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Our History

The idea of bringing a newspaper back to Kent, Conn., was born in the midst of the worldwide COVID pandemic, when both longtime residents and newcomers expressed a desire for a community news source.

Deb Schlee, who had retired to town to help care for her grandchildren, initiated the conversation and asked if any residents were interested in starting a newspaper. A handful of people, including Carl Raab, Andrea Schoeny, and Karen Chase, indicated interest.

Deb, Karen, and Carl showed up at the new Wilson’s Bakery & Cafe on Main Street on a cold Friday morning in January 2022 and spent the next two hours talking about how to start a newspaper. Would it work? Would the community support it? Should it be online, or print, or both? 

Andrea suggested the group meet on Zoom to facilitate schedules (and be aware of increased illness in the community). Several meetings later, in February, the small group sent out a limited distribution survey via Facebook.

The response was overwhelming: 92% of over 200 respondents wanted a newspaper. A large number of people (68%) said they would support it financially, and over 60% wanted to volunteer to help. More than 20 local businesses pledged to advertise.

Steps to publication

Kent News, Inc. officially began the necessary steps to bring trusted local journalism to Kent soon after. In May 2022, Kent News, Inc. was incorporated in Connecticut as a non-profit, obtained its Public Charity Certificate from the CT Department of Consumer Protection, a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS, and opened a bank account.

Over the summer, KNI obtained pro-bono legal assistance for applying for its tax-exempt 501(c)3 status with the IRS through the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice.

Kent News, Inc. signed a contract with a Fiscal Sponsor in September 2022 in order to provide donors with the ability to receive a tax deduction while KNI worked on its own 501(c)(3) application. By February 2023, the nonprofit publisher received its own 501(c)(3) designation. Just a few months later, at the end of its first fiscal year (June 30, 2023), KNI had raised over $30,000 in donations and grants.

The name The Kent Good Times Dispatch was chosen – and trademarked – to honor the 57-year legacy of the former newspaper that served the community until 2009 (see information under “Our predecessor,” below).

On Oct. 12, 2023, the first online edition of The Kent Good Times Dispatch was published, with part-time Editor Kathryn Boughton at the helm. Kathryn was the last editor of the original GTD, having served as managing editor from 2001-09.

In February 2024, Lynn Mellis Worthington was hired as a copy editor and freelance writer. Worthington was formerly managing editor of the Kent GTD, taking the helm in 1988 and moving to town in 1990.

The KNI board consists of lifelong Kent residents, and new, full- and part-time residents with decades of experience in journalism. The board continues to work to ensure there is a sustainable, capable business to support journalism for decades to come.

Our predecessor

The Good Times Dispatch began in 1952 as a Boy Scout troop project and was initially called The Good Turn Daily. When the Kent Boy Scouts got in trouble with the national organization for carrying ads from liquor stores, veteran AP reporters and husband-and-wife team John and Jane Greene took over stewardship of the little paper, changing the name to The Good Times Dispatch, or as it was affectionately known, The GTD.

The Greenes ran the paper out of their home on Bluff Road in Kent. Each week, with the help of a small part-time staff and volunteers, they turned out a newspaper using a typewriter, 14×17 sheets of paper, and a mimeograph machine; the pages were assembled by hand and stapled together in the left-hand corner.

The Greenes insisted on covering town affairs and quickly ran into resistance from the town’s many boards and commissions that often went into executive session in order to avoid being covered by the press. Due to the Greenes’ persistence, The GTD had a significant role in Connecticut’s General Assembly adopting its Freedom of Information Law. The newspaper and its editors gained a reputation well beyond the confines of Kent.

The GTD grew with its second owner, Ed Rapp, who bought it when the Greenes retired. The mimeographed pages were replaced by a tabloid-size newspaper, printed on newsprint on a real printing press. In deference to its past, an image of a staple was printed in the left-hand corner. Ed also gave an aspiring young illustrator, Seth McFarlane, his first job as a cartoonist, paying him $5 a week for his cartoon strip called “Walter Crouton.”

Around 1986, Ed sold The GTD to Paul and Nanci Fitzpatrick, who ran it for several years, adding computerization to its production, before selling it to its last owner, Housatonic Publishing, which was owned by the larger Journal Register Corporation.

Over the years, The GTD had competitors, most notably The Kent Forum, The Kent Tribune, and The Kent Weathervane. The GTD managed to survive the competition, but not the 2008 recession and corporate America.

In January of 2009, along with closing 26 other small newspapers, the Journal Register Corporation ended The GTD’s 57-year run as Kent’s newspaper, which had been dedicated to the “Militant Practice of Independent Journalism.”


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