Sylvia Maria Gross

Reporter, Producer & Co-Host of KC Currents

Sylvia Maria Gross co-hosts and produces KC Currents, an award-winning weekly news magazine that covers news and culture in Kansas City’s diverse communities. 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 studied English at Yale University, and then spent a year researching arts education in Brazil on a Fulbright grant. When she returned from Brazil, she taught middle school math and English while completing a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York City. She reported in New York about education and culture before moving to Kansas City in 2004.

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KC Currents
12:58 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Uzazi Village, Self-Realization Fellowship, Medicine Museum

Sherry Payne, Executive Director of Uzazi Village, works to address infant and maternal health inequalities, especially in Kansas City's African-American community.
Credit Monica Sandreczki / KCUR
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Central Standard
10:19 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Suicide And The Digital Afterlife

Credit Valentin Casarsa / istockphoto - CC

Whenever a loved one dies, those left behind suffer for that loss, but when that loved one chose to take his or her own life, how do friends and family recover?  In 2009 deaths from suicide surpassed those in motor vehicle accidents. There were more than 30,000 that year.  And in a society that lives much of its life online through social media, what happens to one’s digital self after suicide? Is it acceptable to “defriend the dead,” or is social media a good way for us to cope with the loss of our loved ones?

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KC Currents
4:37 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

KCPS Achievement, Black Israelites, Kosher BBQ

Travelers waiting for a flight at KCI.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

 

Kansas City School District Celebrates Good Evaluation

On Friday morning at Paseo Academy, Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green made a big announcement about the district's accreditation status.  It had leaped more than 40 points in the new state assessment system. KCUR’s Maria Carter was there and talked to us about what happened.

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KC Currents
1:06 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

What Royster's Case Tells Us About Voter Fraud In Kansas City

In June, a Kansas City couple pleaded guilty to voter fraud in the 2010 Democratic primary. Even in a low-turnout primary for a state legislature seat, two votes would normally be a drop in a bucket. But in this race, John Joseph Rizzo defeated Will Royster by a margin of one vote. Rizzo went on to win the election and was re-elected to the seat in 2012. The couple voted in a district where they didn’t live and are Rizzo’s aunt and uncle, which further complicated the situation.

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KC Currents
12:38 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Mo. Voter Fraud, Operation Breakthrough, KC Creative Couples

Zhou Long and Chen Yi have taught for more than a decade at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR
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KC Current
2:12 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

World Choral Fest Grows From Kansas City Roots

Singers from Canada, Ireland and Kansas City rehearsed and performed together at the World Choral Fest in Dublin.
Credit Photo courtesy of Tracy Ressigue

The very first World Choral Fest was held last month in Dublin, Ireland, and it was the brainchild of a Kansas City choir director. 

Tracy Resseguie heads the choir program at Staley High School in the North Kansas City School district. He thinks that the World Choral Fest may have been the first time that singers from several different parts of the world rehearsed and performed together in a concert like this. 

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KC Currents
1:59 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Kansas City Museum, Oz Memorabilia, KC Creative Couples

The Kansas City Museum has been the subject of controversy since Union Station management fired the museum director.
Credit Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

Union Station Issues Statement On Museum Agreement With City

It came as a shock to a lot of people when Kansas City Museum director Christopher Leitch was let go last month by the management of Union Station. The two institutions merged back in 2000, but have had a rocky relationship ever since.  And now it’s really unclear what the future will be for both institutions.  KCUR arts reporter Laura Spencer has been following the fall-out from the departure of the museum’s director.

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KC Currents
5:05 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Diocese Monitors Abuse, Tech-y Genealogy, KC Creative Couples

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese is the first diocese in the US to employ an ombudsman.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR
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KC Currents
4:42 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Women In Soccer, Paseo YMCA, KC Creative Couples

Credit Sangeeta Shastry / KCUR

President Obama Visits UCM, Lauds Missouri College Cost Cut Program

A western Missouri-based educational program was the lure to bring President Obama to speak in Warrensburg last week. The President said so, directly, in his address at the University of Central Missouri. Hear from some originators of what's known as the Missouri Innovation Campus.

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KC Currents
4:25 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Paseo YMCA Takes One Step Closer To Reopening

Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

For years, the old YMCA building was an eyesore at the entrance of the 18th and Vine District. But over the last few years, the façade has been restored and the windows replaced. And, on the south wall, a giant mural has gone up of the legendary baseball player, coach and keeper of the Negro Leagues flame Buck O’Neil. 

The Negro Leagues got their start in Kansas City, when eight independent black baseball teams met at the Paseo YMCA in 1920. Buck O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and had a major role in opening the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

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KC Currents
10:51 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Kansas City Creative Couples: Honig & Southerland

Artist Peregrine Honig and musician Mark Southerland in the creative space they share.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The work of iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is on display this summer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. They’re part of an exhibit called Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico.

Kahlo and Rivera are known not only for their paintings, but for their tempestuous marriage, which sometimes influenced their art.

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KC Currents
1:56 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Paddlefish Caviar, Frida & Diego, Rural Librarian

A sample of caviar produced by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Credit Ryan Schuessler / KCUR

KC Regional Health Assessment Finds Rising Rates of Obesity, Poverty

Since 2000, poverty in the metro area has increased by 75 percent. A quarter of the population is currently uninsured or on Medicaid.  And the number of elderly people in the area will double in the next three decades. Those are just a few of findings in a new regional health assessment produced by the Mid-America Regional Council.

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KC Currents
11:36 am
Mon July 15, 2013

The Tempestuous Relationship Between Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Diego en mi pensamiento (Diego on My Mind), 1943. Oil on Masonite, 29 7/8 x 24 inches.
Credit The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art. The Vergel Foundation. / Conaculta/INBA. © 2013 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

This summer, Kansas City is plastered with the iconic image of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Her face, with its dark braids, thick eyebrows and hint of a mustache, is on billboards and buses promoting the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The centerpiece of the exhibit, which is based on the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman, is a set of paintings by Kahlo, and her husband, Diego Rivera. 

The relationship

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KC Currents
12:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Treece, Kan., Fast Pitch Softball, Grand Marquis

Credit Zack Lewandowski / KCUR

Kansas City International Airport Weighs Proposed Changes

Kansas City International Airport is looking at a potentially major change: tearing down the current three terminals and moving to a single, new terminal on the site of the current terminal A. The one terminal idea came to a head in 2008 when the Master Plan called for a new, central terminal south of the current airport. That came just four years after the airport wrapped up nearly $260 million in renovations.

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KC Currents
3:59 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Abortion Lawsuit, Sprint Deal, Gordon Parks School

Credit Payne Roberts / KCUR

Planned Parenthood Sues Kan. Over Free Speech Violation

This month, two different lawsuits were filed in Kansas over a new state abortion law. But the lawsuit that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed on June 20 isn’t about the freedom to perform abortions. It’s about freedom of speech. 

4 Things You Should Know About The Sprint-SoftBank Deal

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KC Currents
1:48 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

KC Charter School Faces Closure, Families Fight Back

Tre’Veon Gilyard addresses the crowd at Gordon Parks Elementary on behalf of his fifth-grade class during the graduation ceremony.
Credit Payne Roberts / KCUR

Fifth grade graduation at Gordon Parks Elementary school this week was an especially emotional event. 

The 13-year old charter school was founded to serve some of the most disadvantaged kids in the Kansas City area, but the school has some of the lowest scores of any public or charter school in Kansas City, Mo.  

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KC Currents
2:04 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

KC Shopping, Wiccans on Solstice, Bloodstone

Credit Ryan Schuessler / KCUR


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KC Currents
4:50 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Downtown Resurrection, Harvey Girls, Audio Theater Festival

Harvey Girls waitressed at restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroads. Many of these women transitioned to other careers after WWII. Opal Jaquess, on the far right side of the first row, is interviewed in the film, Opportunity Bound.
Credit Courtesy of Opal Jaquess

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KC Currents
3:08 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Radio Theater Lives On In Audio Books, Podcasts And Video Games

Credit Flickr/Bob DiBono

The golden age of radio drama might have been in the 1930s and 40s, but practitioners say the genre is alive and kicking in podcasts, audiobooks, and even video games.

Next weekend, Kansas City will host Hear Now: The Audio Arts and Fiction Festival, which will draw old-timey radio voices as well as younger producers. 

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KC Currents
11:15 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Right To Farm, Estate Sale Photos, Betse Ellis

Credit Gloria Baker Feinstein


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Estate Sale
1:54 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Photographer Uses Camera To Let Go Of Belongings

Gloria Baker Feinstein

It was just last year when Gloria Baker Feinstein and her husband had to move out of their house and into a condo, and get rid of many their possessions.

"It's not stuff," she said. "Everything had a reason. Everything had a memory. Everything felt really dear to me."

The couple had an estate sale, and Feinstein, a photographer, decided to document each item as it left her house. But the endeavor quickly turned into a different project -- one that is now on display in a local gallery.

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KC Currents
10:46 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Spelling Bee Sisters, Streetcar Update, Blues Singer Cassie Taylor

Vanya Shivashankar, right, talks with older sister Kavya after the final round of the 2013 Scripps national Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on May 30. Kavya, who helped coach Vanya for this year's competition, won the Bee in 2009.
Credit Credit Mark Bowen / Scripps National Spelling Bee


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KC Currents
10:59 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Olathe 11-Year-Old Continues Family’s Spelling Dynasty In Washington, D.C.

Vanya Shivashankar, 11, of Olathe, Kan., competes at the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Credit Mark Bowen / Scripps National Spelling Bee

Olathe’s own Vanya Shivashankar is returning from Washington, D.C. this week after competing at the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, just a few years after her older sister Kavya took first prize at the competition.

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KC Currents
11:01 am
Wed May 29, 2013

New System Warns Cell Phone Users Of Tornadoes, Other Emergencies

Cell phone alert for tornado warning in Lyon County, Kan. on May 19, 2013.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

People in the path of severe weather (and other emergencies) now have a new way to find out about threats: text message alerts, sent straight to mobile devices.

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KC Currents
10:41 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Cell Phone Warning, Clay Studio, Barista Champ

The Boys Grow group brings up water for the plants.
Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Joplin Optimistic In Recovery, Anxious To Help In Moore, OK

Last week’s massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after another EF-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, killing 161 people.  Wednesday marked that anniversary, and the city was greeted with near perfect weather.  Thousands came out that day to honor the lives of those lost, and reflect upon the continuing recovery effort.

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KC Currents
4:56 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

A Vacant Storefront Sparks Arts Collaboration In KCK

Gathered around the work table, Steven Curtis instructs students on proper glazing techniques.
Julie Denesha KCUR

It was once a barbeque joint, then a Colombian restaurant. But now this storefront in Strawberry Hill has traded out sizzling slabs of ribs and empanadas for another kind of oven: a kiln.

The Epic Arts studio is the brainchild of Steve Curtis, a photographer and community organizer for Community Housing of Wyandotte County. Curtis has long wanted to make art more accessible in Wyandotte County.

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KC Currents
4:48 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Johnson County Mosque, Class Of 2013, Janelle Monae

Sandra Perez, senior at De La Salle Education Center, gave the commencement speech at her graduation ceremony.
Credit Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

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KC Currents
12:07 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

KCK Native Janelle Monae Releases 'Q.U.E.E.N.' Music Video

Performer and KCK native, Janelle Monae, is known for her gender-bending clothing and futuristic soul-meets-funk music. Keeping in her style, Monae just released her latest music video, "Q.U.E.E.N.", featuring neo-soul singer, Erykah Badu.

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KC Currents
3:56 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Midtown Superman, Reading The Rock, KC Psychfest


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