Friday, August 28, 2015

Comparing Dorchester Property Taxes To Our Big City Neighbors

The Dorchester Times strives to look at our community in a objective manner.  While there are things we'd like to improve expeditiously -- our streets, our business district, the condition of some homes -- we also know there are big advantages to life in the village right now.

Today, we examine property taxes.

The owner of a $150,000 house in Lincoln -- near the city average -- will pay about $2,915 this year for property taxes.  Over 10 years, that is nearly $30,000; over 20 years, it's more than $58,000. 

And with the news the the Lincoln Public School board has raised its budget by nearly 7%, Lincoln dwellers will pay even more next year, considering about 60% of a Nebraskan's property tax bill goes to his/her school district.

Meanwhile, the owner of a $150,000 house in Omaha will pay around $3,300 -- or $33,000 over a decade, or $66,000 over a 20-year span.

Now consider the estimated average house value in Dorchester is around $81,700.  That means, based on current tax levies, the average Dorchester homeowner is paying around $1,275 a year in property taxes -- or $12,750 over a decade, or $25,500 over a 20-year span.

At these numbers, the average homeowner in Dorchester will save about $17,000 over 10 years and about $32,500 over 20 years compared to their Lincoln counterparts.  Those savings are $20,250 and $40,450 when the comparison is with the average Omaha owner.

Keep in mind this does not take into consideration other expenses, such as mortgage interest (since the average homes are more expensive in Lincoln and Omaha) or other taxes, such as city wheel tax.

For those out-of-state readers who may be saying, "Property taxes in Nebraska are high no matter where you live!" -- we say, "You're right."  But consider that the average home price in many other states is between $300,000 and $400,000 -- which means most people are borrowing much bigger sums of money.  

Also keep this in mind: Your $100 in Nebraska is actually worth about $110-$115 due to the average cost of living in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Washboards On 60% Of Dorchester's Gravel Streets

"Why do we pay taxes?"

That was the question we heard this past week from a fellow Dorchester resident expressing her disgust with the conditions of Dorchester's streets. 

In particular, she was upset by the washboards -- or the "thousands of little speed bumps," as she called them -- that have afflicted gravel streets in town for the past several months.

Over the last few days, the Times staff has surveyed Dorchester's gravel streets and we found that nearly 60 percent have washboards.

Washboards make driving on your street uncomfortable, on top of causing damage to your vehicle. It can torture your suspension system, increase your maintenance costs, and make carrying tools or other materials in the bed of your truck nearly impossible. And if you're towing anything behind your vehicle, you better hope it can handle the extra strain.

When it comes down to it, a city government's top priorities are streets, water and sewer, and electricity.  Everything else is way down the priority list.

We aren't sure how washboards form -- and why they get worse.  (It appears speeds over 20 miles per hour play a large role in their formation.) But it's clear there has been some neglect in working to remove these public nuisances in Dorchester.  

While the village applied a boatload of new gravel to the streets in early spring, the foundation was untouched -- now drivers are paying the price.  On some streets, we've seen drivers opt to drive on the grass instead of taking the gravel washboards.  

That's just not right.

It appears there is absolutely no push to pave more Dorchester streets.  At the very least, driving on our gravel streets should not be a completely miserable experience for residents or their vehicles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dorchester's Dr. Jason Weber Back In Nebraska, Joins Lincoln Clinic

Lincoln Orthopaedic Center (LOC) surgeons and staff are pleased to welcome Jason P. Weber, MD, a 2001 graduate of Dorchester High School.

Dr. Matt Reckmeyer, president of LOC, said, “We are pleased to welcome Jason Weber to the medical staff of LOC. He will add a much needed specialty to our practice with his foot and ankle expertise. We look forward to Dr. Weber continuing our tradition of providing superior orthopaedic surgical care to Lincoln and surrounding communities.”

Dr. Weber joins the expert surgeons at Lincoln Orthopaedic Center while specializing in foot and ankle care. Dr. Weber is a Nebraska native where he studied at the University of Nebraska and graduated with honors and highest distinction.

Dr. Weber pursued his interest in medicine by attending the Nebraska College of Medicine (UNMC), earning his doctorate in 2009. Dr. Weber was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society and the medical school admissions committee. He was welcomed into the orthopaedic surgery residency at Georgetown University Hospital, where he served as the academic chief and completed research on many surgeries.

Dr. Weber completed an orthopaedic foot and ankle fellowship at the Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center of Washington D.C. where he focused on foot and ankle care in the clinical, surgical and academic setting.

LOC’s, Dr. Doug Tewes, inspired Jason Weber to pursue medicine as a young athlete. Dr. Tewes said, “Jason was a good athlete and student in high school, when I first met him. Because of his interest in medicine and his hard work ethic, he shadowed me and I got to know him well. I followed him as he obtained his medical degree at UNMC, during his fellowships and I was eager to get him back to Nebraska.”

For more information about Dr. Weber visit For an appointment, call 402-436-2000.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

OUR VIEW: It's Time To Bring Back Dorchester's Fall Festival

A hint of autumn has been in the air lately.  Fall is a time of celebration -- and many Nebraska communities have fall festivals planned.  It's appropriate in this part of the country.

Some of our readers may recall that in the late 1970s, Dorchester held its own fall festival, an idea conceived and organized by school administrators and educators and town leaders. 

Dorchester's autumn celebration was complete with a parade, kid activities, performances and food, like kettle corn and carmel apples.

This recollection made us wonder aloud: Why in the world don't we rekindle this tradition? 
Dorchester needs more community events to get everyone together again -- and get us talking to one another, other than through blogs, text messages or silly Facebook posts.
Dorchester -- home of one of the state's largest farmers cooperatives -- is a perfect site for a fall festival.

We already have a fantastic farmers' market each and every Friday during the production months.

In the late '70s, school leaders helped bring about the town's fall festival as a way to unite the entire community and school.  

With no football team playing at Nerud Field this year, we think solidifying the bond between DPS and the rest of the Dorchester area community is vital.

Perhaps the Community Foundation, business owners, Methodist Church leaders and Dorchester School personnel can plan a weekend this fall for a town get-together. 

A parade, a sidewalk sale (fundraisers for student events or organizations), caramel apples, kettle corn -- the opportunities for an enjoyable (and even profitable) weekend are endless.

Doesn't a fall festival sound nice right about now? It's an idea whose time has come -- again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FLASHBACK: Results From Our 2014 Community Survey

A year ago, in August 2014, we asked Dorchester area residents to take our community survey, so 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).

Today, 12 months later, we look back on our survey and see what, if any, progress has been made.

  • 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 top selling points, most respondents said.
  • Unpaved streets are a 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%)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

DHS-MHS Football Season Gets Underway Next Week

The crisp feel of autumn is in the air.  That means football season is upon us.
The Dorchester-Milford High School team will kick off its season with a road contest next Friday at Louisville. The MHS-DHS team is entering its third season as a cooperative in football in Class C-1, which offers a more competitive brand of football.
The team is coming off a 6-win season in 2014, and it boasts at least seven Dorchester players according our count.
The DHS-MHS squad will be led by 36-year veteran head coach Marty Hingst, who boasts a 237-146-2 lifetime record.
Milford-Dorchester relied on strong defense last season, and according to the sportswriters at the Lincoln Journal Star, that should be the case this season with the return of several defensive starters, including nose tackle Marty Schildt. Jaidon Policky is one of the top skill players on the roster. He received all-district honors at wideout in 2014. The Eagles are hoping to develop some depth on the offensive line.
All combined, the team will see six returning starters on both offense and defense.
DHS-MHS will look to make the playoffs for the third straight year this season. The back-to-back playoff berths in '13 and '14 are the school's only playoff appearances in its young history.

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.)
Three 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, until DHS has sufficient numbers to resume playing at the Class D level.  The impacted athletics include football and wrestling.

According to several reports, it may be some time before football returns to Nerud Field.  The Times received two e-mails confirming that no Dorchester junior high boys are participating in football this season, despite a healthy number of Dorchester boys enrolled in 7th and 8th grades.

Milford-Dorchester 2015 Schedule

Aug. 28 | Louisville | A
Sept. 4 | GICC | H
Sept. 11 | David City | H
Sept. 18 | Holdrege | A
Sept. 25 | Fairbury | H
Oct. 2 Lincoln Christian | A
Oct. 9 Raymond Central | H
Oct. 16 Lincoln Lutheran | A
Oct. 23 | Wilber-Clatonia | H

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can You Help The DVFD Today?

The volunteers of the Dorchester Fire and Rescue Department make a big sacrifice (physically and financially) to serve and protect the residents of our area.

The Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department is vital to our community.  We need them -- and they need our support in order to be there when needed.

Word has it the DVFD is working to raise funds for much-needed equipment.

Think of the difference we all could make if every person with connections to Dorchester gave just $10, $25 or $50 to the DVFD.

Many of us think nothing of dropping $100 in Lincoln or Omaha when shopping or dining.  Why not ensure some of that hard-earned cash stays in our community by giving to local community groups that are essential to our community's sustainability?

Please consider helping out the Dorchester Fire and Rescue volunteers right now.  

Readers are encouraged to send their donations to:

Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. 
P.O.Box 36
Dorchester, NE  68343 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Check Out This Dorchester Area Home Today

Dorchester and the surround area has a lot going for it.

Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • A new K-12 school with some of the state's best educators.
  • A clean, safe community.
  • A new water system and new sewer system.
  • The lowest school tax levy in the county -- and one of the lower property rates in southeast Nebraska.
  • Affordable cost of living.
  • Headquarters for one of the state's largest agri-businesses (Farmers' Cooperative).
  • Friendly, helpful neighbors.
Of course, living inside city limits isn't for everyone.  Today we feature a home south of town.

925 County Road 1600, Dorchester: Beautifully updated 2 story home. 4.65 acres. You will be impressed as you walk into the fabulous eat in kitchen and formal dining room. Tastefully done. Class with a capitol C. First floor laundry room. Spacious living room with impressive windows. Character throughout. First floor bedroom. Four more bedrooms upstairs. Master bedroom has darling wall of windows and walk in closet. Wrap around porch will insure hours of enjoyment. Patio located on west side of home perfect for sitting and watching sunsets. 2 1/2 stall garage. New roof on house and garage. Four nostalgic outbuildings takes you back in time. Wonderful country setting, nestled in among bean fields and corn fields. Peaceful easy feeling. 4 1/2 miles south of Hwy 33. Turn south at Pleasant Hill sign. This is the type of home that makes Nebraska the place they call "The Good Life." Click here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ready For A Harsh Winter? It's Coming, Says Farmers Almanac

It's still summer.  

You'd best get out there and enjoy what's left of it. 

According to the news wires, The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts the coming winter will be super cold, with a slew of snow for much of the country.

Look for especially frigid weather in the Midwest, the almanac predicts.

"Just about everybody who gets snow will have a White Christmas in one capacity or another," editor Janice Stillman said from Dublin, New Hampshire, where the almanac is compiled. 

The weather predictions are based on a secret formula that founder Robert B. Thomas designed using solar cycles, climatology and meteorology. 

It's never too early to make sure your furnace is ready, your insulation is solid, and you have a backup source of heat.

Dorchester's Darrel Van Ackern Passes At 67

Darrel D. Van Ackern, age 67, of Dorchester, passed away August 9, 2015. He was born with his twin sister Carol Van Ackern in a pick-up truck on Bennett Road. Proud Army (Vietnam) veteran of 24 years. Beloved husband, father, brother and friend, passed away too soon.

He honorably served his country and retired with the rank of SFC. Tour of duties include Vietnam, Marshal Islands, Colorado, Germany and many other bases in the U.S. and around the world. He was a Farmland employee for 21 years.

Darrel was a loving, loyal, hard working husband, father and great friend. He had a great sense of humor and loved to joke around. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.

He is survived by his loving wife Liane Van Ackern, his siblings, John (Kathy) Van Ackern of Nebraska; Louis (Lois) Van Ackern of Arizona; twin sister, Carol Van Ackern, Bonnie (Dave) Sierks both of Nebraska; Barbara (Dave) Funkhouser of Missouri; Mary (Verlin) Homolka of Nebraska. Children, Chris (Melinda) Van Ackern; Randy (Charlene) Van Ackern; Vicky (Tony) Simmons; Steven (Raven) Van Ackern all of Alabama. Step children, Luise Klein; Jeanie (Alex) Domkowski both of Germany. Kathy Hernandez; Rosa (Jeff) Dornan both of Nebraska and Manuela Poor of Florida. 17 grandchildren, one great-grandchild. Nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Van Ackern, his mother, Grace Van Ackern and a brother Robert Van Ackern. You will forever be greatly missed.

Memorial services were held on Thursday, August 13, at Wyuka Funeral Home with military services provided by the Nebraska Army National Guard. Memorials to the family. Online condolences may be left at

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Free Concert By Top-Ranked Cover Band Will Be Aug. 22 In Deshler

Would you like to hear "Hotel California" on a late summer's night in Nebraska?

We wanted to let our readers know about a free and noteworthy concert coming to nearby Deshler on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Thayer County Fairgrounds.  (Did we mention it's free?)

The show will start at 7 p.m. (gates open at 6:30 p.m.).

The event is sponsored by Reinke Manufacturing.  

This is one that looks like a memorable time.

An amazing, top-rated cover group from North Carolina called ON THE BORDER will play all the hits from The Eagles -- one of the best bands of the 1970s. 

As some of our older readers will recall, The Eagles included members Glenn Frey and Don Henley.  

Back in the day, the group had several number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums. 

ON THE BORDER is considered the world's best Eagles tribute band.  

Hailing from from Charlotte, North Carolina, the group was recently crowned "the greatest Eagles tribute band in the world."

Performing 40-50 shows a year all over the U.S., the band's passion, showmanship and precise attention to replicating the details of The Eagles' music has earned them critical acclaim, name recognition and a loyal following. 

If you are looking for something to do Aug. 22, you couldn't do much better than a great free concert in Deshler.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dorchester's Olga Bruha Celebrates 98th Birthday

Much was happening in 1917.
The United States was entering World War I.
Communist leader Lenin was taking over Russia.
Albert Einstein published his first paper on cosmology.
Houdini was performing his "buried alive" escapes.
And Dorchester's Olga Bruha was born.
Olga celebrated her 98th birthday last week. 
In honor of the occasion, her family is requesting a card shower. 
Cards may be sent to her at: P.O. Box 154, Dorchester, NE 68343.
According to our records, Olga and Josie Slama are Dorchester's oldest residents at 98 years old.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

DHS Alum Buford 'Boo' Grosscup Passes At 93

Buford "Boo" M. Grosscup of Lincoln passed away August 2, 2015, just nine days short of his 94th birthday.  Buford was born in Dorchester to Clinton and Helen (Powell) Grosscup and was part of Dorchester's Class of 1939.

That DHS Class of 1939 had 33 members, including Harold Krivohlavek  and Bertha Dusanek Zak, both of whom also passed away recently.

Buford attended Doane College on a basketball scholarship where he met his wife, Jane Skokan. After graduation, he joined the Navy as a "Ninety Day Wonder" and served in the Pacific during WW II as a PT boat commander with the rank of lieutenant j.g.

Buford and Jane were married on November 5, 1943. Their 71 year union produced three children: Lynn, Bryan, and Paul.  Buford began his teaching and coaching career in Norfolk in 1946. He continued teaching and coaching at Lincoln High School in 1951 retiring in 1983. He coached football for several years and was named head baseball coach in 1956 retiring from coaching in 1973. In 1956 and 1963 his baseball teams won state championships.

Buford was inducted into the Doane Athletic Hall of Fame, Doane's Honor D Club, the Nebraska State Officials Hall of Fame, the Lincoln High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nebraska School Athletic Association.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow, August 11, at Butherus, Maser and Love funeral home, 4040 A street. Buford will be cremated followed by a private family burial at Lincoln Memorial Park. No visitation. Memorials may be sent to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation at 500 Charleston Street, Suite 3, Lincoln, NE, 68508.

Help Improve Dorchester's Main Street And Grow A Startup Business

If you've ever wanted help improve Dorchester's main street and get a small business off the ground, here's your chance.

As the Times recently reported, renovation is taking place along the west side of Dorchester's main street on the facilities that will soon house the forthcoming Dorchester Bakery.  The new business will be housed just south of the post office.

But restoring an old commercial building is expensive work.  The bakery's owner and operator Michelle Johnson is trying to raise some extra funds on the website

You can click here to donate any amount you wish -- from $1 to $1,0000.

For readers who may have missed our earlier reports, the Dorchester Bakery and the accompanying "Party Room" will be located in the building that was most recently the Dorchester Hardware Store and the additional space in Dorchester Grocery.  

The business is awaiting its permanent move to this location as renovations and repairs are being completed.

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.

The bakery will create a place for residents to enjoy a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, a luncheon, special order cakes and cookies, and employment for 10 people. It will be the only full-service bakery in the entire county.

Johnson writes: "Could you please let your readers know that I am very thankful for those who have taken the opportunity to stop by The Party Room on Fridays? Their continued support is needed in order to maintain the building in its present state. And although I have set up a GoFundMe account, I certainly don't expect something for nothing. I would actually prefer people stop by and get something for their money. Plus it helps me get acquainted with the residents. And I've met some terrific people so far."

If you would like to help Michelle fulfill her dream of a operating a full-service bakery located on main street Dorchester, simply click here and donate whatever amount you wish.

To see pictures of some of Johnson's baked goods, we suggest you visit her Facebook page.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New School Year Begins This Wednesday

There was a time, decades ago, that a kid's summer would last past Labor Day. 

Those days are long gone -- having gone the way of farm work that lasted from dawn until dusk, and classrooms that didn't have air conditioning.

The 2015-16 school year for Dorchester Public School kicks off this Wednesday, August 12. This year, the first school bell will ring at 8:10 a.m. every day, and the school day will conclude at 3:30 p.m.

A year-long calendar for Dorchester School activities can be found here or at the school website.

The school has hired one new staff member this year -- Mr. Nicholas Ginaap, who will serve as the new physical/health education educator.  We've heard Mr. Ginaap is a top-notch teacher who will certainly stress the importance of physical fitness at a time Dorchester is trying to refocus students on the need for teamwork and personal responsibility through participation in athletics.

Good luck to all of Dorchester's K-12 students!

Check Out This Dorchester Home For Sale Today

The village of Dorchester has a lot going for it, if you prefer living in a safe, clean, friendly and affordable community.

Just consider what Dorchester has to offer:
  • A new K-12 school with some of the state's best educators.
  • A clean, safe community.
  • A new water system and new sewer system.
  • The lowest school tax levy in the county -- and one of the lower property rates in southeast Nebraska.
  • Affordable cost of living.
  • Headquarters for one of the state's largest agri-businesses (Farmers' Cooperative).
  • Friendly, helpful neighbors.
A quick drive from many employers in Crete and Seward, and only 30 minutes to Lincoln, Dorchester is located next to two highways and just 10 minutes from Interstate 80.

However, one challenge facing Dorchester is available housing.  Since the Dorchester Times has been in operation, we've heard from many readers who've said they would like to move to Dorchester, if only homes were available.

Today, we are showcasing the latest Dorchester home available right now.  If you're ready to call Dorchester home, or it's time for you to move back to your hometown, we encourage you to take a look and make an offer.  Make Dorchester your home and help our community reach its full potential.

504 S Fulton Ave.: Come view this affordable acreage on the edge of Dorchester. It's cute, clean and move-in ready. This home was moved in on a new foundation -- no old basement issues here. The basement is poured concrete w/9'ceilings and has an egress window for future bedroom. Currently, there is a full bath and a laundry/mechanical room, plus space for a future family room. On the main level, you will find a living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and full bath. Seller says woods floors are under carpet, but cannot guarantee condition. Appliances are included, even washer and dryer (not the freezer in basement). There is new ductwork, newer mechanicals (2010 furn/ac; 2013 water heater) new countertops, new roof-2015, new gutters being installed in August, windows installed in 2011-12; new 36 exterior doors too, and even a water softener. 5.88 acres with outbuildings -- perfect set up for a few animals. Outbuilding has wire for 220 underground, but is not hooked up. Concrete floor in detached, single-stall garage. Click here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Longtime DPS Teacher Margaret Rasmussen Turns 100; Open House This Sunday

For 32 years -- almost a third of a century -- Margaret Rasmussen was a fixture at Dorchester Public Schools, where she taught two generations of fourth graders.

Now Margaret Rasmussen is turning 100 years old.  And she's holding an open house to see all her former students and Dorchester friends.

The open house will be at the Dorchester Community Hall on Sunday Aug. 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Everyone is invited.

For those who don't know, Rasmussen started her teaching career after her high school graduation in 1932.  Taking night classes, attending summer school and doing extension work, she earned her bachelor's degree from Doane College.  For many years, she taught at country schools in Saline and Fillmore counties.  She even served on the advisory board for the Nebraska history textbook.

Rasmussen's first year with Dorchester Schools was 1961.  She retired in May 1993.  Her retirement closed the books on a 52 year teaching career.

For those who are unable to attend the Aug. 9 open house in Dorchester, birthday cards may be sent to Rasmussen's residence at 5550 Pioneer Blvd., Room 311, Lincoln, NE  68506.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dorchester: Here Is How To Get Paved Streets -- If You Want Them

In recent years, support for paving more Dorchester streets has grown. Supporters say that to grow Dorchester and encourage more people to build here and improve their homes, paved streets are a key.

As reported earlier by this blog, the power to pave is in the hands of Dorchester residents -- or at least those who own property in village limits.  
Nebraska law, Section 17-510, says a petition can be started by those who have property next to an unimproved street (meaning gravel or dirt).  

Now a loyal Dorchester Times reader has e-mailed us a document that will allow Dorchester residents accomplish their paving mission, if they so desire.

The power to get more paved streets is in your hands, and here is how you do it:

1.)  Use this petition sheet (click here) and determine what area you want paved.  You will note that the petition sheet has blanks for street names.  It is up to the petitioner(s) to determine their "paving district." It might be just one block of a single street, or it might be several blocks.  The smaller the paving district, the better chances of paving occurring, most likely.

2.)  Get the signatures of enough landowners -- representing at least 61% of the front footage of the property directly abutting the street proposed to be paved.  This means you will have to ask property owners (not renters) to sign your petition sheet.

3.)  Present the signed petition to the village board at their monthly meeting.  Call the clerk's office ahead of time to get on the agenda.  Unless the board can find a technical reason to deny the petition, they will need to proceed and levy special assessments on the land abutting or adjacent to the paved street to finance the work.  Special assessments for such projects can be paid over a 15-year period, according to state law, we are told.

The Times staff is not comprised of attorneys or development specialists.  However, we have received this information from residents of town who say they've worked with experts who have experience in establishing street paving districts.

After years of hearing complaints about a lack of paved streets in Dorchester, the Times is happy to help provide this assistance to residents and empower them to pursue paved streets, if this is what they want.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dorchester Loses Two WWII Vets In Past Week

Dorchester, with a population of around 600, has lost two of its decorated World War II veterans and outstanding community members in less than a week.

Harold E. Krivohlavek, 93, passed away last Wednesday, July 29.

Harold attended rural school district 104, walking 1¼ miles for the first 8 years (except when he could hook up the pony to the two wheel sulky). Then he attended and graduated in 1939 from Dorchester High School. He enjoyed 4-H, attending the county fair and the state fair with his livestock. Later he became a 4-H leader. He farmed all his life in Dorchester except for 3 ½ years during World War II. From 1942-1946 he served as a staff sergeant in the South Pacific, in the Northern Solomons and on the island of Luzon in the Philippines in the 112th Radio Intelligence Company. Following the war, he returned home to farm and raise livestock.

He married the love of his life, Virginia McCormick Spanyers, on June 8, 1968. He loved farming with his son Keith and enjoyed raising cattle and going to cattle sales. He liked taking his grandsons to the sales with him to teach them about how to pick out good calves. He loved to play with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they all were rocked to Czech songs as babies. He was a member of and attended the Dorchester United Methodist Church. He served on the Saline County Soil conservation board, the Rural Fire Dept. board, and the Pleasant Hill cemetery board. He was very active in the Dorchester American Legion Post #264 and was a member of the VFW, ZCBJ Lodge Tabor #74, and was a Master Mason in Blue Valley Lodge #64 in Wilber. He knew the meaning of loving your country, and he never missed honoring veterans during the Memorial Day services. He also enjoyed teaching young people about patriotism at the school's Veteran's Day programs.  He was proud of the fact that he was the oldest man in Dorchester and the oldest Krivohlavek in Nebraska.

He is survived by his beloved wife Virginia of 47 years, daughter and son-in-law Sue and Tom Shaw of Bartlett, son Keith Spanyers and Pam Carlin of Dorchester, daughter and son-in-law Karen and Scott Wiles of Lincoln; and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Harold's visitation will be tonight (Tuesday) from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dorchester United Methodist Church.  Memorial service will be 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) at the church. Graveside service and interment with full military honors by Dorchester American Legion Post #264 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Memorials: to the family for future designations. Condolences may be left by clicking here.

Edwin M. “Ed” Sanburn, 89, passed away Sunday, August 2. He was born March 8, 1926 in Dorchester to William E. and Edna M. (Britton) Sanburn. He attended and graduated from Dorchester High School in 1943. Ed was drafted into the U.S. Navy on July 24, 1944, and served in the South Pacific Theater until honorably discharged in July of 1946. 

He worked for the Western Electric Company in Lincoln from 1946-60. Ed then went to work for the United States Postal Service, first as a clerk and then a Rural Letter Carrier in Dorchester. When the Dorchester routes were consolidated he worked out of the Lincoln Post Office as a City Carrier. He returned to Dorchester in 1976 to serve as the Rural Letter Carrier out of the Dorchester office. 

Ed retired from the USPS in April of 1993. He also farmed 200 acres starting in 1949 and retired from farming in the late 1980’s. Ed married E. Elaine Crick in Dorchester on July 19, 1949. To this union they had one son, Robert Edwin. Ed enjoyed spending time with family, gardening and “Intarsia”, which is a form of wood inlaying.

Survivors include: wife, Elaine; son, Bob (Lori) Sanburn, Denton; and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. this Friday, August 7, at Dorchester United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Paixao Baptista officiating, military honors to follow. Cremation/no viewing. Private family inurnment at Lincoln Memorial Park, Lincoln. Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation. Condolences may be left by clicking here.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dorchester's Residential Electricity Rates 17.43% Higher Than State Ave.

We often boast about Dorchester's low cost-of-living -- and rightly so.  From our community's affordable housing costs, to our school district's below-average tax levy, we have it pretty good in Dorchester.  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 everywhere else in these great United States.

But we report both the good and the bad.  So when we examined electricity rates, we were disappointed to see Dorchester utilities were above the Nebraska average.

Before we give you the bad news, keep this in mind:

  • The average residential electricity rate in Nebraska is 10.04¢/kWh, which ranks 40th (11th lowest) in the nation and is 15.49% less than the national average rate of 11.88¢/kWh.  (This could change since the Obama administration seems hellbent to end coal-fired electricity production for what it deems "climate change.")
  • As of this writing, the average monthly residential electricity bill in Nebraska is $100, which ranks 29th highest in the nation and is 6.54% less than the national average of $107 per month.

Now the bad news on Dorchester's electricity costs.  According to a comparison using government data:

  • The average residential electricity rate in Dorchester is 11.79¢/kWh.
  • This average residential electricity rate in Dorchester is 17.43% greater than the Nebraska average rate of 10.04¢/kWh.
  • Despite this, the average residential electricity rate in Dorchester is 0.76% less than the national average rate of 11.88¢/kWh. 

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 offset the higher than average utility bills.  Nonetheless, this in an area Dorchester leaders should address, especially when considering Dorchester's very high industrial and commercial electric rates.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Czech Out Wilber This Weekend

WILBER, Neb. -- The first full weekend of August is nearly here and area folks -- young and old -- will be headed to the annual Wilber Czech Days Festival, one of Saline County's most noted and celebrated annual events since 1962.

This year's theme for the festival: "A Czech-American Adventure."

Our readers in Wilber tell us town officials have spent months preparing for the 2015 National Czech Festival (July 31-Aug. 2).

Every year at this time, the population of Wilber swells to as many as 50,000 as folks traverse from miles around to celebrate their own Czech ancestry or just to pay tribute to some of the county's early pioneers and traditions. 

The community of approximately 1,700 has been the official Czech capital of Nebraska since 1963 -- and of the United States since 1987.  

See the 2015 Czech Days schedule here.

This year, Czech Days activities will include a free dance at Hotel Wilber, Czech bingo, the accordion jamboree, a sand volleyball tournament, a children's parade, an art show, dance contest, Czech dinners, museum tours, quilt show, Czech heritage demonstrations, and the sounds of various polka bands.

The official Czech Days' parade starts at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Miss Czech-Slovak U.S.A. Queen Pageant begins at 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the outdoor theater.  

If you go, have fun and be safe.  And if you don't speak Czech, just tell them: Ahoj k├ímo! (Hello, friend!)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Steve Bledso, 56, Passes Away July 26

The Dorchester Times has learned that Steven C. Bledso, 56, of Dorchester, died earlier this week.

Bledso passed away Sunday, July 26. 

A celebration of life service will be held tomorrow (Friday, July 31) evening at 6 p.m. at the Dorchester Community Building on main street.

No other details are available at this time.

Private condolences may be left by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Web Search Reveals Many Dorchester Items For Sale

The staff members of the Dorchester Times are often amazed at the wide array of Dorchester-related items for sale on the Internet.

One of the novel items that caught our attention was a t-shirt that read, "It's a Dorchester thing."  For $17.95, you can get this unique piece to show off your hometown pride and be the envy of our village.

We also found this impressive painted map of Dorchester as the community appeared in 1900.

We stumbled upon this photo of the members of the West Dorchester Church -- and this picture of the Dorchester Christian Church.

One of the more notable items our search uncovered was a neon sign honoring the service of the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department.  It's a remarkable piece.

Then there's this breathtaking 1909 souvenir plate given to the customers of Dorchester's Citizens State Bank more than a century ago.

If you know of other unique or rare Dorchester-related items for sale on the Internet or elsewhere, let us know in the comments section or e-mail us at

Monday, July 27, 2015

Applications Due For Building/Improvement Permits

Did you know that residents need a village permit to do any construction or major renovations with Dorchester's city limits?

And time is running short to apply for that permit.

The Dorchester Planning and Zoning Commission will meet this Wednesday evening, July 29.  

That means anyone who wishes to conduct any building improvements, additions or replacements needs to have their building permit application turned in to the village clerk's office by end of business day on Wednesday.

For further information, call the village clerk's office.

Holy Craps! Dorchester's Tom Scheffert Makes National News

Holy craps! Dorchester's Tom Scheffert has made national news. 

Reporting from Deadwood, South Dakota, the Associated Press reported last month that casinos were betting on the introduction of keno, craps and roulette in Deadwood to help reinvigorate the historic Black Hills town and level its odds against gambling hot spots across the country competing to attract players.

The AP story ran in newspapers across the country.

The new forms of gambling were approved by South Dakota voters in November and authorized to begin July 1. 

The AP was able to track down Dorchester's Tom Scheffert, who told the news agency he was planning a trip to Deadwood for the July 1 opening of craps.  (Note: The Dorchester Times delayed running this story so the general public -- and potential thieves -- wouldn't know of Tom's absence from home during this time.)

Scheffert, 61, said he travels across the U.S. playing the game, which he likes for the excitement, the AP reports.  He said he's been to Deadwood before and wished for craps.

"Every year we'll make a couple trips up there," Scheffert said, now that the games are opening. "Before, we were basically never going back."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Restoration Of 150-Year-Old Saline County Farmstead Begins

WESTERN, Neb. -- Channel 10/11's "Pure Nebraska" TV series reports on the planned restoration of a Saline County pioneer homestead near the community of Western.

According to the story, the restoration is being overseen by owner Kay Kottas, her husband Joe, and cousin Floyd Zabel.  The home has been in the family for 150 years. 

When they almost lost this piece of history in a flood Kay knew something needed to be done. "We have to do it now, I've always wanted to do it but we came very close to losing it so i really wanted to get it done," said Kay Kottas.

According to Kay, the historical society is helping to find the original foundation of the house since it was moved at one point about 75 feet from its original location.

Kottas says they want to be able to share the history of this one-of-a-kind home with tourists so they can "experience exactly what it was like for the pioneers when they lived here."

"There is no plumbing, there is no electricity. It would just be a really good experience for folks to understand what it was like," said Kottas.

The restoration of the home will take place in four stages and Kottas can't wait to get the fundraising and renovations started. "It's tremendous, we've had a lot of interest already.  I'm already finding we have relatives that I've never heard of before, it's great to hear from community members who think this is just a wonderful thing to do," said Kottas.

Floyd Zabel was raised on the farm and sold the farm to the Kottas'.

"When Kay came down, we jumped on the three-wheeler, went up to the pasture and looked at some of the native plants, her excitement grew about owning the farm and her excitement grew about preserving the pioneer history," said Floyd Zabel, previous owner.

Zabel says he can't wait to see Kay's vision plan out.  Kottas says she can't wait to share this piece of family history with the community.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Dorchester Legion Needs Financial Help Today

For more than 95 years, Dorchester's August-Vanek American Legion Post 264, has been an integral part of our community.

Today, due to a financial crisis, the Dorchester Legion needs the help of community members, Dorchester natives and alumni, and friends and family.

If you can spare $10, $15 or $20 (or more) to help keep the Legion's doors open, we hope you will do so today.  

Send your donations to:

Dorchester American Legion, Post 264
PO Box 197
Dorchester, NE 68343

Earlier this year, Dorchester Legion members held special meetings to decide the future of the Legion's club on Dorchester's main street.  According to information provided, the Legion was nearly out of operating cash, which would mean it would have to abandon its clubhouse on Dorchester's main street.  

Thanks to fundraisers held by the Dorchester Community Foundation and some timely donations, the Legion was provided much-needed operating cash.  

However, we have learned that a July 4 gun auction and fundraiser -- despite donated auction services and a large number of guns and rifles on the bidding block -- failed to provide much revenue after advertising costs.  

We hope the community and the Legion members will rally to find a way to keep Dorchester's Legion Post 264 an important part of Dorchester's main street and a central part of our village life.

Please consider sending a donation to the Dorchester Legion today.  

Also, if you would like to volunteer your time or services for future Legion events, please let Legion leaders know, including Roger Wolfe (402-946-2461 or or Larry Kaspar (402-946-6711 or