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Saturday, April 20, 2024


The Wrap: Drive Green, Household Debt, Overdose Deaths


By Herald Staff

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Feb. 1319  

Drive Green 

Gov. Phil Murphy outlined an accelerated action plan for New Jersey’s transition to clean energy in a speech at Rutgers Feb. 15. One element of this latest push toward green energy is to have all light-duty cars and truck sales be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.  

The most recent state statistics show that a little over 80,000 electric vehicles (EV) were registered in New Jersey, as of May 2022. That represents about 1% of the 6 million total vehicles registered. The road to the nirvana of all new electric car sales will likely be a very bumpy one.  

State officials say that a timeline is being established to require all new vehicles sold to be electric by 2035. They also say that the plan will be available for public comment by the end of the year.  

Critics argue that the state does not have the charging infrastructure for this level of growth in electric vehicles and they add that it is not clear renewable energy sources will be at sufficient levels to support the added load. 

The data from May showed only 455 EV cars and trucks registered in Cape May County, up from just less than 200 in 2018. Any substantial growth in EV cars and trucks would also be an infrastructure challenge in this county where the summer season volume of vehicles hits levels seen only in the most populous areas of the state.  

Household Debt 

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its most recent analysis of household debt, which has hit $16.9 trillion. Seventy percent of that debt, $11.92 trillion, is in the form of mortgages. Mortgage debt grew in 2022 by nearly $1 trillion, even as the boom in the residential real estate market began to cool.  

In the fourth quarter of 2022, there was $498 billion in newly originated mortgage debt following two years of what the Federal Reserve called “historically high volumes.” The report indicates that the growth in new mortgage debt is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels.  

An earlier report by the Fed showed that year-over-year price increases have calmed considerably from the frenzy exhibited during the first two years of the pandemic. Year-over-year home prices in Cape May County continue to increase but at less than half the rate of growth they exhibited just a year prior.  

A potentially disturbing element in the report is that the credit card debt balance now surpasses pre-pandemic highs at $986 billion 

The share of debt becoming delinquent increased in the fourth quarter across all debt types, including auto loans. The report noted signs of stress among young borrowers.  

Overdose Deaths 


A press release from the Cape May County prosecutor warned that overdose events are on the increase. In the first two weeks of February, the county experienced 16 overdose situations and two deaths. Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland pointed especially at the threat caused by Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyls (IMFs).  

Data from the Office of the State Medical Examiner shows that drugrelated deaths in the county decreased in 2022 and began to approach pre-pandemic levels after a twoyear spike. The county had 44 suspected drugrelated deaths in 2022, as compared with 63 in both 2021 and 2020.     


Gov. Murphy described six pillars that are a foundation for a “greener, more resilient New Jersey. Together, they accelerated the state’s climate action agenda in ways that brought both praise and dismay. 

A county artist used the pandemic pause to indulge her interest in the fine arts. She now has a showing of her work. 

The Cape May Point Science Center hopes to contribute in a positive way to the debate over the rise in fatalities among sea mammals. 

Mayor Leonard Desiderio gave his annual State of the City address, touting Sea Isle City’s strong financial position and promising to present new ordinances that will help police deal with rowdy juveniles during the upcoming summer season. 

Get ready to pay more to keep the lights on. One week after the state Board of Public Utilities confirmed the results of Atlantic City Electric’s (ACE) power generation auction and the 4.1% increase that will go into effect June 1, ACE announced that it will seek recovery from ratepayers for over $100 million it has invested in resiliency and its smart meter initiative. The likely result will be an over average 8% increase in the monthly transmission charges. 

A Cape May County corrections officer has been charged with sexual assault of a juvenile female.  

Upper Township has said it will not join other shore towns that are calling for a halt to offshore wind activities. The township will host the connection point where a substation will be constructed to receive the offshore wind energy and connect it to the state grid. 

Ever feel like you had no chance to win that Boardwalk game? Well, for a number of those who paid to play, that was exactly what happened. A games operator was banned for 10 years for rigging the game against potential winners. 

Cape May is considering a hike in mercantile fees to keep up with inflation in the cost of providing municipal services.  

Stone Harbor Council called a special meeting with one action in mind, which was not on any public agenda. The council, in a 5to1 votefired the borough administrator, giving no reason for the action.   

Lower Township police said the department will use its new drone primarily for searchandrescue missions 

A Veterans Diversion Program is helping vets avoid criminal prosecution for certain nonviolent crimes provided the individuals meet the conditions of the program.  

The H2oi driver charged in connection with two fatalities during an unsanctioned rally in Wildwood has refused a plea deal. Unless something changes, the case will go to trial. 

Spout Off of the Week 

North Cape May - If people want to see what a wind turbine looks like from the beach, please go to Douglass Park in North Cape May (Cape May Canal Jetty) and look southwest to Lewes, Delaware. It is approximately 16 miles, and you can very easily see the wind turbine, located in Lewes. On a personal note, I live in the area and the wind turbine doesn’t bother me. Some will say that perhaps a dozen of them would change my mind. Perhaps, but if we need them to help conserve energy, so be it. The Delaware Bay side of the state is still going to be the most beautiful. “Home of the best sunsets”. 

Read more spouts at        

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