Happy Monday, readers.

It looks like the next few days will be warmer, and after the last few cold nights the fall colors in our area have really popped. I hope you take some time to get out and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

This week is a busy one at Wausau Pilot & Review. I’ll be spending my afternoons attending the annual Investigative Reporters & Editors conference, which is being held virtually this year. Had this been a “normal” year, I’d be attending in Georgia, but this, like every other professional conference I typically attend, was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, I expect a full week of learning, with sessions on becoming a better government watchdog, investigating hospitals, tracking political spending, covering education, adding investigation to our student program curriculum and more. IRE is one of the best resources in the world for journalists, and I’m excited for this experience.

That said, there are still plenty of important issues to cover this week in Wausau including the surge in COVID-19 cases and what the health department is doing about it. We’re also working to find out how many students at area schools have been infected and quarantined, something some schools are reluctant to release. There is no public health law that applies to this information, as HIPPA applies only to individual information, not numbers, so we are continuing to push for that.

We have a story coming later today about what’s next for Wausau Center mall, and how much it will cost taxpayers. And we’re working on a story with Peter Cameron at The Badger Project about local law enforcement and a unique approach they’ve taken to reduce emergency detentions for calls involving mental illness – resulting in better outcomes and massive savings for the county.

As always, if you have news to report, an idea to share or a question to ask, email me anytime at editor@wausaupilotandreview.com.

One final note. We are working hard to keep our organization lean, while continuing to cover the community in the best way possible. Our news will always be free and we’ll never hide stories behind a paywall – ever. But if you’re here, and you appreciate the coverage, we hope you will consider supporting our work and become a member. The information is all here.

Thanks for spending part of your Monday with us. We appreciate every one of you.

  • Shereen Siewert, Wausau Pilot & Review Publisher