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The Wrap: Disorderly Gatherings, Electric Grid and Wind Farms Hit Turbulence

Juvenile vandalism on Avalon beach paths in Summer 2021.

By Herald Staff

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Nov. 6 – 13

Disorderly Gatherings 

Cape May County is looking to create a regional response to the problem of disorderly gatherings. These gatherings range from an unsanctioned car rally that resulted in 2 deaths in Wildwood and a persistent quandary over how to deal with the rowdy and destructive behavior of crowds of juveniles.
Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio says one key to a solution is legislation. To that end, county and municipal officials met with the District 1 legislative team to explore options like those used in Ocean City, Maryland. 
At that town’s request, Maryland legislators created a special event zone during motorized events. The zone includes reduced speed limits, higher fines, altered traffic patterns and even the possibility of arrest for select traffic violations. The legislation later included restrictions on exhibition driving.
“Their legislature is ultimately what solved their problems,” Desiderio believes. In Cape May County, any legislation also needs to extend to the dilemma of dealing with disruptive juveniles. Residents fear that the shore communities are becoming a summer destination for juvenile groups that flaunt the law and engage in rowdy behavior that police cannot control due to juvenile justice reforms emanating from Trenton. 
In Lower Township, residents have taken their frustrations with the problem to the township’s governing body demanding that some solution be found. At a recent presentation of new plans for renovating Bay Park Marina in Avalon, some property owners raised concerns about a seating area in the design because they feared it would become a gathering place for juveniles. 
The county is hoping for what Desiderio called a bipartisan effort to pass new legislation. 

Electric Grid

Atlantic City Electric (ACE) has presented a portfolio of approximately 80 projects to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). Termed Power the Future by ACE, the effort represents a broad effort at modernizing the South Jersey electric grid as the power company prepares for the demands that will be placed on the grid as a result of the state’s push to clean energy.
The wind farms planned for construction and the ambitious goal of providing 11,000 megawatts of electric power by 2040 are just part of the more comprehensive effort to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by converting more and more activities to electric power produced by renewable sources. This electrification of everything will place unprecedented demands on the capacity and reliability of the grid. 
Think of the grid as the regional network of transmission lines, substations and large transformers that are aging and in need of new investment. Widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption alone will create a huge surge in power demand. National studies tell a tale of 140,000 miles of transmission lines in need of replacement by 2050. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that large transformers, the type that handles most of the country’s electric flow, are at an average age of 40 years old, a point at which experts say malfunctions escalate. The DOE has developed the Build a Better Grid Initiative.
The ACE Power the Future portfolio of projects is, according to the company, an attempt to expand the company’s commitment to New Jersey’s clean energy and climate goals. The projects will also allow more support for the growth of distributed energy services like residential solar and battery storage technology. 

Wind Farms Hit Turbulence

A spate of recent public hearings before the BPU may soon lead to a different type of hearing, one held in courtrooms. Frustrated municipal and county leaders have repeatedly hinted that the BPU’s exercise of new authority to overrule local elected bodies on the location of wind farm transmission lines may very well result in legal challenges.
Ocean City has already taken the step of hiring a law firm to appeal the BPU decision allowing Ocean Wind LLC to run its high-voltage transmission lines across the city’s beach and streets. An attorney representing 9 county municipalities who were denied intervenor status in the most recent BPU process concerning the cables, has openly accused the board of suppressing his clients’ right to speak on the matters. County representatives have reminded the BPU of the fact that the new law upon which they rest their authority is untested in the courts. They go so far as to say it disenfranchises voters and contravenes the state constitution.
“See you in court” may become the new catchphrase in this growing controversy.

Happenings

The election in Cape May was a big win for the incumbents on the governing body. All those who sought reelection won. Ex-Mayor Chuck Lear lost his bid to return to the council table.
In Stone Harbor, Charles Krafczek lost his seat to an independent, a rare event in the solidly Republican borough where the GOP primary usually decides the seat.
Police continue attempts to locate a woman who may have been the one to put dolls in nooses above a campaign sign supporting Democrat Tim Alexander.
Two more long-standing businesses have announced permanent closing, with Molino’s in Court House and Brian’s Waffle House in Avalon.
Middle Township denied support to an applicant seeking a license for recreational cannabis sales. The company, C3 Middle Township LLC, may pursue legal action. 
Tourism is heavily dependent on the county’s beaches. While the first priority of replenishment projects is the protection of lives and property, support of the tourist economy cannot be overlooked.
New Jersey has reported its first death in which monkeypox was a “contribution factor.” The individual also suffered from other medical complications. The number of cases is declining in New Jersey.
The most recent drought report shows more than two-thirds of the state no longer in drought status. In Cape May County, drought concerns still linger with 40% of the county, almost all in its southern end, still classified as moderate drought, and the rest of the county labeled abnormally dry.
Veterans Day was celebrated across the county with ceremonies showing the appreciation of county residents for the sacrifices of all veterans who may have served in peacetime or in times of conflict.

Spout Off of the Week

Cape May County – Since we will probably never see an active railroad again in Cape May County again, why don’t the town officials go thru the process of making the railroad crossings exempt, so that school busses and fuel trucks do not have to stop at every railroad crossing wasting fuel and tying up traffic.
Read more or submit your own at spoutoff.cmcherald.com.

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Spout Off

Cape May – As an independent who supported Democrat and Republican Presidents, I say Biden needs to step down. He doesn't have the physical and mental strength for another four years.Every time George W….

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Lower Township – A Chinese car manufacturer wants to build a Chinese car factory in Mexico. I hope everybody recognizes the significance of that, but the realist in me says probably not. A proper education system in…

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Cape May Court House – It's been 2 plus years since I reported a pole light out to Atlantic City Electric on their web site. I have called 3 time in those 27 months and received the same answer every time. They are…

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