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NEWMAN, WOODWARD: GOOD NEIGHBORS

After helping their neighbors preserve 730 acres of woodlands, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward celebrated the occasion with a party in Town Hall.

The couple, along with several of their family members, attended a champagne reception to mark a land trust's closing on the $12.4 million tract of land known as Trout Brook Valley. The land is located in Weston and Easton; the Newmans live in neighboring Westport.

Newman, through his Newman's Own food company, donated $500,000 to the land-preservation cause. He and Woodward also starred in a benefit performance of the play "Love Letters" in Westport Country Playhouse, raising another $175,000.

Woodward said she was elated that land preservationists were successful in blocking the property from being developed into a golf course and luxury housing.

"I believe in doing whatever we can to preserve land anywhere," she said. "We have to do this for our grandchildren."

The battle to save the land from development began three years ago. The state agreed to pay $6 million over two years to help preserve the land, while a coalition of government and conservation groups raised millions.

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