Suzanne Hogan

Announcer/Producer/Reporter

Suzanne Hogan graduated from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, with degrees in Political Science and Documentary Studies. Her interests include Latin American politics, immigration and storytelling in a variety of mediums including photography, film/video and writing. 

After college, Suzanne moved back to her hometown, Kansas City and was the Producer for The Walt Bodine Show for about two years. Now she serves as a part-time announcer, producer, and contributing reporter, filling in around the station wherever she can. Suzanne is also a founding member of the 816 Bicycle Collective, a recycle a bicycle program in Kansas City.

In her spare time, Suzanne  plays bass in a punk rock band, enjoys spontaneous traveling, and riding her bicycle all around town.

Ways to Connect

Humans and squirrels live side by side in urban and suburban neighborhoods. When humans observe and document these smaller animals in their yards and on their blocks, that isn't just a weird hobby; it informs science. 

Guest:

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in August 2015.

Squirrels can be found just about anywhere in the Kansas City area, from the densest parts of the urban core, to rural prairie or forest settings.

They typically are a grayish color, brown or an orangey red, but recent black squirrels sightings in one Northland neighborhood have residents curious about the origins of their new dark furry neighbors.

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Bernard Shondell and Ann Marie Pikus were best friends in high school. After college they were inseparable and decided to get married. They were married for 10 years and had three kids, then 14 years ago Ann Marie died of cancer. It was after her death, during a car ride with his three-year-old niece that Shondell had a profound realization about his sexuality.

“It was Christmas after Ann had passed away,” recalls Shondell. “And as we were driving around Colleen just blurts out, ‘When are you going to get a new mommy for Joey?’ That really kept me up.”

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Scott Fieker says he realized at a very young age that he didn’t identify with the gender he was genetically born with.

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Raymond Cattaneo and his husband Dustin Cates were together six years before they decided that they wanted to adopt a baby and build their family.

It doesn’t take long to drive a car across the Missouri River.

Depending on traffic, the roughly half-mile trek can take just one minute. But if you don’t have a car, the Missouri River can seem like a much larger obstacle.

According to the U.S. Census, about 84 percent of the Kansas City metro population drives alone to work. That leaves the other 16 percent commuting by other means, like carpooling, public transit, walking, biking or just working from home.

Moving to a new place can be hard and exciting. It can be a good decision — or the worst of your life.

Kansas City residents may love the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, restaurants, the Royals, four distinct seasons and summer thunderstorms. But they may also resent the allergies, car culture, crime and the absence of mountains and a coast.

So what makes our city a place people want to live — or leave?

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Gunnar Hand and his wife Ashley have lived in New York and Los Angeles. They moved to Kansas City five years ago to start a family in Gunnar’s childhood home in Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood.

Ian Monroe / Flickr

Leaving Kansas City and moving back again are popular pastimes. But each decision is difficult and personal. Stories, data, weather-analysis and a reminder that jerks live everywhere.

Gabina Castañeda has run a daycare out of her home for many years. Her own kids have grown up and are in school, but she watches a 3-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 5-year-old five days a week. One day last week they were busy scooping up Easter eggs with plastic spoons — working on coordination, colors, numbers and sharing, in both English and Spanish. A few years ago, this whole in-home-child care operation would have been against the law.

Lexie’s Law

In 2004, 13-month-old Lexie Engelman suffered fatal injuries at a Johnson County day care. The tragic incident led Lexie’s Law legislation in Kansas in 2010. The law mandates inspections, background checks, training and licensure for home care providers who care for children outside of their family more than 20 hours per week.

Both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas have seen their Latino population grow in the past 25 years. And though the highest concentration of Latinos in Kansas City live in Wyandotte County, the number of Latinos living in both counties is about the same, nearly 40,000 people.

The population is growing at a rate that's fairly new to Johnson County, whose Latino population has nearly doubled in the past 15 years. I talked to Latinos living in both counties about the opportunities and differences between life in both counties.

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Martin and Cindy Blair are both from Kansas City. They went to the University of Kansas, met in Topeka at a dive bar, and were married in Kansas City. But 35 years ago, a job offer sent them to San Diego.

After a year or two they really missed Kansas City BBQ.

It’s that time of year when we’ll start to see more and more mammals scurrying about around the city. Mammals like foxes, squirrels and, yes, maybe even some coyotes.

In the past 15 years, coyote populations in Midwestern urban and suburban areas have been increasing -- including in the Kansas City area.

“A  lot of folks don’t realize that we have them around the state, they don’t realize that they’re inside the cities. So when they see one they get all concerned,” says Andy Friesen, a wildlife damage biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife.

c/o Kelly Sue DeConnick

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the comic books Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet, and she writes for the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel.

Michael Byars / KCUR

Does it start with the music or the words? Can anybody do it? In time for the Folk Alliance International conference, local musicians share what it takes to write a song. 

Guests:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Ernesto and Lupe Arvizu didn't know they were living next door to a sacred burial ground when they first moved to the Argentine neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan., 20 years ago.

White Feather Spring is a national historic site that memorializes the lesser known Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa, who spent the last years of his life in KCK.

In the early 1800s, before the Shawnee Indians were relocated to Kansas and then Oklahoma, there was a powerful Shawnee spiritual leader at the center of American Indian resistance against white settlers. The Shawnee Prophet — Tenskwatawa — condemned inter-tribal violence and preached for all the tribes to come together as tribal land was threatened by settler expansion and the United States government.

Kansas Historical Society

The Rev. Thomas Johnson was a character in history who had many friends and foes, and his murder 150 years ago remains unsolved to this day.

Johnson established the Shawnee Indian Mission, a now national historic site in modern day Fairway, Kan.

His legacy lives on, even though you have probably never heard of him — he is the namesake of Johnson County, Kansas.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

    

Missionary work, slaveholding in Kansas, a bogus legislature and a murder. These are some of the stories that surface when you investigate the namesake of Johnson County: Reverend Thomas Johnson, who founded the Shawnee Indian Mission (now a museum tucked away in a residential neighborhood). What happened at that site tells a larger story about the relationship between American Indians and the United States government.

Guests:

Courtesy / Zack Albetta

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Zack Albetta is originally from Santa Fe, N.M., but he came to Kansas City to get his master’s  at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. He worked closely with Bobby Watson exploring Kansas City’s deep jazz history, and he really loved Kansas City's music scene. 

The Catholic Church is located in Vatican City, an ocean away and then some. But what happens in Rome affects the lives of Catholics living in Kansas City, and what happens here reverberates all the way up to the top. This conversation explores whether a perceived shift in the Catholic Church affects the priorities and attitudes of Catholics in our region. 

Guests:

Donna Vestal

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

No doubt, many people in Kansas City first came here as children, the result of a parent's job transfer. A family move, but with unique circumstances for each individual. Such was the case for Donna Steele Vestal, KCUR’s content director.

As we say goodbye to 2014, we remember the people we lost this year. Author Jack Gantos shares his boyhood experience typing stories for his town's obituary writer, offering insights into why a community needs to remember. Kansas Citians share memories, plus, a tribute to the Westside's Lynda Callon, who died in October. 

Guest:

  • Jack Gantos, author, Dead End in Norvelt
Wikimedia Commons

When we tell people where we're from, we're not just clarifying our address. We're saying something about who we are. So when we proclaim that we're from Kansas City (or Kansas or Missouri or the Midwest), what is it we're trying to communicate? And when you move to a new place, when do you start truly being from there?

BONUS: Hear KCUR's Suzanne Hogan exploring her own dedication to the 816 area code, despite growing up just a short walk from the Kansas border.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

About 2 million people live in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The region is almost equally divided by the Kansas-Missouri state line geographically (land that is considered the metro) and by population. But that line doesn’t keep us from moving around a bit.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

The Kansas City metropolitan area is almost equally divided geographically and population-wise between two states —Missouri and Kansas.

But how does this state-divide define us as individuals within the community?

Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, Mo., is a place where people can get an up-close look at wild animals and plants that surround the area. It’s also one of the largest animal rehabilitation centers in Missouri.

Wild animals are brought in when they lose their habitat, are injured or abandoned. Humans are animal’s biggest threat, but the center is a place where humans are trying to help them out.

One of the latest trends in fashion and technology is based on a very old technology.

Even as cellphone manufacturers and other tech companies are trying to pack every possible gadget into a "wearable" device, some people, young and old, are opting to wear old-fashioned wristwatches.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Watches are about more than telling the time these days. They can monitor your body, connect to the internet, and play music. Techies at Garmin in Olathe, Kan., are busy re-inventing the wristwatch of the 21st century, while old-school techies are dedicated to keeping vintage timepieces ticking. 

Guests:

Chel O'Reilly

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.  

Chel O’Reilly is what you might call a Kansas City super-fan.

She proudly wears a necklace with a Missouri pendant, a heart marks where Kansas City is. But all this Kansas City pride has been kind of new to O’Reilly.

Originally from the Northeast, O’Reilly was living happily in Brooklyn, N.Y., with no plans to leave. But one visit to hang out with friends in Kansas City three years ago changed her life.

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