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In the News: News from June 2017

TCEQ seeks municipal waste advisory council members

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is accepting applications for new and vacant positions on the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council, which addresses issues related to the management and recovery of resources from municipal solid waste programs.

Those who wish to submit applications to serve on the council must do so before July 31, 2017. Advisory council members are appointed to six-year staggering terms and meet about four times a year. The advisory council is charged with reviewing and evaluating the effect of state policies and programs on municipal solid waste management; making recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners municipal solid waste management matters; recommending legislation to encourage the efficient management of municipal solid waste; recommending policies for the use, allocation, or distribution of the planning funds; and recommending special studies and projects to further the effectiveness of municipal solid waste management and resource recovery.

Advisory council terms expiring on Aug. 31, 2017 include:

  • Arden Vance Kemler, Denton - Advisory Council President,
    Manager of Solid Waste and Recycling Department, City of Denton
    An official from a city or county solid waste agency
  • Jeffrey Mayfield, P.E., Wylie
    North Texas Municipal Water District, Assistant Deputy Director, Solid Waste
    A representative from a public solid waste district or authority
  • Honorable Maurice Pitts, Jr., Giddings
    Lee County Commissioner of Precinct One
    An elected official from a county with any population size
  • Honorable City Administrator Leo Smith, Bangs
    A representative of the general public
  • Vacant
    An elected official from a municipality with a population fewer than 25,000
  • Vacant
    An elected official from a municipality with a population of 750,000 or more.

> Read more about the advisory council.
> Download the application.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Solid Waste Program.

Fayette County AgriLife Extension busts caregiver stress

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service agents and Fayette County volunteers added another evidence based intervention (EBI) program to their repertoire to help older Americans continue to live as independently as possible. In May, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) led the group through a Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers group facilitator training course allowing them to coach proven stress management methods to those who care for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia or chronic illness.

Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers is a nationally recognized program that instructs family caregivers about techniques and benefits of reducing stress to improve caregivers and patients’ quality of life. CAPCOG, working as AAACAP, delivers the program to communities throughout the ten-county region, but it also certifies volunteer coaches to lead the program, so they can offer the program in their own communities. “Teaching volunteer coaches for EBI programs enables these valuable programs to reach a larger audience at more convenient times for the older Americans or their caregivers,” said Kate Gibbons, CAPCOG health and wellness coordinator. “When an organization like the Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service requests to become coaches of EBI programs and find other volunteers to do the same, it gives us the opportunity to improve more lives.”

Fayette County’s population is steadily growing and about 23 percent of its population is 65 years old or older, so the Extension Service and a steering committee of seniors wanted to make providing programs such as Stress-Busting to the county’s residents a high priority, said Sally Garrett, a county extension agent. “There is a lot of stress for individuals who are caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients or those with chronic illnesses, and I know a lot of people here are family caregivers. Being able to teach Stress-Busting workshops lets us educate caregivers about caring for themselves, but I think those who take the course will also create valuable peer-support groups.”

Having led “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” workshops for more than a year, the Extension Service and other organizations in the county have experienced the benefits of conducting EBI programs taught by AAACAP, Garrett said. “People have come up and told us (the programs) have made a difference in their lives, and that they are living healthier.” Stress-Busting will be another beneficial success for seniors in Fayette County, she said.

AAACAP also leads EBI programs on topics of fall prevention and chronic disease self-management.

> Learn more about EBI programs offered by AAACAP or schedule an EBI program.
> Read about AAACAP.

CAPCOG, Austin present on special event disaster planning

Monday, June 12, 2017

The CAPCOG Homeland Security Division Director Eric Carter and City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Juan Ortiz delivered a joint workshop during the 2017  Texas Emergency Management Conference about disaster planning for special events and how planning improves incident response.

“A standardized and inclusive planning process for special events can assist in mitigating incidents quickly and successfully,” Carter said. “Planning is the key to determining how to handle issues from lost children to unattended packages at specials events.” Emergency personnel responsible for developing, maintaining, and updating operation plans should involve representatives from as many agencies as possible in the disaster plan to include special event organizers, venue owners, operators and security personnel. The group should work together on the risk assessment, identifying hazards and vulnerabilities, and emergency operations.

Having the experience in disaster planning for anticipated special events such as an annual summer concert series, which may have well established protocols and procedures, also helps navigate no-notice special events, such as protests or a VIP visit, as it familiarizes event teams with the disaster planning process.

> Learn more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.
> Discover the Austin Office Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

EPA extends 2015 Ozone NAAQS area designation deadline

Friday, June 09, 2017
Source: Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt notified states that the agency will extend the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) initial area designations for the 2015 ozone NAAQS by one year.

“States have made tremendous progress and significant investment cleaning up the air. We will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance,” said the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

NAAQS for ground-level ozone is an outdoor air regulation under the Clean Air Act. As part of the process to determine what areas of the country are able to meet the current air quality standards, states are currently submitting their proposals for area designations under the 70 parts per billion (ppb) standard, which was lowered from 75 ppb in 2015. Areas designated as being in “nonattainment” of the standard face consequences, including: increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses.

The EPA is giving states more time to develop air quality plans, and EPA is looking at providing greater flexibility to states as they develop their plans. And, pursuant to the language in the recently-enacted FY2017 Omnibus funding bill, Administrator Pruitt is establishing an Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to develop additional flexibilities for states to comply with the ozone standard.

> Read the full release. 
> Read Pruitt's letter to governors.
> Find your community’s ozone designation.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Workshop seeks to reduce cyber threats through information sharing

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

When it comes to preparing for cybersecurity threats, an organization’s best ally may be other entities attempting to do the same. Sharing cyber information in an effective manner across multiple organizations can prevent wide-spread impacts from an incident, prevent future incidents and even help catch perpetrators of cybercrimes.

To increase cybersecurity mitigation efforts, the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division will conduct a two-day workshop, June 15 through 16, designed to introduce private and public organizations to information sharing concepts, their value, and how they can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks. The workshop’s target audience is government and private sector stakeholders responsible for cyber security, critical infrastructure protection and information sharing policies. By the end of the workshop, participants will develop a framework to help establish an effective regional information sharing program.

> Organizations interested in sending representatives can register personnel on
> Learn more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

CAPCOG transitions GeoMap to state StratMap program

Monday, June 05, 2017

Since 2002, CAPCOG’s GeoMap program has worked to efficiently coordinate the acquisition of the region’s aerial imagery and other geographic information systems (GIS) data collection projects while saving taxpayer dollars for jurisdictions in the ten-county region. This year, CAPCOG hopes to create greater value for jurisdictions by participating in the Texas Natural Resources Information System’s Strategic Mapping Program (StratMap), which will reduce jurisdictions’ administrative work and offer a larger variety of products from 16 preselected vendors.

To ensure former GeoMap participants will receive the program’s most valuable data, CAPCOG is coordinating a region-wide orthoimagery project through StratMap. “We want to help our communities to transition,” said Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS program manager. “Orthoimagery is the same as a map; it is a picture that is scale corrected and can be used as a source for creating vector data, like planimetrics for planning and engineering purposes.” The CAPCOG project seeks to purchase 3-, 6- or 12-inch resolution images where the highest resolution allows for the most uses to include project level infrastructure mapping. Jurisdictions can purchase other geospatial products, such as LiDAR and contour lines, through StratMap directly.

StratMap uses the Texas Department of Information Resources contracting services to streamline the acquisition process and reduce administrative fees. Jurisdictions also can help the state program lower its cost by submitting projects by June 16; however, StratMap will accept projects until Sept. 30.

> Contact Eissler to participate in the CAPCOG orthoimagery project. 
> Learn more about the GeoMap StratMap transition.
> Learn more about StratMap.

CAPCOG, TxDOT conduct transportation needs open house series

Friday, June 02, 2017

CAPCOG is partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to solicit local feedback on transportation needs and priorities in Blanco, Lee, and Llano counties and to help identify possible funding mechanisms for future projects that improve the safety, maintenance and connectivity of the Central Texas transportation network.

To gather public input on local transportation needs and priorities, CAPCOG is hosting a series of open houses. The first open house took place in the City of Llano, where local stakeholders articulated their transportation priorities, identified mobility and congestion issues for the region, and provided feedback on how Llano County is likely to develop. Additional open houses will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 7, 13, 16, 22 at the Blanco Library, Kingsland Community Center, Lee County AgriLife Extension Service Office, and Johnson City Library, respectively. Residents attending the open houses will be able to review and provide feedback on recently completed, current, and planned TxDOT projects. They also are encouraged to share any unaddressed current transportation needs and foreseeable future transportation needs based on their knowledge of local growth and development.

Once the open houses are completed, CAPCOG will draft a planning document for each county that reflects the local priorities and explores possible funding sources, solicit feedback from local leaders, and finalize the documents for TxDOT.

> Get more information about each open house.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

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