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.


2:53 pm
Tue April 20, 2010

Web Extra: Full-Length Interview With Michael G. Long

Kansas City , Mo. – This is the extended interview with Michael G. Long, editor of FIRST CLASS CITIZENSHIP: The Civil Rights Letters Of Jackie Robinson.

Dr.Long was at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last weekend as part of a program commemorating Jackie Robinson Day on April 17th.

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9:23 am
Mon April 19, 2010

Michael Long Discusses 'First Class Citizenship'

Dr. Michael Long, editor of FIRST CLASS CITIZENSHIP: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson.

Kansas City, Mo. –
As baseball remembered the contributions of Jackie Robinson last week, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum brought in Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, and Professor Michael Long, for a forum on Robinson's life.

Professor Long edited FIRST CLASS CITIZENSHIP; the Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson.

Here he speaks with KCUR's Laura Ziegler.

Special Thanks to The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for recording the interview.

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11:51 pm
Thu April 15, 2010

Tea Party Rally A Celebration Of Conservative Values

Kansas City, Kan. – Several thousand people turned out yesterday for the area's largest Tea Party rally at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Organizers had projected a crowd of some 10 to 12 thousand, but visitors came from as far away as Iowa.

The crowd roared and waved flags when event planner Alex Poulter warned the media from a platform on the T-Bones field that the program would include prayers, a salute to the military, and a lot of talk about the constitution.

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10:20 am
Thu April 15, 2010

Local Tea Party Activists Look Beyond Protest Toward Campaigns

Kansas City , Mo. – Kansas City will join the rest of the country this Tax Day by observing the one year anniversary of the first major Tea Party protests. Rallies are planned at the Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas, the J.C. Nichols Fountain on the Plaza, and Johnson County Community College, among other places.

Tea Party activists here are in step with their colleagues nationwide in another way - many are running for office. At the same time, the major Republican candidates are courting the Tea Party vote.

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12:18 am
Thu April 15, 2010

One Year Later, Tea Party Sees Great Support

Kansas City , Mo. – Facilities at Community America Ballpark in Wyandotte County -- bathrooms and security, made it the desirable location for this afternoon's Tea Party rally, according to organizers with Political Chips, one of the largest Tea Party groups in Kansas.
There will be a number of gatherings around the metro, but the T-Bones ballpark is expected to host the largest.

Social media has been key in creating the Tea Party phenomenon, so it's fitting that this event was pulled together largely on line.

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12:04 pm
Mon April 5, 2010

Overland Park Annexation Opponents Plan Appeal

Kansas City, Mo. – Opponents say they'll appeal the decision to approve Overland Park's annexation of 8 square miles of semi-rural land.

A Johnson County District Court last week ruled neither the city nor Johnson County did anything illegal by annexing the land.

But Norman Pishner a member of a committee that campaigned vigorously against the annexation, says opponents believe they can prove residents were denied due process.

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9:03 pm
Wed March 31, 2010

Electric Vehicle Company Hopes To Expand With DOE Dollars

Kansas City, Mo. – The Department of Energy has awarded the Smith Electric Vehicle Company in Kansas City another significant grant to continue research and development of electric delivery trucks.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill got a tour of the Smith Electric Plant yesterday from executives and workers, after announcing DOE would add $22 million to the $10 million it had already given Smith.

The company manufactures delivery trucks, with electric engines.

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11:53 am
Fri March 19, 2010

Young Activist Moves Local Tea Party Toward Elected Office

Kansas City – While many Tea Party activists went to protest the health care debate in Washington this week, activists in this area are shifting directions. They're moving away from protests and rallies in favor of election campaigns.

The Kansas City Tea Party provides a picture of what some Tea Party activism may look like as the campaign season unfolds.

At the center of the local effort is a 21 year old college student named Andrea Plunkett.

Learning The Basics From Family

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12:15 pm
Wed March 10, 2010

Researchers Say Collaboration Is Key To Success In Research And Marketplace

Kansas City , Mo. – Scientists and business people are sharing research among institutions and across disciplines. That was the message at this weeks Life Sciences Summit sponsored by the University of Missouri campuses.

Collaborating is already happening . Working together has produced some tremendous breakthroughs in animal and human health.

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KC Currents
12:31 pm
Mon March 8, 2010

African-Centered Schools Fight To Maintain Autonomy

Photo by Laura Ziegler / KCUR.

Kansas City, Mo. – Chick Elementary School opened in 1991 as the district's first African Centered Education school. Three years ago, the program expanded to include a 6th grade, and a 7th through 11th grade program on what's known as the ACE Collegium Campus.

Recently, the schools have been in the news because the district wants to combine the 786 students into one building, as part of is "right-sizing" plan, which parents and the school's administrators vehemently oppose.

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9:17 am
Mon March 1, 2010

Gardner Recall Election: Politics And Business

Kansas City , Mo. – Voters in Gardner, Kansas will go to the polls tomorrow to decide weather to recall 2 of their 5 city council members.

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Tracking NBAF
2:39 pm
Fri February 26, 2010

K-State Wins DHS Center To Study Animal Diseases

Kansas City , Mo. – The latest feather in the cap for the so-called "animal health corridor" is the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, or CEEZAD.

The center is a $12 million dollar investment by the Department of Homeland Security at K-State. It will compliment the work of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility. The so-called NBAF is the high-security lab Manhattan recently won in a competitive bidding process that will be researching foreign and domestic animal diseases and vaccines.

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10:37 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Local Tea Party Not Discouraged By Political Loss In St. Joe Race

St. Joseph , Mo. – With this weeks national convention in Nashville and some major electoral successes, the The Tea Party has moved away from the political margin. Locally, Tea Party activists have also been organizing over the last several months. They're turning their attention to candidates and campaigns - and away from protests and rallies.

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6:38 pm
Sat January 30, 2010

Saturday Errands Interrupted At Corinth Square

Prairie Village, Kan. – Police closed off a 600 foot area of the Corinth Square Shopping Center this morning at 83rd and Somerset in Prairie Village after reports of an an unidentified object. Officers who had seen the object said it was wired and could be explosive, but upon investigation by a bomb squad, found the object to be harmless.

About 11:45 AM, police evacuated the busy parking lot as well as The Hen House Grocery Store, Hattie's Coffee Shop, a tailor, nail salon, cleaners, optical shop, and shoe repair.

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The Economy Project
1:36 pm
Fri January 29, 2010

Job Clubs: For the Unemployed and By the Unemployed

Overland Park, Kansas – This story aired as part of a series we've been doing on the local economy. Johnson County, Kansas has some of the fastest growing and affluent cities in the country. Thousands of layoffs at local corporations like Sprint/Nextel and smaller technology companies have created unemployment Johnson County isn't accustomed to.

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10:08 am
Mon January 25, 2010

KBA To Legislature: 'We're doing what you told us to do!'

Kansas City – Members of the Kansas Bioscience Authority told Governor Mark Parkinson, legislators, researchers and entrepreneurs last night they have been successful in recruiting investment from biotech and animal health companies for Kansas.

That's the mission of the KBA, which was established as a result of the $581 million dollar Economic Growth Act of 2004.

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3:30 pm
Mon January 11, 2010

Wiesenthal Memorial Highway Bill Gets Widespread Bitartisan Support

Kansas City – Springfield Representative Sara Lampe introduced highway-naming legislation today in an ongoing effort to counter the publicity a regional Nazi group has received for cleaning up the highway.

Representative Lampe introduced House Bill 1668 today in Jefferson City. The bill has 76 cosigners from both parties, and will name a stretch of Highway 160 after Jewish historian and Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

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2:42 am
Thu January 7, 2010

Overland Park Mayor Comes Out To Support Snow Removal Street Crews At Night

Overland Park, Kansas – As it continued to blizzard well into Wednesday night and Thursday morning, snow crews and public officials metro-wide were saying they thought they'd be working into the weekend. Temperatures are supposed to drop below zero while winds are expected to pick up.

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12:28 am
Mon December 21, 2009

Bow Hunters Continue Deer Management In Shawnee Mission Park; Animal Rights Movement Looks Ahead

Shawnee Mission, Kansas – The deer bow hunt at Shawnee Mission Park continues, but animal rights activists say they're pulling back from any future protests. Sharpshooters harvested more than 300 deer in the first phase of the cull, and expect the bow hunt to reduce the herd by another 75 or 80. They expect the deer harvest to save the overpopulated herd from starving, and from further damaging the park's ecosystem. Animal rights activists say they may have lost this battle, but they're not giving up the war to protect the deer.

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6:23 pm
Fri December 4, 2009

Kansas Bioscience Park In Olathe: Part II

Olathe, Kansas – Now there are officially two centers under construction at the Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe. The Kansas Bioscience Venture Accelerator officially broke ground this afternoon on a windy field adjacent to the K-State extension campus that will become The Olathe Innovation Center. Both are part of the Kansas Bioscience Park aimed at promoting the biosciences in the region.

The public-private Kansas Bioscience Authority plans for The Venture Accelerator to turn research into products and take those products to the market.

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6:10 pm
Fri December 4, 2009

Kansas Bioscience Park In Olathe: Part II

Olathe, Kansas – The Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe got a jump on its second main part this afternoon with the groundbreaking of the "Venture Accelerator." It's to be an incubator for business ideas and strategies that will take research and turn it into profit.
The center is to be located next to an extension campus of K-State where officials plan to do cutting edge reserach on food safety, food security, and animal health.

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9:01 am
Wed November 25, 2009

Moore Retirement Has Parties Scurrying

Kansas City – Those on the inner circle may have known Dennis Moore was considering retirement, but for many who watch the politics of the complicated Kansas 3rd district, it was an abrupt announcement that caught them off guard. Republican National Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson called Moore's decision "a welcome surprise." He said Republicans believe Democrats can't win the 3rd District without Dennis Moore, who has held the seat with the help of moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Kansas Johnson County for six terms.

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6:47 pm
Tue November 24, 2009

Moore Gives His Reason: Twelve Years Is Enough

Olathe, Kansas – The Congressman reiterated that the only reason he was retiring was to spend more time with his family - his wife, children and grandchildren.

Moore spoke quietly as he said again that he was tired, that this had been a particularly frustrating and grueling session of Congress.

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10:02 am
Wed November 18, 2009

Taking Stock: The Animal Health Corridor Moves Forward

Kansas City – If you feed your dog Science Diet, or protect him with the flea and tick control Advantix, you're using products made in the Animal Health Corridor.

The Corridor is an official area, recognized by an act of Congress, between Kansas City, Manhattan, and Columbia. Over 200 animal health and related companies are located in the region, and they're responsible for almost a third of the sales in the 19 billion dollar industry.

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Tracking NBAF
12:00 am
Fri November 13, 2009

Animal Health Corridor Eager For Development

If you feed your dog Science Diet or protect him with the flea and tick control Advantix, you’re using products made in the Animal Health Corridor.

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5:39 pm
Thu November 12, 2009

Ground Breaking Today In Olathe For Bioscience And Food Safety Center

Kansas City , Mo. – Officials with the Kansas Bioscience Authority and K-State are breaking ground later this morning for an animal health and food safety center in Olathe. It's the first building of the so-called Olathe Innovation Center, funded with revenue generated by the one-eighth cent sales tax Johnson Countians approved last year. CEO Dan Richardson says the center will become be a destination spot for people interested in learning what's happening around animal health and food safety.

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10:29 am
Tue November 10, 2009

Park Board Announces 313 Deer Killed In Phase One Of Shawnee Mission Cull

Shawnee Mission, Kansas –

The Johnson County Park Board said yesterday Phase One of the deer management program was over in Shawnee Mission Park. Sharpshooters and county police killed 313 deer in efforts to reduce overpopulation.

The Park Board said yesterday deer were shot at night under tight security. They didn't reduce the herd enough, however, and the park's ecosystem is in danger, according to wildlife biologists.

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11:07 am
Mon November 2, 2009

Lenexa Woman Does Business Saudi-Style

Laura Owen wears traditional Saudi abaya and jibab given to her as a gift.

Lenexa, Kansas – Laura Owen and her husband own a company called ICOP,Inc. in Lenexa, Kansas. What they sell is an innovative digital recorder for use in law enforcement vehicles.

Saudi Arabia is ICOP's first international market. The company has already sold the equipment to police and State Troopers throughout the U.S., including to the Prairie Village police.

Sound inside Police Car

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2:28 pm
Wed October 28, 2009

Animal Rights Activists Pose Alternatives To Deer Hunt

Shawnee Mission, Kansas – Jason Miller, clean cut with glasses and dark-hair, can come across as a humorless evangelist for animal rights. But at last week's protest outside the Johnson County Park Board, the devout vegan and self-described animal liberationist made a joke about weather he had a day job:

Miller: "Yeah I do.. animal activism doesn't have a lot of money. Animals don't have a lot of clients so to speak."

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