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In the News: News from May 2018

TCEQ seeks funding natural gas vehicles in seven CAPCOG counties

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has made available $15.5 million in grant funds for those seeking to repower heavy- or medium-duty vehicles to use natural gas or for those looking to replace heavy- or medium-duty with natural gas vehicles. Applicants must operate mostly in the Texas Clean Transportation Zone, which includes seven CAPCOG counties — Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson.

The Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program encourages entities to replace existing diesel or gasoline vehicles with natural gas vehicles or to repower their engines with natural gas engines. Eligible applicants are those that own, lease, or commercially finance a heavy-duty or medium-duty vehicle that is operated in Texas. Applicants can be individuals, corporations, organizations, governments or governmental subdivisions or agencies, school districts, business trusts, partnerships, associations, or any other legal entity.

TCEQ plans to close the application process on May 31, 2019.

> Learn more about the grant program.
> Learn how to apply for the grant program.
> Read about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Community organizations train for being veteran mentors

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area, a CAPCOG program, held a full-day training in April for community service organizations to learn how to better support veterans and their families that seek assistance. The ADRC will bring the Military Veterans Peer Network back to CAPCOG in the fall to teach a second course because of its popularity.

“The unserved veteran’s population is growing in the Capital Area, as many veterans do not self-identify,” said Vivian Harris, ADRC coordinator. “The role of the Peer Network is to locate such veterans and encourage them to seek the benefits and services they need and are not currently receiving. Many veterans are unaware they are eligible for such support services.”

As a primary connection between older adults and the disabled and the organizations providing services, the ADRC wants to ensure it and these service organizations are reaching and addressing veterans’ needs properly. The course introduced its attendees to military cultural competency, common non-visible injuries and disabling conditions, treatment options, and the many resources available to veterans. It also focused on how to communicate with veterans and serve as an effective mentor to them. “Knowing these topics and communication principles can make all the difference in someone receiving the appropriate support services and as the ADRC we want connect everyone to the best, most fitting service needed,” Harris said.

> Learn about the ADRC.
> Learn about The Veterans Peer Network.
 

TCEQ accepting emissions reduction grant applications

Friday, May 18, 2018
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program is accepting grant applications for the upgrade or replacement of older heavy-duty vehicles, non-road equipment, marine vessels, locomotives, and stationary equipment.

Applications for the Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants (ERIG) Program must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2018. Previous ERIG or Rebate grant applications will not be accepted. Individuals and organizations, private and government, from 42 counties can apply for the grant to include five counties in the CAPCOG ten-county region – Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson.

The goal of the ERIG program is to provide grant funding opportunities to offset the cost of projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from high-emitting mobile diesel sources.

> Apply for the grant.
> Read more about the grant.
> Learn about TERP.

In conjunction with opening the ERIG grant process, the TCEQ has scheduled application workshops to provide an overview of the application process. The program has several new changes, so the TCEQ is encouraging prospective applicants to attend a workshop. All workshops are free and no registration is required. The Austin workshop will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 22, 2018 at the TCEQ Austin Office, Building F, 12100 Park 35 Circle in Austin.

> Locate other workshops.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

CAPCOG prioritizes criminal justice grants

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The CAPCOG Executive Committee in April approved the prioritization of 48 grant projects seeking funding from four Office of the Governor (OOG) Criminal Justice Division (CJD) programs. The OOG will use CAPCOG’s prioritized recommendations to help determine 2019 grant awardees; the OOG anticipates announcing recipients starting in late August.

About $8.5 million has been allocated for agencies in the ten-county region across the four programs — the General Victim Assistance Program, the Violence Against Women Justice and Training Program, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program, and the Justice Assistance Grant. CAPCOG worked to maximize potential awards throughout the region by encouraging applications from organizations that have never applied for CJD funding or have not applied recently. This resulted in the total funding requests in each grant category except for Violence Against Women Justice and Training Programs to exceed regional allocations. “Being oversubscribed in these grant areas can benefit the region,” said Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Director. “If another region doesn’t have enough projects to fulfill their allocations, the Office of the Governor can reallocate those funds toward projects in our region.” In 2018, the CAPCOG area received $4.5 million in grants above the state’s initial $8.5 million regional allocation.

Criminal justice grants awarded by the CJD are done on an annual basis. The grant process for the next cycle will begin with Criminal Justice stakeholder meetings in October 2018 to develop regional priorities. “We are encouraging as many organizations as possible to be engaged in the planning process for these grants,” Schreck said. “We want the regional priorities, and ultimately the prioritization of applications, to reflect broad input from a diverse group of stakeholders.”

> To be informed about future Criminal Justice grant activities and opportunities, contact Matt Holderread.
> Read this year’s prioritized list.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

General Land Office hosts Hurricane Harvey planning workshop at Brazos Valley COG

Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Source: Brazos Valley COG

The Brazos Valley Council of Governments (COG) will host the Texas General Land Office-State Action Plan Workshop for Hurricane Harvey funding to let local government officials, including those in the CAPCOG region’s impacted counties, to address the plan. The workshop will take place at 9 a.m., Tuesday, May 22 at the Brazos Valley COG, Center for Regional Services, 3991 East 29th Street, Bryan, Texas 77802.

The plan will detail the proposed use of all funds, including criteria for eligibility, and how the use of these funds will address long-term recovery and restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization in the most impacted and distressed areas. The workshop will discuss the content and timeline of the plan as well as answer all questions about long-term recovery and Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding.

Hurricane Harvey impacted many local counties with heavy rain and flooding in August 2017 damaging and destroying many single- and multi-family residences along with key infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $5.024 billion in CDBG-DR funds to the state of Texas in response to this disaster.  

Local government officials from all the impacted areas are welcome and should attend the workshop. This includes county judges, commissioners, mayors, council members, emergency management coordinators, and council of governments staff involved in Hurricane Harvey recovery.

The impacted areas include:

  • Alamo Area COG - Comal, Guadalupe, and Karnes counties
  • Brazos Valley COG - Burleson, Grimes, Madison, and Washington counties
  • CAPCOG - Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, and Lee counties
  • Central Texas COG - Milam County

Please coordinate with your region on attendees. RSVP no later than noon, May 18, 2018 with Shannon Waddell at Shannon.waddell@bvcog.org or 979-595-2801 ext 2240. Attendance at this workshop is very important.

> Read the State Action Plan.
> Contact Roger Sheridan, BVCOG Public Safety Planning Manager, with questions.

Air Quality Awareness Week shares how to “Be Air Aware”, take action against pollutants

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

From Williamson to Bastrop counties and from Austin to Lockhart, communities in the ten-county region recognized April 30 to May 4 officially as National Air Quality Awareness Week to educate residents about the importance of monitoring local air quality and reducing air pollution.

The region’s first Ozone Action Day was April 28 and served as a reminder that throughout the year residents should remain vigilant about taking actions to reduce air pollutants and knowing the air quality. On Ozone Action Days, ozone levels can be especially harmful to sensitive groups — children under 18, adults 65 or older, and adults with lung diseases such as asthma. Bad air quality can pose potential health risks including difficulty breathing, sore and scratchy throat, and aggravation of lung diseases such as bronchitis.

Communities that participated in the awareness campaign educated residents about the causes of air pollution, how they can protect their health against poor air quality, and how they can reduce pollution through actions such as carpooling or biking to work. The communities encouraged people to “Be Air Aware” by downloading the EnviroFlash app for Android and iPhone. The free app gives people the following day’s air quality forecasts and can send them alerts about Ozone Action Days and other air quality concerns.

> Find more air quality information at airnow.gov.
> Read about TCEQ's Air Quality Program.
> Learn about local efforts at AirCentralTexas.org.
> Read about CAPCOG's Air Quality Program.

CAPCOG, StratMap saves on Orthoimagery

Friday, May 04, 2018

CAPCOG is offering local jurisdictions an opportunity to save on valuable aerial imagery data by joining its 2019 Capital Area Orthoimagery Project, formerly GeoMap, which provides accurate basemaps useful for planning purposes throughout the ten-county region. The project participation deadline is Friday, June 1, 2018.

CAPCOG has partnered with the Texas Natural Resources Information System’s Strategic Mapping Program (StratMap) to purchase twelve-inch resolution imagery throughout the region; however, local jurisdictions are encouraged to participate so they can receive savings on 6- or 3-inch resolution imagery. “Orthoimagery is scale-corrected so it can be used for measuring and creating vector data,” said Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS program manager. “Imagery with higher resolution provides greater detail making it more useful for engineering purposes; higher resolution imagery can even be used for project level infrastructure mapping.” A conservative estimate for six-inch orthoimagery is about $100 per square mile, but participation in the 2018 project reduced costs to about $70 per square mile.

To further save on cost, local jurisdictions can use StratMap to procure other geospatial products, such as LiDAR and contour lines, but such purchases must be done through StratMap directly.

> Read more about joining the CAPCOG Orthoimagery Project and StratMap.
> Learn about the CAPCOG GIS Program.
 

Homeland Security course focuses on reducing terrorist recruitment, radicalization in jails

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The CAPCOG Homeland Security Division, in cooperation with Hays County, will host a full-day training workshop about how emergency and public safety managers can prevent terrorist and hate group recruitment and radicalization from happening in rural correctional facilities. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 30 at the Hays County Government Center, 712 South Stagecoach Trail in San Marcos.

“Prevention is just as critical to homeland security planning as successfully responding to an event,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security Division director. “This course helps our responders and law enforcement officers better understand the nature of terrorist and hate groups and how to combat them.”

The course teaches elements for deterrence, intervention, and information gathering and sharing so emergency and public safety managers can institute planning and intervention methods to reduce threats from hate and terrorist groups that may have originated in rural correctional facilities. It builds knowledge around threat group categories, identifiers and philosophies, and focuses on a convergence of methodologies and the practices, policies, and conditions specific to rural correctional facilities.

> Register for the workshop.
> Learn more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

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