Reunited, and it feels so good: Spokesman, Collector's News alums convene in Grundy Center

Former employees of the Farm Bureau Spokesman and Collector’s News, which were printed in Grundy Center for decades before moving operations to Iowa Falls and Waterloo, respectively, gathered for a reunion at the Natural Grind coffee shop on Tuesday morning. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

Once upon a time, Grundy Center was home to one of the largest small-town printing and publishing hubs in all of Iowa, with at least 75 workers between the Farm Bureau Spokesman and Collector’s News. Those days have long since passed, but for the employees who gathered at the Natural Grind on Tuesday morning, a reunion provided an opportunity to relish the memories and enjoy a hot cup of coffee while perusing through the artifacts of a bygone era.


Two of the women present, Carma Dimke and Phyllis Modlin, started all the way back in the late 1940s—when hot type presses were the standard and computers were still something of a novelty.  Dimke was with National Hog Farmer magazine, a periodical that was also published from the same building that’s now owned by Rex and Cindy Van Wert, and Modlin worked for the Spokesman, which launched in 1934 and moved its operations to Iowa Falls around 15 years ago. 


Modlin was one of the first women to work on the press floor editing copy and setting the pages, and at the time, her presence ruffled a few feathers. Dimke compiled county news from each of Iowa’s 99 and typed it all out by hand.


“Some of the guys just couldn’t get over it,” Modlin said. “But they were very nice and patient with me.”


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