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

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

It’s been three years since the Department of Homeland Security chose Kansas as the site of its National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, but there’s a growing sense that the project has a precarious future.

Brownback Withholds Bioscience Funds

Jan 23, 2012

Governor Sam Brownback is withholding the payment of $22 million to the Kansas Bioscience Authority – that's about 2/3 of the agency's state funding.

Travel from KCI the day before Thanksgiving; relatively stress-free.Photo by Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Missouri – While airline industry officials nationally expect a drop in the number of people flying this holiday season, that's not supposed to be the case at KCI. The Kansas Aviation Department say almost 400 thousand will be travelling through the Kansas City airport this holiday season.

As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend began,most said their experiences were good, that lines were not long, and that the delays were much shorter than they'd expected.

Topeka, Kansas – For Veteran's Day, a story about a little known collection of photographs, diaries, recorded interviews, maps, and letters on the website of the Kansas Historical Society.

All of the artifacts on the ever-expanding Kansas Memory Site are primary sources provided by families and friends for archival purposes.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The Catholic church is still reeling from news that Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph have been indicted on criminal charges related to the sex abuse scandal.

Several hundred people joined Occupy KC to march from the Plaza to the camp behind Liberty Memorial on Sunday. Photo by Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Missouri – The honking horns and chanting of several hundred marchers indicated that Kansas City has become part of a national movement, according to spokesmen at Sunday's Occupy KC demonstration.

CBS news reported that more than 25 cities have held demonstrations mirroring those held in New York as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The protests focus on corporate control of politics and frustration over income disparities, joblessness and federal debt.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks at a Topeka Republican Club. Photo by Laura Ziegler / KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Frustrated by the lack of federal immigration legislation, state lawmakers around the country are taking the problem into their own hands by writing their own laws. At the heart of many of those laws is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

He worked closely with Arizona to craft controversial illegal immigration legislation there and has been hired by at least half a dozen other states to either write or defend similar laws there.

Photo: Getty Images

Kansas City, Missouri – Members of the local gay and lesbian community see the repeal of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as a major civil rights victory.

Under "Don't Ask,Don't Tell," gays and lesbians were forced to hide their sexual orientation or face discharge. According to the policy, being gay created a dangerous distraction to a well-functioning military.

Rand Corporation

Before 9/11,"agroterrorism" was not a familiar term to many.

But in the post-9/11 era, the possibility of a deliberate attack on our food supply is something government, law enforcement and private industry have been studying carefully.

Dr. Peter Chalk of the Rand Corporation, a political scientist and expert on international terrorism, has written extensively on the issue of agroterrorism.

He says there's never been an intentional attack on our plant or livestock production, but we ignore the possibilities at our own risk.

Sheriff Frank Denning says localities need to come up with new solutions to jail overcrowding. Photo-Johnson County Sheriff's office

Johnson County, Kansas – Experts from The Justice Center of The Council of State Governments in New York, and The Criminal Justice Institute in Boston, were in Johnson County this week talking with administrators of an innovative inmate- reentry program.

The consultants say the Johnson County program is becoming a national model.

Brenna Daldorph/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, MO – The hot weather has many of us wearing as little as possible: tank tops and shorts are pretty standard for women who are going to be outside for any length of time. But this isn't the case in every culture or time period.

Kansas City, Missouri – A spokesman for Kansas Bioscience Authority says the state- funded agency will be meeting at the Venture Accelerator - one of the new buildings at the Kansas Bioscience Park, in Olathe. Sherlyn Manson says the board plans to make an announcement Monday or Tuesday morning about new investments in human and animal health start-ups.

Social worker Jeannette Ford at The Cremation Society in Prairie Village says people have many ways of preserving remains.

Prairie Village, Kansas – It's a small glass front office on Roe Avenue with a simple sign above the entrance - The Cremation Society.

The name always called to mind other groups I knew little about but invested with some mystery - The Royal Order of Hibernians or The Society of Creative Anachronism.

A nutrition packed cake produced by Survivor Industry, Inc. on display at the International Food Aid and Development Conference. Photo by Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Missouri – When the U.S. food aid program began in 1954, known as The Agricultural Trade Development Assistance Act, the country had a vast surplus of farm commodities.

The aim of the program was to expand export markets, but also to help American farmers by diminishing surpluses.

Today, the United States doesn't have those surpluses. Food-aid has become a much more complicated system, with more variety and participants.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Movie houses have figured out that many of us don't buy snacks when we go to the movies. And that they're losing a bunch of money because of that. So across the country theaters are starting to offer options.

Some healthier, some not. But many are more substantial, like dinner. KCUR's Laura Ziegler reports about Kansas City-based AMC's "dine-in" movie going experience.

Kansas City, Missouri – John Davies is an experienced storm chaser. He analyzes data for weather outlets, including the National Weather Service. He and his wife were struck when driving toward the Joplin tornado how many people were out on the streets, going about their daily business.

Kansas City, Missouri – People need to pay attention to severe storm warnings, even though it may seem unnecessary.

Severe weather yesterday caused at least one tornado to touch down around 151st and Metcal in South Johnson County, and another around Harrisonville, according to law enforcement officers. Area police departments dispatched officers and trained storm spotters to the periphery of the county to file weather reports and check on residents and businesses.

Photo : National Severe Storm Lab, NOAA

Kansas City, Missouri – People ignore severe storm warnings at their peril and yesterday's weather gave officials an opportunity to make that point.

At least one tornado touched down in South Johnson County, and another around Harrisonville, according to law enforcement officers in the area.

Kansas City, Missouri – People need to pay attention to severe storm warnings, even though it may seem unnecessary.

Severe weather yesterday caused at least one tornado to touch down around 151st and Metcal in South Johnson County, and another around Harrisonville, according to law enforcement officers. Area police departments dispatched officers and trained storm spotters to the periphery of the county to file weather reports and check on residents and businesses.

photo: Dan Verbeck/KCUR

Kansas City, Mo. – Officials in Joplin say the St. John's Regional Medical Center will be rebuilt, after being all but demolished by the EF5 tornado last weekend.

Tornado Causes Damage in Sedalia, Mo.

May 25, 2011

Kansas City, MO – Just after noon today, a tornado touched down in Sedalia, Missouri. Heavy damage is reported in some parts of the city. According to the Sedalia Democrat, early reports include damage along U.S. 65 and debris throughout the area.

Kansas City, Missouri – Area service agencies mobilized immediately in response to the F4 tornado that tore through Joplin last night.

The Red Cross is providing emergency supplies to disaster victims.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Prairie Village, Kan. – Ever pass something that catches your eye while you're driving around or walking? Something that makes you turn you head in wonder as you pass by? It might an architectural anomaly, an unusual object, artwork, or a storefront?

KC Currents will be exploring these curiosities in a new occasional series we're calling "What IS That?" KCUR's Laura Ziegler has this first installment about a sacred space in the heart of Prairie Village, Kan. It's a shrine to the only horse bred in Kansas to win the Kentucky Derby.

New Kansas Bioscience Authority under construction in Olathe. Photo courtesy of KBA

The Kansas House voted unanimously last night to strip the troubled Kansas Bioscience Authority of bonding authority for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, or NBAF.

The vote gives the state Department of Administration charge over issuing $150 million dollars in bonds.

In a separate move, a provision added to a Senate bill requires the State Finance Department to approve any NBAF bonds.

The owners of the large Kenoma hog barn in Barton County, Missouri was judged to be emitting unreasonably stinky odors by a jury over the weekend. Plaintiffs were awarded almost 2 million dollars. Photo by Laura Ziegler.

Kansas City, Missouri – A jury in Southern Missouri has awarded almost 2 million dollars to 16 defendants in Southern Missouri in a suit against industrial agriculture. The residents said 2 Iowa-based hog producers were liable for unpleasant odors that made it impossible for plaintiffs to work or enjoy their land. The barns collectively house over 7 thousand hogs.

The lawsuit divided a community of one time friends who live side by side and went to high school together.

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts told the 800 conference participants Washington wasn't paying enough attention to the real threats to our food supply. Photo: Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Missouri – Those involved in protecting the American food supply have a special interest in what comes after the death of Osama Bin Laden.

That was the message at an international conference on agroterrorism last week in Kansas City. Members of law enforcement - from around the global to the local level - joined food and farm representatives to talk about protecting against an intentional introduction of disease anywhere along the food chain.

Senator Pat Roberts projected on a screen so 750 participants at the International Symposium on Agro Terrorism could see him as he addressed the assemply. Photo: Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas Senator Pat Roberts told an international conference on agro terrorism today in Kansas city that Washington has threats to our food supply too low on its list of priorities.

Among the concerns the 750 participants studied over the 3 day conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel: the shrinking global economy (we import from over 50 different countries,) our vast transportation systems that move food quickly from coast to coast, and the easy accessibility of information.

Harvesters offers food to pantries, shelters, and day care centers in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Children are among the most vulnerable. Photo: Harvesters

Kansas City, Missouri – A prestigious recognition for The Harvesters Community Food Network - the regional food bank has been named the 2011 Food Bank of the year by America's food bank network. Feeding America is made up of some 200 food banks across the country.

The interim CEO of the troubled Kansas Bioscience Authority says the KBA will cooperate completely with the Governor's office in it's request for an independent audit. The Kan. legislature has been holding hearings in recent weeks.

Kansas City, Missouri – Should a property owner be able to sue a farmer OVER AND OVER for making the neighborhood smell farmy?

What about for making it unpleasant to work outside?

These are some of the questions at issue as Governor Jay Nixon considers weather to sign a bill legislators sent to his desk last night.
The bill is known informally as The CAFO bill because it deals with what are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations - CAFO's.

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