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In the News: News from January 2019

CAPCOG serves as contact for Nonprofit Security Grant

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Governor’s Homeland Security Grant Division’s 2019 Nonprofit Security Grant Program now supports security projects for nonprofit organizations that are at a high risk of terrorist attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.

Nonprofits and faith-based organizations with a nexus to terrorism can use this upcoming grant program to equip facilities with security provisions, to construct or renovate facilities to enhance security, or to provide training to their security personnel. “It is a great opportunity for those organizations that have received threats or feel threatened to harden their facilities and become more prepared,” said Martin Ritchey, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. CAPCOG anticipates the state releasing the program’s request of applications later this month.

Organizations wanting further details about the Nonprofit Security Grant Program should contact the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division at or the Office of the Governor’s Public Safety Division. Local jurisdictions may also submit contact information for nonprofits they believe would benefit from the program.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

Eanes, Leander ISDs & Andrews get Air Central Texas Awards

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CAPCOG presented Eanes and Leander Independent School Districts (ISD) and Pharr Andrews, a former Austin Transportation Department employee, with Air Central Texas Awards for their significant contributions to improving the region’s air quality.

Andrews received the 2018 Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award for her work as Austin’s Air Quality program coordinator. Andrews helped develop each of the region’s air quality plans, served on the Clean Air Coalition Advisory Committee, and supported public outreach campaigns including CAPCOG's Air Central Texas and Commute Solutions programs and the CLEAN Air Force's local meteorologist outreach. The Bill Gill award is named after a long time Central Texas air quality advocate and former CAPCOG employee.

Pharr Andrews accepts the Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award.

Leander and Eanes ISDs received the Air Central Texas Outstanding Organization award for their leadership in purchasing and using propane-fueled school buses. Between the two districts more than 80 buses have been converted from diesel to propane engines. Each converted bus is estimated to reduce Nitrogen Oxide emissions by 173 pounds.

Clean Air Coalition Vice Chair and Hays County Commissioner Ray Whisenant (on left) presents the Air Central Texas awards to members of Eanes and Leander Independent School Districts.Clean Air Coalition Vice Chair and Hays County Commissioner Ray Whisenant (on left) presents the Air Central Texas awards to members of Eanes and Leander Independent School Districts.

The Air Central Texas Awards promote community actions supporting the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts and celebrate the region's success as the largest region in the nation that is in attainment of all federal air quality standards.

RLEA hosts Remington shotgun, rifle armorer’s courses

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) will host Remington instructors to certify local law enforcement armorers on servicing shotguns and M700 rifles with courses scheduled for March 11 and 13, respectively. A second shotgun course, which is two days, may be offered March 14 if the first course reaches capacity. Each course is being offered to ensure local agencies have the ability to keep these duty weapons serviceable.

“Shotguns are valuable tools for policing agencies and can be utilized to fire many rounds besides buckshot or slugs such as bean bag rounds or breacher rounds; they have been standard issue for a long time,” said Randy Holmes, RLEA director. “These courses are very good and very hands on.”

During each course, an instructor will provide in-depth training on techniques for servicing, inspecting, troubleshooting, repairing, disassembling and re-assembling these duty weapons. They also will discuss factory authorized modifications and at the end of the course, agency armorers will be given a weapon to diagnose issues and recommend repairs. CAPCOG annually offers a similar course by GLOCK, but this is its first Remington course.

> Register for the courses.
> Find other RLEA training opportunities.
> Read more about RLEA.

CAPCOG gives Wilkerson Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award

Thursday, January 10, 2019

CAPCOG presented Ray Wilkerson, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority chair, with its 2018 Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award on Dec. 12 at its annual membership meeting at the Austin Wyndham Hotel. Wilkerson was recognized for the significant role he’s played over several years in strengthening the region’s transportation infrastructure and water supply.

Ray Wilkerson, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority chair, speaks about regionalism at CAPCOG's annual membership meeting as Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty listens.

Ray Wilkerson, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority chair, speaks about regionalism at CAPCOG's annual membership meeting as Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty listens.

“Ray has spent decades volunteering and making a difference in Central Texas through his work on critical regional issues; few people have given as much to Central Texas and beyond,” said CAPCOG Executive Committee member and Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long. Wilkerson has been instrumental in expanding the region’s transportation network by working on projects such as US Highway 183 and State Highway 45. He also was a founding member of the Colorado River Alliance, which champions the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and engagement, and he is a former Lower Colorado River Authority chair.

The award is named after former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenback who served as CAPCOG’s first chair and the first president of the Texas Association of Regional Councils. It honors those who are pivotal in strengthening the Capital Area and consistently advocate a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments and other organizations. Recent recipients include former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley and Texas Representative Paul Workman. Others to receive the award include Texas Senator Kirk Watson; Dr. W. Neal Kocurek; and Robert J Huston, former Texas Commission on Environmental Quality chair.

Hays County EMC earns Phill Parmer Volunteer Award

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

CAPCOG gave Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator and Director Kharley Smith its Phill Parmer Volunteer Award for supporting the region through CAPCOG’s advisory committees, responding to regional disasters, and educating others on training and response best practices.

“Smith is much deserved of the volunteer award due to her exemplary work with school safety and working within many committees at CAPCOG,” said Martin Ritchey, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “She has a depth of knowledge and experience that is a great value to all her colleagues and peers.”

Hays County Emergency Management Director and Coordinator Kharley Smith (middle right) poses with Hays County Commissioners (from left to right) Walt Smith, Ray Whisenant and Debbie Ingalsbe.

Smith has served numerous years on CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Task Force and Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, both which prioritize grant funding and coordinate regional planning efforts. She also has been instrumental in promoting WarnCentralTexas — CAPCOG’s regional notification system — and helped conduct CAPCOG’s School Safety Symposium by sharing information about Hays County’s School Safety Protocol. During 2018, she also assisted with the response to the Hill County Floods in Burnet and Llano counties.

The Phill Parmer Volunteer Award is named after CAPCOG’s longest serving Aging Advisory Council member from Llano County who volunteered as an ombudsman and advocated senior issues in the legislature.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

New Executive Committee Members join the first meeting of the year

Friday, January 04, 2019

The CAPCOG Executive Committee will meet Jan. 9 for its first 2019 meeting with nine new members taking seats on the board after being elected by the agency’s General Assembly. Joining the committee are Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden, Fayette County Judge Joe Weber, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham, Williamson County Commissioner Russ Boles, Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, Bee Cave Mayor Monty Parker, Buda Mayor George Haehn, and Texas Representative Terry Wilson, who serves as a non-voting member.

Twenty-five county and municipal elected officials make up the CAPCOG Executive Committee which also serves as the Capital Area Emergency Communications District Board of Managers. The governing body conducts business for the COG regarding budgets, contracts, and general policies and procedures for operating the agency. It convenes at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. The committee will elect it officers at this January meeting. The CAECD Board meets at least quarterly starting in January immediately following the Executive Committee.

> Read more about the Executive Commmittee.
> Learn about the CAECD.

AAACAP, ADRC partner with Austin Energy Plus 1 program

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The City of Austin awarded CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging (AAACAP) and Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area an Austin Energy Financial Support Plus 1 Program partnership allowing CAPCOG to provide additional income support to Austin area clients and expand other income support dollars throughout the region.

As part of the Plus 1 Program, AAACAP and ADRC are allocated up to $30,000 in financial pledges to assist their clients, who meet eligibility requirements, in eliminating past due utility debt owed to Austin Energy. There are many reasons older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers can fall behind on utility payments such as suddenly paying for in-home care or the unexpected cost of a hospital visit caused by a fall. “These funds continue AAACAP and the ADRC’s mission of making those individuals more self-sufficient by getting them the resources they need,” said Siena Lindemann, AAACAP assistant director.

CAPCOG receives other limited funding from state and federal resources for providing income support with essential needs, such as gas and electric utility payments, and uses it to not just pay a single bill but help people develop a long-term sustainable plan. “The Plus 1 Program enhances our ability to help people throughout all our communities as our income support funds go fast,” said Patty Bordie, AAACAP director.

> Read more about AAACAP.
> Read more about ADRC.

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