Friday, November 21, 2014

DHS Takes First Place In UNL Math Bowl Tournament

Calculus, addition, division, multiplication, subtraction -- if it's math and you're a Longhorn, you look it squarely in the eye and say: "Bring it on!"
Dorchester High School continues its long and outstanding tradition of excellence in the area of mathematics with a first place finish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Math Bowl Tournament.
More than 1,500 high school students from 105 Nebraska high schools participated in Thursday's Math Bowl.  

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event.
In the Math Bowl Tournament team competition, DHS finished first in Class VI. 

Team members for the Longhorns were Tim Havlat, Nixon Nerud, and Cassidy Olson, according to UNL's news release.

Derek Chew of Omaha North High School was the top individual winner. For his efforts, Chew won an $8,000 scholarship to UNL.

Other top 10 finishers also were awarded scholarships: Ingrid Zhang of Lincoln East, Jae Hyun Lim of Lincoln Southwest, Zach Warneke of Millard South and Alex Heitzman of Emerson-Hubbard each earned $4,000 scholarships for finishing second through fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 and winning $2,000 scholarships were Isaac Zhang of Lincoln East, Caravaggio Caniglia and Ivy Wang of Omaha Brownell-Talbot, Jae Jun Park of Mount Michael Benedictine and Crystal Xu of Lincoln East.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UPDATE: Sunday's Benefit For Kody Moved To Community Building

(UPDATED 11/20, 11 a.m.) -- One thing special about Dorchester is the community always comes together to help its families -- especially when they're facing a tragic loss.

Recently, six-year-old Kody Krapp, son of Chad and DHS graduate Kelly (Krivohlavek) Krapp of Gretna, had and extended stay of 26 days in intensive care following complications from open-heart surgery. Many of our readers know the Krivohlaveks and how stressful this was on the family.

Last week, on Nov. 6, things took a very sad turn as Kody passed away.  The family is now facing incredible medical bills. 

To help the family out at this difficult time, a benefit will be held in Dorchester next Sunday, Nov. 23, to honor the life of this wonderful six-year-old and his family. 

The benefit has been moved to the Dorchester Community Building and Legion Hall due to overwhelming support.  The event will still take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  (See the Lincoln Journal Star's coverage here. And see 10/11 News' coverage here.)

There will also be a silent auction.  Please contact Pam Fuller at 402-946-4051 if you have silent auction things or leave items at Donna's Hair Creations in Dorchester. 

For more, see the Facebook page set up for this event.

Please come and support Kody's family.  If you can not attend, donations can be made at any Pinnacle Bank under "The Kody Krapp Benefit."

Former Resident, Businesswoman Carole Sprague Passes At 72

Carole “Fluffy” Sprague, age 72 of York, died Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 in York with her husband and children by her side.  

Many residents of Dorchester still remember Carole as the owner and operator of Conner Garden and Gift Shoppe on main street.  This successful business was truly an attribute to the community until it was destroyed by a fire in the early 1980s.

Carole was born on June 15, 1942 to Hazen and Thelma Smith.  She grew up in Taylor, Neb., in Loup County, and attended beauty school in Lincoln. She moved to Milford, where she had all four of her children. When her youngest was in school, she moved to Dorchester and opened Conner Garden and Gift Shoppe. 

In 1987, she married Jim Sprague and they made their home in Dorchester just west of the Farmers Cooperative elevator.  In 2002, they moved to York, where she resumed her passion of painting and gardening. She took pride in her community and often headed up projects such as planting flower boxes in Dorchester, tending the flower garden at East Hill Park in York, and painting beautiful murals at church.

Carole loved being a part of various church groups, garden club and social coffee groups, and she never said no to going to garage sales or a trip to Hobby Lobby.  Being with family and friends was what brought her the greatest pleasure.

She is survived by her husband Jim of York; her mother, Thelma Hill of York; her children, Brad (Kerry) Conner of McCool Jct., Stacie Conner and friend Chad Becwar of Lincoln, Steve (Angie) Conner of Seward and Nicki (Erik) Rivers of Lincoln; step- children, Kathie Vocasek of Pickrell and Kristine Briese of Lincoln; grandchildren, Mayson Conner and Morgan Conner both of McCool Jct., Andrew (Jennifer) Crees of York and their children  Joel and Brennen, Sierra Crees and her fiancé Kory Einspahr of Lincoln, Brad Ricenbaw of Cordova, Ashton Conner and Dane Conner both of Seward and Lauren Rivers and Hayden Rivers both of Lincoln and step-grandchildren, Amanda Vocasek and Jordan Sprague of Lincoln.

Also surviving is Carole’s sister, Jeanette (Richard) Lewis of Taylor; her brothers, Leland (Dot) Smith of Foster, Mo., David (Susan) Smith of Norfolk and Dan (Lynn) Smith of Council Bluffs, Iowa; nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her father, Hazen Smith; sister, Elaine Harris and granddaughter, Conner Rivers.

Memorial services will be held 2:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 at the First United Methodist Church in York with the Reverend Art Phillips officiating. Memorials may be directed to the church or to the family for a bench to be placed at East Hill Park in her honor. No viewing or visitation. Online condolences may be sent to her family at

Metz Mortuary in York is handling arrangements.

Paying More Than Your Fair Share Of Property Taxes? Protest!

Without a doubt, property taxes are the most despised tax in Nebraska -- even though most who aren't on the farm pay more in state income taxes or even sales tax, depending on the year's purchases.  However, unlike the income tax, you're not completely helpless when it comes to property taxes.

In fact, you can dispute your property tax valuations if you feel they have been raised unjustly.  

Here in Saline County, property valuation protests can be filed with the Saline County Clerk on Form 422, along with a protest letter.  The Form 422, when completed, must be filed with the County board of Equalization at the office of the County Clerk in order for it to be accepted.  Also, a protest letter must be provided to the clerk's office.

For real property, protests must be filed on or before June 30. The requested valuation of the property must be stated along with the basis for the request.  Failure to state the reasons for the requested valuation will mean your protest gets dismissed.  Also, the legal description of the property and the value of the land and buildings must be included.

For personal property, protests must be filed on or before May 1. The taxpayer may provide a copy of the most recent federal depreciation worksheet or any other supporting documents as evidence of the requested change in value.  If additional space is needed, attach additional sheets to each copy of the Form 422.

The form 422 may also be used when the county assessor notifies a taxpayer of an additional assessment, the failure to file a personal property return, or the imposition of a penalty. The taxpayer has thirty days from the date the notification was mailed to protest the action of the assessor.

The person protesting the assessed valuation will be notified by the county clerk of the place and time for the hearing on the protest. At this hearing, evidence may be submitted and witnesses may be presented. Within seven days after the final decision, the clerk shall notify the protester of the action taken by the board.

If you don't like the answer you get from county officials, protesters can appeal to the state's Tax Equalization and Review Commission within 30 days after adjournment of the county board of equalization. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Than 20 Registered Sex Offenders In Saline County

The well-being of our youth is a top priority of the Dorchester Times. 

That's why we are publishing today's post, hoping parents will always take appropriate steps to ensure the children's safety -- no matter how busy we get.

Nebraska law declares that sex offenders present a high risk as repeat offenders. For that reason, the Legislature and the attorney general have determined that in order to assist local law enforcement agencies, sex offenders must register as provided by the Sex Offender Registration Act. This information is used to provide public notices and information so that Nebraska communities can develop reasonable plans to safeguard children and teens.

Under state law, there are three levels of registered sex offenders -- those who must register for 15 years, 25 years and life.  That duration is based on the seriousness of the crime. The difference between the levels are as follows:
  • 15 years: If the sex offender was convicted of an offense not punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (i.e., primarily misdemeanor offenses).
  • 25 years: If the sex offender was convicted of an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
  • Life:  If the sex offender was convicted of anoffense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and was convicted of an aggravated offense; or had a prior sex offense conviction; or has been determined to be a lifetime registrant in another state or other jurisdiction.
The Times found one listing of a registered sex offender in Dorchester at the present time. It may be viewed by clicking here.

There are currently 22 registered offenders in Saline County, according to the Nebraska State Patrol Web site. 

Over the past year, the City of Crete has seen its number of registered sex offenders jump to 10, up from seven. Wilber has four offenders, while Friend has two.  

To see the list of registered sex offenders in Saline County, click here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Looking Back: Freidell Photos Capture Dorchester As It Was A Century Ago

Every now and again, we come across photos of the Dorchester area that will take all of our readers back to a time that we can safely say nobody alive today experienced.

Today, we share three such photos taken by the celebrated Saline County photographer Russell Freidell -- son of William, the legendary dry goods store owner who ran his business in Dorchester for more than 50 years. 

Russell Freidell was a DHS graduate in 1907.  He would go on to become known for his photos and his parents' beautiful home on Washington Avenue.  (That home was renovate in the late 1990s and today looks nothing as it once did.)  

The Freidell's dry goods business also managed to survive a 1896 fire that destroyed most of Dorchester's business district.

First, we feature a 1908 photo that Friedell took of the Big Blue River just north of town.  (Click on the photo for a better view.) Notice the family gathered in the covered boat.  Boating on the Blue River was popular activity at the turn of the 20th century.  Also, notice how thin the tree cover was more than 100 years ago.  Despite the lack of broken sod, the river's water certainly appears no clearer than it is today.

Another photograph captures an area country road -- with no road signs and certainly no wider than the width of a Model T.   We guess this photo was taken circa 1908 just outside of Dorchester. 

Both photographs were turned into postcards, a common practice for Friedell.  These particular postcards were sent to an acquaintance of Freidell's in Kansas; both were postmarked in Dorchester. 

A third photograph by Freidell shows a clear, crisp view of the 1909 Dorchester baseball team. Back then, games were often played south of town in the space now occupied by the Saline County Museum.

Another popular spot for baseball was a cow pasture northwest of town called Grant Horner's pasture. Yet another location was Bankson's pasture, just on the outskirts of Dorchester.  Most games were played during free time on Sundays, according to old timers quoted in the Dorchester centennial history book.

Freidell's postcards are ocassionally available for purchase on Ebay and would make a fine gift for any Dorchester native or current resident who enjoys studying our area's history.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nebraska's Mountains Of Corn Continue To Grow

Two years ago, area farmers were cashing in on corn worth $8 or more a bushel.  Times were good in rural Nebraska as money trickled down to other sectors of the economy, including main street businesses.

But two years makes a big difference. Today corn for November delivery in Dorchester is around $3.40 a bushel.

It's not just farm commodities that are under pressure.  So are oil and precious metals.  It appears the market recognizes that the U.S.  economy, while keeping its head above water, continues to be under some serious stress as global growth wanes and our government presses on with high taxes, environmental agendas and healthcare mandates.

When it comes to corn prices, consecutive years of near-record harvests mean farmers have simply produced more than a slow-growth market needs.  A story in today's Lincoln newspaper details the situation in Nebraska -- where "a temporary mountain range has sprouted ... as farmers bring in one of the most bountiful harvests in the state's history."

According to the Journal Star, "despite years of steady growth in storage capacity, grain has filled up nearly every bin and silo and overflowed, forming massive ground piles that stand stories high."

The story points out that commercial storage space in Nebraska grew from 455 million bushels in 2011 to 491 million as of June and likely has topped 500 million with new facilities having come online since then.  And yet there's still an estimated 65 million bushels of corn currently laying on the ground in Nebraska.

This doesn't even include on-farm storage, which has grown to 1.15 million as of 2013, the most recent year for which information is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Forecasters expect Nebraska's 2014 corn crop to come in at 1.58 billion bushels, down 2% from last year's record. Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at a record high 284 million bushels, up 11% from a year ago. 

The Journal Star mentions Dorchester-based Farmers Cooperative, "which boasts about 58 million bushels in permanent storage capacity, went into harvest season with only 5% of its space taken up. Its bins and silos are now full, and about 8 million bushels of grain is on the ground in more than 15 piles, said President Ron Velder."

"Despite a wet start to the fall, Velder said, the majority of corn has come in at low enough moisture levels to not need drying and can be stored without worrying about spoilage. Only corn that was replanted due to storm damage seems to need a bit of drying out."

Friday, November 14, 2014

UPDATE: Latest Update From National Weather Service

      Winter Weather Advisory in effect from Saturday until Sunday, 12:00 AM CST. Source: U.S. National Weather Service. (Click here for more.)






Dorchester Offers 3 State-Licensed Child Care Facilities

Nebraska law requires any individual who provides child care to four or more children from different families at any one time to become licensed. That's according to a call we made to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

It matters who provides child care for your kids. So we conducted a search of licensed child care facilities in Dorchester.  (If you don't live in Dorchester, but you'd still like to see which providers are licensed in your Nebraska community, click here and see the listings by zip code.)

According to DHHS records updated on Nov. 7, 2014, there are three child care facilities in Dorchester that are licensed with the state.  Here they are:

  • BRIGHT BEGINNINGS (903 Stephens)
    • Operated by Steph Q. Brandt (402-843-6388).  Licensed since 2009.
    • Open Monday through Friday.  Hours 6 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
    • Child capacity: 12 (ages 6 weeks through 13 years old)
    • Accepts child care subsidies through DHHS? No
    • Administered by Doris J. Broz (402-946-2066).  Licensed since 2008.
    • Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  Hours 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
    • Child capacity: 12 (ages 3-6)
  • TINY TREASURES (708 Stephens)
    • Operated by Angela Renee Cecrle (402-946-6211). Licensed since 2007.
    • Open Monday through Friday.  Hours 5 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
    • Child capacity: 12 (ages 6 weeks through 13 years)
    • Accepts child care subsidies through DHHS? Yes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dorchester Foundation Chicken/Burger Luncheon This Sunday

The Dorchester Community Foundation will host a grilled chicken and hamburger feed/fundraiser this Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Legion and Community Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.  

The lunch will consist of a grilled half-chicken or juicy hamburger, with a choice of mashed potatoes and gravy/potato, salad/chips, baked beans, roll, dessert and drink.

A free will offering is requested.  

The Community Foundation has funded several projects in recent years, including the city park shelter and the the "Welcome to Dorchester" sign along Highway 33. This dinner will help fund the new street light banners that will soon go up.

This is a tremendous opportunity to give back to Dorchester.  It's also a good opportunity to connect with residents, alumni, students and many others.

What if you want to donate to the Dorchester Community Foundation, but can't attend the lunch this Sunday? Why not send in a donation? Or give online?

Contributions to the Foundation may be made any time. Checks -- payable to "Dorchester Community Foundation Fund" -- should be sent to: Dale Hayek, 652 County Road 1200, Dorchester, NE 68343.

To donate online, simply click here.

The Dorchester Community Foundation Fund is a non-profit subsidiary of the Nebraska Community Foundation, so all donations are tax deductible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dorchester's Marital Success Six Times Better Than U.S. Average

According to ABC News, the current divorce rate in the United States is more than 40%. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is about seven years. 

But in Dorchester, people take their vows and promise of "until death do us part" much more seriously.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports the latest data on marital status among current Dorchester residents:
  • Never married: 22.1%
  • Now married: 64.2%
  • Separated: 0.0%
  • Widowed: 6.7%
  • Divorced: 7.0%
A 7% divorce rate in Dorchester compared to the nation's divorce rate in excess of 40%.  That's pretty remarkable -- and that's a good thing, especially if children are involved, since more evidence is showing the long lasting and damaging effects of divorce on kids.

Currently, the average age of marriage in Nebraska is 26 -- and the average Nebraska marriage lasts 23 years, when including those ending in divorce.

If you've made it that long, congratulations!

For those of you contemplating divorce, ABC News also reports Nebraska is one of the worst states to undo the knot.  Two reasons? A filing fee of $157 and 420 days to process the divorce.  A year’s residency is required, which is followed by a two-month cooling-off period. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WWI Helmet Shows Sacrifice Of Dorchester's Dr. Arnold

The stories of Dorchester's wartime heroes continue to spread across Nebraska and the nation.

The World War I helmet you see here belonged to Dr. Charles H. Arnold. It's a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of Dorchester's early citizens. 

It also is a reminder of our community's sometimes-forgotten links to British ancestory.

Dr. Arnold was a native of Dorchester and a DHS graduate.  He received his medical degree in 1913. He enlisted with the British Expeditionary Forces during the first world war, and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps on the front lines in France and Belgium.

Arnold was dressing a wounded soldier near Aveluy Wood, France, when a German sniper fired a bullet through his helmet. Although Arnold’s scalp was injured, he finished dressing the soldier’s wound before being attended to himself. 

He was released to the American Expeditionary Force in January 1919 and was discharged the following month with the rank of major in the Medical Corps Reserve. After his military service, Dr. Arnold returned to his Lincoln practice, where he continued to gain honors and prominence. He continued his studies at the University of Vienna in 1930 and 1933. When World War II began, he re-enlisted and was sent to England, where he served as consulting surgeon to more than 50 military hospitals in Europe. 

Dr. Arnold would go on to have an active medical career, spanning 53 years.  He served as a surgical staff member and lecturer on surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln; a surgical staff member at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln; surgeon for Traveler’s Insurance Company; special lecturer in the surgical department at Creighton University School of Medicine; and surgical consultant and honorary professor of surgery at West China Union University at Chengtu, China, and at the Chinese Army Medical Center at Shanghai.

The Nebraska State Historical Society has a wonderful collection of materials that belonged to Dr. Charles Arnold and his family. Click here to learn more about Dr. Arnold's service and career.

Books Detail PFC Charles Havlat's Ultimate Sacrifice

The unfortunate story of Dorchester's own Private Charles Havlat is well-known throughout the Saline County area.  Now the rest of the nation is learning about his sacrifice in World War II, as well.

A Dorchester native who was killed by a German soldier in the spring of 1945 while helping to free a monastery in Czechoslovakia, Private Havlat was the last American killed in the European Theater of World War II.  PFC Havlat took a bullet in the head from German soldiers who were unaware that a ceasefire had been declared. 
Private Havlat's death occurred about six hours after the unconditional surrender of the Germans. For more on Private Havlat, click here.

At 34 years old, PFC Havlat was the oldest in his family to serve in WWII, along with brothers Adolph and Rudy Havlat. 

According to a 2005 story by Radio Praha (Czech Radio), PFC Havlat was on reconnaissance in a jeep on May 7, 1945, in southern Czechoslovakia, when his unit was blindsided by a "hail of enemy machine gun and small arms fire from concealed positions in the woods." 

In an interview, his brother Adolph recalled that "Charley fired once at the enemy and then ducked" behind the hood of the his damaged jeep. "But he peeked back up, I guess, at the same position and they apparently had a bead right on him, so ... and he died instantly," Adolph said. "That's what I've been told, anyway."

PFC Havlat's fellow soldiers returned fire until the Germans' radio operator received word nine minutes latter that a cease-fire order and armistice were in effect. Taken captive, the German officer who led the ambush said he did not know that a cease-fire had been declared and apologized for the incident. 

The Havlat brothers were unaware of just how unlucky Charles had been until half a century later, according to the Radio Praha article. "We actually didn't hear about this until about 1995 -- that he was the last killed -- until it was published in the VFW magazine," Adolph said.

Two recent books on the WWII experience document PFC Havlat's sacrifice for his nation. 
One book is entitled "Running Wire at the Front Lines."  

The other book is "Letters from a Soldier: 1941-1945." 
On this Veterans Day, we thought Times readers would be interested in both books, which detail PFC Havlat's last minutes as his unit unknowingly engaged in combat long after a cease-fire had been declared by both sides.
In 2008, the Dorchester American Legion, Post 264, asked the State of Nebraska and the roads department to name the small stretch of Highway 33 between Dorchester and Crete after PFC Havlat. The request was denied.
Thanks to the hard work and determination of Dorchester's American Legion Post No. 264  and the volunteers with the Dorchester Community Foundation, funds were raised to place a state historical marker on the grounds of the Saline County Museum in honor of PFC Havlat and his ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Saluting Dorchester's Legion Post No. 264

Today is Veterans Day and the Times wants to salute every veteran who has served our nation, in times of war and in peace.

We also want to pay tribute to Dorchester's August-Vanek American Legion Post #264, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary and Junior Auxiliary.

Many in our community may not realize that Dorchester's Legion Post is nearing its 95th anniversary.

Following World War I, the veterans of Dorchester wanted to join the American Legion, a national organization for U.S. veterans. State Department Adjutant Frank B. O'Connell of Lincoln presided 
at the May 24, 1920, meeting to organize a Legion Post in Dorchester. 

The following Dorchester men signed an application for a charter: Claude Kennedy, Frank Mares, William Sanburn, Joe Mateja, Casper Schuerhoff, Frank Grant, Tony Wolfe, Fred Littlefield. Russell Freidell, Frank Kozak, Russell Bruning, Vincent Rogers, Clark West, Cecil Ward, John Cerny, William Johnson, Nels Hansen,Walter Hartly, Albert Peterson, and Ray Ward. 

The charter was presented on August 1, 1920 and filed August 10. 1920. Dr. N.P. Hansen was the first Commander of the Post of the American Legion #264.  The name August was selected for the Post in honor of Ernest R. August who was killed in W.W.I. 

In those early years, the Dorchester Legion was housed in a few different locations.  In 1954, the Post bought a building from W.O. Howlett. This building was remodeled for the use of the Legion. the Auxiliary and also club facilities and dedicated on March 23. 1956. It is still the present Post. 

In January 1955 the Post added another nnme "Vanek" to their Post name honoring Emil Vanek killed in action in the Pacific theatre of action in W.W.II. 

Legion activities throughout the years have been a key part of community life in Dorchester.  Way back in 1922, there was a Model-T Ford raffle drawing.  In the 1930s and '40s, the Legion held home talent plays.  Legion members built a cabin for the Scouts on the Kenney farm in the '30s.  In 1933, lights and light poles were purchased and erected north of the elevator for all types of softball league games and tournaments.  By the 1950s and '60s, the Dorchester Legion was sponsoring representatives to attend Boys State -- and later on, Girls State. 

Many community activities have been and are sponsored by the Legion, and its Auxiliary, to serve veterans in need and in final rites for the deceased. 

Ninety-five years have proven that the stronger our American Legion Post, the stronger our community.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Milford Woman, 30, Dies From Injuries In Nov. 2 Crash

The Associated Press has reported that the Seward County Sheriff's Office says a woman and young mother of four has been taken off life support after being critically injured in a two-vehicle crash that killed another woman.

Deputies say 30-year-old Antoinette Hruby, of Milford, died Saturday after she wasn't able to recover from the Nov. 2 crash on U.S. Highway 6.  They say 45-year-old Kimberly Hawthorne, of Lincoln, crossed the center line and hit Hruby's van head-on.

Hawthorne died at the scene.

Hruby is survived by her four children.

Deputies are investigating the collision.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brrrrrr! Get Ready For Frigid Temps

Remember the polar vortex that hit last winter? It's back -- and it will open for arctic air to plunge over the most of the United States as the new week progresses.  That's according to

Today's high temperature in Dorchester is forecast to hit 65 degrees.  By mid-week, high temperatures won't be half that.

This week, the harshest cold air will encompass the northern Rockies and Plains. The arctic blast will drop into the northern Rockies on Monday, accompanied by a snowstorm on its leading edge, then will spread across the Northwest and Plains through Wednesday.

Many communities across the northern Rockies and Plains will experience a 20- to 40-degree drop in high temperatures from one day to the next.

In Dorchester, the cold will arrive sometime late Monday or early Tuesday, with Tuesday's high reaching 35 degrees.  We won't see high temperatures much beyond 30 degrees Wednesday and Thursday.

Next weekend won't be too much better, with highs in the upper 30s -- and chances of snow!

Enjoy today.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Polka Party Saturday Night! Be There.

Are you ready to party? To polka?

The Dorchester American Legion will host a polka dance featuring Lester’s Polka Band at 6 p.m. tomorrow night (Saturday) at the Legion Hall.

Donations will be accepted, and chicken or hamburger baskets will be available for sale. 

Proceeds will go to American Legion community projects.  So give generously!

And here's a little trivia for some of you with more curious minds: Polka originated as a Czech peasant dance. Historic folklore has it that a peasant girl named Anna Slezak invented the steps one day for her own amusement.  The word “pulka” is derived from the Czech phrase for “half-step,” which refers to the dance pattern of lightly stepping from one foot to the other.

DHS' V-Ball Coach Ty Praises Efforts Of Lady Longhorns

Even though the DHS volleyball team fell a bit short of a winning season this fall, Dorchester’s head coach has a lot of praise to go around.

The Lady Longhorns' season came to an end earlier this week with a loss to Class D-2 No. 3 Meridian in the opening match of Subdistrict D2-2 play.
Overall team growth and outstanding play from players like Jacee Weber, Bailey Velder, Kacey Zoubek, Jessica Kalkwarf and Avery Behrens was the reason Coach Ty Peteranetz felt good about DHS' 2014 campaign.  Peteranetz told the Friend Sentinel that even with an 8-21 record, he was very proud of how hard the girls worked to improve.

Peteranetz said: “They worked so hard in practice, and by the end of the season that was translating beautifully to the court. I’m always sad when the season comes to an end, but maybe more so this year than ever before."

He added: "What’s most exciting is that this is just a foundation for what these girls can do for years to come. The girls that have, so far, been here with me as the head coach have established the expectation that we’ll work to get better. This season established us as a team whose end of the year looks nothing like the beginning. We’re going to continue to work right until the last match.

"These girls are awesome!"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dorchester Vets Day Program & Supper, Nov. 11

The public is invited to honor our nation's veterans at the annual American Legion Veterans Day Program on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Dorchester School at 10 a.m.  

The guest speaker will be Rio Beranek, who serves in the Nebraska Air Guard.  The Junior Axiliary will also take part.

A soup, sandwich and dessert supper will be held at the Legion from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  This event is to honor our area veterans.  The supper will be a free-will donation event.

On another note, the District II "Americanism" speech contest will be held Nov. 15 at the Dorchester Legion Hall at 9 a.m.  Students can still take part if they would like to show their patriotism.  

The speech topic is on the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote nearly 100 years ago.  Grades 6-8 can read their speech, while grades 9-12 are asked to memorize their presentations.  Call Bob Kasl at (402) 946-6851 for more.  Monetary awards and participation prizes will be given.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Girls Coach Needed For Dorchester Youth Basketball

The Dorchester youth basketball program is in need of a head girls coach for grades 3-4.

According to our sources, there are several parents who are willing to help, but a head coach is needed -- someone who understands the fundamentals of the game.

If you are interested, please call Brent Zoubek at the school at (402) 946-2781.

Meanwhile, coaches are in place for the 2nd-3rd grad boys team, the 4th-6th grade boys team, and the 5th-6th grade girls team.  

All three squads will be starting their practices this month.

Limestone Houses Still Stand South Of Dorchester

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

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

Fortunately for us, more than 130 years after their construction, some of these homes still stand, allowing the residents of the 21st century to take a step back in time.

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

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

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

The Sukraw house, Brown house, Pisar house and barn, Freude house and See house were prime examples of this early architecture.  They were as practical as they were sturdy.

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

We encourage Times readers to explore the living history and heritage of their home area. But please respect the rights of private property owners and do not set foot on these properties without permission.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

UPDATE: 2014 Election Results

It's Election Day in Nebraska and across America.  Here in Saline County, polling sites closed at 8 p.m. 

We believe it's important that local communication sources -- not just the national press corps -- report the results.  After all, elections do impact you, your community, your children and your pocketbook.

Here are the results from races that were on our ballot in Dorchester (last updated Nov. 5, 9:45 a.m.):
  • U.S. Senate -- WINNER: Republican Ben Sasse (65%-31%)
  • Governor -- WINNER: Republican Pete Ricketts (58%-39%)
  • U.S. House -- WINNER: Republican Adrian Smith (75%-25%)
  • Nebraska Legislature -- WINNER: Laura Ebke (51%-49%)
  • Attorney General -- WINNER: Republican Doug Peterson (67%-33%)
  • State Auditor -- WINNER: Republican Charlie Janssen (60%-40%)
  • Saline County Offices -- WINNERS: Alan Moore (Sheriff), Deb Spanyers (Treasurer)
  • Dorchester Village Board -- WINNERS: L.J. Barley, Dean Pracheil, Todd Jensen
  • Dorchester School Board -- WINNERS: Matt Hansen, Steve Vyhnalek, Carol Schnell
  • NRD -- WINNERS: Jason Pohlman (57%-43%). Larry Barta (52%-48%).
  • NU Board of Regents: WINNER: Rob Schafer (53%-47%).

Undefeated Friend Football Team Gets Noticed

Tomorrow's Lincoln Journal Star will run a feature story on the next-door Friend High School football team, which is 9-0 and is heading into the second round of the Class D-1 State Playoffs.

See the story here.

The Class D-1 fifth-ranked Bulldogs will take on Diller-Odell at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Journal Star's story features Zemua Baptista, who leads the undefeated Bulldogs with 1,321 yards rushing after going for 201 yards and four touchdowns last week. 

Baptista said the close-knit nature of team makes the hard work seem easier. "It's really upbeat. Every day going to practice, it isn't like a chore. It's like hanging out with our friends," he said. "There's a lot of trust. The kid to the left of me isn't going to do anything I wouldn't be willing to do for him. I'm ready to fight for them."

Saline County Democrats Suffer 20% Voter Decline Since 2004

Since it's Election Day, the Times wanted to take a look at local politics.

For decades, Saline County has been considered one of a handful of Nebraska counties that is heavily Democrat in its politics. 

Ballots in Saline County today showcased seven county-level elected positions -- and all featured a Democrat who was running unopposed.  But Saline County politicians may want to note the dramatic shift that has occurred in the county's political registration.

New analysis by the Dorchester Times, using official information from the State of Nebraska, shows Democrats in Saline County have suffered a 20% decline in the number of registered voters in just 10 years. 

While Democrats currently hold a five percent advantage in Saline County's registered voters (43.5% to 38.1%) over Republicans, that margin is the smallest it has been since the Depression Era.

In 2004, Saline County had 4,286 registered Democrats and 3,177 registered Republicans.  As of today -- Nov. 4, 2014 -- there are 3,437 registered Democrats in Saline County.  All together, there are 7,898 registered voters in the county.

This is troubling news for Democratic partisans since the party has seen a steady decline in Saline County voters over the last decade.  In 2008, when President Obama was elected, there were 3,942 registered Democrats; by 2012, there were 3,576.

Republican voters have mostly held steady since 2004 -- with 3,006 in 2008, 2,975 in 2012, and 3,010 in 2014.

Meanwhile, registered non-partisan voters have seen a bit of an increase, from 1,164 in 2004 to 1,421 in 2014.  There are also currently 30 registered Libertarians in Saline County. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

DHS Volleyball Team's Season Ends

The DHS Lady Longhorns have seen their 2014 volleyball campaign come to an end.

Dorchester fell at Friend in Monday night's Class D-2 Subdistrict tournament to top-seeded Meridian. The state's No. 3 Mustangs (21-6) went 13-2 in October and could be one of the state's hottest teams, regardless of class size.

The Lady Longhorns finish the season 8-21.  

Dorchester saw 19 players donning the orange and black this year -- girls who chose to compete and represent their school.

Most of this year's starters will return next season.  With talent in the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes, combined with more talent coming through the pipeline from the 8th grade, it appears DHS will field a very competitive volleyball team in 2015.

This Week: Planning Commission Meeting, Polka Dance

For those who like to stay active in their community, there are certainly plenty of opportunities on the Dorchester calendar for early November.  Among the upcoming events are:

* Dorchester Planning Commission Meeting: On Wednesday, Nov. 5, the Dorchester Planning Commission will meet at the Dorchester City Hall.  This commission is charged with guiding village efforts to grow and improve quality of life.  Bring your ideas, concerns and opinions on what can be done to move Dorchester forward and better our village.  Commission member Penny Keller has informed us via Facebook this meeting will deal with zoning issues, but that the public is still encouraged to attend.

* Legion Polka Dance: Remember those old polka dances that grandpa and grandma used to attend? They're back for all generations to enjoy.  On Saturday evening, Nov. 8, the Dorchester American Legion will open its doors at 6 p.m. for a old fashioned polka dance.  The dance itself begins at 7 p.m.

Know of other events you'd like area residents to be aware of? Let the Dorchester Times know by sending details to

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Friend's Pour House Listed For Sale

The Dorchester Times has learned that the Pour House -- a popular eatery and winery in Friend -- has been listed for sale.  

According to well-placed sources, the business is under contract with The Firm Business Brokerage in Omaha and will remain open for business,  providing food, drinks and service through the end on December.  

Unfortunately, if the current owners do not find a buyer by Dec. 31, the Pour House will close permanently.  But until that time it's business as usual. The current owner has confirmed via e-mail that she will be entering another line of business in 2015. 

More than four years ago, the Dorchester Times ran a story on the Pour House, one of of Saline County's most unique businesses.  Opened by Carey Potter, who has strong ties to Dorchester, the Pour House is under the historic Warren Opera House. Potter's family farm is near Dorchester. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

MHS-DHS Falls In First-Round Of Class C-1 Playoffs

On a cold Halloween night, the Milford-Dorchester football team fell in the first round of
the Class C-1 Playoffs to No. 1 ranked Boone Central/Newman Grove by a final score of 48-7.  The game was played in Albion, often referred to as the "gateway to the Sandhills."  

The combined MHS-DHS team came out ready to play, but just couldn't compete with the speed and power of the Boone Central squad, which held a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime.  

MHS-DHS wouldn't score until the fourth quarter.  Boone Central/Newman Grove was lead by the arm of quarterback Wyatt Mazour, who threw three touchdown passes in the first half and rushed for another.

Milford-Dorchester finished 6-4 in its first season of merged varsity competition. The players and coaches should be proud that they qualified for the playoffs in Class C-1, which offers a high level of competition in Nebraska high school football.  

Our Picks For Tuesday's Local Elections

Only three more days until Election Day. For most of us, that can't come too soon -- unless you enjoy the political advertising, campaign promises, yard signs and bumper stickers. 

In the Dorchester area, we have a few races of our own that will be decided on Tuesday, including important races for Dorchester School Board and the Village Board.

While we have promised not to make a practice of getting into the endorsement business, we  believe there is a need for some public discourse when it comes to who is on the ballot, who will best represent us, and who will most wisely spend our tax dollars. 

Here is who the Dorchester Times is recommending for our local representative bodies:

Dorchester School Board
Matthew W. Hansen 
Steve Vyhnalek
Carol Schnell 

Dorchester Village Board
Dean Prachiel
Todd Jensen
LJ Barley

The individuals who have filed for Dorchester School Board seats are all incumbents.  We feel these representatives have done a good job balancing the needs of the Dorchester school district, while looking out for the pocketbooks of the district's taxpayers.  We also believe all three are committed to ensuring Dorchester academics remain top notch.

In the village board race, Prachiel and Jensen are incumbents seeking re-election, while Barley is a challenger seeking to fill a vacancy left by retiring board member Joyce Karl.  We feel the mix of board experience, knowledge of current issues and Barley's role as a small business owner on Dorchester's main street will serve the voters of Dorchester well.

In the race for Legislature, we have endorsed Laura Ebke based on her conservative approach to state government.

Be sure to vote on Tuesday! Every vote counts.

Friday, October 31, 2014

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

All this Halloween week, the Dorchester Times has aired the scariest five episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone." Tonight, Halloween night, we've saved the scariest for last.

We've selected these five episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because, thanks to one of our more senior staff members -- who actually remembers when CBS aired this imaginative series -- we've found these 30-minute programs to be wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

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

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

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

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

All this Halloween week, the Dorchester Times is airing the scariest five episodes of the classic TV show, "The Twilight Zone."  

We won't be sharing these with our Facebook followers!

We've selected these five episodes of "The Twilight Zone" because, thanks to one of our more senior staff members -- who actually remembers when CBS aired this series -- we've found these 30-minute programs to be wildly creative, spine-tingling tense and yet family friendly.  Imagination and solid story lines carry these shows, whose quality far surpass any of the "scary shows" produced today.

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

"Talky Tina" is a gift from a mother to her daughter Christie. It can talk, saying things like "I'm Talky Tina and I love you very much."   But Tina's petty, bitter and mean stepfather Erik (Telly Savalas) thinks it talks too much, and is resentful of its presence.  In his efforts to get rid of the doll, he gets more than he bargained for.

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