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Austin, TX 78744

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In the News

Austin seeks nonprofit, business participation on disaster census

Monday, September 14, 2015
Source: City of Austin

The City of Austin is asking businesses and nonprofits to participate in a survey that will help assess their readiness and ability to recover from a disaster event. The census will run through Sept. 21.

> Take the survey.

According to a study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25 percent of companies do not reopen after a major disaster.

The census is a part of an ongoing collaborative effort to make the Austin community more resilient and aid in recovery from disaster.

The City of Austin was the only city to be awarded a $150,000 Economic Recovery Preparedness Grant in 2014 by the Texas Homeland Security State Administrative Agency – State Homeland Security Program to enhance Austin’s business preparedness to recover from a natural or human-caused disaster. The grant is a result of a collaborative application by the City Economic Development Department (EDD) and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).

As a result of the grant, Austin has engaged a professional disaster assistance consultant, ProSource Technologies, and a policy research firm, Morningside Research, to survey how prepared Austin’s business community (including nonprofit, artist, artist organizations and musicians) are for an interruption in operations.

The team will make recommendations to the city on the most effective means to engage Austin businesses on resiliency and disaster recovery on an ongoing basis and later this year will conduct forums with practical information on existing community resources available to local businesses at little or no cost to assist with business continuity planning and workforce readiness.

“Recent natural disasters, such as the Memorial Day floods, proved that a disaster can hit at any time,” said Kevin Johns, Director for the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department.  “There is much that a business owner — from those that provide critical infrastructure like gas or groceries, to a music venue, nonprofit or big business — can do today to protect their employees, reduce their financial losses, and re-open quickly to support Austin’s economic recovery.”

> Take the survey.
> Discover more about the City of Austin Economic Development Department. 
> Learn about the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).

Travis County promotes RNS, safety tips during National Preparedness Month

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Source: Travis County Emergency Services

As part of National Preparedness Month, Travis County reminds residents to plan now for emergencies.—Don't wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today. Any time of the year, Travis County and Central Texas could face wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, or man-made disasters. This year, we have seen the dangers of flash flooding, while still experiencing drought and wildfire danger.

How can anyone prepare for the possibility of these different disasters? Go to or to learn more. Take practical steps, so that you are informed and ready for events beyond your control: 

  1. Stay informed. Monitor news reports for emergency information. Remember that there may be no electricity during a disaster, so a hand-crank radio is recommended. Register your cell phone, phone landline, email address or pager to receive Regional Notification System alerts by voice call, email or text at The Travis County Emergency Services Facebook (TravisCoEmergencyServices) and Twitter (@TravisCountyES) pages also provide updates during emergencies.
  2. Build a disaster supply kit. Your kit should include enough non-perishable food, one gallon of water per day per person, prescription medication and other supplies, such as flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit. Learn more about disaster supply kits at
  3. Make a plan that extends from home to vehicle, workplace and other locations. Remember to have supplies at all locations, and keep vehicle fuel tanks at least half full. 
  4. Prepare your home and decrease the threat of wildfires to you and your property by following the Ready, Set, Go! brochure at  
  5. Get involved–Prepare your community for emergencies: For more information on National Preparedness Month and getting others involved, go to: or, and follow #NatlPrep.

> Learn more about Travis County Emergency Services.
> Read more about CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.
> Discover more about the Regional Notification System that serves all ten CAPCOG counties.

Jack Griesenbeck Award solicits nominations

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck was a man of vision when he decided to be the first chairman of the now Capital Area Council of Governments in 1970 and subsequently the first president of the Texas Association of Regional Councils, the state association representing all 24 Texas councils of governments. These organizations by definition must focus on regional issues that mutually benefit multiple local governments when doing their work. It is not always easy to wear your “regionalism hat” when you represent a more narrow constituency, but Judge Griesenbeck did that consistently as have the recipients of the award named after him.

In 2001, CAPCOG created the Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award to recognize those who have articulated the need for regionalism and supported the activities to achieve it. The first recipient was Senator Kirk Watson who brought together county and city officials to develop the state’s first voluntary air quality plan recognized by EPA in 2002. The Early Action Compact was a proactive approach to keep the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area from entering a nonattainment status and to avoid onerous federal mandates. The region and the organization Watson started, the Clean Air Coalition, continues to implement its third voluntary emission reduction plan.

Dr. W. Neal Kocureck, a local doctor and community leader, followed in 2002 after he launched Envision Central Texas, an effort to create a long-term vision of how the region should grow through a collaborative community by community approach. Bob Daigh, then district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation- Austin office, was the first in his position statewide to embrace the benefits of regional transportation planning among urban and rural county elected officials sharing ideas and prioritizing projects that would have the most impact on regional mobility.

Others recognized include former Caldwell County Judge H.T. Wright. Wright served many years on CAPCOG’s board until he died in 2010, but he also represented all Texas COGs and their 9-1-1 programs by serving on the Commission for State Emergency Communications. The most recent honoree was former Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, who always kept goals of the region at the forefront during his 20 years serving on CAPCOG’s board.

“Being regional isn’t always an easy thing to do when often leaders in our communities must prioritize their goals starting with the organization they represent,” explained CAPCOG’s executive director Betty Voights. “But when they can link those goals with what’s good for our region, they typically become more involved with CAPCOG, and we all benefit from their involvement.” 

After seeing so many work for the region for so long, Voights said it was important for CAPCOG to acknowledge those who consistently advocate a regional approach.

This September, CAPCOG is seeking its 14th honoree to receive the annual Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award. Nominations will be accepted from CAPCOG General Assembly Representatives until Oct. 7. The recipient of the award will be announced at the Dec. 9 CAPCOG General assembly meeting.

Previous Jack Griesenbeck Leadership Award in Regionalism Recipients
  • Mayor Kirk Watson, City of Austin
  • Dr. W. Neal Kocurek
  • Robert J. Huston, Chair of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Mayor Ray Sanders, City of Lockhart
  • Bob Daigh, Texas Department of Transportation Austin District Engineer
  • Texas Senator Gonzalo Barrientos
  • Mike Simpson, City of Austin and Texas Radio Coalition
  • County Judge H.T. Wright, Caldwell County
  • Police Chief Mark Whitacre, City of Marble Falls
  • Texas Senator Troy Fraser
  • Mike Fisher, Emergency Management Coordinator of  Bastrop County
  • Seth S. Searcy, Attorney at Law
  • County Judge Sam Biscoe, Travis County

> Download a Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award nomination form.
> Submit the nomination form to Mason W. Canales, the CAPCOG member services coordinator, by Oct. 7.

TCEQ issues first 2015 ozone action day for Austin area

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued an Ozone Action Day for the Austin area for Thursday, August 27, 2015.

Atmospheric conditions are expected to be favorable for producing high levels of ozone air pollution in the Austin area, stated the TCEQ.

You can help prevent ozone pollution by sharing a ride, walking or riding a bicycle, taking your lunch to work, avoiding drive-through lanes, conserving energy, and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.

The day will mark the Capital Area’s first ozone action day of the year.

> Read about ozone facts.
> Discover the Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality Program.
> Learn about CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas.

TCEQ offers funds to reduce school bus emissions, better student health

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) grant program to reduce emissions and improve the health of school children and bus drivers started taking applications earlier this month. It will accept grant request until Dec. 2, 2015.

The Texas Clean School Bus Program strives to improve the health of school children and bus drivers through reducing school bus diesel exhaust. It is a comprehensive program designed to reduce emissions of diesel exhaust by retrofitting older school buses. The TCEQ provides the grant money so districts can purchase and install devices on diesel-powered school buses to reduce emissions.

According to the Texas Education Agency more than 33 percent of school buses in local fleets are more than 10 years old. Several advancements in vehicle and engine technology have helped reduce emissions from school buses, which helps reduce air pollution, since those buses were purchased.

The Texas Clean School Bus Program has retrofitted more than 7,200 buses across the state since the TCEQ started the program.

All public school districts and charter schools in Texas are eligible to apply for the grant. Public school districts that lease buses also are eligible. Private schools are not eligible for funding.

To meet the TCEQ qualifications, a school bus must:

  • have an engine model year 2006 or older;
  • be used on a regular, daily route, to and from school; and
  • be kept and used by the school district for a least five years after installing the retrofit device.

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. The TCEQ doesn’t limit the amount of funding for which districts can apply, but it will use its own discretion when awarding the grants.

> Download the grant application and learn more about the grant.
> Discover the Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality Program.
> Learn more about emission reduction grants, you can use.

Learn about the Aging and Disability Resource Center

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area, a program of the Capital Area Council of Governments, assists residents living in the 10-county capital region with accessing information about long-term services and supports, and public benefit programs offered to older Americans, the disabled, and their caregivers.

The ADRC partners with more than 25 nonprofit, local, state, and federal organizations to ensure residents in need of support services are connected to resources using a No-Wrong-Door Approach. The No-Wrong-Door approach is a single point of entry for accessing public and private long-term services and supports for older adults, caregivers, veterans and people with disabilities. The ADRC lessens the burden of connecting a resident with the information they need through its information, referral and assistance services, or resource navigators.

The following FAQ can help residents better understand how the ADRC can help them.

Q:  How does the ADRC provide help?
A: Resource navigators provide extensive and ongoing resource options for older Americans (those 60 years old or older), the disabled and their caregivers. Navigators provide help over the phone and in person. They follow the consumer through the ADRC services and are extremely beneficial to people who have multiple needs and who may need help from various resources and agencies. Navigators work to connect consumers as quickly and easily as possible to the resources they need.
Navigators also work to ensure consumers can make informed decisions and have streamlined access to long-term services and support agencies.

Q: Can the ADRC help apply for disability benefits or long-term care? 
A: Yes. Because the ADRC works with a number of organizations, it can either help people apply for benefits or direct an organization, such as the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area, to the person seeking the benefits.

Q: Does the ADRC offer help for family members? 
A: Yes. Family caregiver support also is part of the ADRC’s mission. Taking care of loved ones may seem overwhelming at times, and the resource center works to alleviate such stress by referring the appropriate partner agencies to the consumers. 

Q: Who can use the ADRC?
A: The ADRC offers assistance to older Americans, children and adults with disabilities, and people caring for those with disabilities. The ADRC serves people living within Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties.

Q: What is the best way to contact the ADRC?
A: Consumers can contact the resource center by phone, email, or in person. They should use which ever method they are most comfortable.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are strongly suggested.
Consumers can meet with a resource center navigator in person at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, Texas 78744. They can also call the ADRC at 855-937-2372 or email the center at

Q: When is the best time to contact the ADRC?
A: Consumers can contact a resource center navigator during normal business hours, but a phone line is always available to accept messages after business hours. Emails also are received by the center after business hours.  A resource center navigator will promptly respond to messages and emails during the next business day.
The ADRC wants to help consumers navigate through long-term support services and benefits regardless of the circumstances or challenges a consumer is facing. Consumers are welcome to contact the center anytime they have questions or concerns. 

Q: Does the ADRC tell me what to do? 
A: No. Consumers make their own choices. The ADRC does not and cannot tell a consumer what to do. It offers information and resources to the consumer or caregiver so they can make their own choices about the support services they may require. 

Q: Can I call even if I am the one not receiving support services or benefits? 
A: Yes, family and friends often are the caregivers. Regardless, if you are a caregiver or not, the ADRC accepts calls from people seeking information to support their loved ones. 

Q: Does the ADRC need my name? 
A: No. The resource center does not require a consumer’s name. However, providing a name would be helpful for the ADRC navigator to return their call, make an appropriate referral on behalf of the caller, and follow up to ensure the correct long-term support services and benefits fit their needs.

Q: How long do ADRC services last?
A: The ADRC is not the service provider. Durations of services and benefits are dictated by the various organizations the consumer elects to use after the resource center connects them with those resources.

Regional counties host family caregiver mini-conferences

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments Aging Advisory Council and the Area Agency on Aging are sponsoring mini-conferences in counties throughout the region to educate and support family caregivers.

Informal family caregivers provide the majority of care for the nation’s aging population. An estimated 40 million family caregivers devote 37 billion hours a year to assist older adults, an economic value of about $470 billion. Each conference will educate attendees on balancing caregiving responsibilities with everyday life and provide local resource information.

Background for the conferences is provided by the National Family Caregiver Support program developed by Area Agencies on Aging and supported through the Older Americans Act. Conferences will target informal caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Tam Cummings, a local gerontologist, will give keynote presentations. She is dedicated to untangling the complexities of dementia.

The first conference is in Williamson County from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.,  Sept. 10, Six Flags Ballroom, 2 Texas Drive, Georgetown. On site, registration begins 10:30 a.m.

Other caregiver support events:

  • September 12: Travis County Caregiver Conference hosted with AARP Texas, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (10:30 a.m. doors open for registration), La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin Airport, 7625 E. Ben White Blvd., Austin 78741
  • September 26: Striking A Balance Caregiver Conference hosted with AGE of Central Texas, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (doors open for check-in at 8:30 a.m.), Norris Conference Center, Northcross Mall, 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin.
  • September 30: Fayette County Caregiver Mini-conference, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (10:30a.m. doors open for registration), County Extension Office, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange
  • November 14: SW Travis/Hays County Caregiver Conference hosted with AARP Texas, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (10:30 a.m. registration), Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 10408 HWY 290 West, Austin.

> To pre-register for any of these events please contact Michelle Davis.
> Discover the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.
> Register for Striking a Balance 2015.

Governor’s Committee conducts Impact on Aging survey

Monday, August 17, 2015
Source: Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is conducting its annual survey on an aspect of living in Texas. The survey will conclude at the end of September.

This year the committee is interested in examining the impact of the aging population across 10 issue areas: access, communication, education, emergency management, health, housing, recreation, transportation, veterans and workforce.

People are living longer, and the U.S. population is increasingly getting older. Beginning in 2005, Texas has experienced the largest annual population growth of any state.

Seniors, those older than 65 years of age, are projected to more than triple from 2010 to 2050. This will mean the number of seniors will approach about 7.9 million. The age category of people 45 to 64 years old is projected to be the second fastest growing age group. That demographic is estimated to increase 55 percent by 2050 to a population more than 9.3 million.

Population growth in Texas is projected to come from large urban areas in and surrounding Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis counties, stated Texas State Demographer reports.

This year the survey will be divided into two parts.  
> Take Part 1 of the survey, the Impact of the Aging Population Survey.  
> Take Part 2 of the survey, the Aging Related Disabilities Survey.

Alternative survey formats are available in large print, Spanish or can be voiced out by phone with assistance of staff.  For any alternative format, contact at or 512-463-5739.

Si a usted le gustaría aprovechar esta encuesta en español por favor envíe un correo electrónico a Stephanie Myers,

> Visit the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities website.
> Learn about the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.
> Discover the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Capital Area.

General Assembly to vote bylaws, budget

Thursday, August 13, 2015

General Assembly members will decide the Capital Area Council of Governments' 2016 fiscal year budget and bylaw amendments pertaining to the process of electing the council’s Executive Committee at its annual September meeting.

The meeting will be at 11 a.m., Sept. 9, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Austin, 6121 N. IH 35, Austin.

> General Assembly Representatives can register for the luncheon on CAPCOG's training website.

A public safety workshop will follow the luncheon. It will cover what elected officials need to know about policing, homeland security and emergency communications. Workshop attendees will learn about the tools CAPCOG has available for its members and career expertise on topics such as keeping good peace officers and the benefits of having tenured officers.

Seating will be limited at the workshop. General Assembly Representatives should use a coupon code to register for the meeting and/or workshop for free.

> Register for the public safety workshop.
> Discover more about the General Assembly.
> Contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator, for more information.

TCEQ, STAR seek award nominations

Monday, August 10, 2015

Numerous communities in the Capital Area Council of Governments’ 10-county region have strived to achieve excellent environmental stewardship, and CAPCOG wants to encourage its communities to apply for accolades from two state wide environmental organizations seeking award nominations through August and September.

The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling’s (STAR) 2015 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards recognize stewards of environmental change in Texas that develop and maintain programs involving recycling, composting, sustainable material management, public education and outreach, special event recycling and more. The deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 28.

> Learn how to apply for a STAR award in one of its six categories.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is offering awards in nine categories, such as education, pollution prevention, and innovative operations and management, for those that make inspiring efforts to preserve and protect the state’s environment. TCEQ will accept applications for its awards until Sept. 25.

> Discover more or apply for the TCEQ awards.

Both organizations accept awards nominations for efforts made by individuals, students, communities, organizations, local governments and businesses.

> Contact Matt Holderread, CAPCOG solid waste planning manager, for more information or help applying for an award.
> Read about the CAPCOG solid waste planning program.

Department of Aging and Disability Service holds strategic planning hearings

Monday, July 27, 2015
Source: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is seeking public input on a three-year strategic plan for aging and disability resource centers (ADRC) and their role within the no-wrong-door approach for seeking long-term care services and supports. The approach allows people to call one number for information opposed to calling multiple agencies.

DADS will host five forums and two webinars. The forums will gather ideas, thoughts and opinions about the current and future systems for accessing long-term services and supports.

DADS specifically is wanting input on the following:

  • General public awareness of the ADRC and long-term services and supports system
  • Current system success and suggested improvements
  • Person-centered planning
  • Resource requirements
  • Suggestions for sustainability
  • Suggestions for improved service to all populations
  • Future vision for the ADRC system (3 years and beyond)
  • ADRC role with respect to managed care programs (e.g., STAR+)

Participants can arrive and leave any time during any of the meetings. They will be asked to sign in, provide their name, contact information, which ADRC they are associated with, and whether they wish to provide public comment.

After an overview of the strategic planning process, the meeting will open for public comment. Each participant will get five minutes to share their comments. Comments will be recorded, reviewed and used to inform the strategic planning process. 

The meetings will be as follows:

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
John H. Winters Complex 
1st floor - Public Hearing Room 
701 West 51st Street 
Austin, Texas 78751

1-4 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) 
Al J. Notzon III Board Room 1st Floor 
8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700 
San Antonio, Texas 78217

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
United Way of Greater Houston 
50 Waugh Drive 
Houston, Texas 77007

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
North Central Texas Council of Governments 
Centerpoint Two 
Metroplex Conference Room 
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, Texas 76011

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), Aug. 6, 2015
Sierra Providence East Medical Center Auditorium 
3280 Joe Battle Blvd 
El Paso, TX 79938-2622

If you are planning to attend the meeting and have accessibility needs or need special accommodations, contact Laura Summers at 801-538-5082 or by July 30.

The webinars will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. Central Time Aug. 10 and 11.

> Register for the Aug. 10 webinar.
> Register for the Aug. 11 webinar.
> Submit comments about the strategic plan from now until Aug. 12, 2015.
> Discover the ADRC of the Capital Area.

TCEQ looks for solid waste advisory council members

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) seeks nominations for nine people, five of which must be elected officials, to serve on the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council.

People interested in serving on the council can file an application before the Aug. 17, 2015 deadline.

The 18 elected members, who serve staggered six-year terms, review and evaluate the effects of state policies and programs on municipal solid waste management. They make recommendations on legislation to encourage the efficiency of municipal solid waste management. They also recommend policies for the use, allocation, or distribution of the planning fund; and recommend special studies and projects to further the effectiveness on municipal solid waste management and recovery for Texas. By law, members meet at least once every three months. Meetings can last a full business day and are held in Austin.

The following six positions can serve on the council until 2021:

  • a professional engineer from a private engineering firm with experience in the design and management of solid waste facilities
  • a registered waste tire processor
  • an elected official from a county with a population less than 150,000
  • a representative from a planning region
  • a solid waste professional with experience managing or operating a commercial solid waste landfill
  • a representative from a private environmental conservation organization

The remaining three positons have terms that would expire in 2017 and 2019:

  • an elected official from a municipality with a population fewer than 25,000
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population of 750,000 or more
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population between 100,000 or more but less than 750,000

The application and materials must be postmarked Aug. 17, 2015 and emailed to or sent to Steve Hutchinson, MC-126, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. If submitting by overnight mail, please send to: Steve Hutchinson, Building F, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, Texas 78753.

> Learn more about how to apply or to nominate a person to the advisory council.
> Direct questions regarding the Advisory Council to Steve Hutchinson at 512-239-6716 or by e-mail.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Planning Program.

CAPCOG releases disaster debris planning resources

Monday, July 20, 2015

Debris generated from disasters can affect the public health, safety and welfare of a community, and the risk increases if large areas of debris are left unattended. The Capital Area Council of Governments recently completed an effort to help counties and municipalities alleviate and dispose of disaster debris in a timely and effective manner.

As part of the work during the program, CAPCOG and its regional partners created a common approach for the disaster debris management planning process that facilitates a coordinated, quick, and succinct response to such incidents. It also provides for the future establishment of a regional disaster debris management plan.

Like most homeland security plans, a disaster debris management plan lays the foundation for response before an incident occurs. Such a foundation lets responding entities construct and tailor the needs of managing and removing the debris to a particular disaster event.

“The plan allows an entity to know how the clean-up will be handled as the event occurs, so debris response efforts can begin immediately or when resources are available,” said Matt Holderread, CAPCOG Solid Waste planner.

The standardized disaster debris plan template developed by CAPCOG prepares governments for large scale events, ones which would require additional assistance, and smaller events, which an entity can manage itself. Every plan includes a section about the roles and responsibilities for government staff, residents and volunteers. It also provides guidance on how to manage the debris from its collection to its proper disposal, with various disposal options. A timeline for response as well as drafts of potential notifications to residents, and media releases are drafted as appendices to the plan.

> Discover more resources for disaster debris planning.

Plans include potential debris management sites and some additional analysis of their feasibility as such sites. They also provide information on how the federal reimbursement process works, provide documents used by FEMA for entities seeking federal reimbursement, instruct entities how to manage their debris to be approved and reimbursed by federal programs.

Several communities are working on completing their own disaster debris plans, but CAPCOG is finishing a final draft of the Burnet County plan and drafting a plan for Llano County.

Burnet’s plan is a great plan to showcase, as it outlines a number of debris collection sites and factors in several types of events to include a terrorist attack. Using GIS modeling CAPCOG estimated the damage caused by different types of disasters to determine how much debris could be generated and what level of response would be needed.

CAPCOG can conduct similar modeling for other entities seeking to create disaster debris plans and work with or for the entities to find and evaluate debris management sites.

The goal is to have a plan for every county and have those plans work cooperatively to form a regional disaster debris plan, said Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director. CAPCOG is willing to help facilitate the work to complete the plan, but also has templates available for entities wanting to do the work themselves.

> Read disaster debris guidance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
> Read The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Debris Management Guide.

Advocates needed for seniors and the disabled in long-term care facilities

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More than 230 nursing and assisted living facilities care for older Americans in the 10-county region, and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area Council of Governments needs dedicated volunteers to be advocates for seniors living in those facilities and to serve in its ombudsman program.





The ombudsman program is recruiting volunteers who have a sense of civic duty and want to give back to the elderly community. A volunteer ombudsman assists residents and their families by ensuring a voice for those unable to speak for themselves. “Serving as an ombudsman is an important job, because seniors deserve to have their communities take proper care of them,” said Pete Moreno, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area managing lead ombudsman. “They should have the best care possible and an advocate who has a passion for helping seniors.”

Ombudsmen are specially trained and certified volunteers. They advocate for residents’ rights and quality of care by regularly visiting and observing residents in long-term care facilities. Volunteer ombudsmen also identify and investigate complaints; and educate residents, families, and staff on maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of facilities’ residents. Ombudsman services are both free and confidential.

CAPCOG is enlisting volunteers throughout the region, but the region would greatly benefit by increasing the number of ombudsmen in Llano, Lee and Fayette counties. CAPCOG’s 10-county region also includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

No experience is required to volunteer as an ombudsman. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and complete a free training course consisting of classroom study and training at local nursing homes. After training, volunteers serve in an internship where they work two to four hours per month in an assigned facility. Hours are flexible and determined by the volunteer. After their internship, volunteers ideally will visit a nursing or an assisted living facility in their local community once a week.

> Learn more about the Area Agency on Aging's Ombudsman Program.
> Contact Pete Moreno for more information on volunteering.


CAPCOG seeks EDA grant for Memorial Day disaster relief

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) is pursuing grant financing that will allow the COG to provide technical assistance in the areas of economic development and recovery, infrastructure planning, and damage assessment to local jurisdictions affected by the Memorial Day weekend floods.

CAPCOG applied in June to receive a U.S. Economic Development Administration, Economic Development Assistance grant. If awarded, the federal monies would be about $177,000 distributed over two years. The grant would allow CAPCOG to direct staff resources to assist with disaster recovery planning and development and redevelopment efforts.

Specifically, the funds could allow CAPCOG to gather information from organizations involved in taking damage assessments, so CAPCOG can perform mitigation mapping. Such mapping would benefit infrastructure reconstruction and ensure resilience is a key component of future economic development. CAPCOG would also help identify funding opportunities for local jurisdictions, so they can leverage and match various monetary sources.

As part of its economic development efforts, CAPCOG would provide an economic impact assessment to local emergency management coordinators and help coordinate medium and longer term recovery efforts with local businesses. This will help to leverage redevelopment and new development to help prevent future flood damage and assess the diversification of business to offer greater economic resiliency to areas affected.

New RNS training underway

Thursday, July 09, 2015

CAPCOG worked with CodeRED, the region’s new Regional Notification System (RNS) provider, in June to transfer data and functionality to the new application. As the transition approached, CAPCOG also coordinated 21 web-based training sessions preparing about 150 personnel from various jurisdictions to use the new RNS.

RNS is a web-based application that allows participating jurisdictions to make notifications to the general public and personnel during events that affect them, especially emergencies that require quick action to protect lives and property.  CodeRED’s RNS allows cities and counties to notify residents about emergencies using landline and cell phone calls, emails and text messages.

With the majority of training concluded, CAPCOG will continue to provide resources to familiarize RNS users with the new system and ensure users can properly send warnings to residents during disaster incidents. Participating jurisdictions that did not receive training can request it from CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division. A video webinar will be available for new users, and CAPCOG will conduct quarterly meetings with local public safety staff to facilitate the best use and improving the capabilities of the RNS region wide. CAPCOG recommends all jurisdictions served by the CodeRED RNS practice using the tool, since the system is new.

> Read more about the regional notification system.
> Discover CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division.
> Contact Aisha Henderson, CAPCOG Homeland Security regional technical communication coordinator.

CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy earns Lt. Governor recognition

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) graduated its 75th basic peace officer course on July 1 with 12 cadets ready to start a career in law enforcement. At the graduation ceremony, the cadets presented a letter of congratulations from Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for reaching the milestone course number. CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy Director, Mike Jennings, and Chief Instructor, Randy Holmes, received the certificates.

“This course and its cadets exemplified why CAPCOG has reached this milestone,” Jennings said. “The cadets who enrolled in the course took all our lessons about being peace officers to heart. They performed exemplary in the classroom and during field tests, where they awed police trainers who traditionally work with in-service officers.”

CAPCOG’s peace officer training curriculum has come a long way since the program began in 1997, Jennings said. A CAPCOG basic peace officer course instructs about 150 hours of additional law enforcement material as well as the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement recommended 643 hours. Providing the extra course material, helps CAPCOG prepare every cadet to go directly to work for local law enforcement agencies and their communities.

New course material is continually added to improve cadets’ ability to serve residents upon their graduation. The 75th course cadets were the first group to complete an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Level I and Level II course, which teaches response techniques to active shooter situations, as additional training sponsored by CAPCOG.

Cadets graduating from the 75th course are being hired by San Marcos and Lockhart police departments and Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Other cadets are interviewing with Leander, Elgin and Austin ISD police departments; and the Texas Attorney General’s office.

> Learn more about Basic Peace Officer Courses.
> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

GeoMap projects approach deadline

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cities, counties, appraisal districts and other regional partners can submit geographic information gathering projects to CAPCOG as a part of the 2016 GeoMap program until July 31.

Local jurisdictions throughout the region have saved more than $9 million by cooperatively purchasing the base mapping data contracted through the program since its inception in 2002. Savings are realized because the program eliminates redundant purchases of information and pools multiple projects together so the data can be obtained at the same time.

Aerial imagery, LiDAR data, orthoimagery, PanoramiX oblique imagery, GeoSAR Radar mapping and other data are all products that can be purchased through the 2016 GeoMap program. Such base map data sets can be used to help facilitate economic development, land-use planning, utility maintenance, transportation planning, floodplain mapping, 9-1-1 mapping and more.

> Get more information or submit programs.
> Learn more about CAPCOG's GIS Program.

CAPCOG to offer government transparency workshop

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments will provide a four-hour workshop for elected officials about the Texas Open Meetings and Public Information Acts on July 29, 2015 at the CAPCOG offices.

Attorneys from the Texas Attorney General’s Office will be joined by a Texas Municipal League attorney to provide a comprehensive and interactive presentation on the laws and how they regulate elected officials and their institutions. All three presenters will participate in an open-floor, question-and-answer panel, where elected officials can inquire about specific quandaries in regards to the two laws.

Since the training will occur after the State’s 84th Legislative Session, any updates to the Open Meetings and Public Information Acts also will be addressed during the workshop.

The course will meet the legally required training by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and count toward continuing education credits for elected officials.

> Local government officials contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator, to learn about free registration.
> Register for the course.

TCEQ stretches emission grant program deadline

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) extended the application deadline for its Texas Emission Reduction Plan, Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive (LDPLI).

TCEQ will stop taking applications for the program, which rebates vehicle owners for purchasing alternatively fueled automobiles, at 5 p.m. July 8. As of June 22, about $3.8 million rebate funds were still available through the program.

LDPLI gives up to $2,500 in financial incentives for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or electric drives (plug-ins).

To apply for a rebate grant under the LDPLI, applicants must purchase or lease from a dealership or leasing company authorized to sell or lease new vehicles in Texas.

> Discover how to apply for the LDPLI.
> Learn about other Texas Emission Reduction Plan programs.
> Read more on CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

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