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.

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A graduating high school senior without US citizenship reflects on her journey so far. With several college options to choose from, how does this accomplished student's immigration status influence the decision about where to go? Guest: Brittany , senior, Alta Vista Charter High School

Jake Joslyn for KCUR 89.3

In case you blinked, today is April 1, 2046. The Royals opener is next week. The team is hoping to recreate that glorious season from 31 years ago. So here at KCUR 89.3, we’re looking back three decades to see how much has changed in Kansas City since the last time we were World Series champs. The biggest turning point for our region happened on July 19, 2035, on Kaw Point Beach. Mayor Alex Gordon signed the Mo-Kan Unified Government charter, creating a single metropolitan area across state...

Jessica Spengler / Flickr

The food of Kansas City has a life story to tell. Author Andrea Broomfield tells it. The origins of Kansas City chili, tamales and tailgating, an affinity for dining al fresco and cinnamon rolls, and what local beer has to do with our sports teams and stadiums. Every food tradition can be explained through the lens of history. Guest: Andrea Broomfield , author, Kansas City: A Food Biography

How a KU professor and his students are using Google Earth to track the destruction of archaeological sites in Syria. Guest: Phil Stinson, Associate Professor, Department of Classics at KU

Sequoia Maner grew up just miles from Compton, and she first heard rapper Kendrick Lamar’s mix tapes on local L.A. radio. Now she uses his art in class to probe race and radicalism. We hear her story and explore Lamar's work. Maner will be the keynote speaker tonight at KU's Reflections on Kendrick Lamar . Guest: Sequoia Maner, Teacher's Assistant, Department of English at The University of Texas at Austin

First-generation college students head to campus saddled with hopes and dreams, but not necessarily the same resources as their peers. With rigorous academic demands, resposibilities to families, rising tuition and increased focus on experiences like study abroad, students breaking through the higher-ed barrier face a unique set of challenges. Guests: Steph Hart , counselor, Cristo Rey Kansas City Eric Grospitch , Dean of Students, University of Missouri-Kansas City Jorge Dominguez , student,...

Couresy of Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

It’s been almost a hundred years since Prohibition, which, ironically, were some of the booziest years in Kansas City history. And although local chef Tim Tuohy is a newcomer to the area, he’s already learning the history of that time. Tuohy works for Tom’s Town, a new distillery in the Crossroads that makes small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey on site, and is named for the man who just might be the patron saint of KC drinkers. “You know, Kansas City had an extremely rich beer and alcohol...


Mar 9, 2016

The protests at Mizzou last fall felt like game-changers for the overall visibility and power of student activism. What's the state of campus activism today? Plus, the history of campus protests, starting with objections to rancid butter in the 1770s. Guests: Storm Ervin , demonstrator, Concerned Students at The University of Missouri-Columbia Angus Johnson , teacher and researcher, The City University of New York

Now that simulated sky dives are a form of local entertainment , the time is right to ask: what's the difference between someone who jumps out of a plane for the joy of a free fall, and someone who considers that the opposite of fun? Sky-diving pros defend the appeal of their sport. Guests: Chris Hall , Sky Dive KC Greg Palmer , Falcon Skydiving Team

Pittsburgh Craft Beers / Flickr

Bar food: it's salty, it's starchy, and you can usually pick it up with your hands. Beyond that, we make up our own rules. Whether it's by breaking the rules at the speakeasies of yesteryear, or enjoying a sandwich called a fluffernutter that's like a late-night pre-teen cabinet raid. A visit to Tom's Town Distilling Co., a spring-cheese tasting with a certified cheese expert and a critics roundtable on the best bar food in town. Guests: Tim Touhy , Tom's Town Distilling Co. Lincoln...

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Now that Kansas City is home to multiple foreign language immersion schools, as well as a growing population of graduates of the programs, what are some of the idiosyncrasies of learning in a second language? And have the often-touted cognitive benefits of learning a second language been confirmed? Guests: Wang Xi , teacher, Foreign Language Academy Chyna Waters , graduate, Foreign Language Academy Leslie Houfaidi , vice principal, Academie Lafayette Michael Ullman , neuroscientist,...

BlueGold73 / Wikipedia

TIF (tax increment financing) is a major tool for encouraging development in blighted areas within the city. As neighborhoods transform and start to thrive, many question whether tax incentives are still necessary to lure new businesses. So what's the future of TIF , and is there a part of town that should benefit from a next round of TIF funding? Guests: Kevin Collison , KCUR Jason Swords , Sunflower Development Group in the Crossroads Rodney Knott , ReEngage at Troost Reconciliation Services

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard , in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically. The Musician: Julian Davis The Song: “Maybelline” The Album: Who Walks In, When I Walk Out? , Little Class Records His Background: 16-year-old Julian Davis says he doesn’t come from a musical family. He picked up a guitar that was a prop in his mom's photography shop in Pittsburg, Kansas, and taught himself to play with...

The owners of a popular children's bookstore in Brookside are moving on to their new project : an immersive "explorastorium" for children's literature, to be called The Rabbit Hole. The inside scoop on this couple's love affair with stories, books, paper-mache... and each other. Guests: Deb Pettid and Pete Cowdin , owners, The Reading Reptile , founders, The Rabbit Hole

In February of 1966, three years before the infamous Stonewall riots, a meeting in Kansas City brought together the people who would become the leaders of the gay rights movement for the first time ever. A look back, on the 50th anniversary of that event. Guest: Stuart Hinds , Assistant Dean of Special Collections and Archives, Miller Nichols Library

Cody Newill / KCUR

The city has announced plans to demolish the Royale Inn -- known to neighbors and leaders as a dangerous, crime-ridden place, not to mention a less-than-welcoming gateway to downtown when driving from the interstate onto Paseo. But while demolition may solve problems for the neighborhood, does it address underlying issues of poverty and crime, or just relocate them? Guests: Quinton Lucas, KCMO city council representative, 3rd district at large Susan J. Popkin, senior fellow, The Urban Institute

Creative Commons

What does it mean to be a "Renaissance Man" today? Hint: it's more than being an expert multi-tasker. Guests: Stephanie Storey , author, Oil and Marble Bibie Chronwall , Kansas City-based neuroscientist and master gardener Marc Wilson , director emeritus, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art , retired race car driver

This city was founded on a geological anomaly called a rock ledge. Surrouded by cliffs and gorges, no less. Back then, what we now call downtown Kansas City was dense wilderness. A geology professor explains. Guest: Richard J. Gentile , professor emeritus of geology, The University of Kansas

There are ways to make a living that sound too good to be true. But they do exist. Consider the guy who makes stuff out of Legos for a living , or the one who plays his favorite records for several thousand friends on Friday and Saturday nights. How do you get those jobs? Guests: Chuck Haddix , host, KCUR's Fish Fry Joe Nunninck , master model builder, Legoland KC Daniel Laurine , freelance location scout

Drawn by A. Ruger. Merchants Lith. Co. Published by Madison, Wis., Ruger & Stoner - This map is available from the United States Library of Congress's Geography & Map Division / Wikipedia

Through a series of formal steps, it sometimes happens that a public street leaves the city's ledger to become part of a private development. One concerned citizen worries about the city losing its soul, one block at a time, in the process. Guests: Nicolas Bock , architect and concerned citizen, Gould Evans Associates Daniel Serda , InSite Planning Jeffrey Williams , director, City Planning and Development Department for Kansas City, Missouri

An encore edition of Central Standard : 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. As the show neared its conclusion, a story appeared in The Guardian suggesting another transgender homicide victim in Kansas City this year. Guests: Randall Jensen , Kansas City Anti-Violence Project Natalia ,...

Wikipedia -- CC

In this encore edition of Central Standard , we hear about the infamous 1974 Ozark Music Festival. 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...

We hear the stories and perspectives from area residents who were affected by some of the news events of 2015: The residents of an affordable housing project that was shut down, a photographer covering the protests at MU, a grocery store manager whose business was caught in a blaze and a doctor from Syria who can never go home again. Guests: Janelle James, General Manager, Snyder's Supermarket Mark Schierbecker, MU senior Mohammad Taha, physician

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

The year 2015 was a tumultuous one for some 350 residents of an affordable housing complex in Kansas City, Kansas. They had been complaining for years about conditions in the apartments, like broken or missing appliances, electrical fires, black mold. The owner’s rental license was revoked, but residents were unsure when and if they’d get housing vouchers to move elsewhere. And they couldn’t get any help from their landlords. “They won’t fix anything, they won’t make sure the kids are safe,...

Austin McKahan / The Kansas City Zoo

Nikita the polar bear is leaving Kansas City. His next project? To procreate on behalf of his entire species. We bid a fond farewell to this 1200-pound celebrity covered in fur. Guest: Randy Wisthoff , executive director and CEO, The Kansas City Zoo

COD Newsroom / Flickr

First-generation college students head to campus saddled with hopes and dreams, but not necessarily the same resources as their peers. With rigorous academic demands, responsibilities to their families, rising college tuition and increased focus on experiences like study abroad, students breaking through the higher-ed barrier face a unique set of challenges. Guests: Steph Hart , counselor, Cristo Rey Kansas City Eric Grospitch , Dean of Students, University of Missouri-Kansas City Jorge...

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

We talk a lot about community and neighborhoods here at KCUR 89.3, so when it came to our attention that some Kansas City third-graders were investigating the same subjects, it piqued our interest. Miss Allie Heemstra and Mrs. Valerie Diebel’s classes at the Crossroads Academy (a public charter school in downtown Kansas City, Missouri) have studied history, visited 10 neighborhoods from Waldo to Pendleton Heights, talked to “change-makers” and read about community movements. They also...

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

According to environmental journalist Simran Sethi, indulging in the sensual side of food can be revolutionary. How taste and sustainability go hand-in-hand, including extended discussions about karah prasad (holy bread in the Sikh tradition) and chocolate. Guests: Simran Sethi , author, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love , speaking December 8 at KU Ranvir Singh , priest, Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib temple in Olathe Amar Singh , volunteer, Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib...

White, middle-aged Americans' death rates are on the rise , in Kansas City and beyond. How suicide, alcohol and drugs are contributing to the problem. Plus, gaps in mental healthcare services in and around Kansas City. For immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. First Call and Tri-County Mental Health Services provide local resources. Guests: Dan Margolies , health editor, KCUR Edward Ellerbeck , chair of preventive medicine and public health, University of...

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people . But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated. Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward. “Sometimes you get the feeling that you stand out,” Roland says. “People look at your different, or...