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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3/04/09 Greenwich Resident Ned Lamont tight-lipped on possible Senate bid

Asked whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate again, Greenwich Democrat Ned Lamont told members of Democracy for America at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk Wednesday night “when is a door not a door?”

”(But) I’ve really gotten involved in the whole (state) budget thing,” Lamont said. “And the politics is, even if you leave the door open a little bit, all of a sudden everything you said is made (serious).”

Lamont, who shook up Connecticut politics by defeating incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary, spoke to more than 60 Democrats about President Barack Obama’s first six weeks in office, the economic stimulus package and Hartford lawmakers’ efforts to tackle the state deficit.

“It’s really important … that we’re not afraid to talk about spending, that we’re not afraid to talk about labor reforms and we’re not afraid to talk about taxes,” Lamont said.

Democracy for America, the grassroots political organization launched by former Democratic president candidate Howard Dean, invited Lamont to the Connecticut Avenue diner.

“Everyone here worked on Ned’s campaign,” Kate Tepper, DFA chairwoman for Fairfield County, told The Hour. “We’re hoping that he will run (again), but he hasn’t said yea or nay.”

Lamont, although winning his party’s endorsement in August 2006, lost to Lieberman 450,844 to 564,095 in the general election in November that year.

John Hartwell, the Westport Democrat who served as Lamont’s campaign treasurer, said Lamont’s primary election victory in 2006 “sent a shock through the whole country” and made Barack Obama’s victory in last year’s presidential election possible.


SOURCE: ROBERT KOCH, The Norwalk Hour, March 4 2009
http://www.thehour.com/story/465971

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03/04/09 Greenwich Resident Ned Lamont Muses Over a Run Against Rell

Three years after an unlikely quest for the United States Senate established Ned Lamont as a national Democratic figure, he said he is weighing another electoral adventure: a challenge to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, one Republican whose political fortunes have not fallen with the Dow.

With the same bluntness he once directed at Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and the war in Iraq, Mr. Lamont said Mrs. Rell and the General Assembly have failed to tame Connecticut’s deficit. He said he would have offered a a more urgent budget address.

“To me that was the opportunity to stand up and say, ‘We’re confronted with a $4 billion deficit,’ “ he said during a telephone interview from his office in Greenwich on a snowy morning. “This is the time for Connecticut to change the way we do business. And I have to tell you I’m going to bring labor to the table, and they are going to be part of this solution.”

He is months away from a final decision, but after previously disavowing any interest in the job, Mr. Lamont said that a gubernatorial campaign grows more intriguing as the economy worsens and the deficit deepens, all harbingers of a protracted budget fight in Hartford.

Mrs. Rell has not yet said whether she will seek another term.

“Hartford can nickel and dime around the edges,” said Mr. Lamont, the founder of a cable-television company, Lamont Digital. “They can add 3 percent here, take off 4 percent there,” But you worry whether they can make the big differences that we need to do.

Mr. Lamont said Mrs. Rell and the Democratic-controlled legislature are more intent on gamesmanship than confronting what even some Republican legislators privately concede: in addition to the budget cuts proposed by the governor, tax increases and labor concessions must be part of the mix.

“I think she punted,” Mr. Lamont said of the governor’s two-year budget proposal, which the legislature’s nonpartisan budget office says may be out of balance by more than $2 billion. “Frankly, the legislature hasn’t stood up and come forward with anything very cogent. To me, both the legislature and the governor are playing a game of cat and mouse.”

Rell administration officials said that they are in talks with public employee unions about the state budget. Mr. Lamont’s comments are unlikely to endear him to Mrs. Rell or legislators, whom he has been trying to influence on finance issues as part of a new nonpartisan group of labor, business and political leaders.

Led by William J. Cibes Jr., a former legislator, state budget chief and chancellor of the Connecticut State University system, the members describe themselves as “a working group of civically involved citizens.” They have produced a short-term plan to close the deficit and also issued a long-term “Blueprint for Connecticut’s Future.” The group hopes to be a continuing presence in the budget debate, but if Mr. Lamont runs for governor, his role in the effort could be compromised.

“He can’t help himself,” said Thomas J. D’Amore Jr., a former campaign adviser who said that Mr. Lamont’s occasional impolitic statements are a virtue. “He is so absolutely and disarmingly refreshing.”

Mr. Lamont insisted he was rooting for Mrs. Rell to succeed on the budget, despite his criticism and musings about opposing her.

“I’d love her to call me,” said Mr. Lamont, who described the labor and business contributors to Mr. Cibes’s group as ready to help build a consensus for tax increases and labor concessions. “I’d love to be right there. They just need somebody to convene ‘em and bring ‘em together. If I could help, I’d love a chance.”

Even Mr. D’Amore described that hope as unrealistic: Mr. Lamont can offer himself as a candidate or an honest broker on the budget, not both. “You cannot have that both ways,” he said.

Unlike 2006, when Mr. Lamont was the only Democratic alternative to Mr. Lieberman, he could face a four-way battle if he seeks the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next year. James A. Amann of Milford, the former state House speaker, declared his candidacy last month. Mayor Dannel P. Malloy of Stamford and Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz of Middletown have exploratory committees.

They already have promised to abide by Connecticut’s new voluntary system of publicly financed campaigns, which limits participating gubernatorial candidates to $4.5 million over a primary and general-election campaign. In 2006 Mr. Lamont spent nearly $17 million of his own money in a $20 million effort to unseat Mr. Lieberman.

“I believe in public financing,” Mr. Lamont said. Waiting a beat before dropping his voice to a stage whisper, he added, “Now I do.”

Mr. Lamont, who challenged Mr. Lieberman over his support for the war and President George W. Bush, won the Democratic primary and the allegiance of liberal bloggers, but the senator was re-elected as a petitioning candidate. Mr. Lamont was co-chairman of the Obama campaign in Connecticut, the same title Mr. Lieberman held in John McCain’s campaign.

Mr. Lamont’s friends say he has been vetted for a possible post in the Obama administration, but nothing has materialized.

His role models for chief executive include the president, but also Mayor Michael R. Bloombergof New York, who drove to the Stamford train station in 2006 to endorse Mr. Lieberman. Despite the slight, Mr. Lamont said he admired the mayor, whom he recently encountered.

“I said, ‘Why in God’s name would you want to bend the rules, end term limits, run for re-election in New York City during this extraordinary headwind, where all you can do is struggle?’ “ Mr. Lamont recalled. “And he said, ‘This will be my opportunity to lead. During the good times, I didn’t have that opportunity. Now I will.’ I love that response.”

Source: MARK PAZNIOKAS, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/nyregion/connecticut/08ctcol.html

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03/04/09 Cleaning House In New Orleans. When Wexford Capital Talks EPL Listens.


CFO JUMPS BEFORE WEXFORD PUSHES

The Latest Greenwich Business Report:



Energy Partners CFO resigns


By: The Associated Press



NEW ORLEANS - Independent petroleum producer Energy Partners Ltd., which has seen its stock price plunge amid a major investor's call for a shake-up, said Wednesday that its chief financial officer has left the company.

In a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, EPL said Joseph T. Leary, who also held the post of executive vice president, informed the company on Sunday that "he would resign immediately."

A message was left with EPL for comment. Leary could not be reached for comment.

Energy Partners, which focuses its drilling and producing in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in southern Louisiana, has seen its stock slide precipitously over the past few months. From a 52-week high of $16.50 recorded during booming oil prices, EPL closed trading Wednesday at 29 cents per share.

The company has not yet reported fourth-quarter earnings. But for the third quarter, the company earned $34.4 million, or $1.07 per share, on revenue of $94.7 million. That included a one-time unrealized gain of 48 cents per share.

But other independent producers already have reported fourth-quarter reversals of fortune as oil prices sagged and companies were forced to write down the value of their reserves.

In late January, Wexford Capital LLC, based in Greenwich, Conn., sent a letter to the company demanding the firing of all top management, a sharp reduction in costs, debt restructuring and a smaller board.

Wexford, a major stakeholder in EPL, both in common stock and senior notes, said EPL's administrative and overhead costs were out of proportion to the company's size, its exploration activities and efforts to replace reserves "have been a dismal failure" and the company is carrying too much debt.

On Feb. 23, EPL cut the size of its board from 11 members to seven and said it had retained a financial adviser to study "a variety of strategic alternatives, including a recapitalization of the company's balance sheet, in light of the current economic downturn and lower commodity prices."


PREVIOUS NEWS:






Jan 30, 2009


Wexford Capital LLC, a Greenwich-based private equity firm, is pushing for major changes at Energy Partners Ltd., one of its portfolio companies.

Arthur Amron, Wexford's partner and general counsel, on Monday sent a letter to the New Orleans-based oil and natural gas exploration company urging its board of directors to terminate senior management and cancel "change in control" severance agreements with its executives.

Amron also wrote that Wexford, which was founded in 1994, is calling on Energy Partners to "reduce significantly" its overhead, restructure its debt and reduce the size of its board.

Wexford, which manages more than $6 billion of assets through hedge and private equity funds in energy, real estate and other sectors, has "watched with increasing dismay in the company's loss in enterprise value," and its poor performance is exacerbated by its lack of urgency to do anything about it, Amron said in the letter.

"Management, it would seem, is content to proceed with business as usual as the Company continues to decline in value," he wrote.....


.....Energy Partners' board has received the letter and is reviewing it, said Al Petrie, investor relations coordinator for Energy Partners.

"We will make an appropriate response once we have had a chance to review it," he said.
Funding sources use several tactics to ensure their directives are followed, said Matteo Tonello, associate director of corporate governance for the Conference Board in New York City.

"Normally, funds start with less confrontational tools and become more aggressive if ignored by the company," he said.

Private equity firms usually "pull the plug" on investments that do not follow their directives, said Joyce Gioia, president and chief executive officer of a Greensboro, N.C.-based management consulting firm.

"It has been my experience that companies like this don't have a choice," she said.


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03/04/09 PRESS RELEASE: Reminder-Linda Fairstein at Just Books & Arcadia Cafe Tonight, March 4

Just Books Store (Winter)
Upcoming Events
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
REMINDER - TONIGHT
MARCH MYSTERY MONTH

Author Visit & Book Signing
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 7:30 PM

LINDA FAIRSTEIN
LETHAL LEGACY

Linda Fairstein
A Just Books' Event at Arcadia Café
20 Arcadia Road, Old Greenwich, CT
Free and open to the public

Just Books is delighted to welcome back the very popular, best-selling author Linda Fairstein, with her newest Alexandra Cooper mystery, Lethal Legacy (Doubleday, $26). Linda Fairstein was the DA who founded the Sex Crimes Unit in NYC and is the inspiration for television shows Law & Order and SVU, based on what she pioneered in her career as a DA. Lethal Legacy is sure to be another Fairstein bestseller. In the book, assistant district attorney Alexandra Cooper of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, looks in to the disappearance of librarian Tina Barr. The investigation leads Alex and her team into the dark depths of the New York Public Library in search of stolen items that certain bibliophiles and antique map enthusiasts would kill for. This book is full of fun information about the New York Public Library! Fairstein has written more than 11 Alex Cooper mysteries. She worked in the Manhattan District Attorney's office for 25 years before retiring to write novels full time.
_____________________________________________________

Just Books would like to THANK the community for its continued support. The success of an independent neighborhood bookstore is dependent on its loyal customers.
-- Marion Holmes and the staff at Just Books
_____________________________________________________

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03/04/09 In An Exclusivbe Story You Saw First At Greenwich Roundup

Katie Chance, manager of Madewell, stands in the new store on Greenwich Avenue (Helen Neafsey/Greenwich Time Photo)


Madewell, a new store that recently opened on Greenwich Avenue

By Colleen Flaherty
Staff Writer

Among several empty storefronts on Greenwich Avenue, a bright spot stood Tuesday. Women's retailer Madewell, sister company of J. Crew, opened at with a flurry of young sales associates dressed in the brand's signature jeans and tees.

Shoppers filtered in and out of the 256 Greenwich Ave. location, the brand's 12th, occasionally purchasing a top or pants from Madewell's "Denim Bar."......

....Now is as good a time as any to try Madewell's luck here, said its Manhattan-based Marketing Director Gigi Guerra.

"Greenwich has always been on our radar," said Guerra, adding that 256 Greenwich Ave. emerged as the prime location after it was vacated by Banana Republic last year..... BLAH .... BLAH .... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH .....

Please Read Colleen Flaherty's Incomplete Story That Also Had The News Flash That Morello Bistro Opened Last Year. Then Colleeen Continues To Play Catch Up With The Breaking News That Two Other Stores "Out Of The Box" And "Bang And Olufsen" Had Moved Their Stores Last Month. The Article Fails To Mention That The Danish Electronics Store Moved To Make Way For A Chase Bank, Even Though The Proliferation Of Bank Outlets In Town Has Been Somewhat Controversial. If Colleen Had Been A Little More On The Ball She Would Have Noted That This New Chase Bank Has One Branch One Block To The East At The Top Of Greenwich Avenue And Another Branch Two Blocks To The East At The Top Of Mason Street, As Well As, Another Branch Two Blocks To The West On Putnam Avenue. That's Four Chase Bank Branches On A Four Block Strip Of Putnam Avenue, But At Least Colleen Was Able To Tell Her Readers About The New Madewell Store In A Rather Timely Fashion

GREENWICH ROUNDUP READERS KNEW ABOUT THE MADEWELL STORE OPENING LAST MONTH:

PLEASE SEE:


You won't read this headline at the Greenwich citizen .....
J. Crew To Launch New Retail Brand In Greenwich

You won't read this headline at the Greenwich Post .....
Greenwich J.Crew-Aholics To Become Madewell Ginny Pigs

You won't read this headline at the Greenwich Time .....
Greenwichites To Help Give Thumbs Up Or Thumbs Down On New Retail Concept

You won't hear Tony Savino at WGCH read this headline .....
J. Crew to Debut Less-Expensive Madewell Chain On Greenwich Avenue

You won't read this headline at any Greenwich blog .....
A sassy kid sister's coming out on Greenwich Avenue

But Greenwich Roundup, the leading guide to chic destinations in town and advisor of fashion-savvy members of Greenwich society reports that.....
J.Crew Aficionados Like Michelle Obama Can See The New Madewell Collection On Greenwich Avenue In 10 Days !!!!

Millard Drexler, who was formerly CEO of Gap and is revitalizing J. Crew Group Inc. as its chairman and CEO, is developing a new chain of casual women’s clothing stores called Madewell.

The New York-based clothier unveiling the first Madewell store in August in Dallas, followed by another store in Los Angeles. The company having a A Madewell opening at 256 Greenwich Avenue, on March 3.

Store officials have declined to say how many stores the company envisions.
Store Officials have also said that they see Madewell and J. Crew complementing each other, not competing with each other.

Madewell is targeted to the affluent high school/college student- who wants to look great in basics and vintage inspired pieces, who can not only afford great quality but desires it.

Madewell will cater to the younger female customer because of its lower prices and style.

J. Crew currently operates eight Madewell stores in the United States, with two more scheduled to debut this year. A Madewell online store has partially launched and will expand in July or August.

The company started developing the lower-priced offshoot in 2006, and still classifies the line as "research and development.

But the big question is.....

Will the fashion gods smile on the new retailer's colorful and classic styles.

In the second half of this year J Crew is going to make a 'go or no go' decision on the Madewell concept. Jim Scully, CFO of the company, recently said during the Wachovia Nantucket Equity Conference:

"One thing we won't do is lose $15 million a year, we'll either lose zero or ramp up and be profitable."

Any expansion would occur in 2010 due to real estate factors.

Another Big Question Is .....

Can The Preppy J Crew Somehow Get The First Family To Somehow Promote The Newer Sister Store Called Madewell.

J Crew did see a spike in traffic when Michelle Obama donned that first, now famous, J.Crew getup on Jay Leno.

J Crew also received a boost when the Obama girls wore their Crewcuts get ups to the inauguration and when Michelle Obama wore J.Crew the weekend before at the "Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future" concert. (Crewcuts is another J crew concept store format that will target kids).

Will J Crew Be Able To Get An Obama Reletive To Wear The Hippie-Chic Look Of Madewell And Then Somehow Appear On National TV?

Madewell is targeted to the affluent high school/college student- who wants to look great in basics and vintage inspired pieces, who can not only afford great quality but desires it (in terms of fabric and stitch).

J. Crew is relatively small - its revenues last year were just over a billion, and its entire retail square footage would fit into the space of just 13 Sam's Clubs.

So many in the retail industry wonder if it wise for retailing icon Mickey Drexler to double down in the worst retail environment in 40 years.

Is It Really wise to launch this a new, somewhat upscale brand called Madewell.

The fledgling Madewell chain - which has opened at ten locations, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas - is aimed at the J. Crew customer's edgier siblings. Think jeans and boots rather than skirts and sweater sets. Madewell's name has a deliberate throwback quality that often appeals to a youthful craving for authenticity.

Madewell was a a defunct New England manufacturer.

The script logo - reminiscent of the Peterbilt truck's typography - actually dates back to 1937. Drexler bought the rights to the name shortly after he joined J. Crew.

Is J. Crew trying to pick up the American Eagle And Abercrombie & Fitch graduates.
The children of the baby-boomers are three years away from getting into their 20s.

Madewell will have a women's-only line will focused on "timeless and ageless" casual merchandise, with price points 20- to 30% lower than J. Crew.

Madewell stores will be 3,000-sq.-ft., about half the size of J. Crew stores

More Information:

IN THE NEXT GREENWICH ROUNDUP FASHION REPORT
WE WILL REVIEW A $1,000 PAIR OF GLOVES AT
RICHARDS ON GREENWICH AVENUE

A pair of gloves for $1,000 they have to be kidding me ..... thats $500 a hand ...... or $100 a finger ..... I'll give them a $100 finger ..... How about a middle finger !!!!!!

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03/04/09 The Raw Greenwich News Feed - This Just In

The Latest Greenwich News:

US Service Industries Probably Contracted for a Fifth Month
Bloomberg
"The economy is contracting pretty quickly," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut. ...
Trinity meets Greenwich in FCIAC hockey semifinals
Greenwich Time
Trinity Catholic improved to 19-2 overall with a 3-1 victory over eighth-seeded St. Joseph while Greenwich (13-5-3) advanced with a 4-1 victory over ...

Greenwich Academy hockey invited to Division II playoffs
Greenwich Time
The Greenwich Academy ice hockey team has reached the New England Prep School Women's Ice Hockey Association Division II tournament for the seventh year in ...

MORE ON THE STORY THAT THE GREENWICH TIME FAILS TO COVER ONLINE.....

Madoff clients' lawsuits look to others for recompense
USA Today - USA
He's suing Fairfield Greenwich Group, one of several feeder funds that channeled clients' investments to Madoff. New York retiree Phyllis Molchatsky says ...
HERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS FROM THE SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE.....
Greenwich's Glenville School project on schedule
Stamford Advocate
By Colin Gustafson GREENWICH -- Despite a few weather-related setbacks during the winter, school construction officials say the $24 million effort to ...

Greenwich boaters to pay for moorings
Greenwich Time
There are approximately 650 moorings in Greenwich, half of which are used by private clubs, according to Asch, who leads the committee as a non-voting ...

THE LATEST GREENWICH BLOG POSTING:

How come Greenwich doesn't have exotic real estate agents like ...
By christopherfountain
How come Greenwich doesn't have exotic real estate agents like this? · Dutch agent shot to death in car. Real estate agent Peter Petersen has been shot to death in his car in the Dutch town of Bussum. ...
For What It's Worth - http://christopherfountain.wordpress.com/



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