What stories did our readers react to the most this week? Below are five stories that were widely read and widely commented on. All quotes appear in their original form and have not been edited.
Should vouchers be given to schools that teach creationism?
Indiana’s rapidly expanding voucher program now funds some Christian schools that teach creationism or intelligent design. Here's what some of our readers said on Facebook and our website:
Jennifer Allen: "As long as they teach both I don't see the problem.... but wait shouldn't they be teaching reincarnation also?"
Rick Wright: "If the idea is to indoctrinate a student as opposed to teaching them then give them one side of the story on everything. If I still had school aged children I would want Evolution and Creation taught and then I would would discuss what they learned over the dinner table. The fear and anger on either side makes no sense to me."
Kate: "Creation and Intelligent Design are as valid a theory as Evolution. In fact, some scientists have discarded Evolution in favor of Intelligent Design."
jclehman: "The science and history curriculum used in many of these private schools is flat out untrue,ie, denies climate change and evolution, and, for example rejects slavery as being one of the reasons for the US Civil War.
There is no way that public money, including vouchers, should be used for any of the private (for profit) schools. Those like Lamar Alexander, former US Dept. of Ed. Secretary, are now reaping huge profits by setting up private schools, which cannot nearly serve all those poor students that these dudes purport to be able to serve."
Pedestrians take to the streets without cleared sidewalks
Reporter Tim Vandenack wrote a blog post about the increasing visibility of pedestrians in roadways since snow has covered many sidewalks throughout the county. It turns out, readers have also noticed this and have some strong opinions on the matter.
Daniel Magee "the city of Elkhart hasn't done anything to fulfill their obligation to the public safety in regard to the streets. roads were made passible very quickly, but that is where it has stopped. there used to be snow routes around town so snow could be removed to the curbs, not any more. . and there is a lot of city property that hasn't had the sidewalks cleared. it is probably some political move to get more budget money and it is wrong. get it together mayor, want to be in charge then step up and be in charge."
Carl Albert Wayne Knudson "If the citizens would accept their civil responsibility and clear their sidewalks we would see quite a bit less walking in the already snow narrowed streets"
Stephanie Butler-Bloom "The citizens should be able to fine the city for every unshovled sidewalk that forces them to walk in the road. If homeowners are enforced to keep sidewalks clear for walkers or be forced to pay fines the city is just as responsible and shoumd be held to the same standard."
Concord schools groundskeeper/reserve sheriff's officer fired after bringing firearm to school property
Rick Ball, a groundskeeper for the school district and a reserve officer for the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, was asked to resign by the district after he brought his handgun to work Jan. 27 and 28. Readers questioned whether it was the right call made by the school, particularly because Ball is a Elkhart County Sheriff's Department reserve officer.
Jennifer Allen "I personally think that he should have informed the school that he had the weapon on school property, but I don't believe they should have fired him... I don't think that the school should have any right to tell him he can't carry on school grounds, but he should have to let them know."
Nate Bug Hayes "Schools are gun free zones. Zero tolerance. Isn't that what America is about?"
Mark Zen"Ball said he had placed his gun in his coat pocket after responding to a domestic violence call Jan. 26. He forgot about the gun, and it was still in his pocket when he went to work Jan. 27 and 28."
"If his coat was left unattended (hung up while he worked, for instance), this is the issue that would concern me, regardless of whether there were students or not in the school. I have no problem with a reserve officer carrying on school property. But it needs to be on his person and under his control at all times. He might deserve a refresher course in proper handling and storage of his weapon, but I don't think he deserves to be fired."
New restaurants, other business changes announced for downtown Elkhart
Kurt Janowsky plans to open a fine-dining restaurant and a new family-style eatery called "Cubby Bear Pizza" are coming to downtown. SoMa announced the development of new businesses as well as several other changes at a Friday, Feb. 14, news conference.
Tom Butler: "Great job Dan Boecher, Kurt Janowsky and David Smith. Downtown Elkhart is stronger than ever thanks to the efforts of these folks and it's a great campaign. Urbanism and the rise of the small business creative class. Work hard, play hard, eat good and commute short distances by foot in a creative and culturally progressive environment. This is the future in Elkhart and the world."
Kim Komdeur "LOVE it! Elkhart County has got it goin' on!!!"
Randy Cameron: "I grew up around the corner from these guys [Steve and Frank Hill]. Great to hear that they are doing well. I'll be glad to stop in, have some dinner, and say hey. Good luck and good job guys!"
Proposed constitutional gay marriage ban is dead until at least 2016; legislator's response ignites Twittersphere
A proposal to ban gay marriage in the state's constitution will not appear on the November ballot, as some lawmakers including Gov. Mike Pence had hoped. The lack of action on the Senate floor regarding the proposed constitutional amendment, known as HJR-3, came as somewhat of a surprise after Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, and another sponsor tried to get the votes to ban civil unions, too. The attempt failed and the Twitterverse reacted quickly.
Kevin James DeBeck "Finally--some common sense from our Legislature."
Duane Walters "Indiana still doesn't recognize a gay marriage. The ban was to make it illegal. So not really a big deal."
Rickverde: "This issue needs to be voted on and voted on now. The majority of the citizens in this state want gay marriage banned."