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The Wrap: Covid, Cannabis Rules, Municipal Happenings and Animals

Hand punched fight attack to coronavirus

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Aug. 16-22:  
Covid Fights Back  
The numbers this week were not good. Just one month ago, July 23, the county had 64 active cases. This week, it has 546. For the second week in a row, the county recorded over 300 new cases, or better than an average of 40 per day. Fatalities have remained low, but there were two new ones among county residents this week. The summer has seen almost 1,200 new Covid cases, with 70% of those in August.    
The spike in new cases began about three weeks after the Fourth of July weekend. With two weeks to go before Labor Day, the numbers show no sign of abating. So far, the recent increase has not overwhelmed our medical facilities, but the hospitalizations are inching up. One week prior, Cape Regional Medical Center (CRMC) had 13 Covid patients with one in the ICU. This week, the number is 19, with five in the ICU and one of those on a ventilator. The medical center also said that 11 of the 19 Covid patients were vaccinated.     
The high rate of transmission in the area led CRMC to suspend all visiting hours. Exceptions are listed on the hospital’s webpage.    
Schools are preparing to open, with a mask mandate that not everyone supports. The goal is a year of full-time, in-person instruction, which parents, educators and even the American Academy of Pediatrics say is important to learning and mental health.  
Cannabis Regulatory Commission Announces Legal-use Rules   
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced a set of rules, applying to the emerging regulated industry Aug. 19. More work needs to be done, but we now know more than we did about this projected billion-dollar business.   
The new rules place an emphasis on diversity and equity in ownership. Local entrepreneurs are favored, which appears to be a corrective to the fact that most of the medical marijuana facilities operating in New Jersey have out-of-state ownership.    
The rules set a limit of 37 cultivator licenses, with an intent to have them awarded by February. You must grow it before you can sell it.    
Special license pricing is available for microbusinesses, firms with 10 or fewer employees, as well as firms with planned location in impact zones. The regulations use the term impact zones for communities negatively impacted by the earlier marijuana prohibition.   
Priority will be given to applications from firms run by women, racial minorities and disabled veterans. Although background checks will be done, individuals with criminal records will have the opportunity to show rehabilitation.  
Municipal Happenings   
In Cape May, the longest running civil litigation in the state finally reached a settlement, with the 100-acre Sewell Tract protected from future development. This week also saw the return of Councilman Chris Bezaire to a formal meeting of the governing body. Bezaire is expected to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors on seven separate charges sometime in September.     
Middle Township continues to negotiate with the Fair Share Housing Center for the municipality’s lack of an approved affordable housing plan. A planned adoption of a set-aside ordinance was tabled
Wildwood Crest adopted an ordinance prohibiting the use of front lawns as a place to park cars. The action came the same week that two neighbors in the borough were arrested in a physical altercation over a parking space. The Crest also announced that groups seeking to have commercially engineered pop-up picnics on the beach will need a special event permit first.   
An Ocean City pedestrian died from injuries suffered in an accident involving a motor vehicle. The incident came just weeks after a bicyclist was killed in a similar accident in Stone Harbor.   
A long-awaited vote on a rezoning measure failed in Stone Harbor. The measure would’ve allowed property owners of small homes on reduced lots to build second floors for additional space.   
Local residents joined together to support Haiti, following the devastation caused by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.   
 A group of former Pacific Avenue business owners from the 1970’s held a reunion in Wildwood to reminisce about the old days.    
Cape May was shocked by the death of a 16-year-old lifeguard injured in a boating accident.   
New Jersey joined a coalition of other states to urge federal action on ghost guns, partially assembled guns that are able to exploit loopholes in federal gun statutes.     
Lower Township began work to ease drainage flooding in parts of Diamond Beach. The municipality was earlier cited for the drainage problems by the state Department of Environmental Protection.    
U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2nd) met with the Herald, providing his view of the state of issues facing the nation.   
Animals Welcome and Not   
It was a good week for capybaras, but not so good for roosters.  
The Cape May County Zoo welcomed two newborn capybaras and initiated a naming contest. The brother and sister will get their new names over Labor Day weekend.   
Middle Township acted to limit backyard roosters to properties of five acres or more.  
“It is a noise thing,” said Mayor Timothy Donohue.  
A rooster’s crow, not limited to early morning, can have a greater decimal rating than a chainsaw. 
Spout Off of the Week  
Stone Harbor – The town should look into the “all pedestrian phase” signals for 96th Street and 3rd Ave. You can look them up online. They would provide a 4 way walk signal. It would allow for pedestrian traffic and then change to a vehicle go signal. Signals also can have beeping sounds for the visually impaired You would need policing to make sure that pedestrians abide by the signal. Big snafu could be that I believe 3rd Ave is a County road so you would need their cooperation. 
Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.  

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