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. 

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. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

As he gears up for next week's veto session, Governor Jay Nixon is maintaining his stance on two controversial bills — a gun law that would loosen concealed carry regulations and a voter ID law. 

Both bills were passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers, and the Republican legislature is expected to try and override the vetoes. 

Still, Nixon is doubling down on his position.

With regards to legislation that would require photo identification to vote in Missouri, he says Republicans are trying to bring attention to what he calls "a nonexistent problem."

InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza

The InterContinental — the iconic hotel on the corner of the Country Club plaza — wants to be designated as blighted. 

The hotel went before a Kansas City Council committee Wednesday to ask for the designation so it can establish a community improvement district, which would allow the hotel to create 1 percent a sales tax to help pay for renovations.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people, many of Native American heritage, gathered at Berkley Riverfront Park on Sunday to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  

They joined protesters across the country standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota. The tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violating the National Historic Preservation Act, after the agency issued final permits for a massive crude oil pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James is exploring a new program to empower parents of school-aged children.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute is a 20-week program that helps attendees track legislation, analyze data and become involved in public policy on behalf of their kids.

James says highly engaged parents help schools function better, but knowing how to participate isn't always obvious.

Corbis / Flickr-CC

Following allegations that two women were sexually assaulted inside their cells at the Jackson County Jail, Kansas City Mayor Sly James says his patience is wearing thin. 

"However, being impatient doesn't solve the problem," James told KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date.   "We have an investigation going, outside council has been hired by the county and we’re hopeful that that investigation will be swift and conclusive and then that the county will take appropriate action." 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

At a crowded campaign stop in Clay County, Missouri, on Saturday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster emphasized his opponent Eric Greiten's lack of experience in government. 

"The Republicans have nominated someone who has literally no experience in state government, who actually sort of uses ignorance as his calling card," Koster said. 

He continued by comparing his opponent to Donald Trump and pointing out that his campaign ads, which feature Greitens shooting guns and detonating explosives, is an accurate metaphor for a new faction of Republicans.

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

In May, the Kansas City Council abandoned plans for a new airport — at least, for the time being.

So for now, airport officials are making small changes to improve travelers' experiences, though they still face challenges with the current design.

Pat Klein, director of the Kansas City Aviation department, says the improvements will be worth the investment, even if the city does move forward with a new terminal in the next few years. 

David Shane / Flickr-CC

A loophole in Missouri's criminal code means most stealing cases are no longer felonies. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court reduced multiple felonies for a woman convicted of stealing firearms to misdemeanors, citing vague language written into the state's criminal code in 2002. 

The court looked at the case of Amanda Bazell, who was convicted of felony stealing. Her lawyer noticed that the language in the criminal code that designates stealing offenses as felonies was unclear.  The court agreed. 

Here's what the court's opinion states:

Rendering courtesy of BNIM

Over the last year, the debate over how much of a tax break the city should give developers for local projects has been heated. 

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Council for the first time heard public comment on an ordinance to reform tax incentive development policy that's been in the works for months. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Earlier this month, a hacker published U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s personal cell phone number and home address, spurring an onslaught of racist phone calls and e-mails directed at the Missouri politician.

“With the good sometimes comes ugly and to be sure, the internet offers people an opportunity to do anonymous ugly things,” Cleaver told host Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date

He says it’s not the first time his personal information has been shared. 

Danny Danko / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Organizers are closing in on their goal of collecting 2,300 signatures to get marijuana decriminalization on the November ballot in Kansas City. 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch (NORML KC) has been gathering signatures since June.

Michael Bentley / Flickr-CC

A debate has been raging in the Crossroads and West Bottoms over a liquor licensing ordinance passed by the Kansas City council in April.

On Thursday, the council unanimously approved a compromise they hope will keep businesses and residents happy. 

The ordinance limited the influence some property owners had over approval of liquor licenses. It had the support of many small businesses, who said it gave them more of a voice in the process.

Facebook - KC Mothers in Charge

A day after Kansas City lost two more of its children, family and community members are struggling to comprehend what happened.

Two young boys died after shots were fired into a home near 58th and College early Saturday morning. They were 8 and 9 years old. The other victim, a 16 year-old-girl, is expected to recover. 

Rosilyn Temple is the executive director of KC Mothers In Charge.  She says she arrived at the scene around 2:30 a.m. She was told shots were fired into the house, striking the three victims.

The head of Missouri's public defender system appointed Gov. Jay Nixon to handle a case in protest of withheld funding. So, just how dire is the situation for Missouri's public defenders?

Guests:

Are we a society of bullies? We talk to two sociologists who make the case we can’t fix bullying in schools until we take a close look at the bigger institutional factors in America that encourage it.

Guests:

National startup activity has been dragging the last few years, but that is starting to change. We’ll learn how the country may finally be breaking free of the effects of the Great Recession. 

Guest:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The family of Caleb Schwab has made arrangements for his memorial service.

Ten-year-old Schwab died Sunday riding the Verrückt waterslide at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas.  He was the son of Kansas state representative Scott Schwab.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

About a dozen people gathered at the Johnson County Public Library on Saturday to learn how to start a child care businesses.

Several area organizations led people through the process of starting a business, obtaining proper licenses and getting certified to care for young children. 

It's part of an effort to support low-income families in Johnson County, says Chris Schneweis, a senior management analyst with the Johnson County manager’s office. 

He says a work group at the county Board of Commissioners identified a need for more at-home child care providers. 

White Christians set the tone for this country, dating back to its founding. But that’s changing in some profound ways. For one thing, white Christians no longer comprise a majority of the nation. As the cultural and religious ground shifts under them we’ll see how their influence is changing.

Guest:

Last night's primary election was an exciting one on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, losses by several conservative Republicans caused a surprising swing to center. In Missouri, a bruising primary campaign for governor ended with Eric Greitens as the Republican nominee.

Guests:

Missouri:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

On a rainy Sunday at Brush Creek Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri, several dozen people sit in a circle, each wearing nametags with preferred pronouns written beneath their names. Some of the tags list "he/him/his" or "they/their/theirs." Others simply say, "anything respectful."

As they go around the circle sharing how they're feeling that day, a group leader asks, "Is anyone feeling anxiety about leaving here and having to back to your normal lives tomorrow?"

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Kansas City Mayor Sly James has been vocal about his call for stricter gun control measures. During a speech Wednesday to the Missouri Delegation at the Democratic National Convention, James gave a blistering critique to Missourians who resist stronger gun control.

“I think it’s time for us to start targeting a few key legislators and supporting their opponents in the way the NRA and other people support them,” James said. 

Those views will make it difficult for the mayor to support his party’s likely nominee for Missouri Governor, Chris Koster.

Pages