THU AM News: Medical device startup aims to limit tube tangles; La Crosse works toward 2050 carbon-neutral goal with Johnson Controls

— In an intensive care unit, every move can mean life or death for a patient. 

Every time doctors and nurses transport patients, they risk a life. Even the smallest of complications — a tube getting stuck, for example — can bring their world crashing down.

For Milwaukee-based nurse Lindsey Roddy, that reality came true one day on the job. The tube carrying her patient’s life support line got caught and wrenched out of the neck, a near-death experience.

But the same heart-wrench that shook Roddy that day motivated her to create a solution: RoddyMedical LLC; and SecureMove-TLC, a device that organizes medical tubing and cords to prevent them from getting caught and pulled in fast-paced ICU environments. 

Roddy’s startup made it into the final 25 in the 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which can introduce young companies to investors, funding opportunities and mentorship help. 

Read the full story at 

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— With five new COVID-19 deaths, the state’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 7,000 coming into today. 

The state’s death toll is 7,003 as of yesterday. The seven-day average for daily COVID-19 deaths is four deaths per day, according to data from the Department of Health Services.

Wisconsin also reported 330 new COVID-19 cases yesterday.

The seven-day average for daily confirmed cases fell to 307 from 314 cases Tuesday, the lowest the average has been since June 2020. The average percentage of positive tests per total tests has been declining, now at 2.3 percent. The positive test average has remained below the desired threshold of 5 percent since Feb. 1.

The state reports 5,649 “active” cases, meaning those people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 30 days, have not died and are not recovered. Wisconsin has had 609,289 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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— The city of La Crosse and Johnson Controls are launching the second phase of the city’s sustainability initiative, including installing solar arrays at community facilities.

Solar installations at fire stations, libraries and parks, as well as LED upgrades to the city’s street lighting, are expected to add $3.2 million in total savings over the next 15 years.

The partnership between the city and Johnson Controls began in 2019 with infrastructure updates and solar arrays in four community facilities. Those improvements will generate $7.98 million in total savings and reduce energy consumption by 35 percent in those buildings. 

La Crosse plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through initiatives with partners such as Johnson Controls. 

— Kohler Power is expanding its clean energy offering with a new energy storage system. 

The new system allows customers to store and access clean energy produced by their homes’ solar systems for more energy savings. Stored power is also accessible through an app that gives insights into real-time power flow in the home. It also shows the timeline of power usage and historical statistics for the system. Users can also personalize their battery’s storage and output.

Homeowners can access their stored solar energy for use at night, on cloudy days or as a backup system for power outages. 

For non-solar powered homes, the energy storage system offers a way to store energy from the grid during times of lower rates and then rely on the batteries for power during peak rate periods while providing the home with backup power in case of an outage.

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— The Wisconsin Building Commission approved $86.7 million in projects statewide targeting flood mitigation, energy solutions and treatment options for those in corrections or rehab. 

The Joint Committee on Finance approved the expansion of the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center on May 6, 2020. The commission yesterday provided authority to construct the center’s expansion at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. The Department of Administration anticipates the project will be ready for construction bidding this fall.

“I’m grateful to the Building Commission members for ensuring we can expand access to care for Wisconsin youth in need of comprehensive mental health services,” Gov. Tony Evers said. 

Other approval highlights include permanent flood mitigation infrastructure in Wisconsin Rapids, leased space and purchased land for state agencies, ventilation improvements at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, improvements at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery and at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove, and a solar array at UW-Stevens Point. 

— Various repair and maintenance projects will also go on in 17 counties for several state departments, including the UW System. 

The UW System and the Department of Administration provided a report of emergency efforts directed by the guv after large concrete panels fell from the third floor of Van Hise Hall at UW-Madison in April. The university temporarily closed the building allowing removal of the panels on the third and fourth floors. The building has since been reopened while additional repair efforts continue. 

Evers noted in a release the event was evidence of the real-life safety concerns that exist among aging state-owned buildings with outstanding deferred maintenance. 

“The longer we wait to address failing infrastructure, the more expensive it gets for taxpayers,” he said. “Now is the time to invest in planning for the future. I urge the Joint Committee on Finance to fund my proposed capital budget, which would have an estimated $4.3 billion economic impact and provide approximately 29,000 family-supporting jobs across our state.”

— Ballots are in for the Senate Agriculture and Tourism Committee’s vote on the nomination of Randy Romanski to serve as DATCP secretary.

Gov. Tony Evers appointed Romanski to the post after the GOP-controlled state Senate rejected the nomination of Brad Pfaff, who’s now a Dem state senator.

Ballots were due yesterday at 3 p.m. 

— NBA All-Star and Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday is giving $1 million to Black-led nonprofit organizations and Black-owned businesses. 

The grants are through the JLH Social Impact Fund associated with Jrue Holiday and two-time Olympic soccer gold medalist Lauren Holiday. The grants will go to several cities around the country, including Milwaukee. 

Priority goes to those focused on social impact and creating equity for underserved communities. 

“When we first decided to start this fund, it was at an inflection point of two pandemics — the disproportionate effects that COVID-19 had on the Black community and businesses, and equally as devastating, the murders of George Floyd and many other unarmed Black people — resulting in an overwhelming feeling of helplessness,” said the Holidays. “We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help people through the JLH Fund and will continue to do this work and make the greatest impact possible.”


— Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is urging lawmakers to support a Senate bill seeking to end the pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit in Wisconsin.

SB 354 would end the state’s participation in giving an extra $300 per week to unemployment claimants. Claimants get up to $370 per week from the state. In total, claimants could be getting up to more than $16 per hour, opponents say. 

WMC argues that figure could be keeping the state’s workforce at home during a “crisis-level” labor shortage. 

“Businesses are not only facing competition from themselves, but we’re here today because they’re facing competition from the government that’s largely paying the same wage as many entry level positions and it’s keeping people at home,” said WMC’s Senior Director of Workforce & Employment Policy Chris Reader in a public hearing this week on the Republican-authored bill. 

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— Pranil Panda, a ninth grader at Eisenhower Middle/High School in New Berlin, won first place in the annual ‘Wisconsin YES!’ youth contest with an LED fishing lure business plan. 

Panda’s company, All Weather Glowing Fish Bait, is an artificial bait that can be used for multiple species of fish in any weather, water depth or condition. The core product is a lure with adjustable light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that can be set to catch different types of fish known to be attracted to light in different colors and hues. His business plan discussed the bait itself, likely competition and market conditions.

A recorded presentation of Pranil’s business plan will be shared virtually at the June 3 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference preceding the awards ceremony for the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

See more on the contest in the release: 


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– Scout now for black cutworms 

– Lawyers try to stop USDA’s rapid targeted payments to farmers of color 


– Natural Resources Board Approves Hearing For Proposed Revisions To Wolf Harvest Regulations


– Chippewa Falls pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic to offer Moderna, J & J on Thursday

– Froedtert & MCW to begin converting former Heart Hospital into rehab hospital 


– Wisconsin senators hear testimony on two abortion-related measures

– Republicans, UW clash over abortion ban proposal

– Wisconsin lawmakers consider banning transgender athletes

– ‘We Just Want To Belong’: Transgender Advocates, Opponents Clash Over School Sports Proposals


– Milwaukee Alders Raise Concerns About Lifting Mask Requirement June 1 


– Proposal would refund license fees for Racine bars, restaurants


– How close is Giannis Antetokounmpo to No. 1 in Milwaukee Bucks history in five major categories?

– Brewers to drop mask requirement for vaccinated fans 


– Madison set to pick station design for planned Bus Rapid Transit


– Rural Internet Company Talks Connectivity 


– The ingenuity and grit of small business leaders are key to recovery in Wisconsin 


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

– Wisconsin Technology Council: New Berlin student wins annual ‘Wisconsin YES!’ youth contest with LED bait plan

– Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin: Partners to host downtown Madison virtual job fair June 2

– Madison Area Builders Association: 2021 Madison Area Parade of Homes to run in June

– Charter: Commits $1 million to 2021 Spectrum Digital Education program