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, religion, 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 a multitude of 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.
We also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated, and residents who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government.
At the purely local level, we want to know where we, as Stratford neighbors, fit along these fault lines.
Nationally, there's a debate about which programs need to be cut to help pay off the country's debt, and questions being asked about how to decrease the U.S. unemployment rate. Locally, town officials are trying to figure out how to go about bringing business into town.
Some say a revitalized Festival Theatre would bring in cash from tourists to our hotels and restaurants. Others support the construction of a full interchange at exit 33 on I-95, although noise and environmental concerns tied to the proposed project still need to be answered.
"Dispatches" will be built upon the compelling vignettes and snapshots we unearth across all of our Patch sites - beginning right here where the issues hit home first.
And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Stratford go to the heart of your American Dream.