Let’s start with some good news for a change.

This week, two BUILDER readers, Tom Gipson of Thomas Gipson Homes in North Carolina and Jeff Rutt of Keystone Custom Homes in Pennsylvania, were honored along with BUILDER Magazine for the two men’s efforts to help the less fortunate.

Both men are past winners of the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Awards, which recognize home builders who have made extraordinary contributions to their community. Their dedication was recognized yet again on Wednesday by American Business Media, which granted the William D. Littleford Award for Community Service to Gipson. The North Carolina builder has organized two Habitat for Humanity Home Builder Blitz events that have built more than 700 homes with a overall value of $50 million for the housing nonprofit. Rutt, who established a micro-credit organization to provide small investments to entrepreneurs worldwide, was first-runner up.

Otherwise, it’s been a difficult week for builders, whose confidence in the housing market in October plunged to a jaw-dropping low. Consumers continue to behave irrationally about their money. An Arizona home building company apparently treated buyers’ personal financial  information astonishingly casually in this era of identity theft. A disgruntled home buyer reported the would-be seller to the government for being an illegal immigrant when the sale encountered a problem, resulting in no deal and a deportation order for the seller. And angered by the political idiocy of automakers flying on private jets to Capitol Hill to plead for a federal bailout and AIG executives playing hard after Uncle Sam's handout, many are looking closer at CEO pay during the recent boom.

How should we deal with all this bad news? By embracing the new, such as the drive for innovation, and the old, such as the pursuit of beauty. A world that brings us the walking house and a California home saved from wildfires by a lovingly tended Persian garden in the very same week still holds promise for us.—Alison Rice

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