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Austin, TX 78744

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In the News

Solid waste funding slated for 14 area projects

Thursday, June 05, 2014

CAPCOG’s Executive Committee has approved $140,000 in pass-through Solid Waste Program funding for 14 eligible local government projects in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Full funding is available for 11 of the projects.

With state funding, the grant program supports eligible projects that help implement the regional solid waste management plan.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will review the eligible projects for approval before CAPCOG initiates applicable contracts, which may be available starting July 2014.

> Get more details on the eligible projects

Coming soon to the CAPCOG region: Text to 9-1-1

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Texting to 9-1-1 in Central Texas? Voice calls
are still the best bet today, but more options lie ahead.


Can anyone send a text message to 9-1-1? Except in a few locations across the nation where testing has been conducted, the answer is “No.” However, new regulations and technology will make this possible in the near future.

Today, phone companies must transmit all 9-1-1 voice calls to 9-1-1 centers, also referred to as Public Safety Answering Points or PSAPs. Those calls include information about your telephone number and location, so the PSAP can get help to you more easily.

 > Get the list of capital area PSAPs

Federal Communications Commission rules govern services provided by wireless phone companies. The rules don’t require any companies to transmit text messages to 9-1-1 PSAPs. However, the FCC is seeking public comment on proposed rules that would require wireless phone companies and certain other text-message providers to begin transmitting text messages to 9-1-1 by year’s end.

As part of a voluntary agreement with the National Emergency Number Association and the Associated Public Safety Communications Officials International Inc., the four major wireless providers — AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile — began providing text-to-9-1-1 service within their network areas, with the 9-1-1 center ready to receive text messages. This service has been in the testing stage at about a dozen locations throughout the nation.

> Learn about the National Emergency Number Association

CAPCOG has installed new equipment to support the delivery of text messages at all 31 PSAPs in the region and expects to request the service from the carriers around the end of the year.

Implementation will take about six months, getting the service in operation across all four carriers after the request is processed. This provides time for call-taker training and a public education campaign.

The text-to-9-1-1 service provided by the four wireless companies is the current short-message-service-based texting option and has limitations. Because SMS texting is a “best efforts” service not designed for emergency communications, it does not provide automatic location or caller information. There’s no guarantee that a series of messages will be delivered in the proper order or that the message will even be delivered to the PSAP.

> Discover CAPCOG's Emergency Communications Division

Texting to 9-1-1 is a viable option, however, when it’s not safe for the caller to speak or if the caller is hearing- or speech-impaired and requires help.Voice calls to 9-1-1 remain the most efficient way to reach emergency help, allowing the call taker to quickly ask questions and obtain additional information from the caller. So even when text-to-9-1-1 is available, callers should continue to contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call if they can and use text only if voice is not a feasible or safe option.

CAPCOG releases housing report

Friday, May 23, 2014

Did you know? Since 1980, the Austin metropolitan area's population has grown five times faster than the U.S. overall.

The population and economic growth in Central Texas is without par, but with it has come rising housing costs in the urban core and changing economic realities.

The region faces a growing imbalance of location and opportunity. Many residents have been displaced from previously affordable neighborhoods to areas that lack community networks and services.

CAPCOG's newly published Housing Opportunity in Central Texas report, created as part of the HUD-funded Sustainable Places Project, summarizes key findings of data analysis, deliberation and application of the many planning tools - built by the project - that will impact future policy decisions. 

> Download the new report
> Discover CAPCOG's Community & Economic Development Division

Available: Training tool against active-shooter threats

Monday, May 19, 2014

CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy's Use of Force Simulator, a state-of -the-art training tool that helps public safety personnel prepare for potential active-shooter situations and other threats, is available for local jurisdictions.

The mobile simulator, an integrated system using software, a video screen and hundreds of incident scenarios, provides realistic use-of-force training that helps participants develop the skills required of law enforcement personnel armed with both lethal and less-lethal weapons.

Contact RLEA Director Mike Jennings to schedule the tool, which any agency that employs peace officers can use for a nominal fee. > Go

> Learn more about the Use of Force Simulator and related training
> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy

State offers financial incentive for cleaner-running light-duty vehicles

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is accepting applications until 5 p.m. Thursday, June 26, 2015 - or until depletion of funds - to buy or lease eligible new vehicles powered by cleaner-running compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or electric drives. 

With about $7.8 million in funding now available through TCEQ's Light Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive Program - part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan - qualified applicants may receive up to $2,500 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants - governments, companies, individuals and any other legal entity can participate - must meet selected equipment and usage requirements for eligibility.

> Get the grant application and other details at TCEQ's website

At your service: CAPCOG’s new Prosperous Places Program

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Flexibility: Scenario planning is no longer tied to color-coded land-use maps. CAPCOG’s Prosperous Places Program offers a library of Central Texas building models that can portray various development scenarios.

On the heels of the successful three-year Sustainable Places Project comes CAPCOG’s Prosperous Places Program (P3), a host of new planning and economic development services to help local communities proactively seize the future.

P3 offers a suite of analytics tools built to identify opportunities for development and evaluate on a wide range of important planning and economic development issues.

> Bookmark the Prosperous Places Program Web page

The program is a natural transition from the grant-funded Sustainable Places Project, which built the suite of tools and provided revitalization strategies and policy guidance for Austin, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hutto and Lockhart. These participating communities applied beta versions of the P3 tools to align housing, jobs and transportation options, complement existing community values and strengthen their economies.

For example, the planning team revised the design standards for several city-owned properties, making them more marketable to developers, adaptable to economic changes and attractive to the project’s team of stakeholders.

A key strength of the P3 toolkit? Its basis in financial aspects of planning. The tools incorporate research about what can be built in a community within a given time horizon, grounding public initiatives with market realities.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Community & Economic Development Division

Another strength? Flexibility. Once the data is in hand, the model for a community can be changed quickly, and most indicator outputs become automatic. Multiple scenarios can be created to analyze everything from public sector fiscal impacts (“Can we afford this type of growth?”) to proximity to essential services (“How many people could live within walking distance of the new school?”).

P3 also can deliver realistic, easily revised 3D renderings of potential buildings from the street level.

The project process works on a range of scales. Staff can study development potential of one parcel, examining how policy changes such as zoning and parking requirements could affect the likelihood of development or the efficiency of incentives. P3 also offers tools to look at a whole city district, like the plans created through the demonstration sites of the Sustainable Places Project.

> Get started with Community & Economic Development Director Michael Hennig

Current P3 projects include studying potential transportation mode shifts at the regional level that might come from continued activity-center growth. The City of Austin is using the tools to calculate personal savings and gross-domestic-product growth that could be generated by new transportation investments envisioned in its transit-system exploration, Project Connect.

State grant eyes clean technology

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is accepting grant applications until June 27, 2014, for new-technology initiatives aimed to reduce emissions from facilities and other stationary sources in the state.

The New Technology Implementation Grant Program, part of TCEQ's Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, especially seeks applications involving advanced clean energy, new technology or electricity storage projects.    

> Get the grant details

Older Americans Month 2014: Honoring one of our region’s best assets

Thursday, May 01, 2014


"Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow": Participants (above) enjoy a meal at the Bagdad Activity Center in Leander, Texas. This year’s theme for Older Americans Month in May focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage seniors to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible.

Seniors have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May.

The celebration recognizes older Americans for their contributions and demonstrates our nation’s commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year's theme, “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow,” focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible.

> Learn more about Older Americans Month

Unintentional injuries among older adults result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths each year. With an emphasis on safety during Older Americans Month, participating agencies and organizations can encourage older adults to learn about various ways to avoid the leading causes of injury, such as falls.

CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAA) provides services, support and resources to older adults year-round, and Older Americans Month offers an opportunity to provide specialized information and services regarding injury prevention. This information will help older adults take control of their safety and live longer, healthier lives.

> Explore CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging

Throughout the month, the Area Agency on Aging will conduct activities and provide tips on how to avoid the leading causes of injury. Some outreach examples:

  • Interactive placemats that spotlight AAA services and offer healthy tips are being distributed to all senior nutrition centers and to all seniors who receive nutritious home-delivered meals throughout the region.
  • A special celebration is scheduled 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, at the Onion Creek Senior Citizens Center, 420 Barton’s Crossing, Buda, TX. Call 512-916-6060 for details.

To learn more about ways to support Central Texas seniors and get involved, contact CAPCOG Area Agency on Aging Program Manager Rene Oldstein. > Go 

Adapted with permission from the U.S. Administration for Community Living

 

> Follow the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area on Facebook

Law enforcement education in Central Texas: New round of cadet training underway

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy’s day cadet class No. 72 began mid-April, with 30 aspiring Texas peace officers enrolled.

The six-month Basic Peace Officer Course, underway at CAPCOG’s Austin headquar-ters, includes sponsored cadets from the Caldwell Sheriff’s Office, San Marcos Police Department, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Travis Fire Rescue, Llano Police Department, Travis County Constable Precinct No. 2 and Westlake Hills Police Department.

Registration for Class No. 73, the academy’s next part-time night cadet course, is open, and the class will be hosted by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy
> Explore courses available for aspiring and current peace officers

From household hazardous waste to end-use markets, CAPCOG tackles ‘Recycling 101’

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Whether green-waste diversion, electronics recycling, household hazardous waste collection or end-use market development, explore the various components of material recovery programs with “Recycling 101: Tools for Local and Regional Governments,” presented by the Capital Area Council of Governments, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014, at CAPCOG’s Pecan Room, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, TX 78744.

> Register by May 12, 2014

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for check-in and refreshments.

Participation is open to the public, with emphasis on solid waste planners, industry contractors, elected officials and neighborhood leaders. The $35 admission includes refreshments, lunch and – for eligible participants – Texas Municipal League continuing education credits.

> Learn about the Regional Environmental Task Force

The full-day training, featuring government and industry experts such as David Yanke, director of NewGen Strategies & Solutions and Stacy Guidry, president of Texas Zero Waste Strategies, will provide candid tips and case studies on programs and tools to help participants increase solid waste diversion in their jurisdictions and across the region.

As the state-designated planning agency for solid waste management issues in the region, CAPCOG maintains the state-adopted Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, reviews applications for landfill permits, administers solid waste grants, provides education and technical assistance and supports the multijurisdictional Regional Environmental Task Force. 

> Discover CAPCOG's Solid Waste Program

National Air Quality Awareness Week, April 28-May 2: Help curb pollution as smog season arrives

Friday, April 25, 2014

As the season for increased ozone pollution settles in through early fall, the Capital Area Council of Governments, participants in the region’s Ozone Advance Program Action Plan and others around the country are promoting National Air Quality Awareness Week, April 28 to May 2, reminding folks to pitch in to keep pollution at bay.
 
“Whether carpooling, commuting by bike once a week, avoiding energy usage at peak times or taking other important steps to reduce ozone, all residents and businesses can make a difference,” said Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, who chairs the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition. “Staying in attainment of federal air quality standards is important to protecting the health and the economy of Central Texas, so National Air Quality Awareness Week offers a timely opportunity for public outreach, education and engagement.”

> Discover the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CAC)
 
Ozone pollution results when emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from sources such as vehicles, power plants, factories, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents react in the presence of sunlight. Ground-level ozone can cause health problems, especially among more vulnerable populations such as children, older adults and people with lung diseases. Ozone pollution also affects animals and the environment.

The Central Texas Clean Air Coalition, a regional collaboration of 11 cities and all five county governments in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties in partnership with CAPCOG, recently won a 2014 Clean Air Excellence Award for its innovative work to help decrease area emissions, but the work to reduce pollution continues.

> Get the details on CAC's 2014 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award  

CAPCOG’s ozone-monitoring network – a system of eight stations in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties – is collecting data to help support regional air quality research and planning initiatives.

Other participants in the Ozone Advance Program Action Plan include CAPCOG, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Metro, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas, the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Lehigh Cement Company and the Texas Nursery and Landscaping Association.
 
Here’s how residents and businesses across Central Texas can “Be Air Aware”:

  • Drive less – Avoid unnecessary driving by bringing your lunch to work, combining errands, carpooling and trying out transportation alternatives such as walking and cycling.
  • Drive clean – Avoid driving during peak congestion times, make sure to properly maintain your vehicle, avoid idling and use the lowest-emission vehicle available when necessary to drive. 
  • Conserve – Reduce electricity consumption, water consumption and natural gas consumption.
  • Know before you go – Before going out, know what the ozone forecast is for the day by signing up for ozone notifications or downloading the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency's AirNow app.
  • Learn more – Explore additional air quality resources at  CAPCOG's Air Quality Program page.

> Download the AirNow mobile app
 
CAPCOG, one of 24 regional planning commissions organized under state law, administers programs on several regional issues including air quality. The agency established its Air Quality Program in 2002 to coordinate regional planning efforts and receives a recurring grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to assist areas at risk of violating federal pollution standards.
 
The Clean Air Coalition comprises elected officials from the five-county Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area who represent governmental parties to the Central Texas Ozone Advance Program Action Plan, the region’s voluntary ozone management plan.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Air Quality Program

Air monitoring: 2014 ozone season begins

Thursday, April 24, 2014

As April marks the beginning of the ozone season for the region, CAPCOG’s ozone monitoring network comes back online this month to help support regional air quality research and planning activities.

This year, CAPCOG will operate eight ozone monitoring stations in the region, including one each in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette and Travis counties and two each in Hays and Williamson counties.

These stations will help supplement the two regulatory monitoring stations operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in Travis County to provide a better picture of ozone within the region.

The next three-year period will likely prove crucial in maintaining the region’s status as compliant on federal ozone standards.

Efforts across the region to drive less, drive cleaner, conserve and know when ozone action days are forecast will help keep the air in Central Texas healthy.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Air Quality Program
> Explore ways to reduce ozone pollution in Central Texas

Honoring our seniors: May marks Older Americans Month

Friday, April 18, 2014

Did you know that May 2014 marks Older Americans Month? Join Central Texas, the state and the nation in honoring our seniors.

With the theme of "Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow," the national Older Americans Month celebration includes logos, posters, safety-tip sheets and other resources to help communities and organizations tailor their activities. CAPCOG's Executive Committee has approved a resolution recognizing the monthlong observance. The City of Austin and Gov. Perry also have issued proclamations.

The annual observance, launched in 1963, recognizes the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of older Americans from the past and present.

More than 304,841 adults aged 60 and older call the 10-county CAPCOG region home, according to the Executive Committee resolution, offering an opportunity to learn from area elders, help them remain healthy and active and benefit from their participation in every aspect of Central Texas living. 

CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging, for example, offers programs and services to support the health, safety, and well-being of older individuals. 

> Read the Texas proclamation
> See the City of Austin's proclamation
> Discover volunteer opportunities with CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging
> Explore Older Americans Month activity ideas and materials at the national website 

Criminal Justice Advisory Committee prioritizes grants

Friday, April 11, 2014

CAPCOG's Criminal Justice Advisory Committee has reviewed and prioritized more than 40 applications totaling $2,655,000 in fiscal 2015 funding requests to provide criminal justice programs, juvenile services programs and victim services programs throughout the 10-county region.

The annual CJAC application review and prioritization process is facilitated per CAPCOG’s contract with the Governor’s Office, Criminal Justice Division, and follows the state office's funding schedule. 

Once approved by the CAPCOG Executive Committee, which will consider the grant recommendations during its regular meeting on May 14, the prioritized lists will be submitted to the CJD for potential funding.

> See the prioritized funding list, pending final Executive Committee approval

National Telecommunicator Week: April 13-19, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

As the annual National Telecommunicator Week gets underway April 13-19, 2014, CAPCOG salutes public safety communications professionals!

The Capital Area Emergency Communications District (CAECD) Board of Managers has adopted a resolution recognizing the region's more than 600 telecommunicators, who serve as an important bridge between people needing emergency assistance and the response agencies reaady to help. 

In addition, the CAECD will host an event for all 9-1-1 telecommunicators in the region to attend a Texas Stars hockey game April 19 at Cedar Park Center.

Telecommunicators will have the opportunity to present the American flag on the ice during the National Anthem before the game.

> Read Gov. Perry's proclamation for Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2014
> Get a behind-the-scenes look at 9-1-1 call takers at your service across the region
> Discover CAPCOG's Emergency Communications Division

Signed up with CAPCOG’s Regional Notification System yet? Just 15 minutes could save a life.

Monday, April 07, 2014

More than 10,000 people across Central Texas have signed up with the Capital Area Council of Governments’ newly updated Regional Notification System (RNS) – and friends, neighbors and relatives are encouraged to join in today.

No Internet access? No problem. To register for the Regional Notification System by phone, just call toll free 866-484-3264, and you’ll be prompted for your contact information.

“It takes just 15 minutes to register on the free Regional Notification System, but the benefits last forever,” said CAPCOG Homeland Security Task Force Chair Johnny Campbell of Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Services. “People want to be in the loop if a large emergency or major incident were happening in their area or a loved one’s area, and the RNS helps make that happen.”

 > Spare 15 to prepare - sign up today for the RNS!

CAPCOG’s system, formerly called the “Emergency Notification System,” previously was limited to telephone calls to people that were included in the 9-1-1 database and to those who had registered their cellular telephones on CAPCOG ENS. The new RNS includes capacity to send messages by email or text and – eventually – Twitter and Facebook. Residents can register their cellphones, landlines, email addresses, pagers and other devices that receive text-based messages.

The improved system also will allow local officials to send a wider range of notifications. The previous system could only be used in situations in which life and property were directly threatened. Instead, the upgrades permit delivery of messages that may not comprise an emergency but nonetheless are important to public health, well-being and convenience. These could include restrictions on water usage, traffic disruptions due to major events and weather-related cancellations of public events.

> Get the RNS frequently asked questions sheet in English or Spanish

How has the CAPCOG Regional Notification System helped Central Texans? Some examples:

  • During the Labor Day wildfire outbreak of 2011, the CAPCOG RNS was used to make telephone calls to more than 9,000 residences and businesses in Bastrop, Travis, Fayette, Caldwell, Hays and Burnet counties to warn of the danger posed by rapidly moving wildfires.
  • The system has been used on numerous occasions to instruct residents to lock their doors and remain inside in the area of an ongoing law enforcement SWAT operation.
  • The system has been used to notify persons in the path of floodwaters to take immediate action to protect lives and property.

So, don't delay. Sign up today, and spread the word!

Don’t delay – sign up at http://wireless.capcog.org today. And to learn more about the Regional Notification System, download the frequently asked questions sheet in English or Spanish at www.capcog.org/divisions/homeland-security/rns.
About CAPCOG: The Capital Area Council of Governments, governed by elected officials from the 10-county region it serves, has worked for more than 40 years as an advocate, planner and coordinator on important regional issues. Programs and services related to public safety and emergency response, environmental planning, economic and community development and the elderly are delivered at a regional level to leverage funding, maximize cooperation and eliminate duplication. CAPCOG serves Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties. Learn more at www.capcog.org

Fayette County: 20 years of recycling with pride

Friday, March 28, 2014


Metal cans at the Fayette County Recycle Center, baled and ready for
market, an important part of
material recovery.

In rural Texas, solid waste services aren’t mandated by the state legislature. They also can be expensive and might not include recycling opportunities. Fayette County, however, shows how it can be done.

“I never met a recycler I did not like,” says Fayette County Commissioner Tom Muras, who administers the Fayette County Recycling Program.

Initiated by Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka in 1993 with solid waste grant funding provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the Capital Area Council of Governments, the program has received 14 solid waste grants totaling more than $330,000 to address the unique challenges of rural recycling.

Effective network

Adding its own matching funds, the county over 20 years has established an effective and convenient network of public collection stations and mobile drop-off opportunities.

Each Saturday, Fayette County Commissioner Gary Weishuhn facilitates mobile drop-off locations throughout the county, where residents can drop off recyclables, household garbage, motor and transmission oil and large goods such as refrigerators.

The county, which has no local landfill and few rural public solid waste service providers, currently operates three permanent facilities in La Grange, Schulenburg and Flatonia and temporary drop-off sites in Fayetteville, Round Top, Ledbetter, Carmine and Ellinger.

The county also must pay to transport and dispose of household garbage and some other items and thus established a “Buy the Bag” trash bag program, offering color-coded bags priced by capacity and offered at nominal price in county hardware stores and at the county public collection stations.

Service costs 

Each of the eight public collection stations takes all recyclables, and residents can drop off household hazardous waste and other materials — fridges, freezers, air conditioners, washing machines, water heaters and oil filters, for example — at the La Grange location. Applicable fees range from 50 cents to $25, depending on the type of item collected.

With the rising costs of green waste management and the increasing amount of green waste being brought to the La Grange location from fire mitigation management and planning initiatives, the county has initiated a fee schedule for limbs and brush, based on trailer size or pickup.

To help further close the recycling loop, the program offers some materials while supplies last — crushed polished glass is free to county residents, for example, and compost is just $5 a bucket load or $10 per pickup load. In addition, the county now accepts electronics for reuse at the Schulenburg and La Grange public collection stations.

Outcomes

In the last twelve months, Fayette County has recycled 308 tons of newsprint; 42 tons of scrap metal; 67 tons of plastics; 277 tons of cardboard and 4,089 gallons of used oil, earning more than $43,000. Still, it’s looking to grow the program, including boosting the percentage of participating residents, businesses and schools.

To Commissioner Muras, the program’s like a successful sports franchise: “We try to keep building a Super Bowl-caliber team, and with recycling we’re almost there. All we need are some citizen-type special team players to fill out our roster.”

> Discover recycling in Fayette County
> Get a copy of the regional Environmental Law Enforcement Guide
> Register by April 10 for the RETF's April 17 Basic Environmental Law Class 

New interoperable radio system now serving Blanco, Burnet and Llano counties

Monday, March 24, 2014

Emergency communications in CAPCOG’s westernmost counties — Blanco, Burnet and Llano — have entered a new era.

In early February, the first phase of the CAPCOG Western Counties Radio Interoperable Communications System began serving law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel in Burnet County and the cities of Burnet and Bertram.

> Discover CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division

Additional agencies are being switched over to the new system weekly as part of a phased approach to implementing the system. This approach ensures all equipment is programmed correctly and all users are trained on the new system when they begin using it.

To ensure that critical public safety communications are not interrupted during the transition, the existing radio system remains operational.

The new system, funded from local funds and CAPCOG-managed federal homeland security grant funds from nine grant years, gives emergency responders of all disciplines in the 10-county region the ability to communicate with each other. In addition, the system is linked to the Greater Austin-Travis County Regional Radio System (GATRRS) that covers Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee counties. GATRRS is linked to the public safety radio systems serving Hays and Fayette counties.

> Sign up today on the Regional Notification System

In a February briefing to the CAPCOG Homeland Security Task Force, Burnet County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Barho referred to the development of this project as “an excellent example of regionalism and cooperative partnership between jurisdictions with different governing bodies.” He emphasized the importance of “partnerships and trust” among the participating jurisdictions in the success of this long and complex project.

Ongoing management of the system is overseen by an Executive Committee comprising the county judges of the three participating counties — Bill Guthrie, Blanco County; Donna Klaeger, Burnet County; and Wayne Brascom, Llano County — and Marble Falls Mayor George Russell. Each also serves on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee.

Day-to-day operations of the system are supervised by an Operations Committee that includes personnel from each of the primary jurisdictions. Ongoing costs of maintaining the system are borne by participating jurisdictions in accordance with terms of an interlocal cooperation agreement. Grant funding for the project was provided by the federal Homeland Security Grant Program per recommendations from the task force.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Homeland Security Task Force 

Since the task force’s 2003 inception, its primary focus has been the development of interoperable radio communications — the ability of public safety personnel to talk with each other. The lack of interoperable communications was cited in the report of the federal commission that reviewed the response to the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, as a major factor contributing to the deaths of personnel who responded to assist.

Online resource: Free video series for in-home dementia caregivers

Friday, March 21, 2014

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health is offering a free video series for family caregivers assisting loved ones with dementia.

The 20-part online series, which follows a family navigating dementia-related challenges such as in-home care, home safety, legal issues, problem behaviors and more, also includes an introductory trailer. 

> Watch the series, and explore other VA caregiver resources
> Learn about CAPCOG Area Agency on Aging's caregiver support

Regional training puts spotlight on illegal dumping

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

From junk cars to chemical-discharge violations, learn about the growing problem of illegal dumping and other environmental crimes with Basic Environmental Law, a training course scheduled 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, 2014, at the Dunbar Recreation Center, 801 W. Martin Luther King Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666.

> Register today for the regional training

Certified instructors from various agencies including the City of Austin and the Travis County Attorney's Office will address topics such as solid waste, nuisance violations, civil versus criminal prosecution, unauthorized discharges and more. 

> Learn more about the Regional Environmental Task Force

Whether a code compliance officer, business owner or concerned resident, sign up by April 10 for this session presented by the Capital Area Regional Environmental Task Force. The $30 registration includes lunch, materials and selected continuing-education credits.

> Discover CAPCOG Solid Waste Planning

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