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

Kaufman Foundation / https://flic.kr/p/9Xno7i

If you make your product with a 3-D printer, is it still a craft? On Monday's Central Standard, we sit down with local participants of Kansas City's Maker Faire (coming up June 28 and 29) and a Professor of Art to tinker with our concept of what it means to "craft."

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann, KCUR

On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century. 

The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.

Mike Rodriquez / Flickr User

Despite recent storms, parts of Missouri and all of Kansas are still experiencing some level of drought. What creates these extreme conditions, and how much rain does it take to bring us back to normal?

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we talk with Brian Fuchs, who explains the mechanics of a drought.

Guest:

  • Brian Fuchs​, Climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center

Cody Newill / KCUR

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we speak with the person who can explain why you've been sneezing more than usual. Charles Barnes tells us everything we ever wanted to know about pollen, especially how much of it is floating through our air.

Guests:

  • Charles Barnes, Director of the Allergy and Immunology Laboratory at Children's Mercy Hospital

J. Crew

The unwritten rules of how to dress for different occasions can create ambiguous boundaries that are often difficult to navigate.

What does "business casual" actually mean? Would flip-flops ever be fashionable at a wedding?

On Tuesday's Central Standard, we investigate how to decipher different dress codes, and discuss how we communicate with our clothing. 

Guests:

CC Wikimedia

    

With the foliage at its finest, "For Sale" signs are popping up in front of houses all over town. Home ownership is a staple of the American Dream but in reality renting may make more sense.

On Monday's Central Standard, the Cash Money Crew explores the age old question of whether to rent or buy.

Guests: 

  • Lucas Bucl, Financial Planner, KHC Wealth Management 
  • David Jackson, Financial Planning Association
  • Sandi Weaver, Financial Security Advisors

This weekend, 'near space explorers' will be gathering  in Hutchinson, Kan. for the annual Great Plains Super Launch.  They are hobbyists who launch weather balloons and track their progress using GPS or HAM radio.

On Thursday's Central Standard, we talk with participant John Flaig who uses these balloons to take dramatic photographs from the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Guest:

John Flaig, near space photographer

Ari Moore / Creative Commons, Flickr

The front porch is an American institution. It's an ideal place to wind down with a cool drink on a summer night. But this familiar scene is all-too-easy to take for granted.

On the occasion of Kansas City's inaugural PorchFest, a music festival bringing 70 bands to residential porches, Central Standard takes a look at the history of the American front porch. We also visit with the festival organizer to hear about the bands bringing West Plaza porches to life this weekend.

Guests:

MoBikeFed / Creative Commons, Flickr

Some bicyclists are all-purpose riders, using a mere two wheels to get to work, school, the grocery store and everywhere in between. But lots of people ride just for fun and relaxation. Central Standard invited expert panelists and listeners alike to share their favorite recreational biking trails in Kansas City and the surrounding suburbs. Below is a list of a few places where the weekend warrior can enjoy a leisurely ride.

Paul Kruger / Flickr/CC

When you pull onto a street in a car, you have certain expectations. The road will be smoothly paved, with clearly marked lanes, and the network of streets will not end without warning, leaving you stranded before you’ve reached your destination. But, if you’re riding a bike in the Kansas City metro, finding a safe, continuous route can be challenging.

Alyson Raletz, KCUR

In anticipation of Father's Day, Central Standard visited with a stay-at-home dad to hear about the unique trials and triumphs of full-time fathers. We also heard about a group of stay-at-home dads who get out and about in the city together, forming a tight-knit community for raising kids and having adventures, including a monthly storytime at the library.

Listener42 / https://flic.kr/p/662EaZ

The memories of our childhood playgrounds remain with many of us as adults. A recent study of Kansas City's parkland revealed that low-income areas have fewer playgrounds in their parks than high-income areas.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Recently, Kansas State University researchers visited every park in Kansas City, Mo., to analyze the distribution of parks and park amenities throughout the city.

They found low-income neighborhoods, including Kansas City's east side, have fewer playgrounds than high-income neighborhoods. That’s in spite of having a higher concentration of parkland in those same neighborhoods. Researchers studied 219 parks and about 12,000 acres of parkland.

Green space in low-income areas

Charvex / Wikimedia Commons

As part of KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series, Central Standard met with a handful of residents of Kansas City's historic Northeast to hear about the people and projects shaping the future of that part of town. In particular, artist Hector Casanova told us about his project working with students to transform a boarded-up old school building in the neighborhood by treating its surfaces as a giant canvas.

Grep Hoax

The following content may be offensive to some. Discretion is advised. 

"Rape Joke," "Live Nude Dads Read The Sunday Paper," and "The Cum Queens of Hyatt Place" are just the tips of the iceberg when it comes to poet Patricia Lockwood's absurdity.

York College ISLGP / Wikimedia Commons

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." For Maya Angelou, these words were a way of life. Her poetry and prose, even her off-the-cuff remarks during interviews, made people feel things deeply.

On Tuesday's Central Standard, local artist Peregrine Honig and writer Natasha Ria El-Scari join host Gina Kaufmann to share how Maya Angelou impacted their lives.

public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." 

But making excellence a habit is easier said than done. For most people, the word habit evokes thoughts of junk food or television, not excellence.

Psychologist Bruce Liese stopped by Central Standard to talk about the ins and outs of habit formation, and help us recognize the difference between a good habit and a bad one. He offered advice on getting to the root causes of our most deeply ingrained patterns and offered insight into the common problem of relapse. 

Tim Samoff / Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Highways connect people and places with a speed we've come to take for granted. But highways also have a history of dividing and sometimes nearly obliterating the very communities they intersect.

Perhaps the most controversial example of this phenomenon in Kansas City is U.S. Highway 71. 

Greg L at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

Who's digging in the street outside your window? Hopefully, it's Kansas City Water Services.

The city recently embarked on a major, multi-billion-dollar overhaul of the combined sewer and wastewater system, which was first laid out in the nineteenth century.

Four years into the overhaul, officials from the Water Services Department visited the Central Standard studios to remind us why we're doing this in the first place, and to let us know how it's going so far. 

Jessica Salmond / University of Missouri

Professors from the University of Missouri and Duke University have been working to design self-sustaining toilets.  While this may not seem like a need in counties with developed sewer system, in places without sewer networks dealing with human waste can be a serious health problem. According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility and roughly 2 million people die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases, most of them younger than 5 years old.

EG Schempf

Danny Orendorff arrived in Kansas City a year ago to serve as Curator-in-Residence for the Charlotte Street Foundation. Before he arrived in town for this rotating position, his career was split between San Francisco and Chicago.

With a year of close observation under his belt, Danny Orendorff shares his notes on Kansas City's strengths and weaknesses as an art city. He also tells us about his current exhibition at La Esquina gallery, provocatively titled The Stench of Rotting Flowers

A University of Kansas professor's recent research at a domestic violence shelter indicates that the way survivors must tell their stories in order to gain access to resources could be working against the emotional recovery process.

Courtesy of Julie Levin.

Julie Levin has worked with Legal Aid of Western Missouri since 1977.

In that time, she's had some monumental cases, from a suit against the Kansas City Housing Authority in 1989 that changed the face of public housing, to a case on behalf of a client who lost her job while on maternity leave. That last case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Keva999 / Flickr--CC

Fourth-generation Kansas Citian Joel Goldman has set all of his crime novels in the Kansas City area, in places like the Country Club Plaza, the Quindaro neighborhood, and the historic Northeast neighborhood.

These places aren’t just settings. Goldman considers them characters in his novels. Strawberry Hill, the Kansas City, Kan. neighborhood where many Serbians and Croatians settled, is one of the backdrops in his book Shakedown.

Courtesy of Joel Goldman

Joel Goldman was a trial lawyer in Kansas City when he came down with a medical condition that meant he couldn’t practice law. So he took all that knowledge of the law, plus some intriguing true crime stories, and turned them into fiction.

Edward the Bonobo / Flickr/CC

In 1942 the U.S. Department of Agriculture produced a film promoting the many uses of hemp and touted its production as part of a patriotic mission to win the war effort. But, shortly after World War II domestic production of any form of cannabis, hemp or otherwise, became prohibited. But, the legacy of this once cash crop lingers and you don't need to look far off the roads of Kansas and Missouri to find wild varieties of "ditch weed" growing.

Christpoher Lucka / Flickr/CC

Graduating seniors of 2014 will, on average, be the most indebted graduating class ever. This debt carries with it real consequences. For the first time having a college education makes someone less likely to have a home mortgage by age 30.

Ten years ago, the people of Missouri overwhelmingly voted to change the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Last week, when openly gay football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, in Missouri, the outcry condemning Sam's lifestyle stood in stark contrast to an overwhelming outpouring of support.

Terance Williams / Facebook

When Glenn North read a poem at the grand opening for the American Jazz Museum in 1997, something clicked.

From that moment on, the poet and the museum grew in tandem.  In 2004, North officially joined the museum's staff, establishing a nationally recognized spoken word scene at the museum's Blue Room.

North recently left his post as education manager and poet-in-residence. He plans to finish his master's degree and focus on his poetry.

Upon his departure, Central Standard invited him to sit down for a talk. Among the highlights:

Jean / Flickr, Creative Commons

A recent article in the New York Times compiled a growing body of evidence suggesting that the more frequent our interactions with strangers, the happier we tend to be. The findings apply to introverts and extroverts alike. In response to the enthusiasm around that article, Central Standard asked whether the people of Kansas City encounter strangers often enough in their day-to-day lives. Does Kansas City's built environment facilitate or prohibit these kinds of interactions?

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