By Shereen Siewert, Editor and Publisher, Wausau Pilot & Review

Happy Monday, readers. I hope you are well.

This week, we’re covering the state of coronavirus testing in our area and working to find the actual number of patients in local hospitals. So far, the officials we’ve asked have declined to comment on that, citing HIPPA laws. But HIPPA is meant to protect patient privacy, and we’re unconvinced that giving us a number would in any way violate federal law.

So, we’re taking another stab at it.

A couple of months ago, we let readers know that we are one of 15 newsrooms in North America to be included in a spectacular business training program from The Lenfest Institute and Facebook. The original plan called for us to attend three sessions in Austin, after which we would receive a grant to put into place what we’ve learned. Given the COVID-19 restrictions, the Austin conferences were canceled, but the organizers shifted to an online platform and we’re knee-deep in it now. One of the things we’re focusing on is improving the user experience for Wausau Pilot & Review readers.

That’s why we’re rolling out a newly designed website in the next two weeks, and possibly sooner. Shortly after that, we’re investing some serious money into a brand new app, one that will load quickly on your mobile device and will have some cool extras we think you’ll enjoy.

The website is our biggest project, though, and it’s been in the works for some time now. When I designed this site more than three years ago, I had zero experience in web design and even less in coding. Since then, the theme we use has developed a few bugs, most notably that spinning featured stories slider that many of you are seeing on mobile. I know…it’s a big problem. This new theme will make that all go away. We’re just working out the last few bugs.

We’re also introducing a “curbside pickup” widget this week to feature the Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages of local restaurants offering pickup or delivery. If you’d like your business featured for free from now through June 1, email me with a link to your Facebook page.

Also, we’re launching an “events” tab, one you’ll be able to easily access with our new app when it launches. There aren’t a lot of events right now, for obvious reasons (though virtual events count, too) but we’ll be ready when there are. Soon, we’ll have a self-serve portal for you to enter your own public events like live music, community theater and festivals, but for now, just email me the information and we’ll include it in the list.

I’m at editor@wausaupilotandreview.com.

Finally, I’d like to thank each one of you for your readership, your support, and your feedback (both positive and negative.) We wouldn’t be here without you.

Have a great week.