Art credit: http://hddfhm.com By Tim KellyIf you happen by the Flanders Hotel a week from Saturday and see dozens of kids and their parents wearing those striped, crooked “Cat in the Hat” chapeaus, you might think you stumbled upon a celebration of Dr. Seuss.You would be correct.National Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, will have an official headquarters of sorts at Ocean City’s historic Flanders. A brunch celebrating the beloved childrens’ author and encouraging reading will take place at the hotel on Saturday March 3 at 10 a.m.The latest in an impressive list of Flanders special events, the Seuss shindig will include a breakfast buffet, story time and crafts — attendees can make their own Cat in the Hat lid, color Horton and his Seuss character friends, and decorate their own Red Fish and Blue fish. And of course the buffet of traditional brunch favorites will also include green eggs and ham, a nod to the famous Dr. Seuss story of the same name.If Dr. Seuss isn’t your thing, a wide array of other events are on tap at Flanders this winter, catering to all ages and interests.Best known for hosting thousands of visitors every summer, the stately property which has graced 11th Street at the Boardwalk since 1923, re-invents itself in the off-season as an events center.“People don’t always think of us as a place where so many events are happening,” said Director of Hotel Operations Peter Voudouris. “Especially this time of year.”Peter Voudouris, Director of Hotel Operations is keeping the Flanders busy in the offseason with a wide range of special events.But happening they are. In addition to the usual business meetings and conventions, banquets and weddings, Voudouris and his crack marketing teammates Jennifer Ottaviano and Heather Callahan come up with homegrown events such as the Seuss brunch.“We try to look at the calendar and come up with events to tie in with it. Then we plan the best way to market them.”The fruits of their efforts include a successful series of holiday-themed high teas, a “Girl’s Weekend Out,” and an Easter Brunch which sold out last year. As a result, the hotel and its staff remain busy, even if it isn’t exactly beach weather.Following are some other upcoming special events at the Flanders:High Teas take place the first Thursday and third Sunday of every month in the offseason. During the summer months, they happen almost every week.Upcoming Specialty High Teas include a Mother’s Day High Tea on Sunday March 6 at 1 pm; St. Patrick’s Day High Tea on Saturday March 17 at 1 p.m.; Easter High Tea on Saturday March 24 at 1 pm.Also, Easter Brunch on Easter Sunday April 1 from 10 am to 2 pm; Girl’s Weekend, April 6-9 with room discounts, special deals in the Flanders Shoppes, Salon and Spa and a free gift; Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday May 13 from 10 am to 2 pm.For the complete list of scheduled events, for more information about Dr. Seuss Day or to book your own special event, call 1-609-399-1000 or visit the hotel’s website, theflandershotel.comThe Flanders HotelThe Flanders retains its status as one of the region’s grand hotels and a jewel of Ocean City history, Voudouris said, and it’s event planning and execution extends the property’s range of services to the community. It also provides opportunities to enjoy the Franders’ amenities and charms without necessarily staying overnight,“More and more we are being thought of as a place that hosts events, and we hope people will think of us as a resource that way, and not just as the Flanders Hotel,” he said.
Free Press Media,by Kevin Kelley. The Burlington Free Press has no plans to scale back its publication schedule despite offering readers a Thursday-Sunday subscription package, publisher James Fogler says.‘Other papers may do that, but it’s not going to happen in Burlington, Vermont,’ Fogler declared.‘Part of our strategy to grow readership is to focus on key days of the week,’ he said in December 2 telephone interview. The paper attracts fewer readers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday than it does on the other days of the week, he noted. ‘Our goal is to increase readership on the days that are already key.’Fogler also expressed confidence that the paper will retain many of those readers who subscribe on a seven-days-a-week basis. ‘They’re loyal. They’ll stay with us,’ he said.A full week subscription to the paper costs $15 a month. The Thursday-Sunday delivery package is priced at $10 a month.The Free Press stopped producing its Business Monday section in August and moved that content to the Thursday paper. The switch also involved the addition on Thursdays of features and reader-written essays on the theme of innovation. The rescheduling reflects the paper’s effort to heighten the appeal of its better-selling editions, Fogler said.The decision to create a Thursday ‘innovate’ section also comes in response to ‘the business community telling us to do a better job of local coverage,’ Fogler added.The paper will continue to publish its print edition seven days a week even as it seeks to expand gains made in visits to its web edition, the publisher said. He did not divulge specific numbers for either print circulation or visits to the Free Press website.An independent blog that monitors the Gannett Corp reported in September that average weekday circulation of the Free Press had fallen 31 percent during a five-year period. Weekday sales averaged 47,155 in 2005 compared to 32,504 in 2010, according to blogger Jim Hopkins’ analysis of Gannett data.The Free Press’ drop was more than the 27 percent average circulation loss for Gannett’s 81 local dailies.Fogler did say that ‘print circulation is down for us, as it is right across the board.’ The Free Press’ decline, however, is ‘not as much as others are experiencing,’ he added.The recent decision to end anonymity for those commenting on stories on the paper’s website has had a positive effect, Fogler said. Fewer readers leave comments than when their identities could be disguised, but the change has encouraged more civil discourse and should actually have been implemented much earlier, Fogler said. Comments may now be left at its Facebook page. www.facebook.com/bfpnews(link is external)