Sunday, February 14, 2016

DHS Girls Win Final Two Games Of Regular Season; Chris Nelson Heads To State


On Friday and Saturday nights, the Dorchester girls basketball team won their last two regular season contests of the 2015-16 season to finish two games over the .500 mark.  

The wins give the 12-10 Lady Longhorns some strong momentum as they head into sub-district competition this week.

Although DHS was tripped up 30-60 by a strong Hampton team last Tuesday at home, DHS bounced back to score impressive wins against McCool Junction (50-23) on Friday and at Parkview Christian (45-20) Saturday.

The DHS girls will need to be at their best due to the stiff competition in Subdistrict D2-2, which will be played at Centennial High School.  

The Lady Longhorns will face off against No. 1 seeded Exeter-Milligan (16-4) in the 6 p.m. game on Tuesday, Feb. 16.  If DHS should pull off the upset, they would take on the winner of the Hampton (18-4) vs. Meridian (11-11) game at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the DHS boys basketball team (2-18), with young players and small numbers, picked up a 45-44 victory over McCool Junction this past week.  

The Longhorn men will take on 8-12 Exeter-Milligan on Thursday night in Exeter to wrap up the regular season.

In other DHS sports news, congratulations to DHS' Chris Nelson.  He is Omaha-bound after qualifying for the Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament by capturing third place in the 182 lb. division of the Class B districts in Norfolk by pinning Angelo Lara of York in 40 seconds.

The state wrestling tournament will be held at the Centurylink Center Feb. 18-20.  Click here for more information.

Friday, February 12, 2016

After 24 Years, Dorchester's FBLA Is Thriving


My, how you have grown, Dorchester FBLA.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a nationwide career and technical student organization.  Established in 1940, FBLA is non-profit organization of high school ("FBLA"), middle school ("Middle Level"), and even college ("PBL") students, as well as professional members ("Professional Division"), who primarily help students transition to the business world. 

FBLA is the largest student-run organization in the United States.  It is also one of the top 10 organizations listed by the U.S. Department of Education.

But according to research by the Dorchester Times, Dorchester did not have an FBLA charter until the 1991-92 school year -- 24 years ago.

Dorchester inaugural FBLA group consisted of only 20 members from grades 9-12.  While a small group, it did boast members who competed at the state and even national levels of FBLA competitions, according to the 1991-92 DHS yearbook.

Nearly a quarter century later, while numbers in some other DHS activities have declined, DHS' 2015-16 FBLA membership claims nearly 40 members. This is very impressive growth for a school that remains a Class D school.  (DHS dropped from Class C to Class D in school year 1991-92, ironically.) 

Over the years, Dorchester has become a force to be reckoned within the FBLA universe and its statewide competitions. Last year, Dorchester took second place at the Nebraska FBLA competition for the Market Share Award, for example.

In the 2010-11 school year, Jessica Hansen, who received honorable mention top five percent in the areas of cyber security and sports management at the state FBLA competition, was elected as Nebraska's FBLA state secretary.

Other Dorchester students have served as state FBLA officers, as well, dating back to the 1990s.

The Dorchester Public School community should be proud of its FBLA chapter and the strong interest in business demonstrated by its many students.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Saline County Visitors Committee Announces 2016 Grant Process


Attention Dorchester area groups who are planning activities or attractions that could draw tourists to Saline County: Two separate grant applications are now available for Saline County organizations involved in tourism.  One fund offers monies to promote 2016 events, and the other fund is to be used to improve and enhance tourism sites. 

Interested organizations and groups may pick up both applications at the County Clerk’s Office, Saline County Courthouse, or at the Crete News office.

Completed applications must be submitted to the committee c/o Saline County Clerk, P.O. Box 865, 215 South Court St., Wilber, 68465 by 4 p.m. Friday, March 18.  Recipients will be notified of their grant awards in April; monies will not be distributed until paid receipts are submitted to the committee.  Funding is generated by the Saline County lodging tax.

The Saline County Visitors Advisory Committee, a group of seven representatives from area -- Lorine Mares and Sheryl Kastanek, Wilber, Jim Rischling, Western, and Teri Shestak, Janet Jeffries Beauvais, Deb Polacek, and Inish Amrutlal of Crete.  

The group is appointed by, and reports to, the Saline County Commissioners.  Saline County lodging tax revenue has been used in the past to promote the Western Old Settlers Picnic, the annual Czech Festival in Wilber, Saving Sokol Halloween Festival and Haunted House, county-wide garage sale events, and a variety of holiday festivals, street dances, and other activities.  

For more information about the two funds, the grant process, and/or the duties of the Saline County Visitors Advisory Committee, call chairperson Lorine Mares at (402) 821- 2304.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: City Slickers Grill, Water Park Rumors


Here is the latest news fit to print:

City Slickers' New Grill Is Nearly Ready:  Back in November, Dorchester area residents were biting their nails in anticipation, awaiting the completion of the renovation at Dorchester's City Slickers Bar and Grill.  Then a fire broke out at the establishment formerly known as Joe's Place.  Whlle the bar itself has been reopened for over a month, the new grill has been on hold.  Now the Times has learned from City Slickers' social media account that Dorchester's favorite establishment will soon have its new grill up in running, likely within days.  The new-and-improved City Slickers' features: a new kitchen; much larger dining area, with many tables separate from the bar area for a pleasant dining experience; and a dance floor with a band/DJ area.  Many dollars have been poured into City Slickers for its new interior and structural reinforcements. If you haven't seen inside City Slickers within the past month, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Water Park Coming To Dorchester?:  The word is that a new water park may soon be coming to Dorchester.  This would certainly be an entertainment boon for area kids, if true.  We don't have any details and at this point, there is nobody we spoke to willing to confirm or deny such plans.  But a couple of sources say discussions are at least in the early stages and that more could be known in the coming weeks or months.  Stay tuned.

A Needless Loss Of Life In Omaha:  It's heartbreaking to hear the news about the 19-year-old drunk driver who killed 21-year-old Sarah Root in Omaha two weekends ago.  Root had just graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA, while the inebriated Eswin Mejia was street racing under the influence, with a blood-alcohol level of .241 and driving on a suspended license, when he slammed into Root's SUV as it was stopped at an Omaha intersection.  It's bad enough Mejia is out of jail on just $5,000 after a judge set his bond too low.  It also appears Mejia was in the United States illegally -- he's what we used to call an illegal alien.  His taxpayer-funded attorney, Owais Tomas Campbell, excuses illegal immigration and says that shouldn't be an issue, while Miss Root's family knows that if immigration law was enforced, this tragedy would not have occurred. News like this makes it painfully obvious why the brash, boisterous Donald Trump is leading in the polls.  Many Americans have had enough.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lady Longhorns Surging As Season Winds Down


Thanks to two key victories this week, the Dorchester Longhorns girls basketball team have now surpassed the .500 mark, enabling the girls to boast a winning record as they enter the final chapter of the regular season.

The York News-Times covered the DHS ladies and their Thursday win against a Nebraska Lutheran squad that was sporting a 12-5 record coming into the contest.  

The Lady 'Horns hit eight 3-pointers to beat Nebraska Lutheran 53-33.  The 'Horns were lead by Jacee Weber, who scored 18.  See the York newspaper's story by clicking here.  

DHS beat a solid Giltner team 46-38 last night (Friday) thanks to a team-leading 12 points poured in by Makenna Bird and even scoring from six other DHS players.

The DHS girls are now 5-2 after its last seven games.

The Lady Longhorns have positioned themselves to finish strong as the regular season winds down.  Although DHS will face a strong Hampton team (16-4) on Tuesday at home, DHS should pick up at least two more wins against McCool Junction (1-14) on Friday and at Parkview Christian (1-12) next Saturday.

Meanwhile, the DHS boys basketball team, with young players and small numbers, is enduring a building year, posting a 1-16 record thus far.  

The Longhorn men will have opportunities to pick up two victories this week when they take on Hampton and McCool Junction, which claim only five victories combined.

ALERT: Dorchester Legion To Discuss Future Of Club On Feb. 18


The Times has learned via social media that the Dorchester American Legion is hoping to attract several members from the community to its February 18 meeting at 7 p.m. at the Legion Hall.  

According to the Legion's Facebook post, the Legion members want to discuss the future of the club and its operations going forward. 

The Legion's post reads: "If you are a Dorchester area veteran, or son, grandson or great-grandson of a Dorchester Legion member (living or deceased), you are asked to attend the Dorchester Legion's February monthly meeting ... Please help us spread the word."

According to the Legion's posting, discussion on Feb. 18 will include ways to get Sons of the American Legion "more active in Legion activities and eventually take over management of the Legion club."

The Legion members note that they "would like to get as many S.A.L. members (or potential S.A.L. members) as possible to the meeting to begin the discussions and turn-over process. 

The Legion concludes with this: "The long term challenge facing the Dorchester Legion is not as much financial as it is participation and volunteers. If you want to see the Legion survive into the next decade, we need your participation. Other area Legion posts, such as Milligan's, have made this transition and done so successfully. We hope you'll be part of the solution."

Developing...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Alumni Basketball, Transferring Students, Parents Night


Here is the news that is trending in Dorchester right now:

DHS Alumni Basketball Is March 18-20:  School officials say the annual DHS Alumni Basketball Tournament is set for March 18-20.  For alumni who wish to participate, call Brent Zoubek, DPS Activities Director, at (402) 418-1019 or e-mail bzoubek@dorchesterschool.org.  The Dorchester Community Foundation steak feed will take place on Saturday, March 19, according to several Dorchester Foundation members.  This should be a swinging weekend in Dorchester, as usual.

Student Transfer Information Due By April 30:  Many students just do better in a small school environment.  Do you know students from nearby communities interested in attending Dorchester Public School -- noted for its caring educators and top-notch faculty? If so, students will need to have their option-enrollment paperwork completed no later than April 30.  Contact the Dorchester School for more details at (402) 946-2781.

DHS Parents' Night Is Feb. 12:  Parents' Night/Senior Night at DHS will be held Friday, Feb. 12.  DHS will take on McCool Junction with girls JV at 4:30 p.m., boys JV at 5:15 p.m., girls varsity at 6:15 p.m. and boys varsity at 8 p.m.  Parents will be introduced at the conclusion of the girls' varsity contest.

Dorchester Jr. High Quiz Bowl Team Takes 3rd Place: According to school officials, Dorchester's Junior High quiz bowl team took third place recently at the twelve-team Crossroads Conference competition.  Team members included Abby Plouzek, Breanna Muff, Lexi Shaw, Ridge Hoffman, Josh Thompson, Mitchell Kratochvil and Jacob Keller.  Alternates were Jacee Zoubek, Alli Novak, Luisa Bonilla and Kohl Tyser.  Sandy Severance was the team's coach.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Scenes From The Groundhog Day Blizzard Of 2016


Courtesy of our Facebook friends and followers, here are scenes from Dorchester and the surrounding area from today -- Feb. 2 -- as residents endure the Groundhog Day Blizzard. By nightfall, between 9" and 10" had fallen in the Dorchester metro, depending where you measured.  Many roads were closed, including I-80, and some areas of eastern Nebraska have lost electricity.  In Dorchester, the electricity stayed on; streets were plowed by early afternoon. The latest forecast update can be seen here.  Ironically, this blizzard hits exactly one year and one day after the worst snowstorm of 2015.









Monday, February 1, 2016

UPDATE: Groundhog Day Blizzard Bringing Up To 12" Of Snow


Latest Forecast:  A winter storm warning is now in effect for Dorchester, Lincoln and surrounding areas from midnight Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday. The National Weather Service says winds of up to 35 mph will blow 6-12 inches of snow on Tuesday.  Higher amounts are possible.  Snow likely won't start adding up until early Tuesday morning.  The blizzard warning covers an area from south-central Nebraska to northwest Iowa, where the heaviest snow and strongest winds are likely. Kearney, Columbus and Sioux City, Iowa, are included in the blizzard warning. Only a few miles could make a difference in snowfall totals. See the latest, up-to-date forecast here.

Radar:  See the latest regional radar imagery by clicking here.

School Closings:  See the area school closings here.

Road Conditions:  Before venturing onto area roads and highway, travelers can check on conditions by calling 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System.  The system can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing 511, or online at www.511.nebraska.gov or click here.  A Nebraska 511 mobile app is available to download at no cost for smartphone users.  Simply search your app provider for Nebraska 511.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: Blizzard Watch, Buffalo Feed Attendance


Here is some of the latest news from Dorchester and the surrounding area:

URGENT -- Tuesday's Blizzard Watch:  Dorchester and the surrounding area are under a blizzard watch, which is in effect from Monday, 6 p.m. until  midnight Wednesday.  The National Weather Service is saying a mix of rain and snow will begin Monday afternoon before tuning to all snow by Monday evening.  Winds will be blow from the northeast up to 30 mph, with gusts of 40 mph, before dying down Tuesday night.  Visibility could be less than a quarter of a mile.  Snow accumulations: 8 inches or more.  See the latest forecast and radar images here. (UPDATE: The NWS has issued a winter storm warning for our area.  It now appears 6-10 inches will mix with 35 mph wind gusts from late tonight through early Wednesday morning.)

Nearly 400 Attend Dorchester Legion's Buffalo Feed:  Anyone passing through on Dorchester's main street Sunday would have been hard pressed to find a parking spot.  We are told via e-mail that around 400 people showed up at the Dorchester Legion's annual buffalo. Undoubtedly, this is one of the biggest and best winter events in Saline County -- made even better when the thermometer hits 50 degrees on a Sunday in late January. The Dorchester Legion, Auxiliary, Sons of American Legion and their volunteers make us proud to be from Dorchester.

Weber Feed Yards Spotlighted In AP Story: A story running on the Associated Press news wire, which covers the state and nation, talks about farmers increasingly driving heavy, large newer equipment on Nebraska's highways.  The AP reports that a bill at the Legislature has been introduced to exempt several types of farm equipment from the weight and load restrictions. County governments oppose the bill and blame the heavy machines for damaging their roads, especially "around feedlots."  The article quotes cattle producers and feedlot owners, including Dorchester's own Joel Weber, who gives the feeders' side of the story.

DeWitt's 'Operation BridgeSit' A Success:  Did you hear about the DeWitt residents who, on behalf of the DeWitt Area Recovery Team -- DART, for short -- sat in chairs above a Turkey Creek bridge to raise awareness and money for unmet needs in DeWitt following last spring's flood damage? Their bold tactics worked.  The two men raised about $6,000 over the weekend, with more money likely from a PayPal account.  Why tell you about this? Because this is the essence of small-town spirit and civic mindedness. To donate, send checks to Blue Valley Community Action, 620 Fifth St., Fairbury, NE 68352 (refer to DART in subject line).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Reader From Dorchester, Mass. Shares His Dorchester, Neb. Stories


We get all kinds of comments at the Dorchester Times.  (Not like we did in our earlier years, mind you.  The era of Facebook and other social media outlets have definitely decreased the volume of feedback.  There was a time when 30 or more comments would follow a Times story.)

Today, draw our readers' attention to a comment left Friday night from a reader who hails from Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Mark Shortt, a native the Boston subburb, left his comment after he read our story titled, "How Did Dorchester Get Its Name?"


Mr. Shortt wrote:  "I visited your town when I worked in Hastings, Neb., and lived in Overland Park, Kan. I am from Dorchester, Mass.! A (piece of) history about Dorchester, Mass. for you all: It was the spot on which the City of Boston was founded in June 1630."

According to Mr. Shortt, Dorchester, Mass. holds a Dorchester Day celebration and parade down Dorchester Avenue the first Sunday in June to commemorate the day that Boston was found.

Mr. Shortt adds: "The local paper is the Dorchester Reporter. Interestingly (or not) it is where Mark Wahlberg and his family are from."

Then Mr. Shortt wrapped up his comments with with a story about a conversation he was having with his neighbors. "The husband said he was going to Dorchester this past summer," so Mr. Shortt "asked jokingly if he was going to Dorchester, Nebraska," figuring he knew nothing about the small community on the Plains.  "He said yes" -- Dorchester, Neb. was indeed where he was headed.  "His grandfather, whose last name was Auth, lived there."

According to Mr. Shortt, he then told his neighbor he should also visit Crete and Wilber, the Czech Capital of the United States.  

Mr. Shortt said his comments nearly knocked over the neighbor. "He was stunned I knew about your town and had actually been there."

Thanks for sharing this story, Mark. You're welcome in the other Dorchester, anytime.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Frankie The Weather Guy Calls It: Major Snow Event Headed Our Way


Unless you live in a cave, you have by now heard about or seen Frankie the Weather Guy, the YouTube sensation from Canada.  

He is calling for a massive snow storm to hit eastern Nebraska -- especially Omaha.

"Be warned, Nebraska!" Frankie exclaims. "Be prepared! ... Don't even try to go outside." 

See Frankie's video forecast here.

Frankie may have called this one correctly -- very early.  And Saline County appears to be in the cross hairs of the coming blizzard.

Major media outlets, including the Weather Channel, are saying a major snow event is headed our way by Monday evening and lasting through Tuesday.  The Lincoln Journal Star reported this afternoon that "it remains too early to accurately pinpoint where the storm will track, although forecasters are confident that someone, somewhere will see heavy snow and near-blizzard conditions next week."

The latest "best guess" is a heavy snow band from central Kansas stretching into extreme Southeast Nebraska, including Thayer, Jefferson, Saline, Gage and counties south of Nebraska Highway 2 to the east of Lincoln.

The National Weather Service is watching a system that is now near Hawaii and another near Alaska. That system is expected to hit the west coast by Sunday and then move east. The models show now is a broad area of accumulating snowfall over eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

A NWS spokeswoman says, “We are expecting quite a bit of wind.  It looks like anywhere from 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts higher than that.  If we get three inches of snow and get 40 mile per hour winds that is going to create white-out conditions.”  

Nebraskans are urged to prepare for the storm and adjust travel plans as needed.

Stay tuned to the Dorchester Times and our AccuWeather updates on this weather system.

DEVELOPING...

This Weekend: Legion Buffalo Feed Is Sunday At 12 PM, 5 PM


January is a long month with few highlights.  

But this Sunday, January 31, is one of those highlights in Dorchester.

It is that time of year when hungry area residents will flock to Dorchester's main street to get their fill of the best buffalo served in southeast Nebraska.

As in past years, the Dorchester American Legion Post 264 is making plans to host its annual January buffalo feed. 

The luncheon will begin at noon and continue until 2 p.m. Then, an evening dinner will begin at 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m. (or until supplies last). 

Meal includes buffalo roast, barbecue and meatloaf, with homemade sides, bread and beverage.

The event raises money for community projects and scholarships provided by the legion.

You will want to come early for this very popular event. Bring your friends. Buffalo meat is being furnished by funds from the Bobby and Brad Kasl Memorial Fund.

For more information, contact any Dorchester Legion member.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Grant Money Available To Help Rural Businesses


Here is some interesting information sent to the Times today regarding federal grants available for rural businesses.  Keep in mind this is the federal government we're talking about, so you can be guaranteed strings are attached and preferences will be given to minority and tribal communities.  

That said, USDA Rural Development in Nebraska is seeking project proposals for the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program to support rural businesses.  RBDG funds may be used for targeted technical assistance; training and training facilities, including commercial kitchens; to conduct economic development planning; and for the establishment of revolving loan funds.  Eligible applicants include towns, communities, state agencies, non-profit corporations, Federally-recognized Tribes, and institutions of higher learning.

As an example of the use of the RBDG program, the Twin Cities Development Association (TCD) in Scottsbluff, Neb., recently received funding to create a community commercial kitchen and to provide technical assistance to food-based business entrepreneurs. The availability of a commercial kitchen will allow local food businesses the space to develop their products and access to targeted technical assistance.  These businesses will be able to expand beyond the local Farmers Markets by being able to introduce their products into larger markets such as grocery stores, restaurants and other retail outlets.

Project proposals submitted for review for state allocated RBDG funds are due by close of business, 4:30 pm, Friday, February 26, 2016. All project proposals are to be sent to Brant Richardson at brant.richardson@ne.usda.gov .  

For more information, contact Brant Richardson, brant.richardson@ne.usda.gov or (402) 437-5568; or Deborah Drbal, deborah.drbal@ne.usda.gov or (402) 437-5558.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

NEWS ROUNDUP: New Village Website Now Running


Town Website Up And Running:  As we mentioned in an earlier post, the Village of Dorchester now has an official town website.  Village board member Matthew Hoffman announced last night the site is operational. Sponsored by Nebraska Public Power District, which supplies Dorchester its wholesale electricity, the website features a list of Dorchester businesses, important numbers for village services and utilities, a listing of local events, and much more. You can see it by clicking here or visiting http://dorchesterne.com/.  We welcome this much needed service to Dorchester residents and believe it will help make for more engaged citizens.  When it comes to small town life, good communication is key -- especially from our local government.

Steak Feed Set For March 19:  A loyal reader informs us that the Dorchester Community Foundation steak feed is slated for March 19.  Mark your calendars now. This is one of the best attended events on Main Street of the year.  The Foundation is working to raise money for a new directory shelter at the Dorchester Cemetery, according to the new town website.

Your Real Life Neighbors Vs. Facebook:  One of our Times staff members recently opined that small towns nowadays are suffering from weak participation in events and organizations due to social media. He says things will only get worse.  Well, we've told this staffer about a story on the news wires that tells of a new Oxford University study that reveals most of your Facebook friends don’t care about you and probably don't even sympathize with your problems.  The study found that while most people have hundreds of Facebook friends, people can only really depend on four of them, on average.  So if you're forced to choose between your Facebook friends and people in your own community -- those who live next door, go to school with you or your kids, attend the same church as you, share the same air as you -- perhaps you should choose the latter.  We suspect you knew that already.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Looking Back: How Did Dorchester Get Its Name?


Just how did Dorchester get its name?

That's been a topic of debate in our community for decades.

According to the Dorchester centennial book, published in 1981, the railroads formed land companies soon after the government gave away “every other section of land for ten miles on each side of any track laid.”  

In December 1870, the South Platte Land Co. received ownership of the section containing present-day Dorchester after the company erected one house in the center of the section -- a step taken to “improve” the land in order to comply with the federal Homestead Act.

The section was originally platted under the name "DeWitt," but that was changed shortly thereafter by an entry in the margin of the land company’s deed book, which noted that the name of the section was indeed Dorchester.


There are varied accounts of where the name "Dorchester" came from.  A staff member of the Times reports that her great grandmother once recounted a story that our village was named after a town in southwest England.  


But a March 1967 account in The Crete News stated that Thomas Doane, the chief engineer with Burlington Railroad, named it after Boston's largest neighborhood in his native Massachusetts. The name continued the alphabetical naming of towns along the new railroad line: Berks, Crete, Dorchester, Exeter, Fairmont, Grafton, Harvard, Inland, etc.

Another account mentioned in the Dorchester centennial book came from William Ferguson of Chicago, who said that C.E. Perkins, president of Burlington Railroad, and his wife named Dorchester and other railroad communities from their parlor in Burlington, Iowa.  Mrs. Perkins was a native of the Boston area and she chose the name Dorchester for our town, according to Ferguson's explanation.


The mystery remains since the stories above are mired in controversy. It seems neither Doane nor the Perkins family had much to do with establishing the other towns along the current Burlington tracks that came to Dorchester in 1871 and runs through our community today.

If you have historical information on the naming of Dorchester, please share it with fellow readers by leaving a comment or e-mailing us at Dorchester.Times@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grants Available For Low Income Homeowners


Attention to those with ties to the Dorchester village government, the Dorchester United Methodist Church, Dorchester Community Foundation, and others: The USDA is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development's Housing Preservation Grant program.

Grants can be used for a variety of needs, such as repairs to resolve health or safety issues or for energy-efficiency improvements to reduce utility costs.

Eligible applicants for Housing Preservation Grants (HPG) include town or county governments, public agencies, and non-profits, such as a church or foundation.

USDA does not provide funding directly to homeowners under this program. 

More information on the pre-application and the application process may be accessed at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants/ne under the “Forms and Resources” tab.  

The deadline for receipt of all pre-applications is 5:00 p.m. CST on March 15, 2016.

For HPG questions or to request an application, please contact Jerry Pesek, Multi Family Housing Specialist at 402-437-5566 or by email at Jerry.Pesek@ne.usda.gov.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Video Shows Dorchester At Harvest Time


Dorchester is not the sleepy, "nothing-is-going-on-here" community some say it is. 

That is especially true at harvest -- when area farmers are putting in 18-hour days.

New video shot by a drone from high in the sky give us a new bird's eye perspective on just how bustling our community is during the autumn.  

(UPDATE: We received notice of this video of Dorchester farmer Ron Barak, as well.  The video was shot by DHS alum Brett Boller and his DJI Phantom 3 Pro Drone.)

The just-released video, which has gone viral on social media, also gives an interesting perspective on how the commodities that fuel our area economy move from the fields to the elevators. 

The video can be seen at the Farmers Cooperative Facebook page, or by clicking here.

This follows earlier fly-over footage released in January 2015 that captured the essence of daily life in Dorchester -- from the trains moving parallel to Highway 6, to the shiny new water tower, to the vehicles on main street, to the activity at the Co-op fueling station, to construction at the Farmers Cooperative headquarters.

We aren't sure who filmed the videos and set them to inspiring music.  But we commend the Farmers Cooperative for posting the footage, especially since the cooperative is responsible for much of our community's commercial activity and growth.

This video makes all of us quite proud of our town.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Get Off Your Butt -- Attend Dorchester Foundation Meeting Tuesday Night, 7 PM


You say you want Dorchester to thrive.  You say you want improvements made to the community.  You say you care.

Well then, it's time to get off your butt and be part of the Dorchester Community Foundation, which is meeting this Tuesday, January 19, at 7 p.m. at the Dorchester Community Building.

You don't have to be a resident of Dorchester to attend; you simply have to care about the town and its future.

A non-profit organization, the Dorchester Community Foundation has been instrumental in various projects around town.  These include the city park's new playground equipment and picnic shelter; annual scholarships; the Charlie Havlat Memorial at the Saline County Museum; and the popular steak and chicken/hamburger feeds. 

The Foundation's most recent projects are the new welcome sign along Highway 33, as well as the welcome signs on the village light poles.

For more information about Monday's meeting, or how to contribute to the Foundation, contact chairman Dale Hayek at 402-641-4075 or dhayek@farmersco-operative.com.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Marquee, Town Website, Superintendent Kubicek


Here is some of the latest Dorchester news:

New Marquee Coming Soon:  We have been told by more than one source that the Dorchester Village Board has approved the purchase of a new electronic message board, which will be installed in the coming weeks if the weather cooperates.  Keno funds will pay for the unit, we are told.  Installed in the spring of 2007, the current orange-and-black electronic sign that now graces Dorchester's Main Street median has been inoperable due to electronic issues since early December.  The addition of an electronic marquee has added liveliness to main street and has served as an effective method of mass communication.  We look forward to the new sign.

New Town Website Being Developed:  As we mentioned in an earlier post, Dorchester Village Clerk and Treasurer Gloria Riley communicated with the Times to say that an official town website will soon be unveiled.  We welcome this news and believe it will help make for more informed Dorchester residents and more engaged citizens.  When it comes to small town life, good communication is key.  There's no better source on Village of Dorchester issues than the village board and staff.

DPS Superintendent Departing At End Of School Year:  It is with regret we inform readers that Dorchester Public School Superintendent Mitch Kubicek last week announced his resignation from DPS effective at the end of the school year.  That's according to well-placed sources.  Kubicek has been part of the DPS community since 2008, right when the new school opened its doors for the first time.   He recently completed his doctoral program at UNL.  DPS will not only miss the administrative expertise offered by Kubicek, but will also miss the leadership provided by his wife Kylie and him for student activities and athletics.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

32 Years Ago: The DHS Team That Was One Shot From State


Some in our area have made quite a fuss over the future of DHS basketball, wondering if Dorchester's teams can ever "turn it around." 

They forget that fortunes in sports, like life in general, can turn on a dime.  Point and case: the DHS boys team of 32 years ago -- the team that wouldn't quit.

The 1983-84 DHS boys basketball squad will forever be known as the Longhorn team that was a shot away from the Class C-2 State Tournament -- just one second away from a chance to play in the Devaney.  

Moreover, the team's success launched the start of a six-year run in which Dorchester became known for its prowess in boys basketball, appearing regularly in the top-ten rankings for Class C-2.

But go back to the beginning of that season thirty years ago, and the Longhorns didn't start off looking like state-worthy material.  

Dorchester lost their season opener by 55 points to a feisty C-1 team in Henderson that put 98 points on the board.  In fact, the Longhorns won only two of its first seven contests. The situation was dour for the struggling program.

But then DHS, coached by Larry Gish and Scott Pohl, found some magic.  The team would go on to win 10 of its next 13 games, capturing the district title by knocking off Palmyra and emerging power Lincoln Christian.  

The Longhorns were led by junior Lyle Weber, who would receive all-state accolades for his efforts, along with seniors Dean Slepicka, Bob Wolesensky, Eddie Moore, Brad Hohensee, and junior Neal Pavlish -- a fan favorite.

The 1984 Class C-2 regional game pitted DHS against a top-notch Humboldt team.  The winner would go onto state.  

A last-second desperation shot by a Humboldt player, who unloaded from half court, dealt the Longhorns a season-ending defeat that would be talked about for years to come.  

Little did Longhorn fans know then, however, that just one season later the DHS boys would make it to the Class C-2 State Tournament.

And little did the DHS players of that 1983-84 season know then that three decades later folks would still be talking about their efforts -- and about the Longhorn team that wouldn't quit.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

WEATHER ALERT: Wind Chill Could Hit -35 Sunday


The AP is reporting that frigid temperatures will combine with winds to make for some dangerously low wind chills in Nebraska tonight and all of Sunday.

The National Weather service says temperatures dip into the single digits Saturday and will hover around zero for much of Sunday.

Winds of 10 to 20 mph will produce wind chills of between 5-below zero to as low as 30-below in our region of Nebraska overnight. In northern Iowa, where a wind chill warning has been issued, residents could see wind chills as low as 35-below.  In the Dorchester area, expect actual temperatures to hit -5 degrees or lower.

Weather officials warn that wind chills that low can lead to frostbite within minutes for any exposed skin.  Residents are asked to stay in heated areas and bundle up if they must head outside.

Dorchester's Max Harling Passes At 82


Longtime Dorchester resident and business owner Max D. Harling passed away Thursday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lincoln at the age of 82 years 11 months and 9 days.  He was a Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

A funeral will be 10 a.m. Monday, January 18, at the United Methodist Church, Dorchester with Pastor Thomas Tennant officiating. Interment will be in Dorchester Cemetery with military services conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps and Dorchester American Legion. The family will receive family and friends for one hour prior to the service on Monday at the church.  Memorials have been established to the Dorchester American Legion or to the Wilber Care Center.  Honorary pallbearers are Shelly Bruha and Ike McKim. 

Max Dale Harling was born February 5, 1933 on a farm southeast of Friend to James and Bernice (Aitken) Harling, the second of four children.  As a boy, Max moved with family to California and several locations in Nebraska and Wyoming. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 9, 1951, in Cheyenne, WY and was discharged on February 9, 1954, at El Toro, Santa Ana, California. While serving during the Korean Conflict, he received the Purple Heart on two separate occasions, along with several other medals. Returning from Korea, Max began his employment career at Klippenstein Implement in Friend and furthered his education earning a degree in Diesel Technology from Milford Technical School in 1959. On July 20, 1963, Max was united in marriage to Sharon Dee Rose and to this union a daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Patrick, were born, along with an infant son who passed away at birth. 

From 1962 until 1988, Max was employed at Crete Implement and later was self-employed at “Brand X Repair” in Dorchester until he retired in 1995. He was a member of the VFW #4959 in Crete, American Legion Post #264 in Dorchester and the Disabled American Veterans. 

Max is survived by his daughter Rebecca Harling and her husband, Buck Boje, of North Platte, his son, Patrick Harling, Fergus Falls, MN, a granddaughter, Samantha Rose Harling, Moorhead, MN, his brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Gail August, and his sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Ed Zak, and a number of nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, James Harling and Bernice August and his step-father, Floyd August, an infant son, his wife Sharon in 1989, two sisters, Virginia Inderlied and Melva Johnson, and a brother, Noel Harling.

You may leave your condolences online by clicking here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nominate Dorchester Fire Dept. For Grain Rescue Award


In conjunction with Grain Bin Safety Week (Feb. 21 – 27, 2016), Nationwide is teaming up with the  National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to award first responders with grain bin rescue tubes and specialized grain rescue training to help save lives when farmers and other workers become entrapped in grain bins.

We are encouraging Dorchester Times readers to nominate the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Dept. and Rescue for this award.

Rural fire fighters are often the first and only line of defense when someone becomes helplessly trapped in a grain bin. Unfortunately, many fire departments lack the specialized rescue techniques and equipment necessary for a successful grain bin rescue.  

Each winning entry will be awarded:  
  • One (1) grain rescue tube, valued between $3,000 to $5,000
  • One (1) six-hour grain entrapment rescue training session, at winner’s location, valued at up to $5,000
The exact number of winners and prizes will not be known until the contest closes, and will depend upon the donations and generosity of our partners. Learn how you can partner with us to help save lives.

The contest begins on Jan 1, 2016 at 8 a.m. CT and ends May 31, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. CT.   

To enter, fully describe how the department or emergency rescue team and rural community would benefit from grain entrapment training and rescue tube, and how they plan to share the tube and training with nearby departments. Include your name, occupation, phone number, mailing and email address, the name, address and phone number of the fire department or team.

Nationwide is accepting nominations from the general public. And fire fighters can nominate their own fire department.  You can submit your nomination in one of three ways: online, via email or by mail. 

Email: agcontest@nicc.edu
Mail: NECAS, Grain Bin Safety Ag Contest, 8342 NICC Dr., Peosta, IA 52068

Limit one (1) entry per person, per email address and per household or department.  For more details, click here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bernice Weber Celebrates 80th Birthday


Dorchester's Bernice Weber is celebrating her 80th birthday.

Her family ran the following in the Lincoln Journal Star yesterday, Jan. 10:  "This very energetic mother of three, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of six certainly isn't slowing down. 

"After working almost 50 years at the Dorchester Bank, she currently is in the office part-time for the Village of Dorchester, along with being active in her church. 

"Please help her celebrate with a card shower to 419 County Rd. 1400, Dorchester, NE 68343.  

"With all our love, Phil, Larry, Lori, Lyle and families."

Happy 80th to Bernice!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TONIGHT: Soup Supper Set For Tuesday For BB Games Vs. Friend


The Times has learned that Dorchester's Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (EPAC) and Future Business Leaders of America plan to sponsor a free will donation soup supper during the basketball games with Friend High School this coming Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

The groups need donations of soup -- probably around five gallons of both varieties of soup.  

EPAC volunteers say they will be having chili and chicken noodle. 

It is requested the the soup recipes be simple since volunteers will be mixing the donated soups.

Those wanting to help or bring soup to the school should arrive Tuesday between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

EPAC volunteers also report they will need four parent volunteers to help with serving -- two people from 5:00-6:30 and two people from 6:30-8:00. 

FBLA students will be having concessions that night, so they will be there to help, as well, and will be taking care of cleanup. 

Those interested should contact Kylie Kubicek or call the school at (402) 946-2781.

EPAC is overseen by parents and the school to help DPS teachers and students with classroom supplies, while also advancing the academic pursuits of Dorchester's elementary students. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Question For Area Schools: More Focus On Vocational Skills?


Here is a plea to local school administrators and board members: let's start focusing more on giving young people real vocational skills before they head out into the work world.

In his column in Industrial Distribution, Jack Keough laments the aging state of the America's manufacturing workforce.  The article notes that 2 million jobs in the sector will likely go unfilled over the next decade, but that “only three out of 10 parents would encourage their kids into manufacturing as a career.” 

Think about how many of your electronics, plastics, tools, clothing, cosmetics -- and even food -- are now made overseas.  

Then think about how many 20- or 30-somethings you know without a job or who are underemployed working a low-paying service sector job.

Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent comments regarding how the United States, "over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills."  It's one of the reasons Apple must outsource the manufacturing of its many gadgets to China.  In short, Cook said Chinese workers have more skills than American laborers.

A recent study by the Manufacturing Institute found that Gen Y (ages 19-33 years) respondents ranked manufacturing last as a career choice.  

This despite the fact that every job in manufacturing creates another 2.5 new jobs.  This despite the fact that nearly one-third so-called "Millennials" are living at home or with a relative, even as some approach their mid-thirties. (Read that again if you're not shaking your head.)

Students, parents and school officials -- from top administrators to counselors to board members -- should recognize the surging demand for skilled labor in America, especially in our part of the country.

Students who obtain a certified trade skill tend to:

  • Graduate with little or no debt.
  • Make more money right out of high school or community college.  (Hard-working young welders are making over $100,000 in many cases.)
  • Have more job offers.
  • Keep jobs longer.
  • Own their own businesses and set their own hours, if they want to.

Knowing this, and knowing the foreseeable job market, why aren't more public schools expanding their technical and vocational training? 

Why aren't more parents and schools recognizing the changing economy, which no longer provides enough service sector jobs for people with liberal arts four-year degrees and $100,000 in student debt?

And perhaps most importantly, why would any 30-year-old still want to live with mommy and daddy?

Friday, January 8, 2016

OUR COMMENTARY: Call Village Office About Marquee, Not The Times



UPDATE:  At 2 p.m. Friday, the Times received this update from Gloria Riley, Dorchester village clerk and treasurer.  Ms. Riley wrote: "I understand there are questions concerning the Marquee. We are waiting on a company to install a new one. Please be patient. A new village website is in the works. More information to follow when available."

Good communication is key.  We can all agree on that.  

Customers like to be kept in the loop with updates from businesses.  Parents appreciate notifications and constant contact from school officials.  

And community residents want to be updated from their city officials and organizations. 

That's why we agree with readers who've told us they want Dorchester's electronic marquee back on.

Installed in the spring of 2007, the orange-and-black electronic sign that now graces Dorchester's Main Street median displays the date, time and temperature, while also announcing upcoming town events and special messages, including birthday greetings to residents. The new marquee has not only added some extra livliness to Washington Avenue, it has served as an effective method of mass communication.

The marquee has not been operating for the past month.  

But complaints to the Times won't help. We're just a blog. 

Call the village office (402-946-3201) to connect with the folks who can do something about it.