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

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II says it’s time for Congress to hold hearings on federal compensation for former nuclear plant workers.

A McClatchy newspapers investigation found fewer than half of applicants received payouts from the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, which was created in 2001 to help pay the medical expenses of factory workers exposed to radiation and other carcinogens.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri Development Finance Board has awarded $4 million in tax credits to the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy.

The baseball park could open as early as next fall near 18th and Vine near the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

It’s expected the city will be able to leverage $8 million in donations with the credits, which will go to donors who contribute at least $5,000 to the Academy.

Jackson County Detention Center

For the children of incarcerated parents, the holidays are stressful enough without Mom or Dad.

That’s why a new program at the Jackson County Detention Center is helping provide Christmas gifts for kids whose mothers are in jail.

“The children of the people incarcerated here, it’s not their fault,” Rev. Gene Purtle, the detention center chaplain, says. “A stigma is often attached to them because of whatever the situation is, and I think it’s awesome that we can show them as jailers and people like myself that are part of the church that we care about them.”

Jimmy Townsend, longtime owner of Kansas City’s Green Duck Lounge at 26th Street and Prospect Avenue, was killed over the weekend.

Police say Townsend, 83, died of a gunshot wound. He was found outside of his home around 11 a.m. Saturday morning, a few blocks from the nightclub.

As news of Townsend’s death spread on social media, some drew parallels to Leon Jordan, the late civil rights activist and Green Duck Lounge owner who was assassinated in 1970.

Having trouble buying something off Amazon?

If you’re a Google Fiber customer, you’re not alone.

Midtown resident Angela Dreher-Bayman was trying to access the online retailer from her family’s new laptop computer last week, but the website wouldn’t load.

“I was trying to secretly purchase some Christmas presents, and I actually thought that it was just bogged down,” says Dreher-Bayman. “It was 7 p.m., so I thought maybe it was high traffic time.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

With a cacophony of banging gavels, county leaders and circuit court judges ushered in a new era for the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse.

Renovations on the 59-year-old courthouse were completed two weeks ahead of schedule, said County Executive Mike Sanders.

“This is another one of the major renovations that we’ve done in this county where we have not bonded,” Sanders said of the $7.3 million project. “We have not sacrificed the promise of tomorrow for the commitment of the day, but we are paying cash.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Joe Reardon is leaving the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, less than a year after he took the regional bus service’s top job.

The former Kansas City, Kansas, mayor is headed to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where he’ll replace Jim Heeter, who is retiring.

“The Chamber of Commerce is very, very lucky,” said Robbie Makinen, chairman of the KCATA Board of Commissioners. “I would think all that does is raise the transit volume for us. The partnerships we’re going to have together are going to be even better.”

University of Kansas

He sounds like he could be your grandpa, recounting a snow day long ago.

“I showed them two peach baskets I’d nailed up at each end of the gym,” says 77-year-old James Naismith in a 1939 radio interview recently unearthed by a University of Kansas professor, “and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket.”

A report out this week examining the effectiveness of various state tax incentives gave top marks to the Missouri Works program.

Josh Goodman, senior researcher at the Pew Charitable Trusts, says in state after state, the costs of new tax credits and incentives have created budget problems.

But he says states like Missouri that require businesses to prove they’re creating jobs before getting a tax break are on the right track.

David DeHetre / Flickr

What is the Plaza worth to you? To the city on the whole? A conversation inspired by the retail district being up for sale.

Guests:

  • Monroe Dodd, local historian, KCUR's Central Standard
  • Susie Haake, lifelong Plaza resident
  • Celia Ruiz, activist, Una Lucha KC, lifelong Kansas Citian
Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas Citians gave more than 68 million service hours back to their community in 2014, putting them near the top of a list of volunteering cities.

The Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Kansas City the eighth most giving on a list of 51 major metropolitan areas. Nearly a third of Kansas Citians volunteer. 

CEO Wendy Spencer says a number of factors increase the number of hours people give. Areas with a high homeownership rates often have correspondingly high rates of volunteerism, she says.

But there are some surprises in the data, too.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The preliminary hearing for Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of setting a fire that killed two firefighters earlier this year, has been pushed to next week.

Nguyen appeared briefly in court Thursday afternoon. Her attorney, William Shull, requested more time to prepare a request to reduce her bond of $2 million.  Jackson County Associate Circuit Judge Jalilah Otto agreed to give him more time.

Casie Kolbinsky/KOMU / Flickr--CC

Kansas City’s earnings tax faces a big battle next year, and not just at the ballot box.

The 1 percent tax on people who live or work in Kansas City has to be approved by voters every five years, but not if a mid-Missouri state senator gets his way.

Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia has pre-filed legislation to repeal the taxes in Kansas City and St. Louis. In a statement, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James has already vowed to fight “this wrong-minded legislation.”

The earnings tax brought in $228 million last year for the city.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Just 49 percent of third graders in Kansas City are reading proficiently.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that’s a dramatic improvement from just a few years ago, when only a third of them were reading at or above grade level. As research mounts that third grade is a benchmark for future success, literacy has become a rally cry for elected leaders and community groups trying to turn around Kansas City’s public schools.

At Garfield Elementary in the Historic Northeast, AmeriCorps volunteers meet daily with reluctant third grade readers.

A report of shots fired at a police car near 55th and Oak streets started a car chase that ended with a wreck on the other side of the state line.

Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp says three or four suspects fired at the patrol car shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

According to a tweet from Chief Darryl Forte, the police vehicle was disabled by gunfire, though no officers were hurt.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt criticized the president for his lack of leadership during a stop in Kansas City Tuesday. At the same time, President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande held a joint press conference and called for increased cooperation to fight the Islamic State.

“What happens when the United States fails to provide leadership in the world is bad things and more disruptive things fill that leadership vacuum,” says Blunt.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

President Bill Clinton had nothing but praise for the man who ran against him in 1996 during a speech Monday at the University of Kansas.

Clinton was in Lawrence to receive the 2015 Dole Leadership Prize, which he was awarded for his legacy of bipartisanship during his terms in the White House.

But it was Bob Dole, says Clinton, who was truly willing to reach across the aisle.

“He could fight you like no tomorrow,” said Clinton of Dole, “but he never closed the door on something that could benefit a real person.”

Bernard Pollack / Flickr--CC

As the debate on whether to accept Syrian refugees rages, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says now is not the time for a new national identity.

“As Americans, we have always been a country of immigrants,” Nixon says. “We have always a place that welcomed people who had horrific things happen to them, whether it has been in Africa or Bosnia or now in Syria.”

He says he understands the concerns of Missourians who are reticent to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

It was the first time since Gov. Jay Nixon took office that all of Missouri’s living governors were at the same place at the same time.

On Friday, Kit Bond, John Ashcroft, Roger Wilson, Bob Holden and Matt Blunt joined Nixon in Kansas City for a panel discussion of the state’s economic victories.

Bond, who created the Hawthorn Foundation in 1982 to raise private funds for trade missions, says Missouri wasn’t open for business back when he was governor.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Here’s a sobering stat: one-third of seniors 65 and older fall every year.

Everyone is susceptible to falls. People of all ages trip, stumble and bump into things. People who are young and fit don’t have much trouble bouncing back. But if for woman older than 80 in otherwise good health, a broken hip triples the risk of dying in the next year.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James recited a list of wins for the city at a press conference Wednesday.

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.

Pixabay--CC

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.

UMKC

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.

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