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

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City voters weighed in against the most recent proposal for a light rail system yesterday. 56 percent turned the starter route, running from Vivion Road to east 63rd.

The verdict was consistent with seven previous elections in the past 11 year - the majority of Kansas Citians have not been interested in light rail. Two years ago, voters approved a plan for a starter route of 27 miles. But the city council repealed the measure, and crafted a 14-mile proposal for voters.

Kansas City, MO – Lines at polling places on both sides of the state line formed well before dawn, with voters showing up in the dark with chairs, books and plenty of coffee.

Kansas City, MO – There were long lines at polling places throughout the Kansas City area Tuesday morning. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross stopped by a couple of precincts in midtown to hear what people were talking about as they waited.

Kansas City, MO – In Tuesday's election, Kansas City voters will be asked to approve a three-eighths cent sales tax to build a new light rail system. City planners are calling it a starter route: 14 miles from Vivion Road to East 63rd street. North Kansas City voters face a similar question - they'll be asked to pitch in a half-cent tax. KC Currents' Sylvia Maria Gross looks into some of the arguments for and against this light rail plan, and starts out in the Northland.

Kansas City, MO – Like local governments around the country, Kansas City relies on municipal bonds to finance major projects, like improvements to its water and sewer system. And with the current credit freeze, the city's waiting for a better market to issue 200 million dollars worth of water bonds. And after that, it needs to borrow 80 million more for urgent sewer upgrades. As KC Currents' Sylvia Maria Gross reports, there are parts of the city which been waiting a long time for basic services.

Kansas City, MO – Opponents to Kansas City's light rail proposal filed a lawsuit against the city council today. The suit alleges the council violated the city charter by rushing the issue onto the ballot for the November election. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

Committee for Sensible Transit member Patrick Tuohey filed the lawsuit. He says the city council called the light rail proposal an emergency measure in order to rush it onto the ballot.

Kansas City, MO – The faltering US economy dominated headlines across the country, and the world. Congress ended up passing a 700-billion-dollar rescue plan for Wall Street. Meanwhile, KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross took a microphone around Kansas City and Independence this week, and asked people how the economy and the struggling markets are affecting their lives.

Hear from Kathy Hull, Janice Buchanan, David Lloyd, Helen Munoz, Kecia Smith and Brent Carpenter - all interviewed in Kansas City and Independence.

Kansas City, MO – More than three thousand people gathered at 18th and Vine in Kansas City last week to hear first lady hopeful Michelle Obama. The rally was the Obama campaign's first big event in the heart of Kansas City's historically black community. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross spoke to some of the people who came out to hear her speak.

Kansas City, MO – More than three thousand people gathered at 18th and Vine yesterday to hear First lady hopeful Michelle Obama. The rally was the Obama campaign's first big events in the heart of Kansas City's historically black community.

Kansas City, MO – Republican Attorney General candidate Michael Gibbons promised to crack down on internet crime in Missouri if elected. Gibbons campaigned around the state yesterday, proposing a new cyber-crimes unit in the Attorney's General's office. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

One recent piece of legislation that was seen as a victory for Latino immigrants is the 2004 law allowing undocumented students who went to high school in Kansas to pay in-state tuition rates at local colleges. That law has been challenged each year since, in the statehouse and in federal court, and has been upheld in both places. But this week, an appeals court in California made a different decision - which could lead to the repeal of instate tuition benefits for illegal immigrants in that state.

Kansas City, MO – KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross recently caught up with Steve Cisneros, who's the director of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino Affairs Commission. Cisneros was appointed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius last year, after working in the Clinton administration in 1990s, and stints in Florida, Texas, and New Mexico. But this position brings him back home, Cisneros grew up in Wichita.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided a factory in Mississippi last week and detained almost 600 people. They are suspected of working in the United States illegally. Right after news of the raid spread, many family members and children of the detainees turned to one place for information and help: the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

A group of church leaders is calling on the Kansas City, Kansas Police to address the treatment of immigrants in Wyandotte County. The police chief will be meeting with representatives of the group next month, though police say immigration enforcement is a federal issue. Lutheran minister Mike May said at a press conference outside police headquarters that the treatment of illegal immigrants is also church concern.

MAY: Who would Jesus deport? The answer is nobody . . . full stop . . . end of sentence . . . nobody.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke to transport workers facing steep job cuts at Kansas City International airport yesterday. The town-hall meeting was part of his tour of tightly-contested states before he speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

Kansas City, MO – Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her series about a boy who migrated from Central America to the United States. Like many other children, as Nazario uncovered, he traveled through Mexico riding on top of freight trains. Nazario based her series on one Honduran teenager's experience, and she spent years researching his life and journey.

Becoming a US citizen is always a time-consuming, bureaucratic process. But after 9/11, immigration services began requiring an expanded background check.

So for tens of thousands of applicants, the wait stretched from months to years. Many immigrants have ended up suing the government because of the long delays.

KC Currents' Sylvia Maria Gross has the story of U.S Army Spc. Julian Polous Al Matchy whose citizenship papers were supposed to be expedited.

In the Democratic race for Missouri Attorney General, State Senator Chris Koster squeaked by State Representative Margaret Donnelly with a margin of less than a thousand votes. Donnelly's campaign is considering calling for a recount. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was at Koster victory party in the Teamsters Hall on the east side of Kansas City.

A company that does workplace drug tests just recently released data showing an increase in positive drug tests in the Kansas City area. Even while nationally, fewer people are testing positive for drugs in these workplace screenings. Jim Nunnelly runs Jackson County's COMBAT anti-drug programs. He told KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross that this new information from Quest Diagnostics demonstrates the importance of looking at substance abuse from a public health perspective.

There's four lawyers competing to be the Democratic candidate for Missouri's Attorney General in next week's primary. They have similar ideas on how to protect Missourians from crime and consumer fraud. But the candidates are coming at the race from very different perspectives. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

Kansas City, MO – In Washington Square Park on Thursday, on the 27th anniversary of the Hyatt Skywalk disaster, members of the Skywalk Memorial Foundation unveiled tentative plans for a memorial to the victims and rescuers at the collapse. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports on the details of the plans, and what inspired the foundation members to start conversations about a memorial.

Kansas City, MO – Tentative plans were unveiled yesterday for a memorial honoring victims of the skywalk collapse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1981. Yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the disaster in which 114 people died, and hundreds were injured.

Kansas City, MO – Tentative plans were unveiled Thursday for a memorial honoring victims of the skywalk collapse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1981. Yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the disaster in which 114 people died, and hundreds were injured.

How do you stay connected to family members who are halfway around the world? It's a question that Pete Dulin explores in a series of essays called Travels in Thailand: Explorations of Family, Food, Heritage and Culture. Dulin grew up in Kansas City - his father is American and his mother is Thai. He told KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross that the first time he visited Thailand he was only 2 years old.

KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City Missouri City Council has until Thursday to hammer out the coming year's budget. With the slowdown in the national economy, and a recent downgrading of the city's financial status, city council members are preparing to make decisions that will upset people.