Alyson Raletz

Social Media Producer

Ways To Connect

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.


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?  


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?


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?


 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?

Wikimedia -- CC

What do rosaries, guitars and “Lord of the Rings” DVD box sets have in common?

They’re all objects that Kansas Citians said they would try to save if a tornado was on the way.

Given this week’s severe tornadoes across the United States, we used social media and the airwaves to ask you: What would you grab if a tornado was approaching?

We don’t advocate spending a lot of time scooping up material items if an incoming tornado is close to your home.

Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr -- Creative Commons

If Kansas City wants to get serious about reducing drunk driving, it needs to invest in more late-night and weekend public transportation services.

That’s according to your responses to our on-air and online question of the week.

We asked: What services should be provided to curb drinking and driving in Kansas City?

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced charges Friday against a man tied to recent highway shootings in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The afternoon announcement revealed Mohammed Whitaker, 27, of Grandview, Mo., faces 18 felony counts, including class A and class B felonies related to shooting into a vehicle.

The charges stem from a series of at least a dozen shootings on Kansas City area highways. Three people have been hurt as a result.

tamckile / Flickr -- Creative Commons

As adults searched for answers tied to the recent shootings at Jewish centers in Johnson County, Kan., we wanted to know how you were handling questions about the acts of violence from children.  

A male suspect is now in custody on murder charges for the shootings that took the lives of William Corporon, 69, his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Underwood, and Terri LaManno, 53, on Sunday.


Sunday’s shootings at Jewish centers in Johnson County raise a lot of questions for law enforcement and the victims’ families.  

But as the news continues to pick up more local, national and even international attention,  the shootings may prompt questions from little ones.

We want to know how you’re explaining the recent shootings to them.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

It’s pledge drive week at KCUR.

That means asking the public to support Kansas City’s public radio station, but it also involves a celebration of KCUR and its members.

All week, we asked, “Why do you power KCUR?” online, on the air and via social media.  

Your fired back your favorite news and talk shows.

You cited all of the “driveway moments” from features on local and national news.


Listeners have many reasons for supporting KCUR, Kansas City’s public media radio station.

Members tell us they power KCUR because they love the reporting. And they tell us about how they feel connected to the Kansas City community when they listen to KCUR.

As we celebrate KCUR this week during the station’s spring pledge drive, we want to know: Why do you power KCUR?

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

We’re finding lots of cool things on and east of Troost Avenue in Kansas City. And we know you are, too.

As KCUR continues its look at Troost as a dividing line in Kansas City — part of our Beyond Our Borders project  — we’re posting photos of our cool finds on a new Tumblr site called Awesome Things East of Troost.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR


Social media in Kansas City is abuzz this week with excitement over the Royals’ home opener on Friday.

Diehard fans are swapping predictions on Twitter for the new season via #Royals, #BeRoyalKC, #Royalsnation and other hashtags.

After the success of 2013’s season, KCUR’s Greg Echlin reports that players have high hopes for this season.

Fans do, too, according to our informal Tell KCUR poll on social media this week.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Les Cline is highly aware of a street in Kansas City that dissects the 49/63 neighborhood in Kansas City — Troost Avenue.

But it’s just the name of a street, says Cline, president of the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition.

“There’s no wall or fence or force field running down Troost,” Cline says. 

Founded in 1971, the coalition’s borders run from 49th to 63rd streets, and Paseo to Oak. Brush up on the neighborhood in this profile on 49-63.  


Friday’s home opener for the Royals marks the beginning of the professional baseball season in Kansas City.

And we’re wondering about your predictions for the home team this year.

The Royals haven’t made it to the playoffs since 1985, when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Will they ever have a chance like that again?

Tell KCUR: Is this the year the Royals will make it to the playoffs? Why or why not?

Leave us your prediction in a voicemail at 816-235-2881.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

As KCUR begins its in-depth look at how Troost Avenue divides Kansas City, we wanted to talk to people about their perceptions of the area east of the thoroughfare.  

We spent some time east of Troost this month, asking about the realities and misconceptions of life near one of Kansas City’s most prominent racial and economic dividing lines.

Here are some of the highlights of what we heard back:

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

KCUR wants to turn the tables and listen to listeners for a change.

But we’ll need your help.

We want feedback from community members to drive our content as we examine how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City in our yearlong “Beyond Our Borders” project.

We’re looking for partners to help us host community listening sessions that we’re conducting to help us reach Kansas Citians on their own turf.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR


Central Standard’s new host had a lot to answer for on her first day on the new job Thursday. And it’s all because of you.

Gina Kaufmann doesn’t officially sit in the talk show host chair until 10 a.m. Monday. But on Thursday, we welcomed and introduced her with a live interview on KCUR.


We’re on the edge of our seats at KCUR this week in anticipation of the arrival of Gina Kaufmann, Central Standard’s new talk show host.

She doesn’t begin hosting the 10 a.m. daily talk show until next week, but we’d like to start introductions before then.  

And we’re going to need help from you, our listeners.

@kctomato / Twitter

It’s official. Winter is over.

After months of snow storms in Kansas City, Thursday marked the first day of spring.

Calendar or not — we wanted to know when you really know spring is here.

This week, we asked listeners: For you, what’s the first sign of spring?

Many of your answers stemmed from nature, such as peeping frogs, chirping birds before sunrise and crocus flower sightings.


Spring makes its official debut on Thursday.  

But we want to know what you think are the more telling indicators that winter is behind us.

Perhaps it’s March Madness basketball or the blooming of tulips.

Maybe spring is here when it’s warm enough to go outside without a jacket — or when Easter candy hits the stores.

Tell KCUR: For you, what’s the first sign of spring?

@Patrickfedo / Twitter

Don’t be alarmed by the number of adult men and women wearing capes and tights this weekend in downtown Kansas City.

That’s just Planet Comicon, a national gathering of science fiction and comics fans that runs from Friday to Sunday at Bartle Hall.

And those fans often show up in costume.


Science fiction conventions can feel like an alien world for newcomers.

People can speak differently at them, often invoking insider references about their favorite shows and comics.

And it’s a world where die-hard fans dress differently.

For instance, this weekend’s Planet Comicon in Kansas City  is expected to attract droves of costumed convention-goers, dressed up like their favorite protagonists and antagonists from sci-fi novels and cinema.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr -- Creative Commons

When it’s time to crack open a cold one, Kansas Citians say they reach for craft beer — most of the time.

That’s according to the feedback we received this week when we asked our listeners about their brew preferences.

Our curiosity piqued when we learned craft beer makers were coming to the Kansas City area this weekend for the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition in Lawrence.


Craft beer makers from all over the region are poised to descend upon Lawrence for the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition this weekend.  

And we’re wondering how Kansas Citians identify with the specialty ales.

We want to know what your beer choice says about you.

Tell KCUR: Are you a Joe six-pack or craft beer kind of person? Why?