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A Community Pivots to the ‘New Normal’

Nick Meyer

Even here in the Chippewa Valley, we’ve arrived at that moment. The one when the shock and confusion over our collective situation has largely fallen into the background, as we’re now forced to move forward, contemplate, and comply with the “new normal” that’s been thrust upon us by this historic pandemic. Of course the methods for how that’s lived out, and the metrics by which it’s measured, still change by the week and even the day. But clearly, maintaining public health while finding sustainable paths forward for our community’s small businesses and non-profits are the shared priorities.

Thankfully the forthcoming phases of our future are starting to appear on the horizon. Though heavily debated, federal and state-level orders on how and when to “re-open” are starting to roll out, as local health and other officials work hard to maximize the ability for our community – individuals and businesses – to come out of this healthy and intact. To be sure, it can’t come too early. But we also must remember that it can’t come too late –and finding that balance will be the hard part. Regardless, as these phases draw near, there will be a whole lot of new things to get used to and, as we’ve all heard, possibly some old things that will never be the same.

OUR PUBLICATIONS & WEBSITE

Here at Volume One we’re back with the second print installment of our special coverage of how this is playing out in our own community. In late March, in tandem with our ongoing coverage on the re-launched VolumeOne.org, we released our theme issue, “Pulling Together While Staying Apart.” We put it in racks at grocery and convenience stores and delivered it free to the doorsteps of thousands of local residents who requested it. Now we’re here with “The New Normal,” an extension of that effort, exploring more local stories on what’s now become routine, and the even more new routines yet to come. In addition to this issue and our website, we’re continuing to share these kinds of stories on our robust email lists and social media feeds every day and week as well. Please join us there.

The distribution of this print issue, much like the one we did for April, will span the entire month of May. Which means we’ve temporarily dropped to publishing monthly instead of every other week. We hope to be back on schedule in the months ahead as the community’s landscape, and hopefully its events, gradually return to normal.

600 NEW READER MEMBERS

Last month I detailed the ways we’re leveraging Volume One’s various tools and resources to build up the community right now, and to offer support in every way we could. We also mentioned for the first time our new Reader Membership Program (more info about that is on page 12 and at VolumeOne.org/membership) which was launched in the wake of this disaster. The entire staff of Volume One owes an incredible debt of gratitude to the more than 600 of you who rose to the occasion and signed up for memberships. We were in awe. We thank you so much for your interest and support for what we’ve tried to do to inspire and promote this community for more than 18 years. If you’re in a position to be a part of this group, the door is still open, and we’d be greatly appreciative if you stepped through it. You even get a fun little box of local goods and benefits.

As we’ve said before, there are so many ways to be part of the solution to all this. So many organizations and businesses need your support right now to survive. So if you’re currently able, consider what you could do and take whatever action you can. Shop online, order delivery or curbside, buy gift cards for later, make annual donations now, and spread the word. Whatever it is, it won’t go unnoticed. In the meantime, we’ll keep sharing these organizations’ stories and doing what we can to spread the word and step up ourselves. Because more than ever, we want to help serve as a connecting thread to the heartbeat of this community, because that heartbeat hasn’t stopped. So neither will we.

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