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.

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Up to Date
12:42 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List: February 21-23, 2014

Martin City Melodrama's latest show is 'The A-Lone Ranger.'
Credit Martin City Melodrama

If you want to brave our weird weather this weekend, Brian McTavish has some ideas for you on the Weekend To-Do List for Feb. 21-23, 2014.

Bobby Watson & Horizon (Reunion of Watson and the band he started 30 years ago), 9 p.m. Friday at The Blue Room - 1600 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $30

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Up To Date
12:20 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Up To Date 2014 Heart Of America Entry

Living with Alzheimer's (March 28, 2013)

Former Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just six months after leaving a six-term career in the U.S. House. His wife, Stephene Moore, is the Region 7 director of the federal Health and Human Services Department. She and Dennis joined us to talk about his experiences with the disease. Our other guest was Michelle Niedens, director of programs and public policy for the Alzheimer's Association’s Heart of America chapter.
 

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Up to Date
11:14 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Opening Up Extreme Sports To People With Disabilities

Sean O'Neill, who is a paraplegic, now leads climbs as part of Paradox Sports.
Credit Lourdes Irizarry / paradoxsports.tumblr.com

You wouldn’t think mountain climbing would be an activity a paraplegic person could still enjoy. But one group’s efforts to adapt activities like mountain climbing are coming to fruition.

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk about how they’re making sports more available to people with disabilities and what inspired them to get involved with this project.

Guests:

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Up To Date
11:09 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Parents Illustrate The Funny Side Of Autism In Kansas City Production

'An Evening With The Rents' runs 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at The Mission Theatre.

To call raising kids with with autism or autism spectrum disorder a challenge would probably be underselling it ... by quite a bit.

For many parents of kids with autism, maintaining a sense of humor is an essential component. Those experiences will be illustrated by some Kansas City area parents in An Evening with the Rents where they will deliver stand-up comedy routines centered around living with children on the spectrum.

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Up To Date
11:47 am
Thu February 20, 2014

After 5 Decades, Graham Nash Still Loves Rock And Roll

Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, sings a song after delivering the keynote address to a group of musicians assembled for the 2014 Folk Alliance International conference.
Julie Denesha KCUR

At 72, Graham Nash remains part of rock royalty, a musician who came to the U.S. as part of the British invasion with his band The Hollies and plays on today with his super-group Crosby, Stills & Nash.

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Up to Date
1:44 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Using Science To Stop Violence

Dr. Gary Slutkin is the founder of Cure Violence.
Credit cureviolence.org

An expert on the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped Kansas City and cities across the country for decades, says the issue has been "completely misunderstood."

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with him about his method of viewing violence as an epidemic, a condition that can be reversed using "science-based methods."

Guest:

  • Dr. Gary Slutkin, epidemiologist and founder/executive director of Cure Violence
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Up to Date
11:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

JJ's Update: One Year After The Explosion

It's been a year since an explosion destroyed JJ's Restaurant on the Plaza.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

Last February, a gas explosion rocked the Plaza, destroying JJ’s restaurant. In the wake of the destruction, 15 people were injured, and one died.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll take a look at the issues surrounding the blast and its continued legacy, both on the Plaza and in the courtroom. We’ll also talk with one of the owners of JJ’s about what the future holds.

Guests:

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Up to Date
11:17 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Prairie Village Surgeon Confronts Death By Building His Own Coffin

Dr. Jeff Piehler of Prairie Village reacted to his stage-four prostate cancer diagnosis by building his own coffin.
Credit Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

It’s one thing for a doctor to counsel a seriously-ill patient about how to deal with his illness and how to face the idea of death. But imagine going from being the doctor to being the patient.

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Up To Date
4:14 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

How To Have 'The Talk' With Your Teen

Credit www.drlauraberman.com

It’s something that every parent should do, but many don’t know how, or feel really awkward trying, to get it together to have ... "The Talk."  These days it’s about more complicated issues than just the birds and the bees — gender identity, casual hookups and more play into the discussion. 

Steve Kraske talks with psychologist Wes Crenshaw about how parents can approach the topic of sex with their kids. A teenager and her mother join the conversation to discuss their method for handling the subject.

Guests:

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Up to Date
12:24 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Finding Food Flavors In A Local Lab

Michael Feingold, lab manager and food technologist for Cereal Ingredients in Leavenworth, stands with a bag of strawberry-flavored pieces about to be shipped to a client.
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

From “weird-beers” to your typical TV dinner, all the processed food we eat has been carefully crafted to taste and smell as appealing as possible.

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we visit a local lab to see how flavors are modified and enhanced to make that morning muffin you enjoy taste so much like fresh blueberries-- even though there aren't any in it. 

Guests:

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Up to Date
12:24 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Kansas City's Secret Supper Club

The Test Kitchen often features more unusual ingredients, such as quail.
Credit Stewart Butterfield / Flickr-CC

The Test Kitchen isn't a glamorous place filled with Food Network cameras-- it's Kansas City's own secret supper club.

The location is a secret until the day before, and you're in for new cooking techniques and some interesting ingredients. Picky eaters might want to skip this one, but if you've got adventurous taste buds the Test Kitchen might be the place for you.

In the second part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk with its founder and the chef who will be behind the club's next meal.

Guests:

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Up To Date
2:46 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Mayor Sly James On Kansas City's Current Issues

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James speaks with Steve Kraske on Up to Date.
Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Though the snow may be melting away in Kansas City, the burning issues aren't going anywhere.

On Thursday's Up to Date, Mayor Sly James takes our questions, and yours, about the troubled school district, the proposed KCI expansion project, and more. 

Guest:

  • Sly James is mayor of Kansas City, Mo.
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Up to Date
12:59 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, Feb. 14-16, 2014

The Cupid's Undie Run will raise money for children's charities.
Credit Fred Dunn/Flickr-CC

Looking for something to do with your sweetheart, or simply want to enjoy the improving weather? Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for Feb. 14-16, 2014.

54th Annual World of Wheels (Celebration of hot rods, custom trucks and motorcycles), 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $18; $5 ages 6 to 12

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Up to Date
12:10 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Looking Back At 40 Years Of Policing Overland Park

Retiring Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass stopped by Up to Date to talk about his years on the force.
Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

After 40 years with the Overland Park Police Department, Chief John Douglass is riding off into the sunset…sort of. He’s not ready for a quiet retirement just yet. Instead, he’s going back to school as the director of safety and for the Shawnee Mission School District next spring. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we sit down with Douglass to discuss how policing Overland Park has changed over the years and the new challenges that await him in the coming months.

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Up To Date
11:09 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Grandview Mayor Pleads Guilty

Former Grandview Mayor Stephen Dennis plead guilty to wire fraud after FBI and local news investigations uncovered misuse of $35,000 in charity funds.

Former Grandview Mayor Stephen Dennis, who resigned without explanation last January, has plead guilty to wire fraud. The former mayor admitted Tuesday that he improperly used two checks worth $35,000.

In the second half of Wednesday's Up to Date41 Action News reporter Ryan Kath, who broke the story last month, joins us to discuss this turn of events and what it means for local politics.

Guest:

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Up to Date
4:51 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

What It Means To Be A Gay Athlete

Michael Sam plays football for the University of Missouri and recently announced he is gay.
Credit mutigers.com

What does it mean to be an openly-gay athlete? Just ask Michael Sam. The Mizzou football player, who was out to his teammates, made it public on a national scale this weekend.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with some of the organizations that support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes about the issues these athletes face.

We also talk with an athlete who’s dealt with the problems that can come with a public coming-out announcement.

Guests:

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Up To Date
2:31 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

90-Mile View From The Hill

Credit Flickr Commons

After her husband died in 1986, June Jewitt continued to live in the house they had built on a hill in Douglas County, Kan., and began writing. One of her daughters slipped a sample of June's views of life under the door of the Baldwin City Signal and a column, Musings from the Hill, was born.

On this edition of 90-Mile View, Steve Kraske talks with the nonagenarian about why she continues to live on the hill, what she most likes to write about, and why she hasn't retired.

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Up To Date
11:45 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Diving Into Prison History At Leavenworth

Archivist Jake Ersland has researched the records of Leavenworth Penitentiary.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wanted to take a peek at the case files of mobsters, bootleggers or even murderers?

On Monday's Up to Date, we look into the historical underbelly of Leavenworth Penitentiary as we delve into its records with a local archivist.

Guest:

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Up To Date
11:42 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Yakov Smirnoff: Comedy And A Russian View On Sochi

Yakov Smirnoff joins Steve Kraske to comment on the Sochi Olympics.
Credit Beth Lipoff/KCUR

In America, you try to get to Olympics. In Russia, Olympics come and get you. Or at least, that's the way Russian comedian and Branson sensation Yakov Smirnoff might say it.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, Smirnoff joins Steve Kraske to talk about Sochi, comedy and more.

Guest:

  • Yakov Smirnoff, comedian

Yakov Smirnoff on Sochi:

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Up to Date
1:06 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Oscar-Nominated Indie, Foreign And Documentary Film Shorts

An unconventional dish from Chicago restaurant Alinea, one of three eateries featured in the documentary 'Spinning Plates.'
Credit Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr-CC

Can you name one of the Academy Award nominated short films for this year? Let our film critics help you out. 

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics look at some of the lesser-known Oscar nominees, plus Spinning Plates, a documentary that gives audiences a taste of what it's like to own a restaurant.

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Up to Date
11:37 am
Thu February 6, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List: February 7-9, 2014

The Band Perry plays in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Sean Davis / Flickr-CC

If you’re getting cabin fever, Brian McTavish has a Weekend To-Do List for Feb. 7-9, 2014, to cure you

Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles (Faux Fab Four), 8 p.m. Friday at Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan. Tickets: $45 and $60

“The Graduate” (Live adaptation of 1960s film), 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Polsky Theatre, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan. Tickets: $30

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Up to Date
11:35 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Critiquing Books, From Both Sides Of The Page

Book critic John Freeman joins Steve Kraske on Thursday's Up to Date.
Credit bookcritics.org

In the literary world, the book critics seem have all the power when your labor of love hits the shelves. But what would authors say if they could sit in the power seat?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about critical process works and look at book reviews from both sides of the page.

Guests:

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Up to Date
10:39 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Encore Broadcast: The Children's Blizzard

David Laskin is the author of The Children's Blizzard.

January 12, 1888, began as an exceptionally warm winter day. Farmers were tending to their fields as boys and girls raced to school with no coats or gloves. 

Mid-morning in the Dakotas and around afternoon dismissal in Nebraska, hurricane-force winds and torrential snow engulfed the plains. By midnight, wind-chills had plummeted to 40 below zero.

The next morning, up to 500 people lay dead on the prairie, many of them school children, who died while trying to find their way home.

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Up to Date
2:35 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

No Business Like Snow Business

We want to know your favorite sledding hills.
Credit HubertK / Flickr-CC

Forget the responsibilities a snow day brings for a moment and embrace your inner child. 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we want your suggestions for the best sledding hill in KC. Plus, we all grumble about shoveling snow, so what’s the best way to do it? We talk with an expert to get you some tips and recommend the best kind of shovel.

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Up to Date
10:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

An African-American Veteran Reflects On Coming Out

Rob Smith is the author of Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army.

It's not easy to come out of the closet, but imagine doing that when you're in the Army.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with an African-American veteran about the challenges he faced and the added difficulties of navigating the now-defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Guest: 

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Up To Date
4:19 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Healthcare Foundation Announces Efforts To Enroll More In Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited Kansas City Monday morning, drumming up interest in Obamacare.

In the first segment of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the head of Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City about insurance available through the Affordable Care Act and ongoing efforts to connect people to it.

Guest:

  • Dr. Bridget McCandless, president and CEO, Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City
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Up to Date
10:32 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Saving Art From War: The Monuments Men

Laurence Sickman, Paul Gardner and James Reeds were all Kansas City Monuments Men.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and The James A. Reeds Family

They were a group of soldiers with something in common — a knowledge of art and how to preserve it.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the Monuments Men, a special division from the Allied forces during World War II who braved the battlefields to save priceless art and architecture from the ravages of war.

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Up to Date
2:27 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

From Slavery To Higher Ed

James Johnston is the author of From Slave Ship to Harvard.

He had his portrait painted by artist Charles Willson Peale, and he was a literate man—in short, Yarrow Mamout was unusual for an 18th-century slave in America.

On Friday's Up to Date, we look at his legacy over six generations and how his family moved from a life of slavery to producing a Harvard graduate in 1927.

Guest: 

  • James Johnston, author of From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family
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Up to Date
11:52 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Greg Brown: Midwestern Folk Staple

Singer-songwriter Greg Brown joins Steve Kraske to talk about his long career.
Credit gregbrownmusic.org

Critic Josh Kun once called singer-songwriter Greg Brown, "A Midwestern existentialist hobo with a quick-draw heart, a bloodied heart, and bourbon on his breath." If there's one thing Kun left out, it's Brown's growling tones, which have gotten deeper and more soulful after nearly 50 years of performing.

On Friday's Up to Date, we sit down with musician Greg Brown and discuss his long career and continued success as a Midwestern folk staple.

Guests:

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Up to Date
11:45 am
Thu January 30, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List: January 31-February 2, 2014

Kansas City Royals Fan Fest offers off-season fun for baseball junkies.
Credit City of Overland Park / Flickr-CC

Want to get out on the town this weekend? Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014.

Bill Cosby: Far From Finished Tour (Stand-up comedy), 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday at The Midland, 1228 Main, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $49 to $69

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