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Dispatches: 'The Changing American Dream.'

"Patch" launches a project to chronicle the effects of the economic crisis and the creative and innovative ways people are responding to it.

Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times.

There are so many changes happening so fast that it's dizzying: national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, government and private enterprise all touch on fundamental ways in which we see ourselves and our communities.

At Patch, we want to explore that conversation on a daily basis so we can better understand how our neighbors are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities that surround us. We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams which people are working toward.

Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates returning home because they can't find jobs; and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay their bills.

On the flip side, we see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated and locals who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government.

We know Fenton and High Ridge residents, business owners and communities are feeling the effects of the economic crisis and responding as well. In recent months, we've reported on the demolition of the Chrysler assembly plant and its effects on local tax dollars, an urgent plea from Feed My People for food donations for area residents and a business owner who changed career paths to persevere.

"Dispatches" will be built upon the compelling vignettes and snapshots we unearth across all of our Patch sites. And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Fenton and High Ridge go to the heart of your American Dream.
 
This is a unique moment in the history of our country, and Patch is uniquely positioned to explore and amplify the stories that capture that moment.

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