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In the News: News from November 2013

Pick your plan! Annual Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Monday, November 25, 2013

CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging (AAA) encourages eligible consumers to compare, choose or change their Medicare and prescription drug plans before annual open enrollment ends Dec. 7, 2013.

The annual open enrollment period, underway since Oct. 15, sets participants' plans for the following 12-month period.

AAA's Benefits Counseling Program can help participants sort the various options. For free one-on-one confidential counseling, call a Medicare benefits counselor today at 512-916-6062 or toll free 888-622-9111, ext. 6062.

The National Council on Aging is also on hand to assist. Its My Medicare Matters website now includes two additional tools to help in Medicare planning:

  • RX Calculator, which estimates savings from switching Medicare Part D plans.
  • Medicare QuickCheck, which helps participants review current coverage.

> Explore options, prescription savings and more at My Medicare Matters' website
> Get a closer look at Medicare open enrollment

New CAPCOG police cadet training coming spring 2014

Friday, November 22, 2013

CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy is accepting applications for six-month daytime cadet training slated to start April 2014.

Basic Peace Officer Course (BPOC) No. 72, launching a few months after the start of RLEA’s eight-month, part-time class currently underway in Pflugerville, will run from April 14 to Oct. 2, 2014.

The rigorous BPOC saw more than 120 cadet students in fiscal 2013 and includes 780 hours of classroom and field instruction.

RLEA's Basic Peace Officer Class No. 68, hosted by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, graduated Oct. 18, 2013, representing the host agency, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Learn more about the BPOC application process for prospective peace officers and explore continuing-education classes for current law enforcement professionals at the academy's training page. > Go

Disaster Debris Management 101: Presentation materials now available

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Miss CAPCOG's Oct. 30, 2013, training, Disaster Debris Management 101: Tools for Local and Regional Governments? Get the presentation materials now available online.

The full-day session, featuring government and industry experts such as Mike Fisher, Bastrop County’s emergency management coordinator, offered candid tips and case studies on planning, protecting public health and natural resources and ensuring disaster debris cleanups meet state and federal funding requirements. 

Area experts discussed debris management plans, debris recycling and contractor monitoring and discussed successes and lessons in handling debris from the Bastrop County Complex Fire of 2011.

> Download PDF versions of selected speaker presentations today

Stakeholders wanted: CAPCOG adds third December date for criminal justice planning

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Capital Area Council of Governments has opened registration and added a third December date to gather stakeholder input for a regional criminal justice strategic plan.

Eventbrite - CAPCOG Criminal Justice Regional Planning

CAPCOG is funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to assist with the grant application process and - new this year - to develop a regional plan due to the CJD by March 1, 2014.

Previously, CAPCOG staff facilitated a community planning process reflecting a compilation of plans developed at the county or multicounty level. Counties may still develop their own respective local plan but must use the CAPCOG-provided template for inclusion in the regional effort.

The upcoming outreach sessions allow representatives from law enforcement, victims services, mental health and juvenile programs to help identify challenges, solutions and necessary resources for their respective disciplines.

In addition, CAPCOG staff will analyze demographic trends and criminal justice data to help prioritize criminal justice-related needs. CAPCOG's Criminal Justice Advisory Committee will then complete the prioritization process in January.

Participants need select only one of the free sessions, now with a third date added - Dec. 6, 9 or 12 - and register online.

To further help in the outreach process, interested organizations are asked to contact CAPCOG's Mary Ramirez with the name, phone number and email address of their primary point person for criminal justice planning. > Go

> RSVP online for Dec. 6, 9, or 12 today
> Contact CAPCOG's Mary Ramirez for email updates
> Learn more about CAPCOG's criminal justice program
> Explore the Office of the Governor's Criminal Justice Division

GeoMap looks ahead to 2014 with new product in tow

Saturday, November 09, 2013

CAPCOG’s Geospatial Base Mapping Project, “GeoMap,” is on track to cap a robust year and further expand services for 2014.

GeoMap 2014 will debut high-resolution oblique imagery, allowing stakeholders such as appraisal districts to now view properties from all four sides and measure structures vertically and horizontally without ever leaving the office.

The new product’s multiperspective viewing capabilities offer significant reductions in field work and can be an important tool for property assessment, planning, public safety, emergency management, fire and rescue and many more applications.

Award-winning GeoMap comprises a cost-sharing initiative to produce and maintain current geospatial base map data for local jurisdictions, developers, consultants and other interested parties.

GeoMap’s current year has included coordinating more than 12,000 miles of aerial photography for the Central Texas Council of Governments.

Looking ahead, GeoMap has already booked 2014 projects to secure aerial imagery, Lidar images, building footprints and more for area participants. Also, CAPCOG has competitively selected a vendor for GeoMap 2014: Fugro EarthData Inc., a leader in geospatial technology, brings a rich history of geospatial data acquisition and analysis.

> Learn more about GeoMap

Area stays in attainment of ozone standards for 2013

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

It appears the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area - Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties - will remain in attainment with federal ozone standards for 2013, according to data collected through October at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's two regulatory monitors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determines violations of the ozone standard if the three-year average of any monitor's fourth-highest daily eight-hour ozone average is above 75 parts per billion.

The preliminary 2011-2013 average, or "design value," is 73 ppb for the monitor at the Austin Audubon Society and 72 ppb for the one at Murchison Middle School.

The EPA is currently considering whether to change the ozone standard in late 2014 or early 2015, likely in the range of 60-70 ppb.

> Explore CAPCOG's Air Quality Program

2014 Social Security benefits rise 1.5 percent

Friday, November 01, 2013

Nearly 63 million beneficiaries will see a 1.5 percent boost in their monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2014, the Social Security Administration announced in a news release.

Increased payments to SSI recipients will begin Dec. 31, 2013, followed by the Social Security adjustment set to start January 2014.

Learn more about the upcoming changes at the Social Security Administration website, and contact CAPCOG Area Agency on Aging for information on free services such as benefits counseling, medication screening, caregiver support and more for older adults in the 10-county region. 

> Read the Social Security Administration news release
> Learn about Social Security cost-of-living adjustments
> Discover CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging Services
> Get the latest on Medicare changes for 2014

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