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Community Conversations

  • 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


What's On:

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.




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



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.