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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KCUR News
2:24 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

KCMO District Loses Accreditation

Interim Superintendent Stephen Green and Acting School Board President Derek Richey address the media after the accreditation vote. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri schools will lose their provisional accreditation on January 1, after a vote this afternoon by the state Board of Education. In a recent review, the district met only three of 14 accreditation standards. District officials said they plan to move ahead with the transformation plan laid out by the previous superintendent.

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KC Currents
2:39 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Housing Designed for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Robert More and his granddaughter.
Sylvia Maria Gross KCUR

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KCUR News
5:31 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Voices from the Military's 9/11 Generation

Tiffany Birmingham, president of Veteran?s Success Center at Penn Valley, is a native of the Kansas City, MO area. She was inspired to join the military after seeing coverage of the terrorist attacks of September 11. Photo by Kayla Regan/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, MO – People who've served in the military in the past ten years are considered part of the 9/11 generation. This generation is made up of more than five million people who have served in active, guard and reserve units. This is the first time since the Revolutionary War that the United States has engaged in sustained conflicts with an all-volunteer military.

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KCUR News
12:39 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

KCMO School Superintendent Submits Resignation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri school Superintendent John Covington submitted his resignation Wednesday, after a two-year tenure in which he closed about half the district's schools. Board member Arthur Benson also resigned.

School board president Airick Leonard West announced Covington's resignation at the beginning of Wednesday night's board meeting. Benson says Covington gave his reasons for resigning in a closed session with the board. The board has not yet accepted the resignation.

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KCUR News
12:00 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

New Curfew Prompts Debate about Parenting, Violence

The shooting took place at 47th and Wyandotte, KCMO. Photo courtesy of flickr user Old Shoe Woman.

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Mourners Remember Local Troops Killed in Afghanistan Chinook Crash

Liesen Wonderlich (center) with her mother, sister and twin babies. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

OLATHE, Ks. – A national tragedy was brought very close home this week when the remains of several of the soldiers killed when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan returned to the area.

30 Americans and eight Afghanis were on board and they all died. It was the single largest loss of US troops since the war began in Afghanistan almost ten years ago. And five of the 38 people who died in that helicopter crash had a connection to this region.

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KCUR News
4:58 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Olathe Residents Pay Respects to Army Spec. Spencer Duncan

Liesen Wonderlich (center) with her mother, sister and twin babies. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

OLATHE, Ks. – Hundreds of people gathered in Olathe this morning to pay their final respects to 21-year old Army Specialist Spencer Duncan. Duncan was killed in Afghanistan two weeks ago when the Chinook he was traveling on was shot down.

People waved flags along 151st street all the way from Olathe South High School, where Duncan graduated from in 2008, to Blackbob Road - where the cortege of motorcycles, cars and a hearse carrying Spencer Duncan's remains turned off for the Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home.

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KCUR News
10:42 am
Thu August 11, 2011

Kansas City Star Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish

Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When Mi-Ai Parrish arrived at the Kansas City Star last month to become its publisher, she was replacing a local, who had been at the paper for 25 years. (Mark Zieman went on to become a vice president at McClatchy, the company that owns the Star.)

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KCUR News
1:40 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Teachers and a Legislator "Chat" About Missouri Facebook Law

Photo from flickr.com user NinJA999 (used by KCUR under a Creative Commons License.)

KANSAS CITY, MO – A recently-signed Missouri law caught the attention of techies and teachers around the country this week. The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act takes effect on August 28, 2011. It was named after a woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by a teacher in Missouri. Most of the bill sets up tighter safeguards for identifying predatory teachers or school personnel, and preventing them from moving to other districts. .

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Visual Arts
1:41 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Debate over Controversial Statue Resumes

This statue, located in front of the police communications building, has sparked years of controversy in Kansas City about art and interpretation.
Brenna Daldorph/KCUR

Renovations of the police communications building mean that a well-known statue will have to find a new home. Will it be sent to storage or be moved to another public spot in Kansas City? The debate is on!

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New Grocery Stores
11:58 am
Mon July 18, 2011

The Story Behind The Two Buck Chuck

Two Trader Joe's fans at the store opening on Ward Parkway early Friday morning sport Hawaiian shirts and corks from the store's wine bottles. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.
Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Many bargain-hunting foodies in Kansas City are rejoicing this weekend. The grocery store chain Trader Joe's has finally opened its doors in two locations: Ward Parkway Mall and on 119th Street in Leawood. For ten years, local customers have been begging the company to open a store here.

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Performance
9:10 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Search for Birth Mother Uncovers Difficult Truths

Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Growing up in Overland Park, Brian Stanton always knew he was adopted. And like many adoptees, he wanted to know something about his birth parents.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brian Stanton's search for his birth mother ended up uncovering some difficult truths, which as a playwright and actor, he explores in a one-man play. He's performed Blank around the country, but last night was his first performance in his hometown.

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Odd Jobs
10:01 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Handling Snakes and Rescuing Unusual Pets

Dana Savorelli and a capuchin monkey. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

The long days of summer are here, and at least some kids are splashing in creeks, looking for frogs and snakes. But how many will turn that curiosity about animals into a career? 

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KCUR News
2:46 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

Wichita Courtroom Hears Atrocities from Rwandan Genocide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A trial in Wichita this month has gathered witnesses from the other side of the world to testify about the events in a small Rwandan village during the 1994 genocide. Topeka resident Lazare Kobagaya lived there at the time, and he's accused of inciting murders and the burning of homes. It's the first time that United States Federal Courts are hearing evidence about the Rwandan genocide.

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KCUR News
4:13 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

A Financial Link Between Two Cities: KCK and Tangancicuaro

Victor Galvan built a Mexican-style clay oven in his yard in KCK. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, Kan. – Half of all Latino immigrants in the United States send money home. More than 20 billion dollars a year go to Mexico. Last week, the Mexican Consulate unveiled a new financial tool will make it easier for residents of Kansas City to send money to a small town in Michoacan, Mexico.

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KCUR News
4:39 pm
Mon April 25, 2011

Animal Shelter Practices Examined

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – At the end of the month, Kansas City's animal shelter will temporarily go back to be managed by the city, after two years of operation by a private contractor. In 2009, veterinarian Dr. Wayne Steckelberg won the contract to run the shelter, which was renamed Half Way Home Pet Adoptions.

As recently as last year, the privatization of the shelter was considered a success. But complaints from volunteers and a staff member led the city to reconsider.

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KCUR News
11:27 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Why Did Google Choose KCK?

The Kansas City Kansas library will be connected for free to Google's high-speed fiber-optic network. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, Ks. – One mayor threw himself into Lake Superior. One city changed its name to Google for a month. But all to no avail. Google has announced its first coveted high-speed fiber-optic network will be built in a city that didn't do any flashy publicity stunts, but beat out 11 hundred competitors. But what does this high-tech marriage mean for Google, and for KCK?

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Fri March 18, 2011

City Council Candidates' Final Push Before Election

Kansas City, Mo., City Hall.

Kansas City, Mo. – Pundits are saying the election of Kansas City's mayoral race could be the most important in a generation. But we have what's called a "weak" mayor system here, so almost as important are the 12 city council members. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross takes a look at the six at-large races, in which all Kansas Citians vote.

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KCUR News
3:17 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Generation Rap's 'Granddad' Steps Down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jim Nunnelly is stepping down as the coordinator of the Generation Rap radio show, which airs every Saturday morning on Hot 103 Jamz--that's the urban contemporary station KPRS.

The show started in 1987, and soon after, Nunnelly took on the role of "Granddad." And for the last 12 years, he's supervised while a changing cast of high school students have taken on more and more responsibility for the show.

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KCUR News
1:12 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Missouri Legislature Looks at 'Right to Work' Bill

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Federal law prohibits unions from requiring workers to belong. But in most states, workers in union shops can be required to pay some fees, because the union is obligated to represent them in collective bargaining. In the 1950s, states began passing "right-to-work" legislation (the term is controversial), which means workers didn't have to pay dues or fees to the union. Twenty-two states now have these laws, including Kansas. Many are in the Deep South and the West.

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KCUR News
11:18 am
Mon February 21, 2011

Seven Candidates Vie for Open Seat in 6th District At Large

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Candidates running in Kansas City's 6th District At Large gathered at a forum last week at RC's Restaurant and Lounge by the railroads in Martin City. That's on the southern end of KC, where the 6th District spans the city from state line to Longview Road, going almost all the way around Grandview.

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KCUR News
11:04 am
Mon February 21, 2011

3rd District At Large Candidates Discuss Vacancies, Crime

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 3rd District encompasses the old northeast, and the east side down to Brush Creek. It has the highest rates of poverty and crime in the city, and neighborhoods are struggling to deal with vacancies and blight. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross talked to three candidates for the 3rd District At-Large for their perspectives on solving some of these problems. Those candidates are Melba Curls, Brandon Ellington, and Durwin Rice.

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Food & Drink
8:27 am
Sat February 12, 2011

Challah: A Love Story

Certain foods can evoke powerful memories of people we love. For 87-year-old Ray Davidson, one of those foods is challah.

OVERLAND PARK, Ks. –

Over the past few years, Ray Davidson has baked tens of thousands of loaves of the traditionally Jewish, braided bread.

Every week, he goes to the chilly kitchen at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park to bake dozens of loaves of the challah, using a special recipe.

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KCUR News
10:32 am
Wed February 2, 2011

KC Mayoral Candidate Henry Klein

Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – Seven candidates are vying to be the next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. The primary on February 22, 2011 will narrow the field down to two. As part of KCUR's municipal election coverage, we're sitting down with each of the seven candidates in a place of their choosing.

Henry Klein met up with KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross in Waldo at Habitat for Humanity's Restore, a non-profit home improvement store. Klein's on the board of that organization.

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KCUR News
12:34 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

No One Big Issue Emerging in KCMO Municipal Election

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This election season in Kansas City, candidates are responding to the grim economic climate, and an unusually charged four years in city hall.

David Martin follows city politics as a staff writer for The Pitch. He told KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross that this election is very different from four years ago.

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Chiefs Trumpet Player
12:30 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Chiefs' Trumpeter Tony DiPardo Dies at 98

Kansas City trumpet player and band leader Tony DiPardo passed away on Thursday. "Mr. Music" was best known as the man played "charge" and riding the Chiefs mascot Warpaint at countless football games.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tony DiPardo was the Chiefs' music director for 20 years, and he played at Arrowhead for another 24 years when his daughter took over in 1989. Three years ago, Tony DiPardo told KCUR's Walt Bodine and co-host Kelley Weiss about how he started playing the trumpet.

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KCUR News
11:28 am
Mon January 31, 2011

Mo. Supreme Court Calls for Retrial on Controversial Adoption

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This week, the Missouri Supreme Court restored parental rights to a Guatemalan immigrant whose son was adopted by an American couple. The court ruled that the adoption failed to follow proper legal procedures, and sent the case back for a new hearing. But the four-year-old boy will remain with his adoptive family until then.

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KCUR News
2:53 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Local Businesses Try "Snow Day Marketing"

Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara in his first snowball fight ever. Photo by Zach Cobb, Westside Studio.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Snow disrupted a lot of schedules this week. And for some people, it was a welcome disruption. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has this audio postcard of Thursday's snow day in Kansas City, and how some local businesses, from restaurants to Sporting Kansas City (formerly the Wizards), are trying to benefit from the inclement weather.

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KC Currents
11:40 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Night Club Raid Has Lingering Effects on Westside

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Three months ago, a police raid on a popular club on the Westside sent reverberations through the community that are still being felt today. Many people in the neighborhood had concerns about Club Oasis, on Southwest Boulevard, because of frequent violence and shootings during Sunday night parties there. But some think the way the police raided the place may have caused even more problems.

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