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Introducing 'Dispatches'—Patch's Take on the American Dream

In this ongoing series, Lakeville Patch will explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in striving for a better life in America in 2011.

Today, we're excited to kick off a new series, "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream," that will chronicle how the residents of Lakeville and Minnesota are adjusting to these trying economic times.

The simmering national debates about unemployment, home foreclosures, the debt ceiling, religion, government and the military (among others) all reflect how we see ourselves and our communities in this time of dizzying change. At Patch, we want to explore that conversation so we can better understand how our neighbors are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities of life in 2011.

Looking out across nearly 900 Patch sites spread all over the country, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates returning home to live 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 innovate, and locals who've taken these trying times as a call to participate more, and not less, in their government.

Nationally, we know the possibilty of a double-dip recession, layoffs and chronic unemployment have forced many Americans to lose faith in their political leaders. Locally, just nine months ago, Lakeville saw a dramatic city election where two new City Council members and a new Mayor were ushered into office.

Nationally, we know the debate over raising the country's debt ceiling has not only lowered our AAA rating but has caused one of the most volatile week in stocks on Wall Street—driving up the price of gold to record highs. Locally, we wait for the trickle-down effect of this discord all the while witnessing how the state's budget crisis affected our fair city.

At the local level, we want to know where you, as Lakeville residents, sit along these fault lines. We don't think there's one American Dream any more, but a multitude of American Dreams that a multitude of people are working toward. 

"Dispatches" will shed light on the trials and tribulations, joys and triumphs, of living life as an American in 2011. 
And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Lakeville go to the heart of your American Dream by e-mailing me at derrick.williams@patch.com.

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