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.


Public Transit
10:12 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Residents Turn Out To Learn About Prospect Max Bus

Lena Rose - showing here ATA swag - says she is "elated" there might be a MAX bus along Prospect
Credit Laura Ziegler

A small group of residents crowded into the basement of Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Swope Parkway Tuesday night to learn about the proposed MAX bus line along Prospect.

The 2005 Main Street MAX and 2011 Troost MAX have been popular with riders, and residents east of Troost seem equally enthusiastic about having the upgraded express line in their neighborhoods.

MAX buses don't make as many stops and have upgraded terminals; the lighting and shelter is better; and there are talking notifications about when the next bus is arriving.

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2:19 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Stowers Institute And American Century Investments Founder Jim Stowers Dies At 90

Philanthropist and financial innovator Jim Stowers, Jr.
Credit Courtesy: Stowers Institute for Medical Research

James "Jim" Stowers, Jr., the founder of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, died Monday of natural causes according to a joint release from both institutions. He was 90.

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1:08 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Missouri Paraplegic Skier Hopes To One Day Make Paralympics

Jason Myers trying to best his time on the slopes of Snow Creek in Weston, Mo.


Jason Myers crosses the finish line at the bottom of the race course at Snow Creek in Weston, Mo., so fast that you almost can’t tell he’s sitting on his ski.

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Power & Light District
3:13 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Another Suit Filed Alleging Discrimination At Power & Light District

The periphery of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Credit eschipul / Flickr--CC

A class action lawsuit was filed in federal court Monday afternoon against The Cordish Companies, the Baltimore-based developer who owns and operates the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

It follows a suit filed less than two weeks ago by Glen Cusimano, who claims he was wrongfully terminated for failing to enforce what he alleges was a pattern of racial  discrimination

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Power & Light District
5:11 am
Thu March 6, 2014

New Lawsuit Alleges Racial Discrimination At Power & Light

The Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo., is at the center of new allegations claiming racial discrimination.
Credit eschipul / Flickr--Creative Commons

The Cordish Companies, owner-operator of the popular Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, is again facing allegations of discrimination. Cordish vehemently denies as “complete fabrication” the latest charges, which are part of wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed late Friday.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Exploring The Borders And Boundaries In And Around Kansas City

How do we define ourselves, Kansas City? Are we a community made of rich and poor, black and white? Are we defined and divided by the languages we speak at home? Do neighborhoods, suburbs or rural communities signify who we are?

On today's Central Standard, we’ll explore the ways our communities have changed and are changing. Also, we'll talk about the lines that separate and unite us as the beginning of a longer conversation between KCUR and the greater Kansas City about borders and boundaries.


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Olympic Dreams
8:32 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Olympic Dreams In Kansas City: Downhill Skiing Or Snowboarding

Our own Brian Ellison beat his own time on the race course at Snow Creek at Weston, Missouri.
Credit Laura Ziegler


Alpine skiing is the most commonly practiced Winter Olympic sport. But, as Midwesterners our "alpine" options leave much to be desired. Still, if you want to feel the air through your hair as you barrel down a mountain on skis or a snowboard, we have some options. The mountain just won't be quite be the size of those found in Sochi.

Where to go:
Snow Creek Park, Weston, Mo. 

Adult lift ticket: $43
Child lift ticket: $28
Equipment rentals: $10-$25

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

The Science Of Street Traffic

As populations continue to grow in urban areas, the demand for a more efficient traffic system has been brought to the forefront of modern transportation issues. There is simply not enough room to add more lanes to highways or to build new roads.

Innovative updates to existing infrastructures are a work in progress right here in our backyard. Today we discuss what is being done to allow for safer and faster transportation in our cities. 


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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

A Fellowship Of The Questioning And Unbelievers - Oasis

There is a growing trend of atheists who also recognize the importance and impact of the communal nature of faith based worship. As a result Sunday Assemblies have popped up throughout the United States. Now their popularity is spurring others to offer even different options, with even less of a focus on communal worship. Oasis is one such group that will begin meeting in April.

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8:15 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Johnson County Salvation Army Opens New Homeless Shelter

Credit Photo Credit Creative Commons

The Salvation Army of Johnson County has expanded and improved its facilities for the homeless. Their existing shelter is 60-years-old and does not meet the needs of the county, which is the fastest growing county in Kansas.

The chapter's Major Mark Martsolf says the county wanted to provide a more dignified environment while the growing number of homeless families are trying to get back on their feet. He says the new Olathe facility will upgrade broken amenities and fixtures, as well as add square footage.

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10:29 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Kansas City Sudanese Man Narrowly Makes It Out Of Sudan

Manon Bol, a Sudanese refugee living in Kansas City, hopes to save enough money to bring his family here.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Thousands of miles from renewed violence in South Sudan, Sudanese residents of Kansas City are trying stay on top of the rapidly changing news from their homeland and learn what they can about family and friends.

Kansas City has one of the largest Sudanese communities in the country, mainly refugees from decades of brutal civil war. It was almost incomprehensible when fighting broke out over a political dispute among differing tribes in the new Southern Sudanese capital of Juba last month.

Reunited For The First Time

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9:40 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Big Boost For NBAF In New Budget Bill

Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts sit with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at the NBAF groundbreaking in Manhattan, Kan., in May, 2013.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Finally — a chunk of federal funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), has made it through Congress.  The $1.1 trillion appropriations bill that sailed through Congress this week makes it possible for construction to begin on the animal disease lab in Manhattan, Kansas.

It would be the first federal funding for the controversial project since 2011.

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10:21 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Life And Work Of Kansas City Civil Rights Activist, Alvin Sykes

Alvin Sykes will speak at the Kansas City Public Library later this month about his life and work.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City native Alvin Sykes is a self-taught civil rights activist who has done instrumental work with the justice system, particularly with unsolved civil rights crimes, including the high-profile murder of Emmett Till, and the 1980 murder of Kansas City musician Steve Harvey.

This month he is giving a talk at the Kansas City Public library, where he was the 2013 scholar in residence. Sykes educated himself in law and civil rights using resources from the city's public library system.

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4:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Remembering R. Crosby Kemper Jr., Icon Of Kansas City

The Kemper family supported farming and agriculture, most notably through the support of the American Royal.
Credit Courtesy / The Kemper family

R. Crosby Kemper Jr., banker, philanthropist, and giant of Kansas City civic life, died last week at his friend's home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 86.

Kemper was born in 1927 in Kansas City, the only son of R. Crosby Kemper Sr. and Enid Jackson Kemper.

Throughout his active life, many of his preoccupations reflected his family's legacy  — a long line of Kansas City aristocrats and leaders involved in banking, agriculture and politics. 

A banker's life

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8:31 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Lee's Summit Woman Honored On Rose Parade Float For Organ Donation

Lezlie McLendon's image in flowers for Rose Parade float.
Credit The Midwest Transplant Network

A Lee’s Summit, Mo., woman will be remembered in a special way at Wednesday’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Lezlie McLendon’s family hopes the memorial will send a message to others  about the benefit of organ donation.

The family says it not only saves lives, but helps those grieving.

Lezlie McLendon was driving with her sister earlier this year when she suddenly passed out. Her sister got her out of the car and tried to administer CPR, but Lezlie’s cardiac arrest left her in a coma she never woke up from.

At 45, Lezlie had never been seriously ill.

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3:28 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Kansas Congressional Delegation Sparring Over Budget's Impact On NBAF

Senator Lynn Jenkins speaks in support of NBAF at groundbreaking ceremonies earlier this year
Credit Laura Ziegler

Some fissures have erupted among the Kansas Congressional delegation over how the House budget bill might affect the proposed National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF). 

The Department of Homeland Security project is currently under construction in Manhattan, Kan., but is behind schedule and underfunded.

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KC Currents
4:42 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Tech KC: History, Startups, Digital Divide

Google Fiber has set up a display room in Westport.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR
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Business & Tech
9:49 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Google Fiber And Kansas City's Digital Divide

Issac Wilder (right) and assistant add a dish to a tower at Posada del Sol to send bandwidth over to the 18th and Vine district.
Credit Courtesy / Connecting for Good

While Google has cast a spotlight on Kansas City that has the country excited about high speed internet, like most cities around the country, access is not equally available.

Internet activists believe that the arrival of Google Fiber has highlighted the so-called digital divide. But Google says it wants to work with the communities and organizations involved in bridging the gap.

Digital training, a life necessity 

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Business & Tech
9:18 am
Tue December 10, 2013

One Million Cups, The Heartbeat Of Kansas City's Startup Community

Hundreds of people often show up for 1 Million Cups. An ongoing twitter feed is projected on the wall.
Credit Laura Ziegler

One Million Cups, a weekly showcase and get-together for Kansas City's startup community, a has become the place to be and be seen. Every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation opens its doors, puts on coffee, and some weeks, welcomes as many as 400.

Last week, a few of the regular entrepreneurs, Brendan Reilly, Jonny Kot and George Brooks, join others hovering around the Kauffman Foundation’s long coffee bar before presentations begin. Engrossed in excited conversations, they trade twitter handles and the occasional business card.

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Business & Tech
12:17 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Kansas City Black Friday Shoppers Feel Mixed About Deals

Ryan and Terissa Chavers didn't mind waiting last night for a deal on flat screen TV
Credit Laura Ziegler

Black Friday was  ….well… Thanksgiving Thursday as many stores opened their doors for the holiday shop-a-ganza anywhere between 3 and 9 p.m.

I went out to Best Buy and Wal Mart at 10:30 p.m. expecting to find the fabled Black Friday frenzy. Instead, I found what looked to be a pretty typical Saturday or Sunday’s parking lot and customer traffic.

The craziness, I was told, happened earlier in the day.

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Typhoon Haiyan
11:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Kansas City Relief Workers Travel To The Philippines To Provide Medical Care

Olathe based Heart to Heart International workers are collaborating with local doctors to provide medical relief in the Philippines.
Credit Heart to Heart International

A group of doctors from Olathe-based relief agency Heart to Heart International is in the hardest hit areas of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines this week. 

Founder Dr. Gary Morsch, Kansas City family practice physician Dr. Rick Randolph, and nurse Susan Mangicaro began on the island of Ormoc, administering tetanus shots and antibiotics due to secondary infections. 

"There is so much debris, (like) rusted tin, that infection secondary to cuts and wound punctures can be septic and deadly within a few weeks," Mangicaro said.

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2:01 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

New Appointee At National WWI Museum To Spearhead Centennial Celebration

Linda Trout will move from the International Relations Council to the World War I Museum in December.
Credit International Relations Council

Linda Trout, long-time Executive Director of International Relations Council (IRC) in Kansas City, Mo. has been named Director of Strategic Engagement at the National World War I Museum.

In the new post for the museum, Trout will oversee planning and implementation of the centennial celebration of WWI, beginning next year.

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Business & Tech
10:56 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Your Guide And Glossary For This Week's Global Entrepreneurship Events

What is Global Entrepreneurship Week?

It’s a mash-up of dozens of classes, speakers, workshops and competitions that extend through Saturday in Kansas City. Other cities across the U.S. and 139 different countries also are sponsoring a Global Entrepreneurship Week to celebrate innovators and startups.

Some of the highlights from the week in Kansas City:

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Business & Tech
10:39 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Global Entrepreneurship Week Highlights Innovation In Kansas City

A kind of entrepreneurial love fest is happening across the world this week. Global entrepreneurship is being celebrated in Kansas City, across the United States and in 139 countries around the world.

The event, called 'Global Entrepreneurship Week,' is a mash up of events, workshops and competitions celebrating innovative startups.

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8:37 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Kansas City Filipinos Slowly Make Contact With Loved Ones, Organize Support

Suyen Silvestri of Kansas City knows her mom is OK but hasn't yet heard her voice.
Credit Laura Ziegler

The Kansas City area is home to a tight-knit community of several thousand Filipinos, and some of them have relatives living in or near the region devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

As their relatives back home struggle to find food, shelter, and water in the wake of last week’s disaster, Filipinos in the Kansas City area are relying on cell phones, social media, and the internet to stay in touch with loved ones.

For 48 hours native Filipino and Kansas City resident, Suyen Silvestri, didn’t know if her mother was dead or alive.

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8:39 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Your Questions For The Neo-Nazi Leader

Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The National Socialist Movement, an organization that grew out of the American Nazi Party, held a rally in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday. By about 10 to one, opponents of the anti-immigrant rally outnumbered the neo-Nazis at  counter-protests close by- one across the street and a second at The Liberty Memorial.

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Nazi Rally
7:58 am
Sun November 10, 2013

Nazi Rally Drowned Out By Hundreds Of Protesters

The National Socialist Movement rallied against immigration reform in Kansas City Saturday opposite hundreds of protesters.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The National Socialist Movement (NSM), a political outgrowth of the American Nazi Party, brought around 50 members to Kansas City, Mo., Saturday for an anti-immigrant rally on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse.

Across 12th Street, counter protestors outnumbered the neo-Nazis more than 10 to one. An accurate count was difficult as protestors lined Oak and Locust north of the protest site.

Andres Dominguez said he came out to oppose the Nazi’s anti-immigration rally because he hears an increasing local, anti-immigration voice.

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11:52 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Tight Security For Planned Neo-Nazi Rally And Counter Protests

Protesters at an anti-Nazi rally in gather in Dresden, Germany last year.
Credit dielinke_sachsen / Wikimedia --CC

The Kansas City Police Department says they will cover this weekend’s rally by neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Movement, as they would any protest or rally.

However, the KCPD released a statement this week outlining comprehensive security measures, including designated access areas to the protest site with a long list of prohibited items.

The police will have specific entry points at designated rally sites where uniformed officers will be screening those who enter.

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7:50 am
Thu November 7, 2013

EPA Awards $30K Health Care Grant To Black Health Care Coalition

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy presented a $30,000 grant to combat childhood asthma to the Black Health Care Coalition in Kansas City.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The recently confirmed Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency was in Kansas City, Mo. Wednesday to present a federal grant to the Black Health Care Coalition.

McCarthy said the agency was one of 39 applicants to receive an Environmental Justice Small Grant Award from the EPA. She said the process was competitive, saying there were hundreds of proposals.

The grant offers $30,000 for one year to educate teachers and health care professionals about the onset and treatment of childhood asthma.

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4:42 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Kansas City Council Condemns Planned Nazi Rally

The National Socialist Movement, pictured here at a previous event, have said they will have a rally November 9 in Kansas City.

By unanimous vote, the Kansas City Council Thursday condemned a planned rally by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group. The group says they will gather to protest immigration reform November 9 in Kansas City, Mo.

Citing data from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and  the Southern Poverty Law Center, the city’s resolution encouraged  citizens to challenge the segregationist beliefs of the organization. 

Councilman John Sharp said  people "should not physically challenge" protestors but they shouldn't ignore them, either.

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