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: Previewing the next session of the Missouri General Assembly

Today's guests run down some of the issues that lawmakers could tackle during this upcoming legislative session. They also explored how this year's presidential election might influence how this myraid of issues plays out.

Segment 1: Media bias and covering assassination in Iraq

Our Media Critics discussed early coverage of a top Iranian commander's assasination, and how continuing coverage could influence public opinion. The critics also discussed how both journalists and news consumers can manage their own personal biases.

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: Missouri does not enforce a 2008 federal law on mental health parity.

When President George W. Bush signed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act in 2008, it established that health insurers must cover mental health the same as other medical conditions. Missouri remains one of only two states to not enforce that law with a state statute.

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.

Segment 1: Royals' new owner knows "Kansas City fans are incredibly engaged."

Kansas City businessman John Sherman is in his third week as owner of  the Kansas City Royals. He's been working on getting to know the staff and to "get a little flavor for the culture." Sherman spoke about what the revenue from a new TV contract will mean for the team and when it comes to construction of a stadium downtown said, "there's a lot of things to think about, relative to whether or not we can make that happen." 

Segment 1: Some institutions of higher education use tracking software to assess prospective applicants.

Segment 1: Annual Kansas City event encourages musicians to eat better and focus on their health.

Segment 1: Reporters unravel the dysfunction that plagues government in one Missouri county.

Clay County, Missouri, residents want answers as to how their commissioners are making decisions. The county is currently embroiled in legal wrangling with the state auditor and the county sheriff, and citizens are complaining their voices are not being heard. Journalists covering the situation say they've "never seen a series of actions quite like this."

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.

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