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Digging deeper into the Everest Metro Chief investigation and other tidbits
I will this week be diving into the full report from the investigation into sexual harassment claims against Everest Metro’s Police chief. Previously, we had the summary document but now The Wausonian has received the full document.
I previously praised WPR’s reporting on the subject. But digging a little deeper, the publication left out some crucial details.
I will say my source for the document perhaps made too strong a case for the chief’s innocence. While the claims were unsubstantiated, they seem oddly specific. Unsubstantiated doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t happen. But the reasons why they weren’t substantiated are significant and should be reported.
I’ve read through the case once and will be reading through taking detailed notes next. There’s a lot here to unpack and I don’t want to talk too soon before I’ve had time to really dig in.
So I am essentially suspending my recommendation until I can really give it the look it deserves.
Silence on school failing grade data
I’m not going to lie, it’s infuriating that it has been three weeks since reaching out to the Wausau School District for an interview about the failing grade data. And two weeks since I reached out to D.C. Everest. I haven’t heard from either. My interview with SPASH administrators took all of a day to set up.
Big shout out to Sarah O’Donnell, who I’ve worked with since being a cub reporter at the Stevens Point Journal. I worked with her when she ran Stevens Point’s Main Street program, led a committee to redevelop the mall, and then in her current role as communications person in the SPASH district. She’s responsive, helpful and is everything a communications person should be.
Besides administration, I also offered to interview the Wausau School Board president about it, but he passively declined, though he tells me he looks forward to reading the story.
Frankly, this story should have already been in your hands long ago. On Friday I sent a list of questions to the director of student learning, thinking that sounded like the appropriate person to handle questions about failing grades. As of Monday afternoon I have not heard anything.
In the meantime, if you haven’t seen my story on Wausau and other districts’ failing grades, check out my report on the initial data here. The best I can think of to do is dig up what the administration said about the failing grade data in August (they supposedly talked about how they had responded but did not share the data).
Mall site, downtown looking better
Credit where credit is due. The downtown mall site is looking much better, and downtown is starting to fill with businesses again. The site looks very cleaned up. It doesn’t look like those roadways are going to happen this year. It’s getting way to close to the end of the construction season for that to be possible.
The last update from WOZ says it will be, however.
Road construction around the museum should be wrapped up before the doors open later this fall. "The contractor is currently working on installing the storm sewer system and grading the roadway for the pavement and sidewalk installation," said Allen Wesolowski, city engineer.
But it’s not entirely clear which streets/sidewalks they’re referring to. It doesn’t look like the Third Street extension will happen this year. Perhaps they’re referring to a street/sidewalk right in front of the Children’s Imaginarium?
There hasn’t been an update from WOZ since Sept. 21, more than a month ago.
I recently sat down with the owners of The Pinery Coffee Co., and they’re awfully excited about Wausau and downtown’s future.
They were from outside the area - and like many who have moved here, describe the city has a hidden gem. They planned to make that part of their business, more than just coffee - they want to help Wausau in general.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with another boomeranger (a name for the phenomena of people growing up in Wausau, moving to a larger city then returning when they have children) back in the later 2000s. He went on to start the Why Not Wausau? campaign.
If that always seems to be the perception - why aren’t these campaigns successful? Why do we see them continue to pop up, yet Wausau’s population remains mostly stagnant? Although there has been steady growth, it’s very slow growth. Wausau went from ranking 740th in population countrywide in 1990 to 1,001st in 2021. The population went from 37,367 in 1990 to 39,570 in 2021.
There’s a lot to dive in here and this is hardly an exhaustive analysis. Growth could be coming from the surrounding metro because there isn’t enough housing in the city itself, for instance (not saying that’s for sure, but that it’s a possibility).
Stay tuned for the deeper dive on the situation with Everest Metro.
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