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. 

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.’

Guests:

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.

Guests:

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.

Guest:

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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Philando Castile in Minnesota, and several police officers in Dallas are still fresh in the minds of many across the country. On this edition of Up To Date, we hear from a diverse panel of community members, activists and police about how these tragedies affect us here in Kansas City.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

People in Kansas City are still reeling after a week of violence across the country, and many sought different outlets over the weekend to express their grief and frustration.

Sunday evening, hundreds gathered at the East Patrol Station at 26th and Prospect for a prayer vigil organized by area pastors.

In a crowded gymnasium, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said that there are changes that need to be made within his own department.

"We've done a lot of things wrong," he said.

KCUR 89.3

A column published Friday evening in The Kansas City Star website (and in the print edition Saturday) has been removed from The Star’s website, after backlash from the community and other media outlets.

The column, titled “Women can take action to prevent rapes,” argues that women should take responsibility for their bodies by not getting so intoxicated that they become victims of sexual assault or rape.

That elicited strong reactions on Facebook and Twitter.

Things are moving ahead in the 18th & Vine district of Kansas City, Missouri, but not everyone is happy with the decisions being made. Last Wednesday, KCUR 89.3 partnered with The Call to host a forum about the future of the district, and we kept the microphones open for two hours. Here are highlights from that evening.

Click here to listen to the entire town hall forum. 

Facebook - Candlelight Vigil For Orlando

Update, July 5,  5:07 p.m.: Organizers informed participants on Tuesday that the event had been canceled.

Plans for a vigil honoring victims of the mass shooting in Orlando are causing tension between event organizers and some LGBT people of color over a lack of Latino representation at the vigil.

This week, 655,000 medical records from three healthcare organizations, including one in Farmington, Missouri, were listed for sale on the "Darknet." As we hear of more and more big data breaches, what does this mean for individuals? And what’s the market for stolen health information?

Guests:

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City innovators will have an opportunity to develop business ideas in a new program for people who want to change the energy industry.

Digital Sandbox KC is partnering with GXP Investments, an area energy investor. They’re collaborating to create Energy Sandbox, which will help entrepreneurs take ideas, test their feasibility and develop prototypes.

We all remember the Titanic, but do you remember the Cap Arcona? The German luxury liner, regarded as the greatest ship since the Titanic, suffered a fate just as horrifying.

Guest:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Black Bob Elementary is one of Olathe’s flagship schools. It’s in the middle of the city, surrounded by neighborhoods, and just a few blocks away, there's a big shopping center with  a Starbucks and Walgreens.

But it didn’t always look that way. Dr. Alison Banikowski, deputy superintendent of Olathe Schools, remembers what the city looked like when she first arrived in 1982. 

“I served for the first year I was here with Blackbob Elementary, and it was really literally out in a field,”

The rebuilding of Joplin after a devastating tornado struck in 2011 was generally applauded as a textbook example of how to take care of people when disaster hits. However, homeowners and businesses on the East Coast are still struggling in the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy. 

Guests:

Kansas City is in the running for a $500,000 prize to make the metro healthier. We were selected due to the efforts of Aim4Peace, a group that seeks to proactively reduce violent crime through its guiding philosophy — violence is a disease that spreads and contracts just like sicknesses do.

Guests:

  The dog days of summer are just around the corner ... or maybe they’re already here. One way that kids can beat them is with a great book. Our panel of librarians were here again with their favorite titles of the summer.

Guests:

  • Debbie McLeod, retired librarian.
  • Dennis Ross, director of youth services at the Johnson County Public Library.
  • Lacie Griffin, collection development specialist at the Johnson County Public Library. 

Books:

Few things compare to the satisfaction of building something with your own hands  — making things has always been a fundamental part of what humans do. The maker movement embraces these things, and aims to put high-tech tools into everyone’s hands.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The blame game was on full display after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, and it was on the minds of Kansas City students who attended a “Unity Fest” Saturday. 

The event is the conclusion of the American Friends Service Committee’s Social Change Institute, a summer program where teens learn and practice non-violent social change.

The Best Kansas City Music of 2016 ... So Far

Jun 17, 2016

We're only about half way through 2016, but Kansas City artists haven't been wasting any time. That means area music lovers have had plenty to see and hear.

KCUR's Up To Date continues its tradition of reviewing new local music with area music critics. This time, our panel is:

As presidential candidates vie for votes nationwide, we ask what one vote is really worth. And if you're voting Democrat in strongly Republican Kansas, does your ballot really matter?

Guests:

  • Burdett Loomis is a political scientist at the University of Kansas.
  • Cheyenne Davis is the field and political director for the Kansas Democratic Party
  • KCUR's Elle Moxley and Lisa Rodriguez have been reporting on elections in Kansas.

Slaughterhouses remain one of the most dangerous workplaces in this country. Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaborative based at KCUR, has been investigating the hazards meat processing workers still face. The result is a three-part series airing this week, Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat.

Guests:

A day after 49 people were killed in a  mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, LGBTQ and Islamic leaders reflect on how the tragedy affects their communities. 

Guests:

  • Dustin Cates is the artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus.
  • Moben Mirza is the secretary of the Islamic Center of Johnson County. 

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Horrified. Sad. Distraught.

That’s how Kansas Citians felt Sunday after a weekend shooting at an Orlando gay club left 50 people dead.

But they also weren’t surprised.

“I just feel like mass shooting in this country happens really often,” John Lim said.

The alleged gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, had ties to ISIS, NPR reported. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police after a nearly 3-hour standoff.

Another 53 people were injured.

Paul Mullenex, walking on the Country Club Plaza Sunday afternoon, took a grim view of what happened in Florida.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James joined city leaders and educators from Missouri and Kansas Saturday at the Kauffman Foundation for the Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning to discuss the importance of after-school and summer programs for students.

James says once students are out of school for the summer, there’s not always a lot for them to do — which he says puts them at risk for participating in dangerous activities.

James said across Missouri and Kansas, only 14 percent of school-aged kids participate in after-school events.

Henry Fortunato / Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project

The Indian Creek Trail, which spans about 10 miles in Overland Park is about to get a facelift — new outdoor exhibit panels that will teach hikers and bikers about some little-known tidbits of Johnson County history.

For example, did you know that an off-handed remark turned 111th street into College Boulevard?

Maybe not, according to Henry Fortunato, founder of Sunflower Republic, LLC, and director of the Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project, because most schools teach very little about local history.

While Whitney Terrell was writing The King of Kings County, a novel based in 1950s Kansas, America was invading Iraq. His strong feelings about the war drove him to embed with reporters in Iraq, and the result is his latest novel about war, companionship and the folly of combat. 

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