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Nov. 28 to December 4:
Adapting to Climate Change
It’s no longer about projecting change as much as living it. Storms are more severe, droughts more common, wildfire a persistent news event, and flooding has become more than a nuisance. That is clearly the way New Jersey state officials see climate change and regulations are rolling out as fast as carbon emissions. In 2021 Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation requiring municipalities to account for climate change in land use planning. Part of that process is assessing vulnerabilities.
In November,Upper Township Committee heard a presentation on that municipality’s vulnerabilities. The presentation raised significant issues regarding how the township will adapt. The report makes clear that withan oceanfrontcommunity in Strathmere, riverine areas along Cedar Swamp Creek and on the Tuckahoe River, and significant forested areas,the dangers from rising seas, rain event flooding, and a higher potential for wildfires are growing realities that requirestrategic adaptation.
This report comes as the state increases its efforts to drive more of the risk and responsibilityassociated with climate change down to municipalities. Sure, the federal government and the state are there to help with the huge sums of resources adaptation will require, but the state’s Chief Resilience Officer warns municipalities will be where primary strategies are implemented and paid for.
In a talk with the Pew Charitable Trust, Dave Rosenblatt advises the state’s 564 municipalities to start building adaptation not just into land use policies but also into their budgets and tax rates.
There is a debate over whether to use the term “learning loss” or“learning disruption.” Whatever way it’s expressed, the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), euphemistically called the nation’s report card, presented a grim picture of what the pandemic’s disruption did to elementary and middle school proficiencies in math and reading.
A separate study by American College Testing (ACT) made clear that the problem was not only impacting the early grades. In New Jersey, a full 31% of high school students tested did not meet any of ACT’s four college readiness thresholds. That’salmost one of every three students.
At every level, results are the lowest in decades, showing that, terminology aside, the pandemic took a heavy toll on students. The good news: there are historic levels of federal funds available to address the problem, most of which are unspent. What strategies will be used, how they will work and how fast the lost ground can be regained are still unknown.
Great Resignation Over?
News accounts have been talking about the end of the Great Resignation, the pandemic-related labor phenomenon that resulted in a tight labor market, monumental staffing problems and wage inflation the last two years. The most recent figures, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,suggest the phenomenon of workers quitting at record levels is not necessarily over.
September data show 4.1 million workers quittheir jobs. In some industries the labor market appears to be settling down. In others,the volatility is still higher than historic levels.
For Cape May County,the potentially bad news is the quit rate in accommodations and food services is still among the highest reported by the BLS. A recent study of the 10 industry areas that are losing the most workers ranked accommodations and food service first, followed closely by retail. These are the two categories that account for most of this county’s jobs.
At least temporarily rebuffed in Cape May, ICONA Resorts is looking toput a new hotel in Ocean City. The company has offered over $6 million for an old bank building. Not to be outdone, the Town Square Entertainment Group, owners of the theater and restaurant complex in Stone Harbor, have plans for a new movie theater, also in Ocean City.
Wildwood is taking further steps to discourage exhibition driving. A new local law, likely to be introduced in the new year, would make it easier for police to deal with gatherings of vehicles in parking lots.
An entire block is up for sale in Avalon, where a two-lot parcel off the 68th Street beach path recently sold for a record $21 million. Sale of the block near the borough’s main business district would open questions of about what comes next: commercial or residential development.
Middle Township Committee approved sick leave cash out for 30 employees. The payout for unused leave is supported by ordinance and labor contracts but it may run counter to state attempts to curb the practice.
The hurricane season ended on November 30. After a very slow start, the season saw 14 named storms, a number lower than predicted. However, damage from the storms, especially the heavy rainfall inland, made this hurricane season the third costliest on record according to the Insurance Journal.
The National Flood Insurance Program needs reauthorization by December 16 if there is to be no disruption of sales and closings on properties where mortgage approval requires flood insurance. One estimate is that any lapse in the authorization could impact 40,000 closings a month.
Officers from several county police departments are letting their facial hair grow in order toincrease cancer awareness and support.
If all the Christmas store displays that seem to appear earlier each year did not a tip off the season’s approach, one look at Congress Hall would be a dead giveaway. Christmas at the historic hotel is a major annual affair.
Middle Township has called on the state to use federal pandemic relief dollars to lower the impact of state health care premium hikes on local governments and their workers. Failure to do so, the township says, could result in property tax increases.
A 98-year-old female veteran of World War IIwas honored for her work under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
A county SWAT team raided a house in Villas arresting a couple and recovering half a kilogram of methamphetamine.
Beesley’s Point neighbors are complaining to Upper Township Committee about excessive noise levels associated with the demolition of the old B. L. England plant.
Parents protested school bullying in North Wildwood, saying school officials are not doing enough to stop it. The superintendent says no culture of bullying exists.
Spout Off of the Week
Wildwood – What this country needs is fewer celebrities and more nobodies who live ordinary lives, cope bravely, do a little good in the world, enjoy a few pleasures, and never, never get their names in the media or their faces on TV. We crave heroes to admire and emulate and we get a parade of errant politicians, mad exhibitionists, overpaid athletes and untalented entertainers. One word of caution to the novice collector of nobodies:there’s no such thing as a prominent nobody.
Read more or submit your own at spoutoff.cmcherald.com