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.


Tracking NBAF
8:46 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Funding NBAF: As Congress Waits, Will Kansas Dollars Continue?

Gov. Brownback signs an order creating an NBAF steering committee in Kansas.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

With federal funding more at risk than ever for Manhattan’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently said the state could expect what he called “a fight” for the next five years.

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Tracking NBAF
3:32 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

NBAF Feasibility Talks Continue

The Department of Homeland Security continued the conversation about funding challenges before the House Appropriations Committee in Washington, D.C. this week.

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Tracking NBAF
3:03 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

$1 Billion Price Tag For NBAF

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will cost more than $1 billion when all is said and done, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed today during a conference in Washington, D.C.

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Tracking NBAF
9:30 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Another Round Of NBAF Questions

Some worry the NBAF site on the K-State campus puts students at risk.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

The latest in the dizzying round of discussions about the safety and security of the Department of Homeland Security’s high-level bio containment lab in Manhattan, Kan., will take place this Friday in Washington, D.C.

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Santorum To Kansas Voters: Caucus For Me
12:19 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Santorum Tells Kansas Crowds Saturday Caucuses Matter

At a campaign stop in Lenexa on Wednesday,  Senator Rick Santorum said calls for Newt Gingrich to leave the race were not coming from him, and if they generated from his campaign, he didn't endorse them. 

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KC Currents
2:59 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Teaching In Sudan And KC

Kansas City has one of the largest Sudanese refugee populations in the country. And Stephanie Pearson wants to help teach them ... to teach.

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Around the Nation
2:00 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Animal Disease Center's New Home Proves Difficult

The animal disease center that the Homeland Security department has maintained since Sept. 11 has fallen into disrepair. A proposed new location in Kansas has been riddled with neighborhood concerns, safety threats and escalating costs. Laura Ziegler of Harvest Public Media reports.

Tracking NBAF
9:45 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Latest NBAF Report Cuts Risk Of Pathogen Release

Signs outside the NBAF site in Manhattan, Kan.

The risk of a pathogen release at the controversial National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility being built in Manhattan, Kan., is much less than originally calculated, according to a new, much-anticipated report from the Department of Homeland Security.

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Election 2012
12:05 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Kansas Voters Among First To Vote Under New I.D. Law

Today voters in Johnson County go to the polls for spring primaries.  Mission and Prairie Village will vote on Council seats; the city of Shawnee will vote on a new mayor.

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Tracking NBAF
9:50 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Opponents Of High-Security Lab In Manhattan Gain Steam

Signs outside the site.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

Opponents of a controversial Kansas lab designed to study and combat biological diseases have recently found new energy, as work on the Department of Homeland Security project stalled.

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Tracking NBAF
3:48 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

NBAF Funding Slashed In Obama Budget

Architectural rendering of NBAF building. President Obama has decided not to fund construction of the huge animal disease lab in Kansas next year.
Bryan Thompson Kansas Public Radio

Supporters of a high security bio-defense facility in Manhattan, Kan., got some depressing news today. The White House Budget for 2013 cuts funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) from $50 million to $10 million.

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4:57 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Controversy In Kansas Over Proposed Immigration Bill

A bill introduced into the legislature proposes that undocumented immigrants be allowed to work in Kansas for two years at a time to address labor shortages at feedlots and dairies.
NDSU Ag Comm

The controversy over illegal immigration is pitting Republican against Republican and business against immigration hardliners in Kansas.

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8:31 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Republicans At Odds Over Undocumented Worker Program

A bill introduced into the legislature proposes that undocumented immigrants be allowed to work in Kansas for two years at a time to address labor shortages at feedlots and dairies.
NDSU Ag Comm

A pro-business, pro-immigration bill introduced in the Kansas legislature yesterday pits traditionally Republican business leaders against the hardline anti-immigration Secretary of State and maybe the Republican governor as well.

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Tracking NBAF
8:33 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Questions Loom For Future Of High-Security Lab At K-State

The site designated to become the home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, is on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.
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.

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Business & Tech
6:53 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Brownback Withholds Bioscience Funds

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.

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KCI Airport
12:44 am
Fri November 25, 2011

KCI Easy For Thanksgiving Travelers

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.

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Veteran's Day
3:04 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Letters, Diaries, Interviews With Vets Provided By Kansas Historical Society

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.

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Catholic Church
2:37 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Frustrated, Faithful, Furious: Kansas City Catholics React To Indictments Of Bishop And Diocese

Midday mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Westport. Photo by Laura Ziegler

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.

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Occupy KC
1:00 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Occupy KC Attracts Hundreds To Sunday March And Rally

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.

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1:24 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Kansas Secretary of State Attracts National Attention

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.

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2:30 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Local Gay And Lesbian Community Celebrates Repeal Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

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.

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10:54 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Agroterrorism A Subject Of Study And Concern In Post-9/11 World

Dr. Peter Chalk.
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.

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2:45 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Johnson County Prison Program Gets High Praise From National Consultants

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.

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3:12 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Dressing Up for the Dog Days

A KC woman who lived in the early 1900's wore this delicate shirtwaist in the summer heat. Denise Morrison, Director of Collections and Curatorial Services for Union Station and the Kansas City Museum, showed off this artifact.
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.

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1:49 am
Mon July 25, 2011

KBA Board Meets At Innovative Research Center; New Investments Will Be Announced

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.

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What IS That?
10:14 am
Tue July 12, 2011

What IS that? A Visit to the Cremation Society

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.

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10:53 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Salmon And More; Food Aid Menu Grows As Industry Expands

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.

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10:24 am
Tue June 7, 2011

AMC Expands Food Service at Movies

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.

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11:07 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Severe Weather Warnings; Social Scientists Are Studying Ways To Make Us More Responsive

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.

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4:49 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Sound Of Severe Weather Warnings; Pay Attention, Say Emergency Officials

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.

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