Central Standard

Monday - Friday at 10 a.m.

Each weekday morning Central Standard looks at the different worlds within Kansas City. Regular topics include personal finance, information technology, the environment, music, cognitive therapy and the arts.

CONTACT US: When we're on air | With a suggestion for our program


CONNECT WITH US: Twitter: @KCURcst | E-Mail

  Monday: Graffiti in KC / Kyle Hatley Leaving KC Rep. for Chicago
  Tuesday: John Hope Bryant: How the Poor Can Save Capitalism
  Wednesday: Fishin' in the City / Going to Kansas City
  Thursday: Beyond Our Borders: Are we talking about race when we talk about Troost?
  Friday: Food Critics

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Central Standard
4:51 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Movie Critics: Films Of July 2014

With the first days passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the heat index, summer is in full swing. And with summer, comes a plethora of fun, escapist flicks. But July has also brought films with depth, humor and insight. On Friday's Central Standardthe movie critics give their take on what's moving movies forward and what can be left to burn up in the sun.

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Central Standard
12:32 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

In Angola Prison, KU Researcher Found Music, Stories And Pain

Daniel Atkinson's doctoral research took him inside the walls of the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Credit University of Kansas

Ethnomusicologist Daniel Atkinson describes Louisiana State Penitentiary (commonly called "Angola") as a “living, breathing plantation.” The land where the prison stands today was converted from plantation to penitentiary after slavery was abolished. 

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What Is That?
10:09 am
Thu July 24, 2014

What Is That? Kansas City's Vine Street Castle

Workhouse Castle located on 18th and Vine St.
Credit Esther Honig

If you’ve ever driven around the historic 18th & Vine neighborhood in downtown Kansas City, Mo., you might have noticed what looks like a castle. It appears as though it housed Missouri royalty, but in fact this four-story structure, chiseled out of yellow limestone, was originally designed as the city jail.

Built in 1897 with the title of “workhouse castle,” it held mostly petty offenders, vagrants and debtors. As a part of their sentence these inmates were required to work. Female prisoners sewed prison uniforms and the men labored for the city’s Public Works Department.

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2:06 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Armadillos On The Rise In Missouri, Creeping Into Kansas City

This armadillo was caught hanging out in Holden, Mo. Armadillos use their claws and snouts to find insects and worms in the soil.
Credit Cindy Taylor

The nine-banded armadillo has been naturally expanding its habitat north from Central America since 1849. They're common in the southeastern part of the country, but throughout the century they’ve started to move further north and east.

Sightings in Missouri started about 40 years ago. They use to be rare, but now they’re a lot more common.

“Hundreds, we’ve had hundreds so far this year it’s safe to say," says James Dixon, a wildlife damage biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Rising numbers and rising frustration

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10:02 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Prairie School Style Architecture In Kansas City

Hyde Park
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.

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Central Standard
4:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

The Modern Role Of State And County Fairs

Food vendors are setting up at the Wyandotte County Fair.
Credit Christina Lieffring / KCUR

Counties and states all over America host seasonal fairs. Originally, they were organized to share the latest technology in agriculture and genes among livestock. But in an age of instant information are state and county fairs still relevant? On Tuesday's Central Standard, we investigate the modern function of fairs, and talk with some professional livestock judges about their criteria for appraising animals and producing the food of tomorrow.


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Central Standard
10:13 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Wyandotte County Fair Connects Kids With Agricultural Roots

Allyson Billings relaxes with her pet rabbit.
Christina Lieffring KCUR

People usually associate state and county fairs with Ferris wheels and food on a stick. But in areas that have seen their demographics shift from rural to urban populations, these fairs are now serving a new role of connecting city folk to their country roots.

One way the Wyandotte County Fair, which runs July 22 to 26, does this is through its competitions in arts and crafts, food, agriculture and livestock, run by the local 4-H club.

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Central Standard
4:42 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Cash Money Crew: Planning For A New Baby

According to the USDA, a child born in 2012 to a middle income family would cost an average of 241,000 by the time they're 18.
Credit Trevor / Flickr, Creative Commons

Expecting a new baby can force many parents to make complicated financial decisions. On Monday's Central Standard, we were joined by the Cash Money Crew to discuss how to approach and manage the monetary costs that come with a new child.


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Central Standard
3:47 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Food Critics: Where To Find The Best Slice Of Pizza In Kansas City

There's no limit to the toppings that could make a pizza great. Our food critics have suggestions for a variety of styles all over the metro.
Credit Premshree Pillai / Flickr--CC

On a beautiful summer night, stopping by a neighborhood pizzeria for a quick slice (or five) can really hit the spot.

With a handful of exciting new pizza places opening up, Charles Ferruzza and the food critics put out a call for the best pizza in the Kansas City area. 

KCUR's food critics recommend:

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4:31 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

What It Means To Be A Midwesterner In The Words Of Kansas Citians

When we asked you to describe what it's like to be a Midwesterner, responses ranged from "Finding beauty in simple things," to "Living in literal hell." Tweet your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Pam Morris / Flickr--CC

Midwesterners are hard-working, friendly and polite.

Those were the recurring adjectives that came up when we asked Kansas Citians for their take on the heartland.

When we took to social media and asked, “What does it mean to be a Midwesterner in five words or less?”  you also shot back these common themes:

• Underappreciated

• Family-oriented and pragmatic

• We feel we know what’s really important (priorities)

• Compassionate

• Considerate

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Central Standard
4:26 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Kansas City Writer's Reflection On His Youth Inspires New Ideas About Being 'Midwestern'

Woodstock, Ill. might have changed since Bill Tammeus lived there, but to the former newspaper columnist, it's still quintessentially Midwestern.
Credit Teemu008 / Creative Commons, Flickr

Former Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, who still blogs for the paper, recently released a memoir titled Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans.

It's about his boyhood in the Illinois town of Woodstock, in the middle of the 20th century. Through critical reflection on his early experiences and observations, Tammeus arrives at a handful of truisms about life in the Midwest, offered without sentimentality or rose-colored glasses, but with measured fondness.

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Central Standard
1:08 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Without Intervention, Old Barns Stand Defiantly Or Fall Unceremoniously

Kill Creek Farm in DeSoto, Kan. is home to a nostalgia-worthy barn.
Credit Lori Murdock

The barn is an icon of the American work ethic and rural nostalgia. On Wednesday's Central Standard, we explored the trend of rehabbing and restoring old barns that would otherwise fall into irreversible decay.

We also spoke with people throughout the nation and in our own area about the challenges of preserving these structures.

Do old barns -- the red ones with big huge doors -- still matter, even as larger steel structures replace them in function?

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Central Standard
4:56 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

PHOTOS: Barns Of Missouri And Kansas Through Your Lens

Kill Creek Farm in De Soto, Kan.
Lori Murdock

A drive through the Midwest countryside wouldn't be complete without a dozen or so barn sightings. 

As our daily talk show, Central Standard, prepares for its examination of challenges that go into barn restoration, we rounded up a collection of regional barn photos — thanks to you.

We asked our listeners for their best pics of regional barns and they were happy to oblige. Flip through the above slideshow for a sampling of what you sent in. 

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Central Standard
4:40 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

'Citizen Koch' Directors On Documentary Filmmaking

"Citizen Koch" is playing at the Tivoli Theatre

Citizen Koch is a new documentary that investigates the political influence of Kansas-born billionaires David and Charles Koch. The film has a strong point of view, which has drawn mixed reviews.  On Tuesday's Central Standard, we talked with the directors about how Citizen Koch was made and their approach to documentary filmmaking.

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Central Standard
2:51 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

The Transparency Of Police Records In Kansas

Karen Dillon is an investigative reporter who works for The Pitch.
Credit Hearne Christopher Jr. / Kcconfidential

In May of 2013, investigative reporter Karen Dillon wrote a story in the Kansas City Star that shed light on Kansas' restrictive police records access laws. According to Columbia Journalism Review, her work was instrumental in changing those laws. This year, Gov.

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Central Standard
2:39 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Fiddler Explores Little-Known French Dialect Spoken In Missouri Town

Old Mines, Missouri (pictured here) is home to a little-known dialect of French.
Credit Creative Commons, Wikipedia

In honor of Bastille Day, Central Standard explored efforts to preserve Missouri French: a dialect that once flourished in southwestern Missouri, now remembered by only a handful of people in the town of Old Mines. Some say the language is dying, but the dialect has been pronounced dead then rediscovered many times.

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Central Standard
12:52 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

KU Linguist Transforms How The Kazakh Language Is Written

The Kazakh language is written in Cyrillic script, but likely not for much longer.
Credit James Hill / Creative Commons, Flickr


Languages change. Sometimes slowly and organically, sometimes quickly... and on purpose.

Kazakh President Nursaltan Nazarbayev wants the people of Kazakhstan to use Latin script (rather than Cyrillic) to write in their native language.

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3:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

TIMELINE: A Look Back At 40 Years Of Kansas City's Kemper Arena

A photo of Kemper Arena during the last phases of its construction in 1974.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

It's easy to forget about Kemper Arena.

Nestled down in the south end of the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo., the aging arena has seen better days. Since 2007, the Sprint Center has hosted virtually all the big-name events coming through town, leaving Kemper nearly inactive for long periods of time.

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Central Standard
12:46 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

The History of Kemper Arena

The Kemper Arena has been a physical fixture in the West Bottoms since 1974.
Credit Gwen's River City Images / Flickr/CC

About four and a half decades ago, in a stunningly brief period of years, Kansas City built major public structures for air travelers, conventioneers and sports fans. All survive today, but one of them, sitting in the West Bottoms, is underutilized compared to the others.

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Central Standard
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Kansas City Bartenders Create Cocktails Inspired By Local Bands

Credit Geishaboy500 on Flickr

Music is often connected with emotions, but what about food? Can a cocktail taste like a song? On Thursday's Central Standard, we spoke with two Kansas City bartenders who recently completed a feat of synesthesia - creating original cocktails inspired by songs from local musicians.  The event was called Mixtapes & Mixology.

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Central Standard
5:08 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Boys Grow Teaches Kids Business Skills Through Farming

Boys Grow kids getting their hands dirty on their farm.
Credit Jamie Burks / The Good Food Blog

At a farm in Kansas City, Kan., a group of young men from are developing their entrepreneurship skills through farming. Boys Grow, a non-profit agency, works with these kids to develop business skills as they sell their agricultural commodities.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we talked to two of these boys about their experience with Boys Grows and their hopes for the future.


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Central Standard
3:49 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Creativity Over Time: How Age Affects Artistic Careers

Anthony Krutzkamp dances to music composed and performed by Bobby Watson.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

On Tuesday's Central Standard, we invited a variety of artists to discuss how their practice has evolved as they have moved from one stage of life to another.

As a ballet dancer embarked on retirement from the stage and into a teaching and choreographing role at the age of 32, he sat down with a visual artist who has more than forty years of studio experience and a legendary jazz saxophonist. The three compared notes across genres. 


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Central Standard
11:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Sibling Relationships

Kids can be really loving, but they can also fight like cats and dogs.
Credit Ken Wilcox / Flickr, Creative Commons

The bonds and battles between siblings are unique and long-lasting. For some people, their brother or sister is the most treasured person in their life; others can't spend an hour in the same room together. On Monday's Central Standard, we discuss the psychology of these lifelong relationships. 


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Central Standard
4:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Transforming Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe is a neighborhood on Kansas City’s east side with a rich history. Though recent decades have brought on hard times, the community, led by spokeswoman Margaret May, has rallied to restore its former glory. Some residents are frustrated by vacant houses on their blocks, while others love the new farmer’s market and point–with a sigh of relief—to reduced crime rates.

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Beyond Our Borders
3:45 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

How Residents Turned Things Around In Kansas City's Ivanhoe Neighborhood

Margaret May helped host KCUR's community listening session with the Ivanhoe neighborhood.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Few neighborhoods in Kansas City. Mo., have faced as many problems as the Ivanhoe neighborhood in the city's urban core.

Crime, drug houses, frequent vacancy, and trash buildup have plagued the area for decades, but neighborhood residents have been working towards change. 

Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council Executive Director Margaret May has worked in the neighborhood since 2001, and has seen it blossom as residents like Ida Dockery take ownership and responsibility for cleaning it up.

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Central Standard
4:57 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Reflecting On The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

Civil Rights March in Alabama
Credit 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.

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Central Standard
4:49 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Historic Dividing Lines In Public Education Still Affect Kansas And Missouri Schools

US Marshalls escort Ruby Bridges to and from school in New Orleans in 1960.
Credit CC Public Domain


This spring marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case that went to the Supreme Court and ultimately ended with the ruling that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In the first half of Tuesday's Central Standard, we shared some little-known stories of the desegregation process from the months and years that followed.

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Public Schools
3:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Look Back At The Plan That Tried To Unify Kansas City Public Schools

The future of Kansas City and St. Louis public schools is uncertain, but unification could be a potential solution.
Credit Liz / Wikimedia Commons

In 1967, Missouri Rep. Jim Spainhower was tasked with creating a bill that would reorganize public school districts throughout the state.

Known as the Spainhower Commission, the plan would've cut the total number of school districts down to 20.

Reactions to the Spainhower Commission were almost uniformly negative at the time, as many Kansas City and St. Louis suburb residents thought it was a ploy for tax money and desegregation. 

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Central Standard
2:52 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Kansas City's Esther Honig Investigates Photoshop, Gains International Attention

Esther Honig sent a portrait of herself to Photoshop professionals worldwide. Here is a Sri Lankan designer's adaptation of the portrait.
Credit 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.

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Central Standard
1:05 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Experts Say Dark Humor Has Always Been Part Of Kid Lit

Padron Me! by Daniel Miyares was published by Simon & Schuster.
Credit 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.  

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