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Monday, June 09, 2003

NY Times on Westport: Despite

NY Times on Westport:  Despite Snub, Sympathy for StewartӔ
Todays New York Times joins the national mediaҒs scrutiny of Westport and its relationship with its most famous possible-prisoner-to-be, Martha Stewart.

In a Westport Journal,Ӕ the second in the newspaper in less than a month (the other was about tax “gadfly” Michael Gilbertie), reporter Paul von Zielbauer sums up the Westport reaction this way:

Here in the town she once publicly snubbed, and where people later signed a public letter of good riddance, the freshly indicted Martha Stewart has become an object more of sympathy than derision.”

The account mentioned StewartӒs now-famous New York Times Magazine article three years ago in which she announced she was leaving Westport (but didnt) and said many Westporters had pointed out that unlike Paul Newman, Phil Donahue and several of the town’s other celebrity residents, Stewart ғnever seemed interested in reaching out to her own community.

It added, ԓBut among the latte and Land Rover crowd populating Westport’s fashionable Main Street shopping district over the weekend, the dominant feeling was that Ms. Stewart who was charged on Wednesday with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud ח is getting a raw deal.

Martha Talks Update: 6 Million

Martha Talks Update: 6 Million Hits, 40,000 Messages and Counting
In the second update of her marthatalks.com Web site since its launch last week, Martha Stewart says she continues to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that has come my way.”

In a letter to visitors, accompanied by a picture of her with two of her dogs on the back steps of her Westport home, she said her site has logged more than 6 million hits.

And she said almost 40,000 visitors have taken the time to send messages of support and encouragement.

ԔWhile I would like very much to be able to respond to each of these messages individually, Im sure you can imagine that simply isnҒt feasible, given the volume of mail I am receiving,” she wrote.

For now, I hope that those of you who have written will accept my heartfelt public thanks for your kind words and good wishes.Ӕ

Stewart added, What I can do here is share a selection of the notes I have received that are most representative of the thoughts that so many have sent.

ӓI invite you to read them and to keep sharing your thoughts as I hope to post new selections regularly.

A note accompanying the messages said the authors had given permission to post them along with their name and hometown.

Newsweek: Martha Stewart Should Try

Newsweek: Martha Stewart Should Try for Danbury Prison
The legal pundits are having a field day discussing the likelihood that Martha Stewart may go to prison. Now Newsweek has found one expert suggesting which prison and he picked Danbury.

In its issue hitting newsstands this week, the magazine reported:

֓Sentencing consultant Alan Ellis, coauthor of the Federal Prison Guidebook,ђ says if shes facing prison time, heҒd try to get her sent to the minimum-security prison camp in Danbury, Conn., so shed be closer to visitors from New York.

ғOne small consolation: according to the guidebook, the camp features craft and aerobics classes.

The last prominent Westporter to do time in a federal prison was Stew Leonard Sr., jailed for three and a half years in 1993 in a tax evasion scheme. The founder of the ԓworlds largest dairy storeҔ served his sentence at the minimum-security federal prison in Bradford, Pa.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

NY Times: Westport Retains Retail

NY Times: Westport Retains Retail Allure with Old-Time Shopping
Todays New York Times focuses on WestportҒs Main Street and Greenwichs downtown as bastions of old-time shopping.

In a story headlined ғOld-Time Shopping Is in Fashion in Wealthy Towns, Times correspondent Eleanor Charles, who has written often about WestportԒs real estate market, said Westport attracts those who find mall shopping unsatisfying.

It has been a factor in the success and continued high rents ֖ of Main Street for years, but the Times lead paragraph makes it sound as if it is something new:

In some affluent suburbs around the country, people are returning to the old-fashioned way of shopping, urban retail analysts say: strolling along a downtown street, stepping into a store, stepping outside to browse the next few stores, lunching at a cozy restaurant, pausing to chat with a friend in the shade of a sidewalk tree.Ӕ

But the Times then quotes an expert who acknowledges it is a trend in place at least since the mid 90s.

The story includes details of recent Main Street sales transactions but notes that not everything on the street is high-end retail Җ citing Oscars Deli, opened in 1948, and AchornҒs Pharmacy, a Main Street fixture since 1927.

The Times does have an error many Westporters will be quick to spot. It said Westports population is 23,000. The 2000 census put it at 25,749. It has not been 23,000 at least since the 60Ғs. The Times also listed Greenwich’s population as 65,000. The 2000 census put it at 61,101.

Less apparent is the error stating a Main Street property changed hands “last month” for $18.1 million. It was actually April 14 (see WestportNow on April 19, 2003).

Larry King to Martha: We

Larry King to Martha: We Were So Poor When We Were Kids We Couldnt Say ғWestport
CNN tonight aired a rerun of an interview Larry King did in February 2002 with Martha Stewart and the conversation touched briefly on Westport.

King: ԓYoure in Westport?Ҕ

Stewart: Oh, yes, we have a state-of-the-art television studio in Westport.Ӕ

King: Do you know how poor we were when we were kids? We couldnӒt say ‘Westport.’

Saturday, June 07, 2003

NY Times: Mitchells Shrinking its

NY Times: Mitchells Shrinking its Mens Clothing Space, Part of National Trend
SundayҒs New York Times takes a look at what it says is smaller space being devoted to mens clothing at retailers around the country and zeroes in on Mitchells of Westport.

ғMitchells is known around the country as one of the last great men’s retailers an icon of the traditional carriage trade, a bastion of ribbon belts and club ties, dark green linen jackets and light yellow socks, interspersed with Armani,ה the newspaper said.

Now this venerable men’s store in Westport, Conn., is shrinking its men’s clothing space and expanding its women’s department. HermӨs purses at $4,750 are shoving aside Tommy Bahama sport shirts.

Mitchells is hardly the only merchant making a change: last month, Target said it would reduce the floor space for its men’s collections ӗ to make room for more food.

Stamfords Advocate: Authorities Have Pushed

Stamfords Advocate: Authorities Have Pushed Stewart Case ғPossibly Beyond Point of Reason
StamfordԒs The Advocate, in an editorial in Sundays edition, says federal authorities have pushed the Martha Stewart case ғawfully hard and in one regard, possibly beyond the point of reason.֔

If you make billions teaching people to be considerate hosts, thoughtful friends and attentive parents, then you should expect a little additional scrutiny in the personal integrity department,Ӕ the newspaper said.

It then cited Stewart’s insider-trading indictments and said the firestormӔ over the federal action is hardly surprising.

With that understood, we think the authorities have pushed this case awfully hard—and in one regard, possibly beyond the point of reason.Ӕ

The editorial said Stewarts sale of ImClone stock helped her avoid a $45,000 loss and added:

ҔThat’s peanuts compared to hundreds of millions in losses covered up on the company books at WorldCom, and a pittance when you consider the multibillion-dollar losses resulting from the accounting scandal at Enron.

Yet those top executives have yet to be charged with anything, while Ms. Stewart was the subject of a very public investigation for more than a year.

ӓIf convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $2 million fine. You have to wonder if the government’s priorities are straight.

One of the charges in particular seems to be a stretch. Prosecutors claim that Ms. Stewart effectively misled shareholders of her own company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, when she lied to investigators about the circumstances surrounding the ImClone sale, because her fate is central to that of her signature company.

ԓIt’s a tough connection to make, and only time will tell whether the government is successful. Ms. Stewart has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and the case is headed to court.

Stamfords Advocate Mistakenly Says Martha

Stamfords Advocate Mistakenly Says Martha Left Westport in 2000
Readers of an editorial in SundayҒs edition of The Advocate of Stamford no doubt will be confused by the newspaper saying Martha Stewart no longer lives in Westport.

She no longer lives in Westport, but does some magazine photography and films some of her television segments there, and she has many ties to our area,Ӕ said the editorial, which commented on her insider-trading case.

She moved out in 2000 after complaining that the chain retail stores had helped to sweep the charm from downtown Westport. She didn’t mind selling some of those same retailers to readers of her magazine through advertisements and special editions, however.Ӕ

The newspaper, owned by the Tribune Company and which circulates in the mid-Fairfield County area, referred to a critical article under Stewarts byline that appeared in The New York Times Magazine three years ago. 

Headlined ғMartha Stewart Leaving, the article included a large picture of a tractor-trailer turning a sharp corner on Post Road West.

In fact, Stewart still lives in Westport and on Feb. 14, 2002, told a Westport audience: “I’m still a resident of Westport. I sleep here at night, unless I am on vacation.”

She told a meeting of the ԓYs MenҔ that some of her words in the Times article had been edited. “I wrote what I thought was a balanced article,” she said. “It was not my picture; it was not my title.”

The Advocates error was especially glaring since the newspaper carried an AP story this week that described the reaction of Westporters to StewartҒs troubles.

Martha Stewart Supporters Drive Up

Martha Stewart Supporters Drive Up Traffic to WestportNow.com
Martha Stewart supporters curious about how residents in Westport are reacting to news about their famous neighbor have sent visits to WestportNow.com surging.

Since the site was first mentioned Thursday on savemartha.com, traffic is up more than 400 percent over normal days.

Martha Stewart to Fans: You

Martha Stewart to Fans: You Have My Deepest ThanksӔ
Martha Stewart may be avoiding the media in the days after her indictment on federal charges related to her insider-trading case, but she is talking to her fans directly on the Internet.

I am very grateful for the goodwill that so many friends and supporters have shown me by visiting these web pages,Ӕ Stewart wrote on her Web site, www. marthatalks.com.

In its first day, the site has logged more than 2 million hits, and more than 20,000 visitors have taken the time to send messages of support and encouragement.

ԔWhile I am unable to respond to each of these messages individually, I have read many of them already and I am doing my best to read them all.

I especially want those who have written to know that your kind words and good wishes mean a great deal to me.  You have my deepest thanks.

ԔI hope to provide updates for you here as often as I can. Many thanks again for your interest.

Playboy Editorial Director’s First Peek at Magazine Was in “Boring” Westport

Playboys editorial director, James Kaminsky, says his first peek at the Hugh Hefner property came while he was growing up in Westport.

According to Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Kaminsky started reading Playboy when he was 15 and restless in the tony but boring Connecticut town of Westport. (His dad left the mag lying around the house.) It gave him a view of a larger world.”

His father is former Westporter Leonard P. Kaminsky, who now lives in Shelton, Conn. Leonard Kaminsky is a former chair of Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission and most recently served on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Kaminsky, 41, joined Playboy last October from Maxim magazine.

At the time, he said: “As a writer and editor, I’ve long admired Playboy for its ability to demonstrate the power that a magazine can have. This is the magazine that convinced me to go into this business.”

Prior to Maxim, Kaminsky was a top editor at Conde Nast Womens Sport & Fitness, which he helped launch in 1997. In the mid-1990s, he was a senior editor at Men’s Journal while also serving as editor-in-chief of the top-selling Mens Journal Buyers Guide

A graduate of Boston University with a B.S. in journalism, Kaminsky also has been a freelance writer and project editor during his career.

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06/07/03 03:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ray Charles Highlights Levitt Pavilion

Ray Charles Highlights Levitt Pavilion Summer Fare
Westports Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts kicks off its summer season this month along the banks of the Saugatuck River and has announced the annual fundraiser will be a benefit concert by Ray Charles.

The July 31 event highlights the two-month season of the open-air performances—a Westport summer tradition for almost three decades.

Tickets for the benefit are $50 with preferred seating for $75. A gala pre-concert dinner on Jesup Green is additional.

Foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, individual support, and a select number of special ticketed events provide the necessary funding for 52 nights of free programming.

The season opens June 23 with “Dynasty’s Caribbean Fiesta” featuring island music, calypso, limbo dancers, and stilt-walkers and ends Aug. 24 with “Fairfield Counts,” a night of big band sound and swing.

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