During a recent conversation, a trusted friend confided in me that he is worried about the future of America.
What with the Great Recession, two wars, an oil leak that darn near destroyed the Gulf of Mexico and mounting national debt, he has plenty of reasons to be concerned.
With the 24-7 news cycle that repeats itself incessantly, it is impossible to escape the barrage of headlines about the latest crimes, economic data and scandals. Toss in the rage of some talking heads with a cynical agenda, along with some commercials from candidates telling us how bad things are, and voila, you've got the blues.
That's why it's therapeutic to seek out the occasional good news story as an antidote to the pessimism and rage.
The cover story of a recent issue of BizTimes Milwaukee provided some tonic of optimism that the American spirit is alive and persevering. The story celebrated "10 people who are changing Milwaukee."
In case you missed it, the story chronicled how the following folks are making Milwaukee a better place to live, work and play:
- Will Allen has created Growing Power, an urban, sustainable food system that has become a national model for a new century.
- Rich Meeusen is leading the charge to reinvent Milwaukee as the freshwater capital of the world.
- Sheldon Lubar, who has donated $10 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Business, is touching the community in other ways, including the improvement of Bradford Beach.
- Janet McMahon has spearheaded the effort to gain a Well City certification for Milwaukee.
- Tom Rave is leading the charge to create an aerotropolis of new development around Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport.
- Steve Glynn is helping connect creative college students with area companies through his Spreenkler initiative.
- Steve Ostrenga is bringing jobs to Milwaukee at a new Helios USA plant, which will manufacture solar panels.
Chelsea Krause is lining up Milwaukee's promising entrepreneurs with venture capital through the BizStarts Venture Track program.
- Ken Leinbach is leading the Urban Ecology Center as it develops the new Rotary Centennial Arboretum.
- Christine Harris is driving the Creative Coalition, which is growing the Milwaukee region's creative economy.
Using software from Tweetdeck.com, BizTimes can track how people are tweeting about our content on Twitter. We were thrilled to see that our cover package about these agents of positive change in Milwaukee was our most popular cover report since we began tracking the social media traffic last year.
Given the incredible public response to this uplifting report, we intend to continue with an ongoing series of profiles about people who are changing Milwaukee.
When you need a break from the over-hyped skepticism, I invite you to find solace and respite here.
Trite as it may sound, America has confronted seemingly insurmountable challenges before and has risen to overcome them. It may take some time, but we'll do it again.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.