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

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Pork butts to the left of us, briskets to the right: that's one way of describing Kansas City's culinary geography. Join us on a visit to a Kansas City home with a smoker out back, and a chat with a food photographer who traced Calvin Trillin's famous footsteps with his own burnt-end odyssey

Guests:

elmamboworld.com

Miguel DeLeon is a man of many aliases. To some, he's El Mambo. To others, El Pionero. After nearly three decades leading Latin bands and teaching music in Kansas City, he moved to Phoenix, but he's back for a visit, playing gigs and teaching an Afrocuban drumming workshop. 

Wikipedia, Creative Commons

We live in a world where there's something remarkable about a clean plate after a meal. But that's just one small piece of the food waste equation. Visits to farms, a meat processing plant, a compost heap, grocery stores and Kansas Citians' kitchens help us understand why there's so much food nobody's eating. 

For more information about food safety, check out this handy chart from the USDA.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

In recent years, taxidermy has bust out of hunter's dens and natural history museums to become a new trend in home decor, as well as a way to remember pets.

Guests:

  • Anthony Eddy, owner, Eddy's Wildlife Studio
  • Maxwell Ryan, founder and CEO, Apartment Therapy
  • Cindy Cunningham, taxidermist, Second Creation Taxidermy
  • Jane Almirall, artist and shop owner, Oracle
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

A new shop in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City, Mo., looks like a naturalist’s cabinet filled with bones, feathers, insects and skins.

“We had a guy come in and said it looked like if a witch doctor and an interior designer kind of got together and started a shop,” says Jane Almirall, co-owner of Oracle, which opened about a year ago.

Among the animals on display are a white stag, a tiny black-and-white piglet, and above the doorway, a 100-year-old Canadian lynx, originally stuffed with newspaper and sawdust. 

E.G. Schempf, courtesy of the artist and Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Mo.

Curators from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., set out on a road trip to find the most compelling unknown artists hidden away in studios across the country. About a thousand studio visits later, artists had been selected for The State of the Art exhibitTwo Kansas City artists made the cut. 

Guests:

The pre-opening hype would be hard to deny. Just ask the people who spent two nights camping out to be among the first to enter the new Merriam IKEA on opening day. So what is the IKEA story, and how do we expect the global furniture retailer to affect the local economy?

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR

This year on Central Standard, we'll be following three teenagers through their senior year of high school, from the beginning of the year through graduation in May, 2015.

Harold Burgos: High school and college at the same time

Age: 17

School: Ruskin High School, Hickman Mills School District, Kansas City, Mo.

Visha Angelova / CC Flickr

High school seniors have a lot on their minds: graduation, applying to colleges, a whole year of "lasts." Meet two members of the class of 2015; we'll check in with them throughout the year, exploring the tricky issues that come up in that final stretch to the finish line.

Guests:

Hien Nguyen CC Flickr

   

At "cuddle houses," you can pay a stranger to cuddle with you--it's supposed to be a form of touch therapy. Professional cuddling has set up shop in Wisconsin, New York and has now come to Kansas City. How does touch affect our physical and psychological well-being?

Guests:

  • Anne Graham, ​former professional cuddler
  • Jason O’Brien, director, Cuddle: A Documentary
  • Carolyn Guenther Molloy,  infant touch therapist, Stress Free Start LLC
KU / Creative Commons

For the past few decades, American communities have been trying to foster this thing called "multiculturalism." As we continue to debate notions of privilege and perception, how is this experiment going? Are we more empathetic than we used to be? Plus, having "the talk"... about race.

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Fresh tomatoes are a pleasure of summer, but they typically come at a price. Discover what goes into setting that price, whether it's worth it, and what you can do with them when you get home.

Guests:

The community response to the death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. has varied from rioting and looting to peaceful protests and calls for civil discourse. Is there a way of responding to police shootings that can effect personal, social, or political change?

Guests:

When war broke out in Europe a century ago, more than one in 10 Missourians was German-American. On this episode we talk about the experiences of Missouri’s German-Americans in World War I.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The death of a merger proposal between Sprint and T-Mobile may have been bad news for the Kansas City company — stock prices dropped 19 percent Wednesday. But the news has some locals breathing a sigh of relief. It means Sprint is staying put, for now.

Paul Sableman / Flickr -- CC

To conclude KCUR's extended investigation of Troost Avenue as a border that Kansas Citians perceive as a dividing line, Central Standard asked a question that often goes unspoken. That is, when we talk about Troost, as a city, are we really talking about race?

When we talk about Troost in Kansas City, are we really talking about race? A panel of people who live, work and think on the street discuss whether our Troost meme is useful, or causes further divisions.

Guests:

Who has the power in capitalism? The critics of capitalism say the rich have the upper hand. But author John Hope Bryant thinks the story is more complex than that. He thinks that capitalism works best when it benefits not the few, but the many.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Kansas City architect Clarence Shepard was deeply influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School Style when he designed more than 600 homes and churches in the region a century ago.

Shepard was a native of New York, grew up in Clay Center, Kan., and came to work in Kansas City at the beginning of the 20th century for the Kendall Co. and the J.C. Nichols Co., among others.

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.

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.  

Esther Honig / estherhonig.com

This week, KCUR freelancer Esther Honig had a giant shock when her project Before & After, a cross-cultural examination of beauty, went viral.

Honig sent an unaltered image of herself to freelance graphic artists in more than 25 countries and asked them to perform one task: make her beautiful. The result is more than 40 images that together tell a complex story of global standards of beauty. And the response has been enormous.

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.

The current Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow is the latest example of time warp cinema, a story with loops in time and narrative. Other examples include Sliding Doors, Donnie Darko, and, of course, Groundhog Day.

On Friday's Central Standard, Russ Simmons and the film critics return to review flicks currently showing at your local cineplex, and discuss the best time loop films.

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann, KCUR

On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century. 

The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.

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
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

As the FIFA 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, we have the first installment in a series checking in on some of Kansas City’s international communities and how they’re cheering their home teams from afar.

It’s been a rocky path to the World Cup for host country Brazil: there were questions about whether the stadiums would be ready; ongoing crime concerns; and mixed emotions from Brazilians. 

Many Brazilians in Kansas City are a little sad to be watching the championship tournament from a continent away, but some are quite ambivalent about the games.

dustjelly / Flickr-CC

As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Brazil, many soccer fans in Kansas City will be cheering for the U.S. men's team and Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

But many other Kansas Citians will cheer on teams from around the globe.

For optimum World Cup viewing, we've rounded up a list of local places to go for a more international soccer experience:

Brazil: Taste of Brazil Market, 25 E. 3rd St, Kansas City, Mo. 

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.

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