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 900 Patch sites across the country, 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 Peters neighbors, fit along these fault lines.
We know the industry has changed the face of Washington County, and the is still a hot topic in the township—even after council's "no" vote.
Nationally, there's a debate about the importance of small business and the obstacles they face in the current economic climate.
Locally, Peters has seen the opening of businesses in the last year, such as , , Walgreens and Italian Village Pizza.
Area growth continues with a planned large Get Go Express, the construction of a 7,800-square-foot PNC Bank, the opening of Firehouse Subs, and talks of MedExpress and Chipotle coming in the next year.
In the last four years, Peters has seen an increase in the construction of single-family homes. We're also witnessing the community evolve into a health care mecca with the newly opened , and St. Clair Hospital's , among multiple express care centers in the township.
, housing two physicians, is set to open by the end of August in the former Prudential Reality office in Waterdam Plaza.
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 Peters schools are currently facing large imposed by the , adding more challenges to the goal of providing students with the knowledge they need to build a better future for themselves.
Also, the newly introduced has caused some controversy in the township, but has been generally accepted among parent and booster groups, which have "been ridiculously supportive," according to district spokeswoman, Shelly Belcher.
"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 the Peters area go to the heart of your American Dream.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas or suggestions, and stay tuned!