Elle Moxley

General Assignment Reporter

Elle joined KCUR in 2014 as a general assignment reporter. Most recently, she covered Indiana schools as an education reporter for NPR’s StateImpact project.

Previously, she reported for The Examiner in Independence, Mo., and KBIA-FM in Columbia, Mo.

She is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

Ways to Connect

Kansas City Power & Light wants to build a solar farm in southeastern Jackson County, near Greenwood.

If the Missouri Public Service Commission greenlights the application next month, the solar farm could be online as soon as April.

“The sun and sunshine is free, so to the extent we can harness that, there’s very little operational cost to running this solar farm,” says KCP&L spokesman Chuck Caisley.


The prepaid debit cards Kansas and Missouri use to pay state employees without bank accounts got a thumbs-down this week from a consumer advocacy group.

“Most cards don’t charge you if you want to find the balance is on your card,” says Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center, “but the Kansas card, if you go up to the ATM and ask what the balance is, they’re going to charge you a dollar.”

City of Kansas City. MO

The arrival of Kansas City’s first streetcar has been delayed – again.The manufacturer CAF USA, originally agreed to a summer delivery but later had to push it to this week.Now, it looks like it will be November before the first streetcar gets to Kansas City.

Streetcar Authority spokeswoman Donna Mandelbaum isn’t willing to call it a delay just yet.

“All in all, it’s just a few business days behind what we thought could be the delivery date,” says Mandelbaum.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The deadly Independence Avenue blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters earlier this month was intentionally set, investigators announced Tuesday.

“Late last night, ATF agents and members of the Kansas City Bomb and Arson Unit arrested a suspect who remains in custody at this hour,” said Gregory Gant, Special Agent in Charge for the Kansas City Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Thu Hong Nguyen, 43, told investigators she received insurance payouts from other recent fires.


A University of Missouri-Kansas City assistant basketball coach under fire for allegedly paying for strippers at another program has resigned.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A United Nations official who works on behalf of children experiencing armed conflict met with refugees Friday at Della Lamb Community Services in Kansas City.

“If you talk to some of these children – I’ve been in some of their countries before – it’s a very, very different situation than what we have in the United States,” says Sharon Riggle of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. “So I think first learning the situation and making the children and families feel heard is an important first step.”

Kansas City Art Institute

It’s official: the Kansas City Art Institute’s interim president, Tony Jones, will stay on as the school’s next leader.

Jones came to Kansas City last year from Chicago, where he was chancellor and professor emeritus at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker describes the Kansas City No Violence Alliance not as a program, but as a “mission shift” for how the city tackles violence.

“We don’t expect 40 years of violence to recede in one year or two years or three years,” Peters Baker says.

Peters Baker, along with Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James and several of NoVA’s partners will testify before the U.S. Senate Law Enforcement Caucus in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Federal fire investigators continue to sift through the burned out building in the Historic Northeast that collapsed Monday night, killing two firefighters.

Fire investigators were finally able to enter the building Friday, says Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman John Ham.

“They literally have to think about every footstep because they’re basically on the roof of a three-story building that is down below them,” Ham says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Royals fans rallied Friday morning on the Country Club Plaza to wish the team well before the first American League Championship game against Toronto.

“It’s awesome. I was around for the first set of playoffs, went to the World Series games, season ticket holders back then,” says Debbie Childress of Smithville.

Childress, who braved the chill with three friends, says she hoping the Royals will be back-to-back American League champions.

It’s time for metro-area companies to start thinking about business opportunities outside of their own zip code, Greater Kansas City Chamber President Jim Heeter said Wednesday, announcing the release of an export market assessment for the region.

The Global Cities Initiative has spent the last six months studying opportunities for Kansas City businesses to expand abroad.

“When Kansas City companies sell Kansas City goods and services internationally, they’re bringing new dollars into our economy, and they’re creating new jobs in our communities,” said Heeter.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, Tuesday 7:14 a.m.:

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi identified the two Kansas City firefighters killed in a blaze Monday night as Larry J. Leggio and John V. Mesh. 

Leggio was a 17-year veteran who worked on Truck 2, Station 17, as a fire apparatus operator. Mesh was a 13-year veteran firefighter assigned to Pumper 10.

An emotional Berardi said Leggio leaves behind his wife and mother. Mesh had a wife and four young daughters.

The South Kansas City Alliance will host a panel of Missouri lawmakers Monday.

Though the group’s chief priority is economic development, Government Affairs Committee Chairman Geoff Gerling says he’s equally interested in discussing the culture in Jefferson City after a series of scandals rocked the statehouse last session.

Gerling thinks these kinds of community forums can go a long way to convincing lawmakers reform is needed.

Wikimedia Commons

Employees of Jackson County will likely see an increase in health insurance premiums in 2016.

The proposed changes were discussed at the Jackson County Legislature’s meeting on Monday. An across-the-board increase of 14.4 percent is expected next year, though some employees may end up paying less.

American Royal

His barbecue sauce brought a taste of Kansas City into kitchens across the world.

Rich Davis of Kansas City Masterpiece fame died Tuesday. He was 89.

Davis was a child psychiatrist and avid home cook whose family and friends urged him to market his unique sauce.

“And of course, we all know how that turned out. This sauce is the most famous barbecue sauce in the world,” says Joe’s Kansas City marketing manager Doug Worgul.

Worgul wrote about Davis in his book, “The Grand Barbecue,” a history of Kansas City’s famous meal.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri commission reviewing law enforcement training standards stopped in Kansas City Wednesday, the fifth public meeting in a six-stop statewide tour.

Department of Public Safety Director Lane Roberts told the crowd of mostly police officers and sheriff’s deputies he knows there’s concern within departments that the new rules will become unfunded mandates.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones for commercial use.

The Kansas City-based company celebrated the new certification with a test flight Wednesday over the new campus being built in south Kansas City.

Steve Santovasi says using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to complete inspections presents a significant time savings over having to obtain permits to bring in heavy equipment.

Ke’shauna Spratt was one of more than 1,300 young Kansas Citians who participated in the first Summer Job League, a Missouri workforce development program.

Spratt, 18, sent her summer answering phone calls at Children’s Mercy, helping patients start the scheduling process, and other administrative tasks.

“I actually want to get my bachelor’s in nursing, so it was a great opportunity to sit there and be able to work in a health care facility to be able to watch nurses,” Spratt says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has exceeded a $250 million fundraising goal, a year early.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are already there,” Chancellor Leo Morton announced Thursday. “The campaign for UMKC has exceeded its goal and has done so a full year of schedule.”

But Morton added the university wouldn’t be calling it quits.

“Just because the goal has been reached, the campaign is not over,” Morton said. “We’re not done yet.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County is one step closer to the regional transit system that’s long been the vision of County Executive Mike Sanders.

Sanders announced Wednesday the county and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority had reached an agreement to buy the Rock Island Corridor, 17.7 miles of train tracks that stretch from the Truman Sports Complex through Kansas City, Raytown and Lee’s Summit.

“If you’re planning for what you have today, by definition, you’re falling behind the curve,” Sanders said. “Today, Jackson County and this community will not fall behind the curve.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Parade Park in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District will soon be the home of Major League Baseball’s newest Urban Youth Academy.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced Friday fundraising for the first phase of the project – which will include two full-size baseball diamonds, two youth fields, a walking trail, a playground, park upgrades and, ultimately, an indoor training facility – is complete. The outdoor fields are slated to open next fall.

Revitalizing the historic jazz district and former site of Municipal Stadium has long been one of James' goals.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

As hundreds of thousands of refugees flee Syria for Europe, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that provides humanitarian aid continues its work to stabilize the situation inside the war-torn country.

The number of asylum-seeking Syrians in the United States is small – just 1,500 since the conflict began four years ago – and pressure is mounting to accept more refugees.

But Syrian-born Kansas Citians aren’t sure it’s the best way to help.

Allison Long / POOL/Kansas City Star

Convicted Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. wants a new trial.

He filed a motion Wednesday demanding a retrial for a variety of reasons, most of which stemmed from Cross’ decision to represent himself.

Cross argues he did not have adequate help from the three defense attorneys appointed to serve as standby counsel.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A national nonprofit organization that distributes books to children from low-income families made a stop in Kansas City Wednesday.

First Book is giving 300,000 titles donated by publisher Random House to Kansas City schools and literacy programs. Local partners Turn the Page KC and LINC are helping get the books to kids and teachers.

“One of the big factors in kids learning to read is access to books from a very young age,” says Mike English, executive director of Turn the Page KC. “Our goal is really to build home libraries for kids and families in low-income areas.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James has pledged $10,000 from his office’s budget to the Women's Business Center WE-Lend Microloan program.

“We can always do more to remove barriers from people who don’t need barriers in front of them,” James told about 200 women attending a WE 2.0 women’s empowerment conference Friday.

The loans provide funding, technical assistance and a financial coach to women-led businesses.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon announced more than $1 million in Missouri Technology Corporation grants for three metro-area businesses Thursday at Kansas City’s first Techweek conference.

“We’re glad that Techweek’s here. It’s just blown the doors off,” Nixon said. “About twice as many as they thought came into town.”

The national technology conference will stop in Kansas City for the next five years, drawn here in part because of Google Fiber and the Cisco Smart City initiative.

“This is the kind of thing to help brand the Kansas City region as a tech startup hub,” Nixon said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Jackson County Prosecutor has charged a 22-year-old Kansas City man in last week’s triple homicide.

Jean Peters Baker says multiple witnesses linked Joseph L. Nelson to the Sept. 8 murders of Bianca Fletcher, her 1-year-old son and boyfriend, Shannon Rollins.

Negotiations continue between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler after both sides agreed Monday to hour-by-hour contract extensions to facilitate bargaining.

Ford and General Motors employees are also operating under extended contracts after the union and automakers missed a Sept. 14 deadline.

But with Fiat Chrysler taking the lead, it’s unlikely to impact production at GM Fairfax even if talks break down, says Vicki Hale, president of UAW Local 31.

The Delta State University professor killed in an on-campus shooting Monday had Kansas ties.

Ethan Schmidt received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emporia State University and his doctorate from the University of Kansas.

“He was a remarkable student,” Dr. Karen Manners Smith, a professor of history at Emporia State, said in a statement. “He was one of the best students I ever had and I was thrilled he went on to a career in teaching history.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped at Kansas City’s Woodland Early Learning Community Monday morning to advocate for high-quality preschool for low-income families.

“We have to make sure our babies are entering kindergarten ready to be successful,” Duncan said. “In education, we spend lots of time playing catch-up, and frankly we don’t often play catch-up well.”

Duncan says the average child from a disadvantaged neighborhood starts school at least a year behind. In Missouri, 80 percent of 4-year-olds don’t have access to a high quality early education program.