When people in Kasson and the surrounding areas think about the history of the DCI, there’s one name that comes to mind.
That’s why during the annual Kasson Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting last month Folmer and Randy Carlsen were honored with the Legacy Award for their combined almost 100 years of dedication to the community.
While Randy was in attendance to accept the Legacy Award on the behalf of his father Folmer, he was surprised when the next winner was him.
“I was a little choked up,” Randy said. “I knew my father was deserving of it because he started the business. I thought he was more deserving than me,” he added.
On July 1,1963, Folmer Carlsen bought the DCI at the age of 29, making him the youngest newspaper owner in the state. Ever since then his family and him have been a big part of the community.
In the nomination letter for Folmer, the letter written by Milt Kuball said in part, “Folmer was a great promoter of the City of Kasson and it’s entire business community.” The letter would go onto state, “He, with the help of the DCI, helped my business become and stay successful.”
The nomination letter would go onto state that he would always make people in the community feel important.
“Folmer always made one feel important and that your ideas and or opinions were important even if he did not agree. He was a very good listener and had a deep respect for all people in the community.”
Randy explained that the family was always very involved with the newspaper from the time he was young.
One example of how involved the family was when it came to the paper was when Randy graduated from college.
After graduation, he and his family went over to their house for cake and to celebrate for a little before making their way over to the office to put out the paper.
“The ink got into my blood at a fairly early age,” Randy said.
That statement was certainly the case throughout his adulthood as the only career he had until 2015 was in the newspaper career.
After working for 20 years for his father, he eventually bought the business from his dad, and ran it for 20 years.
“I didn’t have any other desires for my career,” Randy explained.
During his time working and owning the paper, Randy covered every type of community event from city council meetings to sports and everything in between.
In Randy’s view being able to cover a wide variety of different community affairs is what makes small local papers so important.
“Local newspapers have a niche,” Carlsen explained. ”We deliver a product to people that the bigger newspapers can’t do,” he added.
One of the events that he covered every year for 41 years was the Kasson-Mantorville graduations, including three which featured his kids.
Despite the long hours, and very few breaks and vacations, Randy said that it was well worth it.
“For many years it didn’t feel like work,” Randy said.
The DCI was sold to Rick Bussler on July 1 2015, exactly 52 years after Folmer bought it.