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In the News

ADRC of the Capital Area gets respite care grant

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) awarded a $15,500 grant to the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Capital Area to provide emergency and urgent respite services to family caregivers.

The grant will fund a project that is multifaceted and designed to provide caregivers with limited access to services, urgent or emergency respite in rural and urban areas. The project will serve Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson counties. It will target the isolated, multi-cultural, non-English speaking informal, unpaid caregivers caring for individuals of any age with any disability or condition requiring care.

The resource center is developing an outreach plan and working with DADS on program implementation.

Funds are through the 2015 Lifespan Respite Care Program Grant from the Administration for Community Living to support building sustainable community-based respite care services in Texas.

CAPCOG conducts additional criminal justice grant workshop

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments will hold a third and final mandatory criminal justice grant writing workshop from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 in the CAPCOG Pecan Room.

Workshop topics will focus on submitting applications for four Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division grants – General Victim Assistance, Violent Crimes Against Women, General Juvenile Justice, and Justice Assistance. Attendees will be instructed on how to write grant applications and how applications will be scored. Changes to the Regional Strategic Criminal Justice Plan also will be discussed.

This is the final opportunity for entities to attend a writing workshop for the grants. If an organization plans to apply for any of the criminal justice grants, its attendance to one of the grant writing workshops is mandatory. If an organization did not attend a workshop and submits a grant application, the application will be deemed ineligible by the Office of Governor's Criminal Justice Division. If an organization already attended a previous workshop but still has questions or needs additional assistance, it can attend this last workshop.

Seating is limited to 50 people.

CAPCOG is located at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, Texas 78744-2306.

> RSVP for the workshop or inquire about questions with Kate Barrett or Ken May.
> Read the Regional Strategic Criminal Justice Plan.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Criminal Justice Program.

Saving on Household Hazardous Waste Collections

Friday, February 13, 2015

Costs of conducting household hazardous waste collection (HHWC) events increase with greater participation and more materials collected for disposal. A rising price-tag can cause entities conducting the events to go over budget, but Blanco County used its already available resources, recycling and reuse techniques, and partnerships to keep its 2014 HHWC event under budget.

“It is just very hard to budget for these events, because you just never know what attendance to expect,” said Blanco County Commissioner Paul Granberg.

Blanco County HHWC event budgets are based on historical participation and cost data, but resident participation can double between events. A hundred vehicles one year could be 200 the next which results in more materials for disposal causing a greater cost, Granberg said. Often government entities don’t want to turn people away, because HHWC events offer a proper way of disposing of hazardous materials, which helps prevent illegal dumping.

The county’s Oct. 25, 2014 HHWC event experienced 125 vehicles dropping off 6 tons materials.

To curb costs, Blanco County road and bridge staff and volunteers sorted materials that could be redirected for either recycling or reusing purposes. Paint for instance was one of several materials placed in a reusable area before being disposed by the contractor.

People brought a lot of usable latex paint, Granberg said. Some gallon-paint containers weren’t even opened or only half of the paint was used.

After being set aside, attending residents could take any of the reusable materials they wanted. The remainder of the good paint and the non-usable paint was given to the contractor for recycling or disposal once the collection event finished.

With items like scrap metal, oil and batteries, the county used its already established recycling program to sell the items. Computer parts were also separated from the disposal pile and given to Goodwill, which recycles the electronics.

Blanco County received $500 for selling recyclable oil and batteries. While it may not seem like a lot of money, it was money earned as opposed to a cost.

“(Recycling and reusing) is one way you save,” Granberg said. “The contractor will take everything, but every pound the contractor takes, you pay for it.”

Blanco accepted donations in lieu of charging residents to drop off material. Some people were happy to contribute, because they knew paying for disposal would cost more. 
Donations raised about $2,000, Granberg said.

The county also partnered with other government entities and organizations – Johnson City, city of Blanco, city of Round Mountain, Blanco Pedernales Underground Water Conservation District and Keep Blanco Beautiful – to help fund the event and make it a county wide endeavor.

Granberg attributed a routine schedule for HHWC and other waste collection events to staying under budget, too. Every year a bulk item collection event takes place, allowing the county HHWC events to just collect harmful materials. Focusing just on household hazardous materials limits excess materials disposed by the contractor and saves time sorting materials. The county also strives to have an HHWC event every three years so storage times between collections aren’t too long. Shorter times between events allows for less accumulation of materials.

Blanco County is one of seven HHWC events funded through CAPCOG’s Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Solid Waste Grant cycle. It was allocated $10,000 in grant monies and budgeted $23,200 for the event. The cost of the event was almost $22,600.

> Read more about CAPCOG's Solid Waste Planning Program.

AAACAP speaks at Senior Wellness Expo

Monday, February 09, 2015

Program managers with the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will lead discussions about the benefits of evidence based programs during the Senior Wellness Expo on Feb. 24.

Evidence based programs teach people how to mentally, physically and emotionally address issues caused by becoming an older adult. For several years, AAACAP has offered Matter of Balance courses, which teach fall prevention methods to reduce the fear and risk of falling, and Stress Busting courses, which help Alzheimer’s caregivers mitigate stress.

AAACAP program coordinators will discuss benefits of two new programs – Chronic Disease Self-Management and Diabetes Self-Management. The programs strive to empower older adults to learn about nutrition, exercise choices and treatment options and effective ways to talk to doctors and family about their disease.

Information about other agency services such as Medicare benefits counseling and medication screening will be available at the expo.

The Senior Wellness Expo, sponsored by Austin Senior Resource Alliance, will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Feb. 24, at the Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek, Lakeway, Texas.

> Find a list of AAACAP’s services.

AAACAP is partially funded by the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services.

> Discover the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.
> Learn about Austin Senior Resource Alliance.

CAPCOG assists with EDA Public Works Program grants

Friday, February 06, 2015

Local governments seeking U.S. Economic Development Administration grant projects can contact the Capital Area Council of Governments for assistance in applying to the EDA’s Public Works Program.

The EDA designated CAPCOG as the economic development district for CAPCOG’s 10-county region. Serving as the district, CAPCOG provides its local entities with technical assistance to develop and submit applications for EDA funding grant projects that strive to increase regional economic opportunities.

EDA’s Public Works Program supplies funds to communities to revitalize, expand or upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry; encourage business expansion; diversify local economies; and generate or retain long-term, private sector jobs. It also can be used for acquisition or development of land and infrastructure investments needed to establish or expand industrial or commercial enterprises.

Most program projects should offer a 50 percent local match. Application scores are affected by having greater local and private matching funds and more job creation benefits.

The next two funding cycle deadlines are March 12, 2015 and June 12, 2015.

> Contact Chris Schreck, CAPCOG economic development manager.
> Find out more about the EDA Public Works Program.

CAPCOG Executive Committee appoints 2015 officers

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Elgin Mayor Marc Holm took the reins of the Capital Area Council of Governments Executive Committee as board chair in January. Holm was appointed to the position by the board after serving as its first vice-chair in 2014. Holm has served as Elgin’s Mayor since 2008 and been an executive committee member for CAPCOG since 2009. Holm also chairs the Capital Area Economic Development District.

The board appointed Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long as its first vice-chair. Long started on the CAPCOG Executive Committee in 2007. She has been Williamson County’s Precinct Two Commissioner since 2007. Long also serves on the Capital Area Emergency Communications District’s 9-1-1 Strategic Advisory Committee.

Other board appointments included:

  • Hutto Mayor Debbie Holland, second vice-chair
  • Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, secretary
  • Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw retained his role as past chair.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Executive Committee.

TxDOT seeks TAP projects

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Source: Texas Department of Transportation, Public Transportation Division

Texas Department of Transportation is calling for Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) candidate projects seeking to build non-driver public transit infrastructure.

TAP funds a variety of alternative transportation projects including on- and off road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure for non-driver access to public transportation, projects that enhance mobility and Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects. Funding from the program is limited to construction of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects for areas with populations less than 200,000.

The 2015 TAP Call for Candidate Projects began Jan. 16, 2015 and ends 5 p.m., May 4, 2015.

> Discover more about TAP and how to nominate projects.

Entities seeking to nominate projects should review TAP’s program guide, nomination form, and rules in consideration of their candidate project before contacting TxDOT. The program guide includes a TxDOT district map and a list of TxDOT district TAP coordinators. Local TxDOT district staff is available to discuss TAP and the project nomination process.

> Visit the Texas Department of Transportation Public Transportation Division's website.
> Read about the Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

Basic Peace Officer Course adds ALERRT training

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy is adding 40 hours of active shooter training to its Basic Peace Officer Courses (BPOCs).

Cadets in the BPOC class 75, which began Jan. 5, will spend four days in an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Level I and Level II courses. ALERRT will continue to be offered in future BPOCs.

The Level I course is designed to prepare cadets as first responders to isolate, distract, and neutralize an active shooter. The course curriculum includes weapon manipulation, threshold evaluation, concepts and principles of team movement and solo officer strategies, room entry techniques, approach and breaching the crisis site and much more.

During the Level II course, cadets will be trained in point-of-wound casualty care techniques to save lives. The cadets will learn tactical emergency combat care based in self-aid and buddy-aid techniques to include hemorrhage control and tourniquets, bandaging, airway management, triaging, casualty collection points, and casualty evacuation methods. “Force-on-force” mass casualty scenarios also will be taught. Cadets will have to neutralize a threat and treat the wounded, establish casualty collection points, conduct triage, and integrate responses with emergency medical personnel.

> Find a schedule of BPOCs and other law enforcement training.
> Discover the CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy.
> Learn more about the BPOCs.

CAPCOG will help with diesel vehicle replacement, repower grant applications

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program is offering assistance to entities interested in applying for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) Rebate Grant Program.

The rebate grant program provides funding for replacement or repower projects of diesel on-road and certain non-road equipment and vehicles. It is a simplified application process under the Emissions Reduction Incentive Grant Program. The program process will open for applications on Feb. 9 and will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

The CAPCOG Air Quality Program will support local organizations and businesses with determining their eligibility for the grant and/or help with the completion of the application.

> Contact Linda Daubert, air quality program specialist, for assistance with the grant.

Part of the funds allocated to the rebate grant program will be set aside for applications from entities that qualify as a Small Business under the TERP Guidelines for Emissions Reduction Grants. Small and large businesses are encouraged to apply.

To qualify, vehicles and equipment must have 75 percent of their annual usage spent in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Williamson, or 34 other Texas counties.

> Read more about the TERP Rebate Grant Program and download an application.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

CAPCOG offers two Criminal Justice Division grant workshops

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Service Division will conduct two mandatory workshops for the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD) grants in February.

Both mandatory workshops will focus on writing applications for the General Victim Assistance, Violent Crimes Against Women, General Juvenile Justice and Justice Assistance Grants. Those in attendance will be provided instructions on how to complete grant applications, how applications will be scored, and changes to the Capital Area Regional Strategic Criminal Justice Plan.

> Read the Regional Strategic Criminal Justice Plan.

Organizations seeking any of the four criminal justice grants must attend one of the workshops. The CJD will deem grant applications ineligible if the submitting organization failed to attend one of the mandatory workshops.

Workshop No. I: 1-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 at the J.B. Hallie Jester Building located at 1801 Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock, TX 78664 in the Harrell Room. Please note the seating capacity is 200.

Workshop No. II: 1-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb.  10, 2015 at the CAPCOG offices located at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, TX 78744 in the Pecan Room.  Please note the seating capacity is 50.

> RSVP for the workshop or inquire about questions with Kate Barrett or Ken May.

CAPCOG facilitates the criminal justice grants solicitation and ranking and scoring of applications for the state 2016 funding year through an interlocal agreement with the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division. CAPCOG is assisted with the process by its Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.

The state posted the request for applications on Dec. 12, 2014, which is open until Feb. 27, 2015, when all applicants must have uploaded their applications to the CJD E-grants website.

> Read more about the Criminal Justice Division Program and its grant funding opportunities.

Counselors assist with 600 hours of Medicare open enrollment

Monday, January 12, 2015

Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area benefit counselors provided assistance to hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries’ during the federal program’s 53-day open enrollment period, Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.

During open enrollment, which allows people to change their health or prescription drug coverage, benefits counselors provided assistance based counseling on Medicare Part D plan searches and the application process.

The AAACAP Benefits Counseling Program provided assistance to 372 consumers offering almost 600 hours of assistance activities. Counselors helped about 29 percent more consumers and provided about 30 percent hours of assistance during the period compared to the 53 days before open enrollment started. About 266 consumers were provided with 420 hours of assistance during the 53 days before open enrollment began.

Benefit counselors continue to educate older adults, caregivers, family members and the general public about relevant information for eligibility and requirements for Medicare and other public programs. They travel throughout CAPCOG’s 10-county region educating consumers about making informed decisions related to Medicare, advance planning, preventing and identifying Medicare fraud, and other aging issues.

> Read more about AAACAP's benefits counseling program.
> Discover local opportunities to receive benefit counseling.
> Learn about AAACAP.

TCEQ announces workshops for TERP Rebate Grant

Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Source: Texas Commission of Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality will open the application process for 2015 Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) Rebate Grant Program on Feb. 9, 2015. To the assist interested governments and organizations with the grant process, the state agency is offering four application workshops in January.

The rebate grant is a first-come, first-serve program to upgrade and replace diesel heavy-duty vehicles and non-road equipment. Vehicles and equipment must have 75 percent of their annual usage spent in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Williamson, and/or 34 other Texas counties.

An Austin application workshop will be conducted at the following time and location:

1:30-4:30 p.m., Jan. 27, 2015
TCEQ's Austin Office
Building E, Room 201S (Agenda Room)
12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, Texas 78753

> Read more about the TERP Rebate Grant Program.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

Other workshops will be at:

  • 1:30-4:30 p.m., Jan. 14, 2015
    North Central Texas Council of Governments
    616 Six Flags Drive
    Arlington, Texas 76011

  • 1:30-4:30 p.m., Jan. 22, 2015
    Alamo Area Council of Governments
    8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700
    San Antonio, Texas 78217-6228

  • 1:30-4:30 p.m., Jan. 29, 2015
    5:30-7:30 p.m. (en Español), Jan. 29, 2015
    Tracy Gee Community Center
    3599 Westcenter Drive
    Houston, Texas 77042

New Executive Committee meets January 14

Monday, January 05, 2015

CAPCOG’s 2015 Executive Committee will meet for the first time on Jan. 14 after being selected by the organization’s General Assembly Representatives in December.

The Executive Committee, which consists of 29 elected officials from throughout the region, serves on the board to conduct business for the council of governments and direct staff on program implementation, budgets, contracts and general policies and procedures for managing the agency. The governing committee meets once a month, generally on the second Wednesday of the month.

It also serves as the managing board for the Capital Area Emergency Communications District, which governs the region’s 9-1-1 systems.

Representing counties

  • Judge Paul Pape, Bastrop County
  • Judge Brett Bray, Blanco County
  • Judge James Oakley, Burnet County
  • Judge Ken Schawe, Caldwell County
  • Judge Ed Janecka, Fayette County
  • Judge Bert Cobb, Hays County
  • Commissioner Maurice Pitts, Lee County
  • Judge Mary Cunningham, Llano County
  • Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Travis County
  • Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, Travis County
  • Judge Dan A. Gattis, Williamson County

Representing the City of Austin

  • Council Member Kathie Tovo

Representing cities greater than 100,000

  • Mayor Alan McGraw, Round Rock

Representing cities with 25,000 to 100,000

  • Council Member Donald Tracy, Cedar Park
  • Council Member Kirsten Lynch, Leander
  • Mayor Jeff Coleman, Pflugerville
  • Mayor Daniel Guerrero, San Marcos

Representing cities with less than 25,000

  • Mayor Caroline Murphy, Bee Cave
  • Council Member Eileen Altmiller, Buda
  • Mayor Marc Holm, Elgin
  • Mayor Debbie Holland, Hutto
  • Mayor Lew White, Lockhart

At-large members

  • Commissioner Joe Don Dockery, Burnet County
  • Commissioner Will Conley, Hays County
  • Commissioner Cynthia Long, Williamson County

Legislators from State Planning Region 12 (nonvoting) 

  • State Rep. Jason Isaac
  • State Rep. Paul Workman
  • State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
  • Senator Judith Zaffirini

> Discover more about the CAPCOG Executive Committee.
> Read the upcoming meeting's agenda.

EPA holds a Texas hearing on proposed smog standards

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold one of three public hearings on the proposed updates to national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, or smog, in Arlington, Texas.

The EPA proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb) to better protect Americans’ health and the environment, while taking comment on a level down to 60 ppb, stated the EPA. The agency estimates the benefits of meeting the proposed standards will outweigh the costs by preventing asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days, premature deaths, and other health effects.

A Texas public hearing about the standards will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Jan. 29 at Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St. in Arlington.

The public may register to speak at a specific time during a hearing by contacting Eloise Shepherd at 919-541-5507 or People also may register in person the day of the hearing. The EPA will accept written comments on the proposed standards until March 17, 2015. The agency will issue a final rule by Oct. 1, 2015.

> Find additional information on the proposal and instructions for submitting written comments.

Two other hearings will take place at the following local times and locations:

9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Jan. 29
William Jefferson Clinton East building, Room 1153
1301 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Feb. 2
Sacramento, Calif.
California Air Resources Board
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 “I” St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

> Read more about CAPCOG’S Air Quality Program.
> Discover the Clean Air Coalition.

Mass fatality plan to benefit response and training

Friday, December 26, 2014

Educating area governments and emergency response teams on how to respond to mass fatality incidents has been priority for the Capital Area Council of Governments Homeland Security Division for years. Entities in the region have participated in a number of training sessions, hosted national recognized trainers on the subject, and focused several planning initiatives on the topic.

In the summer of 2014, CAPCOG received a grant to develop a mass fatality plan so it could provide local jurisdictions with assistance in improving the responses to such incidents throughout its 10-county region. The plan is still under development, but CAPCOG Homeland Security Director Ed Schaefer and Homeland Security Planner Carolyn Sudduth answered questions about why creating a mass fatality plan is important.

What constitutes a mass fatality incident?
Simply stated, a mass fatality incident is any incident resulting in more fatalities than can be managed by a local jurisdiction using its own available resources. Because the level of available resources varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, an incident that would be a “mass fatality incident” in one jurisdiction might not reach that threshold in another.

Mass fatality incidents can result from natural causes, such as tornadoes or pandemic influenza; or have man-made origins, such as the crash of an airliner or an explosion of hazardous chemicals. Mass fatality incidents are sometimes referred to as “mass casualty incidents” but, for planning purposes, mass casualty incidents focus on the need to manage surviving victims while mass fatality incidents focus on the need to manage victims who did not survive. Sometimes, an incident can be both a mass casualty incident and a mass fatality incident.

These types of incidents require multiple agencies and communities coordinate with each other.

Why do governments need to have a mass fatality response plan? And how can the plans help them prepare for a mass fatality incident?
State and federal law require governments at all levels be prepared to respond to emergencies of all types and all degrees of severity, including those that reach the level of a mass fatality incident. Such incidents can occur with little or no warning, as shown by the May 27, 1997 tornado that killed 27 people in Jarrell in Williamson County.

When such incidents have occurred, local officials have used the principles and processes in their jurisdictions’ emergency management plans to guide their response. Development of a mass fatality response plan prior to such an occurrence allows them to focus on the unique issues associated with mass fatality incidents before, not during, the response to such an incident.

Pre-planning provides the opportunity to identify and arrange for needed resources, develop processes and procedures, and train government and private-sector personnel in their roles and responsibilities when such an incident occurs.

What are some of the downfalls of incorrectly handling mass fatality incidents?
A response to a mass fatality incident has several components, including recovery of bodies, processing and final disposition of the remains, and assistance to the families of the deceased. These activities take place in an emotionally charged, highly visible environment that elevates the consequences of failure to follow the requirements of the law or to be sensitive to the needs of the survivors. Any missteps can subject local officials to legal action, negative publicity or both. Every component needs to be handled with a degree of precision, sensitivity and dignity.

How does a mass fatality response plan relate to other homeland security plans and how can it be integrated into those plans?
All jurisdictions are required to develop comprehensive, all-hazard emergency management plans. Such plans outline how local jurisdictions will work with other organizations, including non-governmental organizations and state and federal agencies to provide an effective, coordinated response. Mass fatality response planning is integrated into a broad array of emergency management, law enforcement and public health planning processes. This planning provides the basis for the training and exercise that facilitate such a response.

How will jurisdictions be able to use the developed plan after it is finished? And how can further help those jurisdictions prepare?
CAPCOG is taking a two-pronged approach to mass fatality response planning. The most visible product of this effort will be written plans, guidelines and templates that can be modified by local jurisdictions to meet their particular needs. More important, however, is the opportunity to engage in a process of identifying the issues that will be encountered in a response to a mass fatality incident and to work with other personnel to formulate approaches to dealing with those issues. Our approach focuses on incorporating the unique considerations of mass fatality response into the jurisdiction’s incident command structure, including ensuring that medico-legal authorities continue their statutory oversight of fatality incidents, and incorporating the application of “best practices” to the mass fatality response.

> Discover more about CAPCOG's Homeland Security Divison.

Travis County Judge receives CAPCOG regionalism award

Friday, December 19, 2014

Travis County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe received the Jack Griesenbeck Award from the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) honoring his longtime dedication to regionalism and service to CAPCOG’s 10-county district.

Named after Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, who was CAPCOG’s first chairman, the award recognizes a person who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits and other organization.

Biscoe has done that by serving numerous years on the CAPCOG Executive Committee and serving as the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition’s chairman for the last five years. Biscoe has led the coalition and its other elected officials by consistently addressing issues through a regional lens which is necessary for air quality. With Biscoe’s leadership, the cities and counties have worked hard together taking fairly vigorous actions to keep the region out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s nonattainment air quality status.

Biscoe has been a part of the CAPCOG Executive Committee since he was first elected as a Travis County Commissioner in 1989. He served as the CAPCOG Executive Committee chairman and became the Clean Air Coalition chairman in 2009.

Through his work with both CAPCOG committees, Biscoe has more than proved a commitment to regionalism.

CAPCOG has honored individuals with this award for more than 10 years.

CAPCOG Executive Director Betty Voights presents Travis County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe with CAPCOG's Jack Griesenbeck Award. 

> Read about the previous Jack Griesenbeck Award winner.
> Find out more about the CAPCOG Executive Committee.
> Discover the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition.

Hays County Commissioner honored for service to transportation

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hays County Commissioner, Will Conley, received the Texas Department of Transportation Road Hand award, a prestigious tradition acknowledging those who have made improvements to transportation in their communities.

Commissioner Conley has been a major player in planning viable transportation projects in the region. He has made a difference by serving as chairman on the Capitol Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, as well as through his work in Hays County to make safety improvements to roadways and establish transportation plans to prevent future traffic congestion.

“Commissioner Conley, along with other leaders in Hays County, faces the challenge of planning transportation in one of the fastest growing counties in the state,” said Greg Malatek, Austin District Engineer. “He has devoted time and effort to improving TxDOT and the way the agency does business. His enthusiasm, leadership, and dedicated public service are invaluable and appreciated.”

The Road Hand Award was created in 1973 by former State Highway Engineer Luther DeBerry. He recognized that TxDOT owes a great deal to its many friends and supporters for their efforts to make the Texas highway program the best in the world. The award is the highest tribute to citizens who freely give their time, energy, and vision to champion transportation projects in Texas.

“It was a surprise and honor to receive the State's highest recognition for a local official in transportation,” Conley said. “Thank you to the citizens of Precinct 3, Hays County Commissioner's Court, and my colleagues across the region for giving me the opportunity to work on this important issue for our community and State.”

> Discover more on the Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

Law enforcement academy teaches a lifelong career

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thanks to funding from the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, the Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy operates one of the area’s most affordable education opportunities for people looking for a lifelong career in law enforcement.

Last year, CAPCOG conducted five basic peace officers courses (BPOCs) graduating 92 cadets which joined law enforcement agencies around the region. Those same agencies and ones outside the region often recruit the BPOC’s cadets during the course. Two courses are underway and a third will start in January.

> Find a schedule of future BPOCs and additional training opportunities.

For $2,300, prospective officers can enroll in a BPOC. Law enforcement agencies in the region can sponsor cadets for a discounted rate of $1,900. Military veterans also can qualify for Chapter 30, Montgomery GI Bill benefits, and Chapter 33, Post 911 GI Bill benefits. Veterans who plan to use the Post-9/11 or Montgomery GI Bill must submit a certificate of eligibility from the VA, Muskogee, Okla. Office, stating the percent of tuition that will be paid. If it is less than 100 percent, the student will pay the remainder.

> Read more about CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

GeoMap program improves orthoimagery resolution

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Capital Area Council of Governments GIS Program’s GeoMap, a cooperative buying program, is coordinating the purchase of orthoimagery with 12 participating local entities that include counties, municipalities and the Capital Area Emergency Communications District in 2015.

For the first time ever, the entire 10-county region — more than 8,800 square miles — will be captured in 12-inch or 6-inch resolution. CAPCOG GIS is working to make the data available by county mosaics and ultimately the entire region in one file.

The GIS program provides mapping, GIS consulting, spatial analysis to CAPCOG divisions, member governments and the public. Its most prominent service is maintaining and publishing digital maps for 9-1-1 telecommunicators and dispatchers. In FY 2015, CAPCOG GIS is continuing the  implementation of new data layers for Next Generation 9-1-1 geospatial data, database maintenance, regional support and training.

> Contact Jonathan Pattiwael, CAPCOG GIS analyst II.
> Read more about CAPCOG's GIS program.

CAPCOG honors Parmer with volunteer award

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Capital Area Council of Governments recognized Phill Parmer, of Llano, with its first volunteer service award on Dec. 10. Parmer, 94, is the longest serving Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area volunteer.

He has dedicated more than 19 years to assisting with the care of older adults throughout CAPCOG’s 10-county region. Since 1995, Parmer has participated as a CAPCOG Aging Advisory Committee member. He served as a past committee chair and held every position on the board. He has conducted numerous focus groups in Llano County to help identify and strategize to meet those needs of seniors in the capital region.

Palmer has dedicated an enormous amount of time on the aging evaluation committee by visiting senior centers and nutrition meal sites to conduct contract on-site monitoring each year. Annually, he also assisted scoring applications from outside entities to provide home delivered and congregate meal programs.

In 1996, Parmer became a Certified Ombudsman. As a volunteer ombudsman, he has visited and advocated for seniors and their families monthly and weekly by visiting nursing homes and assisted-living centers in Llano and surrounding cities. He continues to be an active ombudsman but resigned from the Aging Advisory Committee earlier this year because of health reasons.

Parmer also was elected to the Texas Silver Haired Legislature from 1992-1996, where he advocated and spearheaded legislative initiatives related to senior issues.

Phill Parmer, 94 of Llano, accepts the CAPCOG Volunteer Service Award from Llano County Judge and CAPCOG Executive Committee Chairman Wayne Brascom during CAPCOG's Dec. 10 General Assembly Meeting.

> Read more about the Area Agency on Aging.
> Discover the Area Agency on Aging ombudsman program.

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