By Ed Munster, Chairman of the Haddam Civic League
(June 30, 2022) —– Whenever someone leaves who has been part of an organization for a long time, in this case since the start of the original HaddamNow.com online paper, it always seems that it takes two or three people to fill their shoes. In this case it can be said that there are at least six of us who are expanding what we do to cover what Kathy Brown has been doing for the past nine years.
Anthony Giamei recalls that “Kathy met with us in the fall of 2013 and proposed starting HaddamNow as an online service to the community. She was quite confident that it could work, but I was somewhat skeptical. I had run an online site before and knew that it can be a lot of work. Then there was the matter of how to pay for it. So, Ed was going to pull a bunch of founders together, and I was to create a business plan. Kathy’s brother had some experience with websites, and we had some legal experts on board. We found a marketing guy who was going to set up the domain name, hosting service and site design. Our business plan was presented to a few of our founders, and some were skeptical. The plan needed some tweaking. Ed was to be advertising manager. Kathy was the expert on format, spelling, and grammar.” Tony was comfortable with photo types and editing. We filed our Articles of Organization with the Connecticut Secretary of the State on April 1, 2014. We set up a private website in August 2014 and launched publicly in September 2014.
Even though Kathy Brown was a wife, mother of three, a Scout leader and, for the past several years, held a full-time teaching job, she put in an unbelievable amount of time and effort to make this paper a success. Many a morning she started her day at 5:30 a.m., posting articles. She was extremely dedicated and spent many hours nearly every day gathering, editing and posting content. And she did all this as a VOLUNTEER.
Kathy had a “nose for news” and was a stickler on proper editing and consistency of style. She knew or discovered many tricks of the trade. She was on the RSD17 School Board and had kids in the system. That gave her access to many stories related to Education and Sports. She was the driving force behind the addition of Killingworth coverage. The site was a great success, despite some growing pains. Eventually spammers crashed it beyond repair; Kathy found an alternate website designer and we were quickly back in business.
Readers asked us to start a print version of the online paper. We found a publisher and presented a plan to join with them. They were skeptical that we could survive financially and generate enough content to support a weekly printed version using items selected from our website. We all pushed hard and joined with East Haddam News. The first edition of the printed Haddam News was published on November 17, 2016. It was distributed to every mailbox in both towns. Kathy worked even harder to establish reliable news sources and continue with her push for quality. The Town of Haddam chose us for their paper of record. That saved the town money and gave us an additional income stream. Kathy was anxious to have the paper distributed to Killingworth as there was a lot of news daily going into the online paper. On September 5, 2019, we renamed the paper Haddam Killingworth News and expanded distribution to include every household in Killingworth.
Kathy recently notified her sources that she was retiring from the news business. We received many thank-you comments acknowledging her responsiveness and dedication to putting out a quality product on a timely basis.
Here are some comments from some of the people upon learning of Kathy’s retirement:
Kathy was an amazing editor. I’m certain she’ll leave a noticeably vacant place on the staff of Haddam Killingworth News. She was always very attentive to my submissions. Good luck in your future endeavors. Carole Knapp Johnson
- Aw, you will be missed Kathy! Thanks for all your hard work! Keep in touch! Janet Verney
- Kathy, here’s wishing you the best of everything. Live, Laugh, & Love is the best advice I can give. Kathy helped me to get up to speed with publishing articles for HK-News during the most trying of times, including the pandemic. She always made sure I was comfortable with whatever tasks I was given, and for that I am profoundly thankful. I’ve worked with hundreds of volunteers and can say Kathy is one of the most dedicated volunteers I have ever met. She always went above and beyond on every task. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I’d work on a newspaper or news website in any capacity. Sharon Challenger.
- Kathy Brown did a great job editing the paper. She was thoroughly committed to her work, paid excellent attention to detail, and was always timely in her responses to concerns and suggestions. Phil Devlin
Kathy will be missed, SORELY MISSED, not only by all of us who worked with her to publish Haddam Killingworth News every week, but also by our readers and contributors!