Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter once a month that provides highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In This Issue
FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR




As we gear up for the 20th Annual Meeting/Strategic Session of SARPC we
have eleven (11) new Mayors in our three county region. 

To date we have  80 local elected officials and others registered for this important meeting.   "REGIONALISM- For a Better Future" is our conference theme and we look  forward to seeing many of you on December 8th and 9th.  

Thanks!
John F." Rickey" Rhodes






20th ANNUAL MEETING AGENDA



TRANSPORTATION




We have Six Members to the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board

Mayor Thomas Williams; City Satsuma
Mayor Jimmie Gardner; City of Prichard
Mayor David Baker; City of Semmes
Mayor Terry Downey; City of Bayou La Batre
Mayor William Criswell; Town of Creola
Mr. Bryan Kegley, PE, (County Engineer's Office)
 

There will be an Mobile MPO Meeting on November 30th, 2016

Some of the items on the agenda for the MPO meeting on November 30th include the CMP (below), and the TAP (below). Also on the agenda are some minor amendments to the 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program:
 
National Highway Funds
100060153 SR-158 Extension from .5 mile east of Glenwood Road to west of Lott Road move out of TIP from 2019 to 2020; $18,077,373
100066178  Resurfacing of SR-42 (US-98) from the Mississippi State Line to Snow Road;  4/28/2017; $3,391,091.00
 
Bridge Funds
100064691 PE Replace Bridge on SR16 (US90) westbound over Tensaw -Spanish River; $707,000; 11/1/2016
 

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

The Mobile MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) met this past  Wednesday. Elections were held and Mr. Jeff DeQuattro was elected as the new chairperson and Mr. Hanlon Walsh was elected as the vice chairperson. We would like to thank these gentlemen for stepping up and taking on this responsibility. We would also like to thank Mr. John Blanton for his previous service as the BPAC chairperson. The changes to the Mobile MPO's Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grants were discussed. The meeting also included a discussion about several projects in the MPO area that have bike/ped components, including  the City of Mobile's Broad/Beauregard Street TIGER project, the Water St. project, the road diet on Springhill Ave. from Broad to Ann, and the proposed I10 Mobile River Bridge. Recent crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians were also discussed. The minutes of the meeting are being transcribed and will be posted on the BPAC webpage soon.

Congestion Management Process (CMP)

One of the items that was discussed at the TCC/CAC meeting to bring before the MPO Policy Board meeting, is a reinvention of the Mobile Urban Area CMP.  Prior to FY 2017, the Mobile CMP was a thorough process for monitoring congestion, developing improvements, and prioritizing improvements; however, it was inefficient, and ineffective.  The current federal transportation funding bill, the FAST ACT, has introduced requirements for performance measures for projects and processes.  As a performance measure, projects not being implemented through a Congestion Management Process, is an indicator that it is time to reinvent the process.
 
Our intention is create a new funding program out of the STP Attributable Funds of $500,000 (federal) annually for strictly intersection type improvements. These can be new adaptive signals, access management strategies, roundabouts, etc.  It has to be additional capacity, as that is what the STP Attributable Funds are for, but the new program would concentrate on intersections.  The projects would have to be justified, with performance measures.  These performance measures would be included in the project ranking process, and would include a travel time index (free flow / congested speed), a roadway congestion index (capacity index), and a rear-end collisions per mile factor.   We have developed this for some corridors and presented them to the TCC/CAC on November 9th with a lot of discussion. The Long Range Transportation Plan  Destination 2040  will have to be modified to account for this new program. The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) has to be fiscally constrained, which means this $500,000 has to come from somewhere.  The LRTP identified a grade separated interchange at Azalea Rd and Airport Blvd.  Rather than spending $14 Million on such a large project that may not be well received with the business owners, we are proposing to use that money in the mean time for smaller intersection type improvements all over the Urban Area.


MATTER OF BALANCE CLASS

A Matter of Balance class is in full swing at the James P. Nix Senior Activity Center in November_ taught by volunteers with the Area Agency on Aging. Local seniors in Fairhope are learning to increase their self-confident in staying active while avoiding falls.
NOVEMBER - NATIONAL CAREGIVER MONTH

November is National Caregiver Month.  The Area Agency on Aging partnered with AARP Alabama to support caregivers through a local TV campaign, culminating with a telethon on WPMI 15 (NBC) on November 16 that included interviews with Area Agency on Aging staff, our local agency partners and caregivers.  Five of our staff manned a phone bank on-air for four hours.  Pictured ready for the phones to begin ringing at the WPMI station are Front Row (L to R) Christina Boyington,(Aging and Disability Resource Center Coordinator), Dusty Walsh, (Medicaid Waiver ADRC), Della Sanchez, (Alabama Cares Caregiver Program Coordinator); and Back Row (L to R), Larraine Martin, (SenioRx Prescription Assistance Program Coordinator) and Julie McGee, Area Agency on Aging Director.

SARPC JOINS NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO END SENIOR HUNGER

When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: a fixed income, and rising food costs.

Nationally, adults aged 65+ have an average annual income of $46,627, and they spend more than $5,500-or nearly 12%-on food. Additionally, this year those who rely on Social Security received just a 0.3% increase in their Cost of Living Adjustment. Their friends just 10 years younger have a greater income (averaging $75,262 annually), and they spend less (9.3%) on groceries.

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission's Area Agency on Aging was recently awarded a grant to support a National Council on Aging (NCOA) nationwide effort to help older adults struggling to buy groceries apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to supplement their food budget.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that just 2 out of every 5 seniors who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program. This means that millions of low-income older adults are missing out on this vital program, which provides an average monthly benefit of $110 to help participants buy healthy food.

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission is one of more than 30 community organizations across the country that is stepping up its efforts to assist seniors in applying for SNAP. The organizations will use NCOA's free online BenefitsCheckUpĀ® tool ( www.BenefitsCheckUp.org ) to screen older adults with limited income for SNAP eligibility. Since 2014, the initiative has screened almost 400,000 people for SNAP eligibility, and helped nearly 70,000 seniors apply for SNAP.

"We're excited to be part of this proven effort that has the potential to help low-income older adults in South Alabama improve their health and financial security," said Julie McGee, Area Agency on Aging Director. The Area Agency on Aging has a strong history of helping seniors in need. We're confident that increasing SNAP enrollment with BenefitsCheckUpĀ® and other proven outreach methods will have a profound effect on lives of seniors in Baldiwn, Mobile and Escambia counties."

To find out more about SNAP eligibility, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 251-706-4680 or 1-800-243-5463.

For more information on NCOA's senior hunger initiative, visit ncoa.org/SeniorHunger .



NATIONAL COUNCIL ON AGING SELECTS SARPC'S AREA AGENCY ON AGING FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission's Area Agency on Aging is one of seven sites in the U.S. chosen by the National Council on Aging for a marketing campaign to find effective methods to reach older adults and adults with disabilities who are likely eligible but not receiving public and private benefits that could make them more economically secure.  The campaign will run during the first six months of 2017 and utilize traditional media like ads and radio, and social media, all arranged by a national marketing firm.  We are excited about this partnership, which we expect to bring awareness about the services that the Area Agency on Aging provides to our citizens in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia Counties. The Area Agency on Aging has been a funded partner with the National Council on Aging since 2009, being selected to become  one of only ten Benefit Enrollment Centers at that time.  There are now 57, with SARPC's program continuing to be one of the strongest.  We currently receive  Benefit Enrollment Center and SNAP Senior Hunger sustainability grants from the National Council on Aging.  In addition, we were again awarded a SNAP Outreach Grant from the Alabama Department of Human Resources for a statewide project to let persons age 60 and older know about food assistance available through the Alabama Elderly Simplified Application Project. Stay tuned for us to announce our Benefit Enrollment Campaign in January.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Grant Opportunities
 
National Endowment for Art offers Big Read Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts supports organizations in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.  Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a division of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library. Eligible applicants include organizations such as arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, colleges and universities, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments.  Applications are due January 26, 2017.   For more information,  please go to:
http://neabigread.org/application_process.php .
 
DOT Fastlane program accepting applications

The U.S. Departments of Transportation's (USDOT) Build America Bureau is now soliciting applications for up to $850 million in Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grants. The FASTLANE program was established in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country. The deadline for submitting applications is 8:00PM on December 15, 2016. For more information, please visit
https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/FASTLANEgrants .
 
EPA announces funding for brownfields clean-up grants

EPA announced the availability of funding to support clean-up grants under its Brownfields Program.  Assessment grants are also available, but under separate announcement.  RLF grants are not anticipated for FY2017; EPA is planning on recapitalizing successful existing brownfield RLFs rather than creating new ones.  Funds are available to help states, communities, tribes, and nonprofits with brownfield projects.  To learn more about the clean-up brownfield grants, please go to:
http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=289447 .  To learn more about brownfield assessment grants, please go to: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=EPA-OLEM-OBLR-16-08   Applications under both grant opportunities must be submitted no later than December 20, 2016 .

EDA accepting FY 2017 Proposals for projects that will foster economic development and support job creation

EDA invites applicants to work with their Economic Development Representative and develop a Proposal for potential projects that will foster economic development by promoting long-term job creation and the attraction of private investment.  EDA grant
programs support eligible applicants (States, units of local government, institutions of higher education, nonprofits working in collaboration with political subdivision of a State, Tribes) in implementing construction projects to advance economic development.  To learn more about EDA's grant programs and opportunities, please feel free to contact me at dburnett@sarpc.org or 251-706-4621. 

EMPLOYMENT & ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
 
The Senior Community Service Employment Program assigns eligible participants who match the income guidelines to Host Agencies to provide them the opportunity to gain on-the-job training/work experience.  Participants are paid a stipend of $7.25 per hour for the community service they provide to the host agency they are assigned to.  The experience they gain at the host agency will result in the participant becoming more marketable.  Becoming more marketable can result in them acquiring an unsubsidized job.  The goal of the program is to move participants off the program and into unsubsidized employment.
 
In another effort to assist the participants in becoming more marketable, November's quarterly meeting was held at Mobile's Main Public Library's computer lab.  The computer lab staff gave the participants basic computer instructions.  Additionally, the participants were made aware of job search tools housed in the library.
 
Mature Staffing Service (MSS)

If you have staffing needs, then Mature Staffing Service (MSS) would like the opportunity to assist you.
 
Whether you need a full-time employee or a part-time temporary worker Mature Staffing Service can help.  MSS provides services to government and non-profit organizations in which part-time temporary workers and full time permanent workers are placed. 
 
Is it getting hard for you to squeeze in the time to process your payroll because there are so many other issues requiring your attention?  Let us lighten your load by handling all payroll processing such as:  worker's compensation, all payroll taxes, and direct deposit. 
 
You owe it to yourself to find out how Mature Staffing Service can help.  Call (251) 652-0585 today.
 
Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)

The Revolving Loan Fund is a source of capital available to entrepreneurs for start-up businesses or existing businesses.
 
The Revolving Loan Fund can be used for the purchase of property and buildings, equipment, and working capital needs.  The loan limits are $10,000 to $125,000.  The purpose of the RLF funds is to assist small businesses in their capital needs and to create and sustain jobs in the communities it serves. 
 
Let us know about your loan request today by calling (251) 652-0585.  We want to stand in the gap for you.

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT GOES ON THE ROAD

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment period is here, from October 15 to December 7th.  In addition to help available at the SARPC office, the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) of the Area Agency on Aging has held Open Enrollment Medicare events offering one-on-one counseling at several locations.  These locations include the Satsuma Public Library, sponsored by the Town of Satsuma, , the Boat People SOS office in Bayou la Batre, Bayou Health Clinic, Revelation Baptist Church, Atmore Satellite Courthouse, Poarch Creek reservation, and partnered with pharmacy students from the Harrison School of Pharmacy through Auburn University for an event at the Semmes Senior Center.  Medicare enrollment assistance is also provided every Tuesday and Thursdaythrough December 6th at SARPC's office at the GM&O building, and by appointment at the Councils on Aging in Baldwin and Escambia Counties.  For information call us at 706-4680.
ALABAMA SILVER HAIRED LEGISLATURE ADOPT 2017 ADVOCACY ISSUES AT RECENT SESSION

The Top Ten Resolutions adopted by the ASHL for advocacy in 2017 were:

  1. Increase monthly personal needs allowance of Medicaid nursing home residents
  2. Abolish predatory payday lending businesses
  3. Fund transportation for seniors in rural areas and small municipalities
  4. Provide dental coverage for seniors through Medicaid and Medicare
  5. Increase allowable income for the over 65 homestead exemption
  6. Provide funding to purchase food and supplies for Meals on Wheels programs
  7. Perpetuate exemption of retirement income from State income taxes
  8. Allocate a portion of lottery money to AAAs
  9. Provide transportation for seniors to dialysis centers
  10. Maintain existing funding for ADSS and AAA programs
Pictured are some of the local members of South Alabama_s District 8 delegation who attended the Annual Alabama Silver Haired Legislature Session at the Alabama State House in Montgomery October 24-26.

The Silver-Haired Legislature is a model, volunteer legislature that parallels the Alabama House of Representatives.  Members represent each of the 105 state legislative districts and are elected by other senior citizens from their districts.  Membership in the Legislature gives Alabama's seniors a real-life experience in representing the interests of older Alabamians in state government.
AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER HAS NEW PHONE NUMBER

Notice a change when you call SARPC to reach the Area Agency on Aging?  Our 1-800-AGE-LINE now directly connects to our Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)  and centralizes intake for all aging and disability programs. The direct line is 706-4680.  If you need  "Answers on Aging" give us a call! 
"WELCOME TO MEDICARE" SEMINARS IN BALDWIN AND ESCAMBIA COUNTIES

The new location for the Baldwin County "Welcome to Medicare" monthly seminar is at the Spanish Fort Community Center and is held the 2nd  Wednesday  of each month.  The new location in Escambia County is the Atmore Community Hospital and is held the first  Monday  of every month. 


In Mobile the monthly seminars continue at SARPC's office in the GM&O building the 1st Tuesday of each month. Welcome to Medicare seminars are held in Mobile and Baldwin County from 9am  until noon and Escambia County 10am-11:30am .  For additional information, contact James Roberson at 706-4617.

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