SEA ISLE CITY02 CAPE MAY POINT0 AVALON16 The Cape May County Health Department on Thursday announced one new death and 15 new cases of COVID-19.The county has a total of 419 confirmed cases, including 31 deaths. Most of the confirmed deaths are associated with long-term care living facilities.An 80-year-old man from Lower Township is the latest county resident to die, according to a county press release.“As we come together with expressions of sympathy and support to remember the passing of our loved ones, we must also remember to help each other, to protect your health and the health of others in our community,” Cape May County Freeholder Jeff Pierson said. “Let’s all do our part to get Cape May County through this challenging time.”Following is a breakdown of the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths for each municipality in the county: WILDWOOD CREST18 UPPER TOWNSHIP143282 TOTAL DECEASED LOWER TOWNSHIP1624634618 TOTAL ACTIVE93 NORTH WILDWOOD36 CAPE MAY CITY13 TOTAL RECOVERED COVID-19 testing in Ocean City will be done at the Community Center’s parking lot. MUNICIPALITYACTIVE CASESREPORTED TODAYOFF QUARANTINEDEATHSLONG TERM CARE ACTIVE CASESLONG TERM CARE CENTER DEATHS WOODBINE9811262 TOTAL CASES IN CAPE MAY COUNTY419 WEST CAPE MAY11 OCEAN CITY7201 DENNIS TOWNSHIP8191262 103 MIDDLE TOWNSHIP184324 WEST WILDWOOD21 WILDWOOD12118 STONE HARBOR0 922 192 The Department of Health wants to remind everyone that the use of a face covering is an extra step in the prevention of getting or spreading COVID-19. Please continue to maintain social distancing, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and only leave home for essential tasks or work.“Prevention is not only better than the cure, it’s the smartest thing to do,” Cape May County Health Officer Kevin Thomas said.COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person mainly with close contact (less than 6 feet), but may also be spread by a surface that has the virus and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly one’s eyes. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.To lessen overcrowding, all “essential retail” stores are only permitted to allow up to 50 percent of their approved capacity inside. All customers and employees are now required to wear face coverings while inside the store, and businesses must supply employees with masks, coverings and gloves.Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolves. Some reliable sources are the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int and the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov.For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or the Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net.
Members of the incoming Saint Mary’s class of 2021 may stroll down The Avenue this weekend to engage in the annual Belles Beginnings orientation program, but they have no idea what lies on the road ahead. Kathryne Robinson | The Observer Senior Stephanie Stapleton welcomes incoming Belles to campus by displaying posters with uplifting messages and by transporting members of the class of 2021 to various campus destinations in golf carts.Student body vice president Lydia Lorenc said her administration will consistently strive to create a welcoming atmosphere and to adequately prepare all new students for life in college.“I’m hoping the first year Belles feel like they are coming home,” she said. “They’re on a journey to becoming more independent, and they are more than likely going to face obstacles that will help them mature and find their own identity. Saint Mary’s has been the perfect place for me to feel adventurous enough to step out of my comfort zone, and I want the first years to feel the same way.”As participants engage in bonding opportunities, listen to speeches on campus safety and foster open discussions with peer mentors, they will grow in familiarity with the College and deepen their relationships with one another, Lorenc said.“Orientation is always the perfect opportunity to find new friends,” she said. “All first years are gathered together. … I hope as the weekend goes on they feel more and more comfortable with their new classmates and are excited to take on the next four years with them.”Student body president Bailey Oppman said the weekend will culminate in a traditional event known as Closing the Circle, in which new students hold hands and gather in a circle to demonstrate unity.“[Student Government Association] plans the Closing of the Circle ceremony, which is the last major event students have with their parents before they part ways,” Oppman said. “All the words spoken at the ceremony come from students who are now seniors. This is a neat way for the upperclassmen to connect with the first years and vice versa.”Experiencing this particular bonding moment as a first year, Lorenc said, confirmed her love for the College.“I left that ceremony knowing that I made the right decision in coming to Saint Mary’s,” Lorenc said. “I hope [new students] get the same tingly feeling knowing they’re finally home.”Oppman said a Saint Mary’s education guarantees both intellectual development and personal growth.“My hopes for the class of 2021 would be the same for any class at Saint Mary’s, and that is that these girls transform over the next four years,” she said. “I hope they discover their passions and follow them.”Though Belles Beginnings will end, bright futures at Saint Mary’s will begin, Oppman said.“As far as first year programming, we really focus on Big Belle, Little Belle, which is a mentorship program where a first year student is paired with an existing junior,” she said. “From there, events are planned every month and the pair can attend together and build a relationship. It’s another way for the first years to get acclimated and feel a part of the campus community.”Lorenc said she hopes transfer students — who also participate in orientation weekend — feel embraced and appreciated.“I think it might be a little different for transfers because they have some experience with college already,” Lorenc said. “But I’m sure the feelings of butterflies and anticipation are still with them. I know they are for me each time I drive up The Avenue to begin a new school year.”All incoming students should recognize that they have an integral, valuable role to play in the success of the institution, Lorenc said.“They’re now a part of a rich history of empowered women, and I want them to embrace that,” she said. “We’re such a diverse campus with so many clubs and organizations.”The lessons learned and friendships established throughout Belles Beginnings will provide new students with their first glimpse of the College, Oppman said.“We want this first experience to be an extremely positive one, as it sets the tone for the upcoming semester,” Oppman said. “[First years and transfers] should feel wanted and accepted just as anyone would in their own homes. We want that same familiar feeling to overcome students as they arrive on campus.”Lorenc said she hopes SGA can help first year students acclimate to life at Saint Mary’s and guide them in finding their niches at the College.“We want all students to feel respected,” Lorenc said. “We’re continuing with [College] President [Jan] Cervelli’s theme of inclusivity by offering a Big Belle-Little Belle mentorship program and monthly mingles for open discussion with other students. We’re really hoping that our first years dive into all that is offered at Saint Mary’s.”According to Oppman, SGA planned Belles Beginnings with the hope of making the weekend special for the incoming class.“I think this first experience sets the tone for their outlook on the upcoming semester,” Oppman said. “If we can be as welcoming and helpful as possible in these first moments and continue to be open stewards of service as the semester continues, then I think that makes all the difference as they transition.”No changes have been made to the structure of SGA this year, but Oppman said she has assembled a great team.“My goal for the term is really just to make an impact on our campus, whether that’s in a small or large way,” Oppman said. “If I can leave the office knowing I made someone or something better for those I’m leaving behind, I’ll consider my term a success.”Lorenc, who, along with Oppman, will serve as a student liaison between the student body and the College’s administration, said she hopes to have a positive impact on the campus community.“I have a sincere love for Saint Mary’s, and I want to share that with the rest of the student body,” she said. “Bailey and I are working closely … to enhance some current policies and also introduce new initiatives. We’re working towards becoming a more sustainable campus, and we feel this is a very attainable goal for Saint Mary’s.”Though Oppman said it has been difficult for this administration to begin implementing new projects over the summer, Oppman hopes to start initiatives once school is back in session. She said her administration will work as closely with Cervelli as possible, but will also make an effort to be visible for the student body through office hours and regular SGA reports.Lorenc said she is honored to serve her community and is looking forward to Belles Beginnings.“I’m excited for the class of 2021 to arrive on campus,” she said. “I value Saint Mary’s so much, and I love everything our campus has to offer.Tags: Belles Beginnings, Class of 2021, Oppman-Lorenc, Student Government Association
Georgia’s field corn acreage is up and yields should be strong, but prices remain disappointingly low for producers, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension weed specialist Eric Prostko.Because cotton prices have slipped to 67 cents per pound, Georgia producers have looked for alternative crops to cotton. Field corn is a viable option, especially since it is widely used as a rotational crop for growers who farm peanuts, another popular commodity in Georgia.The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that Georgia farmers will harvest 355,000 acres of corn this year, up 25 percent from last year’s 285,000, according to Prostko. “Field corn is a crop that Georgia growers will always count on every growing season. While it requires regular chemical applications to avoid diseases like corn rust and irrigation because of its strong dependence on water, it remains a valuable commodity for our producers,” Prostko said. “Now, is the price where we would like it to be? No, but it remains a potential strong option for our growers to consider, especially if cotton prices remain as low as they have for an extended period of time.”Along with increased acreage, Prostko said several farmers are “hitting their marks” with projected corn yields. Georgia’s expected increase in yields coincides with the country’s projected boom in corn production this year. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts corn production at 15.1 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year.Georgia growers faced challenges this year in achieving high production. Excessive rainfall during a two-week period in late March and early April delayed some plantings in south Georgia. Farmers also overcame drought-like conditions during the summer. Prostko estimates that between 75 and 85 percent of Georgia’s corn crop is irrigated, which was a necessity this year, especially in July.“We’re going to compensate our moisture deficits through irrigation. Our farmers are watering every day or every other day,” Protsko said. “Some may never shut the pivot off because it takes so long to get around, you’ve got to just keep it going.”Field corn is a high-water-use crop and south Georgia soils are sandy and contain low organic matter that doesn’t hold moisture well. Georgia also experiences extremely high temperatures during the summer, which results in a lot of evaporation.“It’s like we’re fighting a drought all the time,” Prostko said.Achieving high yields this growing season is vital for corn growers dealing with prices averaging $3.33 per bushel. Those prices fall far below the $7 and $8 prices producers enjoyed last year and below the $4 threshold for which most producers aim, Prostko said. One option growers have is to store their corn, which Prostko expects to happen until prices rebound.One cost-effective solution that growers have transitioned to in recent years is the use of electric pumps on irrigation systems. Since corn requires constant water application, irrigation systems are constantly running. Instead of paying for diesel fuel, most farmers use electric pumps, a cost-saving solution.To view photos of corn production and research at the UGA, see http://bit.ly/2dboxhO.To watch a video of corn being harvested on the UGA Tifton Campus, see http://bit.ly/2ckrE9Y.