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. 

Tax cuts, toll roads, public schools, what will affect Missourians most this year?

The Missouri Legislature began its 2015 session on Wednesday. On Thursday's Up To Date, a panel of journalists discusses what may become the biggest issues of the coming year. 

Guests: 

Wiley Rein LLP

Former Kansas congressman Jim Slattery believes that a nuclear deal with Iran is possible after speaking with officials during a visit to Tehran December.

He says he was told by Iranians that it was the first time a current or former United States elected official has been invited to speak in the country since 1979.

Slattery had the opportunity to speak with Iranian officials during the International Conference on World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) in December. It was his first trip to the country.

From the world's fascination with Pope Francis to the rise of ISIS overseas, religion played a significant role in some of the biggest headlines of 2014.

On Wednesday's Up To Date guest host Brian Ellison speaks with Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, and Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive religion editor of the Huffington Post, on the top religion stories last year, and religion's rising profile in the news. 

Penguin Group

As 2015 gets off to a chilly start, it's the perfect time to cozy up with some of 2014's hottest reads. Up to Date's Book Doctors share some of their favorite titles from last year. 

From Jeffrey Ann Goudie, freelance writer and book reviewer:

As we say goodbye to 2014, we remember the people we lost this year. Author Jack Gantos shares his boyhood experience typing stories for his town's obituary writer, offering insights into why a community needs to remember. Kansas Citians share memories, plus, a tribute to the Westside's Lynda Callon, who died in October. 

Guest:

  • Jack Gantos, author, Dead End in Norvelt

Courtesy photo / Kari Deude

For more than 100 years, the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Missouri Tigers have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry.

It's a rivalry that's alive and well, even though the teams haven't played each other in two years.

RELATEDJayhawks and Tigers Love to Hate Each Other Across State Line

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

There was no shortage of Mizzou hate Dec. 13  when the University of Kansas played the University of Utah at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Thousands of Kansas fans gathered, ironically in Missouri, to watch the Jayhawks play.

Kansas and Missouri haven’t played one another since 2012, when Missouri left the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference.

But just mention the University of Missouri to a die-hard Jayhawk and you’ll get a heated response. To fans, it’s more than just a sports rivalry. It's part of their identities.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

In November, President Obama announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action.

The action, which protects about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States from deportation, has been met with controversy nationwide.

But Hispanic communities in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., say the measure is a step in the right direction.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Maybe it's a decision about which side of the state line to live on. Maybe it's public school versus private, or district versus charter. For some, there may not seem to be a choice in the matter at all. A range of issues factor into where Kansas City families send their kids to school; meanwhile, difficulty discerning myth from reality looms large. Our callers and guests help break it down.

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR

On Nov. 9, three months will have passed since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot six times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

The St. Louis suburb that was virtually unknown to the majority of the nation a quarter of a year ago is now almost universally recognized. But for residents of Ferguson, Mo., things have changed irrevocably.

kpapower / Flickr

The 87-year-old president of La Raza political club in Kansas City, Mo., has been working the same poll in her neighborhood near the Kansas-Missouri state line every Election Day for more than 50 years.

Rafaela "Lali" García has devoted most of her life trying to get Kansas City's Hispanic community in Missouri more involved in local government. She says she proudly has registered hundreds of voters in the Show-Me State in the past few years. 

Missouri Valley Collections / Kansas City Public Library

In our investigation of the Missouri-Kansas state line, we found that many of the Hispanic communities on both sides in the Kansas City area have a long history, dating back to the mid-1800s.

These communities have undergone huge changes — economic, geographic and demographic — throughout the past century that have shaped who the communities are today.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Students from the Armourdale community of Kansas City, Kan., refer to their neighborhood as the barrio.

Today the neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic, but it wasn’t always this way. Armourdale, which was one of the first Hispanic communities to form in Kansas City, Kan., in 1886, went through an era when Hispanics were a minority. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR

SungWoo Lee, super-fan of the Kansas City Royals, traveled all the way from Seoul, South Korea, arriving at Kansas City International Airport on Monday to cheering fellow-fans.

His presence wasn't the World Series good luck charm he'd hoped it would be.

As the first game of the series got off to a shaky start for the Royals, Lee told USA Today, he was “a little bit down because of San Francisco's 3-0 lead." Lee was among the thousands at Kauffman Stadium who watched that lead grow to seven home runs. Eventually, the Royals scored one run.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

For the last few weeks the American public has been inundated with news about Ebola, leaving other news — like the ongoing crisis in Syria and the Middle East — in the background. But for many Middle Easterners in Kansas City, news from home remains important, and they often struggle to find information.

As a result, many Kansas Citians who have family afar have turned to each other for support, crossing  religious and political boundaries that may have divided them at home.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Syria, Liberia and Ukraine are places most Kansas Citians know through news reports. But for immigrants from these countries, headlines aren't the half of it; friends, relatives and even memories remain in places left behind. Sound and stories take us around Kansas City, and around the world, as experts on the transnational experience add perspective. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

As the crisis in Syria and the Middle East persists, local grocer Ahmad Alhabashi works to make his store a place where the local Arab community can feel closer to home, despite being thousands of miles away.

Upon entering the Al-Habashi Mart in the River Market in Kansas City, Mo., guests are greeted with Arabic music playing over the radio, sharp smells of curry and cayenne waft through the air as they weave through rows and rows of the vibrant spices. Brightly colored products line the walls, many of the labels in Arabic.

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