Peggy Lowe

Investigations Editor, Harvest Public Media

Peggy Lowe is Harvest Public Media's investigations editor. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, and Latino USA.

Before her return to the Midwest in 2011, she was a multimedia producer and writer at The Orange County Register in Southern California.

Until 2005, she was in Denver, where she was a reporter for the late, great Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Post, KBCO and the Associated Press. Lowe was the Mike Wallace Fellow for Investigative Reporting at the University of Michigan in 2008-2009. 

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The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday that it had filed charges in a case that has stumped authorities for 27 years.

Melvin Shields, 48, of Wichita, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Steve Ray, 33, and Jolene Jones, 27.

Ray and Jones, who were described as long-time friends who had a daughter together, went to lunch on April 27, 1988 and their bodies were found at 19th and Argentine streets the next day.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The 44th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade marched down Broadway Thursday, attracting the Irish and their friends who love to dress in green. Around 150,000 people were expected to join in the festivities, according to organizers. 

Because this year's theme was "Blarney on Broadway," KCUR asked folks what they thought about blarney during a presidential election year.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Senate rejected a bill Wednesday that would have outlawed states from mandating labels on foods with genetically-modified ingredients, leaving the issue in limbo as a state labeling law looms.

The measure by Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, failed to get the 60 votes needed to move ahead, leaving the path open for Vermont’s mandatory labeling law to go into effect July 1. That was quickly applauded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri, is a long way from Silicon Valley.

But here in a huge arena, set in what used to be the Kansas City Stockyards, the high-tech future of agriculture is for sale.

Casey Adams and Scott Jackman, co-owners of Fly Ag Tech, have their large yellow and white drone sitting at center stage in their booth at this huge annual trade show.

“It’s got a GPS, so it knows where it’s at, underneath here you’ll see an autopilot, its an onboard computer,” he said.

Courtesy Ben & Jerry's

Calling a Vermont law that creates mandatory labeling of food that has genetically engineered ingredients a “wrecking ball,” Republican Sen. Pat Roberts won first-round approval Tuesday of his bill that would circumvent the state law.

Campbell Soup Co.

The latest showdown in the battle about labeling food that has genetically-modified ingredients is set for next week when U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts plans to force a vote on a draft bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Courtesy / Alex Smith Blake

Alex Smith has been married 15 times.

No, not the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

We found 15 Alex Smiths who have been married in Jackson or Johnson counties in the last 20 years.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

A highly contagious strain of avian flu, a huge trade pact opening export markets and a few “restless” agribusinesses top Harvest Public Media's list of the biggest agriculture and food stories of 2015.

No. 1 – A bird flu never before seen in North America devastated the egg and turkey industries, sending prices up and the government scrambling to respond.

Tom Porto

A 24-year-old Mexican American man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against three Kansas City police officers, alleging assault, battery and conspiracy during an arrest caught on police dash-cam video.

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating the May 2, 2014, arrest of Manuel Palacio as a criminal case of police misconduct.  

The nearly 19-minute video shows a surprised Palacio, who was walking down Independence Ave., at Cypress, being rammed with a police cruiser and knocked to the ground.

BigStock

Susanne Byerly can laugh now, four years later, talking about how she and her husband were trying to eat healthy food when they bought ground turkey for their spaghetti dinner.

Byerly, along with her husband, Jerry, and their two-year-old, Jack, were on vacation with extended family in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. While buying supplies at a local grocery store, they decided to swap ground beef for poultry because they were watching their weight.

Green bean casserole is specifically a staple of the rural Midwest. What characterizes Midwestern cuisine, and how did it come about that a food-producing region celebrates the season's bounty with a recipe based entirely on canned foods?

Guests:

  • Lucy Long, director, Center for Food and Culture
  • Judith Fertig, local cookbook author and "foodista"
Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Blake Hurst rides ten feet above his soybean field in northern Missouri, looking more like he’s playing a video game than driving a $350,000 high-tech piece of machinery.

As he rolls across the land in his John Deere combine, joystick in hand, three computer monitors offer him a host of information. He knows how much fertilizer was used, the beans’ moisture content, how full the grain tank is, and that he’s getting 60 bushels an acre.  

Earl Dotter / Oxfam America

Americans eat more chicken than any other meat, an average of 89 pounds a year.

That enormous demand for a high protein source that’s considered relatively inexpensive is literally feeding the $50 billion poultry industry. While many people are concerned with the welfare of meat animals, there appears to be little consumer concern for how the workers are treated.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

  Who murdered Paula Beverly Davis?

This week, KCUR looked at a case that began as a missing person in 1987, only to be discovered 22 years later as a homicide.

Davis’ two sisters, Stephanie Clack and Alice Beverly, found her as an identified person, Englewood Jane Doe, in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, in 2009.  We told that story on Tuesday. (The story is here.)

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in September 2015.    

This is the second of a two-part series. For part one of this story, click here.

Courtesy of Stephanie Clack

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in September 2015.  

When Alan Meade made police detective in Englewood, Ohio, in 2003, he inherited the department’s only unidentified person case.

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival in Kansas City, Mo., on July 18 had it all: an indie pop band onstage, long lines at the beer booths. It was like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

But this and the three other Chipotle Cultivate events held across the country this summer were more than just a classic summertime music festival. Billed as offering "food, ideas and music," the festival offers a chance to "learn a free burrito," by going through four exhibits.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Check out this good scoop on Kansas State University’s failure to adhere to federal safety regulations while doing research on dangerous bioterror pathogens.

A federal judge formally tossed out Kansas’ gay marriage ban on Monday, forcing Gov. Sam Brownback to allow state agencies to offer benefits to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled the provision in the state’s constitution that prohibits issuing marriage licenses to gay or lesbian couples violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival had it all: an indie pop band on stage, long lines at the beer booths, folks hanging out on a hot summer day.

Sort of like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

But the Chipotle Cultivate events, with four held across the country this summer, aims to do a little more than just than just the classic summertime music festival. Billed as offering “food, ideas and music,” the festival offers a chance to “learn a free burrito” after going through four exhibits.

Sheridan's Frozen Custard / via Twitter

Even as government officials brace for a recurrence of bird flu this fall, the massive spring outbreak is still affecting food producers.

Kansas City residents, flocking to local favorite Sheridan’s 12 frozen custard stands because of this week’s heat wave, are met with notices that the custard recipe has been changed because of an egg shortage.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that the federal government is preparing for a bird flu outbreak this fall that would be two times as bad as the one experienced by Midwestern states this spring.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Farm dog? Check.

Barn cats? Check.

Muddy work books lined up at the back door? Five checks.

We kick off our fourth season of “My Farm Roots” with the Renyer Family, five farm kids I had the pleasure of meeting last week.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at protecting "religious freedom"  for clergy that refuse to marry same-sex couples.

The order will protect the religious liberty of those who feel they may be forced to sanctify such unions after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 26, Brownback said.

"Today’s executive order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs," Brownback said in a statement.

The order comes a day after Brownback quietly allowed state agencies to comply with the high court's ruling, so couples can now do things like place state workers’ spouses on health care plans.

PROMO Missouri

Some Missouri counties are going slow – and two are outright refusing – to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Of the state’s 114 counties, 11 have yet to implement the changes brought on by last Friday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning bans on same-sex marriage.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR

Marriage equality advocates in Missouri and Kansas rejoiced Friday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states are not allowed to place bans on unions by same-sex couples.

Ludovic Bertron/Flickr

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage pending, many people in Kansas and Missouri are confused about the state of the unions here.

In shorthand, whether same-sex couples can get married depends on where you live. Both states are a marriage mixed bag, with some counties offering licenses and others refusing to allow gay weddings.

To clear up some of the confusion as we await word from the high court, here’s our FAQs on TTK (tying the knot):

Q: Just what is the high court deciding?

Two issues: whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriage; and whether states can refuse to recognize those marriages performed in other states. 

Put another way, to quote SCOTUSblog: “1.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”

Q: Where can same-sex couples get marriage licenses now?

Missouri —  three places: the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County.

Kansas — Johnson County and 60 other counties (out of a total of 105 counties), where clerks or judges decided to honor a federal appellate court decision.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Agriculture officials don’t know just how the massive outbreak of avian flu in the Midwest was spread, but believe the culprits include humans breaking biosecurity measures and the virus going airborne.

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas City Police Department has quietly changed its training for responding to volatile situations, arming officers with something other than a gun: distance, discretion and diplomacy.

Even as the backlash from the high-profile police shooting in Ferguson continues to reverberate on the other side of Missouri, Kansas City has already instituted what’s called “tactical disengagement.”

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