Flat River Community Library

Flat River Front Porch PodNotes

Episode 13: The (Im)possible Cake Pans: One Book One County edition with Brooke Whipple

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

This episode is an out-of-the-office, off-the-grid adventure as we dive into this year’s Montcalm One Book One County selection! We are joined by Brooke Whipple, native Stantonite and star of The History Channel’s Alone and National Geographic’s Yukon River Run. Brooke has a million fascinating stories about adventuring and surviving under harsh conditions, and this episode features my conversation with her as well as highlights from her presentation at the One Book One County kickoff. We’re also joined by (almost) all of the library directors in Montcalm County. We hint at (and then finally reveal) this year’s selection title, then talk about creative and unique projects and items for checkout that each one offers. We recorded before the kickoff, so sections about the OBOC book this year were added later, so don’t be alarmed when I start to go a little NPR on you. Put in your earbuds and go for a walk with this special outdoorsy episode of Flat River Front Porch!

Brooke Whipple

Her Youtube Channel

Her Instragram

Brooke and her husband Dave (@Bushradical) on ALONE Season 4

Brookes goes back for ALONE Season 5 solo

One Book One County

Kimi Cunningham Grant author photo, 2023, FINAL.jpg

Kimi Cunningham Grant

These Silent Woods

Other books by author:

Fallen Mountains      The Nature of Disappearing  (Coming in June!)

Tamarack District Library

Carson City Public Library

White Pine District Library

Richland Township Library

Home Township Library

Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library

And finally…. I wasn’t trying to sound like Derry Murbles when I introduced our One Book One County selection — it just happened:



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Episode 12: Horror Movies and Body Safety with Alexis Thane from RAVE

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

The “body safety” in this episode is not the fleeing-from-Freddie-Krueger kind! We honor Sexual Assault Awareness month (which, to be fair, was April) by sitting down with Alexis Thane, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for RAVE, Relief Against Violent Encounter. Their organization provides support, shelter and counseling for survivors (of all ages and genders) of sexual assault and domestic abuse. While these topics are rarely easy, open discussion of them is so important to try to reduce the stigma of honesty around them. This is essential if we want to prepare and support young people (or anyone) in their relationships, and promote body safety awareness. We hope our episode will encourage you to start your own honest discussions. Also, we sit down with staff member, Danielle, and her visiting daughter, Megan, who make me work exceptionally hard to get them to talk. Megan was with us for job shadowing, but tells us about the horror film-inspired career aspiration she prefers over becoming a librarian. Then I try to get Megan to try her hand at podcast hosting (with mixed results). This episode is a hodge-podge mix of silly and serious, but then that’s the best kind. Join us on the Front Porch!

Relief After Violent Encounter

Power and Control Wheel | The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The Finding Our Voices project – Great personal stories based on the Power and Control Wheel

Teen Power and Control wheel

Corks and Kegs Fundraiser

Learn more about forensic science careers!


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Episode 11: Time Life Series and Bluey (and more!) with State Senator Rick Outman

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

We appreciate your patience as we get out this last episode, and it is a doozy! This is the second half of our two-part series with the Outmans, our local state legislators. This time we are joined by Rick Outman, senator for the 33rd district. Rick talks his grudging entrance into politics years ago, the history of redistricting in Michigan, his chihuahua Chico, and his serious fandom of the cartoon Bluey (which he admits he may watch even with the grandkids aren’t around).   We are also joined by Marketing and Outreach Librarian Cassie Vargo, who talks seed libraries, the Career Fair, and our shared nostalgia for all things Time-Life. Tune in as we talk all these things (and more!) on the Flat River Front Porch.


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Our Seed Library!

Do you remember the Time-Life Home Repair and Improvement Series?

Time Life Home Repair and Improvement Book Series

Also, this song lives rent free in our millennial brains:

How does redistricting work in Michigan?

Michigan Legislature Term Limits

Rick and My Favorite Episodes of Bluey:

Warrior movie

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Episode 10: Historical Fiction and the Feral Cat Porch Takeover with Rep. Pat Outman

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

Our guest this week takes a break from partisanship to join us for a low-key conversation on the front porch: State Representative Pat Outman! We talk parenting young kids, outdoor hobbies, childhood aspirations, travel spots, and the challenges of representing all the voices from a rural district. He takes advantage of being away from the podium for once and even attempts to interview our host! Then we play the first half of a father-son version of the Newlywed Game, to see how well he and his dad know each other (to be concluded when his father, Senator Rick Outman joins us here in a few weeks). Also joining us this week is Montcalm Area Reading Council Director, Amanda Lee, and she and Stef talk about a whole array of ridiculous things (as usual). We run the gamut of topics, from Princess Kate (who announced her cancer diagnosis a couple days after we recorded) to celebrity memoirs, vacation prep, upcoming concerts, vegan diets and swishy pants. Lots of fun as always, and TONS of book recommendations… so settle in and join us!

Thanks to Cory Smith from the Daily News for photos!

New Titles in our Catalog

Archie: The Man Who Became Cary Grant    Glass Onion

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell    DragonFlight by Anne McCaffrey    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

The Divorcees by Rowan Beaird    Ours by Phillip B. Williams     In Pieces by Sally Field

House of Hidden Meanings by RuPaul     In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park      Secrets of the Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Young Elizabeth by Nicola Tallis    Slow Noodles by Chanta Nguon     Can't We Be Friends? by Denny S. Bryce and Eliza Knight

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates    Murder Road by Simone St. James    The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James

The Hunter by Tana French    The Likeness by Tana French

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Episode 9: Mystery German Desserts and Guardians of the Community with Michele Howard from Traverse Area District Library

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

Our community and front porch are stretching this week to bring in an (uncaped) crusader from up north, Michele Howard, the director of the Traverse Area District Library system! I met Michele at this year’s Michigan Library Association conference in October. Her story of firing up organizations in her city to dig in and work together to make change inspired me to make her my first recorded interview for the podcast (if not our first episode). Michele’s great work brings hope that any community can start a conversation that overcomes barriers and brings life-changing results with the right motivation.

We are also joined again by Cara McGee, our in-house comic creator, who was gearing up for Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle. She gives some hints on her current projects, talks the best cities to stock up on too many specialty foods, and shares her favorite celeb comic-con encounters. And somewhere in there we try to solve the mystery of an obscure, possibly German dessert multiple decades after it was served. There’s something for everyone this week on the Front Porch!

Michele Howard


Rising Homelessness Numbers Incidents at Library Spur New Conversations about Local Homelessness

9 and 10 News Report on TADL Call to Action

Day Shelter Response

Emerald City Comic Con

Cara’s Comics

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Episode 8 (Special Edition!): Dancing with the Montcalm Area ISD Stars! or: They do that too?!

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

We’re working outside the box in this very special episode, featuring a cavalcade of guests from the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District. Our five guests include: Kyle Hamlin, MAISD Superintendent; Cindy DeYoung, Early Childhood Special Ed Supervisor; Kristen Larson, principal of the Seiter Center and Special Ed Supervisor; and Shannon Tripp, Associate Superintendent of Career Tech Ed and Early College. And joining us fashionably late is Penny Dora, Director of Communications and soon-to-be highlight of Dancing with the Local Stars! We go all out to introduce the MANY incredible things the ISD does for Montcalm Area kids, and shine a light on the educational magic they sprinkle over the county and beyond. They are hard-working rock stars with a passion for what they do, whether it’s helping infants learn to walk, or teaching children with the most significant needs, or preparing high schoolers for careers in welding, marketing, education, and more. By the time they’re done, you’ll be saying, “Holy cow! HOW do they do all that?” They also explain their bond proposal on February 27th (their first in 62 years!) to reinforce their buildings and facilities. Come and be amazed, and get to know your ISD on the Flat River Front Porch!

Dancing with the Local Stars

Montcalm Area ISD

What is an ISD?

Professional Learning

Early Childhood Programs

Seiter Education Center

ISD/Local Special Education Programs

Montcalm Area ISD Young Adult Program

Montcalm Area Career Center

Early College Program


MAISD Bond Proposal – Everything You Need to Know

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Episode 7: Shirley MacLaine and Her Sing-Along Blog with Maddi Huntoon from HCAT

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

We’re making up for lost time with an early release of Episode 7! This is an all-singing, all-dancing, theatre-all-the-time edition of Flat River Front Porch featuring Maddi Huntoon, Theatre Coordinator for the Hans Christian Anderson Theater department of Greenville Area Recreation and Community Center. HCAT puts together family-friendly shows that are acted and produced by kids and community members. Maddi is a drama geek through and through, and shares her passionate journey coming up through acting and producing to running the whole theater. Reference assistant and soon-to-be Steel Magnolias star Sharon Boldt joins us. We test her knowledge of Hans himself, hear about High School Musical Jr. playing February 15-18 (this week, so get your tickets NOW!), and learn the one thing Maddi spends her time doing when she’s not on stage. Also Sharon and I talk Comic Cons, Ren Faires, the best Steel Magnolias lines we can’t repeat on this podcast, and how to teach a Southerner to build a snowman. Put on your costume, enter stage left and join us on the Front Porch!

Hans Christian Andersen Theatre

Tickets for High School Musical Jr. (Feb. 15-18) OR Steel Magnolias (Mar. 22-24)

Maddi in the 2019 HCAT Production of Once Upon A Mattress

Sharon’s hometown movie studio

Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Grand Rapids Comic Con

Grand Rapids Gaming Con

Community Center Special Events

Mill Creek Days

Mid-Michigan Enchanted Forest

BEL Children’s Museum

An Inside Look at Steel Magnolias from Robert Harling – Garden & Gun

Cast of the movie Steel Magnolias; Sharon will play the part of M’Lynn (Sally Field here)


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Episode 6: Cryptography and Duplicate Tubas with Steve Schofield from MCC

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

It’s extremely fitting that our technology episode was delayed a week by technical difficulties… though we learn by trial and error, right? This episode is the perfect mix of tech adventures and human error as we’re joined by Steve Schofield from Montcalm Community College to talk about Tech Fest, the upcoming event on February 8 on the Sidney Campus. It hopes to appeal to future tech professionals and the generally tech-interested alike by giving them a hands-on opportunity to experiment with technology and risk breaking things in a safe environment. We see how this event came together and learn about Steve’s outreach history in Greenville and his blue Ford truck. Cassie also joins us again and we talk lost yearbooks, deer season, how not to play video games with our kids, and where your hands should be on the steering wheel (and whether it’s acceptable to hold a coffee mug simultaneously). We get a little silly, but after all the snow and clouds we all need a little pick-me-up. Enjoy the weather respite and join us on the Flat River Front Porch!

Tech Fest at MCC

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Episode 5: JNCO Jeans and Taxes with Terri and Bethany from United Way

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

With all this snow and cold, when you don’t want to go into the community, let the community come to you on Flat River Front Porch! This week we spend time with Terri Legg and Bethany Broom Dombrowski from United – Montcalm Ionia Way Counties. They are gearing up for tax season with the VITA program, which brings free tax prep to anyone eligible in our area and nationwide. While they’re here, we get a taste of the myriad other things their organization does for our community, and they give us insight to the experiences of local youth, housing insecure, and ALICE individuals in those counties (and what ALICE is, if you’ve never heard of it). And we still find time to talk travel trauma, JNCO jeans, and more.

We also talk with Veronica Pitchford, long time FRCL staffer and Assistant Director. She fills us in on Winter Reading, learning how to invest, and her old house plans. It’s a long one, but it’s more to keep you busy in this chilly weather. Cuddle up and join us!

Previous Greenville High School, current site of Flat River Community Library

Previous Greenville Library building

Better Investing

ValueLine (Available through our website soon!)

Creative Bug



United Way of Montcalm-Ionia Counties

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

ALICE Simulator

United Way Youth Assessment

Bethany testifies for the Senate Housing and Humans Services committee

EPA Report on Alaskan climate change

Greenville Country Club members say goodbye

Greenville History

Flat River Historical Museum

Fighting Falcon Museum

The popular JNCO jeans from the 90s are making a comeback and teenagers are horrified | The Independent | The Independent

The infamous JNCO Jeans

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Winter Reading!!


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Episode 4: Sister Wives and Helping People with Brian Blomstrom from Greenville Public Safety

Posted by Stefanie Reed, Library Director on

Here is our fourth episode, featuring Brian Blomstrom, who is both the Director of Greenville Public Safety and the Montcalm Township Supervisor. We had a great discussion about Greenville, encountering unique challenges, and how great this community is. We were also joined by Amanda Lee from the Montcalm Area Reading Council, whose office just happens to be in our library. Click below to listen or to take a look at what we talked about this episode.

Montcalm Area Reading Council

Mithu Sri Lankan and Indian Cuisine in GR

Delicious Magazine


Greenville Department of Public Safety

Montcalm Township Council

Michigan Fire Fighter Training

Michigan Law Enforcement Training

Montcalm Community College Criminal Justice Program

Montcalm County Road Commission

Montcalm County Central Dispatch

Leadership Montcalm

Have Mercy

United Way Poverty Simulation event – January 31, 2024

Sister Wives (TV Series 2010– ) - IMDb      Die Hard (1988) - IMDb     

Some recent additions about the Windsor Royal Family

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