Ballantine buys Pine River Times

Editor remains aboard in Bayfield

Ballantine Communications Inc., the parent company of The Mancos Times, completed the purchase of the Pine River Times from Melanie and Robert Mazur on Monday.

Bayfield's weekly newspaper becomes Ballantine Communications' fifth Southwest Colorado newspaper, joining the Cortez Journal, Mancos Times, Dolores Star and Durango Herald. The company also includes Ballantine Digital Media and DirectoryPlus.

The Pine River Times will continue to be published each Friday, and will be based at its office on 110 E. Mill St. in Bayfield. Mazur will stay on as managing editor.

"First and foremost, we will keep the identity of the Pine River Times and make sure it stays focused on Bayfield, Ignacio and the surrounding area," Ballantine Communications CEO Doug Bennett said.

The Pine River Times has a print circulation of about 1,600. An electronic edition reaches 300 readers, with some overlap. Home delivery will be offered to some Times subscribers.

The news department is staffed by Mazur and longtime staff writer Carole McWilliams. McWilliams also will be asked to stay.

Mazur said Bennett approached her in fall about selling, and presented a fair offer.

"I've viewed myself as caretaker of the community paper, and I believe this was the best opportunity to continue and grow," Mazur said.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Ballantine Communications is privately held.

Bennett said Ballantine Communications will use its resources to offer more and better video, digital and mobile content to Times readers. He added that the Times will be able to publish the Herald's news content, and vice versa.

"We will of course share our content with (Mazur), and she will of course pick the content that works best for her community," he said.

The Pine River Times was founded in 1985 by Stephen and Lynda Cannon. Ann McCoy purchased the paper from them in 1987 and ran it until 2002, when Mazur and her husband, Robert, purchased it.

At the time the Mazurs purchased the Times, the Missionary Ridge Fire was burning. Recently, Bayfield readers were captivated by the story of Dylan Redwine, a 13-year-old boy who was found dead near Vallecito Reservoir after a seven-month search.

With the Times' acquisition, Ballantine Communications grows its significant footprint in Southwest Colorado. Bennett said he's not interested in combining the properties into one organization.