PBS NewsHour explores the economic recession in Eagle
November 16, 2009
EAGLE – Eagle will get more than its 15 minutes of fame the week of Dec. 7 – it will get 60 minutes on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
NewsHour is an evening television news broadcast that will feature the town of Eagle as one part of a five-part series called Patchwork Nation.
Patchwork Nation is a political reporting project by the Christian Science Monitor, partnered with NewsHour, that aims to explore the economic downturn in the United States by examining different types of communities over time.
Patchwork Nation divides America’s 3,141 counties into 12 community types based on income level, racial composition, employment, religion and other demographics. Eagle falls under the category of boom town.
“It is a very smart way of looking at America,” said Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for NewsHour. “Statistics are usually gathered looking at America as if it is one place. This project takes a finer grained look at the country.”
NewsHour is visiting five places that fall under the different community types and telling their stories. Eagle is part of a list that includes Philadelphia; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Sioux Center, Iowa; and Lincoln City, Ore.
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Dante Chinni, Patchwork Nation project director, has made four visits to Eagle in the past 20 months and has talked to about
10 locals. Chinni said when he first visited to Eagle, the economy was still good and people thought Eagle County was not going to feel the effects of the recession.
But when Chinni returned this summer their was a different feeling in town.
“When I came back this summer we were dealing with a totally different landscape,” said Chinni. “The collapse of the housing market hit hard. The housing market went bust and then construction dried up.”
Chinni returned to Eagle Nov. 9 for a two-day stay with a NewsHour crew. Chinni and the crew toured the town, interviewed locals and got footage for the television segment.
The crew visited Adam’s Rib Ranch,
a development just outside Eagle with
99 multi-acre homesites, a country club, a state-of-the-art golf course and an equestrian center. They also made a stop at a Simple Supper, a free dinner sponsored by the Eagle Valley United Methodist Church. Other stops included the local grocery store.
Suarez said the crew went to Adam’s Rib Ranch because that development is the definition of a boom town.
The homesites cost about $1,000,000 plus the cost of building the homes, said Suarez.
“So far there’s not much going on there,” said Suarez. “It will be interesting to see when that type of money – new money – comes into the valley again.”
At the Simple Supper, the crew talked to attendees to find out their stories, how they ended up at the dinner, and how Eagle has changed in this economic downturn.
The NewsHour crew filmed the Reichardt family of Gypsum.
“We come pretty much every Monday,” said Dedra Reichardt, one of seven children. “Things have been pretty hard lately.”
When asked his opinion about how Eagle is fairing in the recession, Chinni said the people of this community are not in great pain yet but a lot of people are treading water.
For more information about NewsHour and Patchwork Nation, check out the
website at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/patchworknation.