Alyson Raletz

Social Media Editor

Alyson Raletz is social media editor at KCUR. She joined KCUR in 2013 after working as a technology reporter and lead Twitter voice for the Kansas City Business Journal.

She’s spent most of her journalism career as a government watchdog, having covered Missouri state politics, county governments, courts, education and crime.

She also previously worked for Missouri Lawyers Weekly and the St. Joseph News-Press.

The daughter of a retired military officer, Alyson bounced around the globe a bit before her family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, in the 1980s. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and lived in San Francisco, New Jersey and Germany. She earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Kansas State University and studied Spanish at La Universidad De Malaga’s extension in Ronda, Spain.

She lives in Kansas City with her husband and newborn daughter.

Ways To Connect

KCUR

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. 

KCUR

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.

truthout.org

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.  

KCUR

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 / estherhonig.com

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.

KCUR

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.

KCUR

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?

KCUR

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.

truthout.org

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.

KCUR

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. 

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

U.S. Highway 71 in Kansas City, Mo., is here to stay.

But that doesn’t mean Kansas Citians are happy about it.

When we asked this week: “How has Highway 71 helped or hurt Kansas City?” some listeners, tweeters, Facebookers and callers praised the highway’s convenience for being a main north-south thoroughfare in the metropolitan area.

KCUR

U.S. Highway 71 has become one of the most prominent north-south arteries of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

But when it was built on the east side of Kansas City, Mo., in the 1990s, the construction sparked controversy because of the way it bisected existing neighborhoods.  

Earlier this year, when we asked you what were Kansas City’s biggest dividing lines, Highway 71 emerged as one of them.

Wikimedia -- CC

If you’re a smoker in Kansas City, Mo., feedback we received in an informal listener poll wasn’t very encouraging.

Smoking already is a no-no in Kansas City bars and restaurants.

And a ban on smoking in publicly-owned housing developments starts July 1 in Kansas City.  

We wanted to know: Where should we still allow smoking?  

KCUR

Public options for smokers are becoming few and far between in Kansas City, Mo.

Since 2008, smoking has been banned in bars and restaurants located in Kansas City. The state of Kansas went smoke-free in 2012.

University campus buildings have been smoke-free for years in Kansas City, but beginning Aug. 1, smoking outside on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City will be prohibited.  

Wikipedia -- CC

Michael Sam’s NFL draft pick on Saturday — the first for an openly gay football player — continues to generate buzz on social media.

The pick put Missouri in the spotlight, since the University of Missouri defensive end became the 249th overall choice by the St. Louis Rams.

We wanted to hear your thoughts on this historical moment, so we used our airwaves and social media this week to ask: Is the NFL ready for Michael Sam? Why or why not?

KCUR

Missouri’s Michael Sam jumped into the history books Saturday, when he became the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL. 

There’s been an outpouring of support from the public for Sam.

As the 249th overall choice by the St. Louis Rams, President Obama called the pick from the University of Missouri an “important step forward” in “our nation’s journey,” according to a White House statement provided to ABC.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The view from Roberta Long’s white rocking chair on the porch of her Kansas City, Mo., house has taught her it’s a small world, after all.

That’s where she sits and meets people from Europe, California and everywhere in between.

 They stop by the house and take pictures at all hours of the day and night. In the summer, buses roll by with more gawkers, Long says.

And it’s all because of the legend who used to live in her home more than 100 years ago — Walt Disney.

Susan Foster / Submitted photo

From an appreciation of art to a knack for grammar, moms pass down a lot of traits to their sons and daughters that go beyond eye color.

In honor of Mother’s Day, KCUR wanted to know what about your mom you see in yourself. We used our airwaves and social media this week to ask: How are you like your mother?

KCUR

 Maybe you inherited your mother’s chin or singing voice.

Perhaps you picked up her talent for chess, her calm frame of mind — or her hot temper?

Help KCUR celebrate Mother's Day. We're collecting motherhood messages and we're wondering what about your mother you see in yourself.

Tell KCUR: How are you like your mother?

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