SEASIDE - The Seaside Signal has new owners.

A group of three families from Wyoming takes over the newspaper, effective Friday.

Kyle Larson, who has served as publisher since buying the paper from Swift Newspapers in February 2003, said in the Signal today he planned to remain in the community and pursue other interests.

The new owners are Tom and Annie Mullen and Gary and Sue Stevenson of Sheridan, Wyo., and Robb and Jenn Hicks of Buffalo, Wyo.

The couples are family friends who went into partnership some 10 or more years ago and operate one daily newspaper and 10 community weeklies in five states.

Their papers include five in Wyoming: the Sheridan County Bounty, Pine Bluffs Post, Saratoga Sun, Buffalo Bulletin, Newcastle News Letter Journal; three in Montana: the Glasgow Courier, Silver State Post in Deer Lodge and the Philipsburg Mail; plus three in other states: the one daily, the Sidney Telegraph in Nebraska, plus the Crested Butte News in Colorado and the Teton Valley News in Driggs, Idaho.

The Mullens were in Seaside Wednesday and today, meeting newspaper staff and members of the community. "We need to get to know the staff and determine the dynamics of leadership," said Tom Mullen, when asked about who would be in charge of the Signal.

Annie Mullen said the benefits of the group is that it is able to draw on expertise in a variety of areas from staffs at its papers. "We have the resources throughout our newspapers," she said, noting that their son Jesse, runs the smallest paper in the group in Philipsburg, Mont. "It's a big extended family."

Tom Mullen said the new owners wish to build on strengths at the Signal, drawing on expertise from staff at his other papers.

"The strategy is to have fun," said Mullen, whose business card avoids grand titles and reads simply: "newspaperman."

Both the Mullens said they are looking forward to being in Seaside regularly - they are on the waiting list for a slip in Warrenton for their sailboat. "We like to go to places where it's beautiful," said Annie Mullen.

The new owners declined to reveal the Signal's purchase price.

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