Steve Kraske

Host of Up to Date

Steve Kraske is an associate teaching professor of journalism at UMKC, a political columnist for The Kansas City Star and has hosted "Up to Date" since 2002. He worked as the full-time political correspondent for The Star from 1994-2013 covering national, state and local campaigns. He also has covered the statehouses in Topeka and Jefferson City.

Before arriving in Kansas City, he worked at daily newspapers in Iowa and Illinois and at United Press International in Madison, Wis. Kraske is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism. He was a 1992 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Kraske has won awards for both his print and radio work and has appeared on NPR, CNN and Fox. He's a big fan of "Prairie Home Companion" and Kansas City jazz. His father lives in Stillwater, Minn., not far from the St. Croix River.

If you are an immigrant to this country, finding employment can be a challenge. According to a University of Kansas study, if you're an immigrant with particularly dark skin, then your chances of getting a job are that much tougher.


  • Andrea Gomez Cervantes is one of the authors of the study and a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at the University of Kansas.

Kansas City-area students who transfer during the school year face daunting challenges. Student mobility interrupts a child's education and presents teachers with the task of catching pupils up with the rest of the class.


  • Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight is the Executive Director of the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium.
  • Ann Jarrett is Teaching & Learning Director for the Missouri National Education Association.

As Kansas City continues to wait for its streetcars, Up To Date asks Executive Director of the Streetcar Authority Tom Gerend what is causing the delay and what we can expect when the cars finally do arrive. 

For many, the idea of public speaking is petrifying — nobody wants to put an audience to sleep with a dull talk. One solution: learn from stand-up comics and inject a little humor into your speech. 


Whether you want to view World War I from the trenches, explore the war's Christmas truce or cruise the skies, our Video Gurus have something to feed your historical need. Check out what they had to say on this edition of Up to Date.

All Quiet on the Western Front, unrated (before current ratings)

Too often in the face of disaster, needed supplies and equipment are bogged down by transport difficulties and red tape. Dara Dotz is working to transform the humanitarian process — by incorporating 3-D printing to make tools on the spot.

Dara Dotz is one of the presenters at TEDxKC, which takes place from 5-11 p.m. on August 29 at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. For information, visit

College football isn’t about touchdowns or bowl games— it’s about money. That's according to Gilbert Gaul, author of Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football. Gaul spent years finding out just how far universities will go for a winning football pro gram. 

In its 25 years in  orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope has had a great impact on our ability to visualize the universe.  The job of processing the digital images sent by the telescope belongs to Zoltan Levay, who works in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Olympian and cancer-survivor Scott Hamilton has overcome his share of challenges. We trace his incredible journey and discuss how it shaped his outlook on life.

Scott Hamilton is one of the presenters at TEDxKC, which takes place from 5-11 p.m. on August 29th at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. For information, visit

As the nation looks back on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged cities and communities along the Gulf Coast, we discuss how well the Kansas City area is prepared to deal with disasters of similar proportions — both natural and man-made.


  • Chris Carroll is Emergency Planner for the city of Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Justin Sorg is the Planning and Exercise Program Manager for the Mid-America Regional Council.

When it comes to your car, the question is not whether you will breakdown, but when. Walt Brinker has performed more than 2,000 roadside assists free of charge — and without a mechanic. He shares some easy ways to prevent breakdowns and tips for how to fix them. 


Walt Brinker is the author of Roadside Survival: Low-Tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns.

The Equal Rights Amendment has one of the longest sagas in U.S. Congressional history. Passed in 1972 but never ratified, advocates continue to pursue strategies for its enactment.


Jessica Neuwirth is the founder of the ERA Coalition, which has over 50 member organizations. She is the author of Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment Is Now.

Up To Code

Aug 21, 2015

How long can you neglect your yard before the city gets  involved? On this edition of Up To Date, we talk about how homeowners can run afoul of city codes and the consequences for different violations.


  • Kim Hendershot is the supervisor of code compliance for the City of Overland Park.
  • Sean Ackerson is the assistant city administrator for the City of Parkville.


Aug 21, 2015

Blaine Stephens knew he was up against the odds when he applied for a U.S. Senate intern position. As the Plattsburg, Missouri, high-schooler packs his bags for Washington,  D.C. Up To Date caught up with him to learn how he made the cut. 


  • Jason Rae served as a Senate page 10 years ago. He is currently a senior associate at Nation Consulting in Milwaukee. 

As Garrison Keillor makes his way across the country on his "America The Beautiful" farewell tour, Up To Date caught up with him to discuss his long radio career and what's next for the much-beloved host.

Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion: The America The Beautiful Tour" comes to Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 22 at Starlight Theater. For tickets and information, visit

Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland is in the middle of a “listening tour” across Wyandotte County to find out how residents think the Unified Government should spend a $12 million-per-year windfall coming to the county. 

For area animal organizations with a "no-kill" policy, keeping their charges sheltered, fed and socialized  strains available resources.  Fostering programs temporarily place dogs, cats and other animals with qualified people until a forever home can be found.


Schools don’t teach financial literacy to kids these days, so that makes it even more important to teach some of those skills at home. From playing “store” with your kids to teaching them how to balance a budget, Up To Date's panel of financial planners discuss how to talk about money at different stages of growing up. 


Whether it's a Buckley-Vidal debate that gets your blood pumping or an exploration of the late David Foster Wallace, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have given the verdict to help you select your weekend entertainment. Here are the films they discussed:

Best of Enemies, R, Tivoli

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has battled through a political world dominated by men to get where she is today. She talks about that journey in her memoir, Plenty Ladylike.

Senator McCaskill will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 16 at Unity Temple on the Plaza. For admission information, visit

Fifteen-year-old Jay Mehta took first place this summer in the National History Day competition for his depiction of Winston Churchill. Steve Kraske asks the Pembroke Hill student why the English Prime Minister inspired him, and what it took to channel his persona. 

The Truman Library hosts the regional History Day contest. Teachers can get involved by sending an e-mail to Mark Adams at

Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

The notion of handguns and hookers so often linked to Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. is fading. Replacing it is a lively, friendly neighborhood where a diverse population of residents and business owners are changing things altogether.


Back To Life

Aug 12, 2015

Doctors have more means than ever before to bring a patient back from the brink of death, but can reviving someone do more harm than good? On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss the tricky ethics of resuscitation.


Fighting Homelessness

Jul 31, 2015

The first-ever large-scale study on homelessness shows that permanent, stable housing can be more cost-effective than shelters. Kansas City is one of 12 communities included in the three-year study, which has just reached its halfway point. 



Jul 30, 2015

In light of the data breach that has compromised thousands of Kansans' health records, we discuss how individuals and businesses can protect personal information from being hacked. 


  • Dustin Jacobsen is the chief strategy officer for Flat Square Technology Group, Inc.
  • Brandon Holley is the business development manager for Network Technologies Inc.

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver just returned from a five-day trip to Kenya and Ethiopia with President Obama. He discusses the trip and his own connection to Africa.

Up To Date rounds up its political pundits to discuss presidential and Missouri gubernatorial politics of 2016 and the current standing of Governor Sam Brownback in Kansas. 


  • Dave Helling is the Kansas City Star’s political reporter.
  • Bob Beatty is a professor of political science at Washburn University.
  • Dave Robertson is a professor of political science at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Kansas City, Missouri is in the midst of hiring a new Chief Innovation Officer, but what exactly does that job entail? The position, which is common in tech firms, is a relatively new trend in local governments. 


  • Chris Hernandez is the Director of Communications for Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Jeffrey Stinson covers the business of government for Stateline, which reports on trends in state government for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

After an 18-month closure and $8 million in renovations, the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is ready to open its doors once again.  Community Development Director Cassie Mundt tells what it took to store the museum's 72,000 items and what visitors can now expect to see at the museum.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures reopens on Saturday, August 1, 2015 .

For a city of 9,500 people, Mission, Kansas has its share of big issues. Mayor Steve Schowengerdt discusses some of the meatiest topics on his city's table, from driveway taxes and the Mission Gateway development project to chickens and bees.