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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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Town of Montague Bridge roundup, About-Face Computer to close on July 1
Mike and Sarah discuss the latest on bridge replacements, refurbishments, and closures in the town of Montague. They also mark the July 1 planned closure of beloved local business About-Face Computer Solutions. Plus, non sequiturs from Sarah and Mike. Subscribe to the paper: Reach the podcast at Thanks for listening!
June 21, 2022
Town meeting season at the Montague Reporter
Mike joins Sarah to talk about town meetings in Montague, Gill, Erving, Wendell and Leverett. Plus, the town election in Montague and non sequiturs. Subscribe to the paper: Reach the podcast at Thanks for listening!
May 25, 2022
Stephanie Baird on the Sex Matters column
Stephanie’s new book is called EMDR Therapy and Sexual Health: A Clinician’s Guide. Email: Recent columns: December - sex-positive TV shows: January - sex-related pain: February - body hair: March - relationship affairs: April - sexual trauma awareness month:
May 20, 2022
Movie filming, dam oil leak, special photo section
Mike and Sarah discuss the local filming of "Money Game," the leaking of hydraulic fluid from the Turners Falls dam, and the extra special photo spread in the B section in this week's paper. Read the April 14, 2022 edition here: Subscribe:
April 19, 2022
The Science Page and science communication in the Montague Reporter
Heather Hamilton and Spencer Shorkey discuss science communication and the monthly Science Page in the Montague Reporter. Heather’s email address: Spencer’s website:
April 08, 2022
50th episode of the Montague Reporter Podcast!
In this special 50th episode we talk about the podcast's origins and our vision for its future. Mike Jackson hosts, with guests Sarah Brown-Anson and Stella Silbert. Do you want to share ideas about the podcast? Email
April 04, 2022
A deeper dive into the Montague police log
Emily Alling speaks with Sarah about compiling the weekly police log for the town of Montague. Here is a link to the collection of mangy fox calls Emily speaks about in this interview: Subscribe to the Montague Reporter here:
March 24, 2022
Bonus episode: Stomping and its Discontents
This episode is the audio accompaniment to an item in the March 3rd, 2022 edition of the Montague Reporter, which can be found on page B1, entitled "Stomping and its Discontents: An Audio-Enhanced Police Log Retrospective." You should listen with the March 3rd edition of the paper in front of you! Thanks to Galen Huckins for the audio accompaniment, Emily Alling for curation, and Nina Rossi for illustrations.
March 03, 2022
A not-quite-comprehensive review of hydroelectricity in Franklin County
Mike and Sarah discuss his recent road trip themed series that takes readers up to Harriman Station in Windham County, VT (through Monroe, MA). They also discuss progress in relicensing negotiations for First Light hydroelectricity production. Read the paper online: Subscribe to the paper: You can reach the podcast via email at:
February 21, 2022
Celebrating the Children's Page in the Montague Reporter
My guests Hannah Brookman and Beverley Ketch discuss their creative work and the monthly Children's Page in the Montague Reporter. Podcast editor Stella Silbert edited this episode. The outro music for this episode is "The Lovelights Theme," written by Beverly Ketch, performed by Shannon Ketch, Kevin Smith, Omeed Goodarzi and Beverly Ketch, recorded by Omeed Goodarzi. The Lovelights soundtrack can be found at Looks Here’s website: and email: Order the zine here: Monthly Mail Art subscription: Lovelights website: Podcast email (if you read the Children’s Page):
January 17, 2022
Four possible futures for Montague highway garage; Pandemic strains institutions
Four proposals were submitted to the town of Montague to reuse and repurpose the old highway garage on Avenue A. Mike discusses how the pandemic continues to strain the health care system in our area, and towns are trying to buy testing kits. Read the paper here: Subscribe to the paper: You can reach the podcast via email at: Thank you to our podcast editor Stella Silbert!
January 12, 2022
Bonus episode: The Montague Reporter redaction project
Jae and Charlotte share about redacting names from older editions of the Montague Reporter police logs. Here is the fundraiser link for the redaction project: You can reach Jae Southerland at You can reach the podcast at
January 05, 2022
Beginning of Montague budget season, possible dingle land transfer, amusing non sequiturs
Stay for the non sequiturs for this one! Sarah asks Mike about the budget process for towns and possible transfer of town land (to the Montague Conservation Commission) in the dingle in Lake Pleasant. Read the Montague Reporter online: Reach out to the podcast: Thanks for listening! Tell a friend!
December 14, 2021
Bonus episode: Sarah Robertson on PFAS in drinking water
Podcast regular Sarah Robertson joins the podcast in this bonus episode to talk about her reporting on PFAS chemicals in area drinking water sources. Link to previous podcast episode: Read Sarah’s previous reporting in these issues of the Montague Reporter:,
November 23, 2021
Spotlight on Montague City: Farren Care Center update and other neighborhood news
Mike tells Sarah about recent reporting on what’s happening in the village of Montague City. Thanks for listening! Tell a friend! Read the newspaper: Thank you to Stella Silbert for editing the podcast! You can reach us @ -- but it does go to my spam box.
November 14, 2021
Solar editorial, Buckland police chief story
Super special thanks to Stella Silbert, our new podcast editor! Sarah and Mike discuss his October 22 editorial encouraging comments on draft solar policy guidelines. They also discuss an October 14 article Mike wrote about accusations against the most recent Chief of Police in the town of Buckland, Mass. Plus, non sequiturs from the paper. You can read the October 21 edition of the Montague Reporter here: You can read the October 14 edition here: Volunteer: Subscribe:
October 23, 2021
Leverett Pond; housing and evictions update with Sarah Robertson
To read the articles that we discussed, see the September 16, 2021 edition of the Montague Reporter: Follow the Montague Reporter on Instagram: Reach out to the podcast: Thanks for listening! Tell a friend!
September 24, 2021
Volunteer ask, Candidates for Selectboard, and Montague “cop stuff”
Mike and Sarah discuss volunteer opportunities at the Montague Reporter, and Mike’s recent reporting on the special selectboard election, as well as current town business taken up at a recent selectboard meeting. The Montague Reporter Instagram account has 649 followers - join the ranks: Contact us: Subscribe and read this week's edition:
September 15, 2021
Joshua Shanley on the Connecticut River Flood of 1936
Josh’s website: You can learn more about “Connecticut River Valley Flood of 1936” and purchase it here: Read a longer form of this conversation in this week's Montague Reporter newspaper:  Reach out to us at Subscribe to the paper:
July 21, 2021
Prominent Avenue A building sold, federal money funds local projects
Sarah and Mike discuss changes to the St Katz building on Avenue A, as well as what local towns plan to do with the federal funds becoming available through the American Rescue Plan Act. Contact us at or 413-586-8666. Thanks for listening! Tell a friend!
July 06, 2021
Bonus Episode: Trish Crapo on Art Beat column and creativity
Don’t miss Trish Crapo’s last Art Beat column in the Montague Reporter June 17, 2021 edition out this week! Jack Nelson: It's in the Brush: Remembering Hallmark: Trish’s website:
June 17, 2021
Big picture A1 news: redistricting and police advisory group feedback
Sarah and Mike discuss the news from late May. Mike also talks about an unexpected story that he published online. Reach out to the podcast: Thanks for listening! Tell a friend!
May 26, 2021
Bonus episode: transparency in the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In this episode we take a deep dive into Massachusetts state politics. I discuss with two local residents, Alex Davidson Carroll and Matt Barron, proposals to increase public access and transparency of the goings-on in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Link to the Letter to the Editor in the January 28, 2021 edition: Act On Mass, an organization working on the statehouse transparency issue:
May 13, 2021
Is dual-use solar coming to Western Mass? Is artificial intelligence the future of the Montague Reporter?
Mike and Sarah discuss a proposed project in Northfield to allow dual-use solar on a farm. The discussion also turns to Mike’s experiences reporting long-form interviews, and the current (good!) state of the newspaper. Plus - speculations on the role of artificial intelligence at the paper. Mike is taking applications for apprentices! You heard it here first. Contact him at  Reach out to the podcast: Thanks for listening! Tell a friend!
May 04, 2021
Late March highlights from A1 and beyond
Join Sarah, Reporter Sarah Robertson, and Managing Editor Mike Jackson in a discussion of the newspaper’s recent reporting on goings-on in Montague and surrounding towns, as well as Sarah Robertson’s reporting on housing and the environment. If you like the podcast, please leave us a review and subscribe. Comments, questions, or suggestions? Reach out to us at March 25 edition of the Montague Reporter: Sarah R’s reporting on PFAS in the March 11 edition:
March 31, 2021
Bonus episode: deep dive into Connecticut River ecology and FirstLight relicensing process
Join us for a deep dive into Sarah Robertson's (and the Montague Reporter's) reporting on the FirstLight Power relicensing process for power production on the Connecticut River. Scientists Ken Sprankel (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the CT River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office) and Rodger Gwiazdowski (Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass, Amherst) join us for a discussion on environmental impacts on the CT River. Ken’s website, Connecticut River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office: U.S. Fish and Wildlife service page for Puritan Tiger Beetle: Daily Hampshire Gazette reporting on Puritan Tiger Beetle: New York Times Puritan Tiger Beetle article: Sarah Robertson’s reporting on this issue in the Montague Reporter: December 17, 2020 Page 1: November 12, 2020, Page 1: Other recent reporting on the FirstLight Power relicensing process:
March 22, 2021
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 08, 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 01, 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 08, 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 07, 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 03, 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