Progress 2019 sections begin today

This comprehensive look at our region has five weekly parts

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, Education gets the Progress treatment. Health and Lifestyle is next Sunday’s theme. The following Sunday, Business and Industry will be the focus. Then comes Region. Agriculture will conclude the series the next week.

Area schools are of concern to just about everyone who lives in north central Iowa. The Progress overview of education will provide an update on how area educational institutions are faring and what lies ahead for them. It is no exaggeration to argue that the quality of a community’s schools is a vital factor shaping its future.

A multitude of factors influence the quality of life in our area. They are explored in the Health and Lifestyle section of Progress in the newspaper on Feb. 3. The health care system is one aspect of that story, but the range of topics covered is much broader. Take a few minutes to peruse these pages.

Updating readers on the area economy is the mission of the Progress section that appears Feb. 10. The Business and Industry section of Progress will tell the exciting story of the business community’s strides during 2018 and the outlook for the months and years ahead.

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 on Feb. 17 — called Region — presents vignettes of Messenger area 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 Messenger’s world. That’s the focus of the Progress section on Feb. 24. The Progress articles will help readers understand how farm life and the farm economy impact everyone in Iowa.

Reading 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 exploring these hefty issues to be a worthwhile investment in learning more about Fort Dodge and the region.

The 21st century is still new. It is likely to 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.