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

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.

Missouri's black homicide rate is nearly twice the national average, according to a study released Wednesday from the Violence Policy Center.

There were 247 black homicide victims in Missouri in 2012, or about 35 deaths per 100,000 people.

"If you compare it to the overall rate of 4.5 per 100,000, basically all races across the country, it's seven times the number," says Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann.

U.S. Senate

Putting an end to the speculation, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says she won't run for governor in 2016.

The Missouri Democrat told KCUR's Steve Kraske she made the decision over the holidays with her family.

"At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if the job you're thinking about going for is better than the one you have, and can you do more?" McCaskill says.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

As the FBI investigates the murder of a young, gay, black man for a possible civil rights violation, friends of the victim are trying to start a broader conversation about race in Kansas City’s gay community.

Dionte Greene, 22, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

People who knew Greene remember him as a loving son, devoted father and a caring friend. They say he was the last person they expected to be in trouble.

Doug Kerr / Flicker -- CC

Missouri has always funded transportation through user fees, Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters Tuesday after an appearance in Kansas City.

"Roads aren't free," Nixon says. "I mean, they're not."

The governor is trying to drum up support for tolls along Interstate 70 as the 60-year-old road deteriorates. Last August, voters rejected a sales tax increase to pay for repairs — a plan Nixon also opposed.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday to announce $450,000 in grants for a metro-area Missouri Innovation Campus.

The Northland CAPs program connects high school students from six local districts to nearby employers, where they learn job skills while earning college credit.

"That's a win for our colleges and universities, a win for Missouri business and, more importantly, a win for our students," said Nixon.

National non-profit USA Funds awarded Missouri $1 million to expand the Innovation Campus program last fall. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death Tuesday of a worker at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Claycomo, Mo.

Bonita Winingham, the acting regional administrator for the Kansas City office, says the contractor died in what's called a "struck by" accident after being hit with a piece of equipment.

There have not been any deaths at the Claycomo plant in recent years, Winingham said after checking the plant's history through 2010.

The Kansas City, Mo., Police Department is investigating a Tuesday evening shooting on a Kansas City ATA bus.

KCPD Captain Tye Grant says police were dispatched to a bus at 39th and Prospect around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. He says shots were fired into the bus at an earlier stop, near Benton Avenue.

A 15-year-old girl was struck multiple times. Grant says she is at the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Grant says the department is investigating to see if the intended victim may have been someone traveling with the teenager who was shot.

Good news, Kansas City – the metro is almost back to pre-recession employment levels.

The latest job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the Kansas City area has added around 10,000 jobs since November 2013 and only lags April 2008 numbers by about 5,000 jobs.

"All signs are pointing to this being a pretty productive year, especially the second half of the year, in terms of employment in Kansas City," says Jeff Pinkerton, an economist with the Mid-America Regional Council.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Roy  Blunt will meet with farmers in Plattsburg, Mo., Monday afternoon to discuss a pair of new Environmental Protection Agency regulations he says will have disastrous impact on the state.

Blunt says it's not just farmers but local officials concerned about changes the Environmental Protection Agency is considering to how it enforces the  Clean Water Act.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Central Standard is following three high school seniors through the trials and triumphs leading up to graduation. Catch up with Ashwanth Samuel, Harold Burgos and Sache Hawkins on internships, waiting to hear back from colleges, career dreams, school lunch, juggling coursework with outside interests, senior-itis, and what grown-ups don't know about high school today. Plus, one of these seniors surprised us with an early graduation in December.

Lamar Republican Sen. Ed Emery wants to give Missouri schools a report card – he's filed legislation to create an A-F letter grade system similar to those enacted in other states.

"I think if we can do this in Missouri, we'll have better informed parents and more involved parents, and as a result, we'll be moving toward an excellence in education that we all want," Emery said.

Florida was the first state to issue A-F letter grades to schools a decade ago under former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Now, about a dozen states have similar systems in place.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 5 p.m. Wednesday:

In the wake of Kansas City, Mo., Councilman Michael Brooks' resignation, Mayor Sly James says his focus is on filling the empty 5th district seat. 

"We're not looking for someone who can warm a chair. We're going to look for someone who can do the job," James said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Courtesy photo / Missouri Department of Education

Update, 2:15 p.m. Wednesday:

Missouri's next education commissioner, Margaret Vandeven, says the provisionally-accredited Kansas City Public Schools will need to continue to make progress to regain full standing with the state.

"We're monitoring the situation," says Vandeven, a current deputy education commissioner who will take over as Missouri's schools chief early next year. "We certainly have our regional team working with the school district ... and we just need to continue to see improvement at the individual child level in that district."

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

The FBI is investigating the murder of a 22-year-old black man who may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Dionte Greene, who identified as gay, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

Missouri has fallen short in a bid for federal preschool dollars.

But last week's news gets worse for advocates of early childhood education – Missouri’s application finished dead last in the nine-state competition.

Sarah Potter, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,  says Missouri’s application for preschool development money didn’t do enough to address students with special needs.

The Independence, Mo., City Council wants to see a solar farm built in the northeast part of the city as part of its plan to decrease reliance on coal-fired power plants.

The city council passed a resolution this summer to have 10 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2018. Independence Power and Light Director Leon Daggett says the city-owned utility already gets about 5 percent of its power from a Salina, Kan., wind farm.

Update, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11:

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council voted Thursday to extend city pension benefits currently offered to couples in conventional marriages to legally-married same-sex couples.

“So this is just one more example of our commitment to being inclusive to all of our citizens in Kansas City,” Councilwoman Jan Marcason said before the unanimous vote.

The original post continues below.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

Dionte Greene's friends remember a sweet kid, a devoted son, a loving father – memories they're struggling to rectify with the 22-year-old's shooting death on Oct. 31.

Greene was found in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning. His killer hasn't been identified. And his friends believe he was targeted because he was gay.

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