Spring is the season of renewal, and in Ocean County it's the season for new ways to be informed and enlightened, to protect yourself against cyberspace villains, and to help keep the shore ecosystem in good health. A wealth of free events and workshops are just starting. Here are some highlights.

Cultural Impacts of Clothes

What we wear every day constitutes more than fashion statements. Sometimes, garb is part of a belief system, a culture, or a set of values. It encapsulates our views of ourselves and our perceptions of the world, and how we're perceived. It can be a uniform, a declaration, or even a metaphoric straitjacket.

First day of class at Ocean County College in Toms River
First day of class at Ocean County College in Toms River (Facebook)

On Sunday, April 30, at Ocean County College in Toms River, you're invited to an examination of the impact of attire for women of many cultures. Reaching Across Faith Traditions (RAFT) and the Ocean County Diversity Initiative present "How Religion Influences Women's Dress: Empowerment, Expression or Oppression?"

The OCC Middle Eastern North Africa Club collaborates on the 3:30 PM event in the Gateway Building. Scheduled panelists include Drs. Cynthia Ninivaggi, Mary Paula Cancienne, and Johann Vento, of Georgian Court University in Lakewood; Professor Atiya Aftab, Rutgers University; and Rabbi Dr. Lisa Malik of Aberdeen.

Seating is limited to 200. Reserve a spot through this link or call 732-363-0350.

Snatching life from the jaws of death

Heroin and opiate overdose reversals were once solely the domain of trained professionals, administering unfamiliar remedies in a complex way. Not any more. Learn how to administer Naloxone (Narcan), and take home a free kit, April 18, at RWJBarnabas Health's Behavioral Health Center, Route 9 in Toms River.

Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media, NJ
Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media, NJ

The workshop begins at 5 PM. Use this link to e-mail your registration to attend, or call Joanna Dugan, 856-225-0505.

Get clammy, and like it

Now entering its 10th year, the Barnegat Bay Shelffish Restoration Program (BBSRP) has revived the once-dwindling population of clams and oysters and turned back a significant threat of algae overruns, oxygen-starved water, and deterioraton of the marine ecosystem that ultimately affects the entire watershed.

Casting seed Clams (ReClam The Bay)
Casting seed Clams (ReClam The Bay)

ReClam The Bay, the hearty band volunteers who power BBSRP,  invites you to learn about it, and perhaps join the team, during its April 25 Open House, 7-9 PM, at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, Whitesville Road (Route 527) in Toms River.

ReClam The Bay members will be available to discuss the simple process of becoming a "Certified Shellfish Gardener," through a seven-week BBSRP course that takes place each Tuesday at 7 PM.

Youngsters meet baby shellfish (ReClam The Bay)
Youngsters meet baby shellfish (ReClam The Bay)

Once you've completed it, you're eligible to devote some free time during the summer to the breeding sites. There are also supplemental workshops in Fall. You can help even if you're a total landlubber. Folks of all ages with skills in teaching, public relations and computers are also needed.

The group annually raises about 1,000,000 clams and 300,000 oysters, and they'd love to see some fresh faces at their waterside sites from Brick Township to Island Beach State Park. Get more information at 732-349-1152.

Lakewood's traffic hotline

Traffic snarls are nothing new in Lakewood. Until now, there's been not much to do except stew in the car, or wait until a Township Committee meeting. Township officials hope that a dedicated phone line and e-mail arrangement will speed up solutions and cut your stress.

Traffic jam
Maciej Korzekwa - ThinkStock

Township officials enlisted Maser Consulting of Red Bank, which specializes in civil, environmental and energy engineering.

Whether it's to highlight a chronic traffic jam spot, or to offer ideas about managing the flow, call 732-284-0929, or send your opinions and ideas via e-mail.

Shutting down ransomware

You might not have been victimized by ransomware - yet - but you've surely heard the stories. Hackers can plant it in your PC, laptop, pad, or even your phone, and either hold your system and all your information hostage, or threaten to release everything, unless you pay them to stop. You'll keep paying, and they won't stop.

Chaos Computer Club Annual Congress
Getty Images

Learn how it works, and how you can prevent it from attacking you, on April 12, at Ocean County College in Toms River. Analysts of the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell update you about this continually-evolving threat, and best preventive practices.

The Kean University Cybsersecurity Center co-hosts the session, 9:30 until 11:30 AM in the Gateway Building. Register through this link, or find out more by e-mailing Kean University Cybersecurity or calling 908-737-4720.

Yes, In-Deed at the Ocean County Clerk's Office

When was the last time you took a look at the ownership documents for your own house? On April 8, Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella opens up the deed room in his offices on Washington Street in Toms River, and teaches you to navigate it.

The workshop, part of National County Government Month, runs 10 AM - 1 PM. Scott and his staff explain available resources, and take you step-by-step through searching and accessing your deed or mortgage.

Deed Room (Ocean Co. Clerk's Office)
Deed Room (Ocean Co. Clerk's Office)

"A lot of residents do not realize the information they have access to, or how to go about getting property records," Colabella said. "I want to provide them with an opportunity to learn firsthand what is available and how to easily access information as well."

You can also sign up for the Property Alert Service, which enables you to receive electronic notifications when your documents are recorded and accessed. There will also be information about the office's other services, including passports, notary and veterans' services.

Register by sending an e-mail to the Ocean County Clerk, or by calling 732-929-2018.

Berkeley Township, happy campers

School will be out before you know it. If you're in Berkeley Township and you're looking for creative outdoor and indoor fun for your children, it's right in town, at Veterans Park on Forest Hills Parkway, July 5 through August 11.

Berkeley Township summer camp (Debbie Winogracki)
Berkeley Township summer camp (Debbie Winogracki)

Berkeley Township's summer camp includes swimming, field trips, creative arts, games and special events. Registration forms are being given to each township student. Plus, on-site registration takes place next week at the Recreation Center on Route 9: April 4, 9 AM - 3 PM; April 5, 9 AM - 3 PM and 5 - 8 PM; and April 6, 9 AM - 3 PM.

Registration fees are $150 for the first child in a household, and $125 for each additional child. Bus transportation costs $50 per child. Bus seating is first-come, first-served, and limited

Ensure your youngster's healthy summer

Young athletes are not the only ones at risk of concussions or heart problems. Sometimes they're unnoticed, and the effects can linger or worsen. Experts have said that hidden heart conditions are at the root of 90 percent of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.

Doctor holding out stethescope

On April 22, 8 AM until 12 noon, Community Medical Center in Toms River offers free cardiac and concussion screenings at the Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center. Parents and guardians should accompany children.

The tests spot potential problem areas that might require more tests, or intervention, and can help determine the length of time a child with a head injury might need before resuming normal activities..

Children age 5 to 18 are eligible for concussion exams. They are administered through an iPad for children age 5 to 11. Children age 6 to 18 can be given cardiac screenings. Open this link to register by e-mail.

There's lots more going on. We'll be back with more. Have information about an event? E-mail us here.

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