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In the News: News from July 2015

Department of Aging and Disability Service holds strategic planning hearings

Monday, July 27, 2015
Source: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is seeking public input on a three-year strategic plan for aging and disability resource centers (ADRC) and their role within the no-wrong-door approach for seeking long-term care services and supports. The approach allows people to call one number for information opposed to calling multiple agencies.

DADS will host five forums and two webinars. The forums will gather ideas, thoughts and opinions about the current and future systems for accessing long-term services and supports.

DADS specifically is wanting input on the following:

  • General public awareness of the ADRC and long-term services and supports system
  • Current system success and suggested improvements
  • Person-centered planning
  • Resource requirements
  • Suggestions for sustainability
  • Suggestions for improved service to all populations
  • Future vision for the ADRC system (3 years and beyond)
  • ADRC role with respect to managed care programs (e.g., STAR+)

Participants can arrive and leave any time during any of the meetings. They will be asked to sign in, provide their name, contact information, which ADRC they are associated with, and whether they wish to provide public comment.

After an overview of the strategic planning process, the meeting will open for public comment. Each participant will get five minutes to share their comments. Comments will be recorded, reviewed and used to inform the strategic planning process. 

The meetings will be as follows:

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
John H. Winters Complex 
1st floor - Public Hearing Room 
701 West 51st Street 
Austin, Texas 78751

1-4 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) 
Al J. Notzon III Board Room 1st Floor 
8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700 
San Antonio, Texas 78217

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
United Way of Greater Houston 
50 Waugh Drive 
Houston, Texas 77007

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
North Central Texas Council of Governments 
Centerpoint Two 
Metroplex Conference Room 
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, Texas 76011

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), Aug. 6, 2015
Sierra Providence East Medical Center Auditorium 
3280 Joe Battle Blvd 
El Paso, TX 79938-2622

If you are planning to attend the meeting and have accessibility needs or need special accommodations, contact Laura Summers at 801-538-5082 or by July 30.

The webinars will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. Central Time Aug. 10 and 11.

> Register for the Aug. 10 webinar.
> Register for the Aug. 11 webinar.
> Submit comments about the strategic plan from now until Aug. 12, 2015.
> Discover the ADRC of the Capital Area.

TCEQ looks for solid waste advisory council members

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) seeks nominations for nine people, five of which must be elected officials, to serve on the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council.

People interested in serving on the council can file an application before the Aug. 17, 2015 deadline.

The 18 elected members, who serve staggered six-year terms, review and evaluate the effects of state policies and programs on municipal solid waste management. They make recommendations on legislation to encourage the efficiency of municipal solid waste management. They also recommend policies for the use, allocation, or distribution of the planning fund; and recommend special studies and projects to further the effectiveness on municipal solid waste management and recovery for Texas. By law, members meet at least once every three months. Meetings can last a full business day and are held in Austin.

The following six positions can serve on the council until 2021:

  • a professional engineer from a private engineering firm with experience in the design and management of solid waste facilities
  • a registered waste tire processor
  • an elected official from a county with a population less than 150,000
  • a representative from a planning region
  • a solid waste professional with experience managing or operating a commercial solid waste landfill
  • a representative from a private environmental conservation organization

The remaining three positons have terms that would expire in 2017 and 2019:

  • an elected official from a municipality with a population fewer than 25,000
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population of 750,000 or more
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population between 100,000 or more but less than 750,000

The application and materials must be postmarked Aug. 17, 2015 and emailed to or sent to Steve Hutchinson, MC-126, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. If submitting by overnight mail, please send to: Steve Hutchinson, Building F, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, Texas 78753.

> Learn more about how to apply or to nominate a person to the advisory council.
> Direct questions regarding the Advisory Council to Steve Hutchinson at 512-239-6716 or by e-mail.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Planning Program.

CAPCOG releases disaster debris planning resources

Monday, July 20, 2015

Debris generated from disasters can affect the public health, safety and welfare of a community, and the risk increases if large areas of debris are left unattended. The Capital Area Council of Governments recently completed an effort to help counties and municipalities alleviate and dispose of disaster debris in a timely and effective manner.

As part of the work during the program, CAPCOG and its regional partners created a common approach for the disaster debris management planning process that facilitates a coordinated, quick, and succinct response to such incidents. It also provides for the future establishment of a regional disaster debris management plan.

Like most homeland security plans, a disaster debris management plan lays the foundation for response before an incident occurs. Such a foundation lets responding entities construct and tailor the needs of managing and removing the debris to a particular disaster event.

“The plan allows an entity to know how the clean-up will be handled as the event occurs, so debris response efforts can begin immediately or when resources are available,” said Matt Holderread, CAPCOG Solid Waste planner.

The standardized disaster debris plan template developed by CAPCOG prepares governments for large scale events, ones which would require additional assistance, and smaller events, which an entity can manage itself. Every plan includes a section about the roles and responsibilities for government staff, residents and volunteers. It also provides guidance on how to manage the debris from its collection to its proper disposal, with various disposal options. A timeline for response as well as drafts of potential notifications to residents, and media releases are drafted as appendices to the plan.

> Discover more resources for disaster debris planning.

Plans include potential debris management sites and some additional analysis of their feasibility as such sites. They also provide information on how the federal reimbursement process works, provide documents used by FEMA for entities seeking federal reimbursement, instruct entities how to manage their debris to be approved and reimbursed by federal programs.

Several communities are working on completing their own disaster debris plans, but CAPCOG is finishing a final draft of the Burnet County plan and drafting a plan for Llano County.

Burnet’s plan is a great plan to showcase, as it outlines a number of debris collection sites and factors in several types of events to include a terrorist attack. Using GIS modeling CAPCOG estimated the damage caused by different types of disasters to determine how much debris could be generated and what level of response would be needed.

CAPCOG can conduct similar modeling for other entities seeking to create disaster debris plans and work with or for the entities to find and evaluate debris management sites.

The goal is to have a plan for every county and have those plans work cooperatively to form a regional disaster debris plan, said Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director. CAPCOG is willing to help facilitate the work to complete the plan, but also has templates available for entities wanting to do the work themselves.

> Read disaster debris guidance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
> Read The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Debris Management Guide.

Advocates needed for seniors and the disabled in long-term care facilities

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More than 230 nursing and assisted living facilities care for older Americans in the 10-county region, and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area Council of Governments needs dedicated volunteers to be advocates for seniors living in those facilities and to serve in its ombudsman program.





The ombudsman program is recruiting volunteers who have a sense of civic duty and want to give back to the elderly community. A volunteer ombudsman assists residents and their families by ensuring a voice for those unable to speak for themselves. “Serving as an ombudsman is an important job, because seniors deserve to have their communities take proper care of them,” said Pete Moreno, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area managing lead ombudsman. “They should have the best care possible and an advocate who has a passion for helping seniors.”

Ombudsmen are specially trained and certified volunteers. They advocate for residents’ rights and quality of care by regularly visiting and observing residents in long-term care facilities. Volunteer ombudsmen also identify and investigate complaints; and educate residents, families, and staff on maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of facilities’ residents. Ombudsman services are both free and confidential.

CAPCOG is enlisting volunteers throughout the region, but the region would greatly benefit by increasing the number of ombudsmen in Llano, Lee and Fayette counties. CAPCOG’s 10-county region also includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

No experience is required to volunteer as an ombudsman. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and complete a free training course consisting of classroom study and training at local nursing homes. After training, volunteers serve in an internship where they work two to four hours per month in an assigned facility. Hours are flexible and determined by the volunteer. After their internship, volunteers ideally will visit a nursing or an assisted living facility in their local community once a week.

> Learn more about the Area Agency on Aging's Ombudsman Program.
> Contact Pete Moreno for more information on volunteering.


CAPCOG seeks EDA grant for Memorial Day disaster relief

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) is pursuing grant financing that will allow the COG to provide technical assistance in the areas of economic development and recovery, infrastructure planning, and damage assessment to local jurisdictions affected by the Memorial Day weekend floods.

CAPCOG applied in June to receive a U.S. Economic Development Administration, Economic Development Assistance grant. If awarded, the federal monies would be about $177,000 distributed over two years. The grant would allow CAPCOG to direct staff resources to assist with disaster recovery planning and development and redevelopment efforts.

Specifically, the funds could allow CAPCOG to gather information from organizations involved in taking damage assessments, so CAPCOG can perform mitigation mapping. Such mapping would benefit infrastructure reconstruction and ensure resilience is a key component of future economic development. CAPCOG would also help identify funding opportunities for local jurisdictions, so they can leverage and match various monetary sources.

As part of its economic development efforts, CAPCOG would provide an economic impact assessment to local emergency management coordinators and help coordinate medium and longer term recovery efforts with local businesses. This will help to leverage redevelopment and new development to help prevent future flood damage and assess the diversification of business to offer greater economic resiliency to areas affected.

New RNS training underway

Thursday, July 09, 2015

CAPCOG worked with CodeRED, the region’s new Regional Notification System (RNS) provider, in June to transfer data and functionality to the new application. As the transition approached, CAPCOG also coordinated 21 web-based training sessions preparing about 150 personnel from various jurisdictions to use the new RNS.

RNS is a web-based application that allows participating jurisdictions to make notifications to the general public and personnel during events that affect them, especially emergencies that require quick action to protect lives and property.  CodeRED’s RNS allows cities and counties to notify residents about emergencies using landline and cell phone calls, emails and text messages.

With the majority of training concluded, CAPCOG will continue to provide resources to familiarize RNS users with the new system and ensure users can properly send warnings to residents during disaster incidents. Participating jurisdictions that did not receive training can request it from CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division. A video webinar will be available for new users, and CAPCOG will conduct quarterly meetings with local public safety staff to facilitate the best use and improving the capabilities of the RNS region wide. CAPCOG recommends all jurisdictions served by the CodeRED RNS practice using the tool, since the system is new.

> Read more about the regional notification system.
> Discover CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division.
> Contact Aisha Henderson, CAPCOG Homeland Security regional technical communication coordinator.

CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy earns Lt. Governor recognition

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) graduated its 75th basic peace officer course on July 1 with 12 cadets ready to start a career in law enforcement. At the graduation ceremony, the cadets presented a letter of congratulations from Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for reaching the milestone course number. CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy Director, Mike Jennings, and Chief Instructor, Randy Holmes, received the certificates.

“This course and its cadets exemplified why CAPCOG has reached this milestone,” Jennings said. “The cadets who enrolled in the course took all our lessons about being peace officers to heart. They performed exemplary in the classroom and during field tests, where they awed police trainers who traditionally work with in-service officers.”

CAPCOG’s peace officer training curriculum has come a long way since the program began in 1997, Jennings said. A CAPCOG basic peace officer course instructs about 150 hours of additional law enforcement material as well as the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement recommended 643 hours. Providing the extra course material, helps CAPCOG prepare every cadet to go directly to work for local law enforcement agencies and their communities.

New course material is continually added to improve cadets’ ability to serve residents upon their graduation. The 75th course cadets were the first group to complete an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Level I and Level II course, which teaches response techniques to active shooter situations, as additional training sponsored by CAPCOG.

Cadets graduating from the 75th course are being hired by San Marcos and Lockhart police departments and Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Other cadets are interviewing with Leander, Elgin and Austin ISD police departments; and the Texas Attorney General’s office.

> Learn more about Basic Peace Officer Courses.
> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

GeoMap projects approach deadline

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cities, counties, appraisal districts and other regional partners can submit geographic information gathering projects to CAPCOG as a part of the 2016 GeoMap program until July 31.

Local jurisdictions throughout the region have saved more than $9 million by cooperatively purchasing the base mapping data contracted through the program since its inception in 2002. Savings are realized because the program eliminates redundant purchases of information and pools multiple projects together so the data can be obtained at the same time.

Aerial imagery, LiDAR data, orthoimagery, PanoramiX oblique imagery, GeoSAR Radar mapping and other data are all products that can be purchased through the 2016 GeoMap program. Such base map data sets can be used to help facilitate economic development, land-use planning, utility maintenance, transportation planning, floodplain mapping, 9-1-1 mapping and more.

> Get more information or submit programs.
> Learn more about CAPCOG's GIS Program.

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