‘Progress 2013’ starts today

As the holiday season draws to a close each year, The Messenger’s writing staff embarks on a challenging adventure – producing a comprehensive look at how a wide array of developments in our region are shaping tomorrow.

While every issue of this newspaper is filled with articles, features and advertisements that readers find informative and useful, the five special sections we call “Progress” provide a perspective that goes far beyond simply reporting the latest happenings. Our goal is to look at the big picture, capture trends and explore more fully events that may lead to headlines down the road.

Today, Health and Lifestyles will get the Progress treatment. Business and Industry is next Sunday’s theme. The following Sunday, Education will be the focus.

Most of us have a good deal of knowledge about what’s happening in our own hometown. Getting a chance to compare the local situation with events and initiatives in other communities is not only fun, but also can help stimulate creative thinking about options worth emulating. The Progress section Feb. 17 – called Region – presents vignettes of Messengerland communities.

Agriculture has shaped the economy not only of north central Iowa, but also of the entire Hawkeye State for more than a century and a half. Consequently, it’s appropriate that Progress ends with an examination of that vital component of the Messengerland world. That’s the focus of the Progress section Feb. 24. The Progress articles will help readers understand how farm life and the farm economy impact everyone in Iowa.

Perusing The Messenger today and over the next four Sundays may take a bit longer than usual. We hope, however, that you will regard the time spent reading these hefty issues to be a worthwhile investment in learning more about Fort Dodge and the region.

The 21st century is still new. Even though the current recession is a short-term concern, it may well be a prosperous time for the rural Iowa economy and an era of exciting renewal for many north central Iowa communities. Progress will help readers understand why many observers are convinced that the days ahead are full of promise.