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Defining the American Dream in Altadena

Patch is launching the new "Dispatches" series to chronicle how you are dealing with the economic crisis.

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. 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 locals 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 Altadena neighbors, fit along these fault lines.

"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 Altadena Patch go to the heart of your American Dream. Please contact editor Dan Abendschein at dan.abendschein@patch.com

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.

Laura Monteros August 16, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Affordable health care must be addressed. Clinics are too expensive and do not provide decent service, and without medical insurance--or a gap policy for Medicare--medical and dental care are simply out of reach. In my case, I haven't had medical insurance for 3 1/2 years. The policy at my job was too expensive, and since being laid off, my unemployment award is just a skoch over the line for MediCal. I am not old enough for Medicare. To me, that's pretty scary. I feel like I'm one illness away from being homeless.
Lori A. Webster August 17, 2011 at 12:30 AM
If you ask me, and I guess you did, it would be to point out that we all need to support our local businesses before they go under from lack of customers. Not just because of the problem Laura discusses - if we were more viable we'd be able to offer health insurance coverage for our employees - but because there are actual local people who work these businesses who would only add to the statistics of the unemployed and further erode the viability of Altadena. These are people who are also making a difference in our community by their efforts, however small.

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