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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:
Bully Free Zone sign

Youth speak out on bullying

BullyMixOne.mp34.3 MB
BullyMixTwo.mp34.81 MB
BullyMixThree.mp33.69 MB
BullyMixFour.mp33.85 MB

On February 3rd, WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation will deal with bullying. Some of the participants in the program are high school students enrolled in WTIPs “Engaging Youth Through Radio” project at Cook County Schools. In preparation for the February 3rd broadcast, students recorded some of their thoughts on bullying.

Here are Gabe Bethke and Cece Olsen (4.3MB):

Here are Kayla Stacy and Sebastian Schnobrich (4.81MB):

Here are Hayden Goettl and Erik Peterson (3.69MB):

Here are Danny Lunde and Molly Zafft (3.85MB):

Building a fiber network in Cook County

First Thursday, Dec 2 -- Moving to broadband: a Cook County update

SecondBroadband.mp3115.13 MB
Broadband. Fiber Optic. High Speed internet. Whatever you call it, the ultra-high speed communication tool is in Cook County’s future – probably within the next couple of years. What projects are currently in the works? What will they provide? Who will deliver the service? Who will get it and how much will it cost? “Moving to broadband: a Cook County update” -- First Thursday Community Conversation for December 2.

ISD166 campus

WTIP explores ISD166 levy referendum on First Thursday

FirstThursRef.mp3110.33 MB
Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen, Barbara Jean Johnson and members of Cook County Schools’ administration, staff and board as they discuss “Funding ISD166: An In-depth Look at the Operating Levy Referendum.” ISD 166 has faced many budget challenges in the last several years and despite restructuring, layoffs and a number of belt-tightening measures, the Cook County School Board will turn to the public for help maintaining the school’s operations. The discussion covers a variety of issues related to the referendum and funding for public education.

Ultra high-speed broadband

Envisioning the Fiber Optic Future in Cook County – First Thursday for Aug. 5

BroadbandFinalMixdown.mp3111.57 MB

The Blandin Foundation has awarded Cook County’s Fiber Optic Network Commission $100,000 to serve as a Demonstration Community in its Intelligent Rural Communities program. As a result, the Fiber Optic Network Commission -- known as FON – is asking the community for broadband project ideas. WTIPs First Thursday Community Conversation is Envisioning the Fiber Optic Future in Cook County.

Suicide and depression

First Thursday broadcast deals with suicide

SuicideFinalMixdown.mp3108.91 MB
On May 6, WTIPs First Thursday Community Conversation dealt with suicide. Guests Jerry Lilja, therapist and supervisor at the Human Development Center in Grand Marais and Grace Bushard, the county’s Social Services supervisor suggested resources for help. Those and others are listed here.
Cook County resources
North Shore Hospital emergency room. 387-3040
Human Development Center. 387-9444
HDC-24 hour crisis line. 1-800-634-8775
Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. 387-2330
Grand Portage Human Services. 475-2453
Cook County Public Health and Human Services. 387-3620
County Law Enforcement Center. 387-3030
Grand Portage Health Services. 475-2235
Always consider using local clergy as a resource.
National resources
National Life Line. 1-800-273-8255

"Deconstructing Racism in the Community and the Culture," on First Thursday Community Conversation

Deconstructing Racism on WTIP's First Thursday program

UndoingRacism_1Thursday_20100401.mp375.15 MB

Join Jay Andersen and Barbara Jean Johnson from WTIP North Shore Community Radio for "Deconstructing Racism in the Community and the Culture." In this one hour program, they talk with in-studio guests Bob Carter, John Morrin and Bea Sorenson, participants in the "Undoing Racism" workshops, about the causes, history and ways to deconstruct racism in our culture.

Airdate: April 1, 2010

Cook County Schools ISD 166 campus

Cook County Schools ISD 166 on First Thursday

ISD166_20100304.mp382.4 MB
Part2_ISD166.mp389.88 MB

WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversations program took a close look at the financial situation and future of the Cook County Independent School District 166. The district is moving ahead with an operating referendum to go before the voters this fall and is also facing declining enrollment, state-aid payment off-sets, staff reductions and program cuts, as well as a serious consideration of a four-day school week in 2011. Superintendent Beth Schwarz, parent and Academic Committee member Jeff Kern, and School Board Chair Bill Huggins were in the studio to talk about the issues and take questions from the community.

Guests pack the WTIP studio for a discussion of the community's future

First Thursday program looks forward

Finalcut_Future_20100107.mp352.22 MB

A new year and new decade is upon us. As Cook County businesses and institutions emerge from 2009, they face both major challenges and opportunities. Listen to January’s First Thursday Community Conversation program with special guests Beth Schwarz, superintendent for ISD 166, County Commissioner Bob Fenwick, Dr. Sandy Stover of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes, Scott Harrison, owner of Lutsen Resort, and community members that called in to participate in a discussion about the future of our community.


Discussion of proposed septic ordinance on WTIP

Septic_20091203.mp3100.43 MB

Listen to the discussion from WTIP’s First Thursday program on the proposed county septic ordinance. Join Barbara Jean Johnson and Jay Andersen in a conversation with staff from the Cook County Planning and Zoning Department, Lending Officer Dale Klobuchar from the North Shore Credit Union, and the county’s former water plan coordinator and septic system expert Dave Stark. The program includes calls and emails from community members. 



1 percent sales tax referendum result

Analysis_1_20091105.mp3116.61 MB
Analysis of the 1 percent sales tax referendum result was the topic of WTIP's First Thursday Community Conversations Program on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009.

WTIP hosts Bob Carter and Barbara Jean Johnson discuss the results with County Auditor/Treasurer Braidy Powers, County Commissioner Bob Fenwick, and Grand Marais City Councilors Kay Costello, Jan Sivertson, and Tim Kennedy. The conversation also includesfeedback and comments from community members as well as West End County Commissioner Bruce Martinson.