions at other educational institutions.

The large turnover was unusual for Dorchester, considering the school has a good record at retaining quality, professional educators.

This week, it was announced that DPS administration has filled those vacancies.

The Times has been alerted that the school's Facebook page announced the names of the new Longhorn staff this morning.

"Please welcome the new staff to Dorchester Public Schools: Kyleigh Lewis, Miles Ray, Grant Cole, and Chelsea Lulla," the DPS Facebook post reads.

You can see the post by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Looking Back: The Oil Wells Of Dorchester

With the price of oil still hovering around $100 a barrel and the price of corn dropping precipitously, we wonder if it's time to start inviting the oil prospectors to Dorchester.

It wouldn't be the first time it has happened. 

As petroleum power became a reality early last century, there was active exploration for oil in the Dorchester area, according to the Dorchester centennial history book. 

Pictured at the right is an oil well drilled just outside Dorchester in August of 1925. The well proved unsuccessful and was discontinued in 1927. However, the search for an oilfield continued for several years, including a 3,500-foot prospect well on the William Mumma farm in 1933.

Nebraska an oil state? According to the Nebraska State Historical Society, the first publicized report of oil in Nebraska was an 1883 newspaper account of a "vein of petroleum" discovered in Richardson County. Over the next 57 years, the search for oil consumed thousands of dollars, and hundreds of wells were drilled throughout Nebraska. Traces of oil were reported at various locations across the state, but Nebraska did not have a producing well until 1940.

In 1940, the Pawnee Royalty Company reported that one of their wells began producing and averaged 169 barrels daily for the first 60 days.  The well easily qualified for a $15,000 bonus offered by the Nebraska Legislature for the first oil well in the state to produce at least 50 barrels daily for 60 consecutive days. Interestingly, the well was located about five miles east of the "vein of petroleum" reported in 1883.

Today, Nebraska's oil production is largely centered in the southwestern panhandle, although $100-plus oil has rekindled interest in continuing oil production in other areas of the state.

DHS Grad, USAF Officer Don Palky Passes At 71

Donald "Don" Lee Palky, second son of John Wm. Palky, Sr. and Helen Marie Heeren Palky, was born in Friend on Nov. 6, 1942. He attended rural school southwest of Dorchester and graduated from Dorchester High School in 1960. Donald was commissioned to the United States Air Force Academy in 1960, graduating from there in 1964, and served as an F4 pilot based in Germany during the Vietnam conflict and then at Edwards Air Force Base working on the Space Shuttle Program.

After retiring from the Air Force, Don worked as a systems analyst for the Navy based at San Diego. Don passed away on July 6, 2014 at Encinitas, Calif. at the age of 71.

He leaves to mourn him: brother, John (Kathy) of Dorchester; nephew, David (Belinda) Palky and family of Ohio; nephew, Gary (Vickie) Palky and family of Dorchester; cousins, Jimmy (Dona) Heeren of Dorchester, Jean (Bob) Muckel and Mary McComas of Crete and their families.

His ashes will be committed for burial at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. at a later date.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Busloads Of Illegal Immigrants Coming To Town?

The immigration crisis on the southern border, involving tens of thousands of minors from El Salvador, Honduras,and Guatemala, has become a concern for the nation.  

But it's taking place 1,500 miles away, with no real impact to Nebraska or Dorchester, right?

Not so fast.  A busload of illegal immigrants may be coming to a small town near you.

Around the country, there are reports that between 60-120 illegal immigrants are being "resettled" (shipped/imported/smuggled?) into small towns, without any input from residents of the community.

And now Nebraska's U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns says about 200 undocumented children have been placed in Nebraska after arriving at the U.S. Border, most of them from Central America. This is according to a new report from Nebraska Watchdog.

Johanns’ office said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said during a June 27 conference call that a number of months ago, about 200 children were placed with families or sponsors in Nebraska.  He said the number could be higher than 200.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Service officials said they were aware of the influx of children, but declined to comment. The children apparently have been placed in the Omaha and Grand Island areas. 

“This can’t be allowed to continue,” Johanns said. “The law needs to be changed here … or we have no border when it comes to anybody under age.” 

Johanns said when Obama said immigration laws wouldn’t be enforced for minors, he sent a signal that has been interpreted in Central America as a green light for minors.

“This is serious,” Johanns said. “We’ve got a chaotic situation on our hands.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's No Joke: Cold Blast To Hit Area Next Week

The Dorchester Times likes to keep its readers informed about the weather, so we thought it was only fair to give you a heads-up about next week's polar vortex.
6-10 day outlook from National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center
Yes, you read that correctly.  Polar vortex -- in mid-July, at the peak of summer.

While President Obama is off talking about global warming and the danger of the greenhouse effect, all we can tell you is unseasonably chilly air is headed for parts of the northern and northeastern U.S at the height of summer early next week.

The Dorchester area could see highs only into the 60s and lows in the 40s by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  That's according to some computer models.

Places in Michigan, Illinois and North Dakota could see lower 40s for minimum temperatures.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Residents Raise Concerns Regarding Blocked Railroad Crossings

Recently, several Dorchester residents have complained about the increasing frequency of trains blocking one or both southern entrances into town.  

Often, the trains are standing still for 15, 20 or 30 minutes, which is a major inconvenience to town residents and others driving through our community.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which operates the rail, notes that the company tries to limit the amount of time any crossing is blocked on a mainline track.  

They add, "Our business depends on keeping trains moving. Unfortunately trains sometimes experience conditions that force them to stop. Those conditions may be related to equipment, track or weather conditions. In those cases, BNSF works to correct the condition and to resume the safe movement of trains." 

Dorchester recognizes that our community exists due to the railroad.  We want to be good partners with those who provide rail services to our community and our region, and we will tolerate an occasional blocked crossing.  But lately, the blockings have been taking place too often.

Nebraska law says the following:
A railroad company or a railroad track owner operating trains over tracks within the State of Nebraska shall not block a public highway-rail grade crossing, for a period of time in excess of ten (10) minutes, except if the train is moving in a continuous forward or backward direction, or if the train is stopped for an emergency condition, including an accident, derailment, critical mechanical failure, track or bridge washout, storm, flood, or other emergency situation.
If Dorchester's blocked crossings continue on a regular basis, we suggest residents call BNSF representatives who work on community issues at (817) 867-6418.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Saline County Courthouse To Get $4.1M Makeover

In case you haven't yet heard, Saline County commissioners have approved plans to build a $4.1 million addition to the county courthouse in Wilber.

Officials say the addition will satisfy requirements for safety, security and accessibility while blending in with the main revival-style courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  That's according to the news wires.

An elevator will provide access to all floors of the building, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a second staircase and fire exit will comply with current codes. The addition is also intended to improve security and will include disabled-accessible restrooms.

Commissioner Marvin Kohout of Dorchester said the five-member board initially looked at building a new courthouse, but the $12 million price tag was too high.

The board also explored renovating and modifying the 86-year-old courthouse, but plumbing problems and rewiring necessary for computer equipment made that option unfeasible.

Kohout said commissioners plan to issue bonds to pay for the addition.

Public safety has been a concern at the courthouse. Currently, prisoners are held in a public corridor just outside of the county courtroom. That's also where the public waits before entering to take driver's license exams.

Once the design of the addition is finalized, officials hope to select a contractor by mid-August. Groundbreaking is set for Oct. 1. The courthouse will remain open throughout construction, which is expected to take about 20 months.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Vacation Bible School Begins Monday, 5:30 P.M.

It's Vacation Bible School time at Dorchester United Methodist Church. 

This year's VBS classes begins tomorrow (Monday) July 7 and continues Tuesday (July 8) and Wednesday (July 9). 

The good news is there is still time to register.  

Just show up at the church on Monday evening at 5:30 p.m.  That's when registration begins.  Also, a light supper will be offered.

VBS will last from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

All children, regardless of their parents' church affiliation, are invited.

The theme of this year's VBS is "Cokesbury's Workshop of Wonders: Imagine and Build With God."

Looking Back: County Fair Triggered Tensions Between Towns In 1800s

See the story below this post and you'll be reminded that it's nearly county fair time again.  It's a great event that is enjoyed by many in our county and surrounding area.

But in the past, the county fair has also been a source of tension in our Saline County community.

According to a loyal Times' reader ("History Buff"), Saline County’s first fair was held in October 1872. There were 280 entries and 700 in attendance. The first fairs were held in Crete, in an area near present-day Crist Auto Body on the west end of town.  Key attractions included horse races and orators. Dorchester’s Ed McIntyre was treasurer of the Fair Board; nine of the judges at that first fair had Dorchester addresses.

By 1887, the fair was reported “better than ever,” but receipts were not enough to pay expenses.  

Meanwhile, Dorchester was busy preparing to host an area reunion of Civil War veterans. By May 1888, Dorchester leaders were so optimistic about the preparations that “a number of citizens from the vicinity” went to a meeting in Crete to propose moving the county fair to Dorchester. 

The Dorchester Star reported that “after ridiculing Dorchester in every conceivable manner for insinuating such a thing as having a fair, the meeting adjourned to see if Crete could raise $2,000 to keep it there.”

The June 1888 veterans' reunion was a huge success. There were grandstands, platforms, pavilions and tents and a crowd "estimated between 1,500 and 15,000." In July 1888, W. P. Thompson purchased the ground in northeast Dorchester where the reunion was held. (Soon after, the parcel came to be known as “Thompson’s Rodeo Grounds.")

Meanwhile, the September 1888 County Fair at Crete was fraught with problems. The 1889 county fair was held in Wilber, then Crete and Wilber alternated for several years until 1900.  There were no Saline County fairs held again until 1925.  (Friend hosted a variety of fairs and racing meets during this time, and also hosted a Junior Fair from 1919 to 1921.)

The Saline County Fair was revived in October 1925 on Linden Ave. in Crete.  The following year there were exhibit tents at Tuxedo Park.  Gradually special show buildings were erected at Tuxedo; the Thompson ponies from Dorchester provided rides and shows; and rural schools built special floats for parades. The rest is history.

In the ‘30s and 40’s, Lillian Vlcek (Rezabek), Bertha Dusanek (Zak), and Jerry Pracheil were rural students winning prizes for posters and penmanship. Harold Krivohlavek and Rudolph Freeouf showed 4-H livestock. Mrs. Albert Boden and Mrs. Stanley Nohavec brought embroidered pillowcases, and later still, Dorothy Feeken entered the hog calling contest.

There’s a photo at the Saline County Museum of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce parade entry. Herman Schultz, Mike Broz, Ed Spinar, Bill Sanburn, Leonard Pechoucek, Harry Spacek, and John Kenny donned fake moustaches and derby hats, while Frances Spacek and Merle Schultz stand by with long black dresses and Japanese fans. A 1929 Buick pulled a trailer for the musicians, and they all smiled for photographer.

In 1963, it was reported that Anton Tesar drove a 1917 Buick parade entry. The Buick had "9,000 miles on it, and original tires."

At the 2014 county fair, Dorchester area residents will be represented in every building and every competition.  We are only one community in Saline County, but the participation of Dorchester residents will proudly reflect our citizens' work ethic and sense of community spirit -- some 132 years after the first county fair.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

County Fair Brings Big-Name Bands

It's almost that time of year again -- county fair time! 

The 2014 Saline County Fair will run July 15-20 at Crete’s Tuxedo Park.  This year's fair will feature a double-shot concert on Friday night with Midwest country rockers SwitchBak opening for Grammy and Academy of Country Music artists Restless Heart.

The same five who came together in 1983 — John Dittrich, Greg Jennings, Paul Gregg, Dave Innis and Larry Stewart — still make up Restless Heart today. With over 25 singles on the charts, six consecutive No. 1 hits, four albums certified Gold by the RIAA, and a wide range of awards, including the ACM Top Vocal Group trophy and seven Country Music Association nominations chronicle a multi-decade career in music.

The band, which is best known for hits like “The Bluest Eyes in Texas,” “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” “That Rock Don’t Roll,” “Fast Movin’ Train” and “When She Cries,” is noting its 31st anniversary in 2014.

Lincoln-based SwitchBak, a band with the driving guitars of southern rock, the storytelling of country outlaws and country stars, and the raw edge of Texas red-dirt, mixes all those ingredients together to create a distinctly rugged, natural sound.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are $15 in advance (available until July 15 online at or at Crete True Value/Just Ask Rental, Pinnacle Bank-Crete, First State Bank in Dorchester, Friend Insurance Center, Saline County Extension Office in Wilber) and $20 at the gate.

The remaining fair entertainment lineup includes the Nebraska Bush Pullers tractor pull July 16, the ever-popular Figure 8 races the following night (July 17), and the area’s best county fair rodeo and dance on Saturday, July 19. The rodeo will be preceded by mutton bustin’ at 7.  Once the bulls are finished bucking Saturday night, 5-Mile Bridge — a combination of Lincoln, Dorchester and Crete musicians, takes the stage for the rodeo dance, which lasts until 1 a.m.

See the full schedule for the county fair at

Check Out This Newer Dorchester Home -- Available Now!

Dorchester is a great small town and it's getting noticed for all the right reasons. Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • A brand new K-12 school.
  • A clean, peaceful and safe community.
  • A new water system and new sewer system.
  • The lowest school tax levy in the county.
  • Affordable cost of living.
  • One of the largest agri-businesses (Farmers Cooperative) in the state.
  • Friendly, helpful neighbors.
  • A 10-minute drive from many employers in Crete and Seward. And only 30 minutes to jobs in Lincoln. Located next to two highways and minutes from Interstate 80.
However, one challenge facing Dorchester is housing.  We've heard from readers who've said they would like to move to Dorchester, if only homes were available.

Today, we showcase the latest Dorchester home available right now.  If you're ready to call Dorchester home, we encourage you to take a look.  Make Dorchester your home and grow with our community.

203 W 8th St.:  If you like small town living -- and affordable living -- this is the house for you.  Two bedrooms, two baths, built in 1992. Kitchen opens up to the dining area. Laundry room on the first floor, full basement, located on a corner across from the park.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dorchester's Fourth Of July Schedule

It's no secret: Dorchester has one of the very best July 4th celebrations in southeast Nebraska. It's an annual tradition that draws in folks from near and far, including alumni and friends and family from across the country.

Below is the schedule of Dorchester's 2014 Independence Day celebration as announced by the Dorchester 4th of July Committee.

Residents and out-of-town visitors will find plenty of things to do in Dorchester, without the hurried crowds of Seward or Lincoln. 

Of course, the highlight of the day comes after dark with the famous fireworks show, which has been pleasing crowds for two decades. 

Dorchester's 4th of July Celebration
2014 Schedule of Events
All Day .................... Food and drinks at City Slickers/Joe's Place.
11 a.m.- 7 p.m. .............. Sons of American Legion BBQ (at Legion)
11 a.m. ................... Auxiliary and Jr. Auxiliary Pie and Ice Cream Social/Raffle (at Legion)
1-6 p.m. .................... Saline County Museum/Tribute to the Past (Open to public)

1 p.m. ............................. "Show and Shine" on Main Street. Autos, tractors of any year. (South of Tyser's Repair)

2 p.m. ............................. Bingo at Community Building

4 p.m. ............................. Kiddy Tractor Pull. South of City Slickers. (Sponsored by Farmers Co-Op.  Registration begins at 3:30 p.m.  Participants must register.)

4:30-6:30 ................... Farmers' Market within church parking lot.

7 p.m. ............................. Parade (Line-up begins at 6:30 at Co-Op parking lot north of elevator.  Bring a description of your entry.  For more, e-mail
10 p.m. ............................ Fireworks at Nerud Field.  (Alternate date is July 5 in case of inclement weather.)

Firework sales are currently taking place south of the Dorchester Fire Hall.  All proceeds go to support the Dorchester fireworks show on July 4.

Also, $1 Husker football raffle tickets are being sold at the fireworks stand south of the fire hall, as well as the American Legion.  The tickets were donated by First State Bank - Dorchester Branch.  Winner will be announced July 4 at 10 p.m. at Nerud Field.  Need not be present to win. 

Dorchester's 4th of July celebration depends on private support. Dorchester area residents and friends of Dorchester are encouraged to send their donations to: 

First State Bank
4th of July Celebration
P.O. Box 264
Dorchester, NE 68343

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bowling Alley Effort Appears To Be Legitimate

In late March, this blog reported that a Dorchester business owner had strong interest in establishing a Dorchester bowling alley, especially after feedback given to Dorchester's new planning commission and community task force.

It appears the news was credible.  There's substantial momentum behind the proposal.

Our sources say initial plans would place a Dorchester bowling alley in the two buildings north of City Slickers Bar and Grill (one of those buildings is blighted and vacant residential space).

The interested parties have discussed the matter with the Dorchester Village Board and other leaders, we are told.

There is strong demand for such a social and entertainment venue in Dorchester and surrounding area.  As readers know, Friend and Crete both lost their bowling facilities in recent years.   As a result, those who want to bowl on league teams must wait years before they can bowl in nearby towns like Wilber or Seward.

If you have any breaking information, please leave it in the comments section of this story.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saline Co. Drug & Alcohol Prevention Meeting, July 7 In Wilber

The next meeting of the Saline County Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition will be held this coming Monday, July 7, in Wilber. 

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Saline County Extension office, 306 W. 3rd St., Wilber. 

The organization encourages and welcomes all individuals in Saline County to attend and become a part of the newly formed Prevention Coalition. 

Tim McDermott, the coalition president, says: "We encourage all residents having interest and connection to any of the broad sectors of our county to attend and contribute their time and input on prevention activities being discussed and implemented. Whether you’re a parent or student, business leader or laborer, government or faith representative, law enforcement or health care worker, your input is important." 

If you have questions or would like additional information please contact Tim McDermott,, or (402) 821-3581.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Saturday Night: DVFD 100th Anniversary Dinner & Dance

Dorchester's very own volunteer fire department is celebrating its 100th anniversary celebration. 

It's difficult to believe our community could survive without the DVFD for 32 years after the village's official incorporation.

To celebrate our town's brave first responders, a 100th anniversary celebration is planned for Saturday, June 28 at Tabor Hall. 

A tremendous dinner will be provided by Bodacious Butts and Bones, beginning at 6 p.m. 

The band Silas Creek will be playing from 8 p.m. until midnight. DHS alum Anne Kovar Tidblom is a member of the band, so be sure to catch them. Hottest act since Elvis, we are told.

Meal is a free-will donation. Cash bar. 

For those who cannot attend, but would like to mail a donation, just send it to:

P.O.Box 36
Dorchester, NE  68343 

All donations will go towards the purchase of new equipment.

Are Snakes Invading Your Yard, Too?

Several Dorchester residents have told us that they've seen many more snakes than usual this year.

And they're bigger than usual, too.

Now comes this news from the Chicago area that a snake invasion is occurring in the city's suburbs.  Viewer after viewer contacted the local CBS affiliate with photos of snakes along the river walk and invading yards in Naperville, Ill.

“I’ll have five and six of them on my bushes,” said Nancy Quigley. “They were twice as big as they were last year. They’re not afraid of me anymore.”

Snake expert David Drake says that the garter snakes hibernated longer this year because of the polar vortex. “Now they’re out feeding in larger numbers. Also the recent rains are gonna drive these animals out of their borrows,” he said.

We asked fellow Times staff members what they recommend to control the local snake population. One staff member suggested lowering the mower deck another notch.  That's not exactly the advice we were hoping for.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dorchester Fireworks Sales Begin Wednesday

Here's a reminder to area residents: Dorchester firework sales will begin Wednesday, June 25, just south of the Dorchester Fire Hall.  

All proceeds go to support the Dorchester community fireworks show on July 4.

Also, $1 Husker football raffle tickets will be sold at the fireworks stand.  The tickets have been donated by First State Bank - Dorchester Branch.  

Winner of the Husker tickets will be announced July 4 at 10 p.m. at Nerud Field.  Need not be present to win. 

Dorchester's 4th of July celebration depends on private support. Dorchester area residents and friends of Dorchester are encouraged to send their donations to: 

First State Bank
4th of July Celebration
P.O. Box 264
Dorchester, NE 68343

10/11 Story Captures More Farm Losses From June Hail Storm

Need more proof that the recent hail storms, which hit the Dorchester earlier this month, will have a significant economic toll on our area?

We missed this 10/11 News story that aired a couple days after the June 3 storm -- so we're sharing it with you today.

In the 10/11 story and video, Dorchester farmer and feed yard owner Joel Weber looks upon what was once a massive field of corn, and not a single stock stands.

The 10/11 reporter says: "His field is leveled and muddy, and there's little to no hope his crop will be saved."

Weber says, "I just have to move on to make smart decisions to get me through the next 15 months to make up for this."

The story goes on to report that if damage is bad enough many ranchers will have the option to re-plant, but crop specialists say most crops would only yield around 50 to 55% of its potential during harvest.

Moreover, experts note that stressed plants will be more susceptible to disease later in the growing season.

As we know all too well, in rural Nebraska communities, main street always mirrors the farm economy.  Let's hope the rest of the growing season is kind to our area farmers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Riley Zahourek Scores A Dozen In All-Star Contest

More members of the DHS Class of 2014 continue to shine.

Recent Dorchester High School graduate Riley Zahourek scored a dozen points to help ensure a 75-71 victory for the West team in the Southeast Nebraska All-Star boy’s basketball game on Saturday night at the SCC Truman Center in Beatrice.

Zahourek was a standout player at DHS, graduating in May.

It's worth noting that Zahourek's 12 points were the second-highest point total for the West squad.

Beatrice graduate, Rylee Zimmerman, scored a game-high 23 points and was named the Most Valuable Player.  

Drew Tenopir of Wilber-Clatonia added ten for the West team.  

Kyla Brummett Recognized By U.S. Achievement Academy

Recent DHS graduate Kyla Brummett has been recognized by the United States Achievement Academy as a student of excellence in academics and named to the honor roll. 

According to a release we received, this is quite a high honor.

The Academy recognizes fewer than 10 percent of U.S. high school students.

Brummett was nominated by Diane Fisher, her teacher and guidance counselor. 

She is the daughter of Randy and Kelly Brummett of Dorchester.  

She is the granddaughter of John and Rita Brummett of Dorchester and Sam and Sharon Day of Crete.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Alternatives Do Exist For Street Paving

The little town of Bennet -- just southeast of Lincoln -- has fewer people than Dorchester.

The tiny village of Sprague, east of Crete, has only about a quarter of the residents that Dorchester claims.

Yet both these communities have paved streets. How did they afford it?

A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to Bennet (see the picture with this article) and Sprague to study their street surfaces.  While some of the town streets were paved with good old-fashioned concrete, several streets were surfaced with a process in which a foundation of asphalt had been covered with small, crushed rock.

It's certainly more affordable than regular pavement.  And it holds up to the elements better.  Best of all, no pot holes, no dust, no washboards.  

As far as we can tell, the process is called "chip sealing." Asphalt pavement deteriorates in time because of the vehicle loads, tire wear, sun and weather.  A chip seal helps seal the surface and provides an armor coat for skid and weather resistance.  

The best aspect of chip sealing is simple economics.  The cost is about $60,000 per mile.  At that cost, we could address many of Dorchester's most heavily traveled streets.

We hope that Dorchester leaders will keep exploring options to address our streets, including considering asphalt covered with crushed rock. 

Our town's corridors are more than just surfaces we drive on -- they also impact our town's housing and the amount of investment people are willing to spend on the property they own.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Deadlines Nearing To File For Village Board

It's an election year. That means if you are considering running for the Dorchester Village Board, or filing for re-election, now is your time.  It's time to get your campaign in order.

More importantly, it's time to file to ensure your name is on the November 4 ballot.

Three of the five village board seats are up for election this year.

If you want to run for the town board and you currently don't hold public office, you have until August 1 to file with the Saline County Clerk and Election Commissioner.

Incumbents must file no later than July 16 -- less than a month away.

Those seeking election or re-election must submit the proper paperwork to the Saline County Clerk and Elections Commissioner. 

Additional information can be obtained by calling (402) 821-2374 or e-mailing

Saluting Dorchester's Medal Of Honor Recipient

Very few towns in America can claim a Medal of Honor recipient. 

Dorchester is one of the handful of towns that can.

The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for valor in action against an enemy force. It has been awarded fewer than 3,500 times.

On July 1, 1863, young 20-year-old Sgt. Jefferson Coates found himself in the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Union soldier displayed heroism and "unsurpassed courage in battle, where he had both eyes shot out," according to a citation from the U.S. Government. After Sgt. Coates was removed from the battlefield by the comrades who had witnessed his heroic actions, doctors determined that an enemy ball had passed though both of his eye sockets.

Three years later, the Medal of Honor was awarded to Sgt. Coates. He was one of 64 Union soldiers to earn the nation's highest honor for his actions during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Sgt. Coates was born in Grant County, Wisconsin and entered the U.S. Army from Boscobel, Wisconsin. He served in Company H, 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which was part of the Army of the Potomac’s famous "Iron Brigade."

Following the war, Sgt. Coates moved west to Nebraska, despite his blindness. A homesteader, he settled southwest of Dorchester in rural Saline County. He died young on Jan. 27, 1880, at the age of 36, and was laid to rest in the Dorchester Cemetery.

According to a 1999 article by Dorchester's Jan Stehlik, Sgt. Coates was the first soldier buried in the Dorchester Cemetery. The Dorchester Star reported on May 5,1882, that "Mrs. Coates has had a fine monument in memory of her deceased husband erected".

When Dorchester's last "Old Soldier," Jeremiah Wilhelm, was buried 60 years later in 1942, the number of Civil War veterans resting in the town's cemetery had grown to 49.

Only 32 Medal of Honor recipients are buried in Nebraska. Dorchester is honored and privileged to serve as Sgt. Coates' final resting place. So the next time you're at the cemetery, take a few minutes to honor one of America's most decorated heroes. And count your blessings that there are still defenders of freedom like Sgt. Coates.