Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is substitute host of Central Standard and Up To Date and has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008. He has been acting producer and associate producer of Up To Date and was acting producer of The Walt Bodine Show. A member of the Religion Newswriters Association, he also contributes occasionally to KCUR news coverage. Even before joining the KCUR staff, he was a producer and frequent guest on Up To Date's "Religion Roundtable," as well as a committed listener and volunteer.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian served as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years and now is executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he is also a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in preaching at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo.

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Central Standard
9:55 am
Tue December 10, 2013

A Look At What's Next As KC Chamber Checks Off Animal Health From Big 5 List

It’s been a little over two years since the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced its Big 5 goals – their plans for, as they said, “making Kansas City one of the greatest communities in America.”

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Central Standard
9:53 am
Tue December 10, 2013

WWI Museum Prepares For Centennial Commemoration

Off to the world's war aboard troopship, Boston Harbor, 1918-1919.
Credit Boston Public Library / Flickr -- Creative Commons

It was known as the Great War—or even The War to End All Wars, even though, of course, it didn’t. It did, however cost 9 million lives, devastated Europe and drew in all the world’s great powers of the day.

Next summer marks the 100th Anniversary of World War I. But how do you remember something that no one alive has first-person experience with?

The answer includes the hiring this month of new staff to head up the effort and start making plans and putting them into action.

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Central Standard
3:04 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Carla Wilson Named New UMKC Athletic Director

Carla Wilson was named UMKC's new athletic director this week. Her hiring is a landmark for women of color, as she is the only African-American woman who is an athletic director of a division 1 school that is not historically black.

Wilson is not new to UMKC, she's been there for 24 years, 16 of them in the athletic department. As a college student, she had a work study in the athletics department, and after earning her degree in accounting, she went on to work at UMKC and move up in the ranks. 

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Central Standard
2:53 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Concussions And Head Trauma In Contact Sports

Credit Monicas Dad / Flickr - CC

Several cases have been popping up in the news in which former NFL players are suing either the league, or their team organization, for injuries or disorders they have developed after retiring. They claim that the professional organizations that used to employ them are responsible for the health problems they are now experience.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

A Kansas City Musican's Year Building Family Home Off The Grid

The completed home built by the Bonny family.
Miles Bonny Flickr

Perhaps you’ve had dreams of a simple lifestyle, living in harmony with nature, off-the-grid. But, putting theory into practice is usually where many people lose interest. But musician Miles Bonny, his wife Jesse and their two young daughters did exactly that about one year ago.  They sold much of what they owned packed the rest into a small trailer and made for the high desert of northern New Mexico to build their own off–the-grid home. With no wired electricity, no plumbing, no wireless internet they crafted their own adobe home, with their own hands learning as they went.

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Central Standard
7:32 am
Thu November 28, 2013

The Benefits Of Giving Thanks

Credit Hey Paul Studios / flickr Creative Commons

It began when Abraham Lincoln declared that in gratitude for the Union Army’s victory at Gettysburg, the fourth Thursday in November would henceforth be a national day of Thanksgiving. We would come to add the familiar stories and imagery of pilgrims and native Americans, the tradition of a harvest feast, but the celebration’s purpose from the start was in its name.

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Central Standard
7:56 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Charitable Giving: When Doing Good Goes Bad

A victim of typhoon Haiyan receives a hygiene kit.
Credit Oxfam / flickr Creative Commons

We’re approaching the time of year when people tend to be most generous. But how do you know that your desire to help … is really helping? That your giving is actually doing good and not harm?

Tuesday we take a look at how the best of intentions can sometimes backfire, and how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

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Up to Date
12:24 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Sporting KC Heads To Championship Game

Sporting KC's Aurelien Collin plays during a game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Credit Ryan Knapp / Flickr-CC

The roar of the crowd confirmed what Sporting KC did this weekend at Sporting Park: They secured a spot at the MLS Cup being held in Kansas City Dec. 7.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, KCUR's Greg Echlin joins us to give a preview for that game.

Guest:

  • Greg Echlin, KCUR sports reporter
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Up to Date
10:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Exceptional Children And The Search For Identity

Andrew Solomon is the author of 'Far From the Tree.'

Medical problems, gender identity or varied abilities that put children out of the mainstream can bring overwhelming challenges for the individual and their family. In the first part of Monday's Up to Datewe take a look at how this struggle forms identities for the children and the parents.

Guest:

  • Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
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Central Standard
2:32 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Explaining Kansas City's LGBT Equality Scores

The Human Rights Campaign recently released it’s second Municipal Equality Index. It rates 291 cities across the United States in terms of laws, policies, and services that positively impact the LGBT community. Perhaps the most striking things about the report was that Kansas City,  Mo., scored 100 out of 100, while Kansas City, Kan., scored zero.

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Central Standard
2:30 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

New Documentary Claims Missionaries Are Exporting Anti-Homosexual Values To Africa

Credit Roger Ross Williams / God Loves Uganda

A new film, now playing in Kansas City, makes a startling case – that American evangelicals, in the name of doing mission work, have triggered something in Africa that’s very different from prayer and worship and medical help for the needy. Instead, the film suggests, they’ve influenced governments and societies to discriminate against gay and lesbian people … or worse.

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Central Standard
2:10 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Parents, Kids And The Busy Schedule

Credit thejbird / Flickr-CC

There was a time when being a kid did not involve needing a planner. Those days are long gone for many families in the new world of lessons, sports, classes, tutoring, clubs, church groups and academics. Many children have busier schedules than their parents, which means the parents’ schedules fill up, too.

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Central Standard
1:10 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Wyandotte County Buys T-Bones Baseball Stadium

Leaders of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., have announced plans to purchase and renovate Community America Ballpark – the home of the T-Bones – for $8 million. It would join a growing list of publicly subsidized sports venues. It's good news for baseball fans and  for the Village West shopping and entertainment area – but how should taxpayers feel?  Host Brian Ellison discusses the pros and cons behind the decision with two of the decision-makers behind the proposed purchase. Guests:

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Central Standard
2:24 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

An Interview With The Former U.S. Ambassador To Portugal, Allan Katz

Former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Allan Katz, (left) with Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta.
Credit Secretary of Defense / Flickr - CC

Allan Katz recently returned from foreign service as the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal to teach at his alma mater, UMKC. Katz was a friend of Barack Obama (before he became President Obama) which he says contributed to being chosen as the ambassador. President Obama nominated Katz in 2009, which was followed by what Katz says was a long, arduous process of congressional approval. Katz says there were difficult times of misunderstanding, such as the publication of Wikileaks, but that if given the opportunity he would serve again. 

Guest:

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Central Standard
12:54 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

The Practice Of Gender-Conscious Parenting

Credit Kristen_a / Flickr - CC

Imagine your young son tells you he wants to play with Barbies. Or that he prefers a purple backpack to a blue one. Perhaps your little girl tells you she doesn’t want a doll for Christmas, but would prefer a monster truck. Would you be uncomfortable?

When raising a child, what gender choices do you make for your child, and what do you let them decide for themselves?  What defines a boy as a boy, or a girl as a girl?

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Central Standard
9:37 am
Wed November 6, 2013

The Minimum Wage Debate And The Legacy Of E. Grey Dimond

Credit 401(K) 2012/Flickr-CC

Working two jobs, for a total of 60 hours a week, at federal minimum wage, you would bring home roughly $22,600 a year. That’s almost one thousand dollars under the federal poverty level for a family of four.

On today's Central Standard, Brian Ellison talks with two economists who have differing views on minimum wage. How much does raising minimum wage hurt businesses, but how much could it improve the lives of those working at minimum wage?

We also look back on the life of E. Grey Dimond, founder of the UMKC school of medicine, with some of his former colleagues.

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Central Standard
8:53 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Should Sperm Donors Be Required To Pay Child Support?

A case in Kansas will have jurors deciding whether a sperm donor should have to pay child support.
Credit Wikimedia Commons - CC

A few years ago, a lesbian couple in Kansas posted an ad to Craigslist asking a man to donate sperm so they could have a child. William Marotta responded, refused their offer of $50, and signed over his sperm.

The couple gave birth to a child, however,  when the child started receiving state aid, Marotta found himself being sued by the state for thousands in child support.

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Central Standard
4:24 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Groups Organize Counter-Protest In Response To Neo-Nazi Rally

Credit National Socialist Movement Rally At U.S. Capitol - Wikipedia / Google Images -- CC

The National Socialist Movement has scheduled a rally November 9 in Kansas City at the Jackson County Courthouse. The group calls itself a white civil rights organization, whereas watchdog organizations uniformly call it a hate group that is racist, anti-Semitic and dangerous.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center says that extremist groups have been growing since the start of the recession in 2008. He claims that in 2008 there were 149 extremist groups, whereas as currently there are over 1000. 

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Central Standard
9:04 am
Tue October 1, 2013

How Will The Government Shutdown Impact Kansas City?

Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City.
Credit Sydney Llewellyn / KCUR

The federal government of the United States has shutdown.  But, how long will the country go without money budgeted to run its government?

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Central Standard
5:02 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Local Fashion Show Keeps KC Fashion Scene Vibrant

Credit Tim Alamenciak

You may remember when Kansas City was the fashion center of the Midwest—in the 1930's buildings in the Garment District employed thousands of people and made clothing worn all over the country. It may have been 80 years since we had that stature in the world, but one annual event may slowly, but surely be putting our town back on the fashion map. KC Fashion Week starts Thursday, October 3rd and has events through Sunday, October 6th.

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Central Standard
9:46 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Buying A Home In Today's Market

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

It’s the most important investment—and the largest asset—that most people will ever make and own. It’s volatile in price, difficult to manage, and subject to sudden and total loss. For many, it’s also their hope of a secure future. 

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Central Standard
6:14 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

App Development In Kansas City

Credit Ilamont.com / Flickr - CC

Imagine you go to the doctor's office, and instead of being handed a clipboard with the usual paperwork, they hand you a tablet. You fill in all of the information digitally and send it via the tablet to their office database. Then, with that same tablet, you have a list of digital magazines to browse instead of making a trip to the magazine stand. Suddenly, the paper trail you used to leave during your doctor's visit has been made completely digital. With new app technology, this could become the norm in many business settings.

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Central Standard
6:08 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

The Practicality Of Personality Tests

Credit Victor1558 / Flickr - CC

    

There are multiple tests out there that reduce your personality to a number, a one-word description, or a series of letters. Some say they’ve helped match the right person to the right job—maybe even to the right colleagues or romantic partners. But is personality simple enough to fit in such a box, or could a personality label lead people to change it, or live into it?

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Central Standard
11:57 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Is Kansas City Bike Friendly?

For most of us getting around Kansas City is a matter of finding the road with the least traffic and no construction. But for some of us, the problems are more elemental than that: Is there a bike lane or will I have to dodge traffic? Can I walk to get my groceries or go to the doctor? What do I do if I don’t have a car? 

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Central Standard
11:52 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Kansas City Prepares For The Baby Boomers

Credit Ethan Prater / Flickr - CC

We all know that the baby boomer generation is getting older. As the baby boomers enter into their  sixties and seventies, our population will experience a significant age shift. In fact, the number of residents over age 65 will double over the next 20 years, and community members over the age of 80 will be increasing at an even faster rate. But what happens when Grandma and Grandpa can no longer drive, or even live on their own?

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Central Standard
9:27 am
Tue September 17, 2013

What Is A Bitcoin?

While any computer can be used to "mine" BitCoins, some people make specially designed hardware to increase the efficiency of their effort.
Credit Gastev / Flickr - CC

In a society where we pay bills online, transfer money via the internet, and can buy virtually anything on the web, would you be surprised to know that a currency has been developed that only exists in digital form?

BitCoin is a currency invented not by a government, or a large bank, but by a person or perhaps few people, nobody actually knows exactly who.  It has no government backing, no tie to any precious metal and is entirely unregulated.  However, on the afternoon of Monday, September 16 the exchange rate for one Bitcoin was more than 126 dollars.

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Central Standard
12:56 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

What Does It Mean To Be A Man?

Credit Caza_no_7 / Flickr - CC

If you were to imagine a man in your mind's eye, what would he look like? What would he sound like? How would he act? In Western culture, the idea of a man provokes thoughts of ruggedness, strength, leadership-- someone unemotional, but powerful. While some of these characteristics are true, they could not apply to every man. But are they altogether outdated, or even false? 

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Central Standard
12:46 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri's General Assembly Faces Governor Nixon's Vetoes

Credit Ken Lund / Flickr - CC

Two bills recently vetoed by Governor Nixon are on the table for the Missouri General Assembly. Republicans are seeking to overthrow the governor's vetoes on two separate bills dealing with tax cuts and gun control.

House Bill 253 is a tax cut proposal for individuals, business owners, and corporations. The bill seeks to make Missouri more competitive with Kansas and to a more tax-friendly state. Governor Nixon vetoed House Bill 253 because he said it would gut funding for education and social services.

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Central Standard
5:07 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Online Courses: Education Of The Future?

In earlier generations, getting an education meant going to class, sitting in a classroom or lecture hall listening to the professor, and participating in discussions. Now, something as simple as raising your hand in class, or asking your neighbor to borrow a pen could become obsolete. In the growing phenomena of online education, thousands of students are logging into class, and instead of going to a physical building, they participate from the comfort of their home or local coffee shop.

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Central Standard
1:54 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Micro-Lending Around The World

Credit World Bank Photo Collection / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Micro-loans are becoming something of a trend now. Anyone can loan as little as $25 to $50 to someone across the globe they've never met. Bob Harris, a man who saw poverty in the world and pledged to himself to do something about it. 


Oftentimes these loans go to small businessman and businesswomen who need the money to get started or finish a project.  For instance, an individual may need a small loan to open up a new shop, or buy capital for a business they want to start, but they simply don't have the money.

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