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.

Although the number of cases of COVID-19 is growing in the Kansas City area, the rate of increase does not appear to be. Still, Kansas City Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said we must be vigilant.

"Remember about half of folks can get this virus and not become ill enough to seek medical care," Archer said in a press conference Monday on the steps of City Hall. “We know we’ve had community spread without being able to track down somebody who is positive.”

With the number of COVID-19 cases in the Kansas City region rising daily, more and more of what health care providers are calling the “worried well” are asking to be tested for the coronavirus.

The availability of testing resources is severely limited, so providers are testing only a fraction of those who request the test, public health officials say. The best prevention, they say, is to self-quarantine.

The lobby of the Bank of Labor, in the old Boilermakers Union Building at 754 Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, smelled like disinfectant.

“You never know what people bring in,” said Gabriel Naba.

Updated: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Kansas City, Missouri, announced its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon.

At a news conference broadcast by KCTV-5, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said people should continue practicing social distancing.

“In some ways, we were a bit surprised by the amount of time it took to officially arrive but we certainly recognize that we are at a point now where I think folks need to even double down further … following those good hygiene practices,” Lucas said.

Waiting at a stop on Prospect Avenue and 31st Street, Terry Bradford, 71, has bad arthritis in his knees and it is hard for him to walk the couple blocks from his senior living center to the nearest bus stop.

Bradford relies on the bus for everything – for grocery shopping, to get to doctor’s appointments and maybe most importantly to him, to see friends. And sometimes, he wants to stay out later than the last bus.

Lila Symons was waiting in line at a grocery store in midtown Kansas City on Thursday, wearing a surgical face mask and pushing a cart full of paper goods and non-perishable foods.

When she returned to her Kansas City home later that afternoon, she planned to hunker down in a self-imposed quarantine for the next week or two. She said she has Crohn’s disease, a condition that causes inflammatory bowel problems. She takes medication that helps control her symptoms, but that suppresses her immune system.

On Wednesday, KCUR 89.3 tried something different with the Up To Date special report on the coronovirus.

Steve Kraske hosted experts on the impact of COVID-19  on public health and the area economy for a broadcast of Up To Date streamed live on Facebook. In case you didn’t have a chance to see it, check it out here

Like all of us, we know you have tons of questions about the coronavirus.

So on Wednesday, March 11, on Up To Date, host Steve Kraske will convene a panel of experts and officials to answer them. We're asking you to TEXT us your questions in advance.

It’s super simple. Text the word COVID to 816-601-4777. You’ll get a prompt to put in your question and we'll get to as many as we can.

We want to let you help shape our coverage with this new texting platform. It helps us serve you, our audiences, in new ways as we collectively face this new public health issue.

You know about what matters as you’re finding your way through the election season and making decisions on how to fill out your ballot, and KCUR wants to hear from you as we shape our Election 2020 coverage.

We learned a lot of lessons during the 2016 election season, most notably that we need to do more listening and hear from more diverse voices. And, we need to make it easier for you to connect with us.

University of Missouri-Kansas City students are reacting to Wednesday's news that the university will tear down mold-damaged student apartments once advertised as the best in college dorm life.

"Oak Place was one of the biggest student housing options on campus," said Justice Horn, UMKC student body president. "Hundreds of students have been forced to move off campus into higher-rent apartments. We can’t build an urban campus unless we have adequate student housing."

Uniform-clad students filed somberly across the parking lot from their classrooms Monday morning at Christ the King elementary, on their way to the church. They took their places in the pews, where they’ve gone to pray many times.

This gloomy morning, though, they were there to say goodbye.

A crossing guard employed by the city of Kansas City, Kansas, died Tuesday after he pushed two schoolchildren out of the way of an oncoming car. 

The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. along the 5400 block of Leavenworth Road outside the Christ the King Catholic School. Kansas City, Kansas, Police have identified the victim as 88-year-old Bob Nill. 

Alex Che, president of the Kansas City Chinese American Association, estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese and Chinese American residents in the area, although it’s hard to know for sure because they're spread out all over the metro. 

Many have friends and family in China, and as deaths from the new coronavirus — officially named COVID-19 on Tuesday by the World Health Organization — exceeded 1,000, concern grew among the community here as well.

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

The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing to play in the franchise's first Super Bowl since Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram led the team to a title in Super Bowl IV 50 years ago.

Stram's sons — Dale, now 64; Stu, 62; and Gary, 58 — were three of the six children raised by Phyllis and Hank Stram in Prairie Village in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bill Shapiro, a Kansas City tax attorney by day who spent more than four decades hosting a Saturday-night radio program devoted to rock-and-roll, died on Tuesday. He was 82.

"The name of the program is Cyprus Avenue, and I’m Bill Shapiro," he said each week in a deep, gravelly voice over the show's opening music, which was not Van Morrison's "Cyprus Avenue" but rather Matthew Fisher's "Interlude."

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.

The debate over immigration has been dominated by the Trump administration’s hardline policies. Meanwhile, there are immigrant communities in the Kansas City area whose stories often go unheard amid the surrounding noise.

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.

The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office amended charges Wednesday against the two men suspected in October's fatal shootings at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas.

Hugo Villanueva-Morales and Javier Alatorre now also face capital murder charges in the shootings at Tequila KC that killed four people and injured five. Under Kansas law, capital murder charges carry a sentence of either life in prison without chance of parole or the death penalty. 

Kansas City likes to call itself the City of Fountains, but only two of approximately 200 fountains are north of the Missouri River. For years this has rankled northland officials and neighborhood leaders who have felt the entryways to their communities lacked inviting art and monuments.

Civic, neighborhood and political leaders hope that will change with The Francois Chouteau & Native Americans Heritage Fountain, currently scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Though he’d been deported once before, it was worth the risk for Florencio Millan to come back illegally to Kansas City, Missouri. He’d lived here off and on since he was a teenager. He had a son here, and he was not only a top chef in a well-known restaurant, but he’d found love.

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.

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."

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