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In the News: News from March 2018

Kent Butler Summit focuses on infrastructure, future

Monday, March 26, 2018
Source: https://kentbutlersummit.com/

Local decision makers will come together at the Kent Butler Summit for a conversation about effective regional planning that is good for people and the environment. This year’s summit, “Pipes, People, Pavement and the future of Water in the Hill Country”, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 4 in Texas State University’s LBJ Student Center Ballroom. Local officials will discuss how infrastructure and planning decisions made today influence how and where tomorrow’s growth occurs in the Hill Country.

Decisions made at the local, county, regional, and state-wide level have cascading impacts on the long-term future of our region. Hill Country decision makers increasingly recognize the need for a regional vision that extends beyond traditional boundaries, protects shared values of economic growth and environmental resilience, and ensures a bright future for our region.

> Read the summit’s agenda.
> Register to attend the summit.

AAACAP, Planning correlate data to improve programming

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

GIS mapping of regional demographic information along with consumer and program data allows a more strategic approach to planning for delivering services, so CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) and its Planning and Economic Development Division are collaborating to develop these tools and improve programming.

“Better data provides more information about the types of services which may best support individuals who are choosing to age in place in their communities; it can identify service delivery patterns, service gaps; and unknown concentration of individuals in our target demographic,” said Patty Bordie, AAACAP director. Comparing such data helps ensure older adult populations are being reached in an efficient and effective manner that can be tailored on a county, city, neighborhood or census block level. For instance, the data can help AAACAP determine whether one health and wellness program could service several rural communities or if the same program should be offered multiple times throughout an area because of transportation issues.

AAACAP also can use the information to make connections in communities and help deliver the right services, at the right location, at the right time by partnering with organizations already operating in an area.

> Read about AAACAP’s services.
> Learn more about CAPCOG' Planning and Economic Development Division.

RLEA teaches defensive tactics instructor course

Thursday, March 15, 2018

CAPCOG’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) will offer the HFRG/PPCT Threat Pattern Recognition Instructor Course, a five-day training providing instructor certification for a defensive tactics system based on pressure point control tactics (PPCT). The course focuses on two primary areas of defense by controlling low-level resistance with fingertip pressure on nerve points and controlling high-level resistance with defensive counter strikes and batons; it also incorporates research from human factor science and pattern recognition. CAPCOG will offer the course in late April with a recertification course starting after its first three days.

“Ninety-seven percent of resistance police encounter can be handled with the proper application of the two lowest forms of control: officer presence and verbal direction,” said Randy Holmes, RLEA director. Officers will learn those forms, plus safe, effective, field-tested methods to control the other three percent which includes controlling passive protestors, safely handcuffing cooperative and uncooperative persons, and protecting themselves during an assault or a deadly encounter. “A peace officer’s job is much easier and safer when they are more effective at properly escalating force when necessary, de-escalating force when possible, and controlling uncooperative subjects”.

> Register for the course.
> Read more about the academy.

Regional Environmental Task Force focuses on dumping

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Capital Area Regional Environmental Task Force (RETF) rallies its efforts to mitigate and prevent illegal dumping and public nuisance sites throughout the region as Burnet County shows its full support, a new tool launches to track dumpsites and deterrents, and the group offers enforcement and abatement training.

The Burnet County Commissioners’ Court and other county officials joined the RETF at its first meeting of the year to discuss the county’s illegal dumping and public nuisance campaign and abatement process. Illegal dumping occurs when someone dumps garbage on public property while public nuisances take place on an individual’s property; both can negatively impact public health and safety as well as the environment. Burnet County emphasized using a teamwork approach that includes county constables, the district attorney’s office and county commissioners to better enforce regulations. Such asserted enforcement efforts lead to more restitution for illegal dumping cases.

A new interactive mapping tool, developed by CAPCOG, will further aid Burnet and the other nine counties in the region to mitigate illegal dumping. The map pinpoints dumping sites throughout the region and shows county-level hotspots for dumpsites. It also shows the placement of “No Dumping” signs that warn of penalties and tell residents how to report illegal dumping. Correlating such data can determine where additional warning signs may be needed and help counties and cities target special enforcement programs in trouble areas. Bastrop and Caldwell counties have submitted their initial data for the map, and Burnet County is nearly complete in submitting its information. Other counties have portions of their information completed; however, if a county needs help geo-locating dumpsites or “No Dumping” signs, they can contact Christiane Alepuz.

> View the map.

The RETF also will hold its first Basic Environmental Law Training Course of the year from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 15 in Austin. The course, which is held twice a year, attracts peace officers, sanitation workers and code enforcement officials from around the state to learn about environmental crimes. It focuses on regulations in Texas Health and Safety Code and the Water Code to help enforce public nuisance, illegal dumping and water pollution issues.

> Register for the course.
> Read more about the RETF.
 

CAPCOG awards solid waste funding to 9 projects

Thursday, March 08, 2018

CAPCOG awarded $176,100 in funding for nine county and city solid waste projects during 2018 and 2019. Another five solid waste projects could receive funding if more money becomes available.

Eight of the nine projects seek to improve household hazardous waste management throughout the region, which is a primary goal of the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan. Six projects will conduct special collection events that properly dispose of harmful chemicals and prevents them from entering the region’s water supply and becoming a public health and safety concern. The two remaining hazardous waste projects will fund facility upgrades and equipment at permanent collection sites; such sites have increased proper disposal of the waste by providing residents with routine drop-off locations.

> See a complete list of funded projects.

Funds for these projects are from legislative-appropriated “tipping fees” at landfills. CAPCOG works with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to solicit and select projects that qualify for the funding; TCEQ will review CAPCOG’s selection before the money is distributed.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Solid Waste Grants.
> Learn more about the CAPCOG Solid Waste Program.

Data Points explores job growth rate, other economic issues

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A Data Points blog post examines the data surrounding the region's positive yet slowing job growth rate. "We observed this trend and decided we should dig into the data a bit more," wrote Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Director in the blog. "Are we looking at the beginnings of a recession in the local economy? Are other metro areas in Texas showing similar signs of slowing down?"

The post explores possible answers to the questions by looking at which industry sectors have gone from experiencing large spikes in job growth to a lower growth trend. It also questions three possible explanations for the weaker gains:

  • A low unemployment rate resulting in limited available workforce 
  • A slowdown in population growth
  • Austin’s job creation rate regressing to the means of other major Texas metro areas

Data Points is dedicated to exploring policy and planning issues in the Capital Area by reviewing available data and making that data interactive for community stakeholders. Other recent topics discussed on the blog included workforce development and youth employment.

> Read about these topics at datapoints.org.
> Read more about the Planning and Economic Development Division.
 

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