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

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Why is the Kansas school funding formula so complicated? Or is it, really? Get a lesson on school funding, how the formula works, and why it will likely soon be replaced by block grants.

(Try and solve the formula yourself, here.)

Guests:

  • Sam Zeff, KCUR education reporter
  • Brad Tennant, math teacher, Shawnee Mission West

Artist and coffee shop owner David Ford has been traveling to Guatemala since the 1980s. In recent years, he started seeing doll heads, called muñecas, that advertise hair-braiding and hair-wrapping services to tourists. Fascinated by the objects, he began buying them. Lo and behold, the prices went up. By applying an economic lens to his experience, Ford zeroes in on questions about value, culture, tourism, post-colonialism and art.

Guest:

There have been two Department of Justice Reports, two police officers shot, and several high-level resignations since our last conversation about the whirlwind of events in Ferguson, Missouri. A reporter, a professor and a reverend give us their perspectives on the latest news.

Guests:

Brian Hillegas / Flickr

There's talk of a West Bottoms revitalization. But the truth is, every fifteen years or so, the industrial stockyards district experiences a new kind of renaissance. In the 80s and 90s, it was an underground arts thing. Now, it's food, festivals and antiques. Meanwhile, industry and architecture have maintained a quiet presence all along. From art to antiques, can revivals of the recent past inform the future of the district?

Guests:

Paul Andrews

 

Paul Mesner has never been bored. 

"I was a pretty shy kid, but I also was and still am very content to be by myself,"' he says. "There's tons I can do to entertain myself."

In that sense, Kansas City's master puppeteer was his own first audience.

It started with a teddy bear.

Early beginnings

Patrick Quick, KCUR

Recently in Columbus Park, some folks built a pop-up/DIY skate park in an underused portion of a city street. Why do people go outside the typical building process, with its system of permits and bureaucracy, and how do these projects benefit a community? How common are they and how have they turned out? We explore the organic, under-the-radar, grassroots building projects around the city.

Guests:

Comedy can come from unexpected sources, for example, parents of children who have autism. It can be hard for these parents to talk about their particular parenting experiences, and to laugh about the funny (and even challenging) moments. During an event called An Evening With The Rents at the Gem  Theater, KCUR announcer and newscaster Jenny Whitty shared her experience about parenting kids on the autism spectrum.

Artist Erin Zona remembers being in a creative rut. She was working in retail, unsure how she would ever find the time and energy to get back on track with her art. Those memories inspired her current project, which provides a platform for re-emerging artists to get published.

Guest:

From Narnia to The Hunger Games, young adult literature has an age-old obsession with right versus wrong. But moral conundrums on teens' bookshelves are more complex than ever. What does the changing moral landscape say about growing up today? 

Guests: 

  • Melissa Lenos, associate professor of English, Donnelly College
  • Naphtali Faris, early literacy manager, The Kansas City Public Library

In the wake of a bullying incident that sent a 12-year-old to the hospital for five days in the Liberty School District, we get perspectives on bullying from administrators, parents and former students, all in an effort to figure out what can and should be done to keep kids safe.

 

Guests:

In principle most people care about the arts, but how much? We examine government funding for the arts  -- whether we should invest, the importance of arts education and what happens if we don't fund the arts.

 

Guests:

  • Harlan Brownlee, president & CEO, ArtsKC
  • Saralyn Reece Hardy, director, Spencer Museum of Art
  • CJ Janovy, arts reporter, KCUR
  • Kyna Iman, government affairs consultant

 

"All happy families are alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So wrote Leo Tolstoy. Was he right, or are there shared characteristics that toxic families tend to have in common? A certain amount of shared sadness and conflict is inevitable; what differentiates a family that responds with closeness and trust from a family that cracks under pressure? Plus, strategies for mending toxic relationships or getting distance.

Guest:

  • Dacia Moore, licensed professional counselor

Kansas City knew Tom Schweich as a dogged state auditor who rooted out financial mismanagement on behalf of Missouri taxpayers. He died unexpectedly yesterday, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, just weeks after entering the race for Missouri governor. We remember Schweich personally, professionally and politically.

Guests:

daveynin / Flickr--CC

Kansas City has been named one of the top five cities, globally, for entrepreneurs. So it's no surprise that entrepreneur has become kind of a buzzword around here.

During Central Standard's first Buzz Kill session, small business consultant Dodie Jacobi reflected on widespread misuse of the word and all its permutations.

When Google first announced its intention to bring high-speed fiber optic cable to Kansas City, Ks., the service was supposed to help close the digital divide. Four years later, we check in on whether access to the internet has improved in the metro.

In a new series called Buzz Kill, Central Standard is looking at Kansas City's buzzwords with the people who best understand the true meaning of our favorite catch-phrases. 

In this installment, we ask what it really means to be an entrepreneur, how you pronounce the word, and how to correctly use it in a sentence. It's an important step for us to take, as a city, if we want to be known for our entr... entrep... entrepreneurial spirit.

Guest:

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

The first marathon-runner was a Greek messenger who ran 26 miles to announce a Greek victory in the Trojan War before dropping dead in his tracks. A cardiologist living in Kansas City has amassed research and data suggesting there might have been a reason for that. Extreme cardiovascular activity for prolonged periods of time done rigorously and continuously over a lifetime doesn't correlate with a long lifespan, he says. And the heart has a lot to do with that.

Guest:

Oh, to be fifteen years old. Not a care in the world, except that feature length documentary you've been working on, satirizing the governor and his fiscal policy. That's how most high school sophomores spend their free time, right? 

Guest:

Americasroof / Wikipedia

Westport has always been at a crossroads. So says urban design specialist Daniel Serda, noting that the historic neighborhood has been changing since its beginnings. But news of three chain restaurants entering the neighborhood where prime parking spots now stand has sparked a heated response, not just from Westport residents and business owners, but people throughout Kansas City who are passionate about the entertainment district.

Guests:

Carl Van Vechten / Creative Commons, Wikimedia

The prolific author best known for Their Eyes Were Watching God got her start as an anthropologist, listening to the stories and songs of former slaves in Florida in the 1930s. About fifty years later, a Kansas City woman found a connection with her own history and community in the voices Hurston captured. Her one-woman play about Zora Neale Hurston now takes her all over the world.

Guests:

In The Book of Mormon, a young Mormon travels to Uganda on a mission. The hardships he encounters cause him to question not only the success of his mission, but also the very faith that sent him on it in the first place. 

As The Book of Mormon heads to Kansas City, Mo. for a limited run, we're sharing stories of tested faith from Kansas Citians.

This one comes to us from Jason Harper. It begins like this:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Many of us tag along with Pitch restaurant critic Charles Ferruzza on his restaurant adventures, enjoying his witty asides as much as his souffle descriptions. He hints at his life story when it's relevant to what's happening at the table, but for the most part, the man behind the meals is a mystery.

When Ferruzza sat down with Central Standard’s Gina Kaufmann for a Portrait Session, he said one thing he’s not is a “foodie.”

There's a new recording studio in Lawrence, and it's located inside the public library. What does it say about Lawrence that of all the new resources the library could provide its citizenry, a recording studio is what most suited the town's needs? Plus, a Lawrence music blogger talks about the weird, vibrant city she shows off in her video, Just A Sec, and a record store owner reflects on change in the Lawrence music scene over the past 15 years.

Guests:

An exploration of a decade of rape cases in Douglas County has revealed troubling information. Of the cases where heavy drinking had been involved and where the victim knew the accused, there were no convictions. Pleading down, or pleading guilty to a lesser crime, appears to have been a common outcome in those cases. The Lawrence-Journal World's Sara Shepherd shares insights from her reporting.

Guest:

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Bill Schonberg is a self-professed "space nut" and his job is not just an 8-year-old's dream job. "It's also a 54-year-old's dream job," he says. His mission, which he has accepted, is to figure out how to make spacecraft more impervious to debris flying at high speed through prime orbital real estate. 

Guest:

  • Dr. William Schonberg, professor of aerospace engineering, Missouri University of Science & Technology 
Bridget Colla / Flickr

Medical and scientific communities have been working hard to reassure parents that vaccinating children is safe, especially in light of current Measles incidents in the United States. But there is something about immunization that triggers fear in a lot of people, even people who do opt in. What is that fear about? How do human beings perceive and weigh different kinds of risks on behalf of their children? 

Guests:

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Some like it hot, and some just can't resist a challenge. We start our exploration of spice in Kansas City by subjecting our intern and food critic to the Thai Hot Challenge at the Thai Place. Then, an Indian cooking instructor shares insights into the techniques, philosophies and health properties of spice.

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Her children's books shaped ideas about the Midwestern experience for multiple generations worldwide. She's been gone more than sixty years, but her influence remains strong; even now, fans and scholars attend a yearly Laurapalooza festival in her honor. Her autobiography has just recently been published, but good luck finding a copy. The first print run has sold out and the second will not even fill existing orders.

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:

Are you a Kansan or a Missourian? That's a question that often divides our metro, but maybe we're more Kansas Citian than anything else. How can our economic, political and cultural reality more clearly reflect that sentiment?

Guests:

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