The Comstock Chronicle, voice of the wild wild west, officially changed hands Friday.
Editor, writer and jack-of-all-trades Martin Lane owned the small paper for eight-and-a-half years but recently sold the financially struggling publication to Kristen Bachler and Betty Kaplowitz, two artists from the Bay Area. The two moved to Silver City two-and-a-half years ago.
"We heard that it (the Chronicle) might shut down, and we didn't want to see it die," Bachler said.
Kaplowitz is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and majored in creative writing at San Francisco State. After school, she worked as a musician, singer and song-writer and has completed two albums and published poetry.
Originally from Minnesota, Bachler graduated from Barnard College, an adjunct to Columbia University in New York City, with a degree in history. She moved to San Francisco to pursue her art and there started working as a historical writer and researcher.
That research brought her to Virginia City, and though she wasn't willing to reveal the details of the plot, she is still researching her book.
"I used to come here for my research, and every time I went back to San Francisco I wanted to be here," Bachler said, noting that in part she wants to show Nevada to everyone she knows. But she also wants to keep it to herself. "Nevada is a very special part of the world."
A writer and painter, Bachler is an artist first. But she's also a certified tax consultant. Both work in the business, which allows them to live where they want, pay the bills and still have time for their art.
They limit their tax consulting business to artists, because for them there are a number of specific issues. Clients live all over the world, and the two advertise only by word of mouth.
"It makes doing taxes tolerable because of the people we deal with," Bachler said. "Taxes are not something we love. We do it for the money, and to help support the paper until it starts supporting us."
Bachler's roots are in the newspaper business. Her great-grandfather owned a newspaper, and both parents were newspaper writers. Her first job was writing for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, where she interviewed artists and reviewed performances, art and music.
Editorially the two are cutting an ambitious swath for themselves with the Chronicle. They want to increase coverage of the arts, history and local issues. Editorial comments will be limited exclusively to the editorial page, and the scope of hard news will be expanded to include information about issues in surrounding counties that could impact Storey County.
They want to reinstitute the visitors' guide and coverage of local events, and expand distribution of the paper into Reno and Lake Tahoe to get more tourists off the "main drag" (Reno, Carson City and Lake Tahoe.)
The two may have a lot on their plate, but they've received overwhelming support from the community.
"Irish" (his first and last name) has offered to distribute the paper for gas and lunch money, and many others have offered to write for free. Local, Karl Larson will be paid for handling production, and Carolyn Beaupre will continue writing her column.
Bachler said they will be employing local people, and as soon as the paper begins turning a profit, she wants to put them on the payroll.
The first edition will be on the stands Jan. 5.