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Community Conversations

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

  • 1st, 3rd and 5th 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:
Photo by Molly Rider, Grand Marais Art Colony

Writing about charged topics

As part of the Grand Marais Art Colony's North Shore Readers & Writers Festival, WTIP’s Jay Andersen moderated a panel discussion on writing about charged topics, live from the Grand Marais Public Library on November 2.

The panel included:

Julie Landsman, author of Basic Needs: A Year With Street Kids in a City School and A White Teacher Talks About Race.

William Green, author of A Peculiar Imbalance, The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837–1869 and Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865–1912.

Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, and The Song Poet.


A rally in Harbor Park was among the many settings where racism was discussed in Cook County. Photo by Ann Possis

Racism in Cook County: A community conversation

In recent weeks, the local school district in Grand Marais has become the focus of numerous media reports about racist bullying. A television station in Duluth made two trips to Grand Marais specifically to report on this topic of racism at ISD 166 and the community. There were special meetings held by concerned citizens, and a rally was held in Harbor Park to raise awareness about racial harassment and hate speech in the schools and community. The topic of racism appeared in meetings of the local school board and Cook County Board of Commissioners. And, it appears, a local family of four are moving away as a direct result of racism they faced in the community.

“Racism in Cook County” was this month’s first Thursday community conversation. The program aired live on WTIP on Oct. 5.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with the following guests during the program:

--Rogier Gregoire, a human rights commissioner and a board member of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Foundation in Duluth.

--Grand Marais City Councilman Anton Moody.

--Grand Marais resident Dave Nonnemacher. Dave is the father of two adopted daughters who are from Liberia, West Africa.

--Professor Anton Treuer, a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 14 books. Professor Treuer is also a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

The audio below is the entire community conversation on racism in Cook County. 



A special WTIP Thursday Community Conversation on setting the county budget and levy

Late last year the Cook County Commissioners' room was packed with taxpayers as the county board prepared to finalize the 2017 budget and levy. Now it’s time to do it again.

Jay Andersen and Joe Friedrichs discussed the 2018 budget and levy with a panel of officials who make the decisions that will affect all Cook County residents. With them in the studio were county commissioners Ginny Storlie and Heidi Doo-Kirk, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and County Administrator Jeff Cadwell.

The county needs to set a preliminary levy by September 19 and a final levy by the end of December. In between time, the numbers can be lowered, but cannot increase.




International workers, Thursday Conversation topic

A 2012-13 economic analysis of Cook County documented tourism as 82% of our local economy. This year 40% of the seasonal jobs servicing that economy are filled by international workers.

 “International Workers – Cook County’s workforce reality," this month’s Third Thursday Community Conversation, aired Aug. 17. Listen to all or part of the conversation below.

A local team supported by the Blandin Foundation, University of Minnesota Extension, Cook County and the University’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs has released a study analyzing and assessing the need and impact of international workers on our local economy, and some members of that team were in the studio.




July Thursday Community Conversation -- Searching out the past, creating in the present

Dawn Laybolt, interim Gunflint District Ranger, holds a PhD in archeology and talks about the lure of digging up the past.

Greg Mueller is a sculptor spending time with Tom Christenson at Last Chance Studio and Gallery. He talks about his private artistic vision and its public display.

Third Thursday Community Conversation -- “Searching out the past and creating in the present.” Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




Take a First Thursday walk in the woods with WTIP

It’s July on the North Shore and summer is in full swing. Whether you’re a visitor, weekender, seasonal resident or with us year ‘round…we’re all interested in what’s going on in the woods.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for a special First Thursday Community Conversation as part of our “Summer of Love” member drive.

We’ll take a walk in the woods with a botanist, a birder and a wildlife photographer to discover the phenomenal phenology of July.
Chel Anderson appears each week on WTIP’s North Woods Naturalist series. She’s a botanist, plant ecologist and co-author of “North Shore, a natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast.”

Molly Hoffman’s “Field Notes” is a regular feature on WTIP’s North Shore Morning program. The third volume of her popular “Bird Songs of Northern Woods” has just been released.

Paul Sundberg is a widely published wildlife photographer and former manager of Gooseberry Falls State Park.
 “A Walk in the Woods: the phenomenal phenology of July” – on First Thursday Community Conversation. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.



North House founders

WTIP’s Community Conversation is a North House retrospective

In January 1997, after two years of experimenting with traditional craft classes and workshops, North House Folk School officially opened its doors on the Grand Marais Harbor.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen and numerous guests for a 90-minute special edition of First Thursday Community Conversation.

The original old U.S. Forest Service storage building grew, changed and morphed into a multi-building campus. North House has many successes to celebrate, but we reminisce, reflect and recall stories about the people and purpose of North House over two decades.

“Stories from the Harbor – North House Folk School at 20 years.” This month’s First Thursday Community Conversation.



Community Conversation hosts Commissioner candidates

Ryan Bottger, Bobby Deschampe, David Keller and Jim Vannet. All four are vying for the Commissioner District One seat vacated by the resignation of Frank Moe.

The Primary is April 4. WTIP’s Special Election Forum with all of the candidates was Thursday, March 16.

Join Jay Andersen and Rhonda Silence to learn more about the candidate’s positions on District One and County-wide questions.
District One Special Election Forum. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




WTIP’s 3rd Thursday features Two Women, Dozens of Stories

Once the travel ban was lifted, Pat Zankman flew to Cuba. Once the Hillary Clinton campaign needed field workers Sue Hakes went to Dayton Ohio.

Join Jay Andersen for Third Thursday Community Conversation. We’ll talk to two Cook County women who recently had experiences few of us have had, or perhaps never will.

 “Two Women, Dozens of Stories,” this month’s Third Thursday Community Conversation.

Sue Hakes served as a Cook County Commissioner and before that was Mayor of Grand Marais. Pat Zankman returned home from years working in the court system in New England and took over the helm of the Cook County Historical Society for a number of years. Last year their paths lead them into interesting and sometimes challenging experiences.

“Two Women, Dozens of Stories,” on Third Thursday Community Conversation. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




February Thursday Community Conversation is on sexual exploitation

There’s more than one kind of safe harbor. One is for boats, the other is for women and girls.  Human trafficking, sexual assault and exploitation. Just because these are difficult topics for a community to address, doesn’t mean they don’t occur.
The United Nations reports thousands upon thousands of women and girls are traded into sexual slavery, forced labor, and commercial exploitation each year. It’s a global problem that invades our community comfort zone.
Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for “The Hidden Crime – sexual exploitation in Cook County.” This month’s First Thursday Community Conversation. We’ve assembled a panel of law enforcement and therapy counselors to bring this critical issue very close to home.
First Thursday Community Conversation, only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.

Critical phone numbers: North Shore Horizons (218) 834-5924.
                                              Violence Prevention Center  387-1237
                                             Grand Portage VPC 475-2453