Brian Ellison | KCUR

Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is host of the podcast Statehouse Blend Missouri and regular substitute host of Central Standard and Up to Date. He also contributes to KCUR news coverage, including political reporting, anchoring election night broadcasts and conducting interviews for the "Innovation KC" series. He has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008, including as a producer of Up To Date and The Walt Bodine Show.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian served as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years and now is executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he is also a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in preaching at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Ways to Connect

Most religions have rules, guidance, law of some kind. Christians look to the teachings of Jesus, or the commandments. Jewish people turn to Torah. And Muslims look to Shariah—the code of Islamic law that guides everything from what to eat and how to dress to bigger questions—like resolving marital disputes, or punishing violent crimes.

Grain: A Deadly Business

Mar 27, 2013

In 2011, an explosion at a grain elevator in Atchison, Kansas, killed six people—employees and inspectors there—and rocked a community. Federal prosecutors are now considering charges in the case, but with 2010 the worst year on record, why does this keep happening?

On today's Central Standard, we explore the world of safety and regulation in the grain industry. Investigative reports this week from NPR News' Howard Berkes, Harvest Public Media's Jeremy Bernfeld, and the Kansas City Star's Mike McGraw, have revealed that hundreds have died in explosions and drownings in grain elevators—even as business is thriving, including here in Kansas—which is second in the nation in grain deaths.

  It’s a mad, mad, mad March. And there’s nowhere more crazy about college basketball than Kansas City. From the Sprint Center to Municipal Auditorium, up and down the Power and Light District to living rooms everywhere, college hoops are here. Today on Central Standard, we tip off a conversation about the tournaments that are dominating our airwaves, namely the NCAA tournament that starts today and includes games later this week here in town, but also a tournament that gets less press but has been in town longer—much longer—the NAIA, whose championship game is tonight.

So are you planning to die? Are you ready for when you end up in the great beyond?  More to the point, what about your assets that don’t make the trip with you? Today on Central Standard, we’re talking about the not exactly uplifting, but nevertheless important topic of estate planning. Our Cash Money Crew is here and … you may not believe this ... but it’s not such a downer, really!  Financial planners will tell you that some good decisions now, now while you’re in the prime of life, can have an impact down the road: You can feel secure, live more comfortably now and through your retirement, and have an impact beyond your earthly years.

The Science of Energy

Mar 12, 2013

Decades ago, scientists and energy experts predicted that 2013 would include flying cars and that by now, oil would be a thing of the past. But the state of our energy consumption in America has stayed somewhat the same, while causing intense political discussion on the matter.


Abolishing Daylight Savings

Mar 12, 2013

Saturday night, as our clocks sprung forward and we lost an hour of our day, one man in Missouri was hoping this would be the last Daylight Savings Time he went through. Representative Delus Johnson of St. Joseph, Mo. proposed a bill that would extend the Daylight Savings change all year long.


Westboro Defectors

Mar 11, 2013

The Westboro Baptist Church is notorious in the area and nation-wide for their protests of soldier's funerals and anti-gay messages. Fred Phelps and his followers, based in Topeka, travel the country spreading their messages of hate and last year a petition to label them an official hate group was introduced.


The Religious Diet

Mar 11, 2013

As we find ourselves in the midst of Lent and with Passover on the horizon, the idea of food and the role it plays in various religions is on many people's minds. Why do Catholics not eat meat on Fridays, why do Jews not let their bread rise and why do members of Islam have permanent restrictions on what they can eat?


Like any metropolitan city, crime and violence are unfortunately a reality of life in Kansas City. Recently, the KCPD joined forces with many across the metro to organize the NOVA project, an initiative to combat gang violence in Kansas City.

Imagine growing up in a pretty standard nuclear family. Then when you’re 15, your dad announces that he’s gay and that he and your mom are getting a divorce.

  When surveyed, 20 to 25 percent of people admit to having an extramarital affair.  It also is one of the most destructive forces to a  relationship.  Why is this phenomena so common? Our resident psychologist Bruce Liese tackles the common misconceptions about affairs.


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's traveling exhibit, Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 opened at the Dean's Gallery at the Miller Nichols Library at UMKC. Stuart Hinds, head of Special Collections for UMKC libraries, joins us to talk about the exhibit and other events the museum is hosting to accompany the exhibit.


African-American Read In

Feb 19, 2013

As part of Black History Month activities, UMKC is hosting an African-American Read In Feb. 20 and 28. Employees of the UMKC library and the public will read aloud from some of their favorite African-American literature and writing.


Financial Behavior

Feb 18, 2013

Paying bills, making purchases and balancing a checkbook all seem like straight forward actions with money. But a person's behavior toward money and wealth and how they integrate it into their lives is a psychological and sociological issue as well.

Today on Central Standard, we talk about conflict, and resolving it. Why is it that our workplaces, our families, even the international community have such trouble getting along? Our resident psychologist Bruce Liese is here to try to help … and to give us some ideas about conflict resolution in our world and in our lives.

Back in the 1960s, long hair, political protests and nudity on stage were all taboo subjects to appear in the theater, but that changed when the musical Hair debuted. Over 40 years later the musical is still provocative to audiences in a contemporary way.

The show is currently on tour and opens in Kansas City tonight at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and runs through Sunday. Music Director Lilli Wosk and Noah Plomgren, who plays Claude, join Brian Ellison to talk about life on tour and how this ground-breaking musical is still relevant to today's audiences.

Central Standard takes a close look at the most recent homeless count in Kansas City and explore the implications of these findings on these often overlooked residents of our communities.  Our guests are Vickie Riddle, Executive Director of Homeless Services Coalition, Ehren Dohler, Kansas City 100,000 Homes Campaign manager and James Ponder, a former client of Dohler's who was once homeless and now lives in an apartment.

  Today we talk about the only thing some people care about from last night’s Super Bowl XLVII coverage: The ads--the hits, the duds, the mildly inappropriate, and the ones that never made it to the air.  Dr. J.

Immigration reform is a hot topic for legislators nationwide, and this week both President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators proposed changes to immigration policy. In a city located in the dead center of the country, it might seem illegal immigration is not the biggest issue facing Kansas City, but that is not the case.

Reverend Adam Hamilton, the Senior Pastor at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, did not believe his assistant when she told him the White House called and asked for his presence at this year's inauguration ceremony. Hamilton gave the sermon at the National Prayer Service, held at the National Cathedral the day after the inauguration ceremonies, which has been a tradition for every inauguration ceremony starting with George Washington.


Greetings From Kansas City

Jan 24, 2013

  Before friends could tell their friends about their travels through email, social media and phone calls, postcards were the way to tell people where one was traveling. On Monday, the Kansas City Public Library will open its "Greetings From Kansas City" exhibit which showcases 200 postcards about Kansas City from the 1930s and 40s.

These postcards tell the story of Kansas City as the booming metropolis of the Midwest during this time period and depicts different scenes from around town.


ZTW1 / flickr

  Ever wonder what goes on during a city council meeting? Or how much money was made from parking meters last year? The answers to some questions like these are available to the public online, but every city in the United States differs on how much information they share. MoPIRG is an organization that looks at major metropolitan cities in the country and grades them on how transparent their budget information is to that city's residents.


School Choice

Jan 23, 2013

With education options more diverse than ever, some parents are eschewing the standard public school system.  With this choice, comes the debate on where taxpayer dollars should be going.

On the coattails of President Obama's second inaugural address yesterday and the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Central Standard looks at the economic situation for the African-American community in the United States.

Watching the teenage experience

In 2008, High School Confidentiala documentary-type show that followed 12 high school girls at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park through their four years of high school, aired on WE tv. Sharon Liese is the filmmaker who created this show, and conceived the idea to create a documentary about the high school experience when her own daughter was going through high school.

 

Growing up with Sickle Cell

Jan 17, 2013

The experience of growing up from a child to an adult includes awkward experiences with friends, family and one's own body add to that the challenge of living with a chronic disease. Brian Ellison speaks with one teenage girl who is growing up with Sickle Cell Anemia.


Imagine growing up in a pretty standard nuclear family. Then when you’re 15, your dad announces that he’s gay and that he and your mom are getting a divorce.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

What are the chances of your favorite athletes being replaced by pixels? Let’s just say you might not have to worry about the next hockey lockout. 

Dealing With Domestic Violence

Dec 4, 2012
www.kulr8.com

This weekend's news about the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs is bringing the ongoing discussion about domestic violence to the forefront.

Facing The Future Of Cities

Dec 3, 2012
Lasse Fuss / WikiCommons

Technology can be a boon or a bust to cities, depending on how it's applied.

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