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In the News

Justice Department launches website for crimes relating to elderly

Friday, September 19, 2014

The United States Department of Justice launched the Elder Justice website earlier this month. The site provides the elderly and people who support them with information about crimes affecting older Americans.

Justice.gov/elderjustice/ is a resource for victims, their families, practitioners, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and researches seeking to understand and address elder abuse and financial exploitation, stated the website.

The website host a number of databases for each group to include a searchable list of local resources for reporting crimes, thousands of articles and reviews with information about elder abuse and financial exploitation, and information and resources on how to prevent elder abuse and assist older crime victims.

> Go to the Elder Justice website.
> Discover other resources for older American and their families.
> Learn about Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.

CAPCOG uses homeland security grant for cyber-attack recovery

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Capital Area Council of Governments will use a recently awarded $135,000 State Homeland Security Program grant to assist in preparing the region to respond and recover from cyber-attacks.

Funds from the grant will be used to perform a cyber-attack vulnerability analysis for CAPCOG’s 10-county region. The analysis will help identify how such an incident could affect business processes, critical infrastructure, and the financial stability and viability of businesses. It will have an emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses.

Determining the impact of such an attack is the initial step in the planning process which will help the region and its businesses and governments develop a stronger, more responsive approach to handling cyber-security and cyber-attack recovery.

Ultimately, the work performed in the analysis could be used to facilitate the creation of economic recovery plans for individual businesses.  After the analysis is concluded, CAPCOG plans to facilitate workshops with businesses and local governments during the 2015 year. The workshops will help businesses and governments identify their own risks and plans for economic recovery to include job restoration.

Cyber terrorism was identified as one of six possible threats to the region in the 2013 Regional Threat and Hazard Identification and Ricks Assessment.

> Discover more about CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division.

A caregiver’s balanced life provides for better care

Friday, September 12, 2014

Everything seemed to be happening all at once for Cheri and Barry Krockover. In 2009, Cheri lost her job as a software analyst and tester, and Barry, her husband of 22 years, started to show behavioral changes related to memory loss.

By 2010, Barry, who is now 78, was diagnosed with dementia.Cheri Krockover

“In 2010, I officially felt like my life was over,” said Cheri, who is now 64. “Then I came to the realization, that ‘no, my life is not over. It is just going to be different.’ What I have learned during the last four years is that your love for your spouse continues, but it also is very different… but it is still a powerful force.”

In hindsight, Cheri sees losing her job as a blessing. It allowed Cheri to notice the signs of dementia early and Barry and her to spend the next few years being active together. But outlining a support system, learning about resources, and handling stress ensured Cheri stayed her positive, fun and happy self. More importantly, it helped her remain a great caregiver for her husband.

Early during her caregiving years, Cheri joined a job club where she discovered other unemployed caregivers. Rallying around their commonality, the caregivers created a second support group that let members share resources about caregiving. It also provided an outlet to discuss the common problems they faced and had to overcome.

“We shared ideas on how to cope, and other caregivers can find humor in some of the stresses and issues that arise while providing for a loved one,” Cheri said. Having a connection with people who are going through similar trials and tribulations is almost priceless, she said.

The support group led Cheri to programs such as the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area’s Stress Busting Program for Family Caregivers. The nine-week course helped explain the grief Cheri felt, she said. It also let her accept her role as a caregiver and taught her techniques to manage the pressures of providing for an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia patient.

> Become a Stress Busting Program for Family Caregivers volunteer.
> Discover more about AAACAP.

To further mitigate stresses, Cheri created a resource wheel to organize her support system. Each person or group in the wheel is a different spoke that helps manage a different stress in life such as money, your spirit and caregiving.

Communication plays a key role in using a resource wheel, Cheri said. Telling your friends and associates about their role, lets them know exactly how they can help. It also lets them understand your situation. Some friends can help you relax during daily routine stresses such as shopping. Others, such as fellow caregivers, can make awkward caregiving moments funny, which helps you stay optimistic.
“That is a key to being a healthy caregiver, holding onto that optimism,” Cheri said. “The better my own mental outlook it is, the more able I am to care for him. I was always the fun person in our marriage, and he still needs me to be the fun person.”

Cheri is now a Stress-Busting course master trainer and will be speaking during the Striking a Balance 2014: the 13th annual conference for nonprofessional caregivers. Barry is doing well in a living and caregiving facility. The Krockovers see each other almost every day and still laugh with and love each other.

> Register for Striking a Balance 2014: the 13th annual conference for nonprofessional caregivers.

NCoA and AAACAP remind seniors about flu shots

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flu season can begin in October, last until May and peak in January and February. With the start of the season nearing, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) and the National Council on Aging (NCoA) wants to remind seniors to get their flu shots.

Seniors, 65 and older, are one of the demographics at risk of experiencing complications after contracting the contagious respiratory illness caused by the flu virus.

Annually between 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents become infected with the virus, but people 65 years of age or older make up 9 of 10 flu-related deaths and 6 of 10 flu-related hospital stays, according to NCoA and flu.gov. Getting a flu shot is the best preventive against the virus.

It is recommended that older adults receive one flu shot, preferably the high dosage shot, before flu season begins. The shot is free for people with Medicare who uses a provider that accepts the assignment. Medicare Advantage members also cannot be charged for the flu shot if it is given by an in-network provider.

> Read more about the flu shot and other routine vaccines.
> Learn more about the flu.
> Discover more resources for seniors to stay healthy.

TCEQ seeks emission reduction grant projects

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Texas Emissions Reduction Plan Program is accepting applications for the Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants (ERIG) Program.

The program provides grant funds to upgrade or replace older heavy-duty vehicles to include school buses; non-road equipment; locomotives; marine vessels; and stationary equipment.

Applications for the grant must be submitted by 5 p.m., Dec. 2, 2014.

> Get a grant application.

Eligible CAPCOG counties include Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson.

Because of several changes to the ERIG program this year, the TCEQ has scheduled grant application workshops, dealer trainings, and application assistance sessions to provide an overview of the application process. All workshops are free and don’t require registration. 

> Review the workshop schedule.

Contact the TERP program at 800-919-TERP (8377) or terp@tceq.state.tx.us.

> Read more about Central Texas Air Quality.

AAACAP and WellMed Senior Center offer aging resource fair

Friday, September 05, 2014

A resource fair, for people 60 or older, will provide aging adults with a variety of resources to benefit their wellbeing. The fair is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 26 at the WellMed Senior Community Center, 706 W. Ben White Blvd. Suite 125A in Austin.

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area and WellMed Senior Community Center are presenting the event. Attendees will have access to AAACAP staff that assists with benefit counseling, care coordination, health and wellness and medication screenings. Other local agencies also will be present to provide health and wellness information and resources.

To receive a medication screening one must be 60 years of age or older; take five or more prescription and/or over-the counter medications, supplements, or vitamins; and agree to participate in a short safety survey before and after the medication screening report is completed. Attendees wishing to have their medications screened also must bring their prescriptions or a list of their drugs to include any supplements.

Area Agency on Aging staff works with a pharmacist to review medications to identify potentially harmful interactions, reactions and related issues. 

> Contact Amy Flanigan, AAACAP health & wellness coordinator, for questions.
> Read the event flier.
> Learn more about AAACAP.

CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program coordinates clean air outreach campaign

Friday, August 29, 2014

Air quality in Central Texas is traditionally at its worst in August and September, which is why the Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality Program launched a new radio advertising campaign. The campaign encourages residents to help reduce emissions that lead to high ozone levels.

Ground-level ozone can cause breathing problems for children, seniors and people with asthma. Reducing ozone is also important in order to avoid expensive regulations required for areas that violate federal air quality standards.

The radio campaign targets drivers to tell them how they can reduce their impact on local air pollution by carpooling, reducing idling, and replacing older vehicles.

Using about $54,000 in regional air quality outreach funding provided by the City of Austin, CAPCOG purchased 450 radio spots on six radio stations during the next month. The advertisements will air during the busiest drive-time hours, 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

CAPCOG's radio spots are anticipated to reach a significant number of people, but local governments, school districts, businesses and nonprofits also can help increase that number by participating in the campaign. They can download or share the campaign's scripts and audio files to post on their own websites and social media platforms.

> Read the scripts.
> Listen to the Drive Clean radio spot.
> Listen to the Drive Clean radio spot in Spanish.
> Listen to the Back to School radio spot.
> Listen to the Back to School radio spot in Spanish.

Regional caregivers to gather during annual Striking a Balance Conference

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area and AGE of Central Texas will host the Striking a Balance 2014: 13th Annual Caregiver Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20.

Held at the Norris Conference Center, 2525 W. Anderson Lane in Austin, the conference will bring together about 200 regional, nonprofessional caregivers of older residents for an educational and networking experience.

 “Striking a Balance is a day for pampering caregivers and providing them with meaningful information to help care for their loved ones and themselves,” said Rene Oldstein, Area Agency on Aging care coordination program manager.

Attendees of the conference can learn about local resources available to them, hear from aging experts and network with other caregivers. 

The conference will feature keynote speaker Wendy Lustbader, a nationally-renowned expert on caregiving and author of "Life Gets Better" and "Taking Care of Family Members".

Following Lustbader, there will be breakout sessions on caregiving topics from other experts, area volunteers and caregivers. Several vendors will be on site to provide information about resources available to caregivers.

“Caregivers are so enthralled with their day-to-day lives, they don’t get a lot of chances to find resources or learn how to cope with the stress they face,” Oldstein said. “This is a place where they can capture all that information. It gives them an opportunity to educate themselves.”

The conference also will offer a free lunch for caregivers and free off-site respite by reservation only at AGE’s Austin Adult Day Health Center, 3710 Cedar St., Austin, TX. Call 512-458-6305 by Sept. 17 to request respite care.

> Register for the conference.
> Download the event's flier.
> Learn more about AAA of the Capital Area.

CAPCOG updates training website to improve registration

Monday, August 18, 2014

Capital Area Council of Governments will launch a new training course website this month.

The website will provide better navigation through CAPCOG’s available training courses by allowing users a clearer search of topics, targeted audiences and dates. Course registrants also will have access to a list of similar and related training opportunities while signing up for courses. Other added features include an improved map display to the course’s training location and more course details.

To accommodate the update, access to CAPCOG’s training website will be closed from Aug. 18 to Aug. 22. Registration for training opportunities will resume at capcog.org/training once the new website is available.

Emergency communication equipment available for purchase

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Capital Area Council of Governments is offering to sell equipment no longer in use by the 9-1-1 emergency communications program, the Capital Area Emergency Communications District.

About 1,000 items are listed in the sell to include computers, phones, servers and switches, and other communication equipment.

Quantity and descriptions are provided by CAPCOG in good faith, but it is recommended that interested buyers contact the Emergency Communications department for an appointment to view the items offered for sale. All property is sold “first come, first serve” on a "where is/as is" basis, without warranty.

To respond to the offer, prospective buyers must complete an Offer to Sell form, sign and return it to CAPCOG before 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.

> Download the form, instructions on the bid process, and the complete list of equipment.
> Contact Gregg Obuch, CAPCOG emergency communications director.
> See other opportunities to do business with CAPCOG.

TCEQ issues first 2014 ozone action day for Austin area

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued an Ozone Action Day for the Austin area for Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.

Area residents are encouraged to help prevent and lessen ozone pollution they produce throughout the day. They can do so by sharing a ride, walking or riding a bicycle when traveling; taking their lunch to work; avoiding drive-through lanes; conserving energy; and keeping vehicles properly tuned.

> Learn more ozone prevention tips from Take Care of Texas.

Ozone action days occur when atmospheric conditions are expected to be favorable for producing high levels of ozone air pollution. While stratospheric ozone is helpful, ground-level ozone can cause acute respiratory problems to include coughing, respiratory irritation and aggravated asthma symptoms.

Ground-level ozone is created by sunlight causing chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. Emissions from industrial and electrical facilities, vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents are a few major sources that contribute to ground-level ozone creation.

> Get more TCEQ ozone facts.
> Watch the ozone forecast at EPA Air Now.

Thursday will be the first 2014 ozone action day issued for the Austin area during its ozone forecast season. The season runs through April 1 to Oct. 31, when ozone is predicted to be more concentrated. Traditionally, the Austin area experiences more Ozone Action Days later in its forecast season.

> Read about Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality program.
> Learn about CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas and get involved.

CAPCOG grant seeks diesel engine replacement projects

Friday, August 08, 2014

CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program is calling for project submissions for a grant that could pay up to 25 percent of the replacement cost for diesel-powered vehicles and non-road equipment.

The grant’s call for projects started Aug. 8, 2014 and will end Sept. 5, 2014 and is meant for vehicles and non-road equipment primarily used in Bastrop, Bexar, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.

It is the grant’s intention to pay for the incremental cost of lower-emission engines in order to accelerate fleet turnover. Replacement of existing vehicles and non-road equipment funded under this grant must occur earlier than the owner would normally have planned.

Diesel-powered on-road vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 16,001 pounds or more that have a model year from 1989 to 2003 are eligible for replacement funding. Diesel-powered non-road engines, equipment, and vehicles that are used in construction, handling of cargo (including at port or airport), agriculture, mining, or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps) also are eligible for replacement funding.

About $650,000 is available for organizations, to include private sector firms, governments, and non-profits, with vehicles and non-road equipment that meet the grant’s criteria. The funding is the remainder of $1.02 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program grant under the Diesel Emission Reduction act which CAPCOG received in 2012.

Grant recipients will need to place an order for new vehicles or equipment no later than Dec. 31, 2014, and physically acquire the vehicles or equipment no later than June 30, 2015.

> Read more details about the call for projects and the grant.
> Download the EPA’s non-road engine eligibility list.
> Get the non-road equipment replacement application form.
> Get the vehicle replacement application form.
> Contact Andrew Hoekzema for more information.

Interoperable communication systems help save two lives and apprehend suspect

Thursday, August 07, 2014

When two visitors to Horseshoe Bay in Llano County sustained serious injuries from an attacker in June, communication teams responded with a number of regional tools to save their lives and apprehend their suspected attacker.

Response to the incident used technology developed through the cooperation of CAPCOG members. The technology helped 9-1-1 dispatchers communicate with a non-English speaker and allowed police officers to arrest a suspect more than 80 miles away from the crime scene while investigations were still under way.

On June 10, the Marble Falls Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from an address in Horseshoe Bay. The seriously injured caller did not speak English, but the 9-1-1 operator quickly linked the caller to the Language Line translation service. The service, which is available through the regional 9-1-1 system, assists 9-1-1 center operators with translation when processing a call.

The caller spoke German and provided critical details to the 9-1-1 operator, enabling rapid dispatch of Horseshoe Bay police, fire and emergency medical services. Fire and EMS units staged at a safe location until police arrived and secured the scene. Due to the severity of the injuries, requests were made for additional EMS units and the support of Air Evac and STAR Flight for patient transport.

> Read more about 9-1-1 technology

While medical assistance was being summoned, information about a possible suspect was disseminated to regional law enforcement agencies. Personnel from the Horseshoe Bay Police Department, Marble Falls Police Department, Llano County Sheriff’s Office, Burnet County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety used a regional law enforcement talk-group on the newly implemented Western Region Radio System to communicate. This allowed multiple units from several agencies to coordinate their efforts and receive real-time updates about a possible suspect.

The 9-1-1 center processed additional calls for suspicious activity, and field units searched for and made contact with vehicles matching the suspect’s description. Upon learning the suspect was likely en route to a residence in Bastrop County, personnel at the Combined Transportation and Emergency Communications Center in Austin were contacted. They connected the talk group being used by law enforcement agencies in Horseshoe Bay with a regional talk group on the Greater Austin-Travis County Regional Radio System, The connection enabled law enforcement agencies in Llano and Burnet counties to talk directly to their Bastrop County counterparts.

The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office used information from personnel in Llano County to locate the suspect and possible evidence related to the attack at a Bastrop residence.

While police apprehended the suspect, EMS personnel used the regional radio system to communicate with fire department personnel and the Air Evac and STAR Flight staff to coordinate treatment and transport the victims to University Medical Center-Brackenridge in Austin.

> Discover more about CAPCOG's Communications Interoperability Planning

CAPCOG reviews waste facility expansion and proposed sites

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Capital Area Council of Governments is in the process of reviewing proposed a municipal solid waste facility application submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

CAPCOG is one of 24 regional planning commissions provided the opportunity by Texas statute to review a municipal solid waste facility when such a site either plans an expansion or is being proposed. CAPCOG reviews plans for the facility for conformance with regional and local solid waste management plans.

To ensure a facility's application is reviewed properly, CAPCOG developed Conformance Review Process Guidance and a Checklist to provide direction on reviews conducted within the region. The process focuses on ensuring the following objectives:

The use of a site for a facility does not adversely impact human health or the environment by evaluating and determining impacts of the site upon counties, cities, communities, groups of property owners, or individuals in terms of compatibility of land use, zoning in the vicinity, community growth patterns, and other factors associated with the public interest.

  • The use of a site for a facility does not adversely impact human health or the environment by evaluating and determining impacts of the site upon counties, cities, communities, groups of property owners, or individuals in terms of compatibility of land use, zoning in the vicinity, community growth patterns, and other factors associated with the public interest. 
  • Facilities comply with local zoning requirements, ordinances, and other local government land use regulations.
  • Facilities’ impacts on roads, drainage ways, and other infrastructure are assessed for existing and planned future land uses. 
  • Facilities are good neighbors, by assessing and considering every applicant’s five-year compliance history in Texas to the fullest extent allowed by TCEQ.
  • Encourage programs that provide incentives for using landfills instead of illegal dumping.
  • Avoid, or minimize if avoidance is not possible, concerns about visual and aesthetic impacts from facilities on adjacent land uses.
  • Address local land use concerns about the long term and cumulative effects off facilities and protect the public interest in a natural landscape.
  • Avoid, or minimize if avoidance is not possible, nuisance conditions associated with facilities that generate community concerns.

TCEQ’s permitting process is done independently, and while CAPCOG is required to review the application, it can abstain from making recommendations about the applications to the state agency.

CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee and then the Executive Committee vote to recognize the project in conformance, deem it as nonconforming, or waive taking a position.

> Read more about CAPCOG’s Conformance Review process.
> See the Conformance Review Checklist.
> Discover the CAPCOG Solid Waste Program.

AAA of the Capital Area heads to Bastrop and Buda

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area will conduct outreach and informational sessions in Bastrop and Buda during August.

Benefit counselors will assist Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare inquiries and provide information or services about other programs available through CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging. They will explain and assist with applications for low income programs such as Medicare Savings Program and the Extra Help Program. They also will assist with Benefits Checkup and prepare a report to help individuals find resources and benefit programs that can help pay for medications, health care, food and more.

Benefits Checkup is a free service of the National Council on Aging.

Counselors will be at the following locations at the following times:

  • 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 11, 2014
    1100 Church St., Bastrop, TX 78602, the Bastrop Public Library
  • 10 a.m.-4.30 p.m., Monday, Aug 25, 2014
    303 Main St., Buda, TX 78610, the Buda Public Library

Benefit counselors are available to schedule other individual appointments by calling 512-916-6062 or toll free 888-622-9111, ext. 6062.

> Find additional locations where benefit counselling will take place.
> Learn more about CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging.

CAPCOG allocates $1.2 million to 13 area homeland security projects

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thirteen area projects and equipment purchases received about $1.2 million to help local agencies respond to regional disasters and terroristic incidents.

The Capital Area Council of Governments Executive Committee recently approved the 13 projects to receive Federal Homeland Security Grant Program funds. The funds for the projects will be distributed to several public safety departments that include homeland security operations in Travis, Williamson, Burnet, and Hays counties.  They also allow the Capital Area to continue regional homeland security planning, grant management, and interoperable communications.

“The projects approved by the CAPCOG Executive Committee will continue regional support and coordination of homeland security and emergency management activities,” said Ed Schaefer, CAPCOG’s homeland security director. “CAPCOG member jurisdictions will use these funds to sustain their capabilities to identify and respond to a variety of hazardous events, especially those resulting from acts of terrorism.”

Projects selected for the funds ranged from radio communications infrastructure to rescue equipment to terroristic-threat-response equipment.

The Texas Homeland Security State Administrative Agency approved the funds for the 2014 fiscal year, which CAPCOG’s Executive Committee prioritized and submitted to the state agency based on local jurisdictions’ submissions and a regional homeland security strategic plan created by CAPCOG members. CAPCOG’s Executive Board gave final approval after the state agency accepted the projects.

> Discover more about CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

State offers online forum about housing and community development needs

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

For the development of the Draft State of Texas 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan, state staff is seeking input via an online forum about procedures for housing and community development needs and market analysis for the State of Texas.

The forum will be online until July 31, 2014.

The Consolidated Plan is a document required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It governs funds for the next five years received by the state from HUD for four programs.

  • The Emergency Solutions Grants Program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
  • The HOME Investment Partnerships Program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
  • The Community Development Block Grant Program operated by the Texas Department Agriculture
  • The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program operated by the Texas Department of State Health Services

To participate in the online forum, go to: https://tdhca.websitetoolbox.com/ and click on the "Register" tab in the top right-hand side of the page. After completing registration, you will receive a confirmation email inviting you to begin participating in the forum.

When questions are asked in the forum, the administering state agencies will attempt to provide additional information, clarification or other ideas for participants to review and consider. Participants should not expect responses to all posted questions.

Comments published on the online forum will not be considered official public comments. However, the comments will be taken under advisement when staff presents the State of Texas Draft 2014-2015 Consolidated Plan to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ Governing Board on Sept.  4, 2014. Input from the forum may be considered as consultation as it relates to the State of Texas 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.

> Read how to make official public comments on the Consolidated Plan.

RRC to discuss 2015-16 Community Development Fund application cycle

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Capital Area Regional Review Committee (RRC) meeting will be held on Friday, August 1, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pecan Room of the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) located at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, TX 78744.  Visit www.capcog.org for additional information and a map to the building.

The Capital Area RRC will hold a public meeting to discuss and adopt scoring criteria for the 2015-2016 Community Development Fund application cycle. The role of each RRC is to participate in the process for determining regional priorities for projects funded through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Community Development Fund. The purpose of these RRC Meetings/Public Hearings is to develop the objective scoring criteria used to prioritize applicants for the 2015-2016 funding cycle.

This meeting is open to the public and individuals who require auxiliary aids or services for this meeting should notify CAPCOG staff at 512-916-6012 at least two business days before the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

To learn more about the Texas Community Development Fund and the Texas Community Development Block Grant program, visit its website located here.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad Coburn, Manager of SPP.

CAPCOG economic development program earns national award

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Integrating economic development and planning to help Central Texas cities leverage future growth is the focus of the Sustainable Places Project, now being recognized for its innovative approach to community development.

The National Association of Development Organizations just announced that CAPCOG’s Sustainable Places Project, which was conducted in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, received a 2014 Innovation Award.

“We are proud to have demonstrated place making as a viable strategy for economic development in our small communities,” said Chad Coburn, CAPCOG’s Sustainable Places Project Director. “The award further validates our continued work with the project, now renamed the Prosperous Places Program (P3), and our effort to provide elected officials and staff with the analytics needed to prepare for and capitalize on the growth of Central Texas.”

The Sustainable Places Project integrated planning, analytic tool development and community visioning to help Central Texas cities create vibrant districts to attract new residents and businesses. The project addressed code revisions, infrastructure improvements, and economic strategies needed for development plan implementation.

Hutto, Elgin, Lockhart, Dripping Springs and Austin participated in the Sustainable Places Project between 2011 and 2014 to plan and evaluate a variety of development and redevelopment scenarios.

For instance, Elgin developed a vision of new, walkable residential and commercial uses; revived civic spaces along the railroad right-of-way; a network of roads and trails to connect the high school, downtown, and community college; and a farm-to-table approach toward food-related businesses. Recent upward trends in real estate have already provided opportunities for the plan’s implementation.

With the end of the Sustainable Places Project, CAPCOG instituted P3. P3 provides data and research tools to evaluate the long-term impacts of various growth scenarios on city budgets, the environment, the housing market and the economy.

“The notion of place making as economic development has great potential to spur quality growth and improve regional transportation outcomes,” Coburn said. “CAPCOG is excited to help our communities prepare and capitalize on the growth of the region.”

> Learn more about Prosperous Places Program.
> Read more about Sustainable Places Project.

Texas Clean Fleet Program offers $7.7 million to transition fleet vehicles

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering up to $7.7 million in grants for entities operating large fleets to replace diesel-powered vehicles with alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles. Applications to receive grant funds must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.

TCEQ’s Texas Clean Fleet Program (TCFP) grants are part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and are available to owners who operate fleets of 75 or more vehicles in the state. Applicants must commit to replacing at least 20 diesel-powered vehicles.

Projects eligible for funding must result in a reduction of nitrogen oxides emissions by at least 25 percent. Eligible projects may be limited to certain counties.

TCEQ is offering three grant application workshops to review TCFP requirements and application procedures for potential applicants at no cost.

  • 1:30 p.m., July 28, 2014 at TCEQ headquarters, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Building F, Room 2210, Austin, Texas 78753
  • 1:30 p.m., July 29, 2014 at the Tracy Gee Community Center, AR-1, 3599 Westcenter Drive, Houston, Texas 77042
  • 1:30 p.m., Aug. 4, 2014, at North Central Texas Council of Governments, Transportation Council Room, 616 Six Flags Drive, Centerpoint II, Arlington, Texas 76011

> Read more about the Texas Clean Fleet Program grant and apply at TCEQ’s website.

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