25 YEARS AGO: Aegis sold to Times Mirror-owned Baltimore Sun

From The Aegis dated Jan. 1, 1987:

Not necessarily a big deal to its readers, but Shield Press, publisher of The Aegis, was sold to The Baltimore Sun 25 years ago this week. Anne Worthington and John D. Worthington IV, whose family owned and operated the paper for 82 years, would remain the publishers.

As it turned out, Anne Worthington stayed with the company less than four more years, but her cousin, John D. Worthington IV, stayed quite a bit longer. He left the company at the end of 2010.

The company was not on the market, the Worthingtons said, but certain things came together and the family felt it was in the best interest to sell. Negotiations began Dec. 1 and a deal was reached Dec. 29. It was announced a day later.

The company would become part of the Times Mirror Company, owner of The Sun.

Reg Murphy, publisher of The Baltimore Sun, would be president of the board of directors of Shield Press.

"I have long thought The Aegis is the best weekly newspaper in the United States," Murphy said.

In other news as 1986 turned into 1987, Harford was expected to net $4.9 million from the acquisition of Upper Chesapeake Health Systems Inc.'s takeover of Fallston General Hospital.

Harford Memorial's parent corporation settled with Harford County Executive Habern Freeman, who refused to let Upper Chesapeake and Harford Memorial Hospital go through with the merger without considering what Freeman said were the vested interests of the taxpayers in Harford Memorial, the hospital in Havre de Grace, whose principal buildings and grounds were owned by the county.

The remaining shelves at Safeway in downtown Bel Air were being cleared this week 25 years ago. The store closed its doors after 25 years on Main Street and most of the 50 employees working there had been relocated. Those who were not willing to relocate were laid off.

The Bel Air store was one of six in the region that was closed because it was determined to be too small and unprofitable.

Though he had said he would retire after 42 years in public service, William S. James, the state's only full-time treasurer, changed his mind and decided to fight to stay on in his position. While he admitted it was an uphill battle, James said a new governor was set to take office and the legislature was getting ready to convene.

He never said he was planning to retire, James said in an interview.

"I really only said I was looking into the future," James said. "Like a woman, a politician has the prerogative to change his mind."

Twenty-eight people died on Harford County roads in 1986, a 34 percent decrease compared to the 43 who died in 37 crashes a year earlier.

Three of the crashes involved motorcycles (two were wearing helmets) and in two of the crashes, two people died. The youngest person to die was 15, the oldest a 78-year-old woman from New York.

A Bel Air man donated his 27th gallon of blood 25 years ago this week, 20-plus years after giving his first pint. American Red Cross officials said his donations helped save 1,000 lives over the years.

As 1986 came to a close, The Aegis looked back at the big stories, including a mother of five winning the $10 million Lotto jackpot in January, the first major snowfall of the year (5.5 inches) that closed school in February, teachers docked pay for playing hooky in March, a $107.8 million budget unveiled in April, continuation of the rabies epidemic in May, high school graduations in June, reopening of the Otter Point boat ramp in July, a stay at Harford County Detention Center by John Walker, who was convicted of heading a spy ring which sold secret documents to the USSR, in August, gunman Frank Green terrorizing Havre de Grace in September, Cal Ripken Sr. becoming the Orioles manager in October, opening of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum in November and the death of Havre de Grace and Harford County politico Frank Hutchins in December.

The Aegis named Trevor Smith of Havre de Grace High and Annemarie Merow of John Carroll its Athletes of the Year and Sue Strobel of Fallston High and Shawn Baker of Havre de Grace its Coaches of the Year for 1986.

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