Steve Kraske | KCUR

Steve Kraske

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.

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

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.

Segment 1: UM System President Mun Choi speaks to the impact of enrollment, funding and a new health initiative across campuses.

The University of Missouri System recently launched a new health initiative, which President Choi says is "the most important and the largest project in the history of the UM System." President Choi says university enrollment is steady right now, and that the Columbia campus has recovered from the tumult of 2015. He does note, however, that state funding this year is the same as it was 1998, even though there are 40% more students. 

Segment 1: Ned Yost's retirement announcement prompts discussion on the future of the Kansas City Royals.

Ned Yost is the winningest manager in Kansas City Royals history, and he led the team to its second-ever World Series win. But he also endured some tough losing periods. To some, his announcement comes as no surprise but many fans are now wondering: Who will be his replacement?

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.

Segment 1: Gun policy specialist says the gun control debate needs to shift.

In his book "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America," constitutional law specialist Adam Winkler examines how Americans approach the gun control debate. He explained the need to concentrate on ending everyday gun violence rather than mass shootings, and says gun rights and gun control are not mutually exclusive.

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: Missouri's junior senator is 'playing for that long future.'

New high-rises are going up downtown, the streetcar is helping revitalize parts of Midtown, and a new airport terminal will eventually welcome visitors. All good news, yet violent crime remains a concern, Kansas City’s building boom stops at Prospect Avenue, and gentrification threatens to displace residents elsewhere. Addressing those concerns and others will be the next mayor's job.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A little more than a week after 10 longtime journalists took their leave from the Kansas City Star in what was seen by some people as a blow to local journalism, former police and courts reporter Tony Rizzo was enjoying his new-found free time.

A photo of a man from the shoulders up.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: CBS News veteran on Trump's impact: "Washington is still, on a day-to-day basis, knocked off balance."

Few journalists have the depth of experience in covering presidents and presidential campaigns as Major Garrett, but even he admits covering President Donald J. Trump is a whole new playing field. Today, Garrett recalled some of the confrontations he's had with the chief executive who "just loves to be the one who is churning the waters."

A smiling person with shoulder-length red hair. Wearing a white shirt and positioned in front of a light neutral background.
Andrew Eccles

She's well known for her stints as assistant Erin on the television show "The Office," the naive friend in the movie "Bridesmaids" and the lead role on Netflix comedy "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Now Missouri-native Ellie Kemper is branching out from the screen to the page with a newly-released collection of personal essays. We talked about why her the book devotes a chapter to squirrels and what it was like to make the jump from from the Midwest to Hollywood.

Missouri state Rep. Brandon Ellington, wearing a black hoodie and glasses, sits behind a microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A Kansas City state representative spotlights poor conditions at a Northwest Missouri correctional facility.

Crossroads Correctional facility in Cameron, Missouri, is still recovering from a violent riot on May 12. In the wake of that uprising, which involved more than 200 inmates, the facility was placed on lockdown. The inmates were denied hot meals and family visits for 4 months. Today, we discussed the conditions inmates are still dealing with. 

Keith O'Brien, white male in shirt and tie wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Second accusation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee increases some people's doubts about confirmation.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

In the new young adult novel “A Blade So Black,” the main character, Alice, doesn't have long blonde hair, and the other side of the looking glass isn't a place full of innocently quirky tea parties.

Latrice "Elle" McKinney, a Kansas resident who writes under the name L. L. McKinney, has created a  fantasy world full of adventure and imagination but infused with real-world issues and black girl magic.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

"A Blade So Black," a new young adult novel, is a modern twist on the children's classic, "Alice in Wonderland." This Alice faces the challenges of growing up a black teen in urban Atlanta while also fighting the nightmares in Wonderland. Author L. L. McKinney spoke with us about the novel and how she wrote the female protagonist so her niece could read books with characters that look like her. 

www.elchatarrero.com

Segment 1: Proposed ordinance looks to reduce theft associated with scrap metal recycling.

A computer illustration with a green and blue background and black and grey markers.
Crysta Henthorne / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Is a demanding, wide-ranging criminal registry system making the state of Kansas any safer?

A Kansas News Service investigation has found that no other state has a public offender registry as expansive as the one in Kansas. Today, we talked with the Kansas News Service journalist and a law professor about the report's findings and its legal implications. 

The Mission Continues

Segment 1: After a year of controversy, how is the former governor's nonprofit bouncing back?

Before he was Missouri's governor, Eric Greitens founded The Mission Continues to help veterans reintegrate in and improve the communities where they lived. After he became governor and was accused of using the nonprofit's donor list to raise campaign funds, the charity came under intense scrutiny. Now that the dust is starting to settle, we spoke with the organization's leader and a volunteer to see how the group is moving beyond the scandal.

Two people standing in front of Broadway theater posters.
Theater League

Nearly 40 years ago, he abandoned a career in law for one in show business. And it worked out.

Mark Edelman is the long-time force behind the Theater League, an organization that brings in national tours of Broadway productions. Now, he's retiring.

He said the low cost of living and the local community helped him take the leap into the world of musical theater and, ultimately, have a successful life while working in a field that offers no guarantees.

"You can get it done in Kansas City," he told Steve Kraske during a conversation on KCUR's Up To Date.

Image of a Kay Barnes, a woman with white hair, against a dark background.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's first female mayor might only vaguely remember her first day on the job, but she does remember knowing people had some doubts about her because she was a woman.

“I knew that there were comments behind my back about, 'Well, she might be OK as mayor in some ways, but she's not going to be able to do much with economic development,'” former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes told Steve Kraske, host of KCUR's Up To Date.

Sharon Liese seated in front of a radio microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A last look at candidates and issues before Tuesday's elections.

Kansas and Missouri primaries are just days away and the political climate on both sides of the state line is heating up. Our political pundits gave a rundown of the major races and issues going into the primaries, including controversial ballot measure Proposition A, and contests affecting Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

At first glance, the premise behind "Pink Collar Crimes" seems a little less heartwarming than the stories its co-creator, Overland Park-based filmmaker Sharon Liese, is known for.

A man wearing headphones sits behind a studio microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Witness says suspect killed in Kansas City Police Department shooting "was a very troubled individual."

In a re-broadcast of a segment that aired June 19, 2018, we discussed the Kansas City, Missouri, police shooting death of a sword-wielding woman and the role mental illness may have played in the encounter. We examined when deadly force by law enforcement is warranted. 

Judge Garry Helm seated before a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Missouri's 2015 reform bill means fewer defendants bother to appear in court for traffic violations.

In the wake of Ferguson, then-Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed a sweeping court reform bill to cut down on percieved predatory traffic stops that burdened the poor unduly. Today a judge and a criminal defense attorney questioned the bill's efficacy that has fewer Missourians showing up for their court dates and has created greater workloads for court clerks and support staff.

Jessica Smith seated in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How local activists are reducing student homelessness on the Kansas side of the metro.

Over the last several years a coalition of social services groups in Kansas City, Kansas, operating under the banner Impact Wednesday, have been working to cut in half the number of homeless students in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Today, we heard how the district is collaborating with Impact Wednesday and volunteer teachers to reach zero homelessness among students by 2020. 

Portraits of George and Martha Washington as they appeared on a early 20th century postcard.
Boston Public Library

Segment 1: Kansas Supreme Court rules new school funding plan lacks sufficient money but gives legislature another year to eliminate shortfall.

In order to avoid school shutdowns, the Kansas Legislature recently added $522 million to the education budget over the next five years. Still, critics argue this will not be enough and more needs to be added for inflation. Today, we looked at this latest development in the longstanding Gannon case and its implications for the future of public education in the state.

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