With this edition of the Tri-County Times, the newspaper celebrates its quasquicentennial – its 125th year of publication.
Since 1890, the Times has been in continuous publication except for two years during World War II, when it suspended publication because of shortages brought about by the war.
Thanks to the Times, the communities of Alleman, Cambridge, Collins, Elkhart, Huxley, Kelley, Maxwell, Polk City, Sheldahl and Slater have a source of local news in their hands every week of the year. Not only is that news important now, it also becomes a valuable historical reference. Generation after generation can look back though the files of the Times and glean accurate knowledge of their family’s history, along with that of their community, church and school.
The Times’ history can be traced back to Slater. The town was just a few months old when the first issue of The Slater News was printed on Jan. 10, 1890, with Frank B. Cramer serving as owner and publisher. Cramer came to town from Des Moines, where he was a railroad dispatcher. He also served as its first town clerk.
Cramer remained at the helm of the News for just a few months. He sold his new venture in October of 1890 to Ole Langland. In January of 1903, Langland disposed of the newspaper to Osmond Viland and Andrew Maland. Langland then moved to Cambridge, where he had purchased the Cambridge Leader. The Leader eventually merged with The Slater News in 1971.
Viland and Maland remained partners for several years until, by mutual agreement, Maland assumed entire ownership. He edited the News for the next 36 years, until Mary and Phil Rood purchased it on May 1, 1939.
During Maland’s years at the News, several young Slater men served their apprenticeships. The group includes George Whipple, Guy Bassett, Fred Whipple, Eddie Cleveland, Gorden and Milton Rayness, and Swan Johnson. Andrew’s son, Obert, also worked at the News through his high school and college days.
The Roods published the News until World War II, when the shortage of paper and supplies forced them to suspend publication for two years. During the war, Mary continued to do commercial printing while Phil served as Fire Department captain at the Des Moines Ordnance Plant in Ankeny. Andrew Maland wrote the Slater News and it appeared weekly in the Ames Daily Tribune.
After the war, the Roods began publishing the News again. Over the years, they were assisted by many helping hands, including their daughter Phillis (Rood) Newman, son Ed, Phil’s father E.C., daughter-in-law Sharon (Kaldenberg) and grandson Charles Newman, along with many area citizens.
On April 1, 1972, Sharon and Ed Rood purchased the Maxwell News. In November, 1972, shortly after the merger with the Maxwell News, the newspaper’s name was changed to The Tri-County Times.
At this time, the newspaper was still being produced by a process described as letterpress printing. Every word appearing in the newspaper was created from individual wood or metal letters or by a typesetting machine called a Linotype.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the printing method was converted to a process called offset printing. The offset procedure soon became more and more computerized, until it was possible to produce a newspaper of higher printing quality and easier reading with less labor.
The Times continued under the ownership of Sharon and Ed Rood until 1997, when it was purchased by Partnership Press. Phil Rood was still proofreading for the newspaper at the time.
In 1999, the newspaper became part of the Omaha World Herald publications. The newspaper was later acquired by Stevens Media group and is now part of GateHouse Media.