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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:

Immunization In Cook County – What Is It? Is It Still Important?

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On Thursday, August 6, 2009, WTIP aired its First Thursday Community Conversation: “Immunization in Cook County – What is it? Is it still important?”
Sawtooth Mountain Physician Sherry Moriarty, Cook County Public Health Nurse Joni Kristenson, and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Nurse Teresa Borak fielded questions from listener calls and emails on immunizations and vaccines. The efficacy and importance of vaccinations has been a topic of discussion recently, often sparking controversy and debate.


Tourism In Cook County

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The July, 2009 First Thursday Community Conversation Program features a discussion on tourism in Cook County. Four people who know tourism and our all-important visitor industry were on hand to answer questions and discuss the prospects for the coming year.


Hunger In Cook County

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WTIP’s May, 2009 First Thursday Community Conversations Program tackled the issue of hunger in Cook County and what resources are available to assist individuals and families.
WTIP’s Jay Andersen and Barbara Jean Meyers discussed the issues with guests Alicia Lambrides, Food Support specialist with Cook County Public Health and Human Services, Gwen Lenz, with the Cook County Food Shelf, and Teresa Borak, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and administrator of the county’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.


Better Together -- The Great Community Book Read

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“Better Together -- The Great Community Book Read," is a  program is built around the shared experiences of people reading and talking about the same book. On March 12, 2009, WTIP brought four community leaders into the studio to discuss their community book read experience.

Hosts Jay Andersen and Barbara Jean Meyers discuss the issues with Mayor Sue Hakes, County Commissioner Jim Johnson, City Councilor Kay Costello, and Jessa Wallendal from the Birch Grove Foundation.  It was a special Second Thursday Community Conversation based around the community book read of “Better Together, Restoring the American Community” by Robert Putman and Lewis Feldstein.


Sacrifice and Stimulus - Budget Winners and Losers in Cook County

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On March 5, 2009, WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation Program discussed the impact of budget cuts on local government programs and whether or not stimulus money will help soften the impact.

Hosts Jay Andersen and Barbara Jean Meyers were joined in the studio by County Engineer Shae Kosmalski, Director of Health and Human Services Sue Futterer, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, and County Commissioner Bob Fenwick. The guests talked about "Sacrifice and Stimulus - Budget Winners and Losers in Cook County.”


Building Grassroots Organizations in Cook County

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On Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversations program highlighted the building of grassroots organizations in Cook County. Judy Peterson of the Whole Foods Coop, Jack McDonnell of Boreal Access, George Wilkes of the Cook County Local Energy Project and Patty Nordahl from the Cooperation Station discussed their involvement in helping to form organizations important to our community.

This conversation marked the beginning of a new community initiative, “Better Together: The Great Community Book Read,” based on the book “Better Together: Restoring the American Community” by Robert D. Putnam and Lewis M. Feldstein. WTIP North Shore Community Radio, the Grand Marais Public Library and Cook County Extension cooperated on the community-wide program, built around the shared experiences of people reading and talking about the same book. Through community events as well as public and private discussions, the program encourages communities to come together and work together to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.


Cook County Social Capital Survey

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In January, 2009, WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation featured Barbara Radke, University of Minnesota Extension educator who put together the Cook County Social Capital survey. She was joined by volunteer committee member Judie Johnson, Cook County Extension Director Diane Booth and Commissioner Jim Johnson.

In December of 2007, over 500 county residents – adults and young people – participated in assessing our connectedness and the degree to which we network together. The results have been complied and the panel discussed things like how much we trust each other. Who do we know and what are we willing to do for them? Do we volunteer and participate in community activities? Tune in to hear about the survey's results.


Putting a Local Face on the Global Economic Crisis

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"Putting a Local Face on the Global Economic Crisis" was the topic for WTIP's "First Thursday Community Conversation" on December 4th, 2008.

“Putting a Local Face on the Global Economic Crisis” focused on how area residents are coping with the recession.  Hosts Jay Anderson and BarbaraJean Meyers were joined in the studio by North Shore Hospital’s Diane Pearson, Grand Marais State Bank’s Mike LaVigne, Grace Bushard from Cook County Social Services and Scott Harrison of Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas.


From a Good Life to a Good Death

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On Thursday, November 6, 2008, WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation presented “From a Good Life to a Good Death” – the hospice idea and what it means in Cook County. The WTIP news department assembled a knowledgeable panel to help listeners better understand end-of-life issues and the alternatives available locally.
Dr. Sandy Stover is a leader in the local hospice movement. She was joined by Pastor Dale McIntire of Cornerstone Community Church, as well as local businessperson and hospice volunteer Sue Hakes. Roxy Sherer from the Grand Portage Reservation and local attorney Leigh Mathison rounded out the panel.