Lisa Rodriguez | KCUR

Lisa Rodriguez

Afternoon Newscaster, Reporter

Lisa was born in Santiago, Chile, and grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, before moving to Dallas, Texas, for school. After college, she spent time living in Buenos Aires, Argentina before returning to Kansas City in 2011. Lisa started at KCUR as an intern in 2014 and has worked at the station in several capacities before landing the gig as afternoon newscaster. Lisa's afternoon newscasts earned her a Missouri Broadcasters Association Award and a Kansas City Press Club award in 2018. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she’s had the opportunity to report on the Latino community in Kansas City, as well as tell the stories of immigrants fighting to stay in the United States. A former server and bartender, you can find Lisa out and about in Kansas City's restaurant scene, where she occasionally moonlights as a singing server. She lives in the West Plaza area.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

On a sunny Saturday afternoon — possibly the last warm day of the year — more than 150 people gathered near 21st and Prospect in Kansas City, Missouri, to watch some dirt get turned over.

But for a community battling years of blight, it couldn’t have been a happier occasion. They were celebrating the groundbreaking of the KD Academy, a 24-hour child care facility that hopes to open in 2020.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

When Quinton Lucas was elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, he said his success would be determined by three issues: crime, housing, and infrastructure.

With 100 days behind him as of Friday, Lucas says he’s feeling good about his progress.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City, Missouri, city council committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure that would wipe out a municipal violation for anyone caught with 35g or less of marijuana after 180 days.

What started as an ordinance sponsored by Third District Councilman Brandon Ellington to decriminalize up to 100 grams of marijuana was changed considerably and passed without a second public hearing, angering dozens of supporters who showed up to speak.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A family-oriented community where “everyone knows everyone.” That’s how people describe the area around 10th Street and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, where four men were gunned down and five more injured at a modest, neighborhood bar early Sunday morning.

“It’ll never be the same. It’ll never be the same in there,” said an employee of Tequila KC, who only identified herself as Jody. She said most of the people in the bar Saturday night were regulars.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 7:00 a.m. Oct. 7 — Celeste Trevino was dancing with a "friend of a friend" early Sunday morning at Tequila KC. It was about a half-hour before closing time when two men came into the close-knit neighborhood bar in Kansas City, Kansas. One of the men walked toward the pair.

“We were talking and dancing,” she said through tears at a Sunday night vigil, “and the next thing I knew, he wasn’t there anymore.”

Her dance partner, whom she called Ever, was killed, along with three other Latino men ranging in age from their mid 20 to late 50s. Five others were wounded. Police said they don’t believe the shooting was racially motivated — but said it wasn’t random, either.

Icelandair

After two summers flying directly from Kansas City to Reykjavik, Iceland, Icelandair will discontinue service to Kansas City International Airport.

In a brief announcement Monday, the carrier said it was canceling its service to Kansas City and San Francisco for “commercial reasons.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:15 p.m. to include comments from Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Kansas City, Missouri's longtime City Manager Troy Schulte will retire early next year.

Schulte served as city manager under former mayors Mark Funkhouser and Sly James. In his 10 years in the position, Schulte saw the city through a recession, helped guide the passage of an $800 million infrastructure package, and oversaw the creation of a streetcar system and groundbreaking on a new airport terminal.

BNIM and HOK

The future of a proposed downtown office tower is now in the hands of a new city council torn between fulfilling a 15-year-old contract and protecting taxpayer money. 

The 25-story tower would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991. It would be built on a speculative basis — meaning it has no tenants lined up — on the southwest corner of 13th and Main, above current retailers like Yard House. 

On Wednesday, 1st District councilwoman Heather Hall summed up what several councilmembers were feeling. 

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Wikimedia Commons

Update, August 29, 5:11 p.m.: The full Kansas City Council approved both ordinances on Thursday.

Kansas City, Missouri, could take a step toward stricter gun laws — despite loose state laws.

So far this year, there have been 99 homicides. Five victims were 16-years-old or younger and 29 were between the ages of 17 and 24.

On Wednesday, a Kansas City Council committee unanimously passed two ordinances which are aimed at keeping handguns and other firearms out of the hands of minors. Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced the measures earlier this month.

Prairie Fire Development Group

Addressing Kansas City’s shortage of affordable housing options was a main tenet of Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ campaign. On Monday, Lucas is set to announce a new affordable housing project geared specifically toward families who have survived domestic violence.

Overland Park Police

Police say the body of a missing Overland Park, Kansas, woman was found in Arkansas, a day after her husband was killed in a shootout with officers Kansas City, Kansas.

Overland Park Police say Sylvia Ussery-Pearson’s body was found in Benton County, Arkansas, Tuesday evening, after a note detailing where to find her body was discovered in her estranged husband’s Lenexa home.

KCK Fire Department Twitter

Updated Wednesday at 10:20 a.m. —

A man was killed by Kansas City, Kansas, police after a shootout near the Legends shopping center Tuesday morning. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A new era of Kansas City, Missouri, government has officially begun.

Mayor Quinton Lucas and new city council members were sworn in on the 26th floor of City Hall on a gray, rainy Thursday morning. 

"For some people, clear blue skies are this beacon of good fortune, but for me rain is the thing I look for all the time," Lucas said, citing the downpour on the night he was elected in June.

Rebecca Hange / KCUR 89.3

A now-former Kansas City police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the vehicle crash that killed a Shawnee Mission senior on I-435 near Arrowhead Stadium last fall.

Terrence Watkins was off-duty when he crashed a Police Athletic League van into a car that was caught in slow traffic near Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 21, 2018, killing 17-year-old Chandan Rajanna and injuring two other passengers.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Across Missouri, hundreds of people have applied to grow, manufacture and sell medical marijuana. On Thursday, the Kansas City Council decided how far the businesses can be from schools, churches and day cares.

Under the constitutional amendment Missouri voters approved in November, the buffer zone for cannabis cultivation farms, testing sites and dispensaries can be no greater than 1,000 feet.

“When you close down such a large part of the city with the distances, you have almost no landlords left to lease to. And the ones that want to, want to charge $30- to $40,000 nonrefundable,” said Bianca Sullivan, an attorney looking to get into the medical cannabis business.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Crews are hard at work at Kansas City International Airport tearing down Terminal A and recycling its components to make way for a new, greener single terminal.

There have been no explosions, no big building collapse — and for good reason, says deputy director Justin Meyer.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Quinton Lucas will be the next Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

Lucas is a private attorney, lecturer at the University of Kansas School of Law and in his first term on the city council. He defeated fellow councilmember Jolie Justus, 59% to 41%.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday is Election Day in Kansas City, Missouri. Voters will head to the polls to decide who will replace outgoing mayor Sly James as well as elect a new city council. Their decisions will determine the path Kansas City takes from here.

But drive 30 minutes outside Kansas City, and you might be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s been paying attention to the race.

Mike Russo / KCUR 89.3

Quinton Lucas has tried to position himself as the progressive candidate for Kansas City, Missouri mayor, taking bold stances on tax incentives and criminal justice reform.

To get a better look at Lucas on a more personal level, KCUR's Lisa Rodriguez went to Ward Parkway Lanes with the mayoral hopeful to talk about spending time in Hutchinson, Kansas, his (rusty) Spanish and more. Take a look here:

Mike Russo / KCUR 89.3

Jolie Justus has built her mayoral campaign around pragmatism and the idea that Kansas City needs a mayor to focus on issues like affordable housing and crime — and focus on growing the city's profile on the national stage. 

And, as it turns out, she's also pretty darn good at throwing axes.

KCUR's Lisa Rodriguez went to Blade and Timber with Justus to chat about her time in the Missouri General Assembly, her four rescue dogs and a whole lot more.  Take a look here:

File photos

The struggle is real for many Kansas City, Missouri, residents deciding who to vote for in the mayoral election on Tuesday, June 18. 

Candidates Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas are both current city council members with similar voting records. Both are Democrats and attorneys at notable law firms.

Both say the biggest issues facing the city are crime, affordable housing and equitable development.

But while the two agree on many things, there are key differences, including how to solve the city’s most pressing issues.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3 file photo

For a young professional, The Grand apartment building in the heart of downtown, blocks from the Power and Light district, is a dream — it’s home to the highest rooftop pool in Kansas City, an indoor theater, a yoga studio, a digital sports lounge and a pet spa. Yes, a pet spa.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 9:49 p.m. with tornado warnings canceled — A large tornado caused damage south of Lawrence and in the small town of Linwood, Kansas, on Tuesday night, but looked to miss the majority of the Kansas City metro area.

KCUR File Photo

Kansas City, Missouri, voters will elect a new mayor and city council next month. But it's a lesser-known ballot measure that could have a bigger effect on the city's economic development.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In the first of 12 forums before Election Day, Kansas City mayoral candidates Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas spent a mere 30 minutes covering a lot of ground: the city's economic incentive policy, violent crime and potholes. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Mike Kane has been talking about a new fire station in the western Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood of Piper since he was elected to the Board of Commisioners 14 years ago.

But it was his own near-death experience two Halloweens ago that made building the station his mission.

“That lit the fire under me to put the fire under the rest of the community,” Kane said.

Lucas for KC

On Thursday morning, a Lawrence judge dropped DUI charges against Kansas City Councilman Quinton Lucas due to “insufficient evidence.”

Lucas is running for mayor against councilwoman Jolie Justus.

In a statement, Lucas said he was proud that he “made  the responsible choice not to drive that night.”

Lucas was arrested early in the morning on October 19th on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters may be staring down another tax hike come November — this time to try to address the city's lack of affordable housing.

Last year, Kansas City officials established a $75 million trust fund with the aim of creating or preserving 5,000 affordable housing units but didn't specify how it would be funded. On Wednesday, they learned that the city can only come up with about $30 million — enough for just more than 2,900 units. That's according to estimates from the Department of Neighborhood and Housing Services. 

Missouri Auditor's Office

A judge ruled Monday that the audit of Clay County's government, which was requested by residents, can proceed.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, will be either Jolie Justus or Quinton Lucas.

Out of 11 candidates, those two garnered enough votes Tuesday to advance to the June 18 general election. The final unofficial totals had Justus with 11,926 votes and Lucas with 9,820. Mayor Sly James is term-limited and cannot run again.

Pages