Maria Carter

Newscaster, News Director

Maria Carter grew up in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated from Reed College in Portland, Ore. with a degree in economics. After a year off, she returned to her home state to study journalism at the University of Missouri, receiving her Master’s degree in 2004.

Maria started working at KCUR as an intern and was later hired as a general assignment reporter. She covers local politics and anything else happening in the Kansas City area. In 2006, she spent a month in northern Louisiana, lending a hand at the local public radio station and covering the thousands of evacuees temporarily in the area.


7:40 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Kansas City Out Of Running For 2016 GOP Convention

Mayor Sly James joined RNC committee members at a press conference during their site visit to Kansas City in early June.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Update, 1:10 p.m.

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Cleveland, Ohio, and Dallas, Texas, were finalists to host the 2016 Republican Convention. Kansas City and Denver have been eliminated.

Committee members were in Kansas City earlier this month to tour facilities and meet city officials. In a release, the committee says the decision was based on a review of bids and information gathered at site visits to each city.

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2:40 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

The Best Places To Watch The World Cup In Kansas City

An estimated 12,000 people gathered in Kansas City's Power and Light district to watch the United States take on Ghana in the 2010 World Cup.
Credit dustjelly / Flickr-CC

As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Brazil, many soccer fans in Kansas City will be cheering for the U.S. men's team and Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

But many other Kansas Citians will cheer on teams from around the globe.

For optimum World Cup viewing, we've rounded up a list of local places to go for a more international soccer experience:

Brazil: Taste of Brazil Market, 25 E. 3rd St, Kansas City, Mo. 

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11:25 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Meet The Six Kansas City Area Kids Headed To The National Spelling Bee

Ethan Perris
Credit Scripps National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place this week in Washington, D.C., and the Kansas City area will be represented by six youth from middle schools across the region.

Two local competitors received international media attention for their marathon battle to represent Jackson County, but besides Kush Sharma, who won that battle, five other students are also representing the Kansas City area in the national competition.

Here are the six kids to root for as the National Spelling Bee commences:

Ethan Perris

Age: 13

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Central Standard
11:55 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Food Critics: Kansas City's Best Wings

Buffalo-style is one of the most popular sauces for chicken wings. Watch out for the heat.
Credit Wikipedia -- CC

It may not be football season, but chicken wings are still a popular appetizer at many restaurants and bars.

The Central Standard Food critics stopped by KCUR to give us their Kansas City favorites from traditional Buffalo wings to exotic preparations.

Here are their recommendations:

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12:43 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

JJ's Restaurant Plans Return To West Plaza

JJ’s restaurant will re-open across the street from its former location on the Country Club Plaza, which was destroyed by an explosion on Feb. 19, 2013.

The new location will be in the lobby of the Plaza Vista building at 960 W. 48th Place and feature a large patio.

Plaza Vista is home to the Polsinelli law firm and opened in November 2013. The area has been in construction since 2005, much of it was part of the failed West Edge project. 

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9:52 am
Tue April 22, 2014

KCI Taskforce Narrows Choices

The citizens taskforce has ruled out recommending KCI keep the same configuration.

A citizen taskforce soon could make a recommendation for the future of Kansas City International Airport. 

After nearly a year of work, the group has narrowed the many possible options down to three — renovating the existing terminals and building new screening areas and parking facilities, revamping two terminals and connecting them with a central building, or constructing a new terminal. 

Architect Bob Berkebile helped draw up plans for KCI more than four decades ago. He now co-chairs the advisory group.

Interview highlights

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12:47 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Corporon Remembered As A Family Man

Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, was taking his grandson Reat Underwood, 14, to a singing audition at the Jewish Community Center when both were fatally shot Sunday afternoon.

Corporon and his wife of 49 years, Melinda, moved to Johnson County, Kan., in 2003 to be closer to his family. Before that, he practiced family medicine in Oklahoma for more than 25 years.  He continued to see patients in the Kansas City area.

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6:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

City And School Board Election Results


Excelsior Springs Council (2 elected)

* Sharon Powell 775
* Ambrose Buckman 772
Mark Spohn 663
Reggie St. John 543

Excelsior Springs bond issue

Shall the city issue up to $18 million in bonds to build a community center? (4/7ths majority.)

* Yes 982
No 596

Gladstone Council

* R.D. Mallams 1158
Shari Le Poindexter 654

Grain Valley mayor

* Michael Todd 331
Chuck Johnston 274
Barbara Kountzman 202

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5:44 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Johnson County Election Results

Results below are for contested races only.  All those running unopposed won.


Council Member - Ward 3

  • Tom Robinett  58.2%
  • James M. Stephens 40.9%



  • Steven Schowengerdt  50.5%
  • David Shepard 49.4%

Council Member - Ward 1

  • Steven Lucas 55.6%
  • Jay A. Meyer 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 2 

  • Arcie Rothrock 56.3%
  • William J. Vandenberg, III 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 4 

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1:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Making 'Tinkering' An Art

Karen Wilkinson is the co-author of The Art of Tinkering.

"Tinkering" might conjure up images of a garage workshop or someone just puttering around, but a new book is putting a different spin on the term.

On Friday's Up to Date, author Karen Wilkinson joins us to discuss what she calls "the art of tinkering" and some of the creative ways anyone can become a tinkerer.


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Up to Date
10:44 am
Fri March 28, 2014

One Company's 'Quirky' Spin On Getting Inventions Produced

Quirky works with inventors and entrepreneurs to make the connections they need to produce their products.

People have ideas for inventions all the time, but getting those ideas made into consumer products can be a difficult journey.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with a representative of, a website that connects the entrepreneurs with the means to produce their ideas.


  • Nathaniel Padgett,
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Up to Date
10:43 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Getting Inventive In Kansas City

When you think of inventors, the image is often of a mad scientist shouting, 'Eureka!'
Credit Giles Moss / Flickr-CC

When you tell people you're an inventor, it conjures up images of a mad scientist slaving away in a lab. But what's it really like to be an inventor in Kansas City?

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with local inventor Rich Melton about where he finds his inspiration, the roadblocks he's encountered and how he got started.


  • Rich Melton, inventor
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2:53 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Kansas City Mayor Calls For Stricter Gun Laws In State Of The City Address

Kansas City Mayor Sly James delivered his 2014 State of the City address to high school students at Park Hill High School.
Credit Courtesy / Kansas City, Mo.

Mayor Sly James delivered his state of the city address Monday to around 400 high school students at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.

Part of the Mayor's message involved teens and raucous crowds on the Plaza and at the Zoo. James says young people are a strategic investment.

“It’s clear to me that young people need to have some level of guidance. They need good role models. They need solid direction. They need hope," said James. "They need a quality education and they need to know somebody out there gives a damn about them."

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Arts & Culture
10:06 am
Mon March 17, 2014

New Exhibit At National WWI Museum Highlights International Perspectives

Il Corriere della Sera (Italian newspaper)
Courtesy: National World War I Museum

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and a new exhibit at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., details the events that led up to the war — from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the declaration of war a month later on July 28, 1914.

The exhibit presents archival newspaper articles and diplomatic communications from around the world. 

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Central Standard
4:01 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Children's Mercy Expanding Summer Camp For Children With ADHD

Children's Mercy Hospital is expanding a camp designed for kids with ADHD for the summer of 2014.

The camp was modeled on the work of Bill Pelham who opened the first one in 1980. What makes these camps different is a focus on behavioral modification with an intense connection between the camp, the campers and the parents.

According to Dr. Trista Perez Crawford, the camp costs about $4,000 for the summer but offers the equivalent of what would be approximately six years of weekly hour long behavioral therapy.

Central Standard
4:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Star Trek Star LeVar Burton Defines His Life By Service

LeVar Burton speaking at the 2012 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona.
Credit Gage Skidmore / wikimedia commons

Actor LeVar Burton joins Central Standard to talk about his career and dedication to literacy. He says he's been profoundly influenced by his mother and father who modeled for him a life of service.

Burton is an advocate for children's literacy and is working on launching the Reading Rainbow app. He will be in Kansas City on Saturday, March 15 for Planet Comicon.


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1:12 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Marathon Jackson County Spelling Bee Finally Ends

Jackson County Spelling Bee winner Kush Sharma, in the bee hat, poses with students and teachers from his school, Frontier School of Innovation.
Credit Maria Carter / KCUR

The Jackson County Spelling Bee finally came to an end Saturday morning, sending 13-year-old Kush Sharma of Kansas City, Mo, to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sharma and 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman of Lee’s Summit went through the entire list of provided words during their first match up on Feb. 22. Organizers selected 20 more words from the dictionary before calling it a tie.

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4:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

What The Supreme Court Ruling May Mean For Kansas Public Schools

Mikesha Bradner, a Kindergarten teacher at Claude Huyck Elementary in Kansas City, Kan., say she has had to use her own funds for classroom materials
Credit Maria Carter / KCUR

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to spend more money on public schools. But it stopped short of giving an exact dollar amount and sent that back to a lower court with instructions. The decision comes almost four years after the first lawsuit was filed. 

Inequities in the classroom

The court found poorer districts were hurt when the legislature cut funding, creating inequities. The Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools cut 400 positions, including 130 teachers, when education budget cuts took effect. 

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10:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court Rules School Funding Formula Unconstitutional

The Kansas Supreme Court Friday ordered more funding for K-12 public schools.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to increase funding for public K-12 schools, but sent the decision back to the Shawnee County District Court to enforce.

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7:47 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Marathon Spelling Bee Makes Celebrities Out Of Kansas City Area Spellers

Kush Sharma of Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, Mo.


Here’s a twist: A spelling bee that ends in a tie. That’s just what happened in Kansas City two weeks ago, but rules are rules, and there can be only one winner.

So, winners Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma will compete once more Saturday morning, and this time there will be a victor.

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Central Standard
4:01 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

What Will Happen To The Kemper Arena?

Credit flickr user j.s. clark / Creative Commons

The fate of Kemper Arena is being disputed by two Kansas City parties. The American Royal would like to demolish it, as proposed in October 2011, to create room for a smaller agricultural and multipurpose center. Foutch Brothers, a Kansas City development firm, is fighting to preserve it.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Sochi 2014: What It Takes To Be An Olympian

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, began on Feb. 7 and the world has been enthralled with the incredible athleticism displayed at the games.

Today we talk with professional runner Amy Mortimer, who placed ninth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Later, we discuss what it takes for Olympians to train and compete in extreme winter conditions.

Also, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler talks about the public's reactions to the Olympic games with this week's Tell KCUR. Finally, we explore what's at stake for Russia in hosting these games.


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Olympic Dreams
7:26 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Olympic Dreams In Kansas City: Where To Speed Skate

Members of the Kansas City Speed Skating team race around the ice at Line Creek Community Center
Credit Donna Vestal / KCUR

Speed skating is ice skating that falls into two basic categories — long track and short track. Long track races takes places on a 400m long oval rink with skaters competing in pairs. Short track involves four to six skaters on a track about a fourth that size.

Kansas City doesn’t have an Olympic sized rink for even short track, but a hockey rink will work.

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5:21 am
Mon February 3, 2014

School Closings On Monday, February 3

The following schools are closed on Monday, February 3:

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7:44 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Overland Park Family Passes On A Gift To Sick Children Through Santa

Santa Claus shows children the blanket he received from Kelly Clark and her family.
Credit Maria Carter / KCUR


Tonight millions of children will lay down in bed thinking about one thing -- Santa Claus. And as old St. Nick puts on his red suit and harnesses his reindeer, he’ll be bringing a special blanket given to him at a family gathering in Overland Park to keep his lap warm this Christmas. Next year, Santa plans to pass that blanket on as a special gift.

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9:26 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Winter Weather Closes Schools And Cancels Activities

Updated 3:04 p.m.

Rain is expected to continue this afternoon with snow tonight and overnight, according to an update from the National Weather Service.

In the latest report, NWS forecasters say: "Light snow accumulations will be possible with a dusting to 3" in the local area. Snow will end by daybreak Saturday, with a chilly day anticipated."

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the metro area through 9 a.m. on Saturday.

School and community closings (Saturday)

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8:52 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Kansas City Company Pushes Holiday Light Recycling

Miles of Christmas lights could be headed out the door as more consumers look at switching from traditional holiday lights to their LED counterparts. Kansas City-based Southeast Enterprises is looking to keep the discarded strands out of landfills.

Southeast Enterprises Business Director Megan Gurera says they accept any unused or broken strands of lights.

“You know the ones you pullout, get ready to put up, and half of it works,” says Gurera.

Southeast Enterprises is a sheltered workshop, employing 160 people with development or intellectual disabilities.

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7:46 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Kansas Agency Encourages A New Black Friday Tradition

A Kansas agency is urging black families talk to sit down and interview their family members on Friday. The Kansas African American Affairs Commission is calling the oral history project called “New Black Friday.”

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11:07 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Kansas City Council Weighs Split Between Museum And Union Station

The Kansas City council is looking at a proposal for the city to take control of the Kansas City Museum and its collection. The move would cut the strained ties between the museum and Union Station, which has managed the museum since 2000.

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7:34 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

November 5 Election Results, By The Numbers

Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Updated 5:36 a.m.

The ballot issues Tuesday were on the Missouri side of the Kansas City area, including the largest tax increase in Jackson County in more than two decades. Voter turnout was, as expected, light.

The results below are unofficial until certified.

Here are the latest numbers:

Blue Springs, Mo. Parks Sales Tax:
In Blue Springs, voters defeated a permanent half-cent sales tax that would have raised $3 million a year for parks-related projects, including community recreation centers.

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