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In the News: News from October 2017

CAPCOG recognizes Caregivers, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

November highlights two important older adult issues that the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) supports through services and programs year around — family caregiving and Alzheimer’s awareness.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care system in Texas, and this is especially true for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients; the disease can take a devastating toll on the caregiver,” said Patty Bordie, AAACAP director. CAPCOG through AAACAP supports caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients with respite care, health and safety equipment, home modifications, and connections to resources to help caregivers better balance self-care with care for their loved ones.

Some 360,000 Texans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, making the state home of the nation’s fourth largest Alzheimer’s population and ranking it second in Alzheimer’s related deaths. Of the 2.8 million family caregivers in Texas about 1.4 million provide roughly 1.6 million hours of unpaid care for Alzheimer’s patients. Many caregivers provide at least 18 hours of care per week while working full- or part-time jobs.

The CAPCOG Executive Committee recognized November as National Caregiver’s and Alzheimer’s Awareness month at its Oct. 11 meeting.

> Find the proclamation drafts.
> Learn more about family caregiver programs.

Texas Freight Mobility Plan Update seeks public review, comments

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Source: Texas Department of Transportation

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is seeking comments on The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 from public and private freight industry stakeholders, and all interested parties, to ensure the updated plan captures the state’s freight needs. Comments will be accepted until Oct. 26, 2017.

In 2016, TxDOT released the Texas Freight Mobility Plan, the agency’s first comprehensive multimodal transportation plan focused on the state’s freight industry. The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 allows TxDOT to refresh data sources, add critical elements, and comply with new federal legislation. The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 has been developed to meet the requirements of the current federal transportation act, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  

> Review the plan.

> Submit comments by email.

Or email your comments to:
TxDOT Freight and International Trade Section, 
125 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701 (mailed comments must be postmarked by Oct. 26, 2017)

> Contact Kale Driemeier with TxDOT about questions or additional information.

> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

CAPCOG releases 2015 flood impact, resiliency report

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CAPCOG’s Planning and Economic Development Division recently completed an economic impact and resiliency analysis of the 2015 floods that affected eight counties in the region — Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson. The report summarizes available disaster data from multiple sources and used flood plain modeling to quantify economic impacts and assist communities in prioritizing future mitigation efforts.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and another federal disaster declaration for the region, disaster recovery and resiliency planning is salient once again. Regional opportunities to conduct hazard mitigation planning, to accelerate business recovery, and to regulate impervious cover are highlighted in the report. The project also brings attention to resiliency projects and programs which have already been implemented across the region, including WarnCentralTexas.org and a promising real-time flood forecasting project, ATXFloods.com. Given the likelihood that some future disaster will once again impact the Capital Area, this report is designed to serve as a catalyst for continued disaster resiliency planning across the region.

> Read the “Disaster Resiliency and Recovery in the Texas Capital Area, The Economic Impact and Local Response to the 2015 Memorial Day Disaster Event."
> Get the GIS data used in the report.
> Find interactive maps coinciding with the report.

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.

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.

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