Washington’s power women gathered for coffee and conversation – and lots of it – at Lynda Webster’s annual “coffee” at the Chevy Chase Club yesterday morning. “After 9-11, I realized how my friends are so very precious,” said Webster, the special-event PR gal and wife of former FBI and CIA Director Bill Webster. Hence, the after-summer get-together.
There was talk of Hurricane Katrina but also reminders from many of the women involved with their own pet projects right here at home that we can’t forget all of the other good causes. Carolynn Webt, originally from New Orleans, said she has 16 evacuees sleeping in her living room now. Webt is the coordinator for the women’s auxiliary for the Salvation Army of D.C. They’ve planned a fashion show with Saks Jandel on Sept. 27 at the downtown Ritz-Carlton to benefit the local programs, such as women transitioning from shelters to society. Lynda Webster serves on their advisory board, and the Webster Group is handling details.
Though this was a bipartisan group of mostly politically correct women, there were whispers and speculation about if and when President Bush will fire Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown for what is believed to be a mishandling of the hurricane disaster. “If Jim Baker were chief of staff, he would have been out of there yesterday,” said one.
Back from mega-trips
Washington Life’s Nancy Bagley was glowing. The pretty blonde attributes her newfound youth and energy to a week at yoga boot camp with her husband, Soroush Shehabi. They did six hours of yoga and two hours of meditation daily at Bar on Baptist with the celebrated Baron Baptiste instructing at the Mew Institute near Woodstock, N.Y. That’s the retreat founded by actress Uma Thurman’s parents. “It’s power yoga, hot yoga,” Bagley said. “If you don’t like sweat, you don’t want to go.” She claims her husband’s blood pressure dropped 30 points.
Washingtonian on the Rockies
Adventurers Phillip and Ellie Merrill are just back from heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies. As Ellie describes it, they were dropped from the lodge via helicopter onto the rocks to hike each day: “We were in the ‘wimp’ level, but don’t think we were just strolling along.” Knowing both, we know they’re not wimps. Expect to see Phil’s name back on Washingtonian magazine’s masthead as publisher – replacing his wife – now that his term as chairman of the Export-Import Bank is up.
Turner takes on the CIA
Marion Turner, the attractive and charming redhead who married former CIA Director Stansfield Turner – he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter – three years ago, is thrilled that his book, “Burn Before Reading,” is about to be released. She helped with the editing and says it’s taken most of their time. The book explores the relationship between the agency and the various presidents and how that affected the intelligence capabilities of the agency. “Most surprising is his suggestion for restructuring the agency,” Mrs. Turner said. “It goes beyond last December. If you follow [the former director’s] paradigm, the CIA as it is today would be changed in character.” She added: “He thinks it’s an organizational problem; it’s not about individuals who work there.” By the way, the title is a joke of sorts. When the publisher asked Turner how he classifies secret information, his wife relates that he went through the various levels and when he got to the final level, he quipped: “Burn before reading.”
Kemp’s Maui wowie
Joanne Kemp is still talking about Jack’s 70th birthday bash, where 25 family members celebrated on Maui and then went on to Vail, Colo. If that’s the new 70, we all have something to look forward to… Fundraiser Esther Coopersmith went with Rancho La Puerto founder and Georgetowner Deborah Sendzecky to the glorious spa in Tecate, Mexico, before visiting her new grandchild in Washington state. Washington Life columnist Donna Shor just got back from a monthlong cruise on the Queen Mary II … Jayne Ikard was heard talking about her summer on Martha’s Vineyard.
Back in the swing
Kennedy Center Vice President Ann Stock is excited about the upcoming Chinese festival … . Pam Kessler, author of “Undercover Washington,” is working on a novel and tells us that her husband Ron Kessler’s book on Laura Bush is expected out in April… Carol Laxalt, wife of former Sen. Paul Laxalt, is busy planning their daughter’s wedding to a veterinarian in Nevada … Others catching up with old friends: ABC’s Kathleen Matthews, arts supporter Judith Terra, Candy Somerville, consumer advocate Ann Brown, Evelyn Di Bona, Debbie Dingell, Tandy Dickinson, Mary Byrd, Grace Bender, Jackie Fain Duberstein, Ruth Frenzel, artist Lisa Pumphrey, Louise Biddle and Marlene Malek, who’s expecting to know if her husband’s group will win ownership of the Washington Nationals within a couple weeks.