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

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. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

In another time, the opening of a new mosque in Johnson County, Kansas, may not have attracted hundreds of people from a wide array of backgrounds. But some say these are extraordinary times.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, incidents that reflect bias against Muslims grew by 57% last year.

Crowds streamed into the new classic masjid, Arabic for mosque, at the Islamic Center of Johnson County.

Courtesy photo / Wikimedia Commons.

Environmental and research groups are warning those at risk of respiratory disease, parents of young children and the elderly to limit their outdoor time on Friday.

Ozone pollution is at dangerously high levels for these populations. The “Sky Cast” ozone forecast for Kansas City calls Friday  an “orange alert” day, the second highest of four levels.  An orange ozone alert suggests the air is “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center Monday night, a Kansas City Council committee held the first public hearing on a new airport since opening the bidding process to additional firms.  

Kansas City firm Burns and McDonnell quietly presented the city with a proposal last month to build a new, privately-financed, single terminal airport. The proposal allegedly protects the city from financial risk while allowing ownership and operation of the airport to remain in city hands.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The president of the Kansas City, Missouri, chapter of the NAACP told reporters and members of the community Tuesday that there was an “ugly urgency" to call on Governor Eric Greitens to veto Senate Bill 43.

The bill weakens protection for minorities and women, Rev. Rodney Williams said, by making it harder to prove discrimination is the cause of an employer’s disciplinary behavior.

Courtesy of the Jackson family

Transgender people have been in the news a lot in the last couple of years.

Think Caitlyn Jenner, who continues to make headlines.

Think the many states currently debating so-called “bathroom bills,” which regulate what bathroom transgender people can use.

All the visibility has been a mixed bag for one local family.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

This week marks beginning of the end of the Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park, Kansas. It's officially demolition time — though it might be hard to tell for awhile.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A stone’s throw from the childhood home of pilot Amelia Earhart in Atchison, Kansas, is Benedictine College. Benedictine monks started the college in 1857 to provide a Catholic education to the children of pioneers and to celebrate Mass with German and Irish settlers.

Today, about 40 monks live at the abbey on a hill overlooking the college and the Missouri River. They live much the same way Benedictine monks have lived since St. Benedict of Nursia established the order in sixth century.

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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Courtesy photo / Louis Memorial Chapel

Beth K. Smith, who died Wednesday at age 96, was out front as an activist before many women of her generation.

Smith was a civil rights and social justice pioneer in the 1960s, pushing for fair housing and taking an active role in helping to pass public accommodations in Kansas City.

She was an early advocate for women in the workplace and public life.  In 1980, she helped found the Central Exchange, which began in Crown Center as an unusual networking women’s club that received national recognition.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill stood on a stage at Park University Thursday and took questions from some of the several hundred people packed into the majestic college chapel.

It was the latest in a string of town halls she's holding around the state.

The Senator was in Sikeston and Hannibal earlier in the week. On Friday she’s scheduled to be in Springfield and Rolla.

The two-term Senator, a Democrat, has made it clear she plans to run for re-election in 2018.

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 takes a rode trip to Atchison. Come along with us.

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Atchison, Kansas, population 11,000, has some of the same challenges facing other small towns around the country - they've had a hard time keeping businesses, retaining jobs and attracting young people.

But one thing that feels different here is their economic struggles feel linked to the town's rich history as a 19th century gateway to the west.  

Mark Schierbecker / Wikimedia Commons

In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she will oppose Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Hate speech directed at the Islamic community should not be ignored, FBI and other federal officials told about 50 members of the Islamic Center of  Johnson County at a forum Saturday.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Chief of Police Darryl Forté announced Wednesday morning that he is retiring, effective May 20, 2017. The city's first African-American police chief, Forté made the announcement in a Twitter post.

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