Local celebrity Kym Kemp is much more than just a local blogger. She is also a writer, photographer, radio host and teacher. In the past she has written for the North Coast Journal and national magazines including High Times.
Kemp was born in Eureka, but moved to Salmon Creek at the age of two. Her mother, Myrna, was the school secretary at Redway Elementary School for many, many years and her father, Neil, worked for Caltrans in Garberville for almost as long.
Kemp said one of her favorite jobs is teaching communication and writing at Salmon Creek Community School.
She said, "We have the best view of anywhere in the world."
She commented that the school is desperate for funding to purchase and upgrade their computers.
Kemp is probably best known for her blog, Redheaded Blackbelt.
She said, "I love my blog. I love what I do with it. It helps me convey my love for Humboldt County. My parents taught me to be of service and to be honest and truthful."
Kemp started her blog in order to write stories about her friends and family.
She said, "I live out in the hills and don’t get to see adults all the time. I had 40 people reading my blog and then Eric Kirk mentioned it on his blog, and it went up to 100 overnight."
That’s when she realized she had a responsibility to take on hard issues and talk about them publicly. A blog opens a conversation and is usually in a magazine format, with the ability for readers to respond immediately.
She highly recommends everyone go to www.sohumawareness.org on a regular basis.
Kemp feels very strongly that sohumawareness provides a way to access information very quickly. Emergency events are posted immediately to help the public and updates are posted constantly, 24 hours a day, especially during emergency conditions.
A perfect example of that was when Hwy. 101 was closed in both directions during the massive slide north of Dean Creek. The blogs had the latest information up almost before the mountain even decided to come down. It was a great source for people to find out when the highway might be reopened.
One of the ongoing problems with blogs is that anyone can post a comment anonymously using a fake name or identity. This allows people to make unsubstantiated remarks and accusations and a lot of incorrect information can get out there very quickly. Blog posters do not have to check facts or details. However, the blog creator does have the ability to filter information and deny a post if they feel it is inaccurate or inappropriate. Blogs are not known for their censorship and strong language is also very common, so some of them are not for the weak of heart or those easily offended.
As Kemp admitted, blogs provide information that does not supercede newspapers or radio shows. Blogs are immediate, but the information is accessible forever. You can go back years and find information about a certain issue, which can be extremely helpful to those researching certain events. The archives are endless.
Kemp has never shied away from controversy and has been very vocal about the marijuana industry and how it affects those of us who call Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino home.
She said, "If we don’t talk about the problems, we aren’t going to be able to fix them."
She remarked about the increase in press coverage regarding home invasion robberies in relation to marijuana. It’s fairly obvious to many that more people are calling law enforcement when these events happen due to the more open growing policies. More and more of these crimes are being reported, where in the past people were robbed and sometimes assaulted for their marijuana grows, but it was kept quiet. It was just part of doing business in an illegal climate.
Kemp said, "It’s not happening because of marijuana. It’s happening because of the money to be made from marijuana."
Another one of her passions is her KMUD radio show the Humboldt Chronicles: Dispatches From Marijuana Country. Check out kmud.org for scheduling.
And of course, the elephant in the room would ask, "In this very tough economic climate, how many businesses would survive in Humboldt, Mendocino, or Trinity counties, without marijuana?"
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Redheaded Blackbelt blogger Kym Kemp was the guest speaker at last week’s Garberville Rotary Club meeting.