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New Series Explores the Changing American Dream in Northville

We'll look at where our communities fit in the national picture.

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 that a multitude of people are working toward. Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding theirs breaths as they decide 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 Northville neighbors, fit along these fault lines.

Nationally, there's a debate in education, specifically about privatizing school services. Locally, has

Nationally, there's a lot of talk about consolidating services between governments. Locally, the city of Northville and city of Plymouth have recently to cut costs.

"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 Northville go to the heart of your American dream.

Denise Nash August 15, 2011 at 07:37 PM
I believe this will be an interesting series. I am anxious to read the opinions of others. I would like to tell a story about someone I met this summer. He is a teacher in West Bloomfield schools. You get a feeling that he is an excellent teacher by the way he engages you as he speaks. Indeed, he has won awards. When he told me his story, I was shocked. He had been teaching 10 years, and therefore received a "step increase" - like a promotion, in the fall of 2010. When the government cut the school budget substantially, the teacher's contract was negotiated for substantial cuts in benefits and salary. One of the items renegotiated was the step increases. It was decided that the teachers that received them that year had to pay them back. So along with an over 35% cut in salary/benefits, this teacher also owed money to the district. His last check was $10.47. He also owes the school district $3,000 on which they are charging him 6% interest. I understand that due to the tight economy, we are all tightening our belts. What I don't understand is why the teachers are so hated. People are literally happy that the teachers are in such situations. Why? We have an excellent school system here, and much of that has to do with both the teachers and the parents! Our governor Synder and state senator Colbeck need to be held accountable for their actions. Please sign to recall them both. I will be coming to your door soon. Please don't slam it in my face.

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