Lisa Rodriguez

Afternoon Newscaster, Reporter

Lisa Rodriguez is KCUR's afternoon newscaster. 

Born in Santiago, Chile, Lisa loves traveling and lived abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before moving back to Kansas City in 2011 (she grew up in Overland Park.) She graduated with degrees in journalism and Spanish from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. 

Before joining KCUR, Lisa kept busy waiting tables and tending bar at some of Kansas City's best restaurants, which taught her how to deal with just about every kind of person. Talking to people and hearing their stories is what continues to drive her today.  Years of late nights closing up dining rooms also explains her aversion to mornings. 

Lisa is loving living in Kansas City at a time when the city seems to really like itself. She's a Royals fan and a Chiefs fan and is also pretty into pro-wrestling. 

Office of the Missouri State Auditor

Updated, 4:40 p.m. Thursday: The Missouri Department of Revenue has turned a stack of documents over to the State Auditor's Office, according to a news release.

Auditor Nicole Galloway took the unusual step of issuing a subpoena Wednesday after the Department of Revenue failed to comply with an earlier request.

Galloway initiated the audit six weeks ago to ensure Missourians owed tax refunds were being paid on time. State law requires returns not paid within 45 days be paid with interest, which Galloway says isn't good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

File photo / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City needs to do a better job investigating and documenting employment discrimination complaints.

Kansas City Auditor Doug Jones says his office initially set out to audit the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEO) office because it was told that complaints take too long to resolve.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

When it comes to the Buck O’Neil Bridge (formerly known as the Broadway Bridge,) Kansas City is in a tough spot.

More than 50,000 people drive across the bridge each day, according to The Mid-America Regional Council, whose Beyond The Loop project is studying the bridge and its surrounding area.  

KC Pet Project

Kansas City residents handed city officials a big victory Tuesday night when they approved an $800 million bond package and property tax increase to address the city's infrastructure needs. 

City officials are eager to get to work. City Manager Troy Schulte says his team has already been developing a first-year implementation plan for the first tranche, or portion, of the money. He says he plans to deliver a final version of that plan to the city council by May 1. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri voters approved all five questions that appeared on Tuesday's special election ballot.

The first three all dealt with a massive $800 million infrastructure bond package, which includes annual property tax increases. The city plans to issue the bonds over 20 years to chip away at looming infrastructure needs. Each question required a 57.1 percent super majority. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The intersection of Hillcrest Road and Oldham in Swope Park needs work. The narrow bridge here has been considered structurally deficient since 2014.

And at night, especially when it rains, the sharp turns can be dangerous.

Two fatal crashes happened here in just the last few months.

Guard rail and bridge repairs would make this intersection safer. But it’s only one of hundreds of project all over the city in need of attention. 

Dank Depot / Flickr — CC

More than half of states have legalized marijuana for either recreational or medical use.

Kansas City voters won’t be considering that exact question on April 4th, but they will get to decide whether to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council approved a $1.59 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The new budget takes effect on May 1. 

Courtesy of Daniel King

Updated, 8:20 a.m. Tuesday: Fire officials in Overland Park say “skeleton crews” are on hand Tuesday, monitoring the smoldering remains of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex yesterday.

The fire also badly damaged another apartment building under construction and damaged at least 17 homes nearby, destroying 8 of them, according to Overland Park city officials.

Stand Up KC

Councilman Quinton Lucas says Kansas City needs to act to raise the minimum wage — now. 

In the past few weeks, the debate over raising the minimum wage is Kansas City has been revived. Here's a quick overview of what's happened so far:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that St. Louis can raise their minimum wage to $11 by 2018. 

This reverses a lower court's decision in 2015, which struck down the increase because it would conflict with a state law that prohibits municipalities from enacting a minimum wage higher than the state's. 

Hickman Mills School District

The Hickman Mills School District has selected its own Yolanda Cargile to serve as its new superintendent. 

Cargile is currently associate superintendent of student services at Hickman Mills.

Current superintendent Dennis Carpenter is leaving the district at the end of June to serve as superintendent in the Lee's Summit school district. 

Laura Patterson / Wikimedia Commons

From her home in Kansas' Flint Hills, Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum reads news about politics (in paper form, "I don't do e-mail ... Facebook")  with a touch of sadness. 

"We have to find ways to come together," she told Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date

Known as a voice of reason during her 18 years as a senator, Kassebaum left public life in 1997. Twenty years later, she says politics have fundamentally changed and she's not sure she'd make it out of a Republican Primary if she ran today.

FoutchBrothers LLC

The Kansas City Council on Thursday agreed to sell Kemper Arena for one dollar to developer Foutch Brothers to turn it into a youth sports complex. 

Why a dollar?

“Because we couldn’t give it away. And also because it saves us money in the long run so we don’t have to spend millions to tear it down and we don’t have to spend millions to keep it up,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said during Thursday's city council meeting. 

Esther Honig

Public Safety will get the biggest increases in Kansas City's budget next year — while the rest of the city tightens its belt.

On Thursday,  Kansas City Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte submitted the fiscal year 2017- 2018 budget with the primary focus on firefighters and police.  

Elle Moxley / KCUR

When Mayor Sly James and his staff first proposed an $800 million general obligation bond to address the city's basic infrastructure needs, he acknowledged it would be a tough sell.

At a town hall meeting in Kansas City's Waldo neighborhood Monday, James had a chance to make his case. 

About 100 area residents showed up to ask the mayor just how the city plans to spend the money and how it will affect their own pocketbooks. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

An ordinance seeking to raise the minimum wage in Kansas City to $15 an hour by 2021 failed to get enough votes from the city council to make it onto the ballot in April.

After Thursday's decision, Dr. Vernon Howard, president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City called the no vote “morally bankrupt.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

On the deadline to approve items for the April ballot Thursday, the Kansas City council reached a compromise and unanimously approved an ordinance for an $800 million dollar infrastructure bond package.

The plan includes a property tax increase over 20 years for the purpose of repairing, rebuilding and maintaining the city's existing infrastructure. 

The agreement comes after 43 days of back and forth between council members and Mayor Sly James.

Councilwoman Jolie Justus says the ordinance doesn’t give everyone what they want. 

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Despite concerns, a resigned Kansas City Council committee today recommended the full council put a petition to reduce penalties for marijuana possession on the ballot this April. 

The recommendation came after Tuesday's Missouri Supreme court decision, which ordered the city to put a minimum wage petition — which had previously been declined by the council  for contradicting state law — on the ballot. 

Courtesy - SCLC-GKC

Across the city, people celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with parades, dancing, singing and community service. 

For Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City, the best way to honor that legacy is through activism.

This year, paired with a celebration of King's life, is the official launch of a campaign for a ten-year, one-eighth cent sales tax increase to benefit the city's East Side. 

On Monday, the SCLC-GKC sponsored a community forum to discuss the proposed tax increase. 

Cody Newill / File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Despite Mayor Sly James' hope that the Kansas City Council would agree on ballot language for a major infrastructure bond  issue, joint committees on Thursday decided to put the discussion on hold until next week. 

The leaves just one week to come to a consensus on language if they want to get the issue on the ballot April 4 — which they do. 

Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

A state program that gives Missouri colleges and universities additional funding for meeting performance goals needs a lot of work, according to state auditor Nicole Galloway.

The program awards institutions a portion of state funding — up to 5 percent of each school's core higher education funding —based on measures such as graduation rates and learning quality. 

The level of success is determined by how well each college compares to its peers. 

Kevin Marsh

Members of Kansas City's service industry and restaurant community are mourning the death of Jennifer Maloney, long-time executive chef of Cafe Sebastienne at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Maloney died Christmas Day at North Kansas City Hospital after a short, sudden illness. The cause of death is still unclear.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over the last few years, the country’s tech giants — Google, Twitter and Facebook — have all been called out for their mostly white and mostly male staffs.

Diversity has become a top priority in Silicon Valley. 

Vewiser Dixon, an area entrepreneur, wants to help Kansas City avoid the image plaguing Silicon Valley — by building a tech space from the ground up, with diversity hardwired into its core.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is long overdue for a fix up.

That's the message Sly James is trying to get to voters before April, when an $800 million infrastructure bond package will likely appear on the ballot. 

Speaking on KCUR's Up To Date, James said when he took office in 2011, the city already had $6 billion worth of deferred maintenance. 

That number will be a lot bigger, he said, if the city doesn't act soon. 

City of Kansas City Missouri

Kansas City officials kicked off the redevelopment of Kansas City’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz district on Monday with the demolition of the old Black Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of 18th and Paseo.

The building was vacant and not historic. 

The demolition marks 150 days since the Kansas City Council approved $7 million for the first phase of re-development, which includes renovating historic buildings and building a new streetscape and street lighting to better connect the jazz district to the Crossroads district.

Corbis / CC

Recent headlines detailing sexual harassment and discrimination at the Missouri Department of Corrections have caught the eye of State Auditor Nicole Galloway — namely because the state uses taxpayer dollars to settle those lawsuits.

Galloway’s office announced Friday it would be reviewing the state’s legal expense fund, which is the pool of money used to make those payments.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Keeping roads and bridges maintained in a city as big as Kansas City can be never-ending — and expensive.

That's the reason Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte came before a joint committee meeting of the City Council on Wednesday to advocate for an $800 million bond proposal to address the city's infrastructure needs for the next 20 years. 

The plan, which will likely come before voters on April 4, 2017, includes a property tax increase  over 20 years for the purpose of repairing, rebuilding and maintaining the city's existing infrastructure. 

chocolatsombre / Flickr--CC

Animal rights groups in Kansas City are taking action after Saturday night’s accident involving a horse-drawn carriage on the Country Club Plaza. 

According to Kansas City police, a horse pulling a carriage with four passengers started running out of control and crashed into a fence on the bridge at Ward Parkway and Wornall. Three people were injured, as well as the horse.

The incident has sparked debate on social media over animal rights. Some people believe it's time to end the practice of horse-drawn carriages in the city.  

Eric Hunsaker / Flickr-CC

Following a similar move in Jackson County, Missouri, earlier this year, Kansas City will establish a prescription drug monitoring program. 

Kansas City Council members Thursday passed an ordinance to establish a city-wide prescription drug database, a tool used to track patients who abuse painkillers and to prevent “doctor shopping” by individuals seeking prescriptions from multiple physicians.

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