Summit Times changes hands
FRISCO – One year, nearly to the day, after The Ten Mile Times changed names and became The Summit Times, ownership of the Frisco-based weekly newspaper has changed again.
On Oct. 30, eight-year Summit County resident Bethanne Dressel and Boulder publisher James Tailer teamed up to acquire the newspaper and its side publications, the Copper Cable, The Guide and the Summit Association of Realtors Summary.
They bought the publications from Summit County resident Craig Halborg and his partner, the Missouri-based Sun Publications LLC, whose principals included Kurt Lewis and Mark Luebbert.
“After living, working and playing in Summit County for eight years, I am excited to be an owner of such dynamic publications,” Dressel said. “This is a great opportunity for me to give back to this community that has given me so much.”
This won’t be as drastic a change as last October, when Halborg joined Sun Publications and the 20-year-old paper and quickly changed its look and name.
At that time, ownership hired several new employees and touted the paper as a new voice in Summit County.
“They were local, established publications that we tried to put a new voice in, and I was really excited about the people that stepped up and did that,” Halborg said. “It’s set up perfectly for someone who wants to bring it to the next level.”
From the beginning, Halborg and Sun Publications intended their reworking of the newspapers to be a short-term project.
“They (Sun Publications) were definitely in it to sell it,” Halborg said.
Dressel and Tailer began publishing last week under the name Summit County Publishing LLC.
They have already hired two full-time advertising sales representatives, bringing the total number of employees to six full-time and two part-time.
If plans to increase ad sales pan out, the page count will go up and the editorial content will become more extensive.
“We obviously want to grow the paper,” Tailer said. “As we grow, we’ll be adding new features. One of the first will be the addition of an editorial page.”
Tailer and Dressel also hope to increase coverage of schools, sports, nonprofit activity and community news.
“We’re going to be involved in everything,” Dressel said.
The editorial staff, anchored by reporters Terry Talty and Liz Leinweber and editor/production guru Brian Headlee, will remain the same, as will the stable of columnists the paper features.
The company won’t tinker with the look of the paper either, as Halborg and Sun Publications did a year ago.
“I don’t see any drastic changes (to the look of the paper),” Tailer said.
Leinweber, who covers arts and entertainment in the paper’s Groove section and doubles as a copy editor, said the ownership change was expected.
“We knew about this six months ago,” she said. “It just takes a while for it to happen. We just kind of kept our noses out of it and did our jobs until it happened.”
Now that it has, the staff is hoping for a productive future.
“We’d like to add some pages and get a little meatier,” Leinweber said. “We’ve thrown out so many ideas, I don’t want to spill the beans.”
Tailer has a journalism degree from the University of Arizona. He has worked in newspapers for three decades, starting in the pressroom at The Daily Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill. He also spent time in the advertising and circulation departments at The Chicago Sun-Times and was publisher of a group of weeklies near Nashville, Tenn.
Dressel, a graduate of the University of Maryland, was advertising director of the Colorado Daily in Boulder and served as membership director for the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Silverthorne with her daughter Mary Rachel Hostetter.
The Summit Times has a circulation of 7,000, and the Copper Cable is at 5,000.
The Summit Times was founded as the Ten Mile Times by Frisco residents Miles Porter and Mary Staby. They sold Times, Cable and Guide to Sun Publications LLC in 1999 shortly after winning a suit against the town of Frisco over an advertising boycott.