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What better way to kick off a new column about people in business than to find a new venture cooked up by Martha Stewart?


The homemaking diva has been spending time with KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz. KB Home, the big L.A.-based home builder, is expected to ink a deal next week that will have Stewart bringing her home design expertise to the national builder. Details are still sketchy. Though Stewart got tepid reviews for her new reality show, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," she'll likely fare better in the comfort of home design. Her third TV program, still in the works, involves redoing a 125-year-old house.


- Staying at home has been part of the routine of Jon Goodman, former head of USC's incubator project EC2, who took a year-long sabbatical to care for her grandson William, a preemie. Now Goodman is back at work, trying to smooth things over at Town Hall Los Angeles, an organization known for presenting top-flight political speakers. She took over the president's post from Noelia Rodriguez, the former spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Riordan and First Lady Laura Bush.


Some Town Hall members were surprised when Rodriguez left the job after just a few weeks, and in her e-mail resignation, which got posted on the Web site L.A. Observed, claimed that the group's finances were a mess. Goodman disagrees. "I've never come into an organization in such good financial shape," she said (and that comes from someone who knows a few things about dot-com wipe-outs). "When I first came in, I opened all the closets and found no dust bunnies."


- That can't be said for Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune Co.'s CEO, who has been the front man in the last two weeks in trying to put a good face on U.S. Tax Court's $1 billion judgment against the media giant and parent of the Los Angeles Times. But what do some of Tribune's long-standing board members think? We tried to crack the wall but didn't get far. William Stinehart Jr., a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said curtly: "I don't speak to the press," and hung up.


- Bob Graziano, the former president and chief operating officer of the Dodgers, has joined Northern Trust Corp. in the new position of managing director for the Western region. Graziano will be responsible for bringing in new business on the West Coast. He recently worked as a consultant to Seidler Cos., the securities firm owned by Rollie Seidler, who is married to Peter O'Malley's sister Terry.


*This column will be available in the Oct. 10 edition of the Business Journal.

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