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In a City With a (Barely Beating) Heart, Recovery Awaits

Editor’s note: Making sense of our new - and ever changing - landscape requires piecing together your stories and observations neighborhood-by-neighborhood and state-by-state. We need your help tracking the stimulus in your state. Sign up here, and we'll notify you of timely ways to contribute to our coverage.

A sign on the downtown civic plaza directs citizens who need to file unemployment information to a satellite location in Elkhart, Ind. (Joe Raymond/AP Photo)"I promised you back then that if elected, I'd do everything I could to help this community recover, and that's why I came back today -- because I intend to keep my promise."

--President Obama in Elkhart, Feb. 9, 2009

ELKHART, Ind. -- Terry and Desiree Gonyon wonder if this will be the last night in their home. They stand in the kitchen of their old brick house and eat frozen thin-crust pizza. When the recession swallowed this town, construction jobs dried up for Terry. The couple fell behind on their mortgage. In January, the bank foreclosed.

Fed up with begging for a lower monthly payment, Terry got some metal and wood and erected a sign:

GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS DON'T WORK.
FORECLOSED.
WE LOST THIS HOME.
FAMILY WITH 9 CHILDREN PUT OUT.

It was his way of expressing the desperation that's whipped through this city two hours east of Chicago. Since President Obama launched his stimulus plan here in February, Elkhart has become a proving ground for his promise of economic recovery.

Read the full story here.

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