DC daily roundup: Council votes for tax hikes; Tick disease dashboard; Connected DMV pivots to quantum

Plus, an assistive speech tool wins startup pitch contest.

The floral library along Independence Avenue (National Mall NPS)

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Assistive speech tool wins pitch contest

At age 39, Martin Bedouret was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS. He quickly discovered that tools to assist with speech issues were expensive, inaccessible and only available in a handful of languages.

From there, Cboard was born. It’s an open-source platform that helps people with speech impairments communicate using pictograms. With the $10k he won at the 2GI pitch night, Bedouret plans to continue expanding.  “Winning this competition is a big deal for us,” he said, “and shows that our mission matters.”

➡️ Learn more about Cboard in my latest report here.

Tracking ticks to avoid disease

As people begin to spend more time outside, bugs are coming out of the woodwork — and that includes pesky ticks. They’re not just in the countryside, either, as you can see in this interactive map by JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, which includes data through 2022 about DC metro and the rest of the country.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health is trying to make it easier for people and health providers to stay aware of trends with a new tick dashboard. “We know how important it is to spend time outdoors for our health, our mental health, so we definitely don’t want it to discourage people,” the department’s Lyme and tickborne diseases coordinator told “Just be aware of the risk and take appropriate precautions.”

➡️ Get the details on the new dashboard here.

News Incubator: What else to know today

• The DC Council held its first budget vote on Wednesday, which includes tax hikes and an overhaul to the city’s sports betting system. [Washington Post]

• Equitable growth nonprofit Connected DMV, which led DC’s failed bid for federal designation as a hydrogen tech hub, is shifting focus to concentrate on its initiative to grow the local quantum industry. [Washington Biz Journal/]

• An AI program used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help identify suicide risk, known as REACH VET, was found to prioritize white men. [The Fuller Project/The Markup]

• An investor and tech entrepreneur’s home near Bethesda was recently priced for at $23.5 million, making it one of the most expensive homes on the market in the area. [Mansion Global]

• An AI-generated image with the text “All eyes on Rafah” is going viral on social media. [Al Jazeera English]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• DC Startup Women and Women and Gender eXpansive Coders DC is hosting a panel discussion where women and non-binary founders will outline their career journeys on June 6. [Details here]

• DC Tech Meetup is hosting an event focused on health tech startups, including discussions and demos, on June 5. [Details here]

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