WED AM News: Federally funded research programs improving human health and safety; Nursing workplace violence bill getting public hearing

— Federally funded research programs in the state are finding ways to improve health and safety through clinical trials for cancer therapies, new pollution mitigation strategies, advanced analysis of extreme weather and countless other projects. 

“Federal funds are so important,” said Sandra Hunter, a professor of exercise science at Marquette University. “Not only just for the translational aspects and the science and knowledge itself, but also the institutions too, the educational opportunities that it provides for students, the economic benefits.” 

She was joined by others from some of the state’s top research institutions, including UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin. They spoke yesterday at an event in Washington, D.C., organized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and the research schools. 

Hunter directs two labs at Marquette: the newly established Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, and her own lab, which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 15 years. Her work has focused on preventing injury and disease, bringing translational research from the lab bench into practice. 

“We study problems like why do people as they age get weaker and more fatigable, and how do we protect against that?” she said. “We’re actually strength training older adults and trying to understand what are the best therapies… That’s a clinical trial that’s ongoing.”  

The direct impact of federal research funding was illustrated by Rebecca Clapper, a professor and director of the Great Lakes Genomics Center at UW-Milwaukee’s school of freshwater sciences. 

She explained that her research on environmental contaminants coming from products in the market is hampered by a lack of federal dollars. She said no dedicated federal funding source exists for that kind of research, and any progress made has been due to “little pots of money” coming from the city of Milwaukee or nonprofit groups. 

“We can’t move that field forward very fast,” she said. “In fact, we’re dealing with the ramifications of not having enough information about those compounds — with PFAS compounds, we’re a decade behind in research because we don’t have the federal dollars.” 

But at the same time, the school’s nanomaterials research program is benefitting from funds coming from a broader nanotechnology initiative funded by the feds. Within that initiative, an environmental research program provides funding for efforts to understand the environmental impacts of nanomaterials and improve their design. 

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— An Assembly committee is holding a public hearing today on a new bill aimed at preventing violence against nurses in the workplace. 

According to a release from the Wisconsin Nurses Association, anyone who causes battery to an emergency room nurse can be charged with a Class H felony, which comes with six years of incarceration and a fine of $10,000. 

The bill would establish the same punishment for committing battery against any licensed registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or anyone working under the supervision of an RN or LPN. 

The American Nurses Association says one in four nurses are assaulted at work. And the WNA says workplace violence against nurses in the state is on the rise. 

“Nurses cannot practice safely if they are not safe,” said Gina Dennik-Champion, CEO of the Wisconsin Nurses Association. “Passage of SB-163/AB-175 is an important part of the larger campaign of public education and empowering nurses to report and hopefully avoid life threatening situations.” 

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will hear public testimony at 11 a.m. today in the State Capitol. 

The legislation is from authors Sens. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, and Rep. Gae Magnafici, R-Dresser. 

See the release: 

See the bill text: 

— New numbers from the state Department of Financial Institutions show loans are up 5.9 percent at Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks for the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2018. 

“Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks continued to perform well during the first two quarters of 2019,” said Kathy Blumenfeld, DFI secretary. “Their continued solid performance is a reflection of a good, healthy economy during the first half of the year and strong fiscal management.” 

Wisconsin’s 152 state-chartered banks increased their net loans from $40.4 million in the first two quarters of 2018 to $42.8 billion in the first half of this year. 

Net income is up 9.8 percent, rising from $317.3 million to $348.4 million. And total assets grew 3.9 percent during that time, going from $55.2 billion to $57.3 billion. 

According to DFI, the increase in lending was the most significant factor contributing to rising net income. 

See the release: 

— A North Carolina pharmacy technology manufacturer called Parata Systems plans to combine its two Wisconsin-based facilities into one space in Pleasant Prairie. 

According to a release, the new facility will have space for manufacturing and engineering, as well as customer support and sales. The 20,800-square-foot space is expected to be ready by November.  

“I’m excited about the creation of this innovation and support center as synergistic work environments enable creativity,” said Rocco Volpe, COO of Parata. “It’s an exciting time to be a Wisconsin-based Parata employee.”

Along with the Wisconsin consolidation, the company is expanding its North Carolina headquarters, located in Durham. Construction on this expansion has begun and is expected to wrap up early next year. 

Rob Kill, CEO of Perata, says the company’s workflow solutions “power pharmacies to help people lead healthier lives.” 

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— The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce is launching a new initiative aimed at encouraging the adoption of more “employee-friendly workplace practices and policies,” according to a recent release. 

“We need to continue to develop innovative tools and programs that address the evolving demands of the tight labor market,” Jennifer Brown, director of existing industry and innovation at the chamber. 

According to Brown, the Fox Cities Employee Friendly Workplace initiative and certification program will help regional employers “showcase supportive work environments, reduce turnover and promote a positive company image.”  

The release shows the effort will involve businesses and community groups, including United Way Fox Cities and others. 

A launch event is scheduled for Oct. 29 at Werner Electric in Appleton. 

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# Wisconsin gas prices may rise following Saudi attack



– Weather caused setbacks in farm fields last week

– Dr. Konkle named Wisconsin’s state veterinarian


– Third generation acquires Bukacek Construction

– Andrea Bukacek buys Racine family construction firm from employee owners


– Alumni couple gives $1 million to Marquette University

– Carthage College cutting tuition 30 percent

– Madison students’ Chromebooks can’t access internet at school


– Historic Stevens Point theater renovation project gets lifeline with city contribution


– Kohl’s gives $1.5 million for Milwaukee Art Museum family art programming


– Dairy groups applaud legislation to crack down on dairy, meat alternatives in Wisconsin


– Johnsons Park redevelopment, tiny veterans homes advance in Milwaukee

– $5M city loan for Ikon hotel redevelopment advances after risk discussion

– Historic B.M. Goldberg mansion on market for first time in 30 years at $1.19M: Open House


– WI ag groups: Proposed ATCP 51 changes ‘harmful’ to farmers

– Agencies hoping to prevent local spread of African swine fever


– Pennsylvania dealership seeks to buy Iron Town Harley-Davidson


– Gas prices expected to rise following attacks on Saudi facilities. Here’s what Wisconsinites can expect


– Margaret Krome: Wisconsin has already chosen agricultural winners and losers

– Jessica Holmberg: Yes, lemonade stands are illegal in Wisconsin — but a new bill could change that


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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