BUSINESS
11/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Roundup: Local Stories Document Hard Times Across the Nation

As the Huffington Post bears witness to the effects of the current economic environment on ordinary Americans, we've found some compelling stories being told by local news organizations around the country.

A county in Northwest Ohio where nearly one in five people are out of work is struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy, writes Marty Schladen in the Fort Wayne, Ind., Journal Gazette. The major employer in Williams County is Metaldyne, an auto parts plant currently being sold by its parent company in bankruptcy court. Schladen describes a place out of a modern-day Walker Evans photograph, and shows how residents try to maintain hope.

Standing behind the mechanical cash register in Mudsock Mercantile, lifelong Edon resident Bruce Kannel said he hasn't seen things this bad in his 65 years.

"I imagine in the Depression it was hit hard, but I haven't seen it as bad as this," Kannel said.

Read More

Bostonchannel.com reports that brides and grooms in Georgetown, Mass, are scrambling to find a replacement venue after a country club where weddings and receptions were booked declared bankruptcy. Couples accuse the club of taking their money even after management filed bankruptcy papers. Read More

Central Florida News 13 reports on a mother and son who have been forced to live on a 16-foot long boat after losing their house in June. The pair live in a state of impermanence: a cooler with ice serves as a fridge, a white bucket does double duty for baths and to wash their clothes.

[Valarie] Buhl gets unemployment money, which she uses for food and gas -- but she said that will run out in a few weeks. In the meantime, she and her son have stayed side by side, hoping things get better so they can leave their boat home behind.

Read More

In Suwannee County, Florida, Jeff Waters of the Suwannee Democrat reports that local chicken growers are struggling to resist foreclosure. When Pilgrim's Pride, a multinational poultry company, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, small chicken farms were left with million-dollar mortgages, inoperable farms, and acres of property, but no steady income.

James Fountain of Live Oak, had his contract canceled..... He said there is nothing he can do but just sit and wait.

"We don't have no chickens and no money," said Fountain.

He said the future is uncertain if he can't grow chickens.

"There is nothing to do in Suwannee County," he said.

Read More

Florida schools are seeing an increase in the number of students applying for government assistance, reports Christopher O'Donnell in the Sarasota, Fla., Herald Tribune. At a number of schools, over 75 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunches, and statewide the average is at 49 percent. School administrators report that students are increasingly stressed out and uninterested in work because of their parents' financial troubles. Read More

Linda Ann Chomin of Hometownlife.com reports that outside of Detroit, funding delays are cutting job training for laid-off workers. No Worker Left Behind, a free tuition program established by the state in 2007 to get the unemployed and laid-off back to work, has run out of funds and has an unclear future. For the time being people are being placed on a waiting list until money becomes available, leaving many in limbo. Read More

HuffPost readers: Have you seen a local story that expresses the toll of the current crisis? What about heroic judges, neighbors, or doctors who are helping people stay in their homes and coming together to make their community a better place? Tell us about it! Email jmhattem@gmail.com.