Sylvia Maria Gross

Senior Producer / Reporter, Central Standard

Sylvia Maria Gross is the senior producer of Central Standard, KCUR's daily talk/magazine show. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World and Studio 360. Gross grew up in New York City, Brazil and the suburbs of Washington, DC. She came to public radio after a long stint as a middle school teacher, and has spent a lot of time trying to capture the attention of wandering minds.

Ways To Connect

“She was a young person, out there, struggling to survive on her own.”

That’s how Kris Wade remembers 33-year-old Jasmine Collins. Wade had known Collins for about a year as part of the Justice Project, a non-profit that provides advocacy and services to transgender women in poverty, among others.

Kansas City Police, on the other hand, say they can’t confirm that Collins was a transgender woman. They originally described the murder as a conflict over a haircut and a pair of shoes. A suspect has been charged.

With Kansas City's transgender community reeling from news of the violent death of Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old woman who was both transgender and latina, concerns about safety for transgender people of color have risen to the surface.

UPDATE: As the show neared its conclusion, a story appeared in The Guardian suggesting another transgender homicide victim in Kansas City this year.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Martin Heuser, an eighth generation chef, grew up in Bonn, Germany, where corn is eaten, but not a traditional part of the cuisine. He grew to appreciate fresh, local corn as an ingredient when he lived in Canada. 

"For me, corn is summertime," Heuser said it adds another component and flavor to a dish.

At his restaurant Affäre in the Crossroads, he features it in special recipes when it's in season.

Charlie Parker's birthday is coming up, and Kansas City is all a-twitter. Hear a visiting jazz scholar's take on the history of Bebop, and Kansas City-born Charlie Parker's place in it. Bonus: a recording of a jam session where you can hear the Bird talking.

Guest:

With the recent passing of Jesse Hope, the founder and curator of the Old Quindaro Museum and one of the historic township's most dedicated champions, questions arise about the future of the site and its legacy. 

Guest:

  • Laura Ziegler, community engagement reporter, KCUR

Kansas Representative Gene Suellentrop is a supporter of the Kansas budget experiment known as the "march to zero" for income taxes. In his nephew's social circles, on the east coast, that position is hard to understand. So the nephew decided to immerse himself in his uncle's world, just as a legislative session turned upside-down by budget debates got underway.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Teaching has changed a lot in the past few decades. From standardized testing to ADD diagnosis, technology to policy. But it's not just the classroom that's different. Teachers are going into the profession for different reasons and with different motivations as well. This discussion kicks off KCUR's Teaching It Forward series.

 Guests:

When researchers stumbled upon a buttery substance under a lake, they thought maybe they'd also stumbled upon the answer to an age old mystery: why a pre-Columbian civilization near St. Louis abandoned the complex city they'd built. But with multiple research teams exploring the Cahokia Mounds site, not everyone agrees on what the new discovery means. 

Guests:

  • Sissel Schroeder, University of Wisconsin
  • Melissa Balthus Zych, University of Toledo
Praeger publishing

The escalating problem of student debt isn't just about the pain of writing large checks. So say two University of Kansas professors who have co-written a book on the crisis, using their own personal stories to make a case that differences in access to higher ed begin long before loans, and influence life and career paths far beyond graduation.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Research into income mobility across US counties inspires Central Standard to take a roadtrip, talk to an economist and hear from locals with their own research and experience to share. Is the "land of opportunity" created by individuals or their environments?

Guests:

Wikipedia--CC

The 1974 Ozark Music Festival lives on in infamy.

It drew as many as 350,000 people to the small, family-oriented town of Sedalia.

Traffic ground to a halt. Temperatures were in the triple-digits. Nudity ran rampant and the cost of ice skyrocketed.

Residents came home to festival-goers camped out on their lawns, using garden hoses for "baths." People sent their children out of town for safety. Hungry, drug-addled music fans stole a cow. And it only gets crazier from there.

Guest:

Caroline Kull / KCUR

Pull in to the tiny Nelle Belle’s diner (pronounced “nell-ee bells”) on U.S. Highway 69 in Claycomo any weekday morning, and you’re likely to find the parking lot packed.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

In 1966, the Kansas City Board of Trade Building was new. Then it got old. Now, the iconic modern structure is getting a makeover. How do you transform an iconic piece of architecture, and what's the state of modernism in the Kansas City area?

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Modernist architecture flourished in the Kansas City area in the period following World War II, particularly at the time that the Johnson County suburbs were developing in Kansas.

All Aboard

Jul 14, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

It was smelly, crowded and potentially life-threatening, but riding on a steamboat was de rigeur for travelers to Kansas City in the mid-nineteenth century. For a brief and some might say "golden" era, the steamboat was also the primary agent of settlement and change. How steamboats shaped Kansas City.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Heidi Van says that Kansas City needs to send original, locally created theater out into the world every bit as much as it needs a baseball team. That means experimenting on stage, taking risks, re-tooling scenes and sometimes failing. In front of an audience. Get a window into the world of experimental theater in Kansas City. 

Guests:

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

As the National Council of La Raza prepares to convene its annual conference in Kansas City, a lively and heartfelt conversation about the term 'la raza' -- translated imperfectly as 'the race', but meaning something closer to 'my tribe', 'the big family' or 'my people'. 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

If music comes as much from an instrument as from a musician, the people who build and repair instruments are invisible collaborators. The poetics of piano-tuning, the heroics of a horn-doctor and the serenade of a violin-maker.

Wikimedia Commons

The car is a mechanical work of art. There are people who obsessively design, build and restore cars... and others crash them with just as much passion. From the Art of the Car Concours to the  demolition derby.

Guests:

  • Tony Jones, interim president, The Kansas City Art Institute
  • Mac McLanahan, artist and demolition derby driver

Do you clean your plate? Should you keep a chicken that's been in your freezer for 10 years? We visit farms, a meat processing plant, a compost heap, grocery stores and Kansas Citians' kitchens to explore the issue of food waste.

Ian Monroe / Flickr

Leaving Kansas City and moving back again are popular pastimes. But each decision is difficult and personal. Stories, data, weather-analysis and a reminder that jerks live everywhere.

Epic Summer

Jun 16, 2015

If summertime means being out of school, think again. Crestview Elementary is one of two schools in the metro experimenting with a year-long schedule. So we attempt to redefine summer, with great literature set amid sweltering summer heat and a roadtrip in search of a frozen dessert called "pineapple whip."

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for an alcoholic drink.

As luck would have it, bartenders and bars across Kansas City are beginning to offer options for non-drinkers, from the Berry-tini at Eden Alley, to the Mango Tango at The Brick.

The mixology movement has picked up over the last few years, and as a result mocktails — cocktails without the booze — have become increasingly available, more popular and without a doubt, more tasty.

A 13-year-old from Olathe won the title of co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The omnivorous speller banters with other local word-enthusiasts, and correctly spells cruciverbalist

Guests:

An update on plans to repurpose about 30 vacated schools in Kansas City. Plus, the challenges, joys, and enduring impact of finding new uses for buildings that have outlived their intended functions. The transformation of gas stations, old theaters, churches and post offices.

John Long, editorial director of Camp Magazine--KC's monthly publication for LGBTQ and allied communities--talks pride in Kansas City, the emergence and development of his magazine, and the transformation of the scene over time.

Boston Public Library/Flickr -- CC

Recently, the superintendents of the Kansas City Public Schools and the Blue Valley School District announced that they're leaving their posts. What does that mean to their school districts? We explore the role of the school superintendent.

During World War II, the noses and tails of airplanes often were painted with cartoon characters, topless women or even some geographical landmarks. A history professor explains the meaning and stories behind those iconic designs.

April showers bring May flowers ... and herbs. We take a trip to Powell Gardens, then our food critics uncover the best herb dishes in town.

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Flickr

Central Standard's annual check-in on Kansas City's attempts to become a bicycle-friendly town. News, obstacles, progress reports and more. Plus, voices and stories from Missouri's Katy Trail.

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