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.

Daniel Caudill / Kansas News Service

Celia Ruiz updates her Facebook page multiple times a day. These days, the content is all coronavirus-related – flyers from school districts on how to get kids’ lunch, infographics from local health care providers, articles on how the virus is affecting people across the world. And she’s translating it all into Spanish.

Ruiz works for United Healthcare, so she’s constantly getting new information to share.

“Once I receive a resource, I try to translate it as best and as quickly and as correctly as I can,” Ruiz says.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Former Kansas City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Alissia Canady has filed to run for Missouri Lieutenant Governor.

Canady served one term representing the city’s 5th district before announcing her mayoral bid in 2018.

Courtesy photo

Brandy Granados felt like she was just getting back on her feet. After spending the summer without a home, she was working with a temp agency at UPS and living in an apartment with her 8-year-old son, Jude, and a roommate. 

Then two weeks ago, she was told by UPS “her assignment had ended.” And with schools closed due to the coronavirus, she’s focusing much of her energy on Jude, who Brandy says, has trouble concentrating and was getting specialized instruction at school.

Unable to work, Granados doesn’t know how she’ll pay her rent in April.

Screenshot - Kansas City, Missouri

A Kansas City Council committee on Wednesday advanced a $1.7 billion city budget in a chaotic, difficult-to-follow meeting in which most of the committee was not physically present.

“Obviously this is unusual times, so we’re trying to continue the business of the people, but yet do it in a way that’s safe for all of us,” councilwoman Katheryn Shields said to begin the meeting.

Courtesy - Kelly's Westport Inn

Officials across the Kansas City area on Monday called on all bars and restaurants to shut down dine-in service. In a sweeping e-mail announcement, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said restaurants and taverns should serve customers only through drive-thru, pickup, or delivery.

He also prohibited any gathering or event with more than 10 people. Officials in Jackson, Johnson and Wyandotte counties joined in the push to limit gatherings where the virus could spread.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Church services were live-streamed, libraries and other gathering places emptied out and people huddled at home on Sunday, as fears of the coronavirus pandemic placed further limits on public life in Kansas City.

File photo by Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Thursday morning declared a 21-day state of emergency in the city to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We’re not trying to be alarmist, we’re not trying to concern folks. What we’re trying to say is how can we make sure that we don’t see a significant impact before we can handle it here in Kansas City,” Lucas said.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Lucas wrote that "all events with more than 1,000 attendees within the city are canceled or delayed until the emergency has been lifted."

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Renters in Kansas City, Missouri, are giving Mayor Quinton Lucas a Friday deadline to find money to fund an office that would enforce tenants’ rights.

Members of the tenant’s rights organization KC Tenants also accused Lucas of “gaslighting” them for characterizing them as “crazy” or “entitled” for demanding the money.

The tenants’ bill of rights, which was drafted by KC Tenants alongside the mayor’s office, passed overwhelmingly in December. Among other things, the package codifies protections for renters and requires landlords to disclose information about utilities.

Screengrab from City of Kansas City, Missouri

This story was updated March 6, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. to include a response from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

During a week of growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus, Kansas City health officials struggled to communicate clearly about the nature of the city's ability to test residents.

In a briefing to the Kansas City Council on Thursday morning, Rex Archer, head of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, said he wanted to make something clear: The city, so far, hadn’t received any of the kits it had requested to test for the new coronavirus.

Alex Smith / KCUR

This story was updated March 6, 2020 at 12:15 p.m. 

Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City Health Department, says his office currently has just five kits to test for possible cases of the new coronavirus.

That’s despite an announcement Tuesday evening from Vice President Mike Pence, who said “any American can be tested” for the virus.

Pence admitted to reporters Thursday that demand for the kits exceeds supply. 

“That created a real challenge when the vice president told everybody they could get tested,” Archer told the city council Thursday.

Courtesy of the Missouri Valley Room / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is rethinking some of his proposed budget cuts.

The budget Lucas announced earlier this month included major cuts to arts, tourism and entrepreneurship programs. 

But in a letter to the city council late Friday afternoon, Lucas said he will restore funding to the Kansas City Film Commission and Children’s Mercy Hospital.

At the city’s first budget hearing in February, dozens of filmmakers, artists and arts supporters testified against the reductions.

The oldest continuously-operating Latino services center in the United States is right here in Kansas City. 101 years ago, the Guadalupe Center was established to "Americanize" Mexicans who had moved here to work on the railroads. But over the course of a century, Latinos transformed the organization, and Kansas City.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Taxpayers in Kansas City, Missouri, have a chance between now and March 3 to influence how the city spends their money.

Mayor Quinton Lucas released his proposed budget last week. The budget prioritizes fighting violent crime, increasing the city’s stock of affordable housing and fixing potholes, but it falls roughly $3 million short of another of the mayor's priorities: eliminating bus fares.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says that without focusing on basic city services in 2020, any goodwill that’s been built up means nothing.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is set to release his proposed budget Thursday, and it’s roughly $3 million short of what transportation officials say they need to get rid of bus fares.

Kansas City, Missouri, got national attention last year when the city council pledged to find the money to go fare-free. Officials at the time estimated that it would cost $8 million to pull off.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City will be a sea of red as Chiefs fans get a chance to celebrate the team’s victory with a parade and rally on Wednesday. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

No more waiting, Kansas City: The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions again, and it’s time to party.

Jackson County (Missouri) Historical Society Archives

Back in 1970, Ilus Davis was the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. The mob was a force to be reckoned with. The suburbs were booming. Paul Rudd was still in diapers. And the Chiefs won a Super Bowl.

Waddell and Reed

Kansas City, Missouri, has finally agreed to hold up its end of the so-called economic border war truce with Kansas.

The move on Thursday came more than five months after Missouri and Kansas agreed to stop poaching companies from one side of the state line to the other.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters will decide in April whether to increase the city sales tax to help maintain buildings and buy new vehicles for the fire department.

The City Council voted 10-2 on Thursday to place the issue on the ballot in April. Councilmembers Melissa Robinson and Eric Bunch voted against the measure. Mayor Quinton Lucas was absent.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

While we’re glued to the news gushing daily out of Washington — impeachment, immigration, health care — the truth is we should be paying just as close attention to what local governments are up to.

Lee's Summit R-7 Schools

Updated, 3:51 p.m. Tuesday – The Lee’s Summit school board has hired a new superintendent, David Buck.

Buck has served as superintendent for the Wright City schools, a tiny district about 40 miles west of St. Louis, since 2015. He’ll start in Lee’s Summit on July 1.

Dennis Carpenter, the district’s first black superintendent, resigned in July amid ongoing tension over diversity training for teachers and staff.

SOM

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Kansas City is a city of roads — the metropolitan area has long held claim to the highest number of highway miles per capita, which has made it a city of drivers.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council this week will discuss an ambitious proposal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2030.

The measure, dubbed Vision Zero, was introduced following the death of a well-known Kansas City cyclist late last year.

The strategy, first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, has seen success in Europe, but American cities that have followed suit have struggled to lower traffic fatalities.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Buzz about new housing and development in the metro has focused on downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The past two decades saw former warehouses and old buildings converted to lofts at lightning speed.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar has come under fire for comments she made about a bike infrastructure plan in the wake of a well-known bicyclist’s death.

Pablo Sanders died last month after being struck by a car while crossing Southwest Trafficway on his bike on Christmas Eve.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

As construction continues on a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport, aviation officials are considering different ways to make the trip from the parking lot to the terminal more efficient.

As part of an agreement with the rental car companies, the department is considering an automated people mover, or APM, that would run on a fixed schedule.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City officials agreed to a scaled-back tax incentive package Thursday for financial services firm Waddell & Reed to build a new $140 million headquarters in downtown.

It’s the second time in recent months the Kansas City Council has been able to renegotiate fewer incentives, and a sign it may approach economic development deals with higher scrutiny than councils in the past. The council also took action Thursday to curb the ability of the Kansas City Port Authority to grant incentives. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council on Thursday resoundingly passed what advocates are calling a historic resolution, codifying protections for renters.

Mayor Quinton Lucas, who often talks about his lack of stable housing growing up in Kansas City, made affordable housing a flagship issue of his campaign.

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