By Shereen Siewert, Wausau Pilot and Review Editor and Publisher

Happy Monday, readers.

This week, I’d like to kick off a new weekly feature, the Monday Memo, giving you all a glimpse into the inner workings of our publication and a recap of what happened over the course of the past seven days.

A few things happened this week that are certainly worthy of mentioning, but didn’t make headlines. First, we’re extremely grateful to the United Way of Marathon County for recognizing Wausau Pilot and Review as media partner of the year for 2019 during a ceremony on Wednesday.

This got me thinking about how important it is to ensure that nonprofits —  those organizations that help promote a better future for all our residents — have a voice. That’s why we publish those weekly volunteer opportunities you see each Sunday, for example.

Thanks, United Way. And keep doing the great work you do!

This week we also welcomed a new staff member, Alyssa Frierson, who has a degree in English with a minor in technical writing. Alyssa has exceptional transcription skills and will be covering meetings broadcast on Wausau Area Access Media for Marathon County, Wausau School Board and Weston.

These are meetings that we have struggled to cover in the past, and we are excited to have this vibrant new member of our team on board.

Election season is heating up, and once again we created an “elections” page to house all local election coverage from now through April. It’s an easy way to keep tabs on what’s going on, so be sure to bookmark this page.

I’ve had a few people ask why we haven’t done any candidate profiles yet, and the answer is simple – it’s really early in the race. Only one Wausau seat will have a primary, and that’s in Dist. 10, where Donna Krause, Lou Larson Sherry Abitz are running. The Feb. 18 election will narrow that race to two.

The Wausau mayoral race is already down to two candidates, so there’s no primary for that position. (See the full list of Wausau candidates here.)

What you can expect is comprehensive candidate profiles and Q&As for Wausau, Weston, Marathon County and area school board races, but only after the Feb. 18 primary. We’ll be publishing those in late March, closer to the election. Right now, we’re researching the best questions to ask, using a variety of resources. Your input is welcome, so be sure to email if you have a suggestion.

In the meantime, you’ll have your first opportunity to hear from both Wausau mayoral candidates on Wednesday. The AAUW has organized a forum between Mayor Robert Mielke and challenger Katie Rosenberg, set for 6 p.m. in the Terrace Room at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point at Wausau, 518 S. 7th Ave., which is in the main campus building.

After we reported on the new restaurant planned for the former Westside Battery location, a couple of readers asked us why the city could sell property that still had a loan attached to it. We checked into it, and here’s what we learned.

The city bought the property, which is two separate parcels, with loans from the Alexander foundation. The first loan, used to buy the L&S property, was for $190,000. This loan was paid last year. The second loan was for the Westside Battery property, for $200,000. That loan, which matures in November, will be paid with increment from TID #8. The 2020 budget reflected the debt payment from the district.

Thanks to Council President Lisa Rasmussen for digging that up for us.

On another note, I’d like to briefly address the controversy that erupted after our Jan. 24 report that revealed that Wausau Public Works Director Eric Lindman kept a state mandated environmental work plan from the public during a January meeting in which city leaders were discussing environmental testing for Riverside Park. The story sparked outrage at City Hall and prompted Mr. Lindman to not only fire off an angry email to me, but to also post the email directly on the department’s official Facebook page.

That kind of intimidation tactic is outrageous, frankly. And we stand by our reporting.

Thanks for reading. And have a great week!