Luke X. Martin | KCUR

Luke X. Martin

Associate Producer, Up To Date

Luke X. Martin is an associate producer for KCUR's Up To Date.

Born in Manhattan, Kansas, and raised in Wichita, Luke fell in love with public radio listening to KMUW. He got his start pulling early morning DJ shifts at KJHK in Lawrence while he was a student at KU.

Luke was previously an intern for Up To Date, and joined the team as a producer in 2016. His work has appeared online for UPI.com, The Daily Caller, Politics Daily and The Pitch.

He has a Master of Science degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. If you see him limping along a running trail in Kansas City or the suburbs, please offer him a drink of water or a high-five.

Ways to Connect

Segment 1: 2019 highlights from the religion beat

From Paris and Christchurch to St. Louis, Missouri, storylines on religion and faith took us around the world over the last year. We reviewed those with the most impact, including the evangelical embrace of President Donald Trump's policies.

Segment 1: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas reviews the year that was, and discusses his 2020 to-do list.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has only been in office for five months, and has been busy for the duration. He defended his record on curbing tax incentives, standing up for tenant's rights, and pushing to make bus service free in Kansas City. Lucas also answered questions on the city's soaring crime rate.

Segment 1: A new KC Pet Project facility is set to open next month in Swope Park.

Kansas City's current animal control shelter was never intended to house and care for animals — and it shows. But a new building specifically designed for the purpose will open its doors to humans and animals starting Jan. 1. Learn what the new digs will enable the KC Pet Project to do, that they weren't able to do before.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Holiday traditions sometimes start in unlikely ways.

Case in point: Gerald Dunn and Kansas City's Musicians Appreciation Day, which these days offers live music for the public and free health screenings and fresh produce for musicians of all genres.

It started years ago as a chance encounter between Dunn, director of entertainment at the American Jazz Museum and Blue Room general manager, and tenor saxophonist Eddie Saunders, who died in 2012.

On this very special edition of KCUR's Up To Date, one of Kansas City's most renowned chocolatiers discussed responsible sourcing of cacao beans, his approach to the combining of other flavors with his favorite ingredient, and how non-experts can stear clear of junk when shopping for something to satisfy a chocolate craving.

Segment 1: Environmentalism and the outdoors have long been seen as safe spaces for white people.

The concerns of climate change action organizations are wide-ranging and well-founded, but membership is largely white and adult. Learn the benefits and challenges of adding young people of color to these groups, apart from just making them more reflective of the communities they serve. The founder of an Atlanta group and the head of a Kansas City organization explained how they are bringing diversity and youth to the environmental ranks.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's Municipal Court has a perception problem. Courts are not generally a place where good things happen to people, and few would go by choice. 

"Municipal court is where most people are going to encounter the judicial system," said court spokesperson Benita Jones. "Almost everyone will get a traffic ticket and some people have other minor brushes with the law."

Segment 1: Two area schools discuss their approach to preventing on-campus shootings, and protecting students

Students across the country live in fear that the next mass shooting might happen on their campus. Today, we hear how two school jurisdictions think about the safety and security of their students, and what steps they can and can't take to keep the next tragedy from happening on their watch.

Segment 1: The Unified Government's chief executive discusses violent crime, economic development and local elections.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's most prominent renters rights group was set to gather Wednesday on the south steps of City Hall to rally support for a newly drafted tenant bill of rights package.

The measure would reinforce and expand protections for low-income renters in Kansas City, Missouri, and would create a tenant advocate's office with authority to investigate suspect property owners and revoke landlord permits.

Segment 1: KC Tenants will introduce a set of guidelines and protections for tenant-landlord disputes.

Since February, a Kansas City tenants group has been pushing for safe, fair, affordable housing for all. Their latest efforts have been drafting and garnering support for a tenant bill of rights, which they will present to City Council on Thursday.

Segment 1: Why and when high school athletes should be getting physicals

Instead of every year, high school athletes in Missouri are now required to get physical exams every other. It's a rule change that has some pediatricians worried, but may come as a relief for parents and student-athletes who are ultimately on the hook for paying for the exam.

Segment 1: Heavy caseloads and long hours are taking a toll on Missouri's public defenders.

Officials say public defenders in Kansas City, Missouri, are sometimes handling more than 100 cases at a time, and staffing and workload situations have been dire for years. We speak with leaders of the public defender's office to find out how those pressures are affecting attorneys' mental health and the ability of clients to get a fair trial.

Can you land an airplane on the deck of a submarine? Can you build a swimming pool out of cheese? Can you lift a house with two helicopters glued together? These are the strange and hypothetical questions that inspire Randall Munroe, whose internet-famous comic series xkcd is known for its stick figure cast and impractical wit. Dig deep enough for answers, and you may just learn a lesson in science.

Segment 1: Young adults are making life decisions with their carbon footprints top of mind.

From your morning ablutions to your night on the town, every action you take these days impacts the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Young people are acutely aware of this, and it's changing the day-to-day and long-term decisions they make in life.

Segment 1: School across Kansas and Missouri struggle each year to fill teaching positions.

Having enough teachers to fill classrooms is a perennial problem for schools in all parts of the Kansas City metro. Raytown Schools has created a novel way to address the shortage in their district, but several factors, including pay, are working against Missouri and Kansas districts' efforts to attract and retain qualified talent.

Segment 1: Port KC wields power beyond the banks of the Missouri River.

The goal of Port KC, is to drive economic development in Kansas City, Missouri, but many are questioning the agency's ability to act without answering to municipal voters or elected officials. Today, the organization's chief lends his perspective to the conversation, and defends their conduct when it comes to awarding tax incentives and taking on projects that are miles from the Port of Kansas City.

Segment 1: Nursing homes in Kansas can be a "black hole" for people with mental illness 

Red flags are being raised about a lack of mental health resources in Kansas, and the affect it's having on people's ability to move into independent living situations. In that state, patients who don't need to be institutionalized but aren't quite ready for independence sometimes end up in nursing homes. The problem is keeping that stop-gap measure from becoming permanent.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the homicide count in Kansas City continues to creep up and mass shootings happen regularly across the country, religious leaders from the suburbs to the city are finding it increasingly necessary to address the violence.

"We see a lot of memes, Facebook, and social media about 'thoughts and prayers are not going to take us much further' but, indeed, prayer is the foundation of the church," says the Rev. Laurie Anderson, minister of church life at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park.

Segment 1: Addressing gun violence from the pulpit

Local leaders looking for a fix to the gun violence problem in Kansas City have tried policy solutions of their own, and have begged for legislative action from the General Assembly in Jefferson City. Progress, though, has been limited. Will turning to a higher power help? We ask local faith leaders what role their churches have in curbing gun violence.

Segment 1: Davids discusses gun violence, antisemetism and hate, and "Sharice's Shifts"

The August break that federal legislators get is often called a recess, but Rep. Sharice Davids' schedule suggests it's anything but. While back in her home district, Davids shares the concerns she's been hearing from her constituents, and the issues she's focused on for the next session.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It's not often that a candidate quitting a local mayor's race would get national media attention, but that's exactly what happened last October when Jason Kander announced he was dropping his bid to be Kansas City's chief executive.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Some of the country's best gymnasts, along with their coaches, families and fans, have been in Kansas City this weekend for the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. USA Gymnastics estimates the event will have a $5.6 million economic impact on the region, not including what visitors spend eating out or shopping for gifts to take home.

The competition is just one high-profile athletic event that Kansas City has recently snagged. The city will also host the 2023 NFL Draft, and is among the 17 United States finalists to host World Cup soccer games in 2026.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the deadline for Jackson County residents to file property tax appeals with the Board of Equalization approaches, neighborhood leaders worry the damage caused by such a contentious and confusing process will have lasting consequences for people in their communities.

Alan Young, who cofounded the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council with his wife, says folks in his part of town are going through a flood of emotions right now, primarily fear.

Segment 1: A NASA Hall-of-Famer discusses the Apollo 11 mission.

Five decades after witnessing the first man step on the moon, Lynn Bondurant shared his deep knowledge of the monumental mission to explain what it took to fly three men the 238,900 miles to Earth's most notable satellite — and back!

Segment 1: Finding affordable housing in the suburbs can be a challenge.

Gladstone, Missouri, plays host this weekend to a summit aimed at exchanging ideas and solutions to affordable housing problems in first-ring suburbs. Cities around the country are attacking the issue proactively, and some of what they've learned could help ease things in the Kansas City region. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

During a week when President Donald Trump continued attacks on four members of Congress after tweeting that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," people of color in Kansas City are reacting with anger, frustration and sadness.

One emotion that's less common is surprise.

Segment 1: A "dark store theory" update

The Kansas Board of Tax Appeals handed Johnson County a defeat last month when they ruled the county has overcharged some Walmart stores millions of dollars in property taxes. The decision is based on something called the "dark store theory," and it could put homeowners on the hook for making up the county's lost revenue.

Segment 1: Educators see more vaping in schools, and researchers are beginning to understand how e-cigarettes affect lungs

Segment 1: Where a new mother lives often affects her ability to find treatment

Postpartum depression affects women of all demographics, but those in rural areas are particularly unable to take advantage of certain treatment options. Kansas City medical professionals reviewed some of the resources available in the region and discussed the challenges of connecting those to the mothers who most need them.

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