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Austin, TX 78744

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In the News

AAACAP counselors assist with Medicare open enrollment

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) benefits counselors will be available to help adults living in the CAPCOG ten-county region who are 65 and older navigate through the National Medicare Open Enrollment Period starting Oct. 15 and ending Dec. 7.

This period lets Medicare consumers switch their Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage plans. For years, AAACAP counselors have provided insight on the many choices involved in selecting a Medicare program. They also provide screening for qualification into the Medicare Savings Program and low-income subsidies for every person counseled during the period.

Residents can seek assistance from benefits counselors at 512-916-6062 or 888-622-9111, ext. 6062.

> Get more information on Medicare open enrollment.
> Contact an  AAACAP benefits counselor.

Update-Nov. 28, 2017

If you are calling about Medicare Open Enrollment, please contact 1-800 Medicare(633-4227) or go to Medicare.gov.
Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
> Find helpful hints about Medicare Enrollment options.

Campaign doubles WarnCentralTexas.org registrations

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A region-wide media campaign launched for the September National Preparedness Month nearly doubled the amount of residents who have signed up to receive emergency alerts at WarnCentralTexas.org and set the stage for continued awareness about the regional notification system (RNS).

“About 120,000 people have registered their cellphone numbers to receive alerts from their local emergency response personnel, and this is a success,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security Director. “But we want to continue to encourage every resident in the ten-county CAPCOG region to register to receive these alerts.”  Carter noted the campaign was kicked off on Aug. 23 as Hurricane Harvey moved toward the Texas coast, likely a contributing factor to the high number of new users.

Once a cellphone is registered at WarnCentralTexas.org, local jurisdictions can use the system to share critical emergency information with that resident via email, phone call or text message about events such as:

  • Evacuations from floods, wildfires or public health threats,
  • Shelter-in-place information during law enforcement or public health incidents,
  • Boil water notices or prolonged power outages, and
  • Options to receive general, non-emergency community messages.

CAPCOG also launched a new WarnCentralTexas.org website that continues to serve as a self-registration portal for residents to receive emergency alerts, but now it is also a place where they can discover how the communities in which they live and work communicate emergency information. It also will house information on how residents can be prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Communities seeking promotional materials for WarnCentralTexas.org can contact Carolyn Sudduth.

> Learn more about the Homeland Security Division.
> Read more about RNS.

CAPCOG launches Text to 9-1-1 region wide

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Capital Area Council of Governments has deployed Text to 9-1-1 service region wide after successfully testing for the region’s 31 public safety answering points (PSAPs), or 9-1-1 call centers, capability to receive and respond to SMS text messages. The service is now activated on the four major cellphone service providers —Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

“Text to 9-1-1 is a great addition to emergency response; however, the service has several limitations, so residents should familiarize themselves with them before texting 9-1-1 and most importantly remember to ‘Call if you can, text if you can’t,’” said Gregg Obuch, CAPCOG’s Emergency Communications Director.

Text to 9-1-1 is the ability to send a cellphone text message to a local 9-1-1 call center. It is especially beneficial to those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired, but residents should only text 9-1-1 when calling 9-1-1 is unsafe or not possible.

Examples of when texting 9-1-1 would be beneficial include:

  • The caller cannot speak due to a threat, illness or medical condition
  • The caller has poor reception and can only send text messages
  • Phone lines and cellphone towers are overwhelmed and only texts can get through

Cellphone service providers only offer text messaging as a “best effort service” meaning providers do not guarantee a message will be delivered, said Obuch, who noted that text messages also can take longer to receive or can be delivered out of order. The only way to know a text reached a 9-1-1 call center is when the center texts back. If the sender thinks a text was not received, he or she should call 9-1-1.

Text to 9-1-1 only is available in English. However, 9-1-1 voice calls can be processed in multiple languages, because all CAPCOG 9-1-1 call centers provide emergency interpretive services. Text to 9-1-1 does not work if the sender texts using group messages, emojis, pictures or videos. Apps that text other app users (such as WhatsApp) or texting via social media (such as Facebook Messenger) do not support Text to 9-1-1.

To help educate residents about using Text to 9-1-1, CAPCOG has developed video and audio PSAs and a FAQ about the service. All are available at www.capcog.org/text911. Local jurisdictions are encouraged to share the FAQ and PSAs with residents via social and other media. They always should encourage residents to “Call if you can, text if you can’t” – the national slogan for Text to 9-1-1.

> Learn more about Text to 9-1-1.
> View or download the Text to 9-1-1 PSAs.
> Read about the CAPCOG Emergency Communications Division.

$7 million available from EPA School Bus Rebate Program

Tuesday, October 03, 2017
Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications for its 2017 School Bus Rebate Program which could provide up to $20,000 per vehicle to replace older school buses and up to $6,000 per vehicle for retrofits. The program will take applications until 4 p.m., ET, Tuesday Nov. 14.

Older school buses without emission reduction retrofits emit significant amounts of harmful exhaust, so participating in this program will help improve the health of students and other members of your community. Eligible entities include regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under a contract with an entity listed above. More than $7 million is available through this program and up to $1 million for retrofits.

> Read more or download an application for the 2017 School Bus Rebate Program.
> Contact CleanDiesel@epa.gov with questions.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

$6 million available for alternative fuel, natural gas fueling stations

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) is accepting applications for grants to help defray the costs of building or modifying alternative fueling facilities. The state has made up to $6 million available to individuals, businesses, and governments that qualify.

The facilities will serve as the foundation of a self-sustaining market for alternative fuel in Texas. Developing this network of facilities will create jobs, ensure viable use of clean energy, and will help reduce air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.

This grant under the Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) offsets a portion of the cost of either the construction of new facilities dispensing natural gas or alternative fuels, or the expansion of existing facilities to provide new services or capabilities. Eligible fuels for the AFFP include natural gas, biodiesel, hydrogen, methanol, propane, and electricity. Eligible individuals, businesses, and governments must be within the state’s Clean Transportation Zone, which includes seven counties in the CAPCOG region — Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson.

The TCEQ will accept applications until 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. It also has scheduled eight AFFP grant application workshops to review the grant requirements and the application process.

AUSTIN
9 a.m., TUESDAY, NOV. 21, 2017
TCEQ's Austin Office
Building E, 2nd Floor, Room 254S
12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753

EL PASO
1 p.m., WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1, 2017
Rio Grande Council of Governments (Main Conference Room)
8037 Lockheed Drive, Suite 100
El Paso, Texas 79925

TYLER
9 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017
TCEQ Region 5 Office, Large Conference Room
2916 Teague Dr.
Tyler, Texas 75701

ARLINGTON
9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017
North Central Texas Council of Governments
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, TX 76011

LAREDO
9 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Laredo Chamber of Commerce, Boardroom
2310 San Bernardo Ave.
Laredo, Texas 78040

CORPUS CHRISTI
9 a.m, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
Coastal Bend COG, Large Conference Room
2910 Leopard Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78408 

SAN ANTONIO
9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
8700 Tesoro Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78217

HOUSTON
9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017
Houston-Galveston Area Council, Conference Room A
3555 Timmons, Suite 120 
Houston, TX 77027

> RSVP for a workshop by emailing Camen Gupta, TCEQ Program Coordinator.
> Read more about the AFFP.
> Learn more about the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.
> Find out about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Homeland security director completes advanced academy

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Eric Carter, CAPCOG homeland security director, recently graduated from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advance Academy adding more specialized skills and training to help communities manage their dynamic and resilient emergency management needs throughout the CAPCOG ten-county region.

The week-long residency academy reinforced qualities needed to manage emergency management programs and provided relevant management theories and concepts. It also taught critical skills to perform emergency management responsibilities such as program management and oversight, effective communication at all levels, integrated collaboration, and strategic thinking.

Carter has completed incident command training and FEMA's professional development series, which teaches seven courses to include training on conducting exercises and emergency planning, being an influential leader and effective communicator, and developing and managing volunteers. Carter has a bachelor's degree in Emergency Administration and Planning from the University of North Texas, and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

TDA seeks Small Town Environmental Program applications

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

The Texas Department of Agriculture will accept Small Town Environmental Program (STEP) applications Feb. 1, 2018 but any applications completed and submitted before the date will be considered received and date‐stamped Feb. 1, 2018.

Applicants are invited to apply for STEP. Before a community submits a STEP application, they must first submit a letter of interest and schedule a Town Hall meeting with TDA. Communities interested in submitting a Feb. 1, 2018 application can submit their letter of interest and contact TDA to schedule a town hall meeting now. A Community Assessment must also be completed after the town hall meeting, but before an application is submitted. Contact TDA for the Community Assessment form.

The amount available for the 2018 Program Year is $700,000. The STEP Fund is:

  • Available for water and sewer infrastructure improvements utilizing self-help methods
  • Must demonstrate a 40 percent cost saving off the retail construction price by using volunteer labor and material resources 
  • Must demonstrate strong local participation
  • Overall construction and implementation must be performed predominately by community volunteer workers

Applications will be accepted until all funds expended. Ties will be broken using criteria previously established for the TxCDBG‐Community Development Fund (per capita income, poverty rate, and unemployment rate).

> Get more information about STEP.
> Learn about the Regional Review Committee.

USDOT announces $500 Million Funding Opportunity

Monday, September 18, 2017
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

WASHINGTON – State and local stakeholders can apply to receive funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through Sept. 30, 2020, for national infrastructure investments or TIGER grants. Funds for FY 2017 TIGER grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will significantly impact the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The FY 2017 Appropriations Act specifies TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million. Except for projects located in rural areas, the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant is $1 million.

The FY 2017 TIGER program will give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure conditions, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.

To provide technical assistance to a broad array of stakeholders, USDOT is hosting a series of webinars during the FY 2017 TIGER grant application process. A webinar on competing for TIGER grants will be from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Additional webinars will be scheduled.

> Register for a TIGER Webinar Series.

FY 2017 TIGER grant program applications are due Monday, Oct. 16. Since the program’s start, $5.1 billion has been awarded for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure. TIGER grants historically have achieved a co-investment of $3.60 per TIGER dollar invested.

> Learn more about the TIGER program.
> Find out about the Capital Area Regional Transportation Organization.

AAACAP strengthens seniors’ balance for Falls Prevention Day

Thursday, September 14, 2017

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Sept. 22, 2017, and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will strengthen the balance of older adults throughout Williamson County by conducting three A Matter of Balance (AMOB) programs in September.

> Organizations in other counties in the region are welcome to schedule future programs by contacting Kate Gibbons.

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans who are 65 and older falls each year; every 11 seconds an older adult visits the emergency room for a fall; and falls annually result in more than 2.8 million injuries, 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths.

AMOB programs teach older adults how to reduce fall risks through exercises that increase strength and balance and viewing falls as controllable. The scheduled AMOB programs will be at the Allen R. Baca Center in Round Rock, The Wesleyan at Estrella in Georgetown; and Seton Williamson Round Rock Learning Center 1.

Prevent falling by:

  • Asking your healthcare provider to evaluate your falling risk and make recommendations to prevent falling
  • Asking your pharmacist to review your medicines to prevent dizziness or drowsiness 
  • Doing strength and balance exercises
  • Having your eyes checked
  • Making your home safer by removing tripping hazards, adding grab bars to bathrooms, and putting railings on both sides of stairs

> Learn more about AMOB programs.
> Read about AAACAP.

CAPCOG wants to triple Warn Central Texas registrations in September

Monday, September 11, 2017

A regional press conference in August kicked off CAPCOG’s effort to triple the number of residents who have registered their information at WarnCentralTexas.org to receive local warnings about emergencies happening in their neighborhood. The effort will continue regionally as local jurisdictions push outreach messaging through September as part of National Preparedness month.

“In the 2011 (Bastrop) fire, the line between emergency and full scale disaster vanished within a heartbeat,” said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape, who spoke at the press conference. He was one of more than 50 elected, public safety and emergency management officials who attended the press conference. “We knew within a few minutes that this was not a fire we could fight. We just needed to get people out of harm’s way, and had Warn Central Texas been up and running and more active at that time we would have been more successful in evacuating tens of thousands of people more efficiently. … I speak on behalf of all the county judges in the CAPCOG region: ‘Citizens of central Texas, register today for Warn Central Texas and let’s be prepared for the next natural disaster.’”

Every landline in the ten-county region receives calls from the regional notification system CAPCOG uses; however, cellphone users must register their information to receive the same warning messages by cellphone, text message and email. Every jurisdiction in the ten-county region can use the system to share critical emergency information events, such as:

  • Evacuations from floods, wildfires or public health threats,
  • Shelter-in-place information during law enforcement or public health incidents,
  • Boil water notices or prolonged power outages, and
  • Options to receive general, non-emergency community messages.

As of August, about 60,000 people had registered to receive warning messages in the CAPCOG region, and nearly an additional 23,000 residents registered on Aug. 27 in preparation of hurricane Harvey.
“As Central Texas citizens abandon landlines, enrollment in the WarnCentralTexas.org program becomes even more important,” said Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery at the press conference. “This program is one of the most critical links available between public and local entities during an event.”

To further aid the registration drive, many local governments are conducting social media campaigns and distributing public education materials. CAPCOG has purchased banners and flyers to place inside local government offices, which are available for any jurisdiction to distribute. To join the campaign and receive digital or printed materials for WarnCentralTexas.org, contact Mason Canales or Carolyn Sudduth.

“Reaching 180,000 registrants is a lofty goal, but one this region can make,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “It is important that residents know this tool exists alongside the other many actions emergency personnel take to notify the public about what to do during disasters. If this tool can save one life, then the campaign has worked.”

CAPCOG has revamped WarnCentralTexas.org to not only promote RNS registration but serve as a resource for residents to discover how their communities distribute emergency information, so residents can stay informed whether they live in one county, work in another, and vacation in a third.

> Find more information about the regional notification system and WarnCentralTexas.org.
> Go to WarnCentralTexas.org to register for alerts.

CAPCOG seeks nominations for regional, air quality awards

Thursday, September 07, 2017

CAPCOG is soliciting nominations for its 2017 Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award and its Air Central Texas Awards; each award recognizes people or organizations that have played pivotal roles in strengthening the region through their actions.

Named after Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, CAPCOG’s first chair, the regionalism award honors someone who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits, and other organizations. Nominees can include volunteers, community leaders or elected officials whose work has stretched beyond county lines to further regional efforts.

> Get the regionalism award nomination form. 
> Submitt the form to Mason Canales before 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13.

The Air Central Texas Awards recognize activities by organizations and individuals that have made significant contributions to regional air quality and promote future action on the part of the community to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22.

The second annual Air Central Texas Award ceremony will introduce the new Air Central Texas Media Award to highlight the media’s role in communicating air quality issues to the public. The other awards include:

  • Air Central Texas Public Sector Award - recognizing public sector actions that help improve/protect regional air quality.
  • Air Central Texas Private/Nonprofit Sector Award - recognizing private or nonprofit sector actions that help improve/protect regional air quality during the past year.
  • Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award - recognizing an individual who’s made a significant and lasting impact on Central Texas air quality.

> Find out more about the Air Central Texas Awards and how to submit nominations.

The award ceremony is planned for November.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

September General Assembly features legislator panel

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Texas House of Representatives from CAPCOG’s region will discuss the outcome of the 85th Texas Legislative Session during a panel forum at the 2017 CAPCOG General Assembly meeting at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 13 at the Austin Marriott South, 4415 South IH-35. Participating State Representatives include  John Cyrier, Larry Gonzales, Jason Isaac, Donna Howard, Terry Wilson, and Paul Workman.

The CAPCOG General Assembly will conduct its September business meeting before the panel by electing the new Nominating Committee whose primary job is developing a slate of elected officials for the 2018 CAPCOG Executive Committee, and approving the 2018 Fiscal Year budget.

> General Assembly members RSVP to attend.

Following the meeting, CAPCOG will conduct the “Economic Development Toolbox workshop” for elected officials, planners and economic development stakeholders. The two- and a half-hour workshop will examine the legal aspects of tools cities and counties can use as part of their economic development strategy. It will cover topics such as special economic development districts and zones, incentives, and economic development corporations. Continuing education credits are available for attending.

> Register for the workshop.
> Contact Mason Canales about attending the meeting and workshop for free.

CAPCOG provides local input for state freight network

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Expansion of the freight network into rural areas could increase traffic safety and connectivity throughout the ten-county region by making roadway projects more attractive to receive state and federal funding. With the state currently reviewing its freight network plan, CAPCOG’s Planning and Economic Development staff provided the state with local input about major rural thoroughfares, to ensure they can accurately be represented.

Freight traffic is growing on many roadways in the rural portions of the region as companies transport goods go or through the northern, central and southern parts of the metropolitan area. To help reflect that reality, CAPCOG collected a variety of local input about growth and use of rural thoroughfares during a series of planning meetings and public forums. The majority of the collected information from those forums are being placed into rural transportation planning documents, but the freight input also was provided to Texas Department of Transportation as part of its freight planning process.

> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

CAPCOG develops workforce education center database

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

CAPCOG and the Capital Area Economic Development District (CAEDD) is compiling a workforce education center database to help the region explore opportunities related to workforce development and answer questions about the relationships between training providers and other regional trends, statistics and demographics.

“Our affordability and economic development issues are closely tied to workforce education,” said Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development director. “Doing this project links workforce development with other factors. It focuses on getting good information pulled together and examining where opportunity might exist.”

A map shows apprenticeship programs in relation to job availability in the region.

The goal is to create a comprehensive catalogue of workforce training information that can be represented spatially, so it is easier to see how current training systems align with accessibility, concentrations of jobs, and target populations. The database could be used by policy makers to guide future planning and/or it could become public facing which also would allow residents to explore their own career opportunities based on their circumstances and interests.

“The CAEDD wants to engage stakeholders that are working on the same economic development and workforce development issues and make sure they have this data,” Schreck said. “With broad interest and engagement around expanding opportunities for skills development in the Capital Area, I’m excited about where this project may go.” CAPCOG will present the database to the CAEDD in August, which will help direct the project to its next stage.

Identification of the workforce database comes from the region’s five-year economic development plan, also known as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which identifies workforce development as one of four key elements in the action plan. CAPCOG is a designated Economic Development District by the Economic Development Administration, US Department of Commerce.

> Learn more about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

August, September temps could bring air pollution risk

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Average temperatures in the Austin area are higher than they have been in the last 17 years according to data collected by the National Weather Service, and higher temperatures can also bring higher levels of ozone air pollution. Half-way through the 2017 ozone season, the CAPCOG ten-county region already had three days when ground-level ozone has reached levels considered unhealthy for children, seniors, adults with asthma, and people who work outdoors, compared to just one day in 2016. There also has been an additional 66 days when ozone has reached “moderate” levels that can affect especially sensitive people.

It’s important for the region’s residents to realize August and September tend to be the worst months for air pollution in the region. They can help “Be Air Aware” by driving less, conserving energy, and checking the air quality forecast each day. Residents can better understand how their day-to-day activities affect air quality, and how changes in those activities can improve air quality by visiting AirCentralTexas.org.

> Visit AirCentralTexas.org.

CAPCOG is challenging area residents to calculate their emissions and make a commitment to take action to help keep our air clean.

> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Striking a Balance lets caregivers take home experiences

Monday, August 14, 2017

CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) and AGE of Central Texas bring together family caregivers from around the region to learn how to better care for themselves and loved ones during the Striking a Balance Conference. The 16th annual conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at DoubleTree by Hilton Austin; with an anticipated attendance of 200 caregivers, the attendees will be their own greatest resources.Jane Meier Hamilton, CEO and founder of Partners on the Path

> Register for Striking a Balance 2017.

“The real strength of this event is the opportunity to communicate with other caregivers, and every year I see a table of caregivers that doesn’t want to leave because they are sharing their experiences,” said Patty Bordie, AAACAP director. “Sharing the caregiving experience validates feelings, emotions, thoughts, and lets people know they are not alone.”

Peer support is often more believable than what one learns from books or classes. Situations peers face may be similar so sharing experiences can lead to solving problems. Knowing the experience of caregiving is one of the many reasons Jane Meier Hamilton, CEO and founder of Partners on the Path, was selected to deliver the conference’s keynote address, “Why am I So Stressed?” and lead two breakout sessions. Hamilton, a 40-year nurse and 20-year family caregiver, runs Partners on the Path which helps professional and family caregivers preserve their health, well-being and capacity to care through research-based resources offered online, in-print and in-person. “There is no boundary in being a caregiver when it is your husband, your parents or your child, unlike when you are a nurse and can go home at the end of the day,” Hamilton said. “When it is your loved one, it is in your heart and in your mind all the time. The talks I do come out of my own struggle to stay healthy and stay resilient.”

Hamilton’s breakout sessions will discuss practical steps to self-care and establishing resiliency in oneself as a caregiver. Other breakout session topics include: addressing difficult behaviors associated with dementia, discussing driving with older family members, and financing long-term care. The conference includes opportunities to connect with community based organizations and service providers with expertise in caregiver support, education, training, in-home and long-term care services.

> Learn more about AGE of Central Texas.
> Read about AAACAP.

AGE’s Austin Adult Day Health Center will offer free off-site respite by reservation. Call 512-600-9275 to reserve.

CAPCOG seeks nominations for 2017 Air Central Texas Awards

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CAPCOG is soliciting nominations for the 2017 Air Central Texas Awards that recognize activities by organizations and individuals that have made significant contributions to regional air quality and promote future action on the part of the community to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22.

The 2017 awards will mark the second year CAPCOG has held the award ceremony, and it is excited to introduce a new category to highlight the role the media plays in communicating air quality issues to the public, the Air Central Texas Media Award. The awards are a great way to honor those who have made significant differences in Central Texas’ air quality. CAPCOG wants to ensure this effort is a success, so please consider submitting at least one nomination for each of the following categories:

  • Air Central Texas Public Sector Award - recognizes action in the public sector that has helped improve/protect regional air quality during the past year.
  • Air Central Texas Private/Non-Profit Sector Award - recognizes action in the private or nonprofit sectors that has helped improve/protect regional air quality during the past year.
  • Air Central Texas Media Award - recognizes outstanding media coverage — TV, print, radio, or digital — of air quality issues in the region.
  • Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award - recognizes an individual who has had a significant and lasting impact on Central Texas air quality.

> Review award guidelines and submit a nomination form.
> Contact Anton Cox, CAPCOG Air Quality Program specialist, with questions or concerns.

CAPCOG plans to hold an award ceremony in November to announce and celebrate the 2017 nominees and winners.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Advocacy Day to strengthen ADRC partnerships, network

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area will host its first Advocacy Day and Resource Fair, an educational workshop for its steering committee members and community partners to explore using advocacy as a tool to increase the ADRC network’s capacity. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to noon, Aug. 17 at the JJ Pickle Research Center’s Commons Learning Center.

“This workshop will provide increased awareness about the needs of individuals with disabilities and the importance of person-centered support,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area director who oversees the ADRC program. “In addition, steering committee partners will have the opportunity to highlight their services and make new connections to a broader group of professional stakeholders.”

ADRC agency partners contribute to a “No Wrong Door” system for consumers seeking long-term services and supports in the CAPCOG region. The ADRC coordinates these services across aging and disability networks to increase efficiencies and reduce duplication. This workshop is designed to further strengthen the bonds between those agencies and streamline an individual’s connection to services with a quality consumer experience.

> Parnters or potential partners RSVP for the workshop.
> Learn more about the ADRC.

Homeland Security Strategic Framework guides future planning

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A newly established Homeland Security Strategic Planning Framework defines the capacity and resiliency to support emergency preparedness, efficient disaster response, recovery, and long-term economic sustainability of the communities in CAPCOG’s ten-county region. Adopted by the CAPCOG Executive Committee in June, the framework guides future regional homeland security planning to address current and new challenges.

“Homeland security threats have changed significantly since CAPCOG drafted its first Homeland Security Strategic Plan in 2004,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG homeland security director. “While the threat of terrorism remains and the hazards we have always faced are still present, we are seeing more pronounced risks in the areas of cybersecurity, and area-wide complex, coordinated attacks.” The strategic framework identified eight significant hazards to the region’s population and economy to include traditional Central Texas threats such as flooding and wildfire, but it also calls attention to growing modern threats such as cyberattacks. It also identified several training and planning areas that could positively impact response and recovery if those hazards occurred. Among those areas included were greater public education, data sharing, and further expansion of automatic aid agreements.

To help implement planning efforts throughout the region, seven committees were proposed to work in different focus areas that will assist with the development of regional planning, training, and public outreach activities. They will work under the guidance of the Homeland Security Task Force, a CAPCOG advisory committee consisting of 27 emergency management coordinators and emergency response officials. “By maintaining some of the Homeland Security Task Force’s standing committees and establishing new ones like the technology and communications committee, the framework is helping shape how we interact as a region to better mitigate all incidents in our communities,” Carter said.

Identifying the hazards and the additional capacity needed in the region, the strategic framework also assists in prioritizing grant funding and provides direction to local jurisdictions about which projects and equipment proposals may meet criteria for recommendations for grant funding from the State Homeland Security Program. Each year, CAPCOG through the Homeland Security Task Force prioritizes projects for the Office of the Governor that address an identified threat or hazard, demonstrate a regional approach, and either sustains or expands existing homeland security programs.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

Texas General Land Office releases 2015 flood funds

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Source: Texas General Land Office and Texas Association of Regional Councils

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is administering $25.6 million in recovery funds for home and infrastructure projects that were affected by the 2015 floods. The funds also will allow communities to implement mitigation efforts for future disasters. Eligible entities including cities, counties, and local housing authorities in the impact areas will have until Nov. 10, 2017 to apply for funding.

Flooding from the 2015 disaster affected 116 counties in Texas, which are home to nearly 21 million people, but the $25.6 million in funds from the GLO’s Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program are eligible to entities in 112 counties. The most impacted counties, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, and Travis, received dedicated portions of the total $59.6 million awarded to the state from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Counties that can apply for the remaining CDBG-DR funds in the CAPCOG region include Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Fayette, Lee, and Williamson.

Funds will be awarded based on scoring and ranking of submitted project applications. Entities may submit three applications; only two of the three may be for non-housing projects. GLO will work with impacted counties to maximize the number of long-term recovery projects that can be completed given the limited funding.

Applications for housing projects should be between $500,000 and $2 million. Housing activities allowed under CDBG-DR include but are not limited to:

  • Single family and multifamily repair, rehabilitation, or new construction
  • Repair and replacement of manufactured housing units
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Elevation
  • Buyouts
  • Planning activities related to housing
  • Other activities associated with the recovery of impacted housing stock

Applications for non-housing projects should be between $100,000 and $1 million. Non-housing activities allowed under CDBG-DR include but are not limited to:

  • Restoration of infrastructures such as water and sewer facilities, streets, and bridges
  • Provision of generators
  • Removal of debris
  • Drainage
  • Demolition, rehabilitation of publicly or privately owned commercial or industrial buildings, and code enforcement
  • Planning activities related to non-housing

> Apply for funding or get more information.
> Read the full release about the funding.
> Learn which counties received a Presidential Disaster Declaration from the 2015 floods.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

 

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