Nabisco Workers End Weekslong Strike After Reaching New Contract

The impasse began in August after members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union objected to changes in shift lengths and overtime rules.

#bakery-confectionery-tobacco-workers-and-grain-millers-international-union, #bonuses, #chicago-ill, #colorado, #georgia, #illinois, #labor-and-jobs, #mondelez-international-inc, #nabisco, #organized-labor, #pensions-and-retirement-plans, #portland-ore, #strikes

Can a Green-Economy Boom Town Be Built to Last?

The race to make electric vehicles is turning some places into winners. Normal, Ill., is one of them. But it has seen good times go sour in the past.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #automobiles, #building-construction, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #illinois, #labor-and-jobs, #normal-ill, #restoration-and-renovation, #rivian-automotive-llc, #scaringe-r-j

Adlai E. Stevenson 3d, Ex-Senator and Scion of Formidable Political Family, Dies at 90

The Illinois Democrat served a decade in the United States Senate but did not rival the success of his forebears.

#adlai-e-stevenson-3d, #illinois, #stevenson-adlai-ewing

Please stop adding more lanes to busy highways—it doesn’t help

The intersection of Interstates 10 and 610 in Houston, Texas, during evening rush hour.

Enlarge / The intersection of Interstates 10 and 610 in Houston, Texas, during evening rush hour. (credit: Getty Images)

You often hear people say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I bring this up because of an interesting—if infuriating—thread I read this morning about Texas’ plan to widen I-35 as it cuts through the heart of Austin.

Unsurprisingly, the state wants to build more lanes, which it thinks will ease congestion. At some points, this could leave I-35 as much as 20 lanes wide; this will require bulldozing dozens of businesses along the way. An alternative that would have buried 12 lanes of the highway in two levels of underground tunnels was apparently considered too costly.

But it would be wrong to single out this 8-mile proposal as an outlier. In Houston, the state plans to widen I-45 despite plenty of opposition, including from the Federal Highway Administration. And you don’t have to look far to see other state governments wanting to build new roads to reduce congestion.

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#atlanta, #austin, #cars, #chicago, #department-of-transportation, #georgia, #highway-planning, #houston, #i-270, #i-35, #i-45, #i-495, #illinois, #induced-demand, #maryland, #texas, #traffic

Illinois will require masks indoors for everyone and educators must get shots or face testing.

All state residents 2 and older will need to wear masks inside. Students and staff at public schools already have to wear masks.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #illinois, #masks, #teachers-and-school-employees

A California judge just struck down Prop 22: Now what?

Every time you turn around, someone new is winning the war in California around organizing workers in the sharing economy.

Labor struck first when California legislators passed Assembly Bill 5, requiring all independent contractors working for gig economy companies to be reclassified as employees. That was expected to set off a chain reaction in state legislatures nationwide, until two things happened.

First, COVID-19 hit and quickly became all-encompassing, making it virtually impossible for lawmakers and regulators to focus on anything but surviving the pandemic. Second, Uber, Lyft, Instacart and others funded and voters approved Prop 22 in California, striking down AB-5 and returning sharing economy workers to independent contractor status.

On the same day that Prop 22 passed, Democrats captured both chambers of Congress in Washington, but their margins were so slim (50-50 in the Senate and a nine-vote majority in the House), that federal legislative action on the issue was near impossible. Across the country, politicians read the tea leaves of Prop 22 and decided to mainly stay away. That kept the issue at bay during the 2021 state legislative sessions.

But the tide started to turn again this summer. First, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) introduced the PRO Act in February 2021, stating that workers would be reclassified using an ABC test, in addition to rolling back right-to-work laws in states and establishing monetary penalties for companies and executives who violate workers’ rights.

The bill handily passed the House in March, but has since stalled in the Senate, despite receiving a hearing and energetic support by high-profile senators including Bernie Sanders and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The Biden administration’s appointees to the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board are decidedly in favor of full-time-worker status. And now, a California Superior Court judge has ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional, saying it violates the right of the state legislature to pass future laws around worker safety and status.

The sharing economy companies are expected to appeal, and the case could ultimately wind up before the California Supreme Court.

So now what? The courts will ultimately determine the status of sharing economy workers in California, but since the decision will be about the specific legal parameters of California’s referendum process, it won’t determine the issue elsewhere. And despite noise from Washington, Congress isn’t passing the PRO Act any time soon (Democrats may try to include it in the reconciliation for the $3.5 trillion American Families Plan, but the odds of its survival are low). That means the action returns to the states.

New York is the biggest battleground outside of California. Democrats have amassed a supermajority in both chambers of the legislature, and New York lacks a referendum vehicle to overturn state law.

Sharing economy workers are the biggest organizing opportunity for private sector unions in decades, and labor will use all of its influence to pass worker classification reform in 2022.

However, Kathy Hochul, New York’s new governor, is a moderate, and state legislators recently abandoned a half-baked plan brokered by gig companies to safeguard independent contractor status, indicating a resolution on the issue will likely take time.

Illinois is fertile ground for worker reclassification, too, but the state remains a question mark.

There’s also a chance of movement in Massachusetts, where gig companies are making a play to establish a ballot initiative very similar to Prop 22. Legislators in Seattle and Pennsylvania have also signaled an interest in exploring the issue.

And just a few months after most state legislative sessions conclude next summer, we’ll hit the midterm elections, which could produce a Republican wave (especially in the House) that would yet again quash the chances of worker classification legislation passing anywhere.

In other words, this is going to ping back and forth for at least the next few years in the courts, in state legislatures, and in the halls of Congress and federal agencies. If you’re a sharing economy investor and you want this issue resolved once and for all, that peace of mind isn’t coming. And the market, rather than accepting that this will be an unresolved issue for the next few years, will probably overreact to each individual action, whether it’s a lower court ruling or a piece of legislation making its way through a state.

In reality, the answer is the same as it’s always been: trying to shoehorn sharing economy workers into one of two existing categories — 1099 or W-2 — doesn’t work. We still need to recognize that the inherent nature of work has changed over the last decade, and we need to recognize that both parties — the sharing economy companies and the unions — are only looking out for their own interests and coffers at the expense of what’s best for actual workers.

California is not going to resolve this issue. It’s just swung back and forth from one extreme to another. Congress is not going to resolve this issue because it almost never resolves anything.

So the game comes down to states like Illinois, New York and Massachusetts. It comes down to legislators and leaders trying to craft good public policy at the expense of their donors and supporters and Twitter followers — and then it comes down to their colleagues doing the same.

It means sacrificing politics for policy. That almost never happens. And it probably won’t happen here, either. So if you’re trying to game out where this issue is going, accept the uncertainty and expect that a thoughtful, smart resolution — locally or nationally — is unlikely. It’s a dissatisfying conclusion but, sadly, it epitomizes exactly where our politics stand today.

#bernie-sanders, #biden-administration, #california, #column, #congress, #government, #illinois, #labor, #lyft, #national-labor-relations-board, #new-york, #opinion, #policy, #sharing-economy, #tc, #uber, #washington

Good, but Not Great: Taking Stock of a Big Ten University’s Covid Plan

The University of Illinois says an aggressive testing program prevented deaths on and off campus during the last academic year. Now the university is contending with the Delta variant.

#colleges-and-universities, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #disease-rates, #illinois, #tests-medical, #university-of-illinois

This Brain Remained Intact in a 310 Million-Year-Old Fossil

The discovery suggested that horseshoe crab brains haven’t changed much and that there are more ways for soft tissues to be preserved in the fossil record.

#brain, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fossils, #geology-journal, #horseshoe-crabs, #illinois, #paleontology, #yale-peabody-museum-of-natural-history, #your-feed-science

New York City’s new biometrics privacy law takes effect

A new biometrics privacy ordinance has taken effect across New York City, putting new limits on what businesses can do with the biometric data they collect on their customers.

From Friday, businesses that collect biometric information — most commonly in the form of facial recognition and fingerprints — are required to conspicuously post notices and signs to customers at their doors explaining how their data will be collected. The ordinance applies to a wide range of businesses — retailers, stores, restaurants, and theaters, to name a few — which are also barred from selling, sharing, or otherwise profiting from the biometric information that they collect.

The move will give New Yorkers — and its millions of visitors each year — greater protections over how their biometric data is collected and used, while also serving to dissuade businesses from using technology that critics say is discriminatory and often doesn’t work.

Businesses can face stiff penalties for violating the law, but can escape fines if they fix the violation quickly.

The law is by no means perfect, as none of these laws ever are. For one, it doesn’t apply to government agencies, including the police. Of the businesses that the ordinance does cover, it exempts employees of those businesses, such as those required to clock in and out of work with a fingerprint. And the definition of what counts as a biometric will likely face challenges that could expand or narrow what is covered.

New York is the latest U.S. city to enact a biometric privacy law, after Portland, Oregon passed a similar ordinance last year. But the law falls short of stronger biometric privacy laws in effect.

Illinois, which has the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a law that grants residents the right to sue for any use of their biometric data without consent. Facebook this year settled for $650 million in a class-action suit that Illinois residents filed in 2015 after the social networking giant used facial recognition to tag users in photos without their permission.

Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said the law is an “important step” to learn how New Yorkers are tracked by local businesses.

“A false facial recognition match could mean having the NYPD called on you just for walking into a Rite Aid or Target,” he told TechCrunch. He also said that New York should go further by outlawing systems like facial recognition altogether, as some cities have done.

Read more:

#articles, #biometrics, #face-id, #facebook, #facial-recognition, #facial-recognition-software, #illinois, #learning, #new-york, #new-york-city, #new-yorkers, #oregon, #portland, #privacy, #rite-aid, #security, #surveillance, #techniques

Scientists Report Earliest Known Coronavirus Cases in Five US States

Blood drawn from nine people in the earliest days of the pandemic tested positive for the infection. But some experts questioned the results.

#antibodies, #blood-donation, #china, #clinical-infectious-diseases-journal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #illinois, #massachusetts, #mississippi, #national-institutes-of-health, #pennsylvania, #states-us, #united-states, #wisconsin, #your-feed-science

Scientists Report Earliest Known Coronavirus Infections in Five U.S. States

Blood drawn from nine people in the earliest days of the pandemic tested positive for the infection. But some experts questioned the results.

#antibodies, #blood-donation, #china, #clinical-infectious-diseases-journal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #illinois, #massachusetts, #mississippi, #national-institutes-of-health, #pennsylvania, #states-us, #united-states, #wisconsin, #your-feed-science

She Was Stabbed and Left in a Cornfield in 1972. Now There’s an Arrest.

Barry Lee Whelpley, now 76, was charged with killing Julie Ann Hanson, who was 15 when her body was found in Naperville, Ill., the authorities said.

#chicago-ill, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #illinois, #minnesota, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #naperville-ill

Illinois Lawmakers Bar Police From Using Deception When Interrogating Minors

A bill that passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support on Sunday would make Illinois the first state to prohibit officers from lying when interrogating those under 18.

#chicago-ill, #confessions, #criminal-justice, #dassey-brendan, #durkin-jim, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #foxx-kim, #illinois, #innocence-project, #interrogations, #police-department-chicago-ill, #state-legislatures, #youth

Summertime … and the Sloganeering Is a Little Awkward

Cities and states are spending millions to promote tourism as they reopen, but the marketing campaigns aren’t always the catchiest.

#advertising-and-marketing, #art, #chicago-ill, #cincinnati-ohio, #connecticut, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #de-blasio-bill, #de-niro-robert, #federer-roger, #greece, #hamilton-ohio, #hancock-michael-b, #hockney-david, #illinois, #khan-sadiq, #new-york-city, #road-trips, #slogans-and-mottoes, #summer-season, #travel-and-vacations, #vaccination-and-immunization

Northwestern Athletic Director Resigns Amid Backlash Over Harassment Case

Mike Polisky, who held the position for about 10 days, stepped back under mounting concerns about his past handling of complaints of racist and sexist policies in the university’s cheer program.

#cheerleaders, #colleges-and-universities, #illinois, #northwestern-university

What to Know About the Chicago Police Shooting of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo

Body camera footage showed that a Chicago officer fired a single shot into the boy’s chest after chasing him down a dark alley.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #chicago-ill, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #illinois, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-chicago-ill, #toledo-adam-d-2021

Finding From Particle Research Could Break Known Laws of Physics

It’s not the next Higgs boson — yet. But the best explanation, physicists say, involves forms of matter and energy not currently known to science.

#brookhaven-ny, #brookhaven-national-laboratory, #chicago-ill, #fermi-national-accelerator-laboratory, #higgs-boson, #illinois, #large-hadron-collider, #muon-subatomic-particle, #particle-accelerators, #physics, #space-and-astronomy, #your-feed-science

Why Virus Tests at One Elite School Ran Afoul of Regulators

In the suburbs of Chicago, New Trier High School offers a lesson in just how complicated it can be to track the coronavirus in schools.

#chicago-ill, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #disease-rates, #education-k-12, #illinois, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #new-trier-high-school, #safeguard-screening-llc, #shutdowns-institutional, #tests-medical, #your-feed-science

Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow, the Great Chicago Fire and a Mansion Sale

Much like the legend that Catherine O’Leary’s cow started the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, historians doubt the story that the home was built for her — or that she ever lived there.

#chicago-ill, #fires-and-firefighters, #illinois, #myths-and-mythical-creatures, #oleary-catherine, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #the-great-chicago-fire

Illinois Prison Guard Pleads Guilty for Role in Beating Inmate to Death

Willie Hedden is one of three guards at the Western Illinois Correctional Center charged in the May 2018 assault of Larry Earvin, who was handcuffed at the time.

#banta-alex, #civil-rights-and-liberties, #crime-and-criminals, #earvin-larry-d-2018, #hedden-willie, #illinois, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #prison-guards-and-corrections-officers, #sheffler-todd

Allbirds is investing in plant-based leather substitute as it looks to further green its supply chain

The sustainability focused shoe maker Allbirds has taken another step to green its supply chain with a small $2 million investment in a new company called Natural Fiber Welding.

Announced this morning, the investment in Natural Fiber Welding will see Allbirds bring a vegan leather replacement option to customers by December 2021. It’s a natural addition for a company that has always billed itself as focused on environmental impact in other aspects of its apparel manufacturing.

Allbirds these days is far more than a shoe company and Natural Fiber Weldings suite of products that include both a purportedly tougher cotton fiber made using the company’s proprietary processing technology and a plant-based leather substitute.

Those materials could find their way into Allbirds array of socks, shoes, tshirts, underwear, sweaters, jackets, and face masks. Natural Fiber Welding already touts a relationship with Porsche on its website, so Allbirds isn’t the only company that’s warmed to the Peoria, Ill.-based startup’s new materials.

With the addition of Allbirds Natural Fiber Welding has raised roughly $15 million, according to data from Pitchbook. Other investors in the company include Central Illinois Angels, Prairie Crest Capital, Ralph Lauren Corp. and Capital V, an investment firm focused on backing vegan products.

Allbirds is far from the only clothier to make the jump to plant-based materials in the past year. The buzzy clothing company Pangaia invested $2 million into a company called Kintra which is making a bio-based polyester substitute in December.

By the far the biggest startup name in the sustainable fashion space is a company like Bolt Threads, which has inked deals with companies including Stella McCartney, Adidas, and the owner of the Balenciaga fashion house (among others).

Other startups that have raised significant capital for plant-based fabrics and materials are companies like Mycoworks, which raised $45 million last year from backers include John Legend, Natalie Portman along with more traditional investors like WTT Investment Ltd. (Taipei, Taiwan), DCVC Bio, Valor Equity Partners, Humboldt Fund, Gruss & Co., Novo Holdings, 8VC, SOSV, AgFunder, Wireframe Ventures and Tony Fadell.

With Natural Fiber Welding’s products Allbirds is boasting about a significantly reduced environmental footprint for its leather-like material. Natural Fiber Welding claims its material reduce the associated carbon footprint by 40 times and uses 17 times less carbon in its manufacturing than synthetic leather made from plastic.

The company does say that the plant leather will use natural rubber, an industry with its own history of human rights abuses, that’s also trying to clean up its act.

“For too long, fashion companies have relied on dirty synthetics and unsustainable leather, prioritizing speed and cost over the environment,” says Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds, in a statement. “Natural Fiber Welding is creating scalable, sustainable antidotes to leather, and doing so with the potential for a game-changing 98% reduction in carbon emissions. Our partnership with NFW and planned introduction of Plant Leather based on their technology is an exciting step on our journey to eradicate petroleum from the fashion industry.”

TechCrunch has reached out to Allbirds for additional comment, but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

#adidas, #allbirds, #articles, #bolt-threads, #culture, #illinois, #john-legend, #leather, #manufacturing, #novo-holdings, #porsche, #shoe, #supply-chain, #sustainability, #taipei, #taiwan, #tc, #textiles, #tony-fadell, #valor-equity-partners, #welding

Criminal Justice Is a State Issue

State power is the path to racial equality and liberation.

#bail, #black-people, #brookings-institution, #capital-punishment, #crime-and-criminals, #death-penalty-information-center, #illinois, #income-inequality, #race-and-ethnicity, #states-us, #virginia, #whites

Illinois Becomes First State to Eliminate Cash Bail

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that he said would end a system that disproportionately hurts the poor and favors wealthier defendants.

#bail, #crime-and-criminals, #illinois, #law-and-legislation, #mental-health-and-disorders, #pritzker-j-b

LA-based SoLo Funds raises $10 million to offer an alternative to predatory payday lenders

SoLo Funds wants to replace payday lenders with a community-based, market-driven model for individual lending and now has $10 million to expand its business in the U.S.

Payday lenders offer high interest, short-term loans to borrowers who are at their most vulnerable and the terms of their loans often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt from which there’s no escape.

Around 80% of Americans don’t have adequate savings to cover unforeseen expenses, and it’s that statistic that has made payday lending a lucrative business in the U.S.

Over the past decade websites like GoFundMe and others have cropped up to offer a space where people can donate money to individuals or causes that in some cases serve to supplement the incomes of people most in need. SoLo Funds operates as an alternative.

It’s a marketplace where borrowers can set the terms of their loan repayment and lenders can earn extra income while supporting folks who need the help.

The company is financing tens of thousands of loans per month, according to chief executive officer and co-founder, Travis Holoway and loan volumes are growing at about 40% monthly, he said.

While Holoway would not disclose the book value of the loans transacted on the platform, he did say that the company’s default and delinquency rates were lower than that of its competitors. “Our default rate is about three times better than the industry average — which is the payday lending industry that we’re looking to disrupt,” Holoway said.

The company also offers a sort of default insurance product that lenders can purchase to backstop any losses they experience, Holoway said. That service, rolled out in April of last year, helped account for some of the explosive 2,000% growth that the company saw over the course of 2020.

SoLo has seen the most activity in Texas, Illinois, California, and New York, states with large populations and cities with the highest cost of living.

“Our borrowers are school teachers… are social workers. When you live in those larger cities with higher costs of living they can’t afford the financial shocks that they could if they lived in Dayton, Ohio,” said Holoway.

While the company’s borrowers represent one cross section of America, the lenders tend to also not be hailing from the demographic that a casual observer might expect, Holoway said.

About half of loans on the platform are made by folks that Holoway called power lenders, while the rest are coming from less frequent users.

“A majority of [power lenders] are college educated and the majority of them tend to be white men. It’s individuals who you might not think are going to be power lenders… They may make $100,000 to $125,000 per year,” said Holoway. “They’re looking to diversify their capital and deploy it to make returns. And they’re able to help individuals out who otherwise would not be able to pay for groceries, paying rent or taking care of their transportation expenses.”

Given the company’s growth, it’s no wonder investors like ACME Capital, with support from Impact America Fund, Techstars, Endeavor Catalyst, CEAS Investments and more joined the new round. previous investors like West Ventures, Taavet Hinrikus of Transferwise, Jewel Burks Solomon of Google Startups, Zachary Bookman of OpenGov, Richelieu Dennis of Essence Ventures, and tech innovation accelerators also participated in financing the company.

“For too long, there have been limited options for individuals in need of immediate funds due to unforeseen circumstances, like a shift in hourly schedules, unplanned car troubles or other cases,” said SoLo, co-founder and CEO Travis Holoway. “SoLo was created to offer safe, affordable options for borrowers that need cash quickly, while also creating a marketplace for lenders to grow capital and help community members in need. We believe that at the end of the day, people are innately honest and tend towards generosity, and our platform’s growth is further proof that people want to do good in the world and make an impact.”

#america, #california, #credit, #economy, #finance, #google, #illinois, #impact-america-fund, #jewel-burks-solomon, #loans, #money, #new-york, #ohio, #richelieu-dennis, #solo, #taavet-hinrikus, #tc, #techstars, #texas, #united-states

Clearview AI ruled ‘illegal’ by Canadian privacy authorities

Controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled.

The New York-based company made its splashy newspaper debut a year ago by claiming it had collected over 3 billion photos of people’s faces and touting its connections to law enforcement and police departments. But the startup has faced a slew of criticism for scraping social media sites also without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters to demand it stops.

In a statement, Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner said its investigation found Clearview had “collected highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals,” and that the startup “collected, used and disclosed Canadians’ personal information for inappropriate purposes, which cannot be rendered appropriate via consent.”

Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming Canada’s privacy laws do not apply because the company doesn’t have a “real and substantial connection” to the country, and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available.

That’s a challenge the company continues to face in court, as it faces a class action suit citing Illinois’ biometric protection laws that last year dinged Facebook to the tune of $550 million for violating the same law.

The Canadian privacy watchdog rejected Clearview’s arguments, and said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not follow its recommendations, which included stopping the collection on Canadians and deleting all previously collected images. Clearview said in July that it stopped providing its technology to Canadian customers after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Toronto Police Service were using the startup’s technology.

“What Clearview does is mass surveillance and it is illegal,” said Daniel Therrien, Canada’s privacy commissioner. “It is an affront to individuals’ privacy rights and inflicts broad-based harm on all members of society, who find themselves continually in a police lineup. This is completely unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Clearview AI did not immediately return a request for comment.

#articles, #canada, #clearview-ai, #digital-rights, #facebook, #facial-recognition, #facial-recognition-software, #human-rights, #illinois, #law-enforcement, #mass-surveillance, #new-york, #privacy, #security, #social-issues, #spokesperson, #terms-of-service

Folx Health raises $25 million for virtual clinical offerings and care for the LGBTQIA+ community

Folx Health is leveraging the explosion of virtual care services to offer greater access to healthcare focused on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, and has raised $25 million in new funding to help it grow.

It’s part of a revolution in care that’s targeting the needs of specific communities with access to physicians that understand those needs. And it’s all made possible by virtual interactions.

“We have a good sense of the nature of the need and the depth of the pain in the community,” said A.G. Breitenstein, the founder and chief executive of Folx Health. “As a non-binary lesbian and healthcare industry veteran, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how broken the current system is for the queer and trans community,”

Breitenstein said Folx would be using the cash to try and expand to all fifty states and increase the available products and services the healthcare company would look to make available to the queer and trans community.

“Whether it’s HRT, PrEP, sexual health or family creation, health care is essential for us to be who we are. It’s about time we build a platform for ourselves, so Queer and Trans people feel seen, heard, and celebrated,” she said in a statement. 

That was one reason why Bessemer Venture Partners leapt at the chance to lead the new financing round for Folx, according to Morgan Cheatham, an investor out of Bessemer’s New York office. The other was the size of the market.

“At a high level, 2% of the population identify as transgender,” said Cheatham. “At that math, when we looked at that, we were able to see a multibillion dollar market opportunity not just to provide [hormone replacement therapy], but to provide a healthcare destination for this community.”

Telescoping out to the opportunity to provide care to the LGBTQ community broadly, when that population represents about 10% to 20% of the population is a “deca-billion opportunity,” said Cheatham.

Breitenstein envisions offering family planning services, broad primary care, and sexual health and wellness care in addition to the hormone therapies that the company currently offers.

Folx joins a cohort of companies tackling health issues specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community which include the mental healthcare service, Violet; Included Health, an employee benefit service; and Plume, which focuses on care for the transgender community.

“We believed in the vision and the approach that she’s taking. She’s building a healthcare experience that is celebratory and dignified rather than one that pathologizing healthcare,” said Cheatham. 

For Bessemer and Cheatham, the investment speaks to broader opportunities to identify specific populations that need care tailored to their specific experience. That includes companies like Spora Health and Live Chair Health, which focus on providing healthcare specifically to people of color.

“Our individual identities whether it be socioeconomic status, race, gender… All of these things inform how we interface with the medical industrial complex,” Cheatham said.

Previous investors Define Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners will also participate in the round, which follows quickly on the heels of Folx’s launch from stealth in December 2020. 

For its patients, Folx Health is offering Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT: testosterone or estrogen) with monthly plans starting at $59 a month. Folx Health will also begin releasing its sexual health and wellness offerings starting with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) treatment, soon to be followed by at-home STI Testing and Treatment, all customized for the specifics of Queer and Trans bodies, the company said. 

The services will include unlimited on-demand clinical support with at-home lab testing (for most plans) and home-delivered medications (costs may vary based on medication). The company’s services are now available in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The company is also launching a Folx Library, which will serve as a content hub and resource for Queer and Trans health, written by Folx clinicians and its broader community.

“Our partnership with Folx is a historical moment. It’s challenging to articulate how transformative Folx is for our community. We do so mindful of the brilliant and brave Queer and Trans people who fought for this moment to happen,” said Cheatham in a statement.

#california, #connecticut, #define-ventures, #delaware, #erectile-dysfunction, #florida, #healthcare, #healthcare-industry, #illinois, #massachusetts, #new-york, #north-carolina, #polaris-venture-partners, #spora-health, #tc, #texas, #virginia, #washington

Lincoln Knew in 1838 What 2021 Would Bring

Before Jefferson Davis there was John C. Calhoun. What rougher beasts do Trump, Hawley and Cruz prefigure?

#illinois, #lincoln-abraham, #mississippi, #speeches-and-statements, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vicksburg-miss

Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

You see Facebook, Facebook sees you...

Enlarge / You see Facebook, Facebook sees you… (credit: Chris Jackson | Getty Images)

Millions of Facebook users in Illinois will be receiving about $340 each as Facebook settles a case alleging it broke state law when it collected facial recognition data on users without their consent. The judge hearing the case in federal court in California approved the final settlement on Thursday, six years after legal proceedings began.

“This is money that’s coming directly out of Facebook’s own pocket,” US District Judge James Donato said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The violations here did not extract a penny from the pockets of the victims. But this is real money that Facebook is paying to compensate them for the tangible privacy harms that they suffered.”

Three different Illinois residents filed suit against Facebook in 2015 and claimed that the service’s “tag suggestions” feature, which uses facial recognition to suggest other users to tag in photos, violated their rights under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The suits were eventually rolled together into a single class-action complaint and transferred to federal court in California.

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#biometric-data, #biometric-information-privacy-act, #facebook, #illinois, #lawsuits, #personal-data, #policy, #privacy, #settlements

GOP Member Mary Miller Apologizes for Praising Hitler At A Rally

Representative Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican, had faced condemnation and calls to resign for declaring at a rally: “Hitler was right on one thing: He said, ‘Whoever has the youth, has the future.’”

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #hitler-adolf, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #house-of-representatives, #illinois, #miller-mary-e-1959, #united-states-politics-and-government

The Auto I.R.A. Is Gaining Traction as a Retirement Savings Option

The automatic I.R.A., administered by state governments, will be more widely available.

#asset-allocation-personal-finances, #california, #illinois, #individual-retirement-accounts, #pensions-and-retirement-plans, #retirement, #small-business, #social-security-us, #states-us, #united-states

Cookie Monster Mural Puzzles Artist and Enrages Property Owner

A man claiming to be a property owner in Peoria, Ill., wanted a Soviet-style mural of Cookie Monster. The artist who did the job now says he was tricked (and paid) by an impostor.

#art, #hoaxes-and-pranks, #illinois, #joshua-hawkins, #murals, #peoria-ill

Kyle Rittenhouse Must Go to Wisconsin for Trial, Illinois Judge Rules

Mr. Rittenhouse, 17, is accused of shooting three protesters, two fatally, during a protest against the police in Kenosha, Wis.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #illinois, #kenosha-wis, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #rittenhouse-kyle

Vote for Progressive Taxation in California, Illinois and Arizona

The people of Illinois, Arizona and California have a chance to make the distribution of state taxation a little more fair.

#arizona, #california, #illinois, #income-inequality, #income-tax, #real-estate-commercial, #referendums, #taxation

Tractor Flips During Hayride in Illinois, Killing One and Injuring 17

The injured included 15 children ranging from 1 to 12 years old, the State Police said.

#halloween, #illinois, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

The Big Ten’s Rocky Road Back to Football

In response to the coronavirus, the conference first said no to fall football on its campuses. Then, after being pulled in different directions by players, politicians and others, the league reversed course.

#ann-arbor-mich, #big-ten-conference, #brohm-jeff-1971, #college-athletics, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #fields-justin-1999, #fleck-p-j-1980, #football-college, #illinois, #ingham-county-mich, #madison-wis, #michigan, #michigan-state-university, #midwestern-states-us, #ohio-state-university, #purdue-university, #rutgers-the-state-university-of-new-jersey, #university-of-illinois, #university-of-michigan, #university-of-wisconsin, #warren-kevin-1963, #wisconsin

Waukegan Police Killing of Black Man Sets Off Protests in Illinois

The police in Waukegan, Ill., said Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was fatally shot while riding in a car that went into reverse toward a police officer who had been approaching during an investigation.

#black-people, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #illinois, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-waukegan-ill, #stinnette-marcellis, #waukegan-ill

‘It Has Hit Us With a Vengeance’: Coronavirus Surges Again Across the United States

Unlike earlier outbreaks concentrated in the Northeast and South, the virus is simmering at a worrisome level in most regions.

#ann-arbor-mich, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #illinois, #kansas, #kentucky, #michigan, #montana, #shutdowns-institutional, #south-dakota

Amazon debuts its first fully electric delivery vehicle, created in partnership with Rivian

Amazon has received delivery of its very first, custom-built EV delivery van – a vehicle built through its partnership with electric transportation startup Rivian. The van doesn’t look too different from existing, traditional fuel and hybrid commercial delivery vans (though there are a lot more rounded edges) but most of the innovation is happening in less obvious places.

In a blog post detailing the vehicle, Amazon outlined some of the unique features of its custom vehicle, including sensor-based highway driving and traffic assist features; exterior cameras that can provide a 360-degree view for the driver via a digital display; a larger interior floor space in the cabin to help with drivers getting to and from the cabin compartment; surround tail lights for better braking visibility for other drivers; integrated three-level shelving and a bulkhead cargo compartment separating door; and finally, of course – built-in Alexa voice assistant integration.

Amazon announced a sizeable investment in Rivian in 2019, when it led a $700 million round for the startup EV maker. The e-commerce giant then announced last September that it was ordering 100,000 of the custom-made electric delivery vans. Rivian also intends to build and ship electric pickups and SUVs to consumers, on top of its commercial vehicle plans.

Amazon plans to ramp deployment of its all-electric fleet form here, starting with 10,000 custom vans on roads globally within the next two years, and then expanding to a total fleet size of that full 100,000 order by 2030, the company says. Rivian, meanwhile, says it has begun a pilot production line run of its Illinois factory, and plans to begin delivery of its SUV starting in June 2021, with shipments of its SUV starting next August.

#amazon, #automotive, #cars, #driver, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #greentech, #illinois, #rivian, #suv, #tc, #transport, #transportation, #van

She’s 13, and the Source of a Family’s Covid-19 Outbreak

The C.D.C. and four state health departments described how one girl spread the coronavirus to 11 relatives during a gathering.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #georgia, #illinois, #massachusetts, #morbidity-and-mortality-weekly-report, #research, #rhode-island, #teenagers-and-adolescence, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

An ‘Unprecedented’ Effort to Stop the Coronavirus in Nursing Homes

Researchers are testing an experimental drug to halt sudden outbreaks. The trial may bring a new type of treatment for the virus.

#antibodies, #clinical-trials, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #elderly, #eli-lilly-and-company, #illinois, #national-institutes-of-health, #nursing-homes, #tests-medical, #your-feed-healthcare

James R. Thompson, Longest-Serving Governor of Illinois, Dies at 84

A relentless campaigner, he served for 14 years after winning an election to a special two-year term in 1976.

#chicago-ill, #deaths-obituaries, #illinois, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #thompson-james-r, #united-states-politics-and-government

In Derecho’s Wake, More Than 250,000 in Midwest Struggle Without Power

Residents in Iowa, Illinois and surrounding states were still without electricity days after Monday’s storms brought hurricane-force winds.

#agriculture-and-farming, #derecho-storm, #grain, #illinois, #iowa, #midwestern-states-us, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #social-media, #weather

Unusual ‘Derecho’ Storms Rip Through Midwest

The powerful storms, which covered hundreds of miles, brought winds exceeding 100 miles per hour to Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana.

#chicago-ill, #des-moines-iowa, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #illinois, #lake-michigan, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #national-weather-service, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #weather

Lincoln Library Cancels Exhibition Over Racial Sensitivity Concerns

The library, in Springfield, Ill., said Black community leaders who previewed it feared parts of the traveling exhibition, created 15 years ago, were outdated and lacked context.

#black-people, #illinois, #international-spy-museum, #ku-klux-klan, #libraries-and-librarians, #lincoln-abraham-presidential-library-and-museum, #museums, #spies-traitors-saboteurs-fear-and-freedom-in-america-exhibit

When Utility Money Talks

Corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois reveal an unsavory underside to the politics of energy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bribery-and-kickbacks, #commonwealth-edison, #energy-and-power, #entergy-corporation, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #firstenergy-corporation, #householder-larry, #illinois, #madigan-michael-j, #nuclear-energy, #ohio, #state-legislatures

Tammy Duckworth Is Nothing and Everything Like Joe Biden

Despite their disparate backgrounds, the Illinois Democrat has carved out a public life most evocative of the man she could join on the presidential ticket.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #duckworth-l-tammy, #illinois, #presidential-election-of-2020, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #veterans, #vice-presidents-and-vice-presidency-us

Overlooked No More: Nancy Green, the ‘Real Aunt Jemima’

A nanny and cook, she played the part as the pancake flour company that employed her perpetuated a racial stereotype. She died 97 years ago in Chicago.

#advertising-and-marketing, #aunt-jemima-milling-co, #biographical-information, #black-people, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #green-nancy-1834-1923, #illinois, #pancakes, #pepsico-inc, #quaker-oats-co, #race-and-ethnicity, #trademarks-and-trade-names

Utility Company Gave Jobs to Allies of Top Illinois Democrat, Prosecutors Say

Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan has not been charged, but the governor, a fellow Democrat, said he must resign if the allegations are true.

#bribery-and-kickbacks, #corruption-institutional, #illinois, #madigan-michael-j, #politics-and-government, #state-legislatures

A Conversation With Tammy Duckworth

The senator from Illinois joins the podcast to talk about Tucker Carlson, the vice presidency and parenting in a pandemic.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #duckworth-l-tammy, #illinois, #medicare, #monuments-and-memorials-structures, #quarantines, #russia, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government