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Austin, TX 78744

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In the News

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.

Austin
1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2017
TCEQ
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

Victoria
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

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

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

Pasadena
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 terp@tceq.texas.gov 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 WarnCentralTexas.org and a promising real-time flood forecasting project, ATXFloods.com. 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.

Campaign doubles WarnCentralTexas.org 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 WarnCentralTexas.org 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 WarnCentralTexas.org, 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 WarnCentralTexas.org 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 WarnCentralTexas.org 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 www.capcog.org/text911. 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 CleanDiesel@epa.gov with questions.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

$6 million available for alternative fuel, natural gas fueling stations

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) is accepting applications for grants to help defray the costs of building or modifying alternative fueling facilities. The state has made up to $6 million available to individuals, businesses, and governments that qualify.

The facilities will serve as the foundation of a self-sustaining market for alternative fuel in Texas. Developing this network of facilities will create jobs, ensure viable use of clean energy, and will help reduce air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.

This grant under the Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) offsets a portion of the cost of either the construction of new facilities dispensing natural gas or alternative fuels, or the expansion of existing facilities to provide new services or capabilities. Eligible fuels for the AFFP include natural gas, biodiesel, hydrogen, methanol, propane, and electricity. Eligible individuals, businesses, and governments must be within the state’s Clean Transportation Zone, which includes seven counties in the CAPCOG region — Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson.

The TCEQ will accept applications until 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. It also has scheduled eight AFFP grant application workshops to review the grant requirements and the application process.

AUSTIN
9 a.m., TUESDAY, NOV. 21, 2017
TCEQ's Austin Office
Building E, 2nd Floor, Room 254S
12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753

EL PASO
1 p.m., WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1, 2017
Rio Grande Council of Governments (Main Conference Room)
8037 Lockheed Drive, Suite 100
El Paso, Texas 79925

TYLER
9 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017
TCEQ Region 5 Office, Large Conference Room
2916 Teague Dr.
Tyler, Texas 75701

ARLINGTON
9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017
North Central Texas Council of Governments
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, TX 76011

LAREDO
9 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Laredo Chamber of Commerce, Boardroom
2310 San Bernardo Ave.
Laredo, Texas 78040

CORPUS CHRISTI
9 a.m, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
Coastal Bend COG, Large Conference Room
2910 Leopard Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78408 

SAN ANTONIO
9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
8700 Tesoro Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78217

HOUSTON
9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017
Houston-Galveston Area Council, Conference Room A
3555 Timmons, Suite 120 
Houston, TX 77027

> RSVP for a workshop by emailing Camen Gupta, TCEQ Program Coordinator.
> Read more about the AFFP.
> Learn more about the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.
> Find out about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Homeland security director completes advanced academy

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Eric Carter, CAPCOG homeland security director, recently graduated from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advance Academy adding more specialized skills and training to help communities manage their dynamic and resilient emergency management needs throughout the CAPCOG ten-county region.

The week-long residency academy reinforced qualities needed to manage emergency management programs and provided relevant management theories and concepts. It also taught critical skills to perform emergency management responsibilities such as program management and oversight, effective communication at all levels, integrated collaboration, and strategic thinking.

Carter has completed incident command training and FEMA's professional development series, which teaches seven courses to include training on conducting exercises and emergency planning, being an influential leader and effective communicator, and developing and managing volunteers. Carter has a bachelor's degree in Emergency Administration and Planning from the University of North Texas, and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

TDA seeks Small Town Environmental Program applications

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

The Texas Department of Agriculture will accept Small Town Environmental Program (STEP) applications Feb. 1, 2018 but any applications completed and submitted before the date will be considered received and date‐stamped Feb. 1, 2018.

Applicants are invited to apply for STEP. Before a community submits a STEP application, they must first submit a letter of interest and schedule a Town Hall meeting with TDA. Communities interested in submitting a Feb. 1, 2018 application can submit their letter of interest and contact TDA to schedule a town hall meeting now. A Community Assessment must also be completed after the town hall meeting, but before an application is submitted. Contact TDA for the Community Assessment form.

The amount available for the 2018 Program Year is $700,000. The STEP Fund is:

  • Available for water and sewer infrastructure improvements utilizing self-help methods
  • Must demonstrate a 40 percent cost saving off the retail construction price by using volunteer labor and material resources 
  • Must demonstrate strong local participation
  • Overall construction and implementation must be performed predominately by community volunteer workers

Applications will be accepted until all funds expended. Ties will be broken using criteria previously established for the TxCDBG‐Community Development Fund (per capita income, poverty rate, and unemployment rate).

> Get more information about STEP.
> Learn about the Regional Review Committee.

USDOT announces $500 Million Funding Opportunity

Monday, September 18, 2017
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

WASHINGTON – State and local stakeholders can apply to receive funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through Sept. 30, 2020, for national infrastructure investments or TIGER grants. Funds for FY 2017 TIGER grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will significantly impact the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The FY 2017 Appropriations Act specifies TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million. Except for projects located in rural areas, the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant is $1 million.

The FY 2017 TIGER program will give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure conditions, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.

To provide technical assistance to a broad array of stakeholders, USDOT is hosting a series of webinars during the FY 2017 TIGER grant application process. A webinar on competing for TIGER grants will be from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Additional webinars will be scheduled.

> Register for a TIGER Webinar Series.

FY 2017 TIGER grant program applications are due Monday, Oct. 16. Since the program’s start, $5.1 billion has been awarded for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure. TIGER grants historically have achieved a co-investment of $3.60 per TIGER dollar invested.

> Learn more about the TIGER program.
> Find out about the Capital Area Regional Transportation Organization.

AAACAP strengthens seniors’ balance for Falls Prevention Day

Thursday, September 14, 2017

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Sept. 22, 2017, and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will strengthen the balance of older adults throughout Williamson County by conducting three A Matter of Balance (AMOB) programs in September.

> Organizations in other counties in the region are welcome to schedule future programs by contacting Kate Gibbons.

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans who are 65 and older falls each year; every 11 seconds an older adult visits the emergency room for a fall; and falls annually result in more than 2.8 million injuries, 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths.

AMOB programs teach older adults how to reduce fall risks through exercises that increase strength and balance and viewing falls as controllable. The scheduled AMOB programs will be at the Allen R. Baca Center in Round Rock, The Wesleyan at Estrella in Georgetown; and Seton Williamson Round Rock Learning Center 1.

Prevent falling by:

  • Asking your healthcare provider to evaluate your falling risk and make recommendations to prevent falling
  • Asking your pharmacist to review your medicines to prevent dizziness or drowsiness 
  • Doing strength and balance exercises
  • Having your eyes checked
  • Making your home safer by removing tripping hazards, adding grab bars to bathrooms, and putting railings on both sides of stairs

> Learn more about AMOB programs.
> Read about AAACAP.

CAPCOG wants to triple Warn Central Texas registrations in September

Monday, September 11, 2017

A regional press conference in August kicked off CAPCOG’s effort to triple the number of residents who have registered their information at WarnCentralTexas.org to receive local warnings about emergencies happening in their neighborhood. The effort will continue regionally as local jurisdictions push outreach messaging through September as part of National Preparedness month.

“In the 2011 (Bastrop) fire, the line between emergency and full scale disaster vanished within a heartbeat,” said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape, who spoke at the press conference. He was one of more than 50 elected, public safety and emergency management officials who attended the press conference. “We knew within a few minutes that this was not a fire we could fight. We just needed to get people out of harm’s way, and had Warn Central Texas been up and running and more active at that time we would have been more successful in evacuating tens of thousands of people more efficiently. … I speak on behalf of all the county judges in the CAPCOG region: ‘Citizens of central Texas, register today for Warn Central Texas and let’s be prepared for the next natural disaster.’”

Every landline in the ten-county region receives calls from the regional notification system CAPCOG uses; however, cellphone users must register their information to receive the same warning messages by cellphone, text message and email. Every jurisdiction in the ten-county region can use the system to share critical emergency information 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.

As of August, about 60,000 people had registered to receive warning messages in the CAPCOG region, and nearly an additional 23,000 residents registered on Aug. 27 in preparation of hurricane Harvey.
“As Central Texas citizens abandon landlines, enrollment in the WarnCentralTexas.org program becomes even more important,” said Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery at the press conference. “This program is one of the most critical links available between public and local entities during an event.”

To further aid the registration drive, many local governments are conducting social media campaigns and distributing public education materials. CAPCOG has purchased banners and flyers to place inside local government offices, which are available for any jurisdiction to distribute. To join the campaign and receive digital or printed materials for WarnCentralTexas.org, contact Mason Canales or Carolyn Sudduth.

“Reaching 180,000 registrants is a lofty goal, but one this region can make,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “It is important that residents know this tool exists alongside the other many actions emergency personnel take to notify the public about what to do during disasters. If this tool can save one life, then the campaign has worked.”

CAPCOG has revamped WarnCentralTexas.org to not only promote RNS registration but serve as a resource for residents to discover how their communities distribute emergency information, so residents can stay informed whether they live in one county, work in another, and vacation in a third.

> Find more information about the regional notification system and WarnCentralTexas.org.
> Go to WarnCentralTexas.org to register for alerts.

CAPCOG seeks nominations for regional, air quality awards

Thursday, September 07, 2017

CAPCOG is soliciting nominations for its 2017 Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award and its Air Central Texas Awards; each award recognizes people or organizations that have played pivotal roles in strengthening the region through their actions.

Named after Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, CAPCOG’s first chair, the regionalism award honors someone who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits, and other organizations. Nominees can include volunteers, community leaders or elected officials whose work has stretched beyond county lines to further regional efforts.

> Get the regionalism award nomination form. 
> Submitt the form to Mason Canales before 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13.

The Air Central Texas Awards recognize activities by organizations and individuals that have made significant contributions to regional air quality and promote future action on the part of the community to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22.

The second annual Air Central Texas Award ceremony will introduce the new Air Central Texas Media Award to highlight the media’s role in communicating air quality issues to the public. The other awards include:

  • Air Central Texas Public Sector Award - recognizing public sector actions that help improve/protect regional air quality.
  • Air Central Texas Private/Nonprofit Sector Award - recognizing private or nonprofit sector actions that help improve/protect regional air quality during the past year.
  • Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award - recognizing an individual who’s made a significant and lasting impact on Central Texas air quality.

> Find out more about the Air Central Texas Awards and how to submit nominations.

The award ceremony is planned for November.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

September General Assembly features legislator panel

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Texas House of Representatives from CAPCOG’s region will discuss the outcome of the 85th Texas Legislative Session during a panel forum at the 2017 CAPCOG General Assembly meeting at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 13 at the Austin Marriott South, 4415 South IH-35. Participating State Representatives include  John Cyrier, Larry Gonzales, Jason Isaac, Donna Howard, Terry Wilson, and Paul Workman.

The CAPCOG General Assembly will conduct its September business meeting before the panel by electing the new Nominating Committee whose primary job is developing a slate of elected officials for the 2018 CAPCOG Executive Committee, and approving the 2018 Fiscal Year budget.

> General Assembly members RSVP to attend.

Following the meeting, CAPCOG will conduct the “Economic Development Toolbox workshop” for elected officials, planners and economic development stakeholders. The two- and a half-hour workshop will examine the legal aspects of tools cities and counties can use as part of their economic development strategy. It will cover topics such as special economic development districts and zones, incentives, and economic development corporations. Continuing education credits are available for attending.

> Register for the workshop.
> Contact Mason Canales about attending the meeting and workshop for free.

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