Bolsinger takes on Graham News

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LuAnn Bolsinger will serve as the new Graham correspondent, collecting news from the area for weekly publication in The Press. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

The first time LuAnn Bolsinger visited Graham, she was sixteen years old and had just earned her driver’s license. As she struggled to find her way to her boyfriend Tom’s house, she never dreamed she would someday be collecting the news for this tiny town.

LuAnn grew up in Greeley. She met Tom through members of his family who also lived there, and in 1978 she joined him as a resident of Graham. Tom graduated from high school in 1976 and began working for Exide Technologies. The couple share four children: Tony, of Zwingle, and Amanda, Cassie, and Brittney, of Waterloo. 

When long-time Graham correspondent Esther Welsh passed away late in 2014, LuAnn spoke with Esther’s daughter, Nancy, who helped keep up the Graham News when her mother moved in with her in Cedar Rapids. “Esther thought so much of it,” said LuAnn. “I wanted to keep it alive.”

LuAnn has spent the last decade working in Edgewood-Colesburg schools as an elementary special education para-professional as well as in the kitchen. She drives a Suburban bus route, and volunteers in the Methodist church as the head of the worship committee. Readers may recognize her from the Methodist Election Day meal and various community benefits.

Esther Welsh and her mother, Edna Bolsinger, contributed to the Graham News for a combined 60 years. (Esther’s father and Tom’s great-grandfather were brothers.)  LuAnn plans to continue Esther’s tradition of making weekly phone calls and starting each week’s news with a witty phrase. 

“You wouldn’t believe how many people have thanked me for taking the news,” she told The Press. She’ll be calling five families in Graham and the surrounding area, and she can count off, by name, each of the town’s nearly 20 residents. Everyone who considers themselves a part of the Graham community is welcome to contact LuAnn to be added to her weekly call list. 

While the Graham News never covers politics, pandemics, or criminal activity, it’s one of the most consistently read sections of The Press. It chronicles the history of the small community through only the common place. The Graham News has a following of all ages, and getting one’s name in the Graham News is akin to achieving celebrity status among Press readers. 

“Through the years, I’ve always heard feedback about the Graham news," said Shelia Tomkins, News Manager. "It seems to hold a special interest for both long-time readers with a Graham connection as well as for others who never met anyone from Graham. Perhaps the attraction comes from providing a glimpse at the daily comings and goings of a handful of rural Iowans -- the holiday gatherings, the doctor visits, the euchre parties, the meals with friends and family, the hunting stories, the births, and the deaths.”

LuAnn Bolsinger joins the ranks of small-town news correspondents, a group whose shrinking numbers make their role even more important.

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