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Taxing relationships

There isn't much about William Graham's bid for a tax break that hasn't been reported in the Martha's Vineyard Gazette. Since February, the paper has devoted a lot of ink to the issue, writing more than a dozen front-page stories about Graham's effort to have his $262,000 annual tax bill lowered. (He contends the 225-acre spread valued by West Tisbury at $58 million isn't worth half that.) But on an island full of ultra-rich folk unhappy about their assessments, why does the Graham matter merit so much attention? That's where the Martha's Vineyard Times comes in. The Gazette's competitor on the two-newspaper playground says there are a few things the Gazette hasn't reported. One would be the relationship between Gazette publisher Richard Reston and the Graham family. Reston's dad, the legendary New York Times scribe James Reston, happened to be a dear friend of Graham's father and mother, former Washington Post editor and publisher Philip Graham and Katharine Graham. The other tidbit left out of all the Gazette's stories about Graham is that the editor, Julia Wells, lives in a cottage on the Graham estate. She wouldn't talk to us yesterday, but Reston would. ''This has nothing to do with family or friendships," he roared over the phone. ''This happens to be a news story with rather important implications for the property tax structure of these communities." As for not disclosing where Wells lives, Reston said it's irrelevant since he, not Wells, is editing the stories about Graham. ''It's a throwaway paper," he said. ''And this isn't something worth dealing with."

Pats get ready to rock at home opener

Forget about football, the Patriots' season opener at Foxborough is shaping up to be a rock 'n' roll extravaganza. The NFL has announced that Green Day and Santana will play at Gillette before the Sept. 8 kickoff. The one-hour pregame special hosted by Freddie Prinze Jr. will be broadcast on ABC at 8 p.m. In addition to Billie Joe Armstrong and Carlos Santana, Mrs. Garth Brooks, country singer Trisha Yearwood, will sing the national anthem. The show will also feature footage from a Rolling Stones show in Detroit, as well as performances from LA by Maroon 5 and Kanye West.

Actor John Malkovich, who calls Cambridge home for at least part of the year, picked up an Excellence Award at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland this week.

The art of moving on

Shoshana Pakciarz is out after five years as executive director of the New Center for Arts and Culture. A power struggle? No, says Pakciarz. It's simply time to join her husband, Leonard Gruenberg, in retirement. The New Center, which will occupy space created by the Big Dig, is progressing well, she said. ''Let me say this," said Pakciarz, 62. ''I have never, ever in my entire life been so conflicted. In fact, it was torture. . . . Moses was in the desert 40 years, but he never entered the Holy Land. Projects of this magnitude, if they rest only on one person, I don't think they have a future." Pakciarz will still be paid as a consultant to the project.

Pleasingly plump

Are more ballplayers about to be snared in the steroid scandal? On his website, www.Boomer33.com, hefty lefty David Wells weighs in on the subject. Asked by a fan about his pending suspension for arguing with an ump, Wells has this interesting reply: ''I'm still waiting, but after all this steroid [expletive] they might not get to it. I hear there [are] about 58 more guys that have tested positive and if that's true, this game is screwed! Congress will have a field day with it, but I don't have to worry about that [because] I'm fat, remember? So, I am looking good!"

He’s a good sport

Since he was profiled in these pages last month, 12-year-old sports blogger Alex Reimer of Natick has been riding a media whirlwind. Yesterday, he was featured on NBC's ''Today" show, and last night he was scheduled to chat with NECN's Jim Braude. The number of visitors to his blog has skyrocketed, and he reports he's been interviewed by WBUR-FM, a Canadian radio show, and WFXT-TV Channel 25. ''It's been really exciting," Alex said yesterday. He also hosts his own podcast at www.mysportsradio.com. On ''Today," the youngster was shown interviewing Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, and pledging never to be one of those media types who shoves a microphone in players' faces. Damon, in return, offered the budding sportscaster a piece of advice: Always have fresh breath; otherwise, no one will talk to you.

Around town

Faneuil Hall Marketplace merchants Carol Troxell and Sara Youngelson dined with NBC newsie Tim Russert at the Summer House Beachside Bistro on Nantucket the other night.

And our man Manny Ramirez stopped by Joe Milano's Union Oyster House on his off night Thursday, drawing a crowd that just couldn't get enough of No. 24. Manny being Manny, he posed for several photos, including one rather humorous shot with Milano.

Geoff Edgers, Angela Shaw, and Don Aucoin of the Globe staff contributed to this column. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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