Gina Kaufmann

Host, Central Standard

Gina’s background combines print and broadcast journalism, live event hosting and production, creative nonfiction writing and involvement in the arts. Early in her career, she followed a cultural beat for The Pitch, where she served as an editor and art writer in the early 2000s. She also worked as a contributing editor of Heeb magazine out of New York, assisting with the Heeb Storytelling series and ultimately starting her own live storytelling event series in Kansas City. Gina got her public radio chops working first as an intern for KC Currents with Sylvia Maria Gross, then as a co-host of The Walt Bodine Show. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Ways To Connect

George Hodgman is a writer and editor who's lived in New York and worked for places like Vanity Fair and Simon & Schuster.

After a childhood spent dreaming of New York and an adulthood caught up in the whirlwind of an intense career, he came home to Missouri to care for his ailing mother. Still, people from the small towns of his youth still think of him as the guy who went to New York.

So when he wrote a memoir, Bettyville, not about the glitzy social engagements in New York but about his childhood in Missouri, that meant something to people.

Just last week, he returned to Madison, Missouri — which had 554 residents as of the 2010 census — and gave a talk in a church basement. He regaled the town with stories about itself.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Star editor Mike Fannin makes decisions every day about what this community is going to know about itself, the region and even the world. In a changing news environment, with financial and staffing constraints, The Star, along with many news organizations, has been forced to examine its guiding principles and priorities.

Americasroof/Google Images -- CC

How is the Kansas City Star adapting to the changing media environment? Editor Mike Fannin discusses the challenges of reaching readers, the redesign of the digital and print editions and the future of the newsroom.

A New York writer's journey home sheds light on family, keeping secrets, and the state of small-town Missouri. Plus, how one Missouri town might vote itself out of existence.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

After years spent battling landlords and management, residents of a Kansas City, Kansas public housing complex await promised vouchers for housing of their choice. What will happen when, and if, they get off that steep hill?

As the second Folk Alliance International conference kicked off in Kansas City in February, Central Standard explored the question: “What is folk music today?” 

We wanted to see the sausage being made. A trip to The Store, a lesson in seasoning, and our critics' recommendations for the best sausage in town. 

Guests:

In a season of Grateful Dead reunion shows, followers of the band reminisce about the community they once formed, and discuss its revival in 2015. 

kcrockhistory.com

For Mike McGonigle, it's a sticker on his car that gives him away as a Grateful Dead enthusiast.

"There are Deadheads amongst us everywhere," he says. "I constantly get people waving at me, I see other Deadhead stickers, and it's kind of a community of people that when you recognize it, you have a connection with those people."

In the 1970s and 1980s especially, there was a vibrant community of Grateful Dead followers here in Kansas City. They used to follow the band's tour route: going to shows, trading sandwiches for back-rubs, sleeping in cars and otherwise living the hippie dream.

Most of them have settled into mainstream society since those days, but this summer's 50th anniversary reunion shows have brought members of that community out of the woodwork — and back into contact with each other. 

Pawel Loj/Flickr -- CC

What do you do when you're not making enough money to really make ends meet — but you're making too much to qualify for assistance? We invite the director of programs at Amethyst Place to discuss her perspective on this earnings gap and how it affects Kansas and Missouri residents.

Guest:

Rick McCharles / Flickr

If the West Bottoms stockyards district is where city meets country, and agriculture meets industry, then plans to move an American Royal event from the West Bottoms to the Truman Sports Complex represents a shift in that balance. But what does the news mean for neighborhood stakeholders?

Guest:

  • Bill Haw, Sr., owner of Haw Feedlots, the Livestock Exchange Building, and the surrounding 48 acres of West Bottoms property.
Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

The ride where you almost had your first kiss. Or what about the one you were finally tall enough to ride... only to chicken out? Or the one where you met your spouse, or even got married?

Guests:

Everybody's got a reputation. To wrap up our months-long exploration of the line between Wyandotte and Johnson Counties, we get confessions about geographic profiling, and stories from people living on both sides of the county line. 

Guests:

  • Maria Carter and Steve Kraske, KCUR staffers who live five blocks apart in separate Kansas counties
Paul Andrews

Eric Wesson of The Kansas City Call says that Kansas City's black community is like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

"I am a man of substance," wrote Ellison's invisible narrator, "of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- I may even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

Wesson read those words for the first time in sixth grade, but didn't relate to them until he was in his 20s, at which point, he said to himself, 'Oh, I get it. We're here, but nobody sees us or pays attention to us.'"

KU News Service/University of Kansas

From the hydrozoan Ectopleura larynx physically fusing to its offspring, to the fish Geophagus altifrons protecting mobile juveniles in their mouths, mothering styles vary from species to species. We invited two professors from KU's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the director of living collections at the Kansas City Zoo to discuss the maternal instinct — or lack thereof — in the animal world.

Guests:

Just 80 years ago, the word racism barely existed. How did it — along the word racist — become such loaded terms? We invite a New York Times reporter, the president of the Urban League and a professor of linguistics and sociocultural anthropology to discuss how we talk about racism today — and the power of those two words.

Guests:

This time of year, the sight of greenery cropping up is exciting, and the urge to grow your own fresh herbs can be overwhelming. How can you get in on the action if you don't have a lawn or plot of land to use? 

Guest:

  • Debbie Glassberg, owner, HomeContained, and rooftop gardener

The Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Kansas City just participated in an annual commemoration the Fall of Saigon, which the organization calls its Black April Commemoration. This year's anniversary marked forty years since the moment when communist power extended to South Vietnam, and Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City. People fled in large numbers, and for many in the local Vietnamese community, a long perilous journey ended here in Kansas City. 

Guests:

Mysteryman28/Google Images -- CC

After last season's incredible run, the national spotlight has been on the Kansas City Royals — and the team's recent bench-clearing brawl and skirmishes with opposing teams. We invite KCUR's sports reporter and sports columnist at the Kansas City Star to discuss the unspoken code of conduct in baseball — and how the Royals are changing the game.

Guests:

  • Lee Judge, cartoonist and sportswriter, Kansas City Star
  • Greg Echlin, sports reporter, KCUR
Kristin Conard

Spring is finally here and outdoor enthusiasts around the Midwest are ready to hit the trails and take in some fresh air. Acccording to authors Jonathan and Kristin Conard, the Great Plains offers a wide variety of hiking, biking, and horseback-riding trails, ranging from simple beginner paths to more advanced ones. 

Wikipedia

This is our Missouri trivia quiz, with answers in bold. To attempt the quiz without answers, click here.

In March of 1871, this man was arrested for pocketing the tax money he collected to support the county schools. Two weeks later, he was charged with horse-theft. Nine days after that, he was charged with fraud. In June of 1871, this man dug his way out of Barton County jail and skipped the state. Who was this man

kopper / Flickr

State rivalry is big along the state line. So is state loyalty. After all, rivalry and loyalty are two sides of the same coin.

Ross Malone has written a compendium of Missouri trivia, The Book of Real Missouri Records. He and the Central Standard team have collaborated to write this state trivia quiz.

We've posted the answers so you can check your work.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Joseph Tomelleri is trying to discover a new species of trout. That's why he was just in Mexico, and that's why he'll be returning again soon.

Working as a scientist and an artist rolled into one, he's created upwards of 1,100 hyper-realistic colored-pencil illustrations depicting fish species for scientific books and magazines. He goes on research expeditions, documenting the distinguishing characteristics of each species, in some cases more faithfully than even a photograph could capture. 

Robert Viglasky/The Weinstein Company

What happens to art during and after wartime? And what happens when that painting that you're trying to reclaim is considered the Mona Lisa of Austria? We invite a curator, a relative of Holocaust survivors and our movie critic to discuss the new film Woman in Gold.

Guests:

  • Antonia Bostrom, director of curatorial affairs, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Russ Simmons, movie critic
  • Karen Pack, past president, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
Rob DiCaterino/Flickr --CC

Mention Pac-Man, Galaga or BurgerTime, and a generation of Kansas Citians will conjure up memories of going to Fun Factory at Bannister Mall or Malibu in Overland Park. Well, good news, '80s kids: The arcade is back. KCUR's Cody Newill visited two bar arcades that opened in the Crossroads and discusses his experiences at both places — and reveals where he got the second-highest score.

www.FBI.gov

Many Kansas Citians have heard of the Union Station Massacre or the River Quay explosion — two of the more infamous episodes in KC's mobster history. But what about the lesser-known mob landmarks?

Gary Jenkins, a retired KCMO police officer, created a new app that reveals the history behind all of those spots. He talked to Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann about Kansas City Mob Tour.

"Kansas City is a great place for trans people and [supportive]." So says Luke Harness, a UMKC alumnus and transgender advocate. The new reality show New Girls on the Block follows transgender women in Kansas City--we explore what KC is really like for the transgender community.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

LaShonda Katrice Barnett remembers going out with a quarter to buy the latest issue of The Call for her grandmother. Now, Barnett has written a novel about the trailblazing founder of a fictional African-American newspaper called Jam on the Vine. If it resembles The Call, that's no coincidence. 

Guest:

  • LaShonda Katrice Barnett, author, Jam on the Vine

Eyes are on Missouri as the state's implementation of the death penalty enters national discussions. What has already shifted in approaches to challenging the death penalty, and what further developments can be expected now that celebrity Larry Flynt has been granted the right to ask for previously sealed documents from Missouri executions?  

Guests:

Maureen Didde/Flickr -- CC

For most Kansas Citians, the only time we interact with the Missouri River is when we drive over one of the many bridges that span it. Local author Patrick Dobson has a different take; he traveled from Montana to Kansas City down the Missouri River in a canoe. 

Guest:

  • Patrick Dobson, author, Canoeing The Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer

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