MON AM News: Streatery Program helps keep neighborhood cafe afloat; Talent Bandit hopes to ‘steal’ its share of the staffing market

— When the temperatures started to drop, Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery manager Kelly Knocke said the Atwood Avenue restaurant was anxious about how it would seat its guests in the elements.

The cafe is one of several Madison businesses that had worked with the city’s Streatery Program to set up outdoor seating for customers during the summer months. In fact, Knocke said without the city’s outdoor dining program, Daisy Cafe may not have come this far in surviving the pandemic.

The city created the Streatery Program under an emergency order to temporarily allow restaurants to expand their business footprint onto the public rights-of-way or in privately owned parking lots upon approval. It also includes expanded alcohol licenses or waived fees, but no money for equipment, for example.

The program, which covers all 77 square miles of Madison, has been extended to April 14. The winter months pose both an opportunity and a challenge for restaurants and taverns to serve patrons by acquiring heaters, putting up tents or even installing igloos for customers to dine-in while meeting local capacity limits. 

“We’ve had a very robust outdoor dining program in Madison for decades, and this extension and need to be outside and extend their season is just so much more imperative right now than it has been in the past,” Street Vending Coordinator Meghan Blake-Horst said. “In Madison and Dane County, bars are at zero capacity inside so outside is their only option, and restaurants, 25 percent inside is not enough to break even, so they need the additional seating outside to at least break even or come closer.”

She added that usually, businesses would pack up and head indoors after the last farmers market of the season.

Read the full story at 

— The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s third annual Innovation Day will be held virtually on Wednesday as a culmination of UW-Madison’s startup week.

Innovation Day aims to celebrate the research and technologies that are being developed at UW-Madison, said Greg Keenan, senior director of WARF Ventures and WARF Accelerator. He added that the goal is also to make the technologies accessible to the widest audience possible while at the same time making meaningful connections with investors and entrepreneurs who can help the companies and technologies get to market.

The last two years have been in-person events — a full afternoon of pitches and keynote speakers. This year, Keenan said the team has “had to pivot a bit.” 

To stifle “Zoom fatigue,” the event is a tight 60 minutes featuring not just four pitches, but iconic campus spaces, a live Q&A event and special appearances from Badger Athletics, the Med Flight team and university leadership. 

Keenan argues that the virtual aspect adds to the event by allowing accessibility to a global audience. But he added hopefully next year it will be back in person.

“There’s nothing more important than these random collisions between people,” he said, noting that in the innovation industry, many times it’s a random collision between two people that results in a successful spinout or license of a technology. Keenan does expect a virtual aspect to remain a permanent part of the event.

Attendees will hear from Kevin Ponto out of the School of Human Ecology. He’ll pitch PointSpace, a method for capturing, storing and rendering visual data to create higher fidelity, more interactive 3D models. 

Tensidyne, a wearable device for in-field, mobile analysis of tendon strength for sports injury recovery and prevention, will be presented by Darryl Thelen of the College of Engineering. 

Mark Etzel will pitch Geladen, charged membranes enabling faster, more efficient and less wasteful food protein filtration. Etzel is from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Finally, Erick Przybylski of the School of Medicine and Public Health is pitching his extracorporeal membrane oxygenation simulator. It’s a low-cost task trainer and simulator for practice and credentialing ECMO cannulation and workflow improvement. 

Investors from Wisconsin and from the East and West Coasts will be listening to the pitches. WARF Communications Manager Jacqui Fuller said usually the attendance is about a 50-50 ratio of UW and non-UW affiliates and heavier on investors and industry leaders than the general public. But WARF welcomes everyone in the community to tune in. 

In the 13 years he’s been a part of the university, Keenan said the culture and resources available for startups today are greater than ever. 

“I think we’ve come a long way and this event I think is really a culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people over many years,” he said. “We still have a long way to go in terms of continuing to grow that entrepreneurial culture and continue to successfully move our awesome innovations off campus in the market. This whole startup week event is I think the core piece to keep building that culture.”

Most universities don’t have a separate, standalone technology transfer office that offers as vast resources as WARF does, Keenan said. He noted the recent announcement of Varsity Venture Studio, a program to move software ideas off of campus and into startup companies, as one example.

Register for Innovation Day here: 

Read a recent story on Varsity Venture Studio: 

— In the latest “Talking Trade” episode, Shanghai trade consultant Kelvin Ma says China may view Joe Biden’s presidency as an improvement over the Trump administration.

Ma, who got his law degree from UW-Madison, joins’s Jeff Mayers in a discussion of the recent election.

The video podcast explores trade issues affecting Wisconsin and the Midwest.

See the show supported by the Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison: 

— Inefficient. clunky. extra work. 

These are words that come to the mind of Bill Neill, co-founder of Talent Bandit, when he talks about the general state of the staffing industry. 

Staffing is an old industry, and it has operated the same way for decades, according to Neill. A client receives a resume attached to an email and that’s about it — not always enough to tell if a candidate is the right fit. 

Not only that, Neill said, but the outdated technology creates extra work for staffing agencies and hiring managers alike. The email workflow alone makes it easy to slow down progress. A waste of not only time, but money. Something nobody would want.

What is Neill’s solution? 

Make it easier. Make it faster. Make a candidate more accessible. 

Mount Horeb-based Talent Bandit strives to do all these things. Talent Bandit is an innovative hub that centralizes the workflow for all parties by putting all the relevant information in one place. It provides access to resumes, video interviews, assessments and even work samples. This allows good job candidates to soar over others and helps clients make faster hires.

Read the full story at 

— Wisconsin enters a new week with 312,369 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,637 deaths from the virus.

This weekend, the state reported 11,204 cases and 64 deaths. 

Today’s new cases push the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases to 6,422 and the seven-day average for daily deaths to a record 46. 

The latest Wisconsin Hospital Association coronavirus update shows COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin at 2,096 with a record 445 intensive care patients.

The Alternate Care Facility at State Fair Park census is at 18 coronavirus patients, down from 20 patients on Saturday, the largest census since it opened Oct. 14 as an overflow facility for hospitals statewide. The West Allis field hospital was ready to accept 50 patients when it opened.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates:   

— The Department of Health Services is conducting about 3,100 public health investigations in facilities across the state. 

Workplaces outside the health care industry accounted for 93 of the investigations as of Wednesday.

Long-term care facilities make up 732 of the investigations. Those facilities are reporting 727 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 28 percent of the state’s death count. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes. The average number of confirmed cases per investigation for long-term care facilities is nine.

The state has 290 active nursing home investigations. About 91 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were age 60 or older. DHS notes that when a nursing home detects COVID-19, it follows proper notification procedures and works with public health experts to protect residents and staff. 

“Proactive testing helps address outbreaks early on when they are easier to manage,” according to the agency.

Educational facilities account for 676 of the investigations.

The state is also conducting 450 investigations in “other settings,” which according to DHS include adult day care centers, restaurants, event spaces and religious settings.

One hundred and seventy-seven of the investigations are in group housing facilities, including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes, which have seen 72 COVID-19 deaths or 3 percent of the state’s total. 

DHS marks 1,182 deaths as “unknown” meaning they may or may not have occurred at a long-term care or group housing facility.

And the department is conducting 131 investigations in health care facilities.

There have been a total of 5,958 investigations, with 2,859 investigations closed. An investigation is considered closed and removed from the DHS listing 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.

Five counties account for over 40 percent of the statewide public health investigations: Milwaukee (356), Dane (306), Waukesha (269), Marathon (182) and Kenosha (137).

Click here to see the nursing homes under investigation and a breakdown of investigations by county:  

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# Startup founders and investors form Wisconsin Startup Coalition 

# Ag Markets Fluctuated Throughout Week Due to Vaccine Developments

# Rural Hospitals Having Difficulty Finding Beds For COVID-19 Patients



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