Policy and a Pint

What is the value of shopping with local merchants this holiday season? Listen to KEDM Public Radio for Policy and a Pint: Small Business Value in a Dot Com World  to find out.  Our "LIVE" public forum featured leaders from business and government answering your questions about how to compete against internet and catalog sales and what that means for our local economy. 

The event was held Tuesday, November 14 at Enoch's Irish Pub in Monroe. 

Virendra Chhikara,Center Director of The Louisiana Small Business Development Center(LSBDC) at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, says the dream of owning a profitable business is possible even with competition from major online retailers.  

Chhikara says local businesses have advantages of relationships with  loyal lifelong customers that value personal service.

Recon Cycles / flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Black Friday is next week and retailers are gearing up for a busy shopping season. An October survey from Deloitte found that online holiday shopping is expected to beat in-store sales for the first time; however, Louisiana State University Marketing Professor Dan Rice says brick and mortar stores can be still very profitable and retailers will do what they can to get shoppers into their stores.

J. Curtis / KEDM

Sometimes it cost slightly more to buy something locally than it does to order it through the internet. "There are other factors that should influence your purchasing decisions," says Courtney Hornsby, President of the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce. She say often paying just a little more helps keep local employees working and supports area families and businesses.  

Policy and a Pint: Small Business Value in a Dot Com World will discuss how the "Shop Local" movement is gaining ground in the era of large internet retailers. 

What is the value of shopping with local merchants this holiday season? Join 90.3 KEDM Public Radio for Policy and a Pint: Small Business Value in a Dot Com World  to find out.  Our "LIVE" public forum will feature leaders from business and government answering you questions about how to compete against internet and catalog sales and what that can mean for our local economy. 

The event will be held Tuesday, November 14 at Enoch's Irish Pub in Monroe. Policy and a Pint will begin at 5:30 pm with a meet and greet for our listeners. The radio discussion begins at 6 p.m. 

Jay Curtis / KEDM

Accounting, CIS, healthcare, and manufacturing are the in-demand career sectors in north Louisiana according to workforce development experts.  KEDM's Policy and a Pint dug into the subject at an open public forum on workforce issues.

Panelists and audience members agreet that the future of our workforce is children. Panelists fielded many questions about STEM education and the educational foundation being laid by our area educators. 

Workforce Development is something The University of Louisiana Monroe is always working to accomplish.  Roslynn Pogue, Director of the ULM Office of Career Connections, says our area is growing and there are shortages of employees in many areas.  

"Accounting, nursing and other medical fields are in high demand," says Pogue.  She says many employers are looking to ULM to ask about potential graduates. ULM Career Connections helps student with skills to land these lucrative jobs. 

finchlake2000 / flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Financial problems are making upkeep difficult on the Ouachita –Black River system.

Tracy Hilburn, Operations Superintendent of the Tensas Basin Levee District says the system has $30,000,000 in outstanding work that could determine the amount of commercial river traffic that uses the Ouachita River.

Hilburn says if the river traffic doesn’t pick up the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could walk away from the project. 

Patrick Lewis / Flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The Ouachita River system is in a perilous situation. The lack of commercial barge traffic on the river may mean reduced federal funds for dredging and repairs to locks and dams. This lack of upkeep has forced some shippers off the river and if total commercial tonnage doesn’t pick up the river could return to a natural state.

Randy Denmon of Ouachita River Valley Association (ORVA) will be a panelist at KEDM’s Policy and a Pint: Ouachita Runs Dry. We will discuss the dangers of a declining river system.

Taking Back the Ouachita River

Apr 6, 2017
CORY CROWE / KEDM

John Stringer talks to Cory Crowe about the potential for budget cuts concerning the Ouachita River. He shares the risks associated with lower funding, why the river is important to the area, and sheds light on organizations that are trying to help.

Mr. Stringer shares that if action is not taken, "we'll have a meandering stream going through sandbars" where we once had the Ouachita. 

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