Matt Hodapp

Producer, Statehouse Blend Kansas, Statehouse Blend Missouri and Midwesternish

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Teemu008 / Creative Commons, Flickr

Former Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, who still blogs for the paper, recently released a memoir titled Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans.

It's about his boyhood in the Illinois town of Woodstock, in the middle of the 20th century. Through critical reflection on his early experiences and observations, Tammeus arrives at a handful of truisms about life in the Midwest, offered without sentimentality or rose-colored glasses, but with measured fondness.

Lori Murdock

The barn is an icon of the American work ethic and rural nostalgia. On Wednesday's Central Standard, we explored the trend of rehabbing and restoring old barns that would otherwise fall into irreversible decay.

We also spoke with people throughout the nation and in our own area about the challenges of preserving these structures.

Do old barns -- the red ones with big huge doors -- still matter, even as larger steel structures replace them in function?

Citizen Koch is a new documentary that investigates the political influence of Kansas-born billionaires David and Charles Koch. The film has a strong point of view, which has drawn mixed reviews.  On Tuesday's Central Standard, we talked with the directors about how Citizen Koch was made and their approach to documentary filmmaking.

Hearne Christopher Jr. / Kcconfidential

In May of 2013, investigative reporter Karen Dillon wrote a story in the Kansas City Star that shed light on Kansas' restrictive police records access laws. According to Columbia Journalism Review, her work was instrumental in changing those laws. This year, Gov.

Creative Commons, Wikipedia

In honor of Bastille Day, Central Standard explored efforts to preserve Missouri French: a dialect that once flourished in southwestern Missouri, now remembered by only a handful of people in the town of Old Mines. Some say the language is dying, but the dialect has been pronounced dead then rediscovered many times.

Jamie Burks / The Good Food Blog

At a farm in Kansas City, Kan., a group of young men from are developing their entrepreneurship skills through farming. Boys Grow, a non-profit agency, works with these kids to develop business skills as they sell their agricultural commodities.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we talked to two of these boys about their experience with Boys Grows and their hopes for the future.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

On Tuesday's Central Standard, we invited a variety of artists to discuss how their practice has evolved as they have moved from one stage of life to another.

As a ballet dancer embarked on retirement from the stage and into a teaching and choreographing role at the age of 32, he sat down with a visual artist who has more than forty years of studio experience and a legendary jazz saxophonist. The three compared notes across genres. 

Highlights:

Ken Wilcox / Flickr, Creative Commons

The bonds and battles between siblings are unique and long-lasting. For some people, their brother or sister is the most treasured person in their life; others can't spend an hour in the same room together. On Monday's Central Standard, we discuss the psychology of these lifelong relationships. 

Guest:

Transforming Ivanhoe

Jul 3, 2014

Ivanhoe is a neighborhood on Kansas City’s east side with a rich history. Though recent decades have brought on hard times, the community, led by spokeswoman Margaret May, has rallied to restore its former glory. Some residents are frustrated by vacant houses on their blocks, while others love the new farmer’s market and point–with a sigh of relief—to reduced crime rates.

Peter Pettus

July 2nd is the 50th anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. This historic piece of legislation outlawed race based discrimination, enfranchised voter registration rights, and desegregated businesses, public spaces, and schools.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson and Anita Dixon share their unique first hand experiences with the Civil Rights Movement in and around Kansas City, then and now.

CC Public Domain

  

This spring marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case that went to the Supreme Court and ultimately ended with the ruling that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In the first half of Tuesday's Central Standard, we shared some little-known stories of the desegregation process from the months and years that followed.

Esther Honig, Before and After

A young Kansas City journalist named Esther Honig, who contributes to KCUR, had an idea for a project.

She sent a simple, straightforward portrait of herself to Photoshoppers around the globe with a request to make her beautiful. She wanted to see what that would mean to people in different parts of the world, investigating how culturally specific definitions of beauty might play into the results.

Simon & Schuster, Daniel Miyares

Local children's author and illustrator Daniel Miyares visited the Central Standard studio to discuss his recent picture book, Pardon Me!

The book, aimed at 4-7 year-olds, tells the story of a bird on a perch who is visited by several of his supposed swamp friends until the frustrated critter is so crowded he can't take it any more. In the end, the bird is (spoiler alert!) finally left alone, only to be eaten by a crocodile who finishes his meal with a burp. "Pardon me," says the crocodile.  

Will Taylor / Flickr, Creative Commons

It's one of life's great inevitables, and we don't mean taxes.

Death Cafes, where people get together to hang out and talk about death and dying, have started popping up in cities worldwide. Locally, we have two Death Cafes: one in St. Joseph, Mo. and another in Kansas City, Mo. 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas City residents have been known to, as Michael Cross likes to say, “cuddle,” on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

What many of these lovers may not realize, is that there are always guards monitoring the museum and the lawn, both on foot and via video cameras.

Michael Cross, manager of security facilities and visitor services for the Nelson-Atkins, has been keeping an eye on the grounds for seven years.

“As long as nobody’s interfering with the artwork we try to leave people alone,” Cross says.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When the Shuttlecocks, created by Claes Oldenburg and Coojse van Bruggen, were installed on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 20 years ago they drew a lot of attention. Public feelings about the art were at times "vicious," says Marc Wilson, former director of the museum. Some felt the Shuttlecocks made a mockery of the stately building behind them and couldn't be considered art.

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:

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:

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:

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.

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. 

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.

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