Steve Kraske | KCUR

Steve Kraske

Host of Up to Date

Steve got a call out of the blue one day from then-news director Frank Morris who asked if I would be interested in hosting a show. I said no...didn't think I had the time...then thought it over and changed my mind. So glad I did. Our focus of late has been on race and the plight of the poor in Kansas City with shows on health disparities, housing, the sky-high maternal death rate in Missouri, how technology undermines the poor and how immigrants are faring in our community -- all topics of critical importance. Steve loves two things that, chances are, you don't: jazz and the Andy Griffith Show. Now there's a combination for you...

Ways to Connect

Segment 1: Decades after desegregation, there remain students in the Kansas City area who are still not receiving a quality education. 

Education professor John Rury detailed the inequalities as they exist in urban and suburban school districts. As the Kansas City area expanded in the 1950s, wealth moved to the suburbs. The levels of poverty in many urban, black neighborhoods have remained in the 30-40 percentile. "This brings a whole host of issues that makes it very difficult for schools to function," Rury said. 

Segment 1: Why Iowa holds the first caucuses in the country, and what their results mean for each political party.

Advertising guidelines and an agriculture convention landed Iowa in the No. 1 spot in the country's presidential primary process. One political science professor said, for Republicans the caucuses show who will not be president, and, since 2000, the Democrat who won Iowa has gone on to be the presidential nominee.

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: Richard Nixon's impeachment parallels that of President Donald Trump.

President Richard Nixon's impeachment trials were about more than just the Watergate scandal. Biographer John Farrell said Nixon's use of presidential power to advance his personal political ambition mirrors that of the current Oval Office occupant, who is currently being investigated by the U.S. House of Representaives.

A Wine-Tasting Lunch With Doug Frost

Dec 3, 2019

Kansas City-based wine expert attributes his expansive knowledge to his "drinking and reading" habits.

Seated in Room 39, Master sommelier Doug Frost guided a group of KCUR supporters through a tasting of six distinctive wines. A number of his selections underwent unique growth, harvesting or barrelling processes like the sauvignon blanc from Napa Valley which was harvested at night. Chef Ted Habiger also offered insight into how he selects wines for his restaurant's dishes.

Segment 1: Mike Pompeo looks more likely to enter the race for Kansas' U.S. Senate seat.

When it comes to the race for president, The Call's Eric Wesson expects another four years of Trump. However, Mike Mahoney of KMBC sees U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar as the sleeper Democratic candidate while Caroline Sweeney is looking at Andrew Yang to gain ground. They also analyzed the U.S. Senate race in Kansas, the early days of Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and former city manager Troy Schulte's shift to Jackson County government. 

Simon and Schuster

How did Harry Houdini make an elephant disappear?

It happened in 1918 in New York. One night, the great magician showed the audience a huge cabinet. After feeding Jennie the elephant some sugar, she was led inside. Curtains were closed around the cabinet. And when they reopened, Jennie was gone.

Segment 1: Teachers highlight current events and human impact to help students learn about climate change.

Teachers are seeing less resistance to teaching climate change in Missouri schools. The state has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, and one Raytown High School teacher said, "I've also changed my approach some, in the sense that I really don't indulge argument on the topic at this point."

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.

Segment 1: Heartland Center for Behavioral Change was not equipped to accept the full array of inmates brought in by the Kansas City Police Department.

Accepting prisoners from the Kansas City Municipal Court system was initially seen as a chance for the nonprofit organization to link inmates with resources that could help them reintegrate into the community. In retrospect, Heartland Center's CEO said serving as a temporary jail "is outside of our scope" of ability.

Segment 1: Former U.S. ambassador thinks "the diplomatic corps is having a very good moment."

Allan Katz was appointed as the ambassador to Portugal and held the post from 2010 to 2013.  When it comes to events surrounding Ukraine Katz said, "I think the biggest problem here was is that these were acts that were contrary to the policy of the United States government." The president's conduct toward Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Katz feels, has made the foreign service less attractive to potential diplomats. 

Segment 1: 2019 report shows black Kansas Citians are still separate and unequal.

By comparing things like poverty and homeownership rates by race, a report from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City found black people are only 73% as equal as whites in Kansas City. The report is released every few years, and is used to educate community members and elected oficials about progress in economics, education and social justice. 

Segment 1: Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Court is working to improve the judicial experience.

Kansas City's Municipal Court is participating in a pilot project to improve trust between courts and the communities they serve. Through dialogue sessions, it hopes to tackle problems like its high failure-to-appear rate. Because citizens often face confusion and intimidation within the judicial system, personnel "want to demystify the courts," Benita Jones, the court's public information officer  said. 

Segment 1: Chief Smith speaks to 'disheartening' amount of violent crime in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas

Nov 11, 2019

With more than 100 days in office, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas reviews his progress and future challenges.

Policing gets a lot of attention, but Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says addressing violent crime requires a holistic approach. To help find solutions and opportunities for the region's youths, Lucas says he's working closely with many local school districts. On the subject of tax incentives for property developers, the mayor who campaigned on reducing them says he's not "torpedoing every project," but they can't all be on the backs of taxpayers.

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: Congressman for Missouri's 5th district shares his stance on the current  impeachment inquiry.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver said constituents in Missouri's 5th District have mixed feelings on impeaching the president. Cleaver has been cautious in his calls for impeachment, but is now certain a crime was committed. Learn why he said, "It's not so much a political crime as it is a civil crime." 

Segment 1: The former U.S. Senator from Missouri says, "traditional qualifications for president are on life support."

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

Segment 1: The new structures and businesses making news in Downtown Kansas City.

Some of the more noteworthy announcements in recent downtown development projects include the United States Department of Agriculture relocation and Waddell & Reed's move from Overland Park. We learn about these and other projects, and discuss the use of property tax abatements to attract new growth.

Segment 1: One professor's move from New York City to rural North Carolina taught him lessons in bridging America's partisan divide.

Segment 1: Missouri's new schools performance report is confusing parents and administrators alike.

Two years of identical tests should have provided educators an apples-to-apples comparison, but Missouri's new scoring system is more of an "apples to rainbows" look at progress. The state's move away from easy-to-read percentile scoring was intended to provide more in-depth information, but the result has been hard-to-interpret colorful graphs. Education reporter Elle Moxley translated this latest format and what it means for Kansas City area schools.

Segment 1: The annual influenza vaccination is still considered the best way to protect against the virus and its complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend that everyone six months and older get a yearly flu shot, yet the CDC estimates only about 45% of American adults got it during the prior flu season. Two public health professionals address the misconceptions and myths that keep people from getting vaccinated.

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: One oncologist says cancer research is not progressing, and she offers new ideas.

Dr. Azra Raza says the public believes cancer research and treatments are advancing, but that's not the case. The death rate from the most common cancers is no lower now than it was 5o years ago. She suggests an alternative to radition and chemotherapy and says more interdisciplinary collaboration could advance the cause.

Segment 1: Republicans in Missouri say gun control is not the answer to gun violence.

Segment 1: Voters will next month determine the fate of the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard name.

Residents displeased with the process of renaming The Paseo petitioned to restore its original name, leaving a heated debate to be settled by voters on November 5. The Rev. Vernon Howard Jr., an advocate for renaming the boulevard after the civil rights leader, says "this issue is also about race," but the group that collected more than 2,000 signatures says they reflect people of all backgrounds who want their voices heard.

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: Gender-nonconforming people share their experience living as nonbinary.

The pronouns "they" and "them" have been added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to describe nonbinary individuals, but the transition to gender-neutral terms can be difficult for some to figure out. "It is hard," admits Shallyn Ward, who is nonbinary, "but it's not impossible." Today, a conversation about understanding the changing language etiquette, and what it's like living as nonbinary.

Seg. 1: Medical Debt Collection | Seg. 2: Health Insurance Finance

Oct 21, 2019

Segment 1: Even though debtors prisons were outlawed in 1983, the threat of jail is being used to pursue unpaid medical bills.

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