Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
WynnBET App Now Available in Michigan
Genius Sports Group announced today that it has signed an official data partnership with WynnBET, Wynn Resorts’ online U.S. sportsbook brand to bring its services to Michigan.
Genius is now supplying WynnBET with its LiveData and LiveTrading services, powering in-game betting experiences in Michigan, New Jersey, Colorado, and more states expected to follow.
The agreement includes Genius’ official NASCAR solution, which will enable WynnBET to offer more than 15 in-race bet-types throughout the 2021 Cup Series.
The new partnership also will involve Genius’ official data content for hundreds of international soccer, basketball, ice hockey, table tennis. and volleyball federations and leagues, including the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, LigaMX, Euroleague Basketball, and Argentine soccer.
“Along with its broad market-access and nationally recognizable brand name, Genius is an ideal partner to enhance WynnBET’s expanding online sportsbook and in-game betting offering,” says Jack Davison, chief commercial officer at Genius Sports Group. “With growing numbers of states introducing online betting regulation, in-game handle is quickly rising — and WynnBET recognizes the direct engagement and revenue benefits of official data in this landscape.”
McLaren Macomb Expands Services and Opens $12M Inpatient Rehab Unit
McLaren Macomb in Mount Clemens has expanded its services to include inpatient rehabilitation with a new, $12 million unit designed for patients recovering from surgery, injury, or illness.
The new facility helps patients undergo specialized, intensive, and supervised physical therapy to regain their physical capabilities and independence.
Opening the unit and expanding the service within McLaren Macomb allows patients who are recovering from stroke, traumatic injury, brain injury, amputation, or other conditions to advance their recovery at the hospital that initially treated them rather than being transferred to another facility.
A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and therapists will coordinate the patients’ care to ensure they reach the point in their recovery to be safely discharged from the hospital and effectively continue their rehab at home or in an outpatient setting.
Physiatrist Dr. Michelle Bradley, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, will oversee the new unit as its medical director.
“Even though they have advanced into their initial recovery, many patients, due to the severity of their illness or injury, or for other factors, are not yet at the point where they can yet be discharged home,” says Bradley. “Patients recover best at home, in a familiar, comfortable environment, and getting them to the point where they can actively continue productive rehabilitation at home is advantageous for everyone.”
The 18-bed unit includes a rehabilitation gym with specialized equipment using the latest technology, and a living center designed to reflect the home environment, allowing patients to practice daily activities (such as getting up from the couch, out of bed, using the tub, cooking in the kitchen, among many others) under the guidance of clinical professionals.
Construction of the new unit began in the summer of 2020 and was completed in early February.
“The unit will provide an immeasurable benefit to our community, who deserve to have their entire continuum of care close to home and their support system,” says Tom Brisse, president and CEO of McLaren Macomb. “An inpatient rehabilitation unit has been a goal of this hospital for many years, decades even. To see this project realized is very exciting to many people, both to those of us here now and those who are a part of our hospital’s extensive history.”
Consumers Energy Announces Crescent Wind Now Producing Clean Energy
Consumers Energy announced that it began ownership of 166-megawatt Crescent Wind Farm in Hillsdale County, southwest of Ann Arbor near the Ohio border, which began producing clean, renewable energy today for residents and businesses in Michigan.
“We are thrilled to welcome Crescent Wind to our assets powering Michigan with clean energy,” says Dennis Dobbs, vice president of enterprise project management, engineering, and services for Consumers Energy. “It’s amazing to consider the addition of Crescent Wind completes a doubling of the wind energy parks we own and operate compared to a year ago.”
Crescent Wind features 60 turbines with a capacity to power about 64,000 residents. Invenergy developed and built the wind farm. Consumers Energy took ownership and operations of the facility upon its completion today.
A team of 11 highly trained full-time employees will operate the electric generation facility from a newly established service center in Jonesville (north of Hillsdale), scheduled to be completed this month.
Consumers Energy’s newest wind project represents a $246 million investment in Michigan’s clean energy infrastructure. It joins Lake Winds Energy Park, Cross Winds Energy Park, and Gratiot Farms Wind Project, which went online in late 2020, as wind energy projects Consumers Energy owns and operates.
Combined, the four Consumers Energy wind energy farms can produce enough clean, renewable energy to power about 249,600 residents.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
U-M Awarded Grant to Boost Manufacturing Cybersecurity
The University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute in Ann Arbor will use a grant from the U.S. Commerce Department to boost cybersecurity know-how among small manufacturers in southeastern Michigan.
The EGI is one of seven awardees nationally to receive the STEM Talent Challenge Grant from the department’s Economic Development Administration aimed at tackling different needs related to science, technology, engineering, and math in the workforce. The grant is worth about $600,000, which includes local matching dollars.
For its part, the institute is creating a program — the Advanced Manufacturing Cybersecurity Work-and-Learn Program — focused on cybersecurity training that offers online learning and hands-on internships at manufacturers. Officials say it’s crucial to develop internal cybersecurity expertise within manufacturing settings, where it’s often lacking and reliant upon outside expertise to protect its most critical assets.
“Small- and medium-sized manufacturers today are struggling to find the resources to develop and ensure their environment is cyber secure,” says Ashlee Breitner, associate director of EGI. “AMCP will develop the advanced manufacturing workforce of the future by bridging the worlds of cybersecurity and manufacturing to fill critical knowledge and practical applications gaps.”
The two-year program will begin accepting learners this summer. The program expects to train at least 20 people who will take on cybersecurity learning projects at 40 companies.
Outreach for this program will include communities of underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM. There is a significant opportunity to develop the workforce across southeastern Michigan as the new program provides critical experience with manufacturers.
Livonia Public Schools Adds 22 Propane Buses to its Fleet
Livonia Public Schools has added 22 Blue Bird propane autogas-fueled buses to its fleet with funding received from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
The district was granted $844,386 through EGLE’s Fuel Transformation Program to purchase clean, cost-effective propane school buses that began operation when Michigan schools opened for the 2020-21 school year.
“With our new Blue Bird propane buses, the school district saves money, our students get a safe, quieter bus and our community gets a cleaner environment,” says Rick Martin, fleet garage supervisor for Livonia Public Schools. “We think our Livonia Public Schools parents will be impressed by this big step, and they’ll be interested to know that these propane fuel systems are manufactured right here in Livonia by Roush CleanTech.”
The district turned to propane after dealing with the costly and complex emission systems required on diesel buses. The new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses don’t require any additional emission maintenance. They are 75 percent cleaner than federal emissions standards, emitting fewer total hydrocarbons and virtually eliminating particulate matter.
Propane school buses also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides by 96 percent, according to a 2019 study by West Virginia University. Exposure to nitrogen oxide exhaust can have negative health effects on children and is a leading cause of asthma, according to the EPA.
“EGLE recognizes children’s vulnerability to diesel exhaust and the importance of replacing old diesel school buses with new low emission school buses,” says Debra Swartz, fuel transportation program manager for EGLE. “Reducing air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides is a goal of the Fuel Transformation Program along with increasing the adoption of alternate fuel and zero emission vehicles. Projects such as Livonia Public Schools to replace old diesel school buses with new propane buses aligns perfectly with these goals.”
To date, EGLE has provided grants to 69 school districts to replace more than 300 school buses. Across the nation, there are more than 20,000 propane buses deployed in over 1,000 school districts.
Universal Robots Launches First Virtual Expo on Automating Machine Tending Tasks
Universal Robots in Ann Arbor is conducting a virtual expo focusing on using collaborative robots to automate machine tending in the manufacturing process.
The Universal Robotics Machine Tending Expo will take place Feb. 23-24. Visit here to register.
“Attendees at the expo will be able to visit virtual booths featuring a wide range of turnkey solutions and application kits for easy deployment,” says Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development at Universal Robots. “In live demos and educational keynotes, they will learn all the ins and outs of machine tending with UR cobots.”
Attendees also will learn about the UR+ platform, which is the industry’s largest and most comprehensive ecosystem of products certified to integrate seamlessly with UR cobots. Several UR+ partners will exhibit new machine tending related UR+ products and application kits at the expo.
“The innovation happening right now within cobot-powered machine tending operations is phenomenal,” says Campbell. “We look forward to sharing these solutions with expo attendees soon.”
Functional Fluidics Research Shows Biomarkers Can Help Predict Sickle Cell Disease Pain Crises
Functional Fluidics, a Detroit-based medical laboratory, recently participated in a study that indicates its biomarkers of red blood cell health can help define and predict acute pain crises in individuals with sickle cell disease.
This addresses a need for well-validated biomarkers to objectively monitor red blood cell health in individuals with sickle cell disease.
Key findings from the “Evaluation of Longitudinal Pain Study in Sickle Cell Disease (ELIPSIS)” study have been shared in The Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.
Among those findings, Functional Fluidics RBC health assays:
- Can be used to differentiate the healthy state from the acute crises state in individuals with sickle cell disease.
- Can be used as prognostic or susceptibility biomarkers that stratify patients at their steady state based on their risk for developing acute pain crises.
- Can be diagnostic biomarkers of adhesion-associated acute pain crises.
“This is a very important study that provides biologic evidence to validate self-reported pain in individuals with sickle cell disease,” says Patrick Hines, founder and CEO. “This represents a major step in making the most innovative biomarkers available to providers caring for patients with sickle cell disease.
“Ultimately, we hope these biomarkers can serve as surrogate endpoints that give providers the tools to keep people healthy as opposed to intervening during a crises. This allows us to develop better SCD-modifying therapies, and to better assess the efficacy of these therapies in clinical trials using objective biomarker endpoints to assess the improvement in patient function and health.”