Friday, April 24, 2015

Please Attend Fourth Of July Committee Meeting May 6

Dorchester has one of the best July Fourth celebrations in southeast Nebraska. 

It's an annual tradition that draws folks from near and far, including alumni and friends and family from across the country.

The planning process for this year's Independence Day is taking place right now -- and your help is requested. 

Another meeting of the Dorchester Fourth of July Committee will be held Wednesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. at the Community Hall.  

The committee is searching hard for volunteers.  

Please offer to lend a hand.  The town's celebration will only be as good as its volunteers. 

Also, bring your ideas. 

Help make this year's July Fourth celebration in Dorchester the best one yet.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dorchester Native Mildred Freeouf Brodt, 96, To Speak In Omaha

As we've reported recently, Dorchester has a unique place in the annuls of World War II due to the service and sacrifice of many area men in that tragic event of the early and mid-1940s.  The most notable, of course, is the death of Private Charley Havlat, the last confirmed U.S. battlefield casualty in the European Theater.

Now, Dorchester's WWII history becomes even more distinguished.

A Dorchester native who served in the Women’s Army Corps in the Pacific during World War II will give a free public lecture later today at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Mildred Freeouf Brodt, 96, grew up in Dorchester.  She enlisted in 1943 and served in New Guinea and the Philippines during the war. 

She was on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff during the postwar occupation of Japan.

Brodt attended the Japanese war crimes tribunal and was among the first Americans to view the destruction from the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

She graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln after the war and today lives in Fairmont, Minnesota.

Brodt’s talk, hosted by the UNO history department, will be at 1 p.m. today in Room 201 of the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. 

Dorchester area residents are encouraged to attend, if possible.

DHS' Corey Bird Ranked Among State's Best High Jumpers

Dorchester High School's Corey Bird is currently in the state's top 10 rankings for the 2015 high jump competition.

The DHS senior is currently ranked tenth in Nebraska, regardless of class size, with his season and career best jump of 6-4¼.  What's more notable is that Bird is just 3/4 of an inch away from being tied for fifth place.

Here are the all-class standings for boys' high jump as of yesterday, April 22:

Meyer, Diller-Odell ... 6-9
Heitkamp, Syracuse ... 6-9
Zitterkopf, Lexington ... 6-6
Nelson, O. North ... 6-6
Searle, Waverly ... 6-5
Wagner, Seward ... 6-5
Dukes, Plattsmouth ... 6-5
Dempsey, Millard South ... 6-5
Fowler, McPherson Co. ... 6-5
Bird, Dorchester ... 6-4¼

Bird has tied the DHS boys' high jump record, matching the school's longtime best mark set by Lenny Gish in the late 1980s.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Take Part In Dorchester's Recycling Program

Think about this: We Americans generate about 250 million tons of trash every year.

On average, each of us generates about 4.4 pounds of trash every day.

That means our small community of Dorchester produces more than 2,700 pounds of trash every 24 hours. 

That's nearly one million pounds over the year!

You can be part of the solution by recycling. And the Village of Dorchester makes it easier to do.

For those who aren't yet taking advantage of Dorchester's recycling program, visit the recycling bin, which has been moved south of the city park.

Bring your glass, plastics and newspapers every week.  Set recycling goals with your family.  

Just be sure to separate your trash from your recyclables -- and make sure what you're dropping off is indeed recyclable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Swan City: Saline County's First County Seat

Swan City, Saline County's first community.

We at the Times are proud of Saline County's rich history.  We enjoy exploring the history of not only our community, but also the communities that surround us -- and the communities that are no more.

Nearly 150 years ago, on February 17, 1866, the Saline County Board held its very first meeting at Swan City -- a town that lost the county seat to Pleasant Hill in 1871 and disappeared completely two decades later.

According to the Nebraska Historical Society, Swan City, which was located a few miles west of present-day DeWitt, was the first town and county seat in Saline County. 

Situated in the fork of Turkey Creek and Swan Creek, from which it took its name, Swan City held prominence for only a few years. But it did have its share of businesses, including a general store and a sawmill, both built around 1865. Soon after, the "thriving business" center added a hotel and another store. 

The O'Connor Circus spent a few winters in Swan City, according to our research.

Over its short life, Swan City grew to approximately 200 residents.  

But in 1871 -- just five years after the town's formation -- the county seat was moved from Swan City to Pleasant Hill.  

That same year, the railroad was built about three miles from Swan City. Since most early Nebraska settlers wanted to be near the railroad, most residents moved to either DeWitt or Wilber or Pleasant Hill, signaling the death of Saline County's first town.

Swan City's flour mil continued to operate until it burned down in 1891 -- the year when Swan City officially joined the ranks of Nebraska's ghost towns.  

Today, nearly 150 years since its founding, a state historical marker alongside Highway 103 designates the approximate location of the community.

Swan City: Gone but not forgotten.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Alan Kaspar Passes April 16 In Pleasant Hill

Alan B. Kaspar, of Wenden, Ariz., formerly of Dorchester, passed quietly on April 16, 2015 at his former residence in Pleasant Hill. 

Born January 31, 1940 to Bernard and Helen (Cerny) Kaspar on a rural farm south of Dorchester. 

He was an avid motorcyclist.

In his youth, Alan was a member of DHS' Class of 1957.  He lettered and started in football and basketball and track, and served as his class' vice president for four years.

Survivors: brother, Larry Kaspar of Dorchester; sister, Jane Swanson (Dale) of Emerald; daughters, Shari Lewis, Penny, Kim Kaspar; and son, Joseph (Deana) Kaspar. Grandchildren: Adella and family; Amy and family; Joseph D., Kolton, Ross, and Devon. Great grandchildren; nieces and nephews; many other family and friends.

Celebration of life is 3 p.m. Sunday, April 19, at the Dorchester Community Building. Memorials in care of the family.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Roger Beranek Passes At 74; Memorial Service Is Saturday

A memorial service for Roger Dean Beranek of Dorchester will be held at 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 18, at the Dorchester United Methodist Church with Aseracare hospice chaplain, Shari Lagemann officiating. Burial of ashes will be in the Dorchester Cemetery. 

There will be visitation tonight, Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. with family greeting relatives and friends from 6-8 p.m. at Lauber-Moore Funeral Home, Friend. Memorials are directed in care of the family for later designation.

Roger Beranek was born February 20, 1941 in Friend to Libby Sally (Bruha) and Benjamin F. Beranek.  He passed away this past Wednesday, April 15, at the Friend Manor at the age of 74 years 1 month and 26 days. He attended school in Dorchester and graduated with the Class of 1959. On March 30, 1974, in Crete at the Grace United Methodist Church, Roger married the great love of his life, Janie Annetta DeWitt and to this union seven children were united: Debbie, Diane, Brenda, Kevin, Donna, Dan and Kenny.

Together they made their home in Dorchester. Roger was employed at Crete Mills as a corn miller for 42 years, retiring in 2006. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and Arbor Foundation. Roger served his community for several years as Volunteer Fireman. In his spare time, he enjoyed gardening, hunting, fishing and trapping and sharing the outdoors and his garden produce with family and friends. He was also a member of the Brewcrew tank racing team for 7 years that regularly competed in the Polar Bear tank racing from Mullen to Thedford on the Loup River.

Roger took pride in the accomplishments of all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Roger also enjoyed polishing rocks and always asked his family to bring back rocks from wherever they went. He enjoyed his many “AG Tours” with family and friends.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Janie of Dorchester, children and spouses, Debbie and Brad Sharp, Park Rapids, MN, Diane and Bill Velder, Dorchester, Brenda and Tim Fisher, Longmont, CO, Kevin and Tracy Beranek, Milford, Donna and Dave Parks, Dorchester, Dan and Kelley Burianek, Pleasant Dale, 19 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, sister and brothers-in-law, Pat and Andy Jacox, Garland, Ron Blecha, Minden, brothers and sisters-in-law, David Beranek, Long Beach CA, Don and Sue Beranek, Snohomish, WA, Dan Beranek, Apache Jct., AZ, Arlene Beranek, Springfield, OR, many nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Roger was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Kenny Beranek in 1991, grandson, Charles David Parks, brother, Benjamin F., sisters, Shirley Johnson and Ramona Blecha.

Online sympathy notes may be left here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

DHS Spring Play Is Friday and Sunday

UPDATE: Please note the Sunday time change below.

Get ready for a merry mix of mayhem, melody and mania to hit the Dorchester Public School stage this coming weekend.

This spring's school play is "Lucky Dollar Private Eye" and it features a star-studded cast of Dorchester's finest acting talent.

The show will be featured twice this weekend: Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m.  (We're told that the Dorchester Jr. High awards for drama, speech and thespian awards will be presented starting at 6:30 p.m. prior to the Friday performance.)

"Lucky Dollar Private Eye" is a musical about Los Angeles’ favorite gumshoe searching for the deadly "Pearl of Persia" and battling his old foes.  It’s a tough job, but it has its up-side -- the "dames," who find him irresistible.  

Suitable for all groups, this is a real crowd-pleaser. 

All the public is invited to see if Lucky can crack the case.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Governor Coming To Dorchester To Honor Private Havlat

The Dorchester Times has learned that on Thursday, May 7, at 9:15 a.m., Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will visit Dorchester to memorialize the life and death of Private First Class Charley Havlat, the last American G.I. killed in action in World War II's European Theater, as well as to mark the 70th anniversary to the conclusion of WWII in Europe.

If you don't know the story of PFC Havlat, a Dorchester native, his tragic end seven decades ago represents the sacrifices made by an entire generation.  His story needs to be remembered and retold.


Like thousands of other American men in the 1940s, Charles Havlat of Dorchester was sent overseas during WWII. Also like many others, PFC Havlat never made it back home, having made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

But what makes PFC Havlat's story especially unique is that he is officially the last American soldier killed in action in the European Theater, after taking a bullet in the head while on patrol in southern Bohemia.  He was shot by Nazi soldiers who were unaware that a ceasefire had been declared. 

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 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."  

(Adolph Havlat plans to be at the May 7 ceremony with the governor, we are told.)

PFC Havlat's fellow soldiers returned fire until the Germans' radio operator received word nine minutes 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 about six hours earlier 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.

PFC Havlat is buried at the Saint Avold World War II Veteran's Cemetery near Metz, France. A military club in the Czech city of Plzen paid for a memorial plaque to be placed at the spot where he was killed. 


For years, Adolph waged an unsuccessful campaign to get part of Highway 33, which his brother traveled often as a trucker, recognized as "The Charles Havlat Memorial Highway."  

In 2008, the Dorchester American Legion, Post 264, made at least three requests to the State of Nebraska and the Department of Roads to name the small stretch of Highway 33 between Dorchester and Crete after PFC Havlat, but the request was denied. 

So in 2010, the Dorchester Area Community Foundation along with the Dorchester Legion raised more than $5,000 for a state historical marker to pay tribute to PFC Havlat and his ultimate sacrifice.

The historical marker is located on the grounds of the Saline County Museum, just off the highway that Charley Havlat traveled so often before he wore the uniform of his nation.

Crete Store Owner Headed To Jail For Food Stamp Fraud

It's Tax Day.  Most likely, you've paid your fair share of income taxes to Uncle Same and the state.  So we couldn't help passing along this morsel.

The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that a Crete store owner, along with a Lincoln man, received probation and jail time Wednesday for buying food stamp card numbers from homeless people, giving them 50 cents on the dollar.

Juan Garivay, 48, bought the card numbers from people at the Lincoln City Mission, then gave them to Jose Banos, 40, the owner of Crete's Super Latina Store, who manually entered them in his credit card machine for hundreds of dollars of grocery purchases that never happened, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

The two split the money.

In February, they pleaded no contest to felony theft charges, setting up sentencing Wednesday.  With good time, they will have to serve a little more than three months in jail. That's it -- and 18 months probation.

No word on whether the two are in the county legally.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Government (taxpayers) spent $74.1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to give 46.5 million Americans food stamps -- including guys like Garivay and Banos.

Happy Tax Day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Saline County Museum Preserves Area's Rich History

UPDATE:  We have received notification that the Saline County Museum has opened for the season.  All individuals and families are strongly encouraged to visit and get in touch with this area's unique and special history.

In the 1950's, Dorchester's own Rosa Dusanek had a dream of building a Saline County museum to house the history of our area's people. 

By 1957, the Saline County Historical Society was established.  In 1960, the Saline County commissioners gave the society a one-tenth mill levy.

The museum's first building -- the teal colored structure you see from Hwy. 33 -- was built in 1964. Today, in 2014, there are eleven buildings.

The Chapel contains “In Loving Memory” funeral displays, an altar and wedding dresses and suits. A nearby memorial pays tribute to Dorchester's Charlie Havat, the last American killed in WWII's European Theater.

The Memorial Building has an 1800’s bedroom, a parlor and a kitchen. There is a textile room, dentist office, doctor’s office and a beauty shop.

There is a section for all organizations of Saline County. The Museum will take organizational minutes and scrapbooks from disbanded organizations.

The Weidner Building which houses the fire truck, wagons, photography, and electrical displays.

The Machinery Building has implements from the past centuries.

The Voting Building is original. This building was only used for voting.

The Buckingham School is a one room country school from 1871. It is a building where present day children can go to school to see how their great grandparents were educated.

The Burden Home belonged to the first black homesteader in Saline County. Seven children were born and raised in this two room home, dated 1868.

The Cizek log cabin, dated 1866, is in a building, along with a large collection of barbed wire.

The Dorchester Depot Building houses fascinating railroad memorabilia.

And the Plato Post Office building is a traveling post office -- a tiny building that moved from farm to farm.

The Saline County Museum is operated strictly by volunteers. The Saline County Historical Society Board consists of ten individuals that meet quarterly.

There is no admission fee, although donations are welcome.

The Saline County Museum is now open for the season -- Sunday afternoons from 2-5 p.m.  

Museum contacts are: 
Judy - (402) 243-2356 
Mary Anne - (402) 448-5265

The museum volunteers tell the Times that they are working on new displays.  If you haven't been to the museum in a few years, you really need to stop by and seen the many changes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sources: Bowling Alley Plans Still On Track

Last year, this blog reported that Dorchester's City Slickers and its owner had a strong interest in establishing a new Dorchester bowling alley, especially after feedback given to Dorchester's new planning commission and community task force.

While there has been no immediate development, likely due to the current renovation and expansion of City Slickers, we are told the plan for a bowling alley is still in place.

To bring readers up-to-date, our sources say initial plans would place a Dorchester bowling alley in the two buildings north of City Slickers Bar and Grill (one of those buildings is blighted and vacant residential space).

The interested parties last year discussed the matter with the Dorchester Village Board and other leaders.

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

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


Monday, April 6, 2015

Source: Bakery/Cafe Still Plans To Open On Main Street

Last summer, this blog reported that a new cafe and/or bakery would soon make its way to Dorchester's main street.

Eight months later, there's still no sign of such a business.  However, we are told that that plans are still in place for the bakery to open around the Thanksgiving or Christmas season.

As the Times reported in July, the individuals who plan to open the bakery/cafe wanted to occupy the building that was most recently the Dorchester Hardware Store and the additional space in Dorchester Grocery.  Older residents will remember the site as the former location of the West Side Cafe and Rec Room.  We do not know if that original plan is still in place, or if another vacant location is being sought.

The proprietors, who have strong Dorchester ties, will need a unique spin on their operations, good marketing, as well as strong support by the community and area residents.

Community members we spoke with last summer were elated by the news and anxious to see the cafe open.  

In a 2010 Times survey, readers said that a "cafe with a bakery" was one of the most needed businesses in Dorchester.  In fact, a cafe commanded the second highest number of votes, behind only a convenience store.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Your Help Needed For This Year's July 4th Celebration

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

Now you can be a part of the planning process and help make this year's Independence Day celebration the best one yet. 

At 7 p.m. this Tuesday (tomorrow), April 7, at the Community Hall, the Dorchester Fourth of July Committee will hold a public meeting to begin planning this year's July Fourth celebration.

Bring your ideas. Offer to lend a hand.  

Whether you're a DHS student, a parent, or a senior citizen, your input and help is needed for our town's Independence Day extravaganza. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt At Nerud Field This Saturday

Hey, kids! The Easter Bunny is planning to drop in on Dorchester.

The Dorchester community Easter egg hunt will take place this Saturday, April 4. The event will begin at 2 p.m. at the high school football field.

The hunt is sponsored by the DVFD and the Dorchester American Legion Post 264.

The Times wishes our readers a happy Easter. 

May you and your families enjoy the holiday together, as you remember the many the blessings bestowed upon our little corner of Nebraska and our country. 

“He has risen!”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

UPDATED: Severe Weather Threatens Tonight

Radar at 10:15 p.m. on April 1, 2015.

(UPDATED: Keep alert by watching the area radar right here. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued until 1 a.m.)

It appears the first severe thunderstorm of 2015 will make its way to our neck of the Plains today, the first day of April.

According to the complex computer models, it appears thunderstorms could hit the Dorchester area around 8 p.m.  

Chances for severe storms will remain until at least 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Please make note: These thunderstorms could bring hail and damaging winds. 

Today's high temperature is expected to be 85 degrees in Dorchester, with a low temperature of 46.

More seasonable temperatures will return tomorrow, April 2.  

For Dorchester and Saline County's complete 10-day forecast, click here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NEWS ROUND-UP: Spring Elementary Concert Tonight

Here's a look at some of Dorchester's news this last day of March:
  • Make-A-Wish Auction and Spring Concert Tonight: Tonight (March 31) is the Dorchester Elementary School spring concert -- a favorite of parents and grandparents.  During the concert, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Dorchester Student Council will hold its Make-A-Wish silent auction.  Bidding will close 15 minutes after the concert has concluded.  Be generous, since all proceed will go to the Nebraska Make-A-Wish program, which enriches the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work.
  • Baseball/Softball Fees Due Today:  We are told that the deadline for turning in money for Dorchester's youth baseball and softball player fees is today, March 31.  Please turn checks or cash into the Dorchester School office.  Cost for softball is $40 ($25 for jersey, $15 for league fee).  Cost for baseball is $55 ($25 for jersey, $15 for hat, $15 for league fee).  Players who have jerseys and hats from last year need to pay only $15 if the jerseys still fit.  There will be a brief parents meeting April 16 at 7 p.m.  That is when schedules will be distributed and practice plans will be announced.
  • Yearbooks On Sale:  Dorchester School yearbooks go on sale for $40 beginning tomorrow, April 1, through April 15.  After April 15, the price goes up, so order early.  An extra $3 will get you your name engraved on the front cover.  See the school yearbook staff for more details.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 DHS Alumni Golf Tournament Set For May 30

DHS alumni will soon be gathering for the school's second annual alumni golf outing.

According to school officials, the event is aimed at drawing a wide range of DHS alumni -- from ages 18 to 98. Last year's event was a success, drawing many alums from near and far.

The 2015 DHS Alumni Golf Tournament will be Saturday, May 30 at the Friend Country Club in Friend.

The event will be a four-man scramble tournament.  Check-ins will be 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  Shotgun starts will be 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Cost is $50 per player, or $65 per player with a t-shirt.  $200 for four-person teams.  Players must be a DHS alum.  Checks should be made payable to Dorchester Public School.  Price includes 18 holes of golf, cart and pin prizes.

Captains of each four-man team should contact Activities Director Brent Zoubek at: or call (402) 946-2781.  

Deadline to register and submit payment is May 15.

Bird, Nerud Named To All-State Rolls For Basketball

Dorchester High School's Corey Bird and Nixon Nerud have been named all-state honorable mention by the Lincoln Journal Star.

The DHS seniors were named to the Class D-2 basketball honor roll due to their performance and productivity in the 2014-15 season.  The Longhorns compiled 10 wins and 12 losses in their most recent campaign.

Milford, Crete, Friend, Exeter-Milligan, and Wilber-Clatonia all have players named to the honorable mention list, also.

Friday, March 27, 2015

OUR VIEW: Dorchester Public School Has Much To Celebrate

In a day and age when the mainstream media concentrate on the negative events shaping our world, we are choosing today to spotlight the positive taking place in our little corner. 

The students and faculty of Dorchester Public Schools just held their third-quarter Excellence Rally -- a tradition started in recent years to celebrate the many accomplishments that take place inside the classrooms at Dorchester Public Schools.

Without a doubt, Dorchester and its school have plenty to celebrate right now.  

Just last month, we reported that the latest results from the Nebraska Performance Accountability System (NePAS) tests show the following:
  • 84 % of Dorchester students met or exceed state standards for reading; 
  • 76 % met or exceeded state standards for math; and 
  • 74 % met or exceeded state standards for science.
Moreover, the statewide test results show Dorchester's "prime time learners" -- 5th through 8th graders -- outperforming their peers in neighboring school districts in almost every academic area.  

So go ahead, Dorchester students and faculty -- celebrate! Take some time to appreciate your hard work.

You've earned it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Show Your Hometown Pride; Give To The Dorchester Foundation Today

Several years ago, a few energetic, forward-looking residents of our community thought Dorchester could use a little boost.  They established a non-profit affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation -- and ever since, the Dorchester Community Foundation has been a force for positive change.  

Today, we are asking readers to donate to the Foundation -- to give back to the community that has provided so many great memories and a great way of life.

The Dorchester Community Foundation has been instrumental in various projects since 2007.  These include:
  • The city park's new playground equipment and picnic shelter; 
  • Annual scholarships; 
  • The Charlie Havlat Memorial at the Saline County Museum; 
  • The new welcome sign along Highway 33.
  • The new "welcome banners" on the light poles in town.
Today, we are asking Times readers -- whether you are an area resident, Dorchester alumni, or just a friend of the community -- to make a pledge to the Dorchester Community Foundation so it may continue to make needed improvements throughout our village.

Contributions to the Foundation are deductible for income and estate tax purposes.  

Whether it's a donation of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, your generosity will help keep momentum going in Dorchester.

Click here to donate to Dorchester online.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Amazing Storm-Chasing Vehicle Coming To Saline Center

A 10,000-pound storm-chasing vehicle from the Iowa Storm Chasing Network and the story of the 2014 Pilger, Neb. twin tornadoes will highlight this year's regional severe weather seminar on March 28 at the Saline Center Hall, south of Dorchester.

This is according to a story by the Lincoln Journal Star.

The storm-chasing vehicle, nicknamed "Dorothy," started as a 2013 Ford E350 van and was modified with three-quarter-inch polycarbonate windows and double-walled, 14- and 6-gauge steel to protect occupants and equipment from storm debris.

“Chasing and Covering the Pilger Twin Tornadoes: An Insider’s Perspective” will be presented by the Iowa Storm Chasing Network.

Michael Moritz, a National Weather Service meteorologist from Hastings, will give the spotter training session. And Ken Dewey, professor of applied climate science at the UNL School of Natural Resources, will present “Tornadoes 2014: A Review of Nebraska and U.S. Severe Weather.”

Saline County Emergency Management, in cooperation with the weather service and other local businesses, is sponsoring the free event. NOAA all-hazards radios, rain gauges, gift cards and other weather-related items will be among the door prizes.

Saline Center Hall is 3 miles west and 9 miles south of Dorchester.

DHS Alumni Tourney Wrap-Up Report

The 21st annual Dorchester High School alumni basketball tournament was held March 20-22, 2015.

According to an e-mail sent to the Times, eight teams participated in this year's tournament with nearly 70 players hitting the DHS basketball court.

Each team played four games over three days, which makes us tired just thinking about.

The tournament was won 48-37 by Gene Slama's team, which included the following players: Gene Slama ('65), Mike Feeken ('96), Eric Feeken ('79), Chris Kirkpatrick ('96), Brent Zoubek ('95), Jamie Karl ('92) and Shawn Hostetler ('97). According to the e-mail we received, this team, with the help of Mike Nohavec ('93) and Cory Rains ('96) and Rick Gish ('92), has appeared in 14 championship games over the 21 years and won five of them.

We would like to make an editorial comment here: Readers will note that Gene Slama graduated 50 years ago this May. For those who use age for an excuse, you just ran out of excuses. Congratulations, Gene.  You inspire all of us who remember those fabulous years of DHS sports. (Slama averaged 25 points per game in the 1964-65 season, according to the 1965 DHS yearbook.)

The second-place team was comprised of Jason Elledge ('99), Jason Denker ('00), Brian Bergmeyer ('98), Craig Bergmeyer ('01), Brett Boller ('05), Chris Woerner ('98), Shane Schweitzer ('99), Andy Nichols ('98) and Abe Springer ('01).

The third-place team won in overtime.  It was comprised of the following DHS alums: Brandon Bruha ('09), Kyle Palky ('11), Brandon Zoubek ('10), Matt Carroll ('07), Alex Walton ('10), Bruce Zoubek ('91), Jason Sherman ('08) and Spencer Kotas ('10).

The fourth-place team included the following: Drew Denker ('03), Ross Havlat ('02), Brian Havlat ('03), Jake Bleach ('03), John Havlat ('05), Jeff Weber ('03), Adam Holly ('03), Kelly Vyhnalek ('89), Malinda Havlat ('11) and Lee Stutzman ('02).

We would like to congratulate all those who took the time to support DHS and Dorchester this past weekend.

The Times will publish information on the upcoming alumni golf tournament as it becomes available.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Report: Generous Donation To Dorchester Legion In Honor Of Arnold Bobolz

The Dorchester Times has been informed that a sizable donation will be made to the Dorchester American Legion Post 264 in memory of former Dorchester resident Arnold G. Bobolz, who passed away in late 2010. 

Mr. Bobolz served in the United States Army during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and four Bronze Stars. He was a member of the Dorchester American Legion and served as a district chaplain.  

Mr. Bobolz was also a long-time member of the United Methodist Church in Dorchester and was active in the church choir.  He and his wife Jean had four children who attended DHS.

In other news related to the Dorchester American Legion, we've received two e-mails asking us to alert readers that the first annual Dorchester Legion Firearms Auction has been tentatively set for the July 4 holiday as part of the community's Independence Day activities.

We are told that the fundraising idea resonated most among Legion members at a February meeting discussing the future of the Legion Hall in Dorchester.  Dorchester auctioneer Col. Darryl Novak of Novak Auction Service volunteered his services for the event, our sources said.

Our source wrote: "Anyone who has guns or rifles (or equipment related to firearms and/or hunting and/or gun collecting) will be able to sell their items at this auction on Labor Day weekend at the Dorchester Legion.  The Legion will keep a small percentage of the winning bid to help fund its activities and clubhouse."

In the meantime, if there are Dorchester residents, alumni, or friends of the Dorchester Legion who would like to donate funds to the organization, we're told they should contact Tom Cerny, Post 264 Commander, by phoning (402) 381-8049 or e-mailing


MVPs Named For Dorchester's Alumni Basketball Weekend

Following one of Dorchester's biggest weekends of the year -- and after the dust settled from the DHS alumni basketball tournament -- we asked key community members to give us their nominations for Most Valuable People (MVPs) who played a vital role in the weekend's activities in Dorchester.  

Here is the list of Dorchester MVP nomination responses we received:
  • The 21st annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament featured nearly 70 DHS alumni who braved some furious action on the court.  All those who were willing to play deserve to be named MVP, along with the Dorchester students who worked the score table and scoreboard over three days.  Also all the family and friends who watched the games deserve a "shout-out."
  • The DHS Athletic Department made some good money from the alumni tournament, and the word is the money will go for scoreboards in practice gym so it can be used for tournaments.  Not only did player and audience entrance fees help generate much-needed funds, but several sponsors made the tournament possible.  These sponsors were: Runza, Heath's Sporting Goods, Holly Well Drilling, First State Bank in Dorchester, Stutzman Digging, The Well, Novak Auction Service, Farmer's Cooperative, City Slickers Bar and Grill, Spring Creek Repair and Farm Supply, Weber Feedyards, Barley's Specialties, B.Z. Construction, Papik Feeds, Rains Simmentals, Klein Construction, JR's Stor-All, and Complete Ag.
  • It was a record-setting Dorchester Community Foundation Steak and Hamburger Feed on Saturday. Hundreds packed the Dorchester Community Hall and Legion Hall, as proceeds from the feed will go to benefit Tabor Hall and the Dorchester American Legion. Early estimates show revenue from Saturday's dinner may beat the previous record by more than $1,000.  MVP awards should go to each and every member of the Community Foundation, including those who were in the back of the Legion preparing the steaks and burgers, which won rave reviews.  Also, MVP awards go to the high school students who volunteered to help serve and take orders, in addition to businesses such as City Slickers and Sid Dillion of Crete who helped efforts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Big Weekend In The Village

This is one of Dorchester's biggest weekends of the year.  The DHS alumni basketball tournament, paired with the Dorchester Community Foundation's spring steak and hamburger feed, means the village will be busting with lively activity.

The weather forecast couldn't be better. High temperatures will range from 70 to 75 all weekend with plenty of sun.

Here are this weekend's key activities in Dorchester:
  • The annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  A tradition that started in March 1995, the tournament is still going strong.  We've heard that at least eight or nine teams will be competing on the hardwood this year -- down a bit from previous years, but still enough to ensure some fierce competition and friendly rivalries.  Games start tonight (Friday) at 6 p.m. and will run until the championship at mid-afternoon on Sunday.
  • The annual Dorchester Community Foundation's Spring Steak and Hamburger Feed will be held at the Dorchester Community Hall and Legion Hall Saturday night from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Diners can choose a 12 oz. rib eye, along with salad, potato or chips, bread, drink and dessert -- all for $17. Or choose the hamburger meal for $9, which includes all the aforementioned side dishes.  This event has been one of the most popular in Dorchester for the past six years. Proceeds from the feed will go to benefit Tabor Hall projects, as well as projects at the Dorchester American Legion Hall. 
  • We've heard that City Slickers will be running food and drink specials all weekend long, just as Joe's Place and Ben's Iron Grill did in previous years.  The weekend will be a perfect opportunity for out-of-towners to see all the construction and progress that has been made recently inside their favorite pub.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Illegal Immigrant Sex Offender Gets Up To 40 Years In Prison

The Associated Press is reporting that a man who had been living in Dorchester has convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and was sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison.

The news wire reports that 35-year-old Raymundo Cruz was sentenced Wednesday. He must serve about 27 ½ years before he is discharged and deported to Mexico.  He's already served nearly two years.

Cruz was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in November.  The girl testified she was outside a fast-food restaurant in July 2013 when Cruz, who she said she knew from her church choir, grabbed her and put her in the backseat of his car.  She says Cruz drove her to a lake near Crete, where she says he forced himself on her.

Cruz's government-paid attorney said Wednesday that it was an isolated incident and requested a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Armadillo Spotted In Saline County

For several years, the Dorchester Times has reported on the migration of animals not normally seen in our area (from mountain lions to the Sasquatch).  One of those animals is the armadillo -- a few of which have been seen in Nebraska around the Kansas border and as far north as Butler County.  

Now a confirmed armadillo spotting has occurred in Saline County.  The Lincoln Journal Star reports that workers at Runza in Crete found a dead armadillo last Friday in the restaurant's parking lot.

Mike Fritz, a natural heritage zoologist with Nebraska Game and Parks, said he gets fewer than a dozen reports of armadillos in Nebraska each year. The numbers vary and often depend on the severity of the prior winter. Most are spotted along roadsides following an unfortunate run-in with a tire. 

The nine-banded armadillo has a great sense of smell but poor eyesight and is terrible at dodging cars. Armadillos have been marching steadily from South America north throughout recorded history, crossing the Rio Grande into Texas before 1854, according to the Kansas Mammal Atlas.

According to the Journal Star, winter generally stops their migration. They don’t regulate body temperature well, making cold weather fatal.

If you spot an armadillo, be careful.  They can carry leprosy, although instances of them transmitting the disease to humans are rare.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cambridge, Neb. Proves Small Rural Towns Can Thrive

Small, rural towns can thrive in 2015.  And Cambridge, Neb. (pop.1,063) is proving it.

Located in Furnas County in southwest Nebraska -- 25 miles east of McCook and more than 50 miles south of Interstate 80 -- Cambridge has earned designation in the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Certified Leadership Community Program. It is the fifth community to earn certification, joining Tecumseh, Madison, Central City and Neligh.

Cambridge has amassed an impressive list of achievements:

• Ten new businesses have opened since 2010.
• A new 77-acre Harvest Meadows Subdivision is home to two new businesses and six new homes (two under contract).
• To date, 17 businesses have been awarded $60,440 from the Facade Grant Program, which has helped create improvements valued over $147,906
• A Down Payment Assistance Program has made seven low-interest loans totaling $121,800 to individuals and families to purchase or build homes in Cambridge. 
• The community’s Economic Development program oversees a Revolving Loan Fund to encourage business development. Currently, $62,968.59 in low-interest loans have been made to seven local businesses.
• Economic Development also operates an Internship Program, offering $1,000 grants to local businesses as an incentive to hire interns. To date, eight businesses have taken advantage of the program.
• The first College and Career Fair was hosted by Cambridge Economic Development in October 2014. The event featured 20 businesses and colleges and attracted 140 students from four area high schools.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development created their Leadership Community Program in 2011 with the purpose of helping smaller Nebraska communities deal head-on with challenges and change. Communities must demonstrate having a solid planning and implementation process in place. Communities also must actively take advantage of technology, or be willing to learn to meet program objectives. 

Applicant communities are evaluated in: community involvement; strategic planning; community planning and zoning; business and technology development; incentives and implementation.

Cambridge has proven if you want to improve your small town, a little energy and initiative and smarts can get you there.  (We thank the reader who sent this information to our e-mail.)

For information about the Certified Leadership Development Community Program, contact Kelly Gewecke at, (308) 627-3151, or visit

Area Firefighters Responding To Brush Fires

Do not burn anything.  Avoid starting lawnmowers.  And don't toss your cigarettes out the window.  

That's the message from area fire department officials. All of Nebraska remains in danger of brush fires following the record heat, and as the winds blow and grass has yet to green.

Yesterday, the Friend Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire on Saline County Road 300, southwest of Friend.  It's unknown what caused the ditch fire, but the fire spread rapidly with the strong winds, according to a Facebook follower.  Thanks to a driver from Fairmont, volunteers were quick on the scene to fight the blaze.

Other reports of area grass fires -- in town and country -- are flooding in, whether it's from Pierce, Wahoo, North Platte, or Plainview.   Beatrice Rural Fire Chief Jim Engel says his firefighters had to respond to grass fires Sunday, fed by strong winds, according to KWBE.   

“The fire originated from a brush pile fire with a burn permit that had been written 35 days previously," Engel said. "So the wind rekindled the fire and started the fire going across a corn field.”

The fire burned through stubble in a corn field, but didn’t harm any structures. There is a report that three separate fires near Odell broke out Sunday with one burning a structure.

The National Weather Services has cautioned Nebraskans conditions are right for wild fires.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Favorite Pictures Of Dorchester's Main Street

A reader asked us to share our favorite "old time" pictures of Dorchester's main street (Washington Avenue).  We are always glad to help spur interest in Dorchester history, so here they are, in no particular order.  (You can click on each picture for a closer look.)

Readers should note that any pictures of Dorchester's main street without pavement were taken before the spring of 1936. 

Dorchester's main street was paved in late April 1936 and opened to traffic again on May 7 of that year.  The funding for the project came mostly from the federal Works Project Administration (PWA) under the Roosevelt administration, which was trying to work its way out of the Great Depression with public works spending. 

Russell Mooberry, a prominent Dorchester leader, is credited in large part for landing the paving project after tireless work and communications to federal and state leaders.

In early May 1936, a jubilee was held to mark the paving announcement, with races for the kids, street dances, two vaudeville acts, and free sandwiches from the 800 lbs. of beef barbecued donated for the occasion.