ACOG Hosts 8th Annual Senior Angel Tree
Each year the Ombudsman staff organizes the Senior Angel Tree Project. ACOG selects a senior facility from our region and the residents are asked to write down their “wish list”. This year’s Angel Tree Project benefited two facilities in Inman, SC totaling 46 residents. This facility accepts Medicaid residents and many do not have family or friends to visit them.

Those who donate to the program can “adopt” a senior and purchase the items on the residents’ list or give a monetary donation. The Ombudsman Program collects the donations in hopes of providing each resident with items from their wish list, as well as necessities such as toiletry items.

Typically, the ACOG staff members, ACOG Board of Directors, and the RAAC Board of Directors adopt the residents and purchase the items on their wish lists. This year, the Ombudsman Program reached out to the community using the Next Door website. More than a dozen community members responded, some adopting seniors, and others offering monetary donations. It was great to see the local community joining in to give back to the seniors in need.

The support from ACOG staff, Board members, and the community meant that all 44 residents received items from their wish list, as well as a blanket, toiletries, socks, hat, gloves, snack foods, and activity book.
Elected Official Training and Information Sessions
As the next decade begins, many local governments are initiating projects, programs, and policies that will continue to elevate the quality of life in our upstate region. The mission of our Government Services Program is to provide informative, practical services to administrative and elected officials to assist them in serving their communities. Services we provide include facilitating orientations for newly elected local government officials and goal setting sessions for elected governing bodies.
A comprehensive orientation include s ; an overview of the code of ordinances, structure of government, legislative powers and responsibilities, roles and responsibilities of elected officials and staff, the Freedom of Information Act, ethics laws and reporting requirements, meeting rules and procedures, economic development, annexation, and budgeting and finance.
Goal setting builds cooperative relationships among council members. Establishing prioritized goals provides direction to the administrator and staff on where to focus efforts and resources and how to allocate funds. These goals also provide a standard against which to measure performance and accomplishment. Good practice is to evaluate and update goals annually and to align goal setting with the budget cycle to ensure Council’s priorities are incorporated into the development of the annual budget.
Please contact Trey Eubanks at 864.241.4631 to see if we can support you in improving the quality of life for the citizens in our upstate communities.  
SHIP Helps Thousands During Open Enrollment
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free, in depth, unbiased, one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, friends, and caregivers. SHIP is a grant-funded project of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL).

SHIP Counselors answer questions about Medicare and assist people in obtaining coverage through options that include the Original Medicare program, Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plans, and programs designed to help people with limited incomes pay for their health care, such as Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program, and the Low Income Subsidy. SHIP Counselors also help people compare Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) insurance policies and explain how these and other supplemental insurance options -- such as insurance plans for retirees -- work with Medicare.

Our Certified Insurance Counselors provided on-site awareness, education, and enrollment assistance to over 2,500 Medicare beneficiaries during the 2019 Open Enrollment period, October 15th through December 7th.
High-Tech Aviation Soars In Greenville, SC
Thank you to ARC for its recent visit and its continued support in improving our region. Below is an article from ARC on their recent visit to SCTAC in Greenville.

During World War II, the Greenville Army Base opened a few miles away from downtown Greenville, South Carolina to support military operations. Since then, the 2,600 acre facility has gone through many iterations and name changes from the Donaldson Air Force Base, to the Donaldson Center Airport, to the Donaldson Center Industrial Park. In 2008, with support from ARC, the South Carolina Energy Office, and other state and local partners, the facility underwent extensive capital improvements and an aggressive rebranding initiative. The result was the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center ( SCTAC) which is now an international hub for advanced manufacturing, project development, and technology innovation in support of the region’s robust aviation industry.
Earlier this week, ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas joined local officials to learn more about SCTAC’s mission, vision, and programs. Currently, SCTAC is home to over 100 local and national businesses, including major international companies like Michelin, Lockheed Martin, and 3M. Earlier this year, SCTAC saw Lockheed Martin cutting the ribbon on an advanced manufacturing facility dedicated to building F-16s and other military equipment, and 3M announcing a plan to invest $60 million to increase its manufacturing capacity. In addition to manufacturing, SCTAC is also home to the International Transportation Innovation Center, an automobile development and testing facility; the South Carolina National Guard; a public use airport; and Greenville Technical College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology, Certified Truck Driving, and other workforce training programs. Altogether, SCTAC contributes nearly $2 billion to the local economy annually, and directly or indirectly supports over 8,500 jobs.
2019 CEDS Update Released
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a program of the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). The Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (PWEDA) requires federally designated Economic Development Districts, such as the South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments (SCACOG), to develop and maintain a CEDS in order to both establish a regional economic development strategy and maintain the region’s eligibility for EDA grant competition and programs. The program requires annual updates of the CEDS as well as a full re-write of the CEDS at least once every five years.

In 2017, SCACOG submitted to EDA a new five-year CEDS entitled A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Appalachian Region of South Carolina: 2018-2022 . This document is the work of many committed individuals from both the private and public sector who desire to support the continued, positive growth of the South Carolina Appalachian region. The 2019 Annual Performance Report , released in December 2019, highlights the economic development activity in the region as it pertains to the goals identified in the 2018-2022 CEDS and provides an updated snapshot of economic conditions throughout the region.
Important Dates to Look Forward to in 2020
All Year: To see all ACOG Board Meetings and RAAC Committee Meetings, use our ACOG Board Meeting Calendar
January 29: Deadline to sign up for the Winter 2020 Management and Supervision Training
July 16: Deadline to sign up for the Summer 2020 Management and Supervision Training
October 1: Deadline to sign up for the Fall 2020 Management and Supervision Training
October 15: Medicare Open Enrollment begins. For more information, visit our SHIP Department
November: Senior Angel Tree 2020 donation collection begins

For more important dates, deadlines, and updates be sure to check our Classes and Events Calendar . Some dates are subject to change.
Regional News and Announcements
  1. 2019 Fact Sheets are now available. For an interactive look at the data in the fact sheets, please visit our Data Center.
  2. Become a Volunteer Ombudsman! Volunteer Ombudsmen work with residents to communicate concerns and provide support and empowerment.
  3. To learn more about the Appalachian Council of Governments, please visit our website.