Alyson Raletz

Social Media Producer

Ways To Connect

A. Strakey / Flickr--CC

In the days leading up to the 13-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Thursday, Kansas Citians took to Twitter, speculating about whether the day would bring more violence, given recent anti-American killings in the Middle East.

We decided to ask our listeners, “How safe do you feel in Kansas City, 13 years after 9/11?”  

File photo / KCUR

As we approach the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, terrorism aimed at Americans is still at the forefront of international news.

In recent months, the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, referred to as ISIL or ISIS, has released videos showing the beheadings of American journalists. The incidents follow threats of violence from ISIS if the United States didn’t cease air strikes and other military intervention in Iraq.

Dumb Ways to Die / Flickr--CC

Warning: Read this report at your own risk — especially if you are prone to getting songs stuck in your head.

As our Central Standard prepared for a talk show on music and memory this week, that got us thinking about ear worms.

We took to social media and the airwaves and asked: What songs get stuck in your head?

The biggest recurring hits stemmed from theme music for TV shows and movies, according to feedback from Kansas Citians:

Star Wars

File photo / KCUR

Maybe it’s a song about John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or who let the dogs out.

Or perhaps it’s a tune about how we live in such a small, small world.

Whatever the melody, we want to know what earworms you grapple with.

Tell KCUR: What songs get stuck in your head?

Frank Morris / KCUR

The shooting of an unarmed man near St. Louis — and the aftermath that has ensued — offers Kansas City broader lessons tied to law enforcement and media coverage.

That’s according to people who responded to our question of the week on the air and via social media: What can Kansas City learn from events in Ferguson?  

“Our police force doesn’t need to arm itself like this is Iraq,” Kansas Citian @OfficialMKoussa answers on Twitter.

File photo / KCUR

The aftermath of a police killing of an unarmed 18-year-old black man near St. Louis earlier this month continues to unfold.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

 No matter how you say tomato, we wanted to know how much yours cost.

After our roughly two-week online poll, Kansas Citians have revealed some of the cheapest and most expensive red spheres in the metropolitan area.  

(See an interactive map below with all the juicy details.)

Results came in from across the metro. Among the cheapest tomatoes were heirlooms in Missouri at an Independence farmer’s market, at 73 cents apiece.

Cara McClain / KCUR

Having to file taxes in two states is the biggest drawback to the state line.

At least according to one Kansas Citian, Marge Gasnick (@gasnickmarge), who responded to our question of the week on Twitter: How does the state line affect your life?

As KCUR reporters begin to examine the state line for the next few months, part of our Beyond Our Borders project,  we wanted to hit up our audience for story ideas.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Summer: it's hot, it's time for a vacation and it's delicious, juicy tomato season.

But not all tomatoes are created equal. And they're not all the same price, either. 

Tell KCUR: How much did your tomato cost?

On an upcoming segment of our daily talk show, Central Standard, we’re investigating the variation in price and quality of tomatoes you can buy in grocery stores and farmer’s markets.  


As KCUR prepares to spend a months-long examination on issues tied to the state line in the Kansas City metropolitan area, we’re curious about the significance of this north-south border in your world.

Maybe you lost or gained a job when a company headquarters moved across the metro to another state.

Perhaps the state line makes filing taxes more difficult or easier for you. Or crossing the Kansas-Missouri border gets you cheaper gas or sales taxes.

Tell KCUR: How does the state line affect your life?

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Voter turnout is usually low in primary elections, but an informal survey of our audience revealed three common reasons that Kansas Citians plan on casting their ballots on Aug. 5 in Missouri and Kansas.

When we took to social media and asked, “Do you plan to vote in the Aug. 5 primary? Why or why not?” most of you shot back answers in the affirmative, citing these reasons:

• Voting is an important right and privilege

• To chime in on specific candidates or measures

File photo / KCUR

Primary elections typically struggle to draw crowds at the polls.

For instance, 23 percent of voters cast ballots in Kansas’ 2012 primary election, compared with 67 percent voter turnout for that year’s general election, according to the Kansas secretary of state office

With primary elections coming up in both Missouri and Kansas next month, there are hotly contested races and key issues to be decided. We want to know more about your upcoming voting intentions.

Pam Morris / Flickr--CC

Midwesterners are hard-working, friendly and polite.

Those were the recurring adjectives that came up when we asked Kansas Citians for their take on the heartland.

When we took to social media and asked, “What does it mean to be a Midwesterner in five words or less?”  you also shot back these common themes:

• Underappreciated

• Family-oriented and pragmatic

• We feel we know what’s really important (priorities)

• Compassionate

• Considerate

Lori Murdock

A drive through the Midwest countryside wouldn't be complete without a dozen or so barn sightings. 

As our daily talk show, Central Standard, prepares for its examination of challenges that go into barn restoration, we rounded up a collection of regional barn photos — thanks to you.

We asked our listeners for their best pics of regional barns and they were happy to oblige. Flip through the above slideshow for a sampling of what you sent in. 


As our daily talk show Central Standard prepares for its on-air discussion of Midwestern values later this week, we want to know more about your take on the country’s heartland.

Does your mind veer immediately to the region’s work ethic or do you think more about Midwest cuisine or weather?

Tell KCUR: What does it mean to be a Midwesterner in five words or less?

Matt Hintsa / Flickr--CC

More bus routes. More bike lanes. More sidewalks and more direct flights out of Kansas City International Airport.

Those were some of the recurring requests we received from Kansas Citians this week, in addition to a widespread call for commuter rail in the metropolitan area.

When we took to social media and asked, “What’s something that Kansas City needs?” transportation dominated the feedback that came in, followed closely by desired improvements to public schools in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City’s ex-suitor, the Republican National Convention, has selected Cleveland to host the 2016 conference.

Kansas City had been in the running for the GOP event through late June, when the convention dubbed Cleveland and Dallas as finalists, knocking Kansas City out of consideration.  


Whether or not you call Kansas City home or are just passing through, chances are you have some advice for the city.

Well, at least these redditors do. Last month, this Reddit thread, asking, “What’s something that Kansas City needs?” generated nearly 300 comments.

Answers ranged from “a decent bowling alley” to “quality schools” to “curbside glass recycling.”

We want to know how our audience would like to improve the metro area, as well.

Wikimedia -- CC

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As a country, we’ve since made progress on equal protections laws — not as much as some would’ve hoped — and new issues have emerged.

This week, we took to the airwaves and social media and asked: What are today’s biggest challenges for civil rights?

Discrimination based on race remains a hot-button issue, according to your answers.

File photo / KCUR

As Kansas Citians gear up for a holiday weekend celebrating the United States’ Independence Day, civil rights advocates also are commemorating another event in our country’s history.

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, ending, among other things, the existence of “whites only” bathrooms and drinking fountains.

A lot has changed since 1964.

We want to know what civil rights issues the United States and Kansas City still face today.

Jeremy Brooks / Flickr--CC

 As controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ name shines a light on Kansas City’s professional football team, many Kansas Citians are sticking by the Chiefs.

The Tomahawk Chop, a popular fan ritual at games, is another matter, however.

When the Redskins lost their trademark because of American Indian claims that the name disparages them, the debate tied to the appropriateness of the Chiefs came back to life.  

Courtesy photo /

When our contributor, Esther Honig, asked graphic artists at 25 countries to “make me beautiful,” she didn’t expect her cross-cultural examination of beauty to go viral.

Using Photoshop, the artists all manipulated Honig’s raw image to their country’s ideal. (See a slideshow.)  

File photo

KCUR plans to ramp up its coverage of education and entrepreneurship after a financial boost from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced Friday.

The $100,000 grant from the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation will help KCUR increase the number of in-depth stories it produces “on two important topics, which touch the majority of Kansas City-area residents,” KCUR General Manager Nico Leone said in a written statement.

Leone said KCUR plans to hire at least one additional reporter as a result of the grant.


Recent controversy tied to the Washington Redskins’ name is revitalizing a longtime debate about the name of Kansas City’s professional football team, too.

Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoked the trademark of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.  This came after five Native Americans claimed the name disparages them.

Andy Oakley / Flickr--CC

As the hunt for summer jobs heats up, we asked Kansas Citians to walk down memory lane this week.

We asked: What was your best or worst summer job? What did you learn from it? 

Kansas Citians shot back a plethora of of cool summer assignments, from brewery tour guide to acid rain researcher.

They fondly remember more typical posts, too, like lifeguard and ice cream scooper, according to feedback we received in our “Tell KCUR” question of the week.


Thinking of old summer jobs can evoke warm memories of good friends, financial independence — or hamburger grease.

As the official arrival of summer on Saturday approaches, so does the hunt for summer jobs in the Kansas City area.

We want to know what you remember about your prior summer gigs.

Tell KCUR: What was your best or worst summer job? What did you learn from it?


As Father’s Day approaches, KCUR staffers took a moment to remember some of the best advice our dads gave us.

Among those recommendations were: “Don’t talk about yourself so much,” “Don’t talk politics or religion with friends,” “Make sure to tell people that you care about them,” and “If it doesn’t work, kick it a little.”

Help us honor your dads this week by highlighting their greatest quips and guidance.

Tell KCUR: What’s the best advice your father ever gave you?

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is known for its great cuisine and iconic old homes.

But it also grapples with a reputation of vandalism and other crime, says Lisa Donnici, who moved to the Historic Northeast roughly 14 years ago.

Her relationship with the area — made up of six distinct Kansas City neighborhoods that are just south of the Missouri River — goes back much farther, however.

She grew up there as a child, but her mother moved the family away so Donnici could attend schools in the suburbs. Marriage brought her back to the area.

Officials in Kansas City, Mo., may be clamoring to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

But social media buzz in Kansas City wasn’t always as welcoming, according to feedback we received this week in KCUR’s informal polls.

On Wednesday, convention selection committee members began their site visit in Kansas City, one of the four finalists competing to host the convention.


Kansas City is among the final four cities up for consideration to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

But we’re not out of the woods yet.

This week, convention selection committee members are in town, deciding whether or not Kansas City has what it takes to host one of the party’s biggest bashes of the presidential election cycle.

We want to know why you think Kansas City stands apart from competitor cities Cleveland, Dallas and Denver.