You Are Invited to Help Us Plan the Future

of Transit in Indian River County.

Transit Development Plan Public Workshop

Wednesday, February 13th

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

North Indian River County Library

1001 Sebastian Blvd. (CR 512)

Sebastian, FL32958

The Indian River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is in the process of developing a transit development plan for the community.  If you are interested in the future of Indian RiverCounty’s transit system, please plan to attend this workshop. We need to hear from you so we can incorporate your ideas, goals and values.

For more information visit www.irmpo.com or call Phil Matson at (772) 226-1455

For complaints, questions or concerns about civil rights or nondiscrimination; or for special requests under the American with Disabilities Act, please contact: Phil Matson, Title VI Coordinator at (772) 226-1455 or pmatson@ircgov.com.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Phil Matson at (772) 226-1455 or pmatson@ircgov.com at least seven days prior to the meeting.

The agenda for the FDOT District Five November 29, 2012 grant workshops is below.  The letter following the agenda is a reminder for you to R.S.V.P.  If you have already sent your R.S.V.P., there is no need to do so again.  Hope to see you there!

Date: Location:

Florida Department of Transportation – District 5

GRANT WORKSHOP

November 29, 2012 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Lake Apopka Conference Rooms A & B FDOT –

District 5 Urban Office 133 South Semoran Boulevard Orlando, Florida 32807

MORNING SESSION: 5310/5311 GRANT WORKSHOP 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

9:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 11:20 a.m. 12:00 a.m.

– 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Registration Introductions Overview of MAP-21 Section 5310 & Section 5311 Overview CUTR: Vehicle Procurement

How to Write a Winning Grant Application Questions and Answers/ Vendor Displays/CUTR & CTCs

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – LUNCH (on your own)

AFTERNOON SESSION: 5316/5317 GRANT WORKSHOP 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

1:30 p.m. 1:35 p.m. 1:45 p.m. 2:15 p.m. 2:45 p.m.

– 1:35 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Introductions Overview of MAP-21 Section 5316 Eligibility (using funds under old rules) Section 5317 Eligibility (using funds under old rules) Questions and Answers

_____________________________

Letter from FDOT as Reminder of workshop sign-in details

The Florida Department of Transportation, District Five is soliciting applications for Federal Transit Administration’s Sections 5310, 5316 and 5317 operating and capital grant programs.  District Five will hold two separate program specific workshops for  interested applicants on November 29, 2012 in the Lake Apopka A and B Conference Rooms, 133 South Semoran Boulevard (SR 436), Orlando, Florida 32807.  The workshops will start promptly at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  Please refer to the attached agenda.

 

Presentation topics will include the following: new federal laws affecting surface transportation programs; application eligibility requirements; preparation of the application and tips on grant writing; and the Department’s vehicle procurement process.  After the formal presentation session, attendees can meet with their Community Transportation Coordinator and representatives from the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR).  In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with vendors under contract with the State and view some of their vehicles.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATES, DEADLINES & REMINDERS

  • ·     It is recommended that agency grant writers, presidents, administrators and transportation managers attend the workshop.
  • ·     Prospective applicants interested in Sections 5316 (JARC) and 5317 (New Freedom) should plan to attend the AM Session beginning at 11:20 a.m. to hear specific information about the grant writing and application process.  This session will not be repeated in the afternoon.
  • ·     District Five is soliciting for Sections 5316 (JARC) and 5317 (New Freedom) due to the availability of existing funds.  Please note that future funding for Sections 5316 and 5317 will no longer be available.
  • ·     Application manuals will be provided at the workshop.
  • ·     Applications will be due by 5:00 p.m. on January 25, 2013 at the District Five Orlando Office.

 

QUESTIONS/R.S.V.P

Please contact Thee Perry at (407) 482-7871 or send an e-mail to Theodis.Perry@dot.state.fl.us  if you have any questions regarding the grant workshop and application process.  Please R.S.V.P. no later than Wednesday, November 21, 2012.

 

Theodis L. (“Thee”) Perry, Jr.

Transit Analyst

________________________________________

 

Florida Department of Transportation, District Five

133 S. Semoran Blvd.

Orlando, FL 32807

Linda G. Howard

This is my opinion and reaction alone.  It does not reflect the opinions of Special Gathering or any other staff member or volunteer.

Since sarcasm is a staple in the life of my family, here are 11 reasons to NOT evacuate when a life-threatening storm is approaching.  I’ve had plenty of experience to accumulate reasons over the 45 years we’ve lived in a beach community.

I live in Florida on an island about a half mile from the ocean and 1 and 1/2 miles from the inlet waterway.  My family and I have faced repeated evacuations.  When our children were younger, we told them that they could bring one thing with them that they could not live without.  We had a hurricane box with needed supplies and food for a week.  We learned to pack a week of clothing in about five minutes.  We had a big supply of candles and a gas lantern.  We left our home at the first call for evacuation, long before the traffic jams or mandatory evacuation orders were given and house to house searches were performed by the police.

Each year, many others stay on the island.  Therefore, I’ve heard all the excuses for not leaving.  However, I’ve accumulated 11 reasons that I believe motivate people to stay in dangerous places.

  1. I have a death wish for myself and my family.
  2. Because I enjoy watching my home burn down to the ground should there be a gas leak that would cause a fire near my home, I won’t leave.  I know that 40 mile-an-hour winds cause fires to spread.  Yet, I assume that my life is The Great Exception and my home won’t burn down like the house down the street.
  3. Because I am much larger than my 1,500 square-foot house, I must stay to protect it.
  4. The possibility of losing my roof is common; but it certainly will not happen to me or my house.
  5. I am a thrill seeker and risking my life is the biggest thrill of a lifetime.  Riding a roller coaster is a small thrill. Watching trees fall onto my roof and trying to dodge broken glass is much more exciting.
  6. I am an intelligent person; but I am stupid when it comes to common sense involving my life and limbs.
  7. I truly believe that I am the strongest person who ever lived. I am much stronger than any storm a hundred mile wide pounding 90 mile-per-hour winds for 12 to 14 hours.
  8. Should I have to be rescued, I enjoy putting other people’s lives at risk.
  9. While I’m the first person to give lip-service to the heroes in my community,  I do not truly value the lives of our firemen and police officers.  Therefore, I will happily put their lives at risk so that they can rescue me in the middle of the storm.
  10. I can use my beloved pets as an excuse for my fool-hearty actions for facing dangerous, devastating conditions.
  11. The fact that I can take my pets with me and deliver them from danger does not make sense to me.  Even though almost all hotels will waive their restrictions on pets and keeping a pet safely in a car makes more sense than putting their lives in danger, they are such a convenient excuse why not use it and put their lives in danger also?

Of course, there are exceptional circumstances.  During Sandy, the floods were higher than predicted.  Yet, people who lived on these islands did not leave until their homes, clothes, shoes and outerwear were underwater.  They have not coats, food or water.  It is sadder than anyone can imagine.

However, when devastation can be seen approaching, isn’t it common sense to simply pack a bag and leave?

I sat at the table. The paper placard in front of me had my name printed on it to remind people of who I am.  For about four terms, I’ve served either as an alternate or a member of a local coordinating board for transportation in our county.  I have, in fact, sat through multiple meetings like this one in three different counties in Florida.

While I serve as a citizen advocate on this board, the issues that face us are more complex than I ever imagined when I first started to attending them.  Of course, I sat dazed by the acronyms and double speak that swirled around me for the first couple of months; but I assured myself that if I continued to attend, I would gradually begin to understand what was being discussed.

Then I applied to serve as an alternate.  After being in that position for about four years, I once again assured myself that I’d soon understand everything there was to know about transportation in our county.  When the fog cleared a bit and a position on the board opened, I applied.

Unfortunately, as soon as I was seated on the board, the federal and state legislation changed drastically and I was back to square one.  I found myself flipping through the pages sent to me before each meeting wishing I could decipher the complex verbage on which I was supposed to vote.  With every new administration, there are new laws and regulations that the local boards are supposed to miraculously comprehend.

Yet, in the past few years, I find myself understanding the discussions that swirl around my head.  No longer does the talk whiz over my head, it is now filtered through knowledge and history.  In fact, at a recent committee meeting, I found that I became the historian of the group, having served longer than anyone else.  My mind recalled facts and figures that surprised me.

At times, citizens are reluctant to become a part of the process because the issues are simply too complex.  And that is usually true at the beginning.  Even after years, of study and research, administrations and local issues change as well as the laws.  Then the learning process begins again…and again…and again.

Isn’t that like our lives, however?  As soon as I thought I had my husband all figured out, the Lord would do something different and I would be left scratching my head, wondering why he had changed.  Even in my own life, I wake up and find that during the night the Lord supernaturally answered a prayer and transformed my heart.  Or I read a book and God begins to speak to me about fears and concerns that have plagued my spirit since childhood, he makes my spirit responsive to his love and the Holy Spirit does a fresh work.

Different from the complex issues that we face with governance, God’s transformations are usually simple changes that transform our behaviors, attitudes and desires.  Paul was correct when he wrote to the Romans that laws and regulations cannot make transformational changes.  That is God’s job.

Of course, there are many differences between men and women; but one of the biggest differences is the attitude toward tools.  Men love tools and love inventing tools.  There is a tool for every job a man has to do.  Did you know there is a special wrench used exclusively for adjusting spark plugs?  Another one for adjusting the carburetor on your car?  There is even a widget that is only needed to replace the screens of your house.

Women on the other hand love to work with whatever is available.  Give a woman a metal nail file, a butcher knife and a pair of scissors; and she will attempt to conquer the world.

At times those of us in specialized ministries are told how special we are because we do what we do.  Usually, we smile and thank the person.  However, we know that this is actually not the truth.  At The Special Gathering, we work with people who are mentally challenged.  Our members are more like other adults than they are different.  Even though we do have different tools in our tool box from those used in the normal congregational setting.

First, we must insure that our members are safe.  I jokingly say, “I’m the only pastor in South Brevard or Indian River County who carries rubber gloves in my suit pockets.”  But rubber gloves are merely the beginning.  We must check our members when they arrive and when they leave.  We must insure that they are safe about each half hour by doing a visual check on many of our members.

Second, we need some training in how to teach.  Our members learn on a third to fourth grade level but socially they are kind of stuck in junior high.  Nevertheless, they have all the concerns and worries of any other adult.  Combining those skills while understanding that our members must be treated with the dignity of any other adult, does take some fine tuning of your teaching skill set.

Third, we have transporatation issues.  Today, I’m minus a van to pick up my members because the church that lends us their vans needs to use it.  I have to rearrange my transportation schedule.  Our members don’t drive.  If we don’t pick them up, they probably won’t get there, no matter how much they want to attend.  We have learned, that if we pick people up, the attendance rate is 80 to 90 percent.  If we depend on others, that is, support staff to provide the transportation, their attendance drops to 30 to 40 percent.  And the longer support staff is used, the greater the decrease in attendance.

Of course, there are other issues that face us.  On the other hand, there are some pretty important things that we don’t face.  Our members are extremely grateful for anything we do for them.  We often say that we are the only pastors in town who are loved by all of our members.  Part of our tool box doesn’t have to be a way to pacify our parishioners.

If you look at statistics, our congregations are fairly large.  But no matter how successful we become, we don’t have to be concerned about anyone else wanting to take our jobs.  In the years, I held positions in the local church, there was always someone aspiring to take my position or wanting to tell me how to do the job I was doing.  At Special Gathering, we have no sandpaper attachment needed to smooth over the feelings of people who want to take our positions.

Also, our members are pretty stable emotionally.  There are some members who have a dual-diagnosis but they are definitely in the minority.  When I first ventured in to this ministry, I was warned by my pastor to beware of this population because they are draining.  Then I explained that I would be working with people who are mentally challenged and that they are surprisingly emotionally stable. “Oh,” he said with a grin.  “Then you’ll be working with people who are less draining than I do.”

Yep, those of us who are on staff and volunteer at Special Gathering believe that we have the best positions in the Church.  We are working with people who are grateful, helpful and pretty stable.  Weighing the pros and cons, I’ll keep my tool chest.

What are some of the things you do with your members that are different from what you would be doing in a different congregation?

Several decades ago the local transportation provider was called CATS.  It was primarily used for people with disablilites and for the elderly.  It was primarily a provider for people who would later be classified as “transportation disadvantabed.”

Understanding the growth that would be coming to Brevard, the name was changed to Space Coast Area Transit, using the acronym SCAT.  However, it is now time for another change.  Indeed, as the transportation needs and services have increased, many people remain stuck in the idea that Space Coast Area Transit is still a provider for people with disabilities and the elderly.

Therefore, led by Jim Liesenfelt, County Transportation Coordinator, one of the changes that needs to be made is a transition from the perception of limited provision to a service that endeavors to meet the transporation needs of every citizen who desires to access public transportation.  Liesenfelt hopes that the name change from SCAT to Space Coast Area Transit will also alter the perception.

In reality, Space Coast Area Transit has become much more than a limited transit line.  It is now used primarily for working people who need a safe, convenient way to get to and from work.  In addition, there is a growing youth population who travel on the buses.

If you have a transportation need, it may be that Space Coast Area Transit may be able to meet that need.  Give the office a call at 321-633-1878.  Or visit their website at http://www.ridescat.com/.