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In the News: News from December 2017

Homeland security plans emergency management training for region

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Homeland security and emergency management training coordinated by CAPCOG during the 2018 fiscal year builds on prior disasters that have affected the region, but it also looks to prepare the region for incidents yet to happen such as complex coordinated attacks, terrorist attacks and cybersecurity threats. More than seven courses are planned for the year with one having already taken place in November.

“CAPCOG is coordinating training workshops to help plan and mitigate hazards targeted in its homeland security strategic framework— wildland fires, flooding, cyber threats, terrorism, mass violence and riots, infrastructure loss, infectious disease and pandemics, and hazardous material incidents,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “It’s important to continue to study, learn and practice in emergency management, so current best practices tested throughout the world can be enacted instinctively here.”

Upcoming courses include an All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters workshop in February and an Event Security Planning for Public Safety Professionals in March. In several wildfire and flooding incidents across Central Texas, rescuing and handling animals has played a big factor in disaster response. The course helps emergency management personnel create strategies to not only care for and rescue animals, such as livestock, but also prevent animals from becoming a public health risk during a disaster while protecting people’s property. Specials events are abundant throughout Central Texas and include activities, such as downtown holiday strolls and massively attended cycling competitions. The Event Security Planning workshop focuses on educating smaller and more rural communities’ public safety officials to recognize and plan adequate strategies and security measures to prevent and mitigate incidents that may occur during such events.

> Learn more about these training courses and see future training opportunities.
> Register for training workshops at

A Tornado Awareness workshop kicked off homeland security training for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Twenty attendees representing entities throughout the region learned about tornado science, weather forecasting, and the tornado warning process while learning how to better implement safety measures.

Aging programs improve seniors’ independence, health

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP), a CAPCOG division, is offering its first educational workshop to help older adults reduce chronic pain, and it is seeking volunteers to help prevent seniors from falling.

“By teaching seniors how to lessen their chronic pain, we are helping them manage their health so they can live as independently as possible,” said Kate Gibbons, CAPCOG health and wellness program coordinator. “We are also offering volunteers a chance to provide seniors the same help in their local communities by becoming fall prevention coaches.”

In January, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock is hosting a Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop. The evidence based intervention program is a six-week workshop that provides older adults with techniques to decrease frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation caused by suffering chronic pain, while teaching them easy movement exercises and nutritional facts for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance. The course, which is taught in two- and a half-hour sessions, also discusses medication usage, rest and how to communicate with family, friends and doctors about pain. The Stanford Patient Education Research Center developed the workshop.

AAACAP is leading a two-day course in February to teach volunteers to be coaches for A Matter of Balance: Fall Prevention programs. Once completed, volunteers can partner to run fall prevention programs for seniors reducing their fear of falling and increasing their activity levels. The program is based on Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late-Life Function at Boston University research.

> Register for the workshop and the coaches’ course is available.
> Read more about AAACAP.
Jill Findlay, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area assistant director, leads a health and wellness program geared towards managing chronic illnesses. Jill Findlay, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area assistant director, leads a health and wellness program geared towards managing chronic illnesses.

CAPCOG sets criminal justice grant workshops

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division released the Plan Year 2019 requests for applications for four grants that CAPCOG and its Criminal Justice Advisory Committee provides funding recommendations. CAPCOG has scheduled two mandatory workshops on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 to inform organizations about the application and review process. Each workshop will review the grants’ eligibility and requirements and discuss priorities and the region’s strategic plan created from community stakeholders’ input.

These grant programs allow local organizations to purchase needed equipment and technology upgrades, implement evidence based programs to address community identified problems, and serve community members while they recover from crimes. They include the General Victim Assistance Program, the Violence Against Women Justice and Training Program, the Juvenile Justice Grant Program, and the Justice Assistance Grant Program. CAPCOG has not received an estimated allocation for the region, but it anticipates allocations to be within 10 percent of the Plan Year 2018’s budget estimate — $7.2 million, $385,851, $430,979 and $462,612, respectively. CAPCOG received 50 applications in Plan Year 2018 of which 41 grants received $12.8 million in funding from the Governor’s Office, which distributes funding and administers the grants.

Organizations seeking to apply must have at least one representative attend a CAPCOG workshop. Applicants should also review the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Strategic Plan, Criminal Justice Funding Priorities and the Governor’s request for applications.

> Register for Jan. 10 workshop.
> Register for the Jan. 11 workshop.
> Review the Criminal Justice Strategic Plan.
> Review the Criminal Justice Funding Priorities.
> Read more about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

CAPCOG announces 2017 Air Central Texas Awards

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) celebrated the organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the region’s air quality at the Air Central Texas Awards in November. The awards promoted future community action to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Dr. Bryan Shaw delivered a keynote speech during the ceremony that spoke to the efforts of the commission and the region to keep the region’s air healthy. Staying within attainment of the national ozone standard as the Austin region has done for decades “is based on the hard work of the people like the ones you are recognizing here today,” Shaw said.

Organizations that received awards this year ran programs that helped educate the public about air quality issues, made efforts to influence air quality policies and encouraged drivers to seek more sustainable commuting options. They included:

  • City of Austin - Transportation Department - 2017 Air Central Texas Public Sector Award
  • Movability Austin - 2017 Air Central Texas Private/Nonprofit Sector Award
  • Emmis Communications Austin - 2017 Air Central Texas Media Award
  • Cathy Stephens, Travis County - 2017 Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award

Winners of the 2017 Air Central Texas (ACT) Awards  pose with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Dr. Bryan Shaw. Pictured from left to right are Shaw, Alix Scarborough and Thomas Butler with Movability Austin, Cathy Stephens with Travis County, Cari Buetow with the City of Austin Transportation Department, and Kathy Good with Emmis Communications.

> Learn more about the Air Quality Program.

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