The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Couple fulfills dream with purchase of Seward newspaper


courtesy photo Tommy and Patricia Wells, shown above with their 7-month-old granddaughter, Ryhlie, fulfilled a dream recently when they purchased the Seward Phoenix LOG from All Allaska News Unlimited publisher Edgar Blatchford.

The Seward Phoenix LOG will have a few new faces in familiar places soon.

Tommy and Patricia (Pattie) Wells will assume control of the historic Kenai Peninsula newspaper from former Seward mayor Edgar Blatchford, effective May 11, 2017.

A 30-year veteran of the newspaper industry, Tommy Wells will serve as publisher and editor of the publication, along with his wife, Pattie, who will handle the accounting and circulation. The Seward Phoenix LOG was originally established in 1965 and has operated continuously since then.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to purchase the Seward Phoenix LOG," said Tommy Wells, the president of the LOG's parent company, Last Frontier Communications. "This is a dream come true for my wife and I. We have always dreamed of owning a newspaper in our adopted home of Alaska."

The Wells family - which includes two daughters and two sons - previously owned seven other publications, including The Granite Enterprise and the Eldorado Courier in Oklahoma, the Throckmorton Tribune, Knox County News and Strawn News-Miner in Texas, The Erie Record in Kansas and The Ballard Weekly in Wickliffe, Kentucky. The couple also owns Six-Man Illustrated, a national preseason football magazine for the sport of six-man football.

A native of Pasadena, Texas, Wells attended high school and college in Ranger, Texas, before serving in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST-1180) and the U.S.S. Boulder (LST-1190). A former beat writer for the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys and now-defunct World League of American Football's San Anonio Riders, Tommy began his newspaper career in high school by serving as sports editor for the local paper, the Ranger Times. He later served as publisher of the Quad City Messenger in Palo Pinto County, Texas, before leaving to serve as editor at daily newspapers in Kansas and North Dakota. He also served as managing editor for the Russell Daily News in the late 1990s before leaving to work in Alaska.

"I look forward to working with everyone in the Seward area," said Wells. "My wife and I have been to Seward on many occasions and are looking forward to becoming a part of the community."

Joining Wells at the helm of the LOG will be his wife, Pattie. She will serve as business manager for the paper. She has more than 20 years experience in the newspaper business. Most recently, she served as production/office manager of the couple's small chain of papers.

By purchasing the paper, the couple said they ended a 20-plus year quest to own a paper in Alaska.

"After I got out of the Navy, my wife and I decided to come to Alaska. Thanks to an offer from a friend of ours who was managing Alaska Newspapers, Inc., we settled in Nome and absolutely fell in love with the state, he said. "When we left Nome, I told my wife if the opportunity ever came up to own a paper here, I would jump on it. Really, this is a chance for us to come home."

The couple has four children, including Whitney, 28; Tommy Jr. (Bubba), 25; Kayme, 24; and Bobby 22. They also have three grandchildren: Mallorie, 8; Dominic, 5; and Ryhlie (Jewels); 7 months.

Wells said his children will help with the paper whenever possible. Kayme, an award-winning columnist in Oklahoma, will be a regular contributor from her home in Big Spring, Texas.

Tommy and Pattie are shown above with their four children. Shown from left are Kaymee Fountain, Whitney Rios, Pattie Wells, Tommy Wells, Bobby Wells and Tommy Wells, Jr.

"We are looking forward to coming to Seward," Wells said. "We are excited about the opportunity to meet the people and experience everything the community has to offer."

"We believe a local newspaper is important to every community, and are anxious to contribute what we can to Seward and the entire area," he added.

Wells said the newspaper will have an "open door" policy to its readers.

"We encourage local input, stories and photo submissions from our readers," he said.

As doe the Seward Phoenix LOG, both said they want to re-establish the paper as something the community can be proud of.

"When we lived in Nome, PK and I would always read the Seward Phoenix-Log and marvel at the work that Colleen Kelly and Nancy Erickson did. We always thought the LOG was the crown jewel of the ANI chain. When Edgar approached me about taking over the paper so he could focus on some other projects, we didn't even hesitate."


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