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Community Conversations

First and Third Thursday Conversations air at 7 p.m. on Thursdays (killerturnip/Flickr)

  • 1st and 3rd Thursday 7-8pm
On the first Thursday of every month from 7-8 p.m. WTIP hosts a live interactive conversation on an issue of community importance. Guests are invited into the studio and listeners are invited to call in or email with questions, comments, and concerns. This participatory program is designed to give everyone a voice in the discussion of public affairs issues that shape our community. To participate in the conversation call 218-387-1070 or email us at

On the third Thursday of every month from 7-8 p.m. WTIP's Jay Andersen hosts a one-on-one discussion with a variety of community members.

What's On:
Calculator tax keys

WTIP’s November First Thursday tackles taxes

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Rural communities across Minnesota are struggling to keep property taxes low and public services steady. Local Government Aid for cities and County Program Aids have been consistently cut for years.

WTIP’s November edition of First Thursday Community Conversation was “Trends in Taxation.” Several guests joined host Jay Andeersen to help you understand where our tax system is headed and why. From Cook County -- Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Grand Marais City Administrator Mike Roth and from the Twin Cities – Matt Entenza with MN2020 and education reporter Beth Hawkins.

“Trends in Taxation:” -- this November’s First Thursday Community Conversation. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.

Buddy on the air

Buddy Skinner featured on WTIP’s Third Thursday broadcast

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He knows thousands of songs, he can tell you the plots of hundreds of television shows and it’s been said that an event in Grand Marais is just not an official event if he isn’t there.

WTIP’s Jay Andersen hosts the October edition of Third Thursday Community Conversation --
“Talking with Buddy Skinner” only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.

Moose calf

Declining moose population is topic on First Thursday Oct. 6

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The moose population in Northeastern Minnesota is in trouble. Researchers are not sure why.

WTIP’s Jay Andersen hosted a discussion with three moose experts Oct. 6 on First Thursday Community Conversation at 6 p.m.

On the program were Dr. Ron Moen, Research Associate with the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Duluth; Dr. Seth Moore, Director of the Departments of Biology and Environment for the Grand Portage Trust Lands and the Minnesota DNR Big Game Program Coordinator, Lou Cornicelli.

Jodi Yuhasey

Violence Prevention Center Director Jodi Yuhasey on WTIP’s Third Thursday

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse of children and seniors are uncomfortable facts of life throughout the country as well as here in Cook County.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for Third Thursday Community Conversation with Violence Prevention Center Director Jodi Yuhasey broadcast on Sept. 15.

Back to School

Back to School is September First Thursday Community Conversation

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There are four school districts in the county and on Sept. 1 we talked with administrators about what’s new or the same at their schools. How are they similar or different from each other? How do issues like “No Child Left Behind” or the state’s aid money shifts affect our local schools?

“Back to School in Cook County” -- this month’s First Thursday Community Conversation.

Joining host Jay Andersen in the studio were:
•    Peter James, Director of Great Expectations Charter School in Grand Marais,
•    Fred Kasianov, Director of Education at Oshki Ogimaag Community School, Grand Portage,
•    Beth Schwarz, Superintendent of Cook County Schools ISD166.

Dick Swanson

Dick Swanson on Third Thursday Community Conversation

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He’s lived rustic at the top of the Arrowhead Trail, he served a time as the county attorney, he’s been active in community affairs for years, especially the Grand Marais Playhouse, and the Ski and Run. The versatile Dick Swanson has been involved with Cook County on many levels for many years. Jay Andersen sat down with him for an hour on WTIP’s Third Thursday Community Conversation, aired August 18.

The conversation ranged from leaving a university setting to becomming an attorney in a small community, his experiments with living in the woods, his passion for theatre and much more.

A Conversation with Dick Swanson – the August installment of Third Thursday Community Conversation -- only on WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

Jan Sivertson at a gallery opening

Third Thursday Community Conversation with local businesswoman Jan Sivertson

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She’s been an active businesswoman for decades -- both in Cook County and Duluth. She’s currently on the Grand Marais City Council.  Listen as  WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with local business leader Jan Sivertson, on the July 21 edition of Third Thursday Community Conversation.

Each month we sit down with an interesting guest for an in-depth exchange of thoughts and ideas, opinions and points of view – professional and personal. Jan Sivertson brings a unique perspective to our local economy -- past, present and in the future. The wide-ranging discussion covered a take on the local economy in a bumpy national recovery, the role of local government in business as well as local challenges and opportunities for small businesses.

Community Center Option One

Putting ‘Community’ in the Community Center,” the July First Thursday Community Conversation.

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The July 7 First Thursday Community Conversation broadcast featured information, questions and comments on the proposed community center project. Joining host Jay Andersen were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Tom Wacholz, president of the construction management team ORB Management, Community Center Steering Committee chair and county commissioner Sue Hakes and Paul Nelson with the county Local Energy Project.

“Putting ‘Community’ in the Community Center,” the July First Thursday Community Conversation.

Dennis Neitzke speaking to public during the Cavity Fire

Third Thursday Community Conversation with Gunflint Ranger Dennis Neitzke

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The Superior National Forest covers three million acres, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness alone is a million acres – much of the land and lakes are in Cook County. Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke oversees a good share of this federal land.

We talked about our woods, waters and wildlife as well as the future challenges and current controversies that surround our corner of the Superior National Forest.

A Conversation with Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke -- the June 16 Third Thursday Community Conversation.

Peter Monkres

Third Thursday features Peter Monkres

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After 42 years in the ministry and 13 years leading First Congregational United Church of Christ in Grand Marais, Peter Monkres is retiring.

Peter joined Jay Andersen for WTIP’s Third Thursday Community Conversation, May 19 for a wide-ranging discussion that covered everything from theology and philosophy to pressing social and political issues locally, nationally and in the rest of the world.