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.

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.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Waddell & Reed will have a week to get city officials and Kansas City Public Schools on board with an incentive deal for its new headquarters.

The Kansas City Council on Thursday reduced the company's incentive package and delayed a vote on tax breaks for the project.

The financial services firm is seeking $40 million in incentives to move from its current headquarters in Overland Park to downtown Kansas City, Missouri. It  already has been awarded $62 million by the state of Missouri.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is poised to become the largest city in the country to eliminate bus fares.

The Kansas City Council on Thursday enthusiastically endorsed the idea, voting unanimously to direct the city manager to identify up to $8 million from the city budget to fund free bus service.

Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch, who co-sponsored the measure along with Mayor Quinton Lucas, acknowledged the importance of the change.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

It’s been one of the wettest years on record in Kansas City. With climate change, the likelihood of heavy rainfall is expected to increase, as are flash floods. And cities are starting to realize their infrastructure is not up to snuff. 

Kansas City faced that reality about 10 years ago, when the Environmental Protection Agency mandated the city replace its 100-year-old sewer system after multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.

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. 

File photo by 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.

File photo by 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%.

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