Judge Gives Tentative Approval for Claremont 'Eagle-Times' Sale

By: A New Hampshire newspaper that closed in July may soon be up and running again after a federal judge gave a Pennsylvania newspaper chain conditional approval Wednesday to buy the publication.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge J. Michael Deasy tentatively approved the sale of the Eagle-Times in Claremont to the Sample News Group during a hearing in Manchester. The family-owned chain is based in Huntington, Pa.

Deasy asked the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Victor Dahar, to amend some paperwork to clarify the terms of the deal by Sept. 9. The bid also must be reviewed by a consumer privacy ombudsman by that date to ensure subscribers' personal information is protected when handed over to the new owners.

George Sample of Sample News Group said he hopes to have the daily newspaper up and running with a staff of 25 before the end of the month under the company Eagle Printing and Publishing.

The paper, with a circulation of about 7,800, covered the city of Claremont and some Vermont towns. It closed suddenly, with the publisher saying the economy and changes in the industry made it impossible to survive.

It published its last edition July 10, laying off 66 full-time and 29 part-time employees. Parent company Eagle Publications filed for bankruptcy the same day.

Along with the Eagle-Times, the company's three weekly papers, The Weekly Flea, the Connecticut Valley Spectator in Lebanon, and The Message for the Week based in Chester, Vt., also ceased publication.

According to court papers, Eagle Publications had assets of about $870,000 and debts of about $4.69 million before going through bankruptcy proceedings.

Sample News Group also owns daily newspapers in Maine, Pennsylvania and New York.


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