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Seven people sitting on stage for a panel discussion.

James Fallows (left) moderates a Redlands Forum event featuring (from left to right) Danny Anderson, Melissa Fisher, Brian Davis, Kate Salvesen, Kadir Fakir, and Brandon Pearce. Photo by Deborah Fallows.

A panel of residents, business owners, and community stakeholders discuss the southern California city then, and now.

Change is inevitable. Change can be good. Change can be hard. Change is the only constant.

Change can also be “fundamentally what determines whether something is living or dead – whether it is going through adjustments,” which is what Our Towns co-founder James Fallows told an audience in Redlands, California on Feb. 15.

“It’s the story of the United States. In contrast to the rest of the world, it’s been the nation of change,” he continued, adding: “It’s the story of California. It’s the story of Southern California.”

Change — particularly at the local-level — was the focus of a panel discussion Jim, who grew up in Redlands, led.

Hosted by the Redlands Forum, an educational and cultural programming series sponsored by the Redlands-headquartered digital mapping and GIS company Esri and the University of Redlands Town & Gown, “Change is in the Air – in Redlands!” featured: Danny Anderson, the former president of the Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, who’d recently relocated to Redlands; Brian Davis, an IT professional who’s also new to Redlands; Kadir Fakir, the co-owner of Cheesewalla in the Orange Street Alley; Melissa Fisher, the co-owner of Escape Craft Brewery; Brandon Pearce, the co-owner of Citrone Restaurant & Bar; and Kate Salvesen, the new executive director of the Rochford Foundation.

You can watch their conversation here:

During the event, the panelists explored professional and personal changes – from retiring ‘too early’ to launching new businesses to exploring new careers to immigrating to the US in the spirit of what’s led them to, or kept them in, Redlands. They discussed the challenges, and opportunities, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic – from the uncertainty that comes with shuttering businesses for months to pivoting a brewery’s production to make hand sanitizer. They also reflect on local-level changes – how to revitalize certain parts of the Redlands community, the benefits of bringing back a market night, how to foster more unity over division among residents, and if a famed ‘Hotdog on a Stick’ should be revived.

Whether you were in the room or tuning in virtually on Wednesday, Feb. 15, or haven’t yet watched or listened, it’s worth streaming on-demand, as lessons the panelists share around change – the inevitable, the good, the hard, the constant, the relentless, the rolling tide against inertia, the fundamental determiner of life – are being applied in Redlands, and can serve as models elsewhere.