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In the News: News from April 2017

TCEQ continues accepting applications for clean engine rebates

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is still accepting Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Rebate Grants Program applications on a first-come, first served basis. The grant program helps pay for the upgrade or replacement of diesel on-road heavy duty vehicles and select non-road equipment.

Eligible on-road vehicles must have a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 8,500 pounds, while non-road equipment must be equipped with at least a 25 horsepower engine. Tables with pre-approved maximum rebate grant amounts for eligible on-road and non-road replacement and repower projects are provided to applicants in the Request for Grant Applications. The tables list the on-road vehicle weight categories and model years and the non-road equipment types, horsepower ranges, and model years eligible for funding.

Grant-funded vehicles and equipment must be operated at least 75 percent of their annual usage within specific counties to include five in the CAPCOG region — Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Williamson.

A portion of the funding allocated to this program will be set aside for applications from applicants that qualify as a small business, as defined in the TERP Guidelines. Small businesses are encouraged to apply under this program.

Applications will be accepted for consideration during this grant period on a first-come, first-served basis at the front desk, Rm. 1301, 1st floor of Building F on the premises of the TCEQ, no later than 5:00 p.m., Central Time, on May 26, 2017.

Rebate Grants application forms and rebate tables were changed from the draft versions released for 30-day review. Applicants must use the final application forms and refer to the final rebate tables to determine the eligible funding amounts.

Deadline: 5 p.m., Friday, May 26, 2017 or until all funds are awarded

> Get more info on the TERP Rebate Grants Program.
> Find other TERP programs.
> Learn about CAPCOG’s Air Quality Programs.

CAPCOG brings specialized EOD training to regional response teams

Thursday, April 20, 2017

From music festivals to cycling tours to boat and car races, the CAPCOG region is home to numerous popular and massively attended events which can be challenging if a bomb threat occurs. CAPCOG is offering training in May at the San Marcos ALERRT Training Facility to better prepare local, regional and statewide bomb squads for responding to large scale events requiring explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).

“In-Extremis Render Safe Training, also known as Slash and Go, is an advanced level, highly specialized course,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “The people teaching it have international experience handling multiple or serial bombers and explosive devices. They will be instructing our response team leaders on how large areas can be cleared effectively and quickly.”

Over the course of five days, members of EOD teams from across the state will learn best practices for mitigating a complex coordinated attack involving explosive devices that could potentially be placed in hundreds or even thousands of packages, bags and other containers. The training will help develop the skills and knowledge necessary to minimize risk while operating in an effective and efficient manner that keeps the public as safe as realistically possible.

In March, CAPCOG’s Executive Committee approved offering the $72,000 training at the recommendation of its Homeland Security Task Force. Seven Austin Police Department Bomb Squad members along with other regional bomb technicians are enrolled in the training. They will be joined by personnel from San Antonio, Arlington, Irving, and Houston police departments; Fort Worth and Arlington fire departments; and the Texas Department of Public Safety.  “This training will strengthen the capabilities of the local EOD teams, while also improving the skills of those agencies who may be called upon to serve our region during high-profile and large-scale acts of terrorism,” Carter said. “Some of the events held in the CAPCOG region are large enough that teams from other major metropolitan areas could be mobilized to assist in responding to such an incident.”

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.
> Find other emergency management or homeland security training opportunities.
 

Williamson County honors older adults with multigenerational event

Monday, April 17, 2017

Williamson County will bring multiple generations together for a special event that honors and celebrates Older Americans Month, an annual observance throughout May that offers all residents the opportunity to learn about, support and recognize our nation’s older citizens. Family Fun Day will feature intergenerational hands-on activities for all at the historic Williamson County Courthouse from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, April 22.

“This event is a great kick-off for Older American’s Month, which starts in May, by providing a program that really supports this year’s theme, ‘Age Out Loud,’” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG Aging Services director. “The theme and this event are meant to emphasize the way older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.”

During Family Fun Day older adults will lead a number of activities for children and their parents to include woodworking, storytelling, historical cultural dancing, gardening and fishing. “Multigenerational events where older adults share their knowledge and skills with the younger community promote a better understanding of the unique and common perspectives across generations,” Bordie said. These opportunities promote a greater understanding of the value of all generations and help establish a stronger, closer community.

“Our senior Williamson County residents have so much experience and knowledge to share we wanted to create an outlet for them to be able to do that with younger generations,” said Williamson County Commissioner, Cynthia Long, who spearheaded organizing the event. “Family Fun Day will give seniors the opportunity to showcase their talents and teach those skills to younger generations.”

For older adults, these types of events also can provide them with greater sense of purpose and increase their level of community engagement, which has many benefits for the individual, Bordie said. “Participating in face-to-face social interaction becomes more important as we age — social engagement through meaningful activities can combat the risks of social isolation — which can affect an older American’s mental, emotional and physical health.”

CAPCOG’s Executive Committee adopted a resolution recognizing May as Older American’s Month at its April meeting. CAPCOG through the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will use the month to focus on how older adults in the region’s  communities are redefining aging — through work or family interests, by taking charge of their health and staying independent as long as possible, and through their community and advocacy efforts. Communities throughout the ten-county region are welcome to adopt the resolution or a similar one to honor their older adult residents. CAPCOG and AAACAP also encourage communities to hold events similar to Williamson County’s to recognize the contributions of older residents.

> Downlaod a copy of the CAPCOG resolution.
> Get ideas for celebrating and participating in Older American’s Month.

CAPCOG ranks Homeland Security grants for OOG

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The CAPCOG Executive Committee approved the ranking of 43 Homeland Security grant projects and purchases in March; the projects are now awaiting a final review from the Office of the Governor before the top priority projects are awarded State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) grant funds. Each project was reviewed by Homeland Security Task Force subcommittees consisting of public safety and emergency management professionals from throughout the region. Projects with the highest priority were those that addressed an identified threat or hazard, demonstrated a regional approach, and either sustained or expanded existing homeland security programs.

The Office of the Governor has not released the SHSP allocation for the CAPCOG region, but last year the ten-county region received about $1.4 million to fund SHSP projects. With a similar allocation, about a third of the projects submitted could be grant funded. Projects that ranked in the upper third included funding for regional training and exercises; bomb disposal, SWAT and Hazmat team equipment purchases; and support of community emergency response teams.

> Learn more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.
> Read about this year's grant process.

San Marcos starts Text to 9-1-1 testing; other PSAPs to follow

Monday, April 10, 2017

San Marcos Police Department will lead the region in testing Text to 9-1-1 systems in mid-April, and public safety answering points (PSAPs), or 9-1-1 call centers, throughout Hays, Travis and Williamson counties will continue the first phase of testing through April. The second testing phase will include Lee, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Fayette counties, and PSAPs in Burnet, Blanco and Llano counties will conclude the testing before Text to 9-1-1 is released region wide.

Text to 9-1-1 allows for cellphone users to communicate with emergency telecommunicators through SMS text messages. CAPCOG has been installing and testing Text to 9-1-1 infrastructure since late 2016 which includes how emergency telecommunicators receive and respond to text messages. The San Marcos test will be the first live event where CAPCOG will send text messages from somewhere in the city to the PSAP. This test will be done separately for each major carrier — Verizon, AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile – to ensure texts are being received properly by the PSAP. It is important that residents not attempt to text 9-1-1 during testing as they may be connected with a live operator instead of receiving a default message explaining texting is not available in the area.

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

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