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. 

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.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A million-dollar housing project in Kansas City is being built to achieve two things: get homeless veterans permanent housing and restore blighted, abandoned properties in the urban core. 

Neighborhoods United, an area non-profit, is teaming up with the Kansas City, Missouri, branch of the NAACP and the Black Economic Union to restore empty properties in blighted neighborhoods and convert them into energy-efficient duplexes for veterans and people with disabilities. 

Startup Stock Photos / Flickr - CC

Small businesses have an increasing chance at surviving their first 5 years in Kansas City, but overall business ownership hasn't increased, according to a new report from the Kauffman Foundation

The Main Street Entrepreneurship Index measures established small business activity — that’s businesses five years and older, with fewer than 50 employees. 

Public Domain

After several months of collecting signatures, area marijuana reformers have submitted enough petition signatures to bring a decriminalization ordinance to the April ballot in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch submitted more than 4,200 signatures to the city clerk's office on Tuesday. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday afternoon in front of City Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to condemn president-elect Donald Trump.

The protest, which lasted several hours and remained peaceful throughout, differed from anti-Trump rallies in the city earlier in the week — there was little chanting, and no marching.

Instead, people lined up to speak through a megaphone, sharing their personal stories, expressing their feelings, and calling for people to mobilize for change. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

To cheers from an enthusiastic crowd, the full Kansas City council unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to the construction of the planned Dakota Access Pipeline.

Various groups in Kansas City have joined protests across the country in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has led a movement against the construction of the pipeline on native lands. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Just days before the November 8 election, Democratic organizers and elected officials gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, to urge people to keep volunteering and not let down their efforts. 

Saturday's "Nasty Women Unite" rally in downtown Kansas City featured an impressive lineup of speakers — U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams, and City Councilwomen Jolie Justus and Alissia Canady, to name a few. 

Blue Coat Photos / Flickr - CC

Every day it seems we hear news of another data breach — from 500 million Yahoo accounts to the latest WikiLeaks hacks

Even at the city level, officials are worried about cyber security threats.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

"Mr. Townsend...you couldn't find a better person than that person," says Lola Madrigal, remembering her friend Jimmy Townsend, the late owner of the Green Duck Lounge in Kansas City.

Madrigal joined a big group of Townsend's friends and family across the street from his club on Saturday to celebrate his birthday by carrying on one of his favorite traditions.

"For three days, as long as I can remember, forty years or more. Just fed everybody, anybody who would come through — free. Three days, every year for his birthday," says Abel Titsworth, a close friend of Townsend. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

After more than 100 years in Kansas City, Missouri, the American Royal will have a new home in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The American Royal Association announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement with the state of Kansas and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County to relocate to KCK next to the Village West shopping district. 

"We are excited to welcome our patrons to a facility we design and build exclusively for them," says Angie Stanland, American Royal board chairwoman. 

Courtesy ShotTracker

Kansas City entrepreneur Davyeon Ross just got the endorsement of a lifetime — from NBA legend Magic Johnson. 

Ross is the co-founder of ShotTracker, a basketball analytics startup and Johnson, along with former NBA commissioner David Stern and other investors, announced they're putting $5 million into the firm's latest product. 

"I grew up watching Magic play, so to be sitting in a conference room with him, and have that relationship is huge," Ross says.

Jarrett Stewart / Flickr-CC

Kansas City officials were disappointed last week when they found out Kansas City will not receive a federal Smart City grant to help pay for enhancements to the planned Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

This is the second time the city was passed over for a Smart City grant

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Updated 5 p.m. Monday by KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler

Kansas City, Mo. police detectives say they are following up on accounts from several witnesses to the Saturday night shootings at 4700 Broadway on the Country Club Plaza. Witnesses reported two gunshot victims, who were both transported to St. Luke's Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Courtesy Photo - Al Smith

There's been a lot of debate lately over proposed Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) — namely, over two luxury hotels who were approved to establish CID's so they could implement a special tax to pay for renovations. 

On Thursday, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced she will audit two of the state's biggest CIDs, both in the Kansas City area. 

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Authorities believe that the two men accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Johnson County Sheriff's deputy had other victims. 

William Luth, 24, of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Brady Newman-Caddell, 21, of Independence, Missouri, were arrested Monday night in Jackson County after surveillance video of the car used in the kidnapping was released. 

woodleywonderworks — Flickr CC

Students who don't have internet access at home are at risk of falling further behind at school as more teachers assign homework that requires web access. 

That trend has been called the "homework gap," and Sprint wants to help close it.

On Tuesday, the Overland Park-based company announced a new initiative, the 1Million Project, which will put mobile devices and free wireless service into the hands of one million students across the country. 

Aranami - Flickr CC

On November 8,  Missouri voters will decide on a number of ballot questions, the most controversial being a photo voter ID amendment and a pair of cigarette taxes. 

But a far less attention-grabbing question is a measure that could affect sales taxes on services. 

Constitutional Amendment 4 would ban sales and use taxes on any service that was not already being taxed as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

More than 50 Kansas City residents and community advocates showed up Saturday morning at the Mohart Multipupose Center near Linwood Boulevard and The Paseo to voice their ideas about how the city should prioritize its spending over the next five years. 

The hearing was a departure from the usual format in which residents testify individually in front of a panel of city officials. 

The morning began with a 'Pick Your Priorities' exercise where attendees voted live between sets of established priorities using electronic clickers. 

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Plaza’s InterContinental would seek blight status from Kansas City so it could establish a special sales tax to help pay for hotel renovations.

During that city council meeting, Brett Ellison, general manager of the Marriott Country Club Plaza, issued a warning:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

With just over 40 days until election day, Hillary Clinton's campaign opened an office in Kansas City Sunday.

More than a hundred people gathered at the grand opening in the Crossroads to sign up for volunteer opportunities, take selfies with life-sized Hillary cutouts, and connect with other supporters. 

Most polls have given Republican nominee Donald Trump a big lead over the Democrat in Missouri, but some have shown the state as a toss-up.

Islamic Center of Northland

A possible arson is being investigated at a mosque under construction in Kansas City.

Islamic Center of Northland leaders say they arrived at the site, near Barry road in Kansas City north, for a meeting early Saturday morning and discovered blackened interior walls. There was no serious damage reported. 

Kansas City police and a bomb squad responded. Police confirm that two burned bottles were found inside the building. 

Rendering courtesy of BNIM

After weeks of public hearings, the Kansas City Council was expected to vote Thursday on a tax incentive reform package

But debate on the floor, which lasted nearly two hours, resulted in a hold on the vote. 

Jason Doss / Wikimedia Commons

The latest indicators of Kansas City’s economic growth aren’t bad — they're just ... disappointing.

That’s the reaction from the Mid-America Regional Council to the newest metro-level GDP numbers for Kansas City.

Between 2014 and 2015, Kansas City’s economy grew 1.5 percent. Jeff Pinkerton, senior researcher at MARC, was a little surprised by that number.

Catilin Troutman / KCUR 89.3

Amazon has officially started construction on a huge new fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The facility, which will sit on 190 acres of land near Interstate 70 and the Turner Diagonal, will provide more than 1,000 jobs to the underutilized area. 

Gary Guo, Amazon's Vice President of North America Operations, said the center will host Amazon's robotic technologies. It will fill orders for small items like books, electronics, and small household items. 

He said the center will be operating by the peak of holiday shopping in 2017. 

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