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. 

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.

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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. 

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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.

What does the milestone of having a woman running for president in the U.S. say about our country now? Why did it take so long, and what does it mean for women moving forward?

Guests:

  • Rebecca Richardson is president of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus.
  • Elizabeth Vonnahme  is Associate Professor of Political Science at UMKC.
  • Jean Peters-Baker is the District Attorney of Jackson County, Missouri.

A brawl is underway in Kansas’ ‘Big First’ congressional district, which covers more than half of the state. Republican incumbent Tim Huelskamp is fighting to keep his seat against an outsider who recently landed a big endorsement.

Guest:

  • Peggy Lowe is the investigations editor for Harvest Public Media, which is based at KCUR. 

TPPatriots / YouTube

The primary contest for Missouri Attorney General between Republicans Josh Hawley and Kurt Schafer has already been nasty, but some groups are saying a recent anti-Schaeffer commercial crosses a line.

A coalition of Asian-American groups, including the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, OCA St. Louis, the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City, joined to condemn the ad. 

Before he was a senator, Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine was governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but his rise to power began years ago, at a place called Rockhurst High School, where he was president of the student body.

Guests:

  • Steve Miller, Jay Reardon and Keith Connor were Tim Kaine's classmates at Rockhurst High School. 

Boy George wasn’t just known for his flamboyant look. The Culture Club front-man also made headlines with his drug use and run-ins with the law. We’ll find out how a sober Boy George approaches his addiction, his music and his fame.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of gathered at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday morning, to remember the life of Capt. Robert “Dave” Melton, who was shot and killed pursuing a suspect Tuesday. 

Family members described Melton as tough, dedicated, and caring. He leaves behind six children and stepchildren, as well as a unborn baby girl. 

Fellow officers said he was proud of his military career, and was always professional. Melton served in Iraq and Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star Award for his service. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas is a red state. In Western Kansas, it’s deep red. But it’s also one of the most demographically diverse regions in the state. The population in several cities in the southwest corner is almost 50 percent Hispanic.

In Finney County, a small group of young  Democrats are working to engage that huge group of potential voters who have long been in the background. 

You think this Republican National Convention is full of drama? The 1976 convention at Kemper Arena was the last contested party convention. It pitted President Gerald Ford, who rose to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned, against Ronald Reagan, who was becoming the darling of conservatives.

Guests:

There are two things a new business can’t do without: a great idea, and money. Lucky for us, Kansas City’s got a vibrant entrepreneurial community, but what about that second piece of the puzzle? We examine the availability and accessibility of start-up capital in the metro.

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What does it mean to be a white person who wants a place in the Black Lives Matter movement? Some say it starts by acknowledging you’re white. We talk about how to be what activists call ‘white allies.’

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The man suspected of killing three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday morning appears to be from Kansas City, Missouri. Guest host Kyle Palmer brings you the latest from reporters on the ground in Baton Rouge and in Kansas City.

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Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

To an observer, Mahlet Yeshitla is sitting in a chair with a large headset covering most of her face, waving her arms at the empty space in front of her.

But from her perspective, she's using cubes to create building blocks.

“It does feel like you’re in a room, at a table, just building things,” Yeshitla said.

In Ancient Rome, members of the privileged elite communicated their wealth and status by adorning themselves and their homes with a variety of luxury goods. A new exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases some of the most extraordinary pieces of the Empire. 

Guest:

The year after a mass shooting sees a 15% increase in the number of gun bills introduced in state legislatures, an effect 66 times greater than that following an individual dying in a homicide.  We examine what determines which bills actually become law and who is more likely to pass them.

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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Dorothy Hughes and Neil Melton are the Republican candidates facing off in the Kansas District 21 House race in northeast Johnson County. Guest host Sam Zeff gets their positions on education, tax breaks and more on the run up to the primary on August 2. 

SWARE. / Flickr-CC

Organizers are moving forward to decriminalize marijuana in Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch is collecting signatures to get an initiative added to the November ballot.

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