Sylvia Maria Gross | KCUR

Sylvia Maria Gross

Storytelling Editor

Sylvia Maria Gross manages creative projects at KCUR, including overseeing Central Standard, KCUR's daily talk/magazine show and the podcast Midwesternish. 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 continued to spend her career trying to capture the attention of wandering minds.

Ways to Connect

A journey along Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, takes us through history, demographic shifts, religion, and plans for economic development. Visit a black-owned bookstore in the 1960s, an integrated church and hear about one of the country's first black police chiefs. Plus, teens grapple with whether they have to leave the area to succeed.

This show is a culmination of months of reporting along Quindaro Boulevard as part of KCUR's Here to Listen initiative

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Segment 1: Mahatma Gandhi's grandson reflects on his family legacy.

As the world begins celebrating Gandhi's 150th birthday, Park University brings the iconic leader's grandson and biographer to town for celebrations and talks. The elder Gandhi sought to attain purity as a way of leading entire nations to peace; his grandson believes that we can contribute to that greater good, even while falling short of perfection in our lives.

Segment 1: Kansas City Classics

Among the new and noteworthy restaurants populating Kansas City, let’s not forget those that came first and have stuck around for a while. We talk about the classic restaurants of Kansas City, which have set the standard for diners across the metro.

Segment 1: What's behind the statistics for maternal mortality in Missouri?

Missouri ranks 42nd in the United States for maternal outcomes, with a number of pregnancy or childbirth related deaths per capita among the worst in the nation, according to a recent article in the Kansas City Star. Our guests say that's an indicator of poor health in the state overall.

Seg. 1: Tornado Coverage | Seg. 2: Trains In Kansas

May 30, 2019

Segment 1: Tornado Aftermath

On Tuesday night, a large tornado hit parts of Lawrence and Johnson County, causing several injuries and property damage across neighborhoods. With many communities in recovery mode after the storm, we speak with reporters who were on the ground in the tornado's aftermath and hear from folks who witnessed it firsthand.

Segment 1: What happens to a community without access to a four-year college?

The majority of college freshmen enroll at schools within 50 miles from home. But what if there isn't a four-year university nearby? In this conversation, we take a look at the effects education deserts have on communities and how Dodge City, Kansas, is looking to address theirs.

Segment 1: The culinary connection between New Orleans and Kansas City.

Andrea Broomfield offers us a look at Cajun cuisine and its historical ties to Kansas City. Then, chef Israel England tells us the secret to rich and delicious gumbo.

  • Andrea Broomfield, Food Historian and Professor
  • Israel England, Owner and Executive Chef of Kansas City Cajun

Segment 2, (beginning at 18:24): McLain’s and the best cinnamon rolls in Kansas City

Segment 1: A KU sociology professor discovers a manifesto by George Orwell.  

A new book by David Smith, in collaboration with an artist, reveals there's more to Orwell than 1984. Much of the book is devoted to a manifesto Orwell wrote three years before that celebrated novel. It called for an international organization to prevent "psychological warfare." 

Midterm elections will soon be upon us, and we're curious-- will this be your first time voting? Whether you just turned 18, recently became a U.S. citizen, or have just gotten more interested in the democratic process, we want to hear from you.

If you're willing to be a source for this series on KCUR's Central Standard, please fill out this form.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

At one point in history, Atchison, Kansas was positioned to be one of the main connecting points for the railways between Missouri and Kansas. The town played an important role in the Civil War, and had many significant residents. But what's going on there today?

KCUR's Central Standard revisits a road trip to Atchison. Come along with us.

Guests:

One out of five Americans is a woman of color. So, why are their perspectives often overlooked, even in conversations about race and gender? KCUR's Michelle Tyrene Johnson hosts an unfiltered, wide-ranging discussion about life in Kansas City for women of color.

Guests:

Families living in the Kansas City Public Schools district have more school options than ever before.  Is school choice improving education for all? A special broadcast of a live forum about this issue.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

The total number of homicides has been rising and falling for decades here in Kansas City, Missouri. Right now, we're in the midst of a scary climb. It's easy in times like these to ask, why? We always seem to start there. We want to change the conversation. 

David Kovaluk, St. Louis Public Radio

Talking about race and culture is hard for a lot of Kansas Citians. It’s hard everywhere in the United States where people from different backgrounds share space and resources. But when we dig into stories about our identities and how they affect our families, our politics, arts and health – it’s hard not to recognize that race, culture and identity is a central force in our lives, and deserves special attention in our news coverage.

With Nazi rallies and swastikas showing up close to home in today's headlines, how one high school teacher is answering students' questions about World War II. 

Plus, why KU professor Kevin Willmott is wearing a bulletproof vest to class

Guests:

Ziegler Family / KCUR 89.3

Reporter Laura Ziegler reflects on what bringing her family and her father under one roof really meant.

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Paul Andrews PAUL ANDREWS / Paulandrewsphotography.com

For his day job, he smoked ribs at a barbecue joint. But his secret identity was a playwright. Hear Nathan Louis Jackson's journey to becoming a writer for television and stage, including the Netflix series Luke Cage.

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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Just hours ahead of the total eclipse of the sun, Central Standard broadcasts live from Parkville, Missouri. We hear from KCUR reporters along the path of totality, as well as scientists and historians who traveled across the country to see this rare celestial event.

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR 89.3

The Garden of Eden isn't as far away as you might think. It's in the small town of Lucas, Kansas and it's filled with art. On this episode, a grassroots art project and it's unexpected caretaker. 

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LAURA ZIEGLER / KCUR 89.3

Roger Thomas wants you to move to his hometown, Orrick, Missouri, in order to save a small town that's only getting smaller. But can he convice you to see what he sees in Orrick?

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Zota / Flickr

The story of how one Kansas City man's DIY fireworks display got completely out of hand.

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Music: Gentle Marimba by Alastair Cameron, The Stars And Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

KCUR’s reporters, producers have won a host of honors this year in local and national journalism awards, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award and two prestigious awards from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.

Public Radio News Directors Incorporated

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Between natural disasters, the transformation of farming, and the widespread decline of rural America, the small town of Orrick, Missouri has dwindled to a few square blocks.

KCUR's Central Standard has been visiting the edges of our listening area, to learn about communities we don't hear from quite as often. Join us for this trip 30 miles northeast of Kansas City to Orrick, where the town, lead by a new mayor, is all about re-invention.

Guests:

Pseph / Flickr -- CC

What exactly is healthy food? Definitions can vary. On this show: a visit to T. Loft, then a local scientist says that salt has gotten a bad rap for years; many of us should eat more salt, not less.

We also look into the healthy restaurant trend, and our Food Critics and a dietitian search out the best healthy dishes in and around KC.

Guests:

COURTESY OF THE JACKSON FAMILY

Avery Jackson was the first transgender person in the world to grace the cover of National Geographic. That's a huge responsibility for a nine-year-old girl from the Midwest. But, through her journey, Avery's learned to deal with the haters.

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Americasroof / Wikimedia Ccommons

You might think it's easy to define the Midwest...it's just a collection of states, right? Wrong. On this episode, we explore our regional identity and attempt to answer the question: what is the Midwest, really? 

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Jeff Mast / worldsoffun.org

There's something a little sad about returning to your favorite childhood amusement park as an adult. That pinch of nostalgia for certain rides connects us to the places we grew up, and the people with whom we grew up.

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Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Every city has that one bookstore, the irreverent corner shop where literary types plot revolutions. In Kansas City, that bookstore is Prospero's, owned by Will Leathem. Leathem took a surprising path to becoming a used book salesman.

 

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Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

At one point in history, Atchison, Kansas was positioned to be one of the main connecting points for the railways between Missouri and Kansas. It's said there were more millionaires there than anywhere in the world. Can Atchison hold onto its grand past but carve out a new identity for young residents?

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