Publisher’s column: 2016 resolutions for how the PI will help |

Publisher’s column: 2016 resolutions for how the PI will help

Mike Bennett
Staff Photo |

2016 will be a year during which the Post Independent will continue to increase its leadership in the community in an effort to solve problems we all face. We invite you to join us this year in our efforts to help build a healthy community.

We will tackle aging, the affordability issues in our county and the discomfort of a major bridge project. We will offer help to our local businesses, as you now have myriad options to gain shopping information.

Effective Monday, work on the Grand Avenue bridge project began. We will have a wonderful new amenity once this is completed in 2017. But until then we will all have to navigate the disruption in our lives the construction will create.

On Tuesday, Editor Randy Essex, reporter John Stroud and I met with the bridge project information team to discuss how we can best keep watch and help you survive the bridge construction. The public information team represents CDOT and the bridge project.

Beyond regular coverage, we are planning a digital portal that will provide real-time information to help you plan the best times to come downtown as well as the best routes, along with parking suggestions.

As Tom Newland, a veteran who is part of the bridge information team, said, this won’t be easy, but if we work together, we can make the detours and traffic more tolerable. It may require adjusting when you start your day at work or when you plan your shopping trip downtown.

We will also rely on you for real-time traffic reports. Get your smart phones ready to stream information into our portal.

Last year we began discussions on the challenges of the high cost of living and the limited amount of reasonably priced housing. Our coverage will continue as we partner with area groups to provide forums to share ideas and produce potential solutions. The first of these will be Feb. 3 in Carbondale, with the Post Independent, Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities and the Third Street Center sponsoring a discussion.

While housing has been an issue for years, modern student debt and little housing development during the recession has made it harder for people to make the financial sacrifices necessary to enjoy living in our little slice of paradise. This is creating ongoing challenges in finding qualified teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and a number of other key positions.

In the long term, if affordability isn’t solved it can have a negative effect on the quality of life for all of us. Besides the meeting in Carbondale, we plan a forum in Rifle in the first quarter. Once we work out all of the details we will publicize the times and locations. We encourage you to join us to help develop a long-term solution.

Whether you are 1 or 100, the one thing we all have in common is that we are aging. The medical community continues to discover medications and treatments that will allow us to live longer. But what are we doing to be able to live longer with a good quality of life?

On Saturday, March 5, the PI will present “Adventures in Aging” at the Third Street Center in Carbondale, featuring Larry Wolk, the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health; and a number of PI columnists, including financial planner Danielle Howard and Body & More writers Sandro Torres, Judson Haims and Angelyn Frankenberg. Valley View Hospital and Garfield County Senior Programs are helping sponsor the event and also will present.

Since we are in agreement that you are aging, it is an event that you will not want to miss. Our goal is to help you learn a few tips that will keep those great adventures coming regardless of you age. We’ll soon publicize more details on this event, including how to sign up.

On the business side, the PI will be adding website development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to our digital product mix. Back in 1974, when I began my career, local business could get their advertising message to you quite simply. Typically they would advertise in the newspaper, on the radio and/or in the Yellow Pages.

Those days are long gone. Think about how you like to get your information and advertising messages. You use the Post Independent in greater numbers than ever. But that is because beyond our print newspaper, you are also reading us online on your mobile device or computer, or you are directed there from a post you may have seen on our Facebook or Twitter feeds.

In today’s world, local businesses are living a marketing nightmare, as there are hundreds of methods from which to choose to be informed about shopping. Many of you proactively search the website when you are ready to buy. Some businesses have already learned the secret of how best to reach you when you are ready to buy. Our goal is to teach all local businesses that secret.

The big businesses have the means to research and proactively utilize the proper methods of marketing for today’s world. The smaller local businesses that are the lifeblood of our community don’t have the luxury of those resources. Many local businesses are not aware that the PI can provide a complete suite of digital solution. By the end of 2016, our goal is to touch all local businesses and provide them with the “secret sauce,” to quote my local agency friend Bryan Welker.

Some of the newer products we launched last year included digital coupons and sweepstakes like Glenwood Subaru is currently running for a year’s worth of free car washes

Here’s to a year where we work together to build great solutions to a better life for all of us here in Garfield County.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.

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