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

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Six people face federal money laundering charges in an alleged $13 million scheme that allowed Kansas contractors to pay undocumented workers in cash.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced the charges Thursday at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kan. Grissom said that instead of raiding factories looking for undocumented workers, his office is trying to target the root cause of illegal immigration.

"We've thought that there has to be a better, more humane and from the taxpayer's standpoint, a more effective way to address this problem," Grissom said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

When it comes to delivering meals to seniors, Don Davis is an old pro. 

“Every once in awhile they miss one, and it’s easier to count them ahead of time and not be short,” he says, sifting through two big cooler bags of food outside the Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park.

Once he's sure the number of meals is right, he hoists them into the trunk and tells wife, Toni, it's time to hit the road. It’s about 10:30 a.m. when the couple begins their regular Friday route for Johnson County Meals on Wheels.

A shortage of beds for Missouri inmates means a West Bottoms center for parolees and probationers will go back to being a minimum security prison.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

In Indiana, low-income people can open health savings accounts.

Utah lawmakers are building work participation and co-pays into their Medicaid overhaul.

Iowa will charge a monthly premium – and crack down on the costly practice of using emergency rooms for non-emergency care.

But as other deep-red states agree to expand Medicaid within their borders, Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri is leaving federal health care dollars on the table.

A federal appeals court panel on Monday struck down part of a Missouri law that prohibits "profane discourse" outside of churches and other houses of worship.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed the challenge to the 2012 Missouri House of Worship Protection Act on behalf of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group regularly hands out pamphlets outside churches urging parishioners to beware of abusive clergy members.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A day after a Department of Justice report called out the Ferguson, Mo., police department for racial bias, Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City to tout a summer jobs program he says will help low-income young adults land their first job.

"It's where you first learn the value of a hard day's work, the pride that comes with earning your own paycheck and the liberty of spending it how you want to," says Nixon, "but for too many kids in low-income and minority communities, these opportunities just are not available."

A manhunt continues in Kansas City, Kan., for a suspect or suspects who wounded a Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy early Wednesday morning.

The deputy stopped at a gas station in the 4400 block of Shawnee Drive around 1 a.m. His shift had just ended, and he was in uniform when he was shot during an apparent robbery attempt.

Johnson County District Attorney

The man accused of killing three people last spring at two Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites has two names.

There's the name he was born with, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., which he used to build a following of like-minded anti-Semites and radical extremists in the 1980s.

And then there's the name he was given after turning state's evidence, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., which remains his legal name.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The man accused of killing three people at two Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites last spring will stand trial for capital murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges stemming from the shootings.

Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan found the state had established probable cause in its case against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 74. The judge agreed with a request from Cross' legal team to postpone arraignment.

Updated, 2:35 p.m. Monday:

An eyewitness to the shootings last spring at Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites told a Johnson County judge Monday she feared for her life when the defendant asked if she was a Jew.

"I knew if I gave the wrong answer, he would shoot me," Maggie Hunker testified.

Hunker had just finished eating lunch with a friend at Village Shalom on April 13, 2014, when she saw a man gun down a woman in the retirement home's parking lot.

That woman was later identified as Terri LaManno.

Bart Everson / Flickr-CC

What does Kansas City, Mo., have in common with fast-growing San Francisco, a city that's made headlines for its lack of affordable housing?

Rent is up here, too – about 8.5 percent over last year, according to a Zillow report that ranks Kansas City No. 4 on a list of cities that saw rental rates spike between 2013 and 2014.

It's a crime in Kansas City, Mo., to leave your car running with a key in the ignition, though plenty of people do it when temperatures drop.

And it means a sharp uptick in car theft every winter – more than 600 cars stolen citywide in December and January.

That's why Sarah Boyd of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Media Unit gets on Twitter and Facebook to remind people that leaving a key in the ignition is practically inviting thieves to steal their cars.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says big shipping hubs like the BNSF Railway Logistics Park he visited in Edgerton, Kan., Tuesday have helped drive an increase in agricultural exports over the past six years.

But a labor slowdown at West Coast ports could jeopardize that growth, Vilsack says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

You can’t miss the little parking lot in the heart of Westport – about 70 spaces at the corner of Westport Road and Mill Street right in front of Buzzard Beach, the Westport Saloon and Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar.

The lot's long occupied some of Westport's prime real estate. That's why it caused such a stir when owner Doug Weltner announced plans to build two buildings for three restaurants there earlier this month.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Other cities are looking to Kansas City, Mo., as an example of how to curb violent crime after the city saw fewer homicides in 2014 than it had in four decades.

In fact, City of St. Louis officials will travel here in coming weeks to look at the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, a policing initiative run out of the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 4:20 p.m. Monday:

About two dozen women and children protested outside Research Medical Center on Monday afternoon in support of an obstetrician who was let go last month.

Lisa Cohen, a midwife from Lee's Summit, Mo., started a petition to reinstate Dr. Howard Schwartz that so far has drawn more than 1,300 signatures.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Following the announcement of 900 new jobs at Ford's Claycomo plant, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says there's strong potential for continued growth in the state's auto manufacturing sector.

"I think the best way to continue to move forward in this market is to continue after-market for the vans and the pick-up trucks that turn them into ambulances and things of that nature, as well as getting on as the place in the middle of the country that can support factories all throughout the Midwest," says Nixon.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says more needs to be done to improve the state's preschool vaccination rate, revealed this week to be below the threshold needed to preserve herd immunity.

"We need to make sure especially young kids are getting that measles vaccination so we don't have any of the bad things that can happen with measles outbreaks," says Nixon.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

As electronics retailer RadioShack prepares to file for bankruptcy, rumors are circulating that Sprint Corp. is in talks to buy up some of its stores.

But if you're trying to remember the last time you walked into a RadioShack, you're not the only one.

"That's interesting because I had the same thought recently when I drove past a RadioShack that's near me, and I didn't realize it was even still there," says Jason Meyers, who writes about the telecommunications industry for online publication LightReading.

More Missouri families have health plans that include coverage for autism-related treatments, according to a report out Monday from the Department of Insurance.

Missouri law used to exclude many experimental treatments from coverage, including behavioral therapy that’s often lauded by advocates for children with autism. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts dined on chicken teriyaki bites, brown rice and green beans at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kan., Friday, where he discussed federal nutrition guidelines with students and staff.

"This menu I think would meet even Mrs. Obama's approval," Roberts quipped, taking a bite of pineapple.

Roberts, the new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has long criticized the new school lunch rules pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Roberts says the standards are impossible for some districts to meet.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

On the second day of his gubernatorial campaign, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich continued swinging at well-financed Republican primary opponent Catherine Hanaway.

"I'm very concerned about one billionaire in St. Louis who seems to be intent on not only buying the governor's mansion, funding over 70 percent of the campaign of my primary opponent, but also trying to buy certain legislators," Schweich said during a stop in Kansas City Thursday.

Think of it as a census for people who don't have addresses.

Starting Wednesday and continuing into Thursday, volunteers with programs who aid Kansas City's homeless population will tally how many of the city's residents lack a permanent place to say. 

Teresa McClain is associate executive director of Community LINC, one of the organizations participating in the survey. Community LINC provides transitional housing, so McClain's staff knows how many people are using the organization's services and where to find homeless people.

But elsewhere it's more complicated.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Soak up the sun while you can, Kansas City — the warm weather won't last.

Temperatures are expected to drop Thursday, with snow possible this weekend. Bummer, right? Not exactly, says Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp.

Knapp says too many warm nights in January can trick vegetation into thinking it's spring when there are still weeks of winter ahead. In this area, the last freeze is usually in April.

Voters in five Johnson County school districts have agreed to an increase in how much money can come from local property taxes.

Kansas schools have two major sources of money, state dollars and local property taxes. But the state limits how much districts can tax. Last year the Legislature raised the cap from 31 to 33 percent of a district's budget.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

How do you get fifth and sixth graders to see a connection between what they're doing in school and their future careers?

Talk to them about Walt Disney.

"As a sixth grader, he was sketching mice and ducks in his art class," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told students during an assembly at Mill Creek Upper Elementary in Belton Friday.

The school is one of 34 across Missouri that's teaching elementary school students about math and science through Project Lead the Way, which Nixon hopes will inspire them to pursue those fields as adults. 

Bill Anderson / KCUR

President Obama focused on child care reforms, his free community college proposal and reaching across the aisle in a speech at the University of Kansas Thursday.

He is the first sitting president to visit the Lawrence, Kan., school in more than 100 years.

Before he launched into the issues at hand, the president made sure to please the crowd with some Kansas love, saying how excited he was to visit Allen Fieldhouse before his speech.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo., ended 2014 with fewer homicides than the city had seen in nearly 50 years.

But that good news doesn’t lessen the tragedy of a death such as Angel Hooper’s. The 6-year-old was gunned down in the parking lot of a gas station at 107th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard in October, the first of four child victims of drive-by shootings in the metro in recent months.

Emotions run high when kids become innocent victims of violent crime, but the number of drive-by shootings in the metro has not risen.

The family of a Shawnee Mission West student  who committed suicide in 2011 is holding a workshop Monday night for teens and their parents to talk about depression.

Joe Karlin created the Tom Karlin Foundation in memory of his 17-year-old son.

When it comes to teen suicide prevention, "the biggest thing is not so much a resource issue but the stigma that surrounds depression and mental health," says Karlin.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback stuck by his aggressive tax policy during his State of the State address Thursday, outlining an ambitious list of legislative priorities for 2015.

But even members of the governor's own party say it's too early to tell what Brownback can accomplish during the session.

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