In a city where one in four households contain a government employee, the crippling state budget deficit, police layoffs, fire engine brown-outs and park closures could easily signal only the bleakest of futures. But for the oldest city on the West Coast, persistence is key. It’s a place where people are figuring out ways—from clothing swaps to home shares—to deal with the hard new economic reality.
From Rockefeller's Standard Oil to GE's first industrial park, Cleveland was a city made by entrepreneurs. But since the polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, it's been trying to shake the moniker of "the mistake on the lake". Today Cleveland is being embraced by a new generation of entrepreneurs who are using their business sense to try and revitalize neighborhoods, clean up the environment and improve education.
Wyoming is the least populated state in the US. In this sparsely populated landscape where private property and self sufficiency are prized, community is built on the (somewhat unwelcome) expectation that distant neighbors might need to rely on one another one day. When people come together here, they have to have good reason to. This episode will bring listeners to the towns of Laramie, Cheyenne and the surrounding landscape in Southern Wyoming, looking at how the things that happen in the small towns and countryside of rural America can change the country as a whole.