Laura Ziegler | KBIA

Laura Ziegler

Laura Ziegler began her career at KCUR as a reporter more than 20 years ago. She became the news director in the mid 1980's and  in 1988,  went to National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. as a producer for Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon.

In 1993, she came back to Kansas City as the Midwest correspondent for National Public Radio. Among the stories she covered - the floods of 1993, the ongoing farm crisis and rural affairs, and presidential campaigns.

After the birth of her 3rd child, Laura returned to KCUR as producer of Under the Clock, a weekly talk show broadcast live from Union Station. It was hosted by former Kansas City mayor Emanuel Cleaver. When he was elected 5th district Congressman in 2002, Laura returned to KCUR as a part-time reporter and producer.

Laura has won numerous awards for her work, including three regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

In 1992, Laura was awarded a Jefferson Fellowship in Journalism with the East West Center at the University of Hawaii which took her to China, Japan, Burma, Bangladesh and Thailand.  In 1990, she was part of a reporting trip to the then -Soviet Union with the American Center for International Leadership.

Laura graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology from Vassar College.

She, her husband, and their three children - Julia, Ellie, and Benjamin, live with Laura's father in the house in which she was born.

Residents who lived around the historic Quindaro ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, were driving to the corner of 29th and Sewell on Nov. 19, getting out of their cars and inspecting what appeared to be another act of vandalism to the John Brown statue: Part of his hand and a scroll he'd been holding were missing.

Two years ago, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority gave veterans free bus passes. The next year, students became the beneficiaries of the zero fare policy. According to KCATA, 23% of riders over the past several years have not paid a dime to ride the bus.  

Transit officials argue the policy gives individuals and families more money to pump back into the local economy and that it improves the safety and efficiency of the system.

Boston Daniels was chief of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department for only one year.

But he is remembered not only as the city’s first black police chief, but for distinguishing himself as a cop who worked his way up through the ranks over 25 years.

“It is safe to say there has never been another police chief quite like Boston Daniels,” the Kansas City Kansan wrote in an editorial on May 17, 1971, marking Daniels' retirement.

A journey along Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, takes us through history, demographic shifts, religion, and plans for economic development. Visit a black-owned bookstore in the 1960s, an integrated church and hear about one of the country's first black police chiefs. Plus, teens grapple with whether they have to leave the area to succeed.

This show is a culmination of months of reporting along Quindaro Boulevard as part of KCUR's Here to Listen initiative

On the northeast corner of 5th and Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, sits a vacant and weathered building where 45 years ago, a black-owned bookstore became a clearinghouse for black literature, history and music as well as a vibrant gathering place to discuss the culture and politics of the day.

Bernard Crawford grew up on Quindaro during the 1970s. He remembers thriving businesses: bakeries, grocery stores and theaters. He left for school but has come back to be what he calls a "light” on Quindaro, to help it be a safe and welcoming place. A sign on the wall says, "No swearing allowed."

He’s got fruit snacks and lollipops for the kids.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is expanding the Safe Place to include bus routes in Independence, Overland Park, and Kansas City, Kansas.

Arnetta Young, 55, has been a Kansas City bus operator for 20 years. Kansas City busses have been part of the national Safe Space program all that time.

At a stop in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday, former Vice President Joe Biden stood on the bed of a black Chevy Z71 pickup and told several hundred striking United Auto Workers he was one of them.

“I’m Joe Biden and I am UAW,” he said to cheers and applause outside the General Motors' Fairfax plant. “My dad sold those vehicles. That’s how I got through school."

Dena Duffin, 53, pulls her teenage son close as she looks into the trailer stuffed with tables, tubs of housewares and whatever else they were able to salvage when the tornado ripped their home off its foundation the night of May 28.

“I gave that to my dad,” she says, pointing to a dented copper tub. “And there’s a stepstool and shelf my dad made for us. You can’t replace those kinds of things.”

Florencio Millan, the undocumented Mexican immigrant whom immigration agents dragged out of his car after breaking its window, was deported to Mexico on Wednesday just two days after he was arrested.

Cheyenne Hoyt, his girlfriend and the mother of his two children, told KCUR that Millan called her Wednesday evening and said he had been flown to Brownsville, Texas, and then transported just over the border to Matamoros, Mexico.

A Facebook video showing an immigration agent in Kansas City smashing the window of a car and dragging out an undocumented immigrant marks a newly aggressive approach by Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

It also has provoked community outrage, along with questions about whether the agency complied with the law and the extent to which the Kansas City Police Department is lending assistance to ICE operations.

Immigration agents captured on a Facebook live video Monday morning in Kansas City are seen smashing the driver side window of a car, pulling the driver out and arresting him after he refused to get out of the car.

The man had refused to emerge after a woman in the car asked the agents to show a warrant and they didn’t do so, telling her they had a “paperless” warrant.

Eugenia Houston stands among a couple dozen blue-T-shirted Habitat for Humanity volunteers with hammers and buzz saws working on a new home  just off 27th and Quindaro in Kansas City, Kansas.

She lives in an adjacent home that Habitat built six years ago. It’s got a neat, grassy lawn with flowers on the edge and a front porch where she can sit to enjoy them. For the five years she's lived here, she says, she’s been able to raise her six children with the security of a home she can afford.

Kansas City isn’t San Francisco or Seattle. By national standards, we’re still an affordable place to live.

But it turns out for those at the low end of the earning scale, affordability is elusive with the vast majority spending significantly more for housing than the 30% of income recommended by federal standards in the definition of affordable.

Updated, 10:30 a.m. Thursday: The meeting this week ended with a commitment to resist the plan approved in February at the General Conference; the church leaders present are not yet calling for a split. Some churches will continue to marry and ordain LGBTQ members.

The original post continues below.

The United Methodist Church is in crisis.

In February, the General Conference of the church held a special session in St. Louis, Missouri, to decide whether to allow marriage and ordination for its LGBTQ members.

Misha Webb, 41, said she is grateful this Mother's Day.

Last month, Webb got a call that her 60-year-old mother was in jail, after police said her car had been swerving and that she failed a breathalyzer test. With $500 of her rent savings, Webb bailed her mom out. She said she was relieved she had the cash on hand.

The Latino community in Belton, Missouri, once a military and farming community, is growing.

Today, almost 10 percent of Belton’s 24,000 residents are Latino, with that number rising to about 18 percent in the Belton School District. And they have mixed reports about how included they feel in the community. Some believe non-Latinos are uncomfortable with demographic changes.

As a fairly quiet Kansas City suburb, Belton often flies under the radar. But, with a growing Latino population and a vibrant commercial center, Belton residents are defining their community on their terms. In this hourlong segment, we collaborate with KCUR's community engagement project Here to Listen to talk about Belton's military history, its burgeoning local economy, and its changing demographics.

The skies across metropolitan Kansas City roared with the flight acrobatics of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels at the annual air shows at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base between Grandview and Belton, Missouri.

The sonic spectacles could draw more than a half a million people from around the region.

The base closed 25 years ago this year. But many of the enlistees and officers stayed in the Belton area, investing the town with an identity as a community of miltary retirees.

KCUR spoke to a group of the retirees at Belton's Carnegie Village Senior Living Community about their time on base.

No silver bullets. A political hot potato. A whack-a-mole approach. These are some of the ways the city’s affordable housing policies have been described at recent public hearings.

These hearings are part of a newly energized conversation about affordable housing in Kansas City, inspired by a comprehensive, five-year proposal presented to the council last fall.

Commuters, take note: Beginning Sunday, the Missouri Department of Transportation will begin closing ramps and lanes at one of Kansas City’s busiest interchanges. 

After an eight-month investigation into alleged misconduct as a tenured professor, Ashim Mitra has resigned from the School of Pharmacy at the Universty of Missouri-Kansas City.

UMKC launched the investigation after reports that Mitra, who is from India, was taking advantage of his Indian students.

The merriment and mirth it's assumed we experience during the holiday season can lead to disappointment, anxiety and, in some cases, depression.

The American Psychological Association reports that the expectation of  “gift-giving, decorating, feasting and family gathering" can lead to holiday-related stress or the "holiday blues."

Bella Price was blindsided when a good friend at Spring Hill High School took his own life. 

She had every reason to believe Josh Hoston, a great student and athlete, was looking forward to freshman year as much as she was. 

She was equally shocked when another classmate killed himself the following summer.

The Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Missouri, is a repository of myth and legend about the notorious 19th century outlaws Frank and Jesse James. It's where they pulled off the first successful daytime bank robbery in 1866 that occured not during wartime.

Kansas City's troubled American Jazz Museum has new leadership after its interim board of directors unanimously elected a new board Tuesday afternoon.

The museum has been led by that interim board and has not had an executive director since Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner and most of the 22-member board resigned last spring after a highly critical consultants' report released in early April.

Rising concerns about gentrification, eviction and long-overlooked disparities in the quality of housing in Kansas City, Missouri, have created soaring interest in addressing housing problems, particularly on the city's east side.

Voters in the Kansas City metro did as many experts expected in the midterm elections: They came out in force.

Young voters are expected to turn out in these midterm elections in higher numbers than they have for many years, according to a Harvard University poll released Monday.

Forty percent of voters between 18 and 29 said they would "definitely vote." In the past, young people have voted less than those in other groups.

The Kansas City economy is growing at a rapid but unsustainable rate, according to an economic forecast report released Friday by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

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