~Personally, I’m really excited by the changes we’ve made to Exit Zero, but I’ve had a lot of time to get used to the idea — I’ve been plotting this makeover since August. But you, poor reader… it’s just been thrust upon you. So let me explain, as briefly and succinctly as I can, what’s going on, and why.
First of all, you’ll notice that this little rag is larger than it used to be — 25% larger for those keeping score. We did that for one reason only — to make the publication an even better read than it was before.
First of all, the new size gives the publication more visual punch. We love the photographs that Aleksey Moryakov (and the rest of the team) shoot around town, and we decided it was time to give them a bigger platform. Secondly, I wanted us to be able to tell more stories about the events and the people that we cover. We print hundreds of photos in every issue, but we rarely take the time to present interesting little stories and facts — that’s because, on a weekly basis, we don’t HAVE the time. Our Contributing Editor Diane Stopyra suggested we should be inspired by VH1’s legendary pop-up video format. I loved that idea, and you can see the results throughout the publication. I hope you love it, too.
As for deciding to publish every two weeks, I know that most of our readers won’t relish this idea. But this decision was taken for two important reasons…
1. There’s no way we could make the improvements we wanted by continuing to publish weekly. And in case you were wondering, this is not a cost-saving exercise. We will actually be spending $10,000 MORE on printing this year. Why? That takes me to…
2. Much as we love the fact that we’ve become essential reading for the people who live in this area, this publication was originally aimed at visitors, with the mission of putting out the good word about Cape May. Because the locals (and those who summer here) snap virtually every copy within 48 hours of publication, there are a LOT of new and newer visitors who have a tough time seeing our publication. That’s a big disservice to our advertisers, and without them there would be no Exit Zero. We will be printing many more copies in the summer months so that our message (which is the message that Cape May is a wonderful place, full of wonderful people) gets out to as many people as possible.
I do hope that the improvements we are making means that each copy will hang around a little longer on your coffee table, night stand, beach bag, or bathroom rack. In other words, take your time and make it last the two weeks. We are going to be adding lots of new features for you to read.
So, yes, I understand that some of you will be disappointed, seriously bummed out and maybe even really mad. But I want you to trust me… as my hero Martha Stewart says, it’s a GOOD thing!
~WAS shocked to hear of the sudden death of Fred Coldren, at his home in Cape May, at the age of 70. Every time I saw Fred I was struck by his energy and all-around spirit. He was a man who got things done, whether as a determined City Manager of Cape May, as Managing Editor of the Avalon Herald or as a very active member of the community. He was particularly fond of Historic Cold Spring Village, where he was a stalwart board member. Fred was a lifelong devotee of the Boy Scouts of America and it showed — he was never slow to help out a neighbor or a cause in need.
~ NEVER met Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I’m not going to pretend that he was an ambassador for Cape May — he was a regular, but under-the-radar, visitor. But I always felt a civic pride that such a great actor (and, by all accounts, cool guy) loved to spend time here — just as I love the fact that Tina Fey and Anne Hathaway regularly grace these shores. So his untimely death on February 2 in New York City hit a little closer to home. Philip loved to spend time with his partner and their three young children here, especially at Cape May Point, where they would hang out at the Circle and eat at The Red Store. He was also often seen at The Blue Pig Tavern, while bartenders were treated to his gentle presence at places like Harbor View and Martini Beach. Rest in peace, Mr Hoffman.
~MORE bad news came on January 25, when fire seriously damaged the Bedford Inn, run by local stalwarts Archie and Stephanie Kirk. The dining room at the Stockton Avenue gem was destroyed, along with two bathrooms, and there was significant damage to two bedrooms. In a Facebook message, Archie was quick to praise Cape May Fire Department. “Although this is a very bad situation they were amazing,” he wrote. “The care and precision they took while fighting the fire was above reproach. We are so blessed to have them in our city. My words cannot express the gratitude and respect that I have for them.” Happily, Archie reassured us that, “We will be back!”
~ DELIGHTED to hear that Chamber of Commerce President and miracle man Ron Goldstein — who defeated, 17 years ago, hodgkins lymphoma, and then in 2012, stage three lymphoma — is recovering nicely in Florida from quadruple bypass surgery. “The vessels were 100 percent blocked,” he told us. “I couldn’t walk 100, 150 feet. If I hadn’t paid attention to my symptoms, I wouldn’t have made it another week.” Now, those passageways are like that “of a teenager,” and Ron is more driven than ever to promote Cape May. “We’re going to power wash and re-stain the Welcome Center in late March, early April, followed by an open house for the entire community,” he said. “Most people don’t know there is even a visitor center there.” Ron visited the beautiful, 10,000-square-foot welcome center of Newport, Rhode Island this off-season, and came back with the idea of mounting flat-screens that now showcase Cape May’s businesses. “I take a lot of pride in that place,” he said.
Until next time, stay warm out there in Cold Cape May. And happy Valentine’s and President’s Day!