Celebrating 10 Great Years Putting News at Your Fingertips

The sounds of the scanner hum under the clatter of silverware and the chatter of our household most of every day. My family tolerates my obsession even if they don’t quite understand it. Right now the warm smell of my husband’s birthday breakfast apple pie baking in the oven curls under my nose as I type and, I count back to realize 10 years ago today, I wrote my first post on Redheaded Blackbelt.

Two of the favorite parts of my life, my husband and my website, began on October 8.

The website began as a way for me to practice so I could write a novel and, instead, evolved into a career I love. When I first started, the words were mine alone and typed out for family and friends. Now, we have over 1.6 million page views a month and the Redheaded Blackbelt is a collection of freelance writers, photographers, and producers–from our newest Kelley Lincoln and Myles Cochrane to our longest members, Oliver Cory, who even runs the site in the morning on Sundays and the afternoon on Wednesdays, and Bobbi Wisby who is our computer wizard.  Without these first two, we would never have survived.

Let me give you an idea how we work. A group of us, but mainly Bobby Kroeker, his partner Nena Huitt, and I listen to the scanner and alert each other through a Facebook chat to anything that might be important for us to cover. We’re not always on but, most days, one of us is listening most of the time between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. I want to mention that Bobby, Nena, and the rest don’t get paid for this. They are just eager to get the news out to the community.

In addition, readers contact us with information and photos about happenings they see or hear about. Then I start making calls and checking out websites to fill in the details. Mark McKenna, Oliver Cory, Stormy Taylor, or Bobby Kroeker might run out and chase down photos and information. (That can’t happen as often as I like because they get paid for this–a very small sum–and I can’t afford to do it too often.)

I also look for important events–say a meeting that needs to be covered and make sure one of the freelance folks can be there to take photos and gather information.

Meanwhile, in between stories I sell ads (I’m really bad at this—I wait for people to contact me as it literally makes me sick to my stomach to call them and ask if they would like to advertise), write invoices, pay bills, wade into the comment section, and number of other tasks I like a lot less than I do writing news.

Bobbi Wisby

Huge thanks to the folks who make this place work:

Bobbi Wisby–When I was in despair about how to update the site after I moved out on my own again in 2015, she held my hand through the process and makes sure our pages keep running now.

Oliver Cory

Oliver Cory–Oliver started helping me before he graduated from Journalism classes at HSU. He runs the site for me on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings. An excellent photographer, he captures images that make meetings look interesting!

bobby kroeker

Bobby Kroeker

Bobby Kroeker-– a master of the scanner, he often feeds me information as I write down stories, and he whips out his phone as he races to the scene of breaking news to make videos  as well as taking photos and gathering information.

Nena Huitt–Bobby’s partner, alerts us all to breaking news on the scanner. She beads beautiful Native art.

Stormy Taylor

Stormy Taylor

Stormy Taylor--Nena’s daughter, takes photos and asks questions, as well as alerts us to stories she sees as she is out and about. Here’s a piece that she helped make.

Mark McKennaMark McKenna–Mark runs a photography/graphics business and his wonderful photos highlight some of our most poignant, colorful, or startling stories.

Sandi Peterson–Although she hasn’t written for us in awhile, Sandi warns us about breaking news and advises us on technical matters.

Kelley Lincoln–Kelley began writing freelance stories for us this year and her stories on the Mateel and the Garberville water services district have garnered a lot of attention.

Ann Constantino

Ann Constantino

Ann Constantino--Writes deep stories about the Humboldt Bay, Southern Humboldt sports, and nature.

Myles Cochrane

Myles Cochrane

Myles Cochrane–produces his own up and coming show, Humboldt Last Week, which he shares with us and he will occasionally do a freelance article.

A few other articles are provided here and there by others.

Late in 2011, the Redheaded Blackbelt joined with the Lost Coast Outpost and then two years ago in the spring of 2015, I moved back out on my own and began publishing my own news site. With the help of you, our readers, and all these wonderful people above, as well as a few others, including some of my patient family members, we’ve been making sure that you know who is making news, what roads are closed, where fires are burning,  and we do this when you need to know the information–as quickly as we can get it out to you.

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58 comments

  • Thanks for all the sacrifices! Great job!

    • Good Job. Kym any word on a roll over on the south bound on ramp at the Loleta south on ramp the steep up hill one that is totally blind till ya get to the top. Then it gets fun/dangerous. Yes that one!

  • Well, Kym, congratulations to you and your crew! I began following you on the Lost Coast Outpost and quickly learned that you were on top of the news, usually ahead of your competition. Even if all the details weren’t available, you made sure your readers received the additional information in the updates that followed.

    I was pleased for you when you went back on your own and your transition wasn’t rocky at all. You continue to bring us SoHum news that we don’t get elsewhere and have broadened your scope to include North County and Mendocino. If my family or friends want to know what’s gong on, the first place we turn to is Red Headed Black Belt.

    Thanks for your ten years of service to the community! And don’t be abashed about soliciting ads – you provide many sets of eyes that advertisers can use to narrow cast and target the demographic you serve. You’re good and you should feel good about looking an advertiser in the eye and charging a fee for the opportunity to market on your site.

    I’m looking forward to ten more years!

    • Tim said it all.
      Nothing more to add except bravo, outstanding, and carry on the great job, all.
      10 years is a milestone and your efforts together don’t go unnoticed.

  • I can’t thank you enough for all the hard work you do. I stopped watching the news years ago because it usually had no real value to me or my day to day world. And by the time I got the little that did affect me I either already knew about it, or it would have been helpfully hours earlier to have known about it.
    Being able to pull up your page anywhere at anytime on my phone has saved me time and inconvenience more times then I can count. AND it’s relevant. For the most part I could care less what happens in Redding after all.
    Thank you so much. Keep up the good work please.

  • Thank you Kym for keeping us updated on everything !! Good job!!

  • Lets face it, we dont have a whole lot of news sources in HumCo, so having RHBB available is a GIFT.
    Kym has always kept everything extremely fair, accurate and ethical. Something that is much harder to do than most people probably realize.
    Congrats on the anniversary Kym, and thank you for keeping the rest of us honestly informed.

  • Thank you for always being there, with just the right info at the right time. We have come to count on you. You are awesome, Kym.

  • Please keep up the great work. You are doing a great service for our community.

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    Thank you for all your tireless efforts providing this valuable resource! Yea Kym & her crew!

  • 10 Years! Your site is the first I check (after my Facebook page) every morning because I like to know what’s going on around here. Keep up the good work. Send me your ad rates so you won’t have to call and upset your stomach.

  • Thank you to all of you for your great work! It’s the first place I go to for news. You cover such a large geographic area and I know that can’t be easy. Kudos to you and your wonderful team!

  • I look in every morning with my coffee. You guys get there firstest with the mostest. No other local news source does the job you do. Thank you Kym et al. The constant updates throughout the day are much appreciated.

  • I want to thank you for all your hard work and efforts. Your news is the first I turn to every day. When there’s smoke, there’s a fire already being reported on right here at Kym’s blog. Very seldom do we have to wait for eternity for important news that affects us all.

    Your crew might be interested in this video message, for it appears to be an alert to all first responders as well as to those who haven’t taken the step from socialism into full blown communism. No need to alert all those who were neither, they’re already in the know or in the denial process.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbmrgpQiIcQ

    • If you are Pro-facist, fine. This is not the place.

      • This isn’t the place? Bloggers, Journalists, Reporters, First Responders, Independent Thinkers, Individuals, are everyone’s concern in most hearts. Kym & her playmates are reporters, you know, one of the targeted unless she’s full fledged fascist communist.
        Not my monkey is a cute saying, but non-applicable in this case, imo.

      • I think the link was meant as a heads-up from some group: I am not really sure because the internet is blown up with this Shites! Youtube and on out (masses of web sites) is swamped with these Nov warnings! Gives one a little something to think about ….

  • Thank you all so much for bringing us the news in a kind hearted manner as tough as it is sometimes.

  • Pinch of Salt River

    Thank you! Glad to hear you enjoy what you’re doing as much as we enjoy reading it.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    Thank you!!

  • Yes, congratulations. The criminal growers and grow stores thank you.

  • It’s a two-year old Poster with ur helpers added and Ten years added to it, wonder what next year will add? Congratulations on your accomplishments 🎂 we all know and appreciate the work you do here, your Helper’s as you said are one of a kind, Eager Angles at your Side!😇

  • Congratulations Kym on ten awesome years!

  • We love the site, can’t imagine a Humboldt without it! Thanks for your service, Kym!

  • Congratulations REDHEADED BLACK BELT! Lots of ups and downs,but we need you Kym!! 🎉🎈🎖Thanks for 10 years of hard work reporting the news and stories. YOU KEEP US IN THE KNOW!!and keep us all in tow💟

  • Thanks Kym to a true professional.

  • lorrie neuenfeldt

    Kym you have been so good to our community keeping us imformed of what is going on in our area. Thank you for all that you do.

  • Thanks for a great ten years, Kym!

    Not only when we’re home, but wherever we travel, we can keep up on what’s happening at home. As an example: this afternoon when the fire trucks were passing by and helicopter and plane were circling overhead, I immediately went to your site and found out where the fire was!

    Congratulations on a job well done!

  • Kim I can’t believe it’s been 10 years . I followed you on Lost Coast Outpost and when you move to your own blog site .I’ve never read it since former website Lost Coast Outpost .I believe your paper is the Hub of all that goes on in Humboldt County, and I can’t think of a better source to go to ,so thank u for all you do for Humboldt county .And a hart felt thanks again for saving my mopar .

  • I’m reading you.

  • Congratulations on a great job and an important service to the community. You are the go to new site in the Emerald Nation.

  • Yours is the first thing i look at in the mornings and the last thing i check before bed, thank you for all the efforts you and yours put into this.

  • Great service! Thank you miss Kym! Many more to come 🍰

  • Hi Kym, Everything sweet that everyone has said… plus, i want to add that i really appreciate you doing all the extra BS work (besides actual information-gathering and writing) that it takes to keep this thing moving in the real world.
    I totally understand the desire to just delve into the stories and write, when instead you often have to sell ads, pay bills, etc. May Redheaded Blackbelt get just bigger enough (awkward wording there, but it’s exactly what i mean to say) that you can afford to pay someone to take care of the business end of things, while you do your journalism/blog. This is probably something much more important than many people know, since it’s usually invisible… the blog just magically appears to us.
    Thanks again for your hard work!
    Love, Laura

  • Thank you Kym and Team. My go-to news source.

  • Thank you Kim and your amazing Krew. What an amazing asset this has been to the community, we are truly blessed, it’s hard to think how it was before we had the RHBB. The impartiality and keen sense that you report with is unparalleled. And thanks for letting us state our hearts, minds, wit, sarcasm and critiques.
    Bravo!! 👏👏👏👏👏

  • I remember the early days of RHBB, particularly this little gem http://kymkemp.com/2007/10/25/the-smell-of-smelt/

    Thanks for all you do.

  • Congratulations Kym, keep up the good work. Cheers to the next 10 !

  • I can’t imagine a day without Redheaded Blackbelt. Thanks everyone.

  • And I’m sure there’s many more where that came from.

    From my family to yours, Happy 10th Anniversary and Thank you for caring, writing and keeping us all informed.

  • Thinking allowed

    Congratulations on a well deserved Happy Anniversary. Today is an example of the good you do for the community. The only way I found out about the various fires is to read information here.

  • RHBB is my go-to source for the latest news in So. Humboldt, the first thing I check on my computer every morning after my e-mail. How lucky we are to have you. Congratulations to Kym and the entire team on your 10 year anniversary and on the great work, a real service to this rural community.

  • Kym: Pretty much a hero to us all

    Oh I love what you do .

    Don’t burn out!! Only fires should burn out.

    Thank you so much ! Because I often wonder why you do it . For passion alone? And if for a wage how much would be adequate compensation for this round the clock (round the “click”) day in day out coverage?

    The toll it takes is hopefully reimbursed by the reward .

    Xoxoxo congrats on 10y

  • I tune in daily from Bayside, because SoHum is so prominent in the news every day, for one thing or another, and also so mysterious. Strange days have found us …

    Thanks for the ride, Kym!

  • Awesome job, Kym!

  • As these horrendous fires burn, the only place I can get any real news is your website. The Ukiah Daily Journal is requiring a subscription to read its fire coverage. Mendovoice seems overwhelmed (not surprising – we ALL ARE). Please hang in and tell me what I don’t hear on my scanner. And a loud deep THANK YOU.

  • Congratulations on being such a SOLID news source! Thank you!

  • “Check the Blackbelt” is our watchword when we want good information on road conditions, accidents, fires, etc. We are on the road in the region a lot, and we know we can rely on the Blackbelt for on-the-spot info. It must be incredibly time- and energy-consuming to keep this up. Thank you SO MUCH!

    • Well, let’s put it this way…my husband was on his hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor was so gross with hate in his heart for my job right now that keeps me so busy I am not holding down some of my charges.

  • Kym, I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. You’re (and your guys are) the best! You bring a high standard of professionalism and at the same time, lay the news out when you know you’ll receive some blowback, just because. Thanks for being there…

  • Thank you Kim for everything you do your awesome love your site on it multiple times a day keep it up you do this community a huge favor and I’m always surprised how fast your on it most of the time I check my phone after a call when I get back to station and you already have it up

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