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In the News

CAPCOG honors Stephens with Parmer Volunteer Award

Thursday, January 11, 2018

CAPCOG presented Cathy Stephens, a Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources senior planner, with its Phill Parmer Volunteer Service Award in December for her many years of service on the Clean Air Coalition Advisory Committee and her contributions to improving regional air quality.

Stephens first joined the advisory committee in 2001 while working with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organizations, but continued to contribute to the group after being hired by Travis County. As an advisory committee member, she helped draft several regional air quality plans including the current Ozone Action Plan. She has helped pass idling legislation and played a vital role for Travis and Williamson counties becoming the only counties in the country to voluntarily implement a mandatory vehicle inspection and maintenance program.

The Phill Parmer award is named after CAPCOG’s longest serving Aging Advisory Council member from Llano County. He also volunteered as an ombudsman throughout the region and advocated for senior issues in the state legislature.

Travis County Senior Planner, Cathy Stephens, holds the CAPCOG Phill Parmer Volunteer Services Award. She was presented the award in December. Travis County Senior Planner, Cathy Stephens, holds the CAPCOG Phill Parmer Volunteer Services Award. She was presented the award in December.

Conley receives 16th Jack Griesenbeck Regionalism Award

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

CAPCOG awarded Hays County Commissioner Will Conley with the 16th Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award for his efforts and commitment to regionalism especially in the area of transportation.

Conley, is a former chair of the CAPCOG Executive Committee, the Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization, and the Capital Area Initiatives Foundation. He has also chaired the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for several years and is a member of many other regional and local organizations. “I am very proud of the things we are able to accomplish on the local and regional level here in Central Texas,” Conley said. “I think what we do matters. I think it makes a difference in people’s lives.”

“This awards honors significant efforts in regional cooperation in the ten-county capital area,” said Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long, who presented Conley with the award. “During his tenure… Commissioner Conley has helped influence transportation in a whole new way. He has tirelessly worked with local, state and federal transportation leaders to further real transportation solutions in the region.”

The award is named after former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, CAPCOG’s first chairman. It recognizes a person who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits and other organizations.

Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long (Right) presents Hays County Commissioner Will Conley  with CAPCOG's Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award. Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long (Right) presents Hays County Commissioner Will Conley  with CAPCOG's Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award.

CAPCOG Executive Committee to conduct 1st 2018 meeting

Friday, January 05, 2018

The CAPCOG Executive Committee will meet Jan. 10, 2018 for its first meeting of the new year as it welcomes four new members to the board after their election at the December General Assembly Meeting. Joining the committee are Hays County Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, Pflugerville Council Member Mike Heath, Buda Council Member Wiley Hopkins and State Representative Celia Israel, who serves as a non-voting member.

Twenty-five county and municipal elected officials sit on the CAPCOG Executive Committee which has a dual role as the Capital Area Emergency Communications District’s (CAECD) Board of Managers. The governing body conducts business for the COG regarding budgets, contracts, and general policies and procedures for operating the agency.

The Executive Committee convenes at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. The January meeting will include election of officers for 2018. The CAECD Board meets at least quarterly immediately following the Executive Committee; its first 2018 meeting also will be in January.

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

Homeland security plans emergency management training for region

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Homeland security and emergency management training coordinated by CAPCOG during the 2018 fiscal year builds on prior disasters that have affected the region, but it also looks to prepare the region for incidents yet to happen such as complex coordinated attacks, terrorist attacks and cybersecurity threats. More than seven courses are planned for the year with one having already taken place in November.

“CAPCOG is coordinating training workshops to help plan and mitigate hazards targeted in its homeland security strategic framework— wildland fires, flooding, cyber threats, terrorism, mass violence and riots, infrastructure loss, infectious disease and pandemics, and hazardous material incidents,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “It’s important to continue to study, learn and practice in emergency management, so current best practices tested throughout the world can be enacted instinctively here.”

Upcoming courses include an All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters workshop in February and an Event Security Planning for Public Safety Professionals in March. In several wildfire and flooding incidents across Central Texas, rescuing and handling animals has played a big factor in disaster response. The course helps emergency management personnel create strategies to not only care for and rescue animals, such as livestock, but also prevent animals from becoming a public health risk during a disaster while protecting people’s property. Specials events are abundant throughout Central Texas and include activities, such as downtown holiday strolls and massively attended cycling competitions. The Event Security Planning workshop focuses on educating smaller and more rural communities’ public safety officials to recognize and plan adequate strategies and security measures to prevent and mitigate incidents that may occur during such events.

> Learn more about these training courses and see future training opportunities.
> Register for training workshops at

A Tornado Awareness workshop kicked off homeland security training for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Twenty attendees representing entities throughout the region learned about tornado science, weather forecasting, and the tornado warning process while learning how to better implement safety measures.

Aging programs improve seniors’ independence, health

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP), a CAPCOG division, is offering its first educational workshop to help older adults reduce chronic pain, and it is seeking volunteers to help prevent seniors from falling.

“By teaching seniors how to lessen their chronic pain, we are helping them manage their health so they can live as independently as possible,” said Kate Gibbons, CAPCOG health and wellness program coordinator. “We are also offering volunteers a chance to provide seniors the same help in their local communities by becoming fall prevention coaches.”

In January, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock is hosting a Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop. The evidence based intervention program is a six-week workshop that provides older adults with techniques to decrease frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation caused by suffering chronic pain, while teaching them easy movement exercises and nutritional facts for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance. The course, which is taught in two- and a half-hour sessions, also discusses medication usage, rest and how to communicate with family, friends and doctors about pain. The Stanford Patient Education Research Center developed the workshop.

AAACAP is leading a two-day course in February to teach volunteers to be coaches for A Matter of Balance: Fall Prevention programs. Once completed, volunteers can partner to run fall prevention programs for seniors reducing their fear of falling and increasing their activity levels. The program is based on Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late-Life Function at Boston University research.

> Register for the workshop and the coaches’ course is available.
> Read more about AAACAP.
Jill Findlay, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area assistant director, leads a health and wellness program geared towards managing chronic illnesses. Jill Findlay, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area assistant director, leads a health and wellness program geared towards managing chronic illnesses.

CAPCOG sets criminal justice grant workshops

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division released the Plan Year 2019 requests for applications for four grants that CAPCOG and its Criminal Justice Advisory Committee provides funding recommendations. CAPCOG has scheduled two mandatory workshops on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 to inform organizations about the application and review process. Each workshop will review the grants’ eligibility and requirements and discuss priorities and the region’s strategic plan created from community stakeholders’ input.

These grant programs allow local organizations to purchase needed equipment and technology upgrades, implement evidence based programs to address community identified problems, and serve community members while they recover from crimes. They include the General Victim Assistance Program, the Violence Against Women Justice and Training Program, the Juvenile Justice Grant Program, and the Justice Assistance Grant Program. CAPCOG has not received an estimated allocation for the region, but it anticipates allocations to be within 10 percent of the Plan Year 2018’s budget estimate — $7.2 million, $385,851, $430,979 and $462,612, respectively. CAPCOG received 50 applications in Plan Year 2018 of which 41 grants received $12.8 million in funding from the Governor’s Office, which distributes funding and administers the grants.

Organizations seeking to apply must have at least one representative attend a CAPCOG workshop. Applicants should also review the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Strategic Plan, Criminal Justice Funding Priorities and the Governor’s request for applications.

> Register for Jan. 10 workshop.
> Register for the Jan. 11 workshop.
> Review the Criminal Justice Strategic Plan.
> Review the Criminal Justice Funding Priorities.
> Read more about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

CAPCOG announces 2017 Air Central Texas Awards

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) celebrated the organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the region’s air quality at the Air Central Texas Awards in November. The awards promoted future community action to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Dr. Bryan Shaw delivered a keynote speech during the ceremony that spoke to the efforts of the commission and the region to keep the region’s air healthy. Staying within attainment of the national ozone standard as the Austin region has done for decades “is based on the hard work of the people like the ones you are recognizing here today,” Shaw said.

Organizations that received awards this year ran programs that helped educate the public about air quality issues, made efforts to influence air quality policies and encouraged drivers to seek more sustainable commuting options. They included:

  • City of Austin - Transportation Department - 2017 Air Central Texas Public Sector Award
  • Movability Austin - 2017 Air Central Texas Private/Nonprofit Sector Award
  • Emmis Communications Austin - 2017 Air Central Texas Media Award
  • Cathy Stephens, Travis County - 2017 Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award

Winners of the 2017 Air Central Texas (ACT) Awards  pose with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Dr. Bryan Shaw. Pictured from left to right are Shaw, Alix Scarborough and Thomas Butler with Movability Austin, Cathy Stephens with Travis County, Cari Buetow with the City of Austin Transportation Department, and Kathy Good with Emmis Communications.

> Learn more about the Air Quality Program.

Homeland Security Program starts grant process

Thursday, November 23, 2017

CAPCOG announced its process for jurisdictions seeking funding from the Office of the Governor’s (OOG) State Homeland Security Program grants. In recent years, the 10-county CAPCOG region has received between $1.4 and $1.2 million per year. CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division will host mandatory workshops on Dec. 12 and 15 for those seeking the program’s funding. The workshops will cover funding eligibility; application requirements; federal and state rules; regulations and certifications required for applicants; and application deadlines. Applying jurisdictions must send one representative to a workshop, but CAPCOG encourages any project managers or grant writers seeking funding to attend. Workshop registration is available at

> Register to attend a workshop.

The OOG will open the application process on Dec. 15, 2017 at All submitted projects must have a connection to FEMA’s nexus of terrorism and be completed by Jan. 26, 2018, so CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Task Force can review and prioritize projects. The CAPCOG Executive Committee recommends a final prioritized list to the OOG, which has final program approval. Last year CAPCOG reviewed more than 40 applications and the highest priority projects addressed an identified threat or hazard, while demonstrating a regional solution that either sustained or expanded existing homeland security programs. About a third were funded.

> Learn more about the grant program.
> Read about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

RLEA hosts new course for would-be county jailers

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) in December will conduct its first ever course that will let licensed peace officers qualify to take the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Basic Jail Certification Test allowing them to serve as county jailers. The course reduces the amount of instruction required to become jailer certified since peace officers already have significantly more training, and it can allow counties to fill jailer positions by hiring officers who have municipal or state policing experience.
Sheriff’s departments will generally hire deputies as county correctional officers first, because they can work up to a year before having to take a 96-hour jailers course and test for a jailer certification. The CAPCOG offered course, Basic Jail Certification Courses for Sworn Texas Peace Officers, however excludes topics already covered in a basic peace officer course and focuses its 32-hour curriculum on the correctional specialty. It covers topics such as inmates’ rights, inmate discipline, facility security, booking procedures, and ethical conduct.

CAPCOG is offering this course at the request of a sheriff’s department but is bringing the education opportunity to all the region’s policing agencies and officers. Besides offering mandated TCOLE courses for officers to maintain or advance their licenses, CAPCOG regularly coordinates the instruction of requested courses to assist policing agencies with specialty training. “The goal of the academy is to fulfill the educational needs of the region’s peace officers and work with departments to improve policing throughout the communities in the ten-county region,” said Randy Holmes, CAPCOG RLEA director. “CAPCOG is always willing to offer training opportunities that local jurisdictions recommend, so they can best serve their communities.”

> Register for this course.
> Find other law enforcement training courses.
> Learn more about RLEA.

Striking a Balance moves to December, balances family caregivers

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area and AGE of Central Texas rescheduled one of the region’s largest educational events for family caregivers, Striking a Balance, to Saturday, Dec. 2 after the heavy rains threatened the conference’s August attendance. Family caregiver attendees will learn coping skills to address the challenges of caregiving from national, state and local experts, but also their peers.

This year’s keynote address, “Why am I so Stressed?” will be delivered by Jane Meier Hamilton, CEO and founder of Partners on the Path, an organization that helps caregivers preserve their health, well-being and capacity to care through education. Hamilton herself is a 40-year nurse and 20-year family caregiver. “Unlike when you are a nurse who goes home at the end of the day, when it is your loved one, it is in your heart and in your mind all the time,” she said. “The talks I do come from my own struggle to stay healthy and resilient.”

Striking a Balance will feature multiple breakout sessions with topics addressing caregiver resiliency, difficult behaviors related to dementia, safe driving for older adults, and financing long-term care. Caregivers will also connect with organizations and service providers that offer caregiver support, education, training, and in-home and long-term care services.

Family caregivers register for Striking a Balance.

The conference will be held at DoubleTree by Hilton Austin, 6505 North IH 35. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. AGE’s Austin Adult Day Health Center will offer free off-site respite by reservation. Call 512-600-9275 to reserve.

> Learn more about AAACAP.
> Learn more about Age of Central Texas.

General Assembly to hear State of the Region Address

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAPCOG will present the State of the Region address with a new twist involving audience participation this year at the Dec. 13 General Assembly Meeting at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin, 3401 South IH 35 Frontage Road. This interactive State of the Region presentation will let attendees learn about progressing regional efforts and their corresponding data across all CAPCOG program areas.

During the meeting, the General Assembly also will elect the 2018 Executive Committee, and CAPCOG will honor two individuals by presenting the Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award and the Phill Parmer Volunteer Service Award. Named after Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, CAPCOG’s first chair, the award honors someone who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits, and other organizations. The Parmer award recognizes someone’s dedication to the region through their volunteer efforts. It is named after CAPCOG’s longest serving Aging Advisory Council member and longtime aging volunteer, Phill Parmer of Llano.

> RSVP to attend the meeting. 
> General Assembly Representatives and CAPCOG Advisory and Policy Committee members contact Mason Canales for a code for a complimentary lunch.

Solid Waste grant funding available

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Local governments can apply for CAPCOG Solid Waste Grant Program funding to help implement diversion programs throughout the region. The grant program has an estimated $177,000 in pass-through funding available from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The application deadline is Dec. 29 and funding will be distributed in 2018 and 2019.

“This popular program is the only state offered grant monies designed to provide residents with responsible avenues for managing solid and household hazardous waste, extend local landfills’ life expectancies, and increase solid waste recycling rates,” said Ken May, CAPCOG regional program coordinator, who noted CAPCOG has distributed more than $9 million to over 350 projects since 1992.

CAPCOG is hosting grant application workshops on Nov. 10 and Dec. 6 which will cover topics such as eligibility, the selection process, reporting requirements and sample projects. Morning and afternoon workshops will be available. Project funding categories include:

  • Household hazardous waste management
  • Environmental local enforcement
  • Litter and illegal dumping clean-up and community collection events
  • Source reduction and recycling
  • Citizens’ collection stations
  • Educational and training programs
  • Other projects, including scrap tires projects

> Learn more about the grant.
> Register for a workshop.
> Read about the CAPCOG Solid Waste Program.

TCEQ announces TERP rebate grants

Monday, November 06, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program announced its Rebate Grants Program that provides financial incentives to repower or replace older heavy-duty diesel vehicles and select non-road diesel equipment.

The grant program will official open Nov. 30, 2017, and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications may not be submitted at this time; however, TCEQ made draft documents available for would-be applicants to review.

> Check out the draft documents.

A portion of the funding allocated to the Rebate Grants Program will be set aside for applications from entities:
that qualify as a small business as further explained in this document; and
with vehicles or equipment destroyed by Hurricane Harvey

The final request for applications, application forms, and maximum rebate grant amount tables will be available on Nov. 30, 2017. TCEQ is hosting a workshop on the grant's application process in Austin on Dec. 4, 2017 and in several cities around the state before the Austin date.

1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2017
12100 Park 35 Circle, Building E
Austin, TX 78753

San Antonio
1:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
Southwest Service Center
6927 W. Commerce
San Antonio, TX 78228

1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
1905 Leary Lane
Victoria, TX 77901

Corpus Christi
1 p.m., Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
Coastal Bend COG
2910 Leopard Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78408

1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017
South East Texas Regional Planning Commission
2210 Eastex Freeway
Beaumont, TX 77703

6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017
Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055

9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017
Cleveland-Ripley Neighborhood Center
720 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77504

> Look for upcoming TERP meetings and workshops.
> Read more about the TERP Rebate Grants Program.
> Contact TERP staff  at 800-919- 8377 or with questions.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

CAPCOG recognizes Caregivers, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

November highlights two important older adult issues that the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) supports through services and programs year around — family caregiving and Alzheimer’s awareness.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care system in Texas, and this is especially true for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients; the disease can take a devastating toll on the caregiver,” said Patty Bordie, AAACAP director. CAPCOG through AAACAP supports caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients with respite care, health and safety equipment, home modifications, and connections to resources to help caregivers better balance self-care with care for their loved ones.

Some 360,000 Texans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, making the state home of the nation’s fourth largest Alzheimer’s population and ranking it second in Alzheimer’s related deaths. Of the 2.8 million family caregivers in Texas about 1.4 million provide roughly 1.6 million hours of unpaid care for Alzheimer’s patients. Many caregivers provide at least 18 hours of care per week while working full- or part-time jobs.

The CAPCOG Executive Committee recognized November as National Caregiver’s and Alzheimer’s Awareness month at its Oct. 11 meeting.

> Find the proclamation drafts.
> Learn more about family caregiver programs.

Texas Freight Mobility Plan Update seeks public review, comments

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Source: Texas Department of Transportation

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is seeking comments on The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 from public and private freight industry stakeholders, and all interested parties, to ensure the updated plan captures the state’s freight needs. Comments will be accepted until Oct. 26, 2017.

In 2016, TxDOT released the Texas Freight Mobility Plan, the agency’s first comprehensive multimodal transportation plan focused on the state’s freight industry. The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 allows TxDOT to refresh data sources, add critical elements, and comply with new federal legislation. The Texas Freight Mobility Plan 2017 has been developed to meet the requirements of the current federal transportation act, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  

> Review the plan.

> Submit comments by email.

Or email your comments to:
TxDOT Freight and International Trade Section, 
125 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701 (mailed comments must be postmarked by Oct. 26, 2017)

> Contact Kale Driemeier with TxDOT about questions or additional information.

> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

CAPCOG releases 2015 flood impact, resiliency report

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CAPCOG’s Planning and Economic Development Division recently completed an economic impact and resiliency analysis of the 2015 floods that affected eight counties in the region — Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson. The report summarizes available disaster data from multiple sources and used flood plain modeling to quantify economic impacts and assist communities in prioritizing future mitigation efforts.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and another federal disaster declaration for the region, disaster recovery and resiliency planning is salient once again. Regional opportunities to conduct hazard mitigation planning, to accelerate business recovery, and to regulate impervious cover are highlighted in the report. The project also brings attention to resiliency projects and programs which have already been implemented across the region, including and a promising real-time flood forecasting project, Given the likelihood that some future disaster will once again impact the Capital Area, this report is designed to serve as a catalyst for continued disaster resiliency planning across the region.

> Read the “Disaster Resiliency and Recovery in the Texas Capital Area, The Economic Impact and Local Response to the 2015 Memorial Day Disaster Event."
> Get the GIS data used in the report.
> Find interactive maps coinciding with the report.

AAACAP counselors assist with Medicare open enrollment

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) benefits counselors will be available to help adults living in the CAPCOG ten-county region who are 65 and older navigate through the National Medicare Open Enrollment Period starting Oct. 15 and ending Dec. 7.

This period lets Medicare consumers switch their Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage plans. For years, AAACAP counselors have provided insight on the many choices involved in selecting a Medicare program. They also provide screening for qualification into the Medicare Savings Program and low-income subsidies for every person counseled during the period.

Residents can seek assistance from benefits counselors at 512-916-6062 or 888-622-9111, ext. 6062.

> Get more information on Medicare open enrollment.
> Contact an  AAACAP benefits counselor.

Update-Nov. 28, 2017

If you are calling about Medicare Open Enrollment, please contact 1-800 Medicare(633-4227) or go to
Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
> Find helpful hints about Medicare Enrollment options.

Campaign doubles registrations

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A region-wide media campaign launched for the September National Preparedness Month nearly doubled the amount of residents who have signed up to receive emergency alerts at and set the stage for continued awareness about the regional notification system (RNS).

“About 120,000 people have registered their cellphone numbers to receive alerts from their local emergency response personnel, and this is a success,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security Director. “But we want to continue to encourage every resident in the ten-county CAPCOG region to register to receive these alerts.”  Carter noted the campaign was kicked off on Aug. 23 as Hurricane Harvey moved toward the Texas coast, likely a contributing factor to the high number of new users.

Once a cellphone is registered at, local jurisdictions can use the system to share critical emergency information with that resident via email, phone call or text message about events such as:

  • Evacuations from floods, wildfires or public health threats,
  • Shelter-in-place information during law enforcement or public health incidents,
  • Boil water notices or prolonged power outages, and
  • Options to receive general, non-emergency community messages.

CAPCOG also launched a new website that continues to serve as a self-registration portal for residents to receive emergency alerts, but now it is also a place where they can discover how the communities in which they live and work communicate emergency information. It also will house information on how residents can be prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Communities seeking promotional materials for can contact Carolyn Sudduth.

> Learn more about the Homeland Security Division.
> Read more about RNS.

CAPCOG launches Text to 9-1-1 region wide

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Capital Area Council of Governments has deployed Text to 9-1-1 service region wide after successfully testing for the region’s 31 public safety answering points (PSAPs), or 9-1-1 call centers, capability to receive and respond to SMS text messages. The service is now activated on the four major cellphone service providers —Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

“Text to 9-1-1 is a great addition to emergency response; however, the service has several limitations, so residents should familiarize themselves with them before texting 9-1-1 and most importantly remember to ‘Call if you can, text if you can’t,’” said Gregg Obuch, CAPCOG’s Emergency Communications Director.

Text to 9-1-1 is the ability to send a cellphone text message to a local 9-1-1 call center. It is especially beneficial to those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired, but residents should only text 9-1-1 when calling 9-1-1 is unsafe or not possible.

Examples of when texting 9-1-1 would be beneficial include:

  • The caller cannot speak due to a threat, illness or medical condition
  • The caller has poor reception and can only send text messages
  • Phone lines and cellphone towers are overwhelmed and only texts can get through

Cellphone service providers only offer text messaging as a “best effort service” meaning providers do not guarantee a message will be delivered, said Obuch, who noted that text messages also can take longer to receive or can be delivered out of order. The only way to know a text reached a 9-1-1 call center is when the center texts back. If the sender thinks a text was not received, he or she should call 9-1-1.

Text to 9-1-1 only is available in English. However, 9-1-1 voice calls can be processed in multiple languages, because all CAPCOG 9-1-1 call centers provide emergency interpretive services. Text to 9-1-1 does not work if the sender texts using group messages, emojis, pictures or videos. Apps that text other app users (such as WhatsApp) or texting via social media (such as Facebook Messenger) do not support Text to 9-1-1.

To help educate residents about using Text to 9-1-1, CAPCOG has developed video and audio PSAs and a FAQ about the service. All are available at Local jurisdictions are encouraged to share the FAQ and PSAs with residents via social and other media. They always should encourage residents to “Call if you can, text if you can’t” – the national slogan for Text to 9-1-1.

> Learn more about Text to 9-1-1.
> View or download the Text to 9-1-1 PSAs.
> Read about the CAPCOG Emergency Communications Division.

$7 million available from EPA School Bus Rebate Program

Tuesday, October 03, 2017
Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications for its 2017 School Bus Rebate Program which could provide up to $20,000 per vehicle to replace older school buses and up to $6,000 per vehicle for retrofits. The program will take applications until 4 p.m., ET, Tuesday Nov. 14.

Older school buses without emission reduction retrofits emit significant amounts of harmful exhaust, so participating in this program will help improve the health of students and other members of your community. Eligible entities include regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under a contract with an entity listed above. More than $7 million is available through this program and up to $1 million for retrofits.

> Read more or download an application for the 2017 School Bus Rebate Program.
> Contact with questions.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

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