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

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.

Missouri State Historical Society

Kansas City, Missouri, is the only major city in the country that does not control its own police department. Regaining that control from the state may be a big issue for Kansas City’s next mayor — if they decide it’s worth the effort.

The city lost control of its police department because of rampant corruption. In 1932, boss Tom Pendergast’s political machine challenged Missouri law to regain local control of the police department. It only lasted seven years.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

The first pieces of Terminal A came down Monday as officials broke ground on a new, $1.5 billion terminal at Kansas City International airport.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James delivered the first few blows to the old building before a crowd of hundreds.

He told the group that in 2023, when the new terminal is set to open, visitors will be greeted by a new Kansas City — one drastically different from when he entered office eight years ago.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council on Thursday passed a budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year that adds more police and funds to fix the city’s roads.

The entire city budget is about $1.7 billion.  It includes a 70 percent increase for road resurfacing — from $10 million to $17 million.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 2:53 p.m. Thursday: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency Thursday, following flooding along the Missouri River.

Thursday morning the river breached a levee near Winthrop, Missouri, across from Atchison, Kansas. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When Erin and Alex Olson moved to the Northland from midtown Kansas City a few years ago, their friends had some strong reactions. Many of them had never spent time north of the Missouri River. 

“It’s like the great unknown to a lot of people," Alex Olson says.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Say your final goodbye to the first horseshoe-shaped terminal at Kansas City International Airport. More than a year after Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved construction of a single terminal at KCI, a groundbreaking has finally been scheduled.

A “groundbreaking celebration” for the $1.5 billion project is set for March 25, at 2 p.m. at Terminal A.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The Kansas City Council on Thursday took a crucial step toward building a new terminal at Kansas City International airport.

By a vote of 11 to 1, the council approved a project agreement with developer Edgemoor, setting the stage for design and construction to begin in earnest. Edgemoor managing director Geoff Striker said he expects demolition of Terminal A to begin within four or five weeks.

“Clearly the council said, ‘We recognize how important this is to Kansas city,” and they put citizens first and moving forward with the project, so it’s a great day,” Stricker said.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Officials got some long-awaited airport news today — the Federal Aviation Administration has signed off on the environmental assessment, a crucial step before construction of a new terminal can begin.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The Kansas City Council on Thursday fast-tracked a proposal to enact height restrictions on the Country Club Plaza.

The new rules, approved unanimously by the council, would limit building heights to 45 feet in certain parts of the Plaza as part of the “bowl” plan that designates shorter buildings in the center of the entertainment district and taller ones on the edges. Before, such restrictions were only recommended.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The proposed Kansas City budget throws a lot more money at fixing up the city's roads. 

The 2019-20 budget, totaling more than $1.7 billion, was presented Thursday to the city council.  It includes a 70 percent increase for road resurfacing — from $10 million to $17 million.

City Manager Troy Schulte says that is a new consideration.

“Given that we're being besieged with pothole requests, that’s a direct result of that,” Schulte said.

The budget won’t be adopted until March – so that extra cash won’t help fix current potholes.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The cozy dining room at the corner of 36th and Broadway was buzzing on Friday night — servers darted from kitchen to table and a pink-haired bartender attended to a full bar.

The scene was a welcome change for the owners of Krokstrum Klubb & Market, who earlier in the day posted on Facebook that they were on the verge of closing for good.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Mayor Sly James celebrated a milestone Thursday in the journey to a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

After months of back and forth, the airlines that fly out of KCI — and will ultimately pay for the construction — have coalesced around a $1.5 billion price for the terminal.

“We are at a point now where we have never been before,” James said.

The city has been waiting for the airlines to agree to a price before they can approve a development agreement. Until then, no significant design or construction work can begin.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City used to be considered an affordable place to live.

Now that some downtown rents are reaching $1,500 a month for a single unit, that’s no longer true, and city leaders are wrangling with how to change that.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The airlines that fly out of Kansas City International Airport reached a deal Wednesday on the price of the new, single terminal estimated to open in early 2023.  

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