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The Wrap: Covid, Municipal Happenings and Spout of the Week

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The Wrap is a feature from the Herald editorial team that offers our take on the news of the week.Get ‘The Wrapin your inbox every Monday by signing up athttps://bit.ly/HeraldWrap. Learn more about J. Byrne Insurance.

Jan. 18-24 

Cases Climb as Vaccination Pace Slows 

The number of active Covid cases in the county remains near 600, where it has been since early January. The county moved 367 individuals off quarantine this week, and added 358, keeping the general number of active cases steady. Since the second week of the month, the active case count continues to be at the highest level since the reports began in March 2020. 

More testing than in spring makes comparing the numbers problematic, but the rate of new case growth since the beginning of fall has been higher than in all earlier reports.  

Since Jan. 1, the county confirmed 1,316 new cases, more than were reported in March 2020 through September 2020 combined. 

This week saw eight county residents succumb to the virus, bringing the total confirmed fatalities of county residents to 160. The county Jan. 23 reported four Covid-related deaths. In January, so far, there were 22 Covid-related deaths reported among county residents. 

Over 8,000 vaccine doses were administered in the county, including first and second doses. The vaccination program began in mid-December. To achieve the goal of vaccinating the majority of county residents by Memorial Day, the pace of vaccinations would have to increase sharply. 

The county said this week that the allocation of doses to the county Health Department declined slightly due to supply issues from the federal government to the state. More people are eligible for the vaccine under state guidelines than can get an appointment for the shot. 

The state is opening a vaccination hotline, so those without internet access can pre-register. The county’s vaccination site, at the Avalon Community Hall, is running efficiently with the level of doses available to it. As doses increase, the county is prepared toopen an additional site. 

Municipal Happenings 

Even with the prospect of saving on property taxes, someWest Wildwood parents expressed a desire to keep the borough’s children in Margaret Mace School, in North Wildwood, rather than use a cheaper option in Wildwood. 

Cape May introduced a $5 million bond ordinanceto build a new firehouse. The controversy surrounding bonding for a firehouse or a combined public safety facility led to competing ordinances on the November ballot. One member of the city’s governing body participated in the meeting from his Covid hospital bed. 

Lower Township Council altered its rules for public comment at meetings, while also honoring the appointment of two new police sergeants. The municipality also announced a $1.2 millionOpen Space grant that would be directed to Mulligan Park improvements. 

The Sea Isle City Christmas beach tree continues to raise community spirits with a new makeover into a Valentine’s Day tree. 

The county prosecutor is urging those experiencingdomestic violence to seek help from local law enforcement or available social agencies and non-profits. 

Wildwood is ready to hear ideas from prospective developers concerning a back bay parcel that once served as a landfill. 

Avalon Council supported a Public Works reorganization plan proposed by long-time Mayor Martin Pagliughi. The Army Corps of Engineers announced a dredging effort near Avalon, warning those who use the channels. 

North Wildwood is seeking to acquire lots near the New Jersey Avenue firehouse. The city also approved the transfer of a liquor license for a new establishment at the corner of First and Olde New Jersey avenues. 

Both Cape May and Woodbine swore in new fire department officers this week. Cape May also appointed a new deputy city manager. 

A planned burn is scheduled at the Reed’s Beach portion of the National Wildlife Refuge. The burn is intended to reduce fuels that would facilitate fires and to allow for the study of a marsh restoration project. 

Cape May’s chief financial officer provided a brief report on the 2020 financial results, showing the city did much better than was expected when the pandemic hit, closing business in the spring.  

City officials also moved ahead with the appointment of a budget advisory committee, giving citizens an opportunity to study and recommend changes to the city’s financial and budget practices. 

A report on occupancy tax revenue, in October, supported the view that late crowds of visitors to the county helped offset some of the losses from the spring lockdown. 

Wildwood police warn of a new telephone scam involving calls demanding payment toward electricity bills. 

Twelve area police officers, six from Wildwood and six from Middle Township, traveled to Washington to participate in Inauguration Day security. 

With Covid restrictions continuing to impact the judiciary, new attorneys are being sworn in by appointment only. 

And… 

Although the legalization of adult recreational marijuana won overwhelming support from the voters, in November, two bills still sit on the governor’s desk in a standoff over stipulations regarding underage use. 

Spout Off of the Week 

Court House – The Hereford Inlet walking wall is one of the best kept secrets in the northeast. Kudos to those that had the foresight to plow through all of the red tape necessary to make it happen. The idea of combining a much needed protection barrier with a useful, recreational attraction was an example of government that works.  

Spout Off

Sea Isle City – So the turtles will be crossing the roads before we know it. Maybe some of those turtle signs that are at the Welcome Center be put out on Sea Isle Blvd?? I don't think a lot of drivers are…

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Avalon – I find it amazing that if you go over 1 percent of your allowable lot coverage you get a nasty gram from the zoning officer that you must remove it or get a fine and even a court date, but the place…

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Cape May – So you want me to pay for your student loans? Ok what are you going to give me in return? If you become a doctor or a nurse are you going to volunteer with Doctors W ithout Borders for a year? If you…

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