Wednesday, September 17, 2014

67% Of Readers Want 6-Man Football At DHS

The readers of the Dorchester Times have spoken: 67% of them want to see DHS football return to Nerud Field in the form of the 6-man game.  Thirty percent of respondents said no to the idea.

The online survey closed at 5 p.m. this evening.

Last week, the Times asked: Should Dorchester High School play 6-man football in 2015 -- after the two-year cooperative agreement with Milford has concluded?  Please note that this was not a scientific survey, and fewer than 50 readers took the time or effort to participate.   

As we noted last week, we see benefits of trying to establish a 6-man football program at DHS. However, there are also clear drawbacks -- the biggest being there are only a handful of Nebraska schools -- 18 to be exact -- currently playing the six-man game.  

While the number of six-man schools is definitely growing, six-man football isn't a sanctioned sport unde the Nebraska School Athletics Association, and it appears the NSAA has no intentions of taking it back.  An NSAA official e-mailed a Dorchester Times reader, "Years ago, the NSAA stopped administering the 6-man class of football. A separate group decided that they wanted to take control of the scheduling, playoffs and championship. That group of individuals and the membership have not indicated that they want the NSAA to take administrative control." 

The nearest school to Dorchester participating in the state's Six-Man Football Association is Deshler.  Most of the six-man schools are much further west.  

The most obvious negative to playing six-man football would be the travel time. However, with an organized effort and some phone calls by eastern Nebraska school administrators and coaches, we are certain that six-man football could return to its glorious past.

As we wrote on our Facebook page, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful. Sixty-five years ago this fall, Dorchester resumed its football program, with only eleven players going out.  Reader and DHS alum Vern Johnson tells us that "the best 6-man player DHS ever had was Jack Bruha, a 2-year all-state player in the early 1950s."

The Longhorns played 6-man football for 10 full seasons before transitioning to the 8-man game in 1959, when DHS went undefeated.  (Back then, Nebraska had many more classes for school sports, but did not have a state playoff system for football.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Looking Back: Dorchester's Firsts

Most area historians concur that "Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska" -- written in the late 1800s -- is an authority on Saline County's earliest days. No other collection of information is as vivid or thorough.

Through the online edition of "Andreas' History," the Times has compiled a collection of Dorchester's firsts -- including the first couple married in town, the first birth, the first death, and the first official sermon.

Here is a look back at some the firsts of our community, whose roots begin in the year 1870, when Dorchester's location was selected by the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and the survey was made. 

* First Residents: Before buying the site that would become Dorchester from the U.S. Government, the railroad sent four men to claim an entire section of land, with each claiming 160 acres. Two of the four men who settled at that time were James Seely and Edward McIntyre -- Dorchester's first residents. Both made a permanent location here. The other two remained just long enough to secure the land and transfer it to the railroad.

* First Birth: The first birth occurred in early 1872, and was that of John, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hawkins. The next birth occurred October 10, 1872, and was that of Ed McIntyre Parker, son of Hon. and Mrs. T. B. Parker.

* First Death: The first death occurred in the spring of 1873, and was that of Burke, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Windrem.

* First Sermon: Sometime in late 1870 or early 1871, the first formal sermon in Dorchester was preached by Rev. Frederick Alley, a Congregational minister.

* First Official School: The first schoolhouse was built in 1872.

* First Church: The Christian church was built in the summer of 1878. 

* First Bank: The Bank of Dorchester was established in October 1881.

* First Newspaper: The Dorchester Star was established August 21, 1881.

* First Village Board: Dorchester was incorporated as a village in 1881, with N. B. Alley, Thomas Jarrett, John Oberlies, S. G. Panter, and W. H. Pallett listed as Trustees; C. F. Thomas, Clerk; J. H. Clark, Treasurer; and M. O. Alley, Marshal.

* First Census Count: In 1879, Dorchester had 673 residents. A year later, it had 954.

Fall Pictures From Dorchester

Fall is still officially a week away, making its debut Sept. 23.

But it certainly feels like autumn already as temperatures last week were well below average -- coming dangerously close to our first frost on Sept. 13.

Autumn in Nebraska is a wonderful time of change, filled with vibrant colors, pleasant weather, football Saturdays, fresh fall air, and optimism for a bountiful harvest.  

If you live here during this time of year, you should feel lucky and blessed.  

The Dorchester Times recently asked its readers to send us their autumn pictures.

Today, we share with you a fall photo we've been sent.  We hope you it as much as we did.

Send your autumn pictures to:  Be sure to note the "dot" between "Dorchester" and "Times."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dorchester UMC Auction, BBQ Is Sunday, Sept. 21

Dorchester United Methodist Church’s Annual Community Auction will be held Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.

All Dorchester area residents are encouraged to join the fun, which will be held on the church grounds. 

The day's activities begin with a beef and pork barbecue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

The auction starts at 1 p.m. and will continue through approximately 4 p.m.  

During the auction, time will be set aside for the annual children's cake raffle -- always a big hit with grandparents.

There will be numerous auction items that will be of special interest. Novak Auction Service will be taking the bidding.

We hope all Times' readers will enjoy the first weekend of fall by supporting the community's church and the good work of its members by contributing generously at this Sept. 21 auction.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Check Out This Fantastic Dorchester Home; Available Now

Dorchester is a great town and it's getting noticed for all the right reasons. Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • A new K-12 school.
  • A peaceful and safe community.
  • A new water tower and upgraded 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.
  • Good people for 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 many 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.  

404 W 11th Street:  If you like small town living, this is the house for you.  All new inside and out! Owner has updated the interior with new kitchen, bath, plumbing, flooring and paint. Has new windows, vinyl siding, a/c, furnace, roof and gutters. This is ready to move into and has four possible bedrooms, with one of them being on the main floor, along with the laundry. Located on a very large corner lot with new two stall garage and plenty of room to add a shop or out building.

Click here for more information.

MHS-DHS Football Gets Second Victory; DHS Volleyball Loses Two

The Milford-Dorchester football team snagged another victory on Friday evening in a nail  biter at David City.  The MHS-DHS squad came away with a 8-6 victory, despite a late surge by David City.

Milford-Dorchester found itself up early, 2-0 in the first quarter, due to a safety.  In a defensive struggle MHS-DHS led 8-0 at halftime thanks to a 10-yard TD run, but surrendered a 55-yard sprint to the goal line in the third quarter.

The football team will return to action Friday in Milford as they prepare for the Holdrege Dusters.

In volleyball action, the Lady Longhorns have fallen to 1-3 on the season, as they dropped two matches in Hampton on Thursday night.  In the first contest, Hampton defeated Dorchester, 25-11, 25-17.  In the second match-up, Class D powerhouse Giltner defeated the Lady Longhorns, 25-9, 25-17

The Dorchester volleyball squad returns to action on Thursday against next-door rival Friend High School, followed by a one-day tournament on Saturday in Shickley.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Advice For The Young -- And The Young At Heart

This blog and its staff place much importance on Dorchester's history. We do this because there are lessons to be learned from days gone by.

We also believe in listening to those who are older than us. (Yes, there are still a few people older than those of us on the Times staff.)  For those people, too, carry valuable lessons.

Today, we share with our readers a worthwhile article and an interview with a 104-year-old Florida woman.  In it, the centenarian attributes her long life to an optimistic outlook, a healthy way of life, and an active mind (including reading).  

She also notes that she liked to travel and still likes to gamble. She believes in God and goes to church. She never worried much about money. And she doesn't watch the movies of today because they've "changed" (even though she was a fan of "the pictures" the 1930s and '40s).

The article mentions a recent survey of Americans who have reached age 100 or older. More than one-third of those centenarians said that – if they could do it again – they would spend more time with loved ones.  Another 21% said parents should be stricter with their children.  Those were the top two answers given.

So the point here is, go ahead, invite your friends and family over tonight.  

Take time to reconnect with old friends.  

Don't coddle your kids or be their best buddy, but instill them with life lessons and teach them right from wrong at all times.

Do now what so many can no longer do but wish they had.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is Six-Man Football An Option At DHS?

There's quite a discussion taking place on the Dorchester Times' Facebook page.  It centers around a question we posed to our Facebook followers: Should Dorchester High School play 6-man football in 2015 -- after the two-year cooperative agreement with Milford has concluded?

Entering the second school year of Dorchester's football merger with Milford, we see benefits, including better competition and a chance to have a sustainable program in an era in which students are not pushed to participate.  However, there are also clear drawbacks:
  • Decreased participation. Boys who would likely go out for a stand-alone DHS team don't want to ride the bus to a nearby town everyday.
  • Fewer opportunities for Dorchester kids to start/play on merged athletic teams. 
  • Loss of revenue suffered by DPS due to no home games at Nerud Field.
Six-man football may or may not be a feasible option for DHS next season. There are only a handful of Nebraska schools -- 18 to be exact -- that play the six-man game, but the number is definitely growing.  Currently, six-man football isn't even a sanctioned program of the Nebraska School Athletics Association, which may not be a bad thing.

The nearest school to Dorchester participating in the state's Six-Man Football Association is Deshler.  Most of the six-man schools are much further west.  

The most obvious negative to playing six-man football would be the travel time.  (Another drawback is you need to be a mathematician to tally some of the high scoring games.)

However, with an organized effort and some phone calls by eastern Nebraska school administrators and coaches, we are certain that six-man football could return to its glorious past.

As we wrote on our Facebook page, Dorchester's six-man teams of the 1950s were quite successful. The reality is, the size of Nebraska's small schools today resembles 1950 more than they do 1980.  Our urban areas have grown, while rural areas have lost population, especially among farm families. Fewer students are participating in sports, even when class sizes are healthy.  

So tell us: Is it time for DHS to bring back six-man football? Check out the Times' survey in the left column of our webpage (non-mobile version) and vote.

Area Rainfall Amounts: Dorchester Gets Another Half Inch

More rain has filled the rain gauges of Saline County this week, as the Times' official gauge showed around 0.50 in. following Tuesday evening's precipitation.

That makes for a little more than 5.60 inches over the past two weeks in Dorchester's village limits.  

Everything is our area is rather saturated, as evidenced by Dorchester's main street drainage -- or lack thereof -- last night.

Areas north and south of Dorchester saw much heavier rainfall.  Here are the area totals:

DeWitt (0.3 miles WNW) ........ 1.15" 
Western (1.2 SE) ...................... 0.69" 
Friend (3.4 E) ........................... 0.55" 
Wilber (7.0 WSW) ................... 0.45"
Dorchester (2.1 NW) ............... 0.41"
Dorchester (4.5 SSE) ............... 0.35"
Tobias (4.7 SSW) .................... 0.20"
Western (4.4 NNE) .................. 0.13"

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking Back: The Establishment Of Dorchester's City Park

The Dorchester City Park has been part of our community for 83 years.

Kinda makes you wonder where town kids played before that, huh?

After Dorchester's official founding in 1881, our village had no official park for the community's first fifty years. Then in June 1931, Jacob Sack, president of Sack Lumber and Coal Company, donated seven lots to the Village of Dorchester for use as a public park.  That's according to "The Centennial History of Dorchester and Pleasant Hill."

The village board acted promptly on the donation.  Town leaders laid out and landscaped the plot of land.  

Today, our city park features a new park shelter, a basketball court, public restrooms, swings and new playground equipment for younger children.

More than 80 decades after his donation, we are grateful to Mr. Sack and we encourage Dorchester's families to utilize and maintain our fine city park.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

This Autumn, Send Your Fall Pics To The Times

Dorchester area residents this weekend have received their first real taste of fall, as temperatures dropped into the 40s at night and the days were a bit cooler.

Autumn in Nebraska is a wonderful time of change, filled with vibrant colors, pleasant weather, football Saturdays, fresh fall air, and optimism for a bountiful harvest.

If you live here at this time of year, you probably feel lucky and blessed.  If you don't live here, we will do our best to share the season with you.

The Dorchester Times asks its readers to send us your autumn pictures so that others can see this wonderful change of seasons -- even if they're not in Nebraska.

Send your pictures to:  Be sure to note the "dot" between "Dorchester" and "Times."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

DPS Art Teacher Recognized For Inspirational Design

Here's some happy news coming from the Dorchester Public School's art program.

A week before the new school year commenced, DPS art instructor Mrs. Stacy Lutjemeyer received an e-mail asking for artists to submit designs for the Illuminating Lincoln Lighthouse project.  Each piece of art was to be designed in the shape of a light bulb.  Mrs. Lutjemeyer thought this would be a great project to start DPS art classes.  

Mrs. Lutjemeyer informed the Times that the Dorchester students submitted some extremely creative pieces of art -- from  Husker designs to a rural landscape.  Each student also wrote a description of why they chose this design for their light bulb.  

Mrs. Lutjemeyer, who paid the students' entry fee out of her own pocket, took the time to design a bulb herself.  A week later, she received an e-mail with some very nice comments about the student work she sent in.  Also, she learned that her own designs had been chosen to be part of the exhibit next summer -- if a $3,000 sponsor steps forward.  

There was an article in last weekend's Lincoln Journal Star about the project.  

The Times has been informed that if Mrs. Lutjemeyer's design gets a sponsor, she will get a 6 ft. tall light bulb and funding for supplies to decorate it with her design.  Money that is leftover, will go to help support The Lighthouse in Lincoln.  (It is The Lighthouse's 25th year, serving local at-risk youth with year-round programs.) The completed lightbulbs will be on display next summer around Lincoln.  They will be auctioned off after that.

Mrs. Lutjemeyer's design was a tribute to the late actor and comedian Robin Williams.  

Mrs. Lutjemeyer said: "Depression is a ongoing problem everywhere.  Hopefully, this bulb design will promote happiness and spreading it to others that may be down."

As a side note, Mrs. Piper substituted for Mrs. Lutejemeyer while she was in Lincoln yesterday with her design.  Pictured is Mrs. Piper and the Dorchester 8th graders, as the class worked on a project to promote positive things that happen in education at school. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Results From Our Community Survey

The results are in.

In late August, we asked Dorchester area residents to take our community survey, so that we could get a better pulse of our village and future needs of those who call Dorchester home.  

Nearly 100 respondents took the survey (96 to be exact), and the results are quite interesting.

Here is what we found:
  • A strong majority (75%) thinks it is "very important" for Dorchester to grow its population.
  • To encourage population growth, most respondents said new housing and new businesses were key.
  • Dorchester's close proximity to larger towns and its school are it's top selling points, most respondents said.
  • Unpaved streets are the key factor in keeping Dorchester from reaching its full potential, said most respondents.
Here is a look at each question we asked, followed by the answers chosen:

How important is it for Dorchester to grow its population? (One answer)

"Very important" -- 72 (75.0%)
"Somewhat important" -- 18 (18.8%)
"Not important" -- 6 (6.3%)

How would you encourage new population growth in Dorchester? (Multiple choice)

"Work with young people to plan Dorchester's future" -- 29 (30.9%)
"Bring in new housing" -- 46 (48.9%)
"Start recruiting new businesses" -- 47 (50%)
"Recruit DHS grads back to the area" -- 13 (13.8%)
"Offer incentives for people to relocate, such as free lots on which to build" -- 25 (26.6%)

What is Dorchester best selling point? (Multiple choice)

"It's clean, quiet and safe" -- 27 (28.1%)
"The affordable cost of living" -- 29 (30.2%)
"Character of those who live here" -- 22 (22.9%)
"Proximity to larger towns and cities" -- 51 (53.1%)
"Its small, quality school and programs for kids" -- 36 (37.5%)

Which factor is keep Dorchester from reaching its full potential? (One answer)

"Lack of new housing options" -- 12 (12.5%)
"Unpaved streets" -- 40 (41.7%)
"Too few employers in town or near by" -- 15 (15.5%)
"The loss of young people after high school" -- 18 (18.8%)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DHS Volleyball Begins Season Tonight

The 2014 Dorchester High School volleyball team will see its first action of the new season tonight at the Weeping Water triangular.

The Lady Longhorns are looking to forge a culture of winning traditions under a second-year head coach Ty Peteranetz.  

Coach Peteranetz is a self-described "transplanted, Colorado-born Husker fan," who moved to Omaha in 2011 after 30 years in Colorado to be the assistant volleyball coach at the College of St. Mary.  He missed teaching terribly, so he resigned his position with CSM to be an educator and coach at DHS.  He teaches Dorchester's fourth grade.

In 2013, DHS fielded one of the youngest high school volleyball teams in Nebraska.  This season, the Lady Longhorns will have the depth to accomplish some great things, with more than 20 girls expected to be competing for starting roles on the squad. 

Insiders say the increased numbers of players will definitely bring more success, with young but experienced players like Jacee Weber, Kacey Zoubek and Avery Behrens, all of who helped lead the team last season.

2014 DHS Longhorn Volleyball

09/04/14 Palmyra, Weeping Water (Triangular @ Weeping Water)
09/11/14 Hampton, Giltner  (Triangular @ Hampton)
09/18/14 @ Friend
09/20/14   BDS Invite (1-Day Tournament, Several Teams) @ Shickley
09/23/14 Osceola
09/25/14 High Plains Community, Shelby/Rising City (Triangular @ Shelby/Rising City)
09/27/14 Nebraska Lutheran Tournament (1-Day Tournament, Several Teams) @ Waco
09/30/14 @ Sterling
10/02/14 Meridian, Diller-Odel (Triangular @ Diller-Odell)
10/07/14 @ Parkview Christian
10/09/14 Exeter-Milligan, Cross County (Triangular @ home)
10/14/14 BDS, McCool Junction  (Triangular @ home)
10/18-21 Crossroads Conference Tournament (2/3-Day Tournament) @ York
10/28/14 Parkview Christian, Nebraska Christian  (Triangular @ home)
10/31/14 @ Nebraska Lutheran

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dorchester Housing Costs: 52% Below U.S. Average, 29% Less Than Lincoln

If you follow the Times regularly, and you read today's earlier post about Dorchester's
electricity rates, you knew there would be reaction -- both good and negative.  

(Editor's Note: Even when we point out problems, we are always disappointed to see how quickly some people -- friends whom we know and like -- are to publicly disparage the community in which they live.  We wish they would change their ways or just keep quiet on social media.)

Going forward, town leaders should work to find ways to ensure that Dorchester's electric rates are always at or below the state average.  

But we want to remind Dorchester residents of the community's best-kept secret: it's cost-of-living advantage.  

Most of our readers know already that we have it pretty good in Dorchester. Now it has been confirmed by Sperling's Best Places -- a national website that provides data on thousands of metro areas, cities, and neighborhoods.  

We used Sperling's cost-of-living index to see how Dorchester stacks up. Keep in mind that Sperling's indices are based on a U.S. average of 100.  An amount below 100 means Dorchester is cheaper than the U.S. average.  A cost-of-living score above 100 means Dorchester is more expensive.  

Below are the results.

Here's what the analysis tells us:
  • Dorchester housing (almost always a family's or individual's biggest expense) is a whopping 52% cheaper than the U.S. average.  This include mortgage, rent and property tax.  52% cheaper -- let this one sink in!
  • Groceries in our area stores are 5% cheaper than the U.S. average.
  • Health care services in our area are 6% cheaper than the U.S. average.
  • Transportation -- which includes gasoline and auto repair -- is 6% cheaper than the U.S. average.
Overall, Dorchester's cost of living is 79.70 based on a U.S. average of 100.  That means in every category other than utilities, Dorchester is less expensive than the U.S. average. 

Other key findings from our research on Sperling's:
  • Dorchester holds a cost-of-living advantage over Crete, Friend, Wilber, Pleasant Dale, Milford, and other nearby communities.
  • Dorchester's utility rates, according to Sperling's, are in line with Friend, Crete and Wilber -- and are cheaper than Milford and Pleasant Dale (which had an index score of 107).
  • John Cougar Mellencamp once sang: "Got nothin' against the big town." And we say the same thing.  But housing in Lincoln and Omaha is nearly 29% more than Dorchester.  

Dorchester Residents, Businesses Face Higher Than Average Electricity Bills

On this website, we often boast about Dorchester's low cost-of-living -- from our community's affordable housing to our school district's below-average tax levy.  Cost of living is a key component to our quality of life.  And as we tell our friends, if you can't afford to live in Dorchester, you're going to struggle almost anywhere else in these great United States.

But we believe in reporting both the good and the bad.  So when we examined utility rates, we were disappointed to see Dorchester utilities are above the Nebraska average.

The average residential electricity rate in Dorchester is 11.79¢/kWh, according to, a website that compares local utility rates.  This means Dorchester's average residential electricity rate is 17.43% greater than the Nebraska average rate of 10.04¢/kWh.  Crete, Friend and Wilber all have residential electricity rates below the Nebraska average (Crete's rate is nearly 25% less.)

The good news is the average residential electricity rate in Dorchester is 0.76% less than the national average rate of 11.88¢/kWh. Residential rates in the U.S. range from 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh.  The average residential electricity bill in Nebraska is about $100/month, ranking 29th in the U.S. and 6.54% less than the national average of $107.

But we were especially concerned to find that the average commercial electricity rate (for businesses) in Dorchester is 12.45¢/kWh -- 48.57% greater than the Nebraska average rate of 8.38¢/kWh.  The average industrial electricity rate in Dorchester is 13.33¢/kWh, or 90.16% greater than the Nebraska average rate of 7.01¢/kWh.  This is an unfair burden on businesses in our town.

Keep in mind that the Village of Dorchester oversees and owns Dorchester's electrical delivery service, even if the day-to-day maintenance is being performed by the City of Crete for the time being.  This means profit from the utilities stays in Dorchester, which is a good thing, as opposed to sending it to a larger entity like Nebraska Public Power District.

Also, we realize that Dorchester's lower housing costs and property taxes more than offsets the higher than average utility bills.  Nonetheless, this in an area Dorchester leaders should address.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Harvest, A Hundred Years Ago

Soon it will be harvest time in Nebraska, so today we are sharing this postcard photograph taken in 1914 in the rural Dorchester area.  

We are unable to identify the individuals in the photo.  

The back of the postcard simply reads "Farm, Dorchester, Nebr."  

While corn is still corn, much in Nebraska has changed since 1914.  

Back then, the Cornhusker State had 1.2 million residents.  Today we stand at 1.9 million.

In 1914, most farms held between 80 and 120 acres -- and as the photo shows, you harvested your corn by hand. Today, 5,000-acre operations are common. 

A hundred years ago, the average Nebraska farm's value was around $16,000, including land, buildings, livestock and equipment.  Today, we can't count high enough to estimate one farm's modern equipment, muchless what the land is worth.

And in 1914, more than 60% of Nebraska farms were not making any payments to a lender, since most in those days believed in carrying no form of debt, if possible. Today, local bankers rely on farmers to keep borrowing, whether corn is $8 or $3.

To our area farmers, we salute you as harvest time nears.

Check Out This Great Home In Dorchester

Dorchester is a wonderful smaller community -- and it's getting noticed for the right reasons. Consider what our community has to offer:
  • A new K-12 school.
  • A clean, peaceful and safe community.
  • A new water tower and 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 employers in Crete and Seward. And just 30 minutes to 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 good homes were available.

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

801 Sumner Ave.:  If you like small town living -- and affordable living -- this is the house for you.  Live in a quality home and get ahead financially for once. 
Ranch house with two bedrooms, 2 bath, 1,170 square footage with a big lot! Vinyl siding; front of house has paving located on a corner lot one block from the school. Enclosed porch one in front and one in back of house. $91,999.

Click here for this home listing.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting Rocked!

UPDATE: As of 10 p.m. Sunday night, another 1.15" had fallen on Dorchester.  That makes more than 5" of rain since mid-week.

Late summer thunderstorms are rocking the Dorchester area and much of eastern Nebraska on this last day of August.

Up to another inch of precipitation is predicted over the next hour in Dorchester. Rainfall should cease around 6:45 or 7 p.m.

A tornado watch remains in effect until 9 p.m.  A flood warning has been in effect for the Dorchester area for the past three days.

Stay up-to-date with Dorchester's weather and radar outlook by clicking here.

Looking Back: Dorchester's Political Past

It may come as a surprise to modern-day Dorchester area residents, our community has played a role in Nebraska’s political history.

Research by the Dorchester Times’ staff has uncovered at least eight Dorchester residents or natives who have served in the Nebraska Legislature.

Of course, it should be noted that from 1866 until 1937, Nebraska had a bicameral legislature with both a state senate and state house of representatives. 

When Nebraska implemented its unique unicameral legislature in late 1937, the number of state lawmakers declined from 133 in the bicameral to 43 in the stand-alone chamber.  (Today, the Cornhusker State 49 state senators.) Still, we were impressed by the lengthy list of Dorchester’s past political leadership.

Here is the list of the Dorchester residents and natives who served in our state legislature, followed by the years they were in office:
  • T.B. Parker (1877-79)
  • John J. Edicott (1899-1901)
  • William H. Beekly (1901-1903)
  • John Chab (1909-11)
  • Fred Gustus Johnson (1907-09; 1917-20)
  • Charles H. Meacham, Jr. (1923-29)
  • Allen J. Murphy (1921-23)
  • Don Eret (1983-87)
Of the above public servants, Fred Gustus Johnson, who lived from 1876–1951, was the most prominent. He went on to serve as lieutenant governor and a member of the U.S. House.

A Republican, Johnson was born on a farm near Dorchester. He graduated from DHS in 1893 and from UNL’s college of law in 1903; he was admitted to the bar the same year. He set up practice in Dorchester and did a little farming on the side. In 1911, he moved Hastings to continue his law practice.

Johnson was elected a member of the Nebraska state house of representatives from 1907 to 1909 and again from 1917 to 1919. He was elected to the state senate in 1919. In 1923, Johnson went on to become Nebraska’s lieutenant governor.

Johnson reached the apex of his political career in 1929, when he was elected to serve as a U.S. congressman from Nebraska's 5th district in 1929. He ran in 1930 and 1932, but failed to be re-elected, as Republicans fell out of favor during the Great Depression.  He was later elected as a county judge.

Johnson died April 30, 1951. He is buried in Parkview Cemetery in Hastings.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flooding Hits Dorchester Area After Big Rains

The heavy rains of the past four or five days have resulted in significant flooding in our area.  In fact, the Dorchester area remains in a flood warning.

The picture on this post is from a Times reader who sent us a glimpse of Turkey Creek near Pleasant Hill as it appeared Friday evening.

Turkey Creek has been out of its banks since Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service tells us that the Big Blue River near Crete was at 22.6 ft. as of 10 a.m. this morning.  That's 4.6 ft. above the flood stage of 18 ft.

The river will continue rising, likely above 23 ft., but it should fall below flood stage by Monday afternoon -- if there is no additional rainfall.

See what the weather forecasters are predicting for the Dorchester area by clicking here.

MHS-DHS Kicks Off Season With 27-6 Win

The Milford-Dorchester football team opened the high school season last night with a convincing victory against Louisville in a Class C-1 battle.  The MHS-DHS squad won 27-6.

Milford-Dorchester is in its second season as a co-op, but this is the first year Dorchester students can play games on varsity.

The MHS-DHS Eagles are coming off a 3-6 season, but coaches and players believe momentum could swing their way in 2014.  Last night, the team moved the ball with relative ease, while the defense showed it was much faster than last year's squad.

Milford-Dorchester returns an impressive 13 starters. One of them is tight end and linebacker Daniel Mitchell, who is a key contributor. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dorchester Deluged: 72-Hour Rainfall Amounts In Saline County

UPDATE: Late August rain is quickly ensuring that our area of Nebraska will have a big, big surplus of yearly precipitation heading into autumn.

In parts of York County, they've received more than 10 in. over the past four nights.  Most people there have stopped counting.

Here is a look at rainfall amounts in Saline County over the past 72 hours:

Dorchester (In Town) ................ Around 3.85"
Milford (5.9 miles SSE) .............. 3.20"
Dorchester (2.1 miles NW) ......... 2.60"
Dorchester (4.4 miles SSE) ......... 1.42"
Friend (3.4 miles E) ................. 2.21"
Friend (4.8 miles SSE) .............. 1.99"
Wilber (7.0 miles WSW) ............ 0.90"
Wilber (4.1 miles W) ................ 0.88"
Western (1.2 miles SE) .............. 0.90"
DeWitt (0.3 miles WNW) ........... 0.58"
Tobias (4.7 miles SSW) ............. 0.71"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dorchester Gets More Rain, But Avoids Huge Amounts So Far

Dorchester was drenched earlier today, but we've avoided the heavy soakers that have hit York county.  One report, compiled by the NeRAIN reporting program, shows that the area just southwest of the communnity of York was deluged with nearly 6.5 inches.

See the York News-Times for images from that community.

In the meantime, rain and thunderstorms are supposed to resume around 5:30 p.m. tonight and continue off and on until tomorrow afternoon.  Keep up on the weather by clicking here.

For the sake of record keeping, here is a list of rainfall totals from our region over the past 36 hours:
  • York, 0.6 mile SW -- 6.42"
  • York, 1.0 mile ESE -- 5.01"
  • Hampton, 2.6 miles ESE -- 2.41"
  • Henderson, 3.4 miles ENE -- 2.39"
  • McCool Junction, 1.1 miles ENE -- 1.62"
  • Seward, 4.7 miles NE -- 1.28"
  • Dorchester, 2.1 miles NW -- 0.46"
  • Friend, 3.4 miles E -- 0.15"

Dealing With Negative People In A Small Community

Every small community has its handful of negative residents. In a small town, most everyone knows who those negative people are. (Social media even makes it easier to spot them these days.)

These are the folks who can spot flaws in the best of situations.  They are the ones who like to air their negativity publicly. They typically believe that nobody can or could do the job better than them, if ever they were to actually help around town.

Obviously, no one can be happy all the time; no one who isn't on some type of drug can keep a permanent smile on their face.  Yet, putting up with constant negativity is, at best, draining. And at worst, it's a morale killer that negatively affects the attitudes and efforts of fellow residents.

Here are our five strategies we've devised for dealing with negative people in and around a small town:

1.)  Don’t write off the negativity. It’s easy to dismiss negative attitudes and comments with remarks like, “That’s just the way she is.” But sometimes, negative people are pointing out very real problems and legitimate concerns that can and must be addressed.  Town leaders, school administrators and group organizers need to take into consideration all serious comments and complaints, even if from the consistently-negative crowd.

2.)  Consider the circumstances. If an always-negative resident is coping with a personal matter that is affecting his/her behavior, be sympathetic.  In a small town, we often hear what other people said, but we don't know the circumstances that may have prompted the comments.  The truth is, those constantly negative people probably have a big void somewhere in their lives.  (This happens in the big cities just as often, if not more. The Negative Nancys simply aren't as visible there.)

3.)  Make Negative Nancy part of the solution. Sometimes, community leaders simply need to let those who are constantly negative know that their concerns are being heard -- and that it would make more sense for them to tell someone who can do something about it, instead of airing their negative comments for all to hear (or read).  Establishing a special committee and offering a committee spot to the negative person would put the burden on Mr./Ms. Negative to be part of the solution.

4.)  Be rational in your approach.  Negativity is mostly emotional.  Don't combat emotion with more emotion; combat negativity with facts.  For example, if someone is constantly saying the cost-of-living is too high in Dorchester, show them Dorchester has the lowest school levy in Saline County; show them that Nebraska, overall, is one of the very least expensive states in which to reside. 

5.)  Know when to say goodbye. We realize our words aren't so powerful that we can change personalities. Let's all work to bring the negative personalities around by making them part of the solution.  But at the end of the day, in a small town -- just like a big city -- some people only want to complain and wear a constant frown.  Perhaps they feel isolated or can't see it's their own attitude acting as an impediment to making their own community a bit better.  For these people, it's best to leave them alone and not give them a platform.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Report: Farmland Foods Cracks Down On Illegal Workers, Finally

We were shocked to read that this past week, a Democrat state representative in next door Iowa, who happens to also be running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said if the underage migrants who have come to the U.S. from Central America aren’t given a “pathway for citizenship” they could become terrorists. The candidate, Pat Murphy, said if illegal immigrants aren't provided benefits from taxpayers today, "they’ll be terrorists a generation from now."

If that's the case, we have a problem in every corner of America -- especially meatpacking towns like Crete -- since America's political leaders have shamefully turned a blind eye to immigration enforcement and border security.

We have often wondered how many people in our own county are here illegally -- or "without documentation," as some would want us to say. (The Times is on record as a longtime critic of our nation's poor enforcement of immigration across our southern border.)

At last check, unofficial census counts estimate the city of Crete is about 40-45% Hispanic or other minority.  That is a staggering (dare we say unhealthy?) rate of change experienced by Saline County's largest community over just 15 years.  We've been told by a Crete leader of respected stature that he estimates that as much as 35%-40% of Crete's Hispanic population is here illegally.

Recently, the Times was informed that Farmland Foods of Crete, owned by Shuanghui International Holdings of China, has cracked down on employment of those who cannot prove they are in the country legally.  According to inside reports, the new enforcement guidelines were implemented earlier this summer.  As soon as they were, more than 200 employees walked off the job, presumably because they are in the country illegally.

Those 200 are now "lurking in the shadows," as some politicians have said.

We wonder when other businesses and entities -- such as landlords, school administrators, realtors, social welfare organizations receiving state dollars -- catering to individuals who are "without documentation" will step up and demand to see proof of citizenship? Even if they aren't required to, don't they have an obligation to inform their fellow residents and taxpayers?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leonard & Jan Stehlik Celebrate 60 Years

Sixty years ago.  Seems like just yesterday.

Actually, it was 525,600 minutes ago.  

And that's when Leonard and Jan (Jeanette Selk) Stehlik of Dorchester were getting married.

Other notable events of 1954 were:
  • Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian, is born.
  • The first issue of Sports Illustrated magazine is published in the United States.
  • The Miss America Pageant is broadcast on television for the first time.
  • Bill Haley & His Comets record "Rock Around the Clock", thus starting the rock and roll craze.
  • The words "under God" are added to the United States Pledge of Allegiance.
  • And RCA manufactures the first color television set (12-inch screen; price: $1,000).
This month, the Stehliks celebrated their 60th anniversary on Aug. 22 with their five children and six grandchildren.

Cards may be sent to 1479 County Road C, Dorchester, NE 68343.

Looking Back: Natives and Dorchester's First European Settlers

Today we look back on Dorchester's earliest recorded history and some of the area's first residents of European descent, as well as some of their confrontations with Native Americans who roamed the region.

According to the Dorchester Centennial history book, the first official survey of the Nebraska Territory was taken in 1857, shortly after the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law. The surveyor's notes for the Dorchester Precinct describe the area as having "generally level and gently rolling, good, second-rate soil." The West Fork of the Blue River was described as "clear with a very rapid current ... producing very fine cat fish and buffalo fish (carp)."

Two of the first families to settle in the Dorchester area were the Frink and West families.

In 1857 or 1858, Ephraim Frink and his wife, Mary, came from Pennsylvania and settled near Turkey Creek and just west of what is now Pleasant Hill. Soon after, the West family arrived in the area. Thomas West came from Iowa and, along with his family, brought friends Orion Johnson and William Smith. Johnson built Saline County's first homestead just north of present-day Dorchester on the banks of Johnson Creek (pictured above) and made some of the wooden burrs for the West Mills, the first grain mill between Nebraska City and the western states.

Soon after their arrival to Nebraska, Smith and West learned firsthand the dangers of living on the edge of the frontier. In the autumn of 1859, on a trip back to Dorchester from Nebraska City -- the nearest trading post -- Smith and West were confronted by a group of Pawnee Indians. Typically, the Pawnee posed little danger to white settlers. However, these particular Natives -- fearing that Smith and Johnson would report them for killing a heard of government-owned cattle -- tied up, tortured and planned to shoot both West and Smith.

Using gestures and sign language, West convinced the Natives not to kill him and his partner. The Natives agreed to release them, but not before taking all their supplies and food they had purchased in Nebraska City. West and Smith were then blindfolded for the rest of the day, driven in their oxen-led wagon for a length of time, and deserted on the prairie. For 16 days, the men wandered trying to find their way home, resorting at one point to killing a badger and eating it raw for nourishment.

Mr. West's troubles with the Natives continue soon thereafter. In March 1860, the West family's log cabin was set on fire by the a band of Omaha Indians. Sioux Indians, meanwhile, killed many of the Frink family's cattle.

One of the most unfortunate confrontations between Natives and Dorchester-area settlers came in 1860 -- when there were only around 30 residents in Saline County. A small party of Indians made a hostile raid on the Patton family, who had come from Kentucky and lived in the area southwest of present-day Dorchester. After a group of Natives stole Mr. Patton's cattle and "mistreated" his wife while he was away from home, Mr. Patton vowed he would kill an Indian in vengeance. He did, somewhere in Gage County. In response, the first governor of the Nebraska Territory, J. Sterling Morton, encouraged pioneers in and near Saline County to protect themselves by organizing a citizens' militia, armed with firearms issued by the Territory.

According to the Dorchester Centennial history book, the Natives and the settlers of Saline County learned "to become more friendly and even helpful" to each other. Mary West, Thomas' wife, was often seen feeding the Natives stew. The Natives "taught the settlers how to cure meat, tan hides and make moccasins."

Thomas West became known as "Good Thomas" by the Natives due to his gentle nature. When he died of typhoid fever in 1880, a small group of Natives formed a circle around his grave and performed something similar to the Pawnee's peace pipe ceremony that "recognized the spirits of nature" -- earth, sky and the four winds. It is reported they then let out "howls" of mourning in tribute to one of the Dorchester area's first white settlers -- a man who, probably unknowingly, helped forge the permanent change in Natives' land and way of life.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ladies: Spots Still Open For Outdoors Program

The Dorchester area has its share of females who enjoy the great outdoors -- whether it's hunting or camping, boating or hiking.  The good news is that space is still available for a retreat that teaches women skills they can use in the outdoors.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the annual Becoming and Outdoors-Woman program runs from Oct. 3-5 at the national forest near Halsey. The BOW program is intended to help women become active in hunting, camping, boating, hiking and fishing.

Anyone who is at least 18 years old can register to learn skills in a friendly, non-intimidating environment.  Additional information and registration forms are available online at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Looking Back: Freshman Initiation At DHS

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

A freshman's life can be tough!

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

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

DHS Freshman Initiation

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

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

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

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

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