Vail Daily parent buys Grand County papers
Vail, CO, Colorado
The Vail Daily’s parent company announced this week it has bought four newspapers in Grand County.
Colorado Mountain News Media General Manager Steve Pope announced this week the company has purchased Granby’s Sky-Hi News, the Winter Park Manifest, Kremmling’s Middle Park Times, the Grand Lake Prospector, and the Daily Tribune.
“It’s difficult to say good-bye, but it’s time to move on,” said Bill Johnson, who has owned the papers for almost 30 years. “Colorado Mountain News Media will bring in new technology and fresh ideas so the papers can move forward.”
Kim Burner, currently general manager of the Bargain Hunter and previously the general manager of the Eagle Valley Enterprise, has been named the new publisher for the newspapers.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Colorado Mountain News Media and for the communities these newspapers have served so well. I’m looking forward to building the newspapers and working for the communities,” said Burner.
Burner, who lives in Gypsum, said she and her family will move to Grand County as soon as they can find a home.
Pope said the Grand County papers will be a good fit for Colorado Mountain News Media.
“We intend to maintain the local focus and promise to bring them to even higher levels of service in the future,” Pope said.
Patrick Brower, editor and publisher of the Sky-Hi News in Granby, said the change in ownership was a good move.
“Bill and I had been wanting to make some changes in the papers for a while. We realized it was time to let someone else come in and make those changes. We’d seen Colorado Mountain News Media take its papers ” particularly in Summit County ” through those same changes already and we knew what they could do.
“This area is a lot like Summit County was 15 or 20 years ago. They know what has to be done and they know how to do it.”
But Brower and Johnson have guided their newspapers through one wrenching change, on June 4, 2004, when area resident Marv Heemeyer used a 60-ton, heavily armored bulldozer to demolish the Sky-Hi News building in Granby, along with a dozen other downtown buildings, before killing himself.
Although the Granby building served as the central production facility and printing plant for all the group’s papers, not one edition was missed.
Johnson and Brower set up emergency headquarters in the tiny Winter Park Manifest office. Brower managed to rescue two vital computers from the wreckage and the papers stayed in business.
Within weeks, they had rescued the press from the demolished building and moved it and the rest of their operations to a nearby middle school that had been closed and slated for demolition.
They operated from that school for almost a year and then, in May 2005, they moved into their new building, back in the heart of Granby.