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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Our food critics share their favorite meals of 2014, go over the year's restaurant openings and closings, and predict some local food trends for the coming year.

Guests: 

As we say goodbye to 2014, we remember the people we lost this year. Author Jack Gantos shares his boyhood experience typing stories for his town's obituary writer, offering insights into why a community needs to remember. Kansas Citians share memories, plus, a tribute to the Westside's Lynda Callon, who died in October. 

Guest:

  • Jack Gantos, author, Dead End in Norvelt
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Central Standard is following three high school seniors through the trials and triumphs leading up to graduation. Catch up with Ashwanth Samuel, Harold Burgos and Sache Hawkins on internships, waiting to hear back from colleges, career dreams, school lunch, juggling coursework with outside interests, senior-itis, and what grown-ups don't know about high school today. Plus, one of these seniors surprised us with an early graduation in December.

Wikimedia Commons

When we tell people where we're from, we're not just clarifying our address. We're saying something about who we are. So when we proclaim that we're from Kansas City (or Kansas or Missouri or the Midwest), what is it we're trying to communicate? And when you move to a new place, when do you start truly being from there?

BONUS: Hear KCUR's Suzanne Hogan exploring her own dedication to the 816 area code, despite growing up just a short walk from the Kansas border.

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

We don't learn anything in a vacuum — including financial skills. So it comes as little surprise that we are inclined to save, spend and budget based on lessons from the past rather than circumstances of the present. But, can we change how we're wired in order to adapt?

Guests:  

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Wine merchant Ryan Sciara says “slurping” is the proper way to taste a wine.

Suck in some air to help move it to the different taste receptors in the mouth.

“You get acidity on the front, tannins in the back, and sweetness in the middle,” Sciara says.

And then he spits, so that he can function through the rest of the day.

Sciara, who opened Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this year, developed a taste for wine as a small child, sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen.

Carolyn Williams, Flickr

A whole podcast genre has developed around devices that put giant sound libraries inside people's pockets. Podcast-lovers enjoy the "headspace you can crawl into when you're listening to incredible radio," says audio-whiz Andrea Silenzi. "You kind of travel to this other space with a podcast." Our guests debate the hugely popular Serial, and discuss their top recommendations for podcast listening.

Audiofiles Recommend:

Doug / Flickr--CC

The line between radio show and podcast is pretty blurry.

After all, a podcast is just audio that you can stream or download on your own time. (You can subscribe to KCUR podcasts here.)

Many of our own staff at KCUR are also big consumers of podcasts, whether produced by public radio or not.

Here are some picks from our staff and interns:

Maria Carter, news director/newscaster

After gaining independence, the people of Ireland used pageantry to express their heritage. These thematic recreations of historical and mythical events were subversive acts of forging a new national identity. In All Dressed Up: Modern Irish Historical Pageantry, Joan Dean explores the public imagination of history.

Guest:  

Kansas City Public Library / Missouri Valley Special Collections

Sonny Gibson likes to let history speak for itself. He spent 25 years visiting flea markets, poring over old newspapers, digging through archives and even knocking on people's doors, all to gather information about the daily lives of African-Americans in Kansas City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Guest:

Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday night, the people of Ferguson, Mo., learned that the white police officer who shot and killed a black teenager in August would not be indicted. After a period of stunned silence, chaos erupted between protestors and police, who showed up on the scene before violence broke out. How do residents feel, faced with immediate struggles and a national spotlight? Is it possible for the events in Ferguson to give rise to a new chapter in the history of race and justice in America?

Guests:

Teens process and express grief in very particular ways. In the aftermath of two suicides at an Olathe high school, and while the shooting of Michael Brown is still a recent memory, experts shed light on how people at this sensitive developmental stage cope with profound loss. Plus, information on how adults in their lives can help.

Guests:

Alex Smith / KCUR

Maybe it's a decision about which side of the state line to live on. Maybe it's public school versus private, or district versus charter. For some, there may not seem to be a choice in the matter at all. A range of issues factor into where Kansas City families send their kids to school; meanwhile, difficulty discerning myth from reality looms large. Our callers and guests help break it down.

Guests:

In a column that ran last week, the New York times coined the phrase 'The Mommy Problem' to suggest that when a woman becomes a parent, Mom becomes her identity--not just in relation to her children, but also in relation to society. Is there a public dimension to the private relationship between mothers and their children? And does child-rearing take a village... or just a mom?

Guests:

Keith Williamson / Flickr, Creative Commons

So, you want to go into business for yourself. Live the dream. Become your own boss. What's the best attitude to have going into it, and what are the practical steps you should take to lay the groundwork? Plus, how to ensure you're building a dream, rather than a nightmare.

Guests:

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, she had no idea that she would change the future of modern medicine forever. Medical researchers used cells harvested from her cervix for research projects that led to countless medical breakthroughs--all without her family's knowledge or consent. The author who uncovered the story explores her years-long obsession with getting to know Henrietta Lacks. 

Guest:

A year and a half after a natural gas explosion destroyed an iconic off-Plaza restaurant, the business is reopening. Its noteworthy wine collection remains a draw, and the old-world ambiance has been recreated. The menu will change little, if at all. Meanwhile, the server killed by the explosion leaves behind a powerful absence. The re-opening is a milestone for regulars who considered JJ's a home away from home.

Guests:

Our city is teeming with people who dream of writing that novel... someday. If those aspiring writers decided to turn their literary dreams into reality, where would they begin? Our guests offer advice and personal stories in honor of National Novel Writing Month.

Guests:

High standards. A desire for greater control. A predisposition toward anxiety or depression. These traits are common among people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses are complex, multifaceted and incredibly dangerous. Body image is just the tip of the iceberg.

Guests:

  • Dr. Ashley McCune, counselor, InSight
  • Jon Smith, patient in recovery
Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Many Royals fans couldn't afford tickets to the World Series, but they wanted to be as close as possible to the historic game. Hear how they "watched" the game from the parking lot. 

A two-acre cemetery in downtown Kansas City, Kan. is one of the few public reminders of the Wyandot Nation, whose trail of tears brought them to the area in the early 19th century. Yet the Wyandot had an influence on what was to become Wyandotte County, as well as Kansas' civil war history.

Guests:

Samuel Goldwyn Films and Paramount Home Media Distribution

When Casey Twenter came up with the idea for the movie Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup and directed by William H. Macy, he was a Kansas City guy working at an advertising agency. This conversation shares Twenter's story and offers insight into his on-screen exploration of parenthood and loss, love and guilt.

In the wake of swirling fears about the spread of Ebola as well as Kansas cases of pertussis and measles, we look back on a pandemic that hit home for Kansas City: the Influenza pandemic of 1918. The death rate in Kansas City outpaced that in other places, and some say the city's politics and public health infrastructure were largely to blame.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Djenabou Balde has been calling her daughter in Guinea every day to plead with her not to leave the house.

“I always say, ‘Keep the kids in the house. Make sure they are clean. Do not go to any function.’” Balde says. “She can hear me maybe today and tomorrow, forget, so I keep on calling every day.”

Balde moved to Kansas City 10 years ago from Guinea, where the recent Ebola outbreak began. Members of her family are either in quarantine, or just staying home to be safe.

Kansas City Star designer Charles Gooch sits in the center of the newsroom, surrounded by televisions. He knows that this is going to be one of the front pages that people save for posterity.

“A lot of my friends on Twitter tell me no pressure, that they want to see the definitive A1 that they can put in their files and hang up on their walls,” Gooch says.

It’s the bottom of the 8th, Royals are winning 2-1, and Gooch is staring at a blank page with just the masthead. He’s getting the rest of the paper designed, so he’s ready as soon as the game ends.

MattysFlicks / Flickr, Creative Commons

When storms roll in, some people rush to the window to watch, while others are rushing to the basement. What is the difference between a healthy fear of weather and out-of-proportion anxiety? A mother and daughter professor duo have combined their expertise in the separate fields of geography and psychology to investigate severe weather phobias.

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Syria, Liberia and Ukraine are places most Kansas Citians know through news reports. But for immigrants from these countries, headlines aren't the half of it; friends, relatives and even memories remain in places left behind. Sound and stories take us around Kansas City, and around the world, as experts on the transnational experience add perspective. 

Lady Dragonfly CC - >;< / Flickr, Creative Commons

Little-known fact: It's chestnut harvesting season in Kansas. So what's the scene at the local chestnut orchard? And how are chefs using the overall nut bounty in area kitchens?

Guests:

An emotional reaction begins with a set of reflexive messages originating in the brain. It happens faster than thought and is beyond our control. But what we do with that emotion and how long we hold onto it beyond the initial reflex? That's another story.

Guest:

Tristan Bowersox / Flickr, Creative Commons

California just passed a law establishing "yes means yes" as the statewide standard for consent, and President Obama recently issued a message to the nation calling assault on campus "an affront to our basic humanity." In the wake of some controversial local cases, where do local universities stand on this issue, and what are students saying?

Guests:

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