Archive for January, 2012

Atlanta Region Meets Federal Clean Air Quality Standards

January 31, 2012

ARC Media Release

(ATLANTA – January 25, 2012) The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that, for the first time, the 20-county metro Atlanta region now meets the federal standards for air quality established in 1997.

Those standards, called the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), regulate both ozone and fine particulate matter.

“Reaching air quality attainment to the federal standards has been a long time coming,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “The Atlanta region has reached a goal that should make every resident of metro Atlanta literally breathe a little easier. Now, we can turn our attention to continuing to fight for even cleaner air for our children and grandchildren.”

As the transportation planning agency for the Atlanta region, ARC is working with the State of Georgia and the EPA to ensure metro Atlanta remains in air quality attainment. It is also preparing for new, tougher regulations currently being finalized in Washington.

More About the Attainment Region

For air quality purposes, the Atlanta region consists of Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Spalding and Walton counties in the their entireties, as well as portions of Heard and Putnam counties.

More About the Health Impacts

According to the EPA, each of us breathes more than 3,000 gallons of air each day. Polluted air causes irritation to eyes, noses and throats, and contributes to the almost 30 million Americans currently diagnosed with asthma.

Along with effects on our respiratory health, pollutants in the air also affect crops, water and animals – affecting the food chain. Other pollutants make their way into the upper atmosphere, causing a thinning of the protective ozone layer, exposing people to higher risk of skin cancer and cataracts.

For more, visit http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/peg/concern.html

More About the Science

Fine particulate matter is defined by EPA as particles about 1/30 the width of a human hair, small enough that they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. They are found in smoke, exhaust and other emissions that result from the burning process. Ozone is created when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds come together.

Visit http://www.atlantaregional.com/environment/air

Community Planning Academy & Local Government Training Institute Spring 2012 Class Schedules Now Available

January 31, 2012

ARC’s Government Services Division is pleased to announce that Community Planning Academy (CPA) and Local Government Training Institute (LGTI) class schedules for the Spring 2012 semester are now available.

For schedules and additional information, see our flyer, as well as the CPA website and LGTI website.

Jan. 30 Webinar on Substandard Housing Abatement Program in Griffin, GA

January 24, 2012

Mark your calendars on Monday, January 30 at 1:00 p.m. for a WebEx session for local governments hosted by ARC, Enterprise Community Partners and Piece by Piece.

Our guest this month will be Frederick Gardiner, Director of Planning and Development Services for the City of Griffin, Georgia. In an effort to eliminate substandard housing, the City of Griffin has recently implemented a substandard housing abatement program by increasing taxation rates on blighted properties. Blighted properties increase the burden on state and local governments, particularly in the areas of social services, public safety and code enforcement, and rehabilitation of these properties decreases the need for such services. The new program in Griffin is designed to recoup some of the expenses put into blighted properties by encouraging property owners to rehabilitate their properties. You can read recent some media coverage here. Mr. Gardiner has also presented on Griffin’s taxation ordinance to the DeKalb County Commission’s Public Works Committee, which is currently deciding whether to implement a similar tax.

Join us to learn more about this innovative tool and its impact on neighborhoods in Griffin. Please RSVP to Marisa Ghani at ARC (mghani@atlantaregional.com or 404-463-3309) so that we may have an estimated headcount. Login information for the WebEx session is below.

WEBEX SESSION LOGIN INFORMATION:

Topic: Piece By Piece Local Government Sector Jan 2012 WebEx
Date: Monday, January 30, 2012
Time: 1:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Access code: 653 072 976

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR PHONE NUMBER AND OTHER INFORMATION

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To join the online meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
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1. Go to https://enterprisecommunity.webex.com/enterprisecommunity/j.php?ED=188183297&UID=0&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: (This meeting does not require a password.)
4. Click “Join”.

To view in other time zones or languages, please go to:
https://enterprisecommunity.webex.com/enterprisecommunity/j.php?ED=188183297&UID=0&ORT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D

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To join the audio conference only
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Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-469-3239
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-429-3300
Toll-free dialing restrictions: http://www.webex.com/pdf/tollfree_restrictions.pdf

Access code: 653 072 976

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For assistance
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1. Go to https://enterprisecommunity.webex.com/enterprisecommunity/mc
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), go to:
https://enterprisecommunity.webex.com/enterprisecommunity/j.php?ED=188183297&UID=0&ICS=MI&LD=1&RD=2&ST=1&SHA2=AMHTviK6VfGLV1F6QIdStfRpcMoO//AzvwD-8zWWpww=&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D

The playback of UCF (Universal Communications Format) rich media files requires appropriate players. To view this type of rich media files in the meeting, please check whether you have the players installed on your computer by going to https://enterprisecommunity.webex.com/enterprisecommunity/systemdiagnosis.php.

ARC, Area Hospitals Partner to Improve Patient Outcomes, Reduce Costs

January 18, 2012

ARC Press Release

(ATLANTA – January 18, 2012)  The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Area Agency on Aging for metro Atlanta, along with federal and local partners, has been tapped to implement Medicare’s new Community-based Care Transitions Program in the Atlanta region. ARC is one of seven community-based organizations in the country to test this new way to improve care for people with Medicare.

ARC will work with six metro Atlanta hospitals, the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Administration on Aging in a public-private partnership to improve care for people with Medicare, while at the same time saving the system money. The six hospitals are Emory University Hospital Midtown, Gwinnett Medical Center Lawrenceville, Piedmont Hospital, Southern Regional Medical Center and WellStar Cobb and WellStar Kennestone hospitals.

Care Transitions is an evidence-based model that was developed by Dr. Eric Coleman, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado to put patients more in charge of their healthcare. Care Transitions coaching gives patients and family caregivers the tools and skills they need to be more comfortable and confident in talking with physicians and other providers about their care as they move from the hospital to home or rehab. The goal is to lower hospital readmission rates by preventing problems after patients leave the hospital. While many return trips to the hospital are unavoidable, Medicare estimates that avoidable readmissions nationally cost the system $12 billion a year.

“The program recognizes that even with good discharge planning in the hospital, things can go wrong once the patient gets home,” said Cathie Berger, director of the Area Agency on Aging at the Atlanta Regional Commission. “ARC and its partners in the Aging Network have a long history of working with older adults in their homes and communities, and are in an ideal position to provide the coaching and support seniors need to stay out of the hospital.”

The six hospitals participating in the project were selected based on readmission rates, profiles of their patient populations or existing Care Transitions initiatives. Prior to applying as a provider through Medicare’s Community-based Care Transitions Program, ARC had conducted a pilot program using Dr. Coleman’s model with Piedmont, Southern Regional and WellStar Cobb hospitals.

Medicare fee-for-service patients from the six hospitals with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia will be referred to ARC, who will follow patients for 30 days after discharge from the hospital. The hospitals will identify eligible patients.

Following the referral, a Care Transitions coach from ARC will provide a bedside consultation in the hospital to summarize the program and schedule a home visit within a week of discharge. The home visit will cover medication management, the importance of follow-up visits with physicians, red flags or warnings that warrant immediate contact with the patient’s physician and how to keep a personal health record. In addition, the coach will assess the need for support services and order them where appropriate. Weekly phone calls over the following three weeks will reinforce patient self-management, the patient’s progress toward goals and any changes in health status or medications.

ARC’s agreement with Medicare will run for two years, with the option to extend. ARC expects to see approximately 4,000 patients per year. While the initial program includes only three diagnoses and six hospitals, ARC anticipates the program will add other hospitals and diagnoses as the benefits of the program are demonstrated.

CNU Atlanta Sponsoring Complete Streets Design Workshop on Friday, February 17

January 18, 2012

From a recent CNU email announcement:

CNU Atlanta is pleased to announce registration is open for our Complete Streets Design Workshop. The workshop will be held on Friday, February 17 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Midtown Atlanta, and will focus on applying the new ITE/CNU manual Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares:  A Context Sensitive Approach.

Rick Hall, with Hall Planning and Engineering, will be leading the instruction and Tom Weyandt, Senior Policy Advisor on Transportation for the City of Atlanta, will also be on hand to talk about the importance of linking transportation policy with design and construction implementation.

For more information about the event, please visit the workshop page at our new website. Or to go directly to registration, please click here.

Also, if you can’t attend or want to join the pre-workshop conversation, we will be hosting a special Thirsty Third Thursday (T3) happy hour on the evening of Thursday February 16.

Roundabout Design Workshop in Atlanta, April 3-4

January 17, 2012

From a recent flyer circulated at ARC:

NE ROUNDABOUTS is conducting a 2-day workshop on Modern Roundabout Design in Atlanta on April 3 and 4.  NE ROUNDABOUTS is one of only a handful of firms that are pre-qualified to perform roundabout peer reviews for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

NE ROUNDABOUTS is offering this comprehensive workshop in order to better inform and educate transportation professionals about the appropriate methods to employ when planning and designing single lane and multi-lane roundabouts. Topics will include circular intersection history, safety, capacity models, signing and striping, and geometric design techniques.

For any questions on the workshop, or to inquire about having a customized workshop, email round@roundabouts.cc, visit www.roundabouts.cc or call NE ROUNDABOUTS at 518-674-8350 (office) or 518-424-5933 (cell).


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