Mayor Jay Gillian Dear Friends,The number of positive tests for coronavirus in Ocean City remains relatively small but is on the rise.Reporting and contact tracing are administered through the Cape May County Department of Health, and the county does not provide detail to the public on the identities, locations or nature of the active cases.But with kids back in school, college students coming and going, the weather starting to force people back inside, and tests more readily available, we may see these numbers continue to increase.Fortunately, our local hospital officials reported this week that as of Wednesday, Shore Medical Center had only three COVID patients and Cape Regional just two.Those hospital numbers could be lagging behind the active cases numbers, or it could be that many of the active cases are asymptomatic or minor.I certainly want to encourage everybody to remain vigilant, wear masks, wash hands, steer clear of indoor crowds, and follow all other guidelines. I do think we all can minimize the next wave if we take common-sense precautions.The following are reliable sources on trends and everything you need to know about the coronavirus and COVID-19:Ocean City and Cape May County: https://capemaycountynj.gov/1418/Covid-19-Dashboard .New Jersey: https://covid19.nj.gov/ .United States and Worldwide: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/ .Centers for Disease Control and PreventionI want to let you know about two town hall meetings planned for this fall. All safety protocols will be observed for both meetings. The city will present information on preliminary plans for a new public safety building at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at the Ocean City Tabernacle (550 Wesley Avenue).A separate meeting to share updated information on bayside dredging plans and road, drainage and flood mitigation improvements will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Tabernacle.We will provide more information as these events get closer, and the presentations and meeting video will be made available to all who cannot attend.Information regarding a town hall meeting to discuss plans for open space at the former car dealership property will be forthcoming when the acquisition of the property has been concluded.On Tuesday, the city conducted a $50,700,000 bond sale that resulted in a net interest cost of 1.52 percent. Ocean City was able to hit the market at one of the most opportune times in history for selling municipal debt, and the sale will represent a significant savings to taxpayers for years to come.The bond sale funds capital improvements that range from flood-mitigation projects to land acquisition to affordable housing.Cape May County’s wastewater main replacement project on Bay Avenue is in full progress, and work will require a detour on Bay Avenue. Starting Monday and continuing for about two weeks, Bay Avenue will be closed to all but local traffic between 24th Street and 34th Street.The Ocean City Municipal Airport, Golf Course and local businesses will remain open and accessible. See more detail.Boardwalk and downtown merchants will be holding outdoor table sales this weekend. I hope you all get a chance to stop by and check out everything our local stores have to offer.Warm regards,Mayor Jay A. Gillian
Potatoes are a very popular vegetable in Europe and were first cultivated by the Incas, in Peru, 6,000 years ago. They were brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors to impress Royalty in around 1570.Although they started out as an expensive and exotic food, they became part of the British staple diet in the 18th century. The effects of the potato blight in 1840s Ireland are well-known, as the population dropped dramatically. It is thought that more than a million people died and another million emigrated.For culinary uses, potatoes are placed into two groups, waxy and floury. The floury potatoes are better for mashing, baking, roasting and frying and the waxy potatoes are better served as boiled potatoes, grated in rosti and sliced in gratins or put in stews. Choose potatoes that have a smooth skin and are firm. They should also not be bruised, green-tinged or sprouting. Mashed potato can be used to make Irish potato cakes, added to pastry for savoury pies, used in a very moist chocolate cake or mixed into bread dough. Uncooked grated potato can be put into cakes such as ginger cake or used instead of carrots or parsnips in a loaf cake.For more information on which type of potatoes to use see [http://www.britishpotatoes.co.uk]In season; main-crop potatoes are harvested September/October, but are available most of the year.Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the world-famous Leiths School of Food and Wine—-=== In my world: the craft baker ===So here it is! The shock waves that were first reported earlier in the year have rippled out from the American Sub-Prime epicentre and are, right now, shaking the Cotswolds. Many people have battened down the hatches and are not venturing out. In an instant, we find footfall is the main problem, as are wastage, labour costs and knowing what to do first.So here is what I’ve done. The shop, with a café, has been most affected, so I have seized the reins, made the manager redundant and not replaced the outgoing summer staff, making immediate labour cost savings. This has only been made sustainable by reducing the opening times and changing everyone’s contract, so we now have only one very focused shift. I have also dramatically altered our café offering, so there is nothing made to order, installed a self-service dresser that makes tempting treats more accessible, complete with travelling toaster, which has been popular and encourages customers to try our breads. I have encouraged take-out loyalty, by introducing a little sandwich card, which we stamp each time a sandwich is bought – and the 10th one is on us. This sits alongside our well-used Coffee Loyalty Card. One team member has been tasked with monitoring orders/sales/wastage, so that we can be on top of these things on a daily basis.Across the shops, I have relaunched the humble 800g split tin and standard wholemeal as ’Budget Bread’ and put posters up outside, reading, “Hobbs House Quality for only £1.45”. This has been a great way of challenging the general perception that our offering is only top-end and has had the effect of increasing the sales of our premium loaf.The economic situation demands that we look at our business in a sharper way, find the things that aren’t working well enough and deal with them. If we survive, our businesses will be keener and fitter than before. How cathartic – a forced and early spring clean!I can report that bread sales are still strong, including the organic bread, and there has been growth in premium patisserie – I assume for customers who want to eat well at home instead of a meal out. The leaner team at the bakery/café has made for a better atmosphere, so service is better than ever. Anyone can sell when times are good, but during a downturn, sales staff training needs to be comprehensive. So, to avoid complacency, customer service training is my next focus.If only I knew if any of these actions will be enough to weather the storm. If you have any storm-proof tips or ideas. please let me [email protected]—-=== Culture corner: book review ===== Baking and Bakeries (£4.99) by HG Muller ==Anyone ordering a complete history of Baking and Bakeries off Amazon and expecting a letterbox-challenging brick of a book will be relieved to learn that your postie won’t be risking a hernia by having to lug an undelivered package back to depot. Weighing in at a mere 32 pages (including lots of pictures), this re-issue as part of the Shire Classics series, originally published in 1986, impressively races through 5,000 years of bread baking. This is little surprise, given that not much changed in baking technology between Roman times and the 1800s, when the back-breaking labour of mixing was finally done away with by mechanical mixers and “perpetual ovens”, and industrialised baking and moulders came into use for the first time.Tracing baking’s origins, Muller throws up a few intriguing facts: the typical ancient Egyptian was no carb-dodger, munching through an average 500g of bread per day. Nor were Egyptian bakers too hung up about clean labels, adding moth-repelling chemical camphor to bread, to delay staling. By the Middle Ages, the baker had developed the reputation of being unscrupulous, often accused of selling underweight bread, with grim punishment for those caught, including being burned to death in one’s own oven.The concluding potted history of 20th century industrial advances is particularly accessible to industry newcomers, or for anyone with a short attention span.
The immediate future looks pretty bleak for fans of Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Over the last two days, the band announced they had parted ways with keyboardist Adam MacDougall and canceled an upcoming performance at New York City’s Webster Hall set for later this year. On Friday, it was announced that the band will now no longer be performing at this year’s LOCKN‘ Festival, which is set to take place on August 22nd-25th.According to the announcement shared by the festival, CRB will no longer perform due to a “scheduling conflict”, and has been replaced on the event schedule by Midnight North. The band did not make any statement of their own, and has yet to share their plans for replacing MacDougall.The drastic changes to the band’s lineup and schedule come at a slightly inconvenient time, as they’re set to release their sixth full-length studio album, Servants of the Sun, on June 14th. The band is still scheduled to perform at the official afterparty at the inaugural BeachLife Festival in Hermosa Beach, CA on Saturday, and their 2019 spring tour is set to continue on May 16th with a show in Kill Devil Hills, NC.MacDougall is currently on the road with his other band, Circles Around the Sun, which also just announced a new batch of summer tour dates. Awkwardly enough, the band’s summer tour schedule also includes an appearance at LOCKN’. Oof.Fans can still catch Trey Anastasio Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, and many more when LOCKN’ Festival returns to Arrington, VA at the end of summer.