Sylvia Maria Gross

Reporter, Producer & Co-Host of KC Currents

Sylvia Maria Gross co-hosts and produces KC Currents, an award-winning weekly news magazine that covers news and culture in Kansas City’s diverse communities. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World and Studio 360. Gross grew up in New York City, Brazil and the suburbs of Washington, DC. She studied English at Yale University, and then spent a year researching arts education in Brazil on a Fulbright grant. When she returned from Brazil, she taught middle school math and English while completing a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York City. She reported in New York about education and culture before moving to Kansas City in 2004.

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Central Standard
5:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Where Are You From? (And Why Does It Matter?)

Lots of people are "from" somewhere they've left behind.
Credit 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.

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Central Standard
12:19 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Money Therapy: The Ghost Of Finances Past

Financial decisions carry information etched into our brains long, long ago.
Credit Creative Commons, Wikimedia

We don't learn anything in a vacuum — including financial skills. So it comes as little surprise that we are inclined to save, spend and budget based on lessons from the past rather than circumstances of the present. But, can we change how we're wired in order to adapt?

Guests:  

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Central Standard
4:37 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Kansas City Wine Vendor's Advice: Slurping Is Good

Ryan Sciara, right, owns Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Wine merchant Ryan Sciara says “slurping” is the proper way to taste a wine.

Suck in some air to help move it to the different taste receptors in the mouth.

“You get acidity on the front, tannins in the back, and sweetness in the middle,” Sciara says.

And then he spits, so that he can function through the rest of the day.

Sciara, who opened Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this year, developed a taste for wine as a small child, sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen.

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Central Standard
3:56 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Introducing Audiofiles: Central Standard's Podcast Review Show

Through podcasts, listeners curate audio experiences. Our experts provide lots of listening material to choose from.
Credit Carolyn Williams, Flickr

A whole podcast genre has developed around devices that put giant sound libraries inside people's pockets. Podcast-lovers enjoy the "headspace you can crawl into when you're listening to incredible radio," says audio-whiz Andrea Silenzi. "You kind of travel to this other space with a podcast." Our guests debate the hugely popular Serial, and discuss their top recommendations for podcast listening.

Audiofiles Recommend:

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Arts & Culture
1:54 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Best Podcasts: Recommendations From KCUR Staff

With the hit podcast 'Serial' 2014 saw a resurgence in the listening platform.
Credit Doug / Flickr--CC

The line between radio show and podcast is pretty blurry.

After all, a podcast is just audio that you can stream or download on your own time. (You can subscribe to KCUR podcasts here.)

Many of our own staff at KCUR are also big consumers of podcasts, whether produced by public radio or not.

Here are some picks from our staff and interns:

Maria Carter, news director/newscaster

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Talk Show
4:21 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Modern Historic Irish Pageantry

After gaining independence, the people of Ireland used pageantry to express their heritage. These thematic recreations of historical and mythical events were subversive acts of forging a new national identity. In All Dressed Up: Modern Irish Historical Pageantry, Joan Dean explores the public imagination of history.

Guest:  

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Central Standard
4:16 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Unearthed Documents And Memorabilia Tell A Story Of Race In Kansas City

College dormitory at Western College.
Credit Kansas City Public Library / Missouri Valley Special Collections

Sonny Gibson likes to let history speak for itself. He spent 25 years visiting flea markets, poring over old newspapers, digging through archives and even knocking on people's doors, all to gather information about the daily lives of African-Americans in Kansas City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Guest:

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Central Standard
4:12 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

The Community Response To The Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

Tear gas was used in Ferguson, Mo., the night the grand jury decision was announced.
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday night, the people of Ferguson, Mo., learned that the white police officer who shot and killed a black teenager in August would not be indicted. After a period of stunned silence, chaos erupted between protestors and police, who showed up on the scene before violence broke out. How do residents feel, faced with immediate struggles and a national spotlight? Is it possible for the events in Ferguson to give rise to a new chapter in the history of race and justice in America?

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:31 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Teens And Grieving

Teens process and express grief in very particular ways. In the aftermath of two suicides at an Olathe high school, and while the shooting of Michael Brown is still a recent memory, experts shed light on how people at this sensitive developmental stage cope with profound loss. Plus, information on how adults in their lives can help.

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:48 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

What Matters To Kansas City Parents When It Comes To Schools?

Hale Cook, a recently re-opened neighborhood school in Waldo, has been a good choice for one of our callers.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Maybe it's a decision about which side of the state line to live on. Maybe it's public school versus private, or district versus charter. For some, there may not seem to be a choice in the matter at all. A range of issues factor into where Kansas City families send their kids to school; meanwhile, difficulty discerning myth from reality looms large. Our callers and guests help break it down.

Guests:

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Central Standard
1:06 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Is 'The Mommy Problem' Affecting Parents In Kansas City?

In a column that ran last week, the New York times coined the phrase 'The Mommy Problem' to suggest that when a woman becomes a parent, Mom becomes her identity--not just in relation to her children, but also in relation to society. Is there a public dimension to the private relationship between mothers and their children? And does child-rearing take a village... or just a mom?

Guests:

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Central Standard
2:40 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Money Therapy: Going Solo

When you're starting your own business, do the math and write things down.
Credit Keith Williamson / Flickr, Creative Commons

So, you want to go into business for yourself. Live the dream. Become your own boss. What's the best attitude to have going into it, and what are the practical steps you should take to lay the groundwork? Plus, how to ensure you're building a dream, rather than a nightmare.

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:22 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Author Rebecca Skloot On Science, Race, And Ethics

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, she had no idea that she would change the future of modern medicine forever. Medical researchers used cells harvested from her cervix for research projects that led to countless medical breakthroughs--all without her family's knowledge or consent. The author who uncovered the story explores her years-long obsession with getting to know Henrietta Lacks. 

Guest:

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Central Standard
4:38 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Re-Opening Of JJ's Brings A Community Back Together

A year and a half after a natural gas explosion destroyed an iconic off-Plaza restaurant, the business is reopening. Its noteworthy wine collection remains a draw, and the old-world ambiance has been recreated. The menu will change little, if at all. Meanwhile, the server killed by the explosion leaves behind a powerful absence. The re-opening is a milestone for regulars who considered JJ's a home away from home.

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:20 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

The Novel Inside: Kansas City Authors Share Novel-Writing Stories

Our city is teeming with people who dream of writing that novel... someday. If those aspiring writers decided to turn their literary dreams into reality, where would they begin? Our guests offer advice and personal stories in honor of National Novel Writing Month.

Guests:

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Central Standard
2:45 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Untangling Misconceptions About Eating Disorders

High standards. A desire for greater control. A predisposition toward anxiety or depression. These traits are common among people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses are complex, multifaceted and incredibly dangerous. Body image is just the tip of the iceberg.

Guests:

  • Dr. Ashley McCune, counselor, InSight
  • Jon Smith, patient in recovery
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Central Standard
10:46 am
Fri October 31, 2014

World Series Game Seven: The View From The Parking Lot

Die-hard Royals fans paid $25 per carload to "watch" game seven of the World Series from the parking lot outside of Kauffman Stadium.
Credit Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Many Royals fans couldn't afford tickets to the World Series, but they wanted to be as close as possible to the historic game. Hear how they "watched" the game from the parking lot. 

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Central Standard
4:19 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

The Wyandot History Of Wyandotte County

A two-acre cemetery in downtown Kansas City, Kan. is one of the few public reminders of the Wyandot Nation, whose trail of tears brought them to the area in the early 19th century. Yet the Wyandot had an influence on what was to become Wyandotte County, as well as Kansas' civil war history.

Guests:

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Central Standard
2:56 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

A Conversation With 'Rudderless' Screenwriter Casey Twenter

In Rudderless, a grieving father played by Billy Crudup is confronted by his son's girlfriend, played by Selena Gomez.
Credit Samuel Goldwyn Films and Paramount Home Media Distribution

When Casey Twenter came up with the idea for the movie Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup and directed by William H. Macy, he was a Kansas City guy working at an advertising agency. This conversation shares Twenter's story and offers insight into his on-screen exploration of parenthood and loss, love and guilt.

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Central Standard
2:38 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The 'Kansas Flu' Of 1918 And The City's Response To It

In the wake of swirling fears about the spread of Ebola as well as Kansas cases of pertussis and measles, we look back on a pandemic that hit home for Kansas City: the Influenza pandemic of 1918. The death rate in Kansas City outpaced that in other places, and some say the city's politics and public health infrastructure were largely to blame.

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Central Standard
7:54 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Kansas City’s West Africans Fight Ebola In Their Home Countries And Stigma Here

Liberians worship at the Konobo language service at the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Kansas City's historic northeast neighborhood.
Sylvia Maria Gross KCUR

Djenabou Balde has been calling her daughter in Guinea every day to plead with her not to leave the house.

“I always say, ‘Keep the kids in the house. Make sure they are clean. Do not go to any function.’” Balde says. “She can hear me maybe today and tomorrow, forget, so I keep on calling every day.”

Balde moved to Kansas City 10 years ago from Guinea, where the recent Ebola outbreak began. Members of her family are either in quarantine, or just staying home to be safe.

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Central Standard
1:37 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

The Story Behind The 'Royal' Newspaper Every Kansas Citian Will Save

Charles Gooch waits for the game to end and photos to start coming in before he can start designing page one of the Kansas City Star.

Kansas City Star designer Charles Gooch sits in the center of the newsroom, surrounded by televisions. He knows that this is going to be one of the front pages that people save for posterity.

“A lot of my friends on Twitter tell me no pressure, that they want to see the definitive A1 that they can put in their files and hang up on their walls,” Gooch says.

It’s the bottom of the 8th, Royals are winning 2-1, and Gooch is staring at a blank page with just the masthead. He’s getting the rest of the paper designed, so he’s ready as soon as the game ends.

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Central Standard
2:34 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

When The Storm Outside Triggers A Storm Inside: Severe Weather Phobias

"I know this one person will drive two hundred miles away to get out of the path of a possible thunderstorm that may happen a few days in the future." - Karen Multon
Credit MattysFlicks / Flickr, Creative Commons

When storms roll in, some people rush to the window to watch, while others are rushing to the basement. What is the difference between a healthy fear of weather and out-of-proportion anxiety? A mother and daughter professor duo have combined their expertise in the separate fields of geography and psychology to investigate severe weather phobias.

Guests:

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Central Standard
1:09 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Kansas City's Immigrant Communities Feel The Pull Of International Crises

At the Liberian service at the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Kansas City, Mo., parishioners are concerned about Ebola in their home country, and the stigma of the disease here.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Syria, Liberia and Ukraine are places most Kansas Citians know through news reports. But for immigrants from these countries, headlines aren't the half of it; friends, relatives and even memories remain in places left behind. Sound and stories take us around Kansas City, and around the world, as experts on the transnational experience add perspective. 

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Central Standard
1:00 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Kansas And Missouri Nuts, From Tree To Plate

Who doesn't love a nut?
Credit Lady Dragonfly CC - >;< / Flickr, Creative Commons

Little-known fact: It's chestnut harvesting season in Kansas. So what's the scene at the local chestnut orchard? And how are chefs using the overall nut bounty in area kitchens?

Guests:

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Central Standard
2:25 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Mixed Emotions: The Complex Logic Of Feelings

An emotional reaction begins with a set of reflexive messages originating in the brain. It happens faster than thought and is beyond our control. But what we do with that emotion and how long we hold onto it beyond the initial reflex? That's another story.

Guest:

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Central Standard
3:02 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Sexual Assault On College Campuses: A Look At Kansas And Missouri University Policies

A recent sexual assault controversy has shaken the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Credit Tristan Bowersox / Flickr, Creative Commons

California just passed a law establishing "yes means yes" as the statewide standard for consent, and President Obama recently issued a message to the nation calling assault on campus "an affront to our basic humanity." In the wake of some controversial local cases, where do local universities stand on this issue, and what are students saying?

Guests:

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Central Standard
3:18 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

How Kansas City Relates To Its Jazz Legacy

Charlie Parker, one of Kansas City's most legendary saxophonists.
Credit Gottlieb, William P./Wikimedia-Creative Commons

In the 1930s, Kansas City was a place where talent and history converged, resulting in a whole new sound that jazz aficionados continue to study today. But how does that past inform Kansas City's present day jazz scene?

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Smoking Meat In Kansas City, Past And Present

Greg Beachner at the converted bread oven-smoker he shares with about a dozen friends.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Pork butts to the left of us, briskets to the right: that's one way of describing Kansas City's culinary geography. Join us on a visit to a Kansas City home with a smoker out back, and a chat with a food photographer who traced Calvin Trillin's famous footsteps with his own burnt-end odyssey

Guests:

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Central Standard
2:42 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Miguel 'Mambo' DeLeon On Afrocuban Rhythm And His Time In Kansas City

Miguel DeLeon has been a fixture and driving force in Kansas City's Latin music scene.
Credit elmamboworld.com

Miguel DeLeon is a man of many aliases. To some, he's El Mambo. To others, El Pionero. After nearly three decades leading Latin bands and teaching music in Kansas City, he moved to Phoenix, but he's back for a visit, playing gigs and teaching an Afrocuban drumming workshop. 

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