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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:

WTIP hosts program on proposed county levy

On December 1st the Commissioner’s Room in the Cook County Courthouse exploded with angry taxpayers attending the Truth in Taxation public meeting. Emotions ran high and at times it may have been difficult to sort out the truth of some of the information and opinions expressed.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen when we assemble a panel to walk you through your 2017 proposed property tax information. We’ll discuss the county budget, the levy increase and how the assessment process works.

Our panel includes Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, Assessor Todd Smith and County Administrator Jeff Cadwell.

We can’t change your tax statement or soften the blow, but we can help you better understand what it means. Third Thursday Community Conversation -- “Taxes: Where did those numbers come from?” Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




A special report on opioids on Reservations

Prior to the live Third Thursday broadcast WTIP aired a special report from AMPERS' Minnesota Native News: “Opioids in Minnesota Native Communities.”

The heroin and opioids being used today are often laced with synthetics -- in some cases hundreds of times stronger than morphine.  And the users often live in urban neighborhoods, suburban developments and even  on Minnesota's Reservations.




Substance abuse is WTIP’s Thursday topic for September

Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel “Valley of the Dolls” was about substance abuse. Today in 2016 the substances we abuse are frighteningly more powerful and the consequences deeply disturbing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and that at least half of those overdose deaths involve prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for a special Third Thursday Community Conversation, when we take a deeper look at the personal, family and community consequences caused by increasing drug additions.

In the studio will be Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic doctors Michael Sampson and Kurt Farchmin and Cook County Social Services Supervisor, Grace Bushard.

“Tango, Speed and Horse – the new “Valley of the Dolls” is this month’s Third Thursday Community Conversation, only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.



Community Conversation features Dave and Amy Freeman's Year in the Wilderness

On September 23, 2015, Dave and Amy Freeman embarked on a year-long adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Their hope is to protect the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge, and to teach people about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  They expect to travel more than 3,000 miles by canoe and dog team, and explore more than 500 lakes and streams throughout the year.

This month's Community Conversation features highlights from Dave and Amy's Year in the Wilderness, with hosts Joe Friedrichs and Jay Andersen.

(Photo courtesy of Dave and Amy Freeman's Facebook page)



Lake Superior pollution is WTIP conversation topic

Everyone knows water runs downhill.

Around here we assume that what’s on the land eventually runs into Lake Superior – agricultural and residential pesticides, phosphorus from various sources, silt and more. But these are contaminants we can see. What is not available to the naked eye is just as important to the health of the big lake – perhaps even more.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for a special Thursday Conversation called “Critical Chemistry: The invisible invasion of Lake Superior.”

Studio guests are Grand Portage biologist Dr. Seth Moore, botanist and author Chel Anderson, and MPCA water analysis and watershed specialist Mark Ferrey.

 “Critical Chemistry: The invisible invasion of Lake Superior.” Thursday Community Conversation, only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




“Wildlife in your Viewfinder” is June First Thursday

How do they get those great photographs of birds and animals? How come my shots never turn out like that?

If you’ve ever asked yourself those questions, join WTIP’s Jay Andersen. For the June edition of First Thursday Community Conversation. Four noted wildlife photographers share their professional tips and some of their memorable experiences photographing wildlife.

Paul Sundberg, Dave Brislance, Tom Spence and Travis Novitsky share their knowledge and experiences with you. “Wildlife in your Viewfinder,” is the subject of First Thursday Community Conversation. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.

Check out images at these sites:




Community Conversations: The Pie Place Cafe and Cookbook

Carl Solander talks to Jeremy and Plaumy Chase, owners of the Pie Place Cafe, as well as Kathy Rice, author of the Pie Place Cookbook.



Coordinating economic development is WTIP First Thursday topic

Recent surveys show most Cook County residents are in favor of economic development, as long as it keeps the local flavor and doesn't do damage to the character of the place. Obviously these criteria mean different things to different people.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for First Thursday Community Conversation. We’ll bring together in the studio representatives from the city, county, Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority to exchange perspectives on growing our community while retaining our character.

What is sustainable economic development? What does it mean to the county board and its agencies? What does it mean to the City of Grand Marais. Are they even talking to one another?

“First Thursday Community Conversation – sustainable economic development.” Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.




The budget crunch at ISD166 is April’s Third Thursday Conversation

Cook County Schools, ISD166 is considering a second attempt for an operating levy referendum scheduled for Election Day, November 8th. If they do, the District will need to win voter approval or be forced to cut as much as $500,000 from the school’s budget.

The cost of educating students continues to increase regardless of whether or not the enrollment numbers go up, down or stay even. A combination of factors leaves the District in the position of having to make budget reductions for the coming school year that will likely be felt for years to come.




Septic System Compliance is First Thursday Topic for April

The Cook County shoreland septic compliance program was suspended due to a backlog of cases and adjustments of the compliance standards. The county has been working through existing cases and will review the process once a compliance program begins again.
What’s new and what’s the same with the shoreland septic compliance program?

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for First Thursday Community Conversation when we talk about all the implications and obligations with Tim Nelson, Cook County Planning and Zoning Officer, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, County Administrator Jeff Cadwell and Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken.

“Septic System Compliance – what’s new and what’s the same?” First Thursday Community Conversation, only on WTIP North Shore Community radio.