Laura Ziegler

Special Correspondent

Laura Ziegler began her career at KCUR as a reporter more than 20 years ago. She became the news director in the mid 1980's and  in 1988,  went to National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. as a producer for Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon.

In 1993, she came back to Kansas City as the Midwest correspondent for National Public Radio. Among the stories she covered - the floods of 1993, the ongoing farm crisis and rural affairs, and presidential campaigns.

After the birth of her 3rd child, Laura returned to KCUR as producer of Under the Clock, a weekly talk show broadcast live from Union Station. It was hosted by former Kansas City mayor Emanuel Cleaver. When he was elected 5th district Congressman in 2002, Laura returned to KCUR as a part-time reporter and producer.

Laura has won numerous awards for her work, including three regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

In 1992, Laura was awarded a Jefferson Fellowship in Journalism with the East West Center at the University of Hawaii which took her to China, Japan, Burma, Bangladesh and Thailand.  In 1990, she was part of a reporting trip to the then -Soviet Union with the American Center for International Leadership.

Laura graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology from Vassar College.

She, her husband, and their three children - Julia, Ellie, and Benjamin, live with Laura's father in the house in which she was born.

Ways to Connect

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Sunayana Dumala says February 22, 2017 is a day she doesn't want to remember.  It was that evening police came to her door in Olathe, Kansas, to tell her her husband had been murdered.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla had decided to go for a drink at Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe with his friend and colleague from Garmin, where they were both engineers. An angry patron had shouted hate rhetoric at the men, both Indian-born, and returned with a firearm. Kuchibhotla was fatally shot.

Courtesy photo / Twitter

The armed assailant who entered a Lenexa Costco store on Sunday was a 58-year-old Kansas man who was shot by an off-duty policeman who happened to be shopping at the store.

Lenexa police say the gunman was Ronald O. Hunt of Edwardsville, Kansas. No other details about the man or his motives have been released.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

“Let’s hear what you've got,” Nathan Louis Jackson says to Roben Pope, a junior at Central Academy of Excellence in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jackson rests his elbows on the table so he’s at the same level as Pope, one of a dozen students in a special creative writing class here. He’s relaxed and informal.

“Doesn’t matter how much," he says. "Got just a few lines, got an idea? Let’s just hear whatever there is.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

As Kansas City continues to see increases in violent crime, new Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith says he’s doubling down on community policing.

The chief, who was selected in July, says he wants to expand the number of community interaction officers.

HuffPost

A federal judge on Monday partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender recruits to the military.

In a 76-page opinion Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia said parts of the president's ban are not supported by the evidence.

The judge's opinion reinstates Obama-era policy toward transgender service men and women, which lifted long-standing restrictions. For decades, the military identified gender non-conformity as a mental illness.  

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Updated, Wednesday, 1:45 p.m.

The victim of a Wednesday morning drive-by shooting in Brookside was Thomas Pickert, a personal injury lawyer for the law firm Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger.

Police have not yet confirmed the victim's identity.

Kansas City Police Sgt. Kari D. Thompson says the man was on the front porch of his Brookside home when he was killed Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Library

Editors note: This story was updated at 10:35 A.M. Wednesday with comments from Irv Hockaday.

Laura Rollins Hockaday died Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospital.  She was 79.

Hockaday, who for decades chronicled the comings and goings of the social elite for the Kansas City Star, is being remembered today as a humble woman whose greatest legacy is the respect with which she related to all people.

yoder.house.gov

National Democrats are targeting four-term Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder as vulnerable in their attempt to retake Congress in 2018.

Six Democrats are competing for the right to challenge Yoder next November.

If third quarter campaign finance reports are any indication, the Republican incumbent's campaign is mounting a serious defense. By the filing deadline Sunday, the campaign says Yoder out-raised all six of the potential Democratic challengers with a war chest of roughly $1.4 million. The Center for Responsive Politics shows that contributions to the 3rd District race are significantly higher than those in the other three Kansas districts at this point.

HuffPost

The walls and shelves of Suzanne Wheeler’s home office in Shawnee, Kansas, are filled with awards and memorabilia from her 32 years in the Army. At the height of her career, she was in charge of plans, operations and training for the Kansas National Guard, responsible for 7,400 soldiers and airmen. She did combat tours in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired last year as a colonel.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, July 21, Maria Wakondo, a refugee from the Congo, was held up at knifepoint while walking home to her apartment. The robber took her whole purse, including $600 from her just-cashed paycheck. 

She wasn’t hurt, but the incident highlights some of the reasons new refugees can be vulnerable to crime.

Wakondo and her family recently moved to a new brick house in Kansas City's Historic Northeast.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

There's no doubt that violence can have a profound impact on young people. But accessing feelings doesn't always come easy.

Toward that end, the Kansas City Public School District has created a special class at Central Academy of Excellence to give students an opportunity to create an artistic expression that might unlock hidden feelings about violence.

Courtesy photo / facebook

Steve Glorioso, a political operative known and respected by officials and movers and shakers of every political stripe, died Thursday night, according to The Kansas City Star.  He was 70 years old.

Mayor Sly James said Glorioso was dedicated to improving Kansas City throughout his long career.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

After hearing more than five hours of testimony late Friday afternoon, Kansas City Municipal Judge Joseph H. Locascio handed down a decision in a matter of minutes: With a few quick words, he found Steven Paul Woolfolk, director of programming and marketing at the Kansas City Public Library, not guilty of three charges stemming from an incident at a library event in May 2016.

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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Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Nestled between Kansas City’s downtown business district and the River Market are a bunch of buildings that once literally hummed with the sound of fashion.

From the 1940s through the early 1980s, Kansas City had one of the largest garment industries in the nation. It spanned the area roughly from Wyandotte to Washington and Sixth to Ninth Streets. The local manufacturers there created some of the country’s best-known brands: The Donnelly Garment Company, commonly known as Nelly Don, and YouthCraft, maker of coats and dresses. At its peak the industry was estimated to support over 75 companies.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council put off a decision Thursday to finalize ballot language for a vote on a new airport.

The council split seven to six in favor of the delay.

Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed argued the council should delay the vote until more of the members could agree on how it should read.

Courtesy Zach Krumme

The path of totality marked by next week's historic total eclipse of the sun arcs across much of Kansas City and its surrounding areas.

Courtesy photo / Le'Andrew Vaughn family

Sixteen-year-old Adarius Barber was set to be a junior at Washington High School, where he was to have his first football practice on Monday.

His 17-year-old cousin, Le’Andrew M. Vaughn, was a promising baseball player, a rising senior at F.L. Schlagle High School. 

Both boys were college-bound, according to a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Michelle Daytona served in the Army from 1997 to 2005 in Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea and Iraq.

She got a medical discharge when an IED blew up nearby, injuring her. 12 years later, she still has constant pain in her back and legs.

When Daytona got home, she began her transition — a process she’d fantasized about since she was 7 years old.

Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department & The City of Kansas City

Maybe the most obvious difference between the two finalists for the top job at the Kansas City Police Department is one’s an insider and one comes from out of state.

Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department & The City of Kansas City

Major Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department and Chief Keith Humphrey of the Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department are the two finalists for the police chief job in Kansas City.

Leland Shurin, president of the Board of Police Commissioners, said during a press conference Thursday that there were 42 candidates. Of those, ten were disqualified by state statute and the rest were interviewed by California-based consultants Ralph Anderson and Associates.

Hafiz Issadeen / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Missouri is among a consortium of schools with tiger mascots that are ramping up efforts to address the dwindling global tiger population.

The University of Missouri (Truman the Tiger,) Louisiana State University (Mike the Tiger), Auburn University (Aubie the Tiger) and Clemson University (The Tiger and Tiger Cub) are committing to more and better research, education and awareness, across disciplines, related to tiger conservation efforts.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR-FM 89.3

In the last few years, professional sports teams have begun to realize that noisy stadiums can be hard on people with autism and other special needs. Among them are the Kansas City Royals, whose front-office officials happen to include several fathers of such kids.

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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Eschipul / Flickr — CC

This story was updated at 2:11 p.m. to include the comments of a Cordish representative and at 4:52 to include comments by Williams' lawyer.

A federal appeals court has reinstated part of a lawsuit alleging that the operator of Kansas City’s Power & Light Entertainment District engaged in a “pattern and practice” of racial discrimination.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Nothing could have prepared Susan Sommers and Larry Roeder for what they saw when they arrived at the scene of their Northeast Kansas City renovation project on September 19 of last year.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The same group of elderly white men meet every morning at 6 a.m. at Fubbler’s Cove diner on Front Street in Orrick, Missouri. And pretty much every day they discuss the usual stuff: the weather, the crops, etc.

On a recent warm spring day, I dropped in to ask for their opinions on how they think national politics affects them.

“You probably don’t want to hear,” said one, who asked that I not use his name.

These guys disagree all the time – about everything from the new mayor to the food.  But it doesn’t get in the way of their daily coffee and conversation.

Courtesy @MLB_Players Twitter

There was a ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check to officials with The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine neighborhood Wednesday. It happened again before the Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium later that afternoon.

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:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Things are running pretty smoothly the first Monday of the month of May during the city council meeting in Orrick, Missouri.

Roger Thomas is the mayor of the town, population 799,  just northeast of Kansas City.

Topping the agenda is addressing the water collecting behind Nathan Claypole’s  house. Next, there's a unanimous vote to spring for a new computer for Dale Bosely with public works. 

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