Thursday, March 03, 2011:Cold last night but another beaut today, through north winds will be real brisk. After work today, I’m off to an archeological dig on the mainland -- so I’ll have to miss mudflat clamming, which I hear has been very decent of late. I do have some oystering scheduled this weekend, weather and low tides permitting.
Of LBI import, I had a second bike stolen form my yard this week. Turns out petty thieves are heavily working Ship Bottom and much of LBI.
Per the boys in blue, these are not savvy criminals but more likely petty rip-offs, possibly punks. Still, I get doubly pissed off when the sanctity of Island lifestyle is forced into paranoid mode to the point I have to chain-up even beach cruising type bikes.
What I’d like from any of you locals, seasonal homeowners or regular visitors is vigilance. My guess is a minimum of observation on our parts will easily eyeball these punks as they cruise. Don’t go getting all Big Brothery, but simply make note of suspicious people of interest, who seem a bit out of place or overly interested in looking all around, as they cruise the neighborhood on foot, on bike or in vehicles.
And observe only. And call the cops only if things remain suspicious looking. Do not confront anyone. Not because you might put yourself in danger (you just might) but more importantly because there’s a good likelihood passing folks are good people, bothering no one. However, there is nothing even remotely wrong with a vigilant police force checking, in a friendly way, on anyone hanging around town.
On a far more criminally advanced note, the copper pipe thieves are at it again in a big way. They had backed off when copper prices dipped. In fact, copper pipe thievery is almost gaugeable by monitoring what copper futures are doing on the spot metals market. In fact, there will be a likely hike in copper/brass values, meaning you’re outside shower copper pipes are at horrible risk.
If you’re like me, you wonder how in bloody hell a heavy jumble of quick-cut piping can be whisked away without anyone being seen. Again, we’re talking more professional crooks in this instance. I surmise they (almost always more than one perp) sneak onto targeted property, covertly go about cutting and stacking the pipes. Then, with the help of lookouts, they do a rapid transfer of ill begotten goods into vehicles – which rapidly pull up for the pickup. That’s when they’ll most vulnerable to being busted in the act.
I have this nagging suspicion that the vehicles used to steal piping are either mocked up to look like construction/builder vehicles or might even be construction vehicles – manned by crooked employees who – unbeknownst to the construction company business owners – steal copper on the side.
(((((((((((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))))))))))))As you might know, there is exploratory chatter over selling a special NJ “Striped Bass” license plate to essentially sponsor any future costs from a free saltwater angler registry. I have been very close to the specialty plates funding thing for many years now. I swear that virtually every group in the state (many local groups) take a look at this option to acquire money. Very tricky realm. First of all, it’s a lot like selling organization-based T-shirts – another first-thought moneymaking scheme devised by most organizations. After an initial burst of interest (sales), a threshold is reached where those getting the product have gotten them. Then, that’s it. Admittedly, in the case of the annually renewed organizational specialty plates, a sizzling first run can mean some serious moola to start, with some plate fees running up to $50. The renewal fees are obviously far less profitable.
Now here’s a real bugaboo. There are already so damn many specialty license plates – over 50 offered by the DMV -- that folks who chose them as a way to contribute to a cause already have organizational plates. What happens when a new organizational plate arrives is folks unscrew the tags of an old cause and hang them on a new one. This is not just my opinion but also that of DMV officials. You’ve now essentially taken money from groups like the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and switched it over to some other group. OK, so maybe that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing – until you’re turn comes to be on short end of the stick.
On the pro side, I believe many an angler would become a first-time organizational plate buyer if a striped bass license plate arises. While there are some numerous outdoor specialty plates available, this would surely be the most angling oriented tags. They would be fun to own.
That said, here’s an email from Sharon M. regarding other issues surrounding striped bass specialty plates.
“I don't have any objection to a dedicated saltwater registry license plate fund. My only concerns are1) the state is either discussing or may have already approved transitioning to stickers on license plates instead of fashioning a specialized plate which may diminish the value. $50 is a lot to spend for a sticker.2) each organization has to hammer out their own deal to get that money funneled back to them and the state doesn't always pay up readily. If our aim is to ensure administrative costs do not affect the fisheries research that justifies our quotas, we want to make sure this money doesn't wind up in some black hole.
These are details that should be considered prior to pursuing this. We should most certainly discuss this since we, as a club, did not want the Feds to get our saltwater registration fee. Now we should keep the money in the agency that can help us with ASMFC and NMFS.Sharon.”