Debates over how well local schools are doing. Requests for recommendations for a good appliance repair place. Thoughts on who might run in upcoming city races. Gluten-free meal exchanges. Notices of a St. Patrick’s Day dinner fundraiser. A job opening for a men’s stylist. News of a new writers’ group for teens.
Those are just a handful of dozens of things discussed in a single week on the many Facebook group pages for and about Monroe.
Facebook group pages differ from regular Facebook pages in that people ask to join the groups via message, then once they are connected they can create posts, as well as comment on other posts. Here is a list of some of the busiest Facebook group pages in the Sky Valley:
Monroe Citizens for Responsible Government
Tagline: Monroe Citizens for Responsible Government strives to make Monroe a great place to live, work and learn. We provide a platform to share information about issues facing our community.
This Facebook page is devoted to matters of public policy. Recent comment threads include a heated debate over the merits of the Monroe School District, information about the upcoming Valley General Hospital levy and possible candidacies for the upcoming city races.
While there are dozens of people who comment on the site, among the most active participants are former city councilman Mitch Ruth and former school board member Debra Kolrud.
Kolrud likes the site, she said, because the moderators don’t censor opinions that differ from their own.
You Had Me At Monroe
Tagline: Monroe is our home and we like it here! This group is a place for community interaction, discussing upcoming events, game times, sports programs, school programs, dance recitals, sales, and more!
Whereas the previous page is all about politics, this page is about anything but. The founder, former city councilmember Bridgette Tuttle, asks everyone to stay off big issues and politics, as there are other forums for that.
Bridgette got the idea, she said, when she was looking for bulletin boards on which to post notices about a craft bazaar. A community online bulletin board would be a good idea, she thought, but a website was too limited and she didn’t have time to post every notice she encountered. So she created a Facebook page, but found that a Facebook Group page was an even more attractive option.
“I was excited when, every day, there were 5-20 people asking to join,” she said. “I would hear people out in public asking other people if they’d seen the group. Strangers would recognize me from my picture and say, ‘Hey, you’re the Facebook lady.’”
She and two friends administer the page, intervening when comments turn nasty.
“There are other groups that allow people to be rude, confrontational, and negative,” she said. “I’ve been part of many of them but ended up leaving because they aren’t enhancing my life in any way.”
Posts tend to be about businesses, community events, lost pets and volunteer opportunities.
“We’ve had everything from, ‘What time does the library close?’ to ‘There’s a loose dog on Lewis Street!’ to ‘Who’s got the best happy hour?’ said Tuttle.
Moms of Monroe
Tagline: This group is for moms in Monroe, WA (or the local area). Feel free to post events, activities, playgroups, etc.
This page acts as both information clearinghouse for mothers in the Sky Valley and moral support for the difficult task of parenting.
“It has been a wonderful way for local moms to communicate,” said administrator Mikaela Berry.
See the photos section for a collection of parenting articles and a list of fun places to take kids for play dates.
Also on the page is resource information on mom-owned businesses and more.
“There is information on local moms who have side businesses like home parties and such, so it’s way to get word out and support one another that way,” said Berry. “We have even started a freezer-meal group that has been a lot of fun. It has been a great wonderful way to meet new people and a great way to share and get advice about our kiddos.”
*This is a closed group, meaning anyone can see who is in the group, but only members can see postings.
Tagline: This group is for those who live in Monroe and want to collaborate, share information, and discuss local topics in a civil manner. This is also a great place for folks outside our community to keep apprised of local events and activities.
This page is something of a hybrid of the friendly, non-controversial You had Me At Monroe and the contentious Monroe Citizens for Responsible Government.
Comments on public matters are welcome, but comments also lean heavily to posts seeking advice on good landscapers or announcements of community events.
Recent posts include a notice of the death of a community member, a post seeking information about a recent house fire, a reminder about soccer signups, and an invitation to a worship service.
Monroe Public Schools Discussion
Tagline: Because Monroe Public Schools did not have a Facebook page or group to encourage open discussion, this group was created and is open to everyone interested in Monroe Public Schools. This is NOT an official Monroe Public School Facebook page, and does not express the views of the Monroe Public School District.
This is one of two popular pages on the Monroe School District. This is another of Debra Kolrud’s favorite pages; Kolrud has been a longtime and vocal critic of the Monroe School District and four of the most recent five posts as of Sunday afternoon were from Kolrud and highly critical of the district.
Conversations on this site are also fiercely protective of “sunshine laws,” laws that make it easy for citizens to access public records.
Kolrud contends that the school district tries to suppress dissenting voices and said that Facebook offers a way for the community to talk in an uncensored way.
“I think it would be beneficial for all our elected officials to provided open communication and accessibility with the community via a Facebook page. It could actually bring forth true representation of the people,” she said.
Monroe School District Group
Tagline: This is a group forum for Monroe School District to encourage dialogue, sharing, mutual respect, and sometimes a good laugh. Offensive or belittling comments about anyone in our community will be deleted. This is the only rule.
This page is a more pro-district page. The variety of topics is a bit wider than the previous page: the most recent posts include a long piece by current school board member Nancy Truitt Pierce responding to criticisms of the district, a conversation about a letter to the Herald criticizing the Spanish/English education program at Frank Wagner Elementary, a question about how Monroe fares in math and science instruction and a question about a recent lockdown at the high school