Maria Carter

Newscaster, News Director

Maria Carter grew up in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated from Reed College in Portland, Ore. with a degree in economics. After a year off, she returned to her home state to study journalism at the University of Missouri, receiving her Master’s degree in 2004.

Maria started working at KCUR as an intern and was later hired as a general assignment reporter. She covers local politics and anything else happening in the Kansas City area. In 2006, she spent a month in northern Louisiana, lending a hand at the local public radio station and covering the thousands of evacuees temporarily in the area.

Ways To Connect

Results below are for contested races only.  All those running unopposed won.


Council Member - Ward 3

  • Tom Robinett  58.2%
  • James M. Stephens 40.9%



  • Steven Schowengerdt  50.5%
  • David Shepard 49.4%

Council Member - Ward 1

  • Steven Lucas 55.6%
  • Jay A. Meyer 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 2 

  • Arcie Rothrock 56.3%
  • William J. Vandenberg, III 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 4 

"Tinkering" might conjure up images of a garage workshop or someone just puttering around, but a new book is putting a different spin on the term.

On Friday's Up to Date, author Karen Wilkinson joins us to discuss what she calls "the art of tinkering" and some of the creative ways anyone can become a tinkerer.


People have ideas for inventions all the time, but getting those ideas made into consumer products can be a difficult journey.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with a representative of, a website that connects the entrepreneurs with the means to produce their ideas.


  • Nathaniel Padgett,
Giles Moss / Flickr-CC

When you tell people you're an inventor, it conjures up images of a mad scientist slaving away in a lab. But what's it really like to be an inventor in Kansas City?

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with local inventor Rich Melton about where he finds his inspiration, the roadblocks he's encountered and how he got started.


  • Rich Melton, inventor
Courtesy / Kansas City, Mo.

Mayor Sly James delivered his state of the city address Monday to around 400 high school students at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.

Part of the Mayor's message involved teens and raucous crowds on the Plaza and at the Zoo. James says young people are a strategic investment.

“It’s clear to me that young people need to have some level of guidance. They need good role models. They need solid direction. They need hope," said James. "They need a quality education and they need to know somebody out there gives a damn about them."

Courtesy: National World War I Museum

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and a new exhibit at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., details the events that led up to the war — from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the declaration of war a month later on July 28, 1914.

The exhibit presents archival newspaper articles and diplomatic communications from around the world. 

Children's Mercy Hospital is expanding a camp designed for kids with ADHD for the summer of 2014.

The camp was modeled on the work of Bill Pelham who opened the first one in 1980. What makes these camps different is a focus on behavioral modification with an intense connection between the camp, the campers and the parents.

According to Dr. Trista Perez Crawford, the camp costs about $4,000 for the summer but offers the equivalent of what would be approximately six years of weekly hour long behavioral therapy.

Gage Skidmore / wikimedia commons

Actor LeVar Burton joins Central Standard to talk about his career and dedication to literacy. He says he's been profoundly influenced by his mother and father who modeled for him a life of service.

Burton is an advocate for children's literacy and is working on launching the Reading Rainbow app. He will be in Kansas City on Saturday, March 15 for Planet Comicon.


Maria Carter / KCUR

The Jackson County Spelling Bee finally came to an end Saturday morning, sending 13-year-old Kush Sharma of Kansas City, Mo, to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sharma and 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman of Lee’s Summit went through the entire list of provided words during their first match up on Feb. 22. Organizers selected 20 more words from the dictionary before calling it a tie.

Maria Carter / KCUR

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to spend more money on public schools. But it stopped short of giving an exact dollar amount and sent that back to a lower court with instructions. The decision comes almost four years after the first lawsuit was filed. 

Inequities in the classroom

The court found poorer districts were hurt when the legislature cut funding, creating inequities. The Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools cut 400 positions, including 130 teachers, when education budget cuts took effect.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to increase funding for public K-12 schools, but sent the decision back to the Shawnee County District Court to enforce.


Here’s a twist: A spelling bee that ends in a tie. That’s just what happened in Kansas City two weeks ago, but rules are rules, and there can be only one winner.

So, winners Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma will compete once more Saturday morning, and this time there will be a victor.

flickr user j.s. clark / Creative Commons

The fate of Kemper Arena is being disputed by two Kansas City parties. The American Royal would like to demolish it, as proposed in October 2011, to create room for a smaller agricultural and multipurpose center. Foutch Brothers, a Kansas City development firm, is fighting to preserve it.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, began on Feb. 7 and the world has been enthralled with the incredible athleticism displayed at the games.

Today we talk with professional runner Amy Mortimer, who placed ninth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Later, we discuss what it takes for Olympians to train and compete in extreme winter conditions.

Also, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler talks about the public's reactions to the Olympic games with this week's Tell KCUR. Finally, we explore what's at stake for Russia in hosting these games.


Donna Vestal / KCUR

Speed skating is ice skating that falls into two basic categories — long track and short track. Long track races takes places on a 400m long oval rink with skaters competing in pairs. Short track involves four to six skaters on a track about a fourth that size.

Kansas City doesn’t have an Olympic sized rink for even short track, but a hockey rink will work.

The following schools are closed on Monday, February 3:

Maria Carter / KCUR


Tonight millions of children will lay down in bed thinking about one thing -- Santa Claus. And as old St. Nick puts on his red suit and harnesses his reindeer, he’ll be bringing a special blanket given to him at a family gathering in Overland Park to keep his lap warm this Christmas. Next year, Santa plans to pass that blanket on as a special gift.

Updated 3:04 p.m.

Rain is expected to continue this afternoon with snow tonight and overnight, according to an update from the National Weather Service.

In the latest report, NWS forecasters say: "Light snow accumulations will be possible with a dusting to 3" in the local area. Snow will end by daybreak Saturday, with a chilly day anticipated."

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the metro area through 9 a.m. on Saturday.

School and community closings (Saturday)

Miles of Christmas lights could be headed out the door as more consumers look at switching from traditional holiday lights to their LED counterparts. Kansas City-based Southeast Enterprises is looking to keep the discarded strands out of landfills.

Southeast Enterprises Business Director Megan Gurera says they accept any unused or broken strands of lights.

“You know the ones you pullout, get ready to put up, and half of it works,” says Gurera.

Southeast Enterprises is a sheltered workshop, employing 160 people with development or intellectual disabilities.

A Kansas agency is urging black families talk to sit down and interview their family members on Friday. The Kansas African American Affairs Commission is calling the oral history project called “New Black Friday.”

The Kansas City council is looking at a proposal for the city to take control of the Kansas City Museum and its collection. The move would cut the strained ties between the museum and Union Station, which has managed the museum since 2000.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Updated 5:36 a.m.

The ballot issues Tuesday were on the Missouri side of the Kansas City area, including the largest tax increase in Jackson County in more than two decades. Voter turnout was, as expected, light.

The results below are unofficial until certified.

Here are the latest numbers:

Blue Springs, Mo. Parks Sales Tax:
In Blue Springs, voters defeated a permanent half-cent sales tax that would have raised $3 million a year for parks-related projects, including community recreation centers.

Mrd7b2 / Wikipedia

Voters around the Kansas City metro head to the polls Tuesday. Here's an overview of some of the issues on ballots in the area:

Jackson County

United Airlines and Air Canada were supposed to move Wednesday night from Terminal A to Terminal C at Kansas City International Airport, but those plans got delayed. 

KCI spokesman Joe McBride says technical issues were to blame.

“As they were getting into the eleventh hour of the move, the computer technology was not all coming on line,” said McBride. “So it looked like the airline was not going to have the ability to check people in be it at the ticket counter or the kiosk.”

McBride says he expects the terminal change will take place early next week. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Public schools in Kansas City, Mo. will remain unaccredited.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range. But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.

A Missouri prosecutor who dropped charges in an alleged sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old girl in Maryville, Mo. says he's asking a court to appoint a special prosecutor to look at the case.

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice said in light of the attention the case has generated this week he was asking for a special prosecutor in order to uphold the public confidence in the justice system. But he also continued to insist that the charges were dropped because the Coleman family stopped cooperating and chose not to be deposed.

Peggy Lowe/KCUR

Online outrage is focusing on a central Missouri town and its top law enforcement officers after news of the alleged rape of two teenage girls garnered national attention.

As first reported by KCUR, a 17-year-old football player, Matthew Barnett, was charged with raping Daisy Coleman, 14, after a drunken night at the Barnett home in January 2012. Another boy, Jordan Zech, then 17, was also charged in the case, accused of videotaping Barnett and Coleman on his iPhone.

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson wrapped up his 87 day listening tour last week. Hinson took over the helm of the Shawnee Mission District on July 1.

The listening tour was part of an effort to get to know the area. Hinson met with everyone from parents and students to business owners and higher education officials.

District spokesperson Leigh Anne Neal says people overwhelmingly want to make sure Shawnee Mission Schools retain their strong academic tradition.

The superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools went to Jefferson City Tuesday to make his case that the district should regain provisional accreditation early. Superintendent Steve Green pointed to a dramatic improvement in school performance reports and an audit that found no issues.

Green says a policy that would allow students to transfer out of unaccredited schools would harm the district’s progress.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

At a town hall meeting, most Kansas Citians urged Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to vote 'no' on a military intervention in Syria. Cleaver and much of the local Missouri Congressional delegation has not taken a position on Syria, but in Kansas most will be voting against authorizing military strikes.

Most tell Cleaver to vote 'no'

More than 200 people crowded into a room at Metropolitan Community College and nearly all stayed on topic about Syria.

Steven Platt was worried the United States cannot afford more military action.