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.

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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.

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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?

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.

KCUR

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.

KCUR

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.  

KCUR

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.

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