For the past three months I’ve been giving part of my time to cover the news of Kewaunee County on these digital pages. What I’ve learned is that the folks who live and work in Kewaunee County appreciate someone telling their stories and keeping them informed.

The Kewaunee County Comet, which began life as a blog called the Kewaunee County Aggregator, has become a local independent online news site that is valued by a growing audience of readers.

This has been an entirely volunteer effort, to give people the chance to kick the tires and see if you really want a true local news outlet devoted to Kewaunee County. And it will always be free: You will never get a message that says, “We hope you enjoyed your free articles for the month; here’s how to pay for total access.”

That said, I am now establishing a voluntary subscription model for people who want to support the Kewaunee County Comet financially, set up through Patreon.com.

Patreon is a crowdfunding system founded by musician Jack Conte of Pomplamoose to allow fans to patronize their favorite artists and creators. Here’s a link to a brief explanation of how it works, but quite simply, it’s a way for fans to pledge support for creators. “For example, if you pledge $2 per video, and the creator releases 3 videos in February, then your card gets charged a total of $6 that month. This means the creator gets paid regularly (every time she releases something new), and you become a bona fide, real-life patron of the arts.”

A number of local independent online news outlets have begun using Patreon to obtain monthly support from their readers – one such outlet, the Asheville (N.C.) Blade, even was profiled by the prestigious Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Starting now, with pledges to be collected starting April 1, you can support the Kewaunee County Comet on Patreon at three levels: $2, $5 and $10 monthly (or more, or any number in between if you wish).

All Patreon supporters will get regular exclusive previews of what’s coming up in the Comet via patron-only posts, along with “State of the Comet” reports to keep you apprised of the progress of your local news outlet’s growth.

Many Patreon users offer incentives to people who pledge in larger amounts – extra goodies and exclusive content. I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured out what to offer people who pledge $5 or $10 a month as opposed to $2 a month – other than you’ll give me a greater incentive to work as hard as I can to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Kewaunee County. For now, those extra gifts are “to be announced.”

FULL DISCLOSURE: Beginning Wednesday, March 1, I will also be the editor of the Oconto County Times-Herald in Oconto Falls, working 28 hours a week for Wolf River Media Inc. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity and also thrilled that they agreed to let me continue the Kewaunee Comet. And if you think that leaves me only 12 hours to devote to the good people of Kewaunee County, you don’t know me. It’s been a very long time since I worked only 40 hours a week.

The Comet has been a part-time project from the very beginning. What will suffer with this new assignment is the release schedule for my self-published books – since November I have been repackaging and revising my Myke Phoenix Novelettes superhero adventure series for Kindle and print. As of the end of February, 12 of the 15 books had been released. The last three will take a little longer as I focus on the news of Kewaunee and Oconto counties.

I would like to make the Kewaunee County Comet a permanent addition to the news media universe, telling the stories that make Kewaunee County such a great place to live. To do that, I need your help. Please consider supporting the Comet via Patreon by following this link, or click “Support” in the menu bar above. Thanks!

Warren Bluhm

Editor-publisher