Comments on our Facebook page can be infuriating.

It quickly becomes clear that many, if not most, of those who comment have read only the headline and not the story. Or, if they have read the story, they still fail to grasp the overall issue.

So, we’re going to try something.

We will keep an eye on the social media pages — Facebook and Twitter — and keep track of anything that seems to be in need of more explanation.

We’ll handle that with an editorial that we will not only print in the newspaper, but post, in full, on Facebook as well. Hopefully, this will result in us doing a better job of making issues clear and our community being more fully informed.

Let’s see how it goes …



Funds for HoosierBoy

There was some general whining on Facebook about the $150,000 that Portland Redevelopment Commission pledged to help HoosierBoy Smokehouse and Brew fix up the Stevens Building. This was coupled with complaints that such money is not being used to help attract a grocery store.

Other comments that were so wildly off base that it’s not even worth attempting to correct them, so we’ll stick with those two.

The funds provided are to help with rehabilitating the building, not as business start-up dollars. The result is that a building that has been an eyesore will be brought into a condition that will be useful long-term. Such a project is specifically what the tax increment financing (TIF) district, which accounts for the funds the redevelopment commission has to work with, was created to do.

And the idea that local officials, governmental and non-governmental, are not working to try to get a grocery store in Portland is ludicrous. It’s just not an easy sell.

Beyond that, no one interested in opening a grocery store locally, and in the redevelopment district, has approached the redevelopment commission seeking funds. If such an effort was made it would get consideration, but the redevelopment commission can’t just conjure a grocery store out of thin air.



E-learning

One comment against implementing e-learning — school work completed online when inclement weather forces closures — at Jay Schools was that it would result in “automatic zeros” for students who do not have internet access at home.

While Jay School Corporation does not yet have an e-learning policy, we can say with relative confidence that this would not be the case. At other schools that already have e-learning, accommodations are made in order to make sure all students have ample opportunity to complete e-learning assignments. (E-learning can also be a logistical challenge for families that have internet access but also have multiple children who need to work on assignments.)

In our experience, students are given more than just a single day to complete their e-learning assignments. For example, e-learning assignments at South Adams are due three days after returning to school. At Fort Recovery, it’s two weeks.

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There were also a lot — more than 40 on the main story — of questions about the possible elimination of block scheduling. There was just too much there to cover in this space, so we’ll get to those in a separate piece.

Some commenters had legitimate questions, for school administrators, government officials, etc., on these topics and others. But commenting on Facebook rarely seems to be about getting answers to questions, and rather an effort to get useless praise from those who already agree with you.

That said, for those who really want answers, here are some suggestions:

•Attend a government or school board meeting.

•Email a school board member, a county commissioner or a city council member.

•Send us a letter to the editor.

And one more piece of advice. Instead of assuming you know all the answers, come with an open mind. Ask your questions, politely, and listen — really listen — to the responses.

It’s rare that anything positive comes from getting angry and flying off the handle. But calm, intelligent discussion, that can be of infinite value. — R.C.