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Introducing Dispatches: The Changing American Dream

From college grads dealing with a tough job market to bold new volunteer efforts and everything in between, we want to hear your personal stories about how our turbulent times have changed your life.

We're excited to inaugurate a new series for our Patch Readers: "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."

Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times. It’s dizzying how many changes are  happening so fast: national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, religion, government and private enterprise all touch on fundamental ways in which we see ourselves and our communities.

At Novato 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 them that a people set as a goal. Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand or close forever, college graduates returning home because they can't find jobs and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay their bills. We also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated.

We’ve seen locals who have taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government. In Novato, all one has to do is look at the that seemed to transfix the community. That issue and several others boosted attendance at civic meetings and prompted several people to run for office this November.

At the purely local level, we want to know where we, as Novato neighbors, fit along these fault lines.

Nationally, there's a debate about which government-building efforts are "shovel-ready." In Novato, we have a new city administrative office that has been in the Old Town area but an even newer group of residents and business owners who want to before it gets started.

Nationally, there's a debate about the education system, which is at the center of our dreams of a better life for our children. Locally, we know Novato’s schools get high grades from the state, but the closure of in June, budget issues prompted by rangling in Sacramento and the possible in the coming year keep the in the news.

"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 Novato go to the heart of your American Dream.

Beth Huizenga September 05, 2011 at 01:05 AM
This is a very small adjustment, but we've gone from sushi restaurants to sushi from the supermarket - our Sunday evening "dream" dinner. We pile on the California rolls, unagi, spicy tuna and seaweed salad from Harvest Market for about a quarter of a restaurant price... I just wish we weren't left with so many take-out containers. Can I show up with my own Bento box?

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