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Montague Reporter Podcast

Montague Reporter Podcast

By Sarah Brown-Anson
The Montague Reporter Podcast brings you inside the making of this weekly newspaper and the stories we report. The Montague Reporter covers the five villages of Montague, Massachusetts and the surrounding towns of Gill, Erving, Wendell, and Leverett.
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Bonus episode: catching up with Joe Parzych on local history and photojournalism
Please feel free to reach out to Joe Parzych via email at His website is Link to the Faces and Places feature: (Page A8). Reach out to the podcast at Subscribe or donate to the paper!
February 26, 2021
Montague town buildings and schools set to reopen, coverage of pandemic housing crisis continues
The Montague selectboard met to discuss reopening town buildings after fewer new COVID cases were reported. The selectboard also convinced Eversource to remove more redundant polls in town. Gill-Montague schools are set to reopen in a hybrid model starting February 22. The Montague Reporter continues to cover evictions and the housing crisis in the area. Plus - entertaining tidbits and non sequiturs! If you like the podcast, please leave us a review and subscribe. Comments, questions, or suggestions? Reach out to us at Read the Montague Reporter newspaper here:
February 17, 2021
Bonus episode: Valley Eye Radio brings Montague Reporter content to the valley
Learn more about Valley Eye Radio on their website: and listen live here: Contact the Montague Reporter podcast: or 413-863-8666 Subscribe to the Montague Reporter:
February 8, 2021
Leverett Co-op, Vaccine Supply, PPP small business funding
Leveret Village Coop has their annual meeting coming up after a year in which it came back from the brink of closure. Vaccinations are taking place in Franklin County, but the availability of future supply of vaccine doses is unclear. The second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding is now available and the Montague Reporter is following the infusion of federal funds into the local economy. If you like the podcast, please leave us a review and subscribe. Comments, questions, or suggestions? Reach out to us at Read the Montague Reporter newspaper here:
January 26, 2021
Bonus episode: Sarah Robertson and Mike Jackson on evictions and housing, FirstLight relicensing
Join host Sarah Brown-Anson, Reporter Sarah Robertson and MR Managing Editor Mike Jackson for a conversation about ongoing coverage of evictions and housing insecurity in Franklin County, and the relicensing of FirstLight’s operations along the Connecticut River. Thank you to everyone who has helped us on our first year as a podcast! Like longer episodes? Like shorter episodes? Want us to talk about a certain topic? Reach out and let us know! or 413-863-8666. Visit to subscribe to the paper or to read a PDF of this week's paper.
December 30, 2020
Coronavirus numbers up in Franklin County, FirstLight relicensing moves forward, PPP program brings $93 million to county
Data point to COVID-19 cases being more widespread than ever in Franklin County. FirstLight Power’s quest to renew their license takes a step forward. Plus Mike explains his reporting and editorial on the Paycheck Protection Program’s impact on our county and its economy. Preregister for free COVID testing: Tests will be available, on demand and at no cost, on the Greenfield Community College campus Tuesday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday, December 16 from 1 to 6 p.m. They are available without a medical referral and to those without symptoms. Pre-registration is required at Order wrapping paper! Email us:
December 15, 2020
Introducing the Montague Reporter wrapping paper edition!
Learn more about the special wrapping paper edition -- AVAILABLE NOW! -- from three of the people behind the project, Charlotte Kohlmann, Annie Levine, and Nina Rossi. Order your copies of the special wrapping paper edition here: Or you can pick up a copy at a local retailer. Donate: Subscribe:
December 1, 2020
Evictions in Franklin County, Montague marijuana Mecca, and environmental concerns for First Light relicensing
Mike and Sarah discuss the Montague Reporter’s coverage of evictions in Franklin County, the town of Montague’s burgeoning marijuana industry, and the Puritan tiger beetle’s role in First Light’s relicensing process. Reach out: Subscribe to the newspaper:
November 17, 2020
Bonus Episode: What is remote learning like for high school students?
Hear directly from two local high school students, Sofia Holden and Izzy Vachula-Curtis, about what remote learning is like, what they like and dislike about it, and what some of the challenges of the pandemic have meant for their lives. Check out Izzy Vachula-Curtis’s article in the Montague Reporter, October 15: “The At-Home Classroom: In Our Own Words” at Contact us: or 413-863-8666 Subscribe to the Montague Reporter newspaper:
November 8, 2020
Farren Care Center closure proposal draws more scrutiny, election season arrives during pandemic
Managing Editor Mike Jackson and podcast host Sarah discuss updates on the Farren Care Center closure process, election season, and unpaid work that parents are doing during remote learning. Boston Globe article: “Nursing home of last resort on the verge of being closed” by Brian MacQuarrie and Laura Crimaldi: Reach out to Nancy Folbre: What are the challenges you face? How are you coping with them? Do you have any suggestions about ways we could help each other out? Please let us know what you think of the podcast. You can rate and review the podcast, email us at, or call us at 413-863-8666.
October 27, 2020
Erving approves funding for sludge-drying system, candidates debate in second Franklin race, Montague voting season updates
Host Sarah Brown-Anson discusses recent news with Managing Editor Mike Jackson: Erving residents approved borrowing up to $17.9 million for a sludge-drying system at a recent town meeting. Current State Representative Susannah Whipps and Will LaRose, candidates for 2nd Franklin state rep seat, debated in a virtual forum. Plus a voting season update for the town of Montague and the inside story of how the Montague Reporter was published against the odds after Wednesday night’s storm. Reach out: or 413-863-8666
October 12, 2020
Remote learning begins, Farren Care hearing draws criticism of closure
Managing Editor Mike Jackson and Sarah discuss the beginning of remote learning in the Gill-Montague school district. A hearing on potential closure of the Farren Care Center in Montague draws criticism from local politicians and others. Plus: coverage of the race for State Representative in the Second Franklin district, the push for safety barriers at French King Bridge on Route 2, and reminders of lighter topics in the paper this week. Reach out to us anytime! 413-863-8666 or
September 23, 2020
End of the summer: Gill-Montague schools to begin with at-home learning, Farren announces it will close
Sarah and Mike discuss what’s new at the Montague Reporter, then dive into the news: Gill-Montague schools are starting with remote learning for at least the first two weeks of classes, and Farren Care Center in Montague City announces it will close. Plus, columnist Izzy Vachula-Curtis finally gets to interview author Brandon Mull. Contact us: or 413-863-8666 Subscribe to the Montague Reporter: Donate:
August 28, 2020
Bonus episode: Joe Parzych on photojournalism as a freelance contributor to the Montague Reporter
Check out Joe’s photos on his website: Let us know what you think about the podcast! Email or call 413-863-8666 Please rate and review the podcast, it helps us get more listeners.  Subscribe to the Montague Reporter:
August 26, 2020
Bonus episode: A look into the Montague Reporter archives with Jeff Singleton
Find Jeff’s article on Page 1 of the Montague Reporter from May 22, 2014: Subscribe to the Montague Reporter: Email us!
August 19, 2020
Printing press ends its run, Montague Police Advisory groups, Wendell pot moratorium
The Montague Reporter is no longer being printed at the Gazette in Northampton ~ what does this mean for the future of the paper? And how does this tie in with regional trends in the news business?  The town of Montague is set to form two police advisory groups. What are these groups and what are their goals? Town meeting voters in Wendell approved one-year moratorium after proposal from Apple Guy Flowers, LLC to grown 25-50 marijuana plants on West Street. What is the context for this story? Subscribe: Donate: Email us:
July 14, 2020
Black Lives Matter protests in Franklin County, ACLU report on racial disparities in marijuana arrests
Mike and Sarah discuss the Montague Reporter's coverage of Black Lives Matters protests in Franklin County, and a recent ACLU report that found huge racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession in the county. Link to Montague Community Television video of Black Lives Matter protest in Greenfield: Contact us! 413-863-8666 or
June 16, 2020
Towns change venues for annual meeting, Mr. Bush brings "another story" to the newspaper, local businesses negotiate for rent relief
Sarah and Mike discuss the  venues for upcoming town meetings in Montague and Leverett, a three-week serialized discussion with Turners Falls local George Bush, and how small local businesses are paying or deferring rent during the state of emergency. Read the Montague Reporter: Donate:
May 19, 2020
Local institutions try to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, schools cancel April vacation, Montague Reporter goes back to print
Sarah and Montague Reporter Managing Editor Mike Jackson discuss the Farren Care Center's measures to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19, the first reported cases among staff at the Franklin County House of Correction, and how the leadership of Gill-Montague schools have responded to the pandemic. And, the Montague Reporter will be back in print starting with the April 23 edition. Folks are encouraged to be neighborhood point people through Western Mass Community Mutual Aid: Read the Montague Reporter: Donate:
April 21, 2020
Bonus episode: Jeff Singleton on his Montague beat and the history of the Montague Reporter
Jeff Singleton, news writer for the Montague Reporter discusses the town's response to the pandemic and how things have changed (or not) as a journalist reporting on town business. He also takes us on a look back at the history of the Montague Reporter newspaper. Read the Montague Reporter online: Donate: Contact us at or 413-863-8666  
April 14, 2020
Bonus episode: guest editors Julian Mayo and Izzy Vachula-Curtis reflect on special edition of Montague Reporter
Sarah speaks with the guest editors of the April 2, 2020 special youth-created edition of the Montague Reporter, Julian Mayo and Izzy Vachula-Curtis, about their experiences editing the paper.
April 7, 2020
Bonus episode: Samantha Wood on Greenfield responses to coronavirus and the importance of journalism during the public health crisis
News writer Samantha Wood, whose beat is Greenfield, discusses policy changes at the Franklin County House of Correction and the city of Greenfield in response to the coronavirus emergency. Plus, why journalists play a critical role in addressing the current health crisis. Read the newspaper at Support the newspaper: Our email: Phone number (leave a voicemail): 413-863-8666
March 30, 2020
Towns and Montague Reporter respond to Coronavirus pandemic
In this episode, Sarah and Mike discuss how the Coronavirus outbreak is impacting life in our reporting area, and how people are supporting each other through mutual aid  and food distribution networks. The Montague Reporter newspaper will be publishing in an exclusively digital format beginning with the March 27, 2020 edition.  Mike previews a youth-created special issue that will be published in April. To read the newspaper: To donate:
March 23, 2020
Montague's new comfort dog; pay raises in Erving; return of editorial
In this episode, Managing Editor Mike Jackson and Sarah discuss the young comfort dog featured on the front page of the February 27 edition. Erving is trying do the math on pay raises promised to town employees. Sarah asks Mike about this week's editorial on national politics. PLUS non sequiturs on headlines and stopping the presses for a typo.
March 3, 2020
Bonus episode: Izzy Vachula-Curtis on the Authors' Corner column
Izzy Vachula-Curtis discusses her Montague Reporter column where she writes about books and interviews authors.  Izzy's most recent column, where she interviews the author of A Match Made in Mehendi, Nandini Bajpai, was published in the February 20 edition of the Montague Reporter.
February 29, 2020
Bonus episode - audio postcard from Gill
An audio postcard from Gill as Sarah and Annabel Levine distribute the Montague Reporter.
February 17, 2020
February: Wendell solar development, Leverett Village Co-op, bridge rehab plans
Mike and Sarah discuss the withdrawal of plans to build a solar development in the center of Wendell, the latest updates from the struggling Leverett Village Co-op, and reactions to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation proposal to repair the General Pierce Bridge between Montague City and Greenfield.
February 10, 2020
Bonus episode: Nina Rossi discusses investigative series on the lottery
Nina Rossi, features editor at the Montague Reporter, discusses her recently published investigative series on the history of state lotteries with podcast host Sarah Brown-Anson. Nina's three-part series was published in the January 2, January 9, and January 16 editions of the Montague Reporter.
January 27, 2020
January: towns' recycling woes; memorial article; co-op meetings
This episode Sarah and Mike discuss the series of articles about rising recycling fees that are hitting area towns, the memorial article that ran celebrating the life of Elaine Cuthbert, why Mike chose to write an editorial about area food cooperatives' upcoming meetings, and Mike's distributing newspapers in downtown Turners Falls.
January 20, 2020