Elle Moxley | KCUR

Elle Moxley

Missouri Schools Reporter

Elle joined KCUR in 2014 as a general assignment reporter. She covered the 2016 election in Kansas as part of a political reporting partnership with NPR. Today, she covers Missouri schools and politics.

Before coming to KCUR, Elle covered Indiana education policy for NPR’s StateImpact project. Her work covering Indiana’s exit from the Common Core was nationally recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award.

Elle has also reported for The Examiner in Independence, Missouri, and KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri. She is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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A man accused of killing five people in a south Kansas City, Mo., crime spree in early September now faces two additional charges of first degree murder.

Brandon Howell, 34, already faced three counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of 63-year-old Darryl Hurst, 88-year-old Lorene Hurst and 69-year-old Susan Choucroun.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

  If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen parents complaining that the Common Core has ruined math for their kids.

They’ll share comedian Louis CK’s bit about the incompressible homework his kids are bringing home.

“‘Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London?,’” he tells David Letterman. “Or something like that.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the state's response to an upcoming grand jury decision in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown will focus on ensuring safety while protecting civil liberties.

"We want to make sure that people who want to speak, want to say things, march and protest, have the right to do so in a protected way," Nixon said. "Safety-wise, we want to make sure people are able to stay safe."

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Nerdery, a Minneapolis-based technology company, will add 100 jobs in Kansas City, Mo., over the next five years, the Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday.

The company, which designs websites and mobile apps, will also invest $4.3 million in the historic Western Union building downtown. 

The state auditor blasted two Kansas City, Mo., charter schools Tuesday for mishandling their 2012 closures.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich gave both the Urban Community Leadership Academy and the Renaissance Academy for Math and Sciences "poor" ratings for wasting money and failing to keep adequate records as the schools shut down.

Courtesy of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

Updated, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday:

Two of the four rabbis killed in a terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday had deep ties to the Kansas City Jewish community. 

Rabbi Kalman Levine was part of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy’s first graduating class in 1976. And Rabbi Mosheh Twersky’s nephew teaches at the Jewish school in Overland Park, Kan. 

The two men died Tuesday in Jerusalem. 

The Kansas City Workers' Rights Board will hold a community forum Wednesday evening to draw attention to long waits for programs the Missouri Department of Social Services administers.

Alice Kitchen, a steering committee member, says it's been more difficult to apply for Medicaid, food stamps and other programs since the department outsourced much of the Family Support Division's work to a third-party company.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Updated, 4 p.m. Wednesday:

The families of the three people killed near Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., in April are planning a week-long community event to memorialize their loved ones.

Mindy Corporon, whose father and son were killed in the shooting, says the families wanted to make the announcement Wednesday to coincide with the preliminary hearing of accused murderer Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., which was postponed earlier in the day.

Updated, 6:10 p.m. Wednesday:

The Jackson County prosecutor has charged a 24-year-old Kansas City, Mo., man with a deadly shooting Wednesday morning near City Hall.

Rickey C. Battee faces second degree murder charges in the death of Jai T. Scott, who was shot near a metro bus stop on Oak Street.

Battee is being held on a $250,000 bond.

The original post continues below.

A man shot near Kansas City, Mo., City Hall Wednesday morning has died.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill offered her condolences to an Iraq war veteran who died this week while speaking at a Veterans Day event at the National World War I Museum Tuesday morning.

Tomas Young, 34, who was paralyzed after being shot by a sniper in 2004, died from health complications Monday. He was an anti-war activist and  former Kansas City resident.

"He, along with many others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, are certainly deserving of our affection and  respect and deference on this day and every other day of the year," McCaskill says.

In Johnson County, Republicans celebrated big wins Tuesday in Kansas and across the country.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder celebrated his victory just as news broke in Topeka about one of Kansas' big-ticket races.

“Today we have re-elected our United States Senator and statesmen in Washington D.C., Pat Roberts,” Yoder said. 

Yoder says Roberts’ win proves pundits were wrong about Independent Greg Orman. He says Kansas has done its part to ensure a Republican majority in both houses of Congress.

Commuter rail to Kansas City from the eastern suburbs is one step closer to reality after Jackson County secured $10 million dollars in federal highway dollars for the purchase of old train tracks known as the Rock Island Corridor.

"I mean, that’s roughly 16 percent of the purchase price," says Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "That’s significant for the federal government to provide that for acquisition, which is fairly rare."

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Senate hopeful Greg Orman stopped at Fisher Electric in Kansas City, Kan., Friday to make a last-minute appeal before next Tuesday’s election.

Orman, who’s running as an independent, is touting his plan to end Washington, D.C., gridlock. He supports term limits for members of Congress and wants to end donations from lobbying groups while Congress is in session.

Orman says his opponent, GOP incumbent Pat Roberts, is too focused on opposing the president to be an effective leader.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to know what qualities the public values in its next education leader.

Current education commissioner Chris Nicastro plans to retire at the end of the year, leaving the State Board about two months to hire her replacement. The department released its criteria for selecting a new leader on Tuesday.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Most of the attention this election season has focused on the big Kansas state races — the governor’s seat and U.S. Senate. The latest polls put Democratic and independent candidates within striking distance of Republican incumbents, something that’s almost unheard of in this deep-red state.

In some parts of Kansas, Democrats are hoping to capitalize on discontent with incumbents at the top of the ticket and pick up a few more statehouse seats. Which brings us to the moderate District 25 in northeast Johnson County.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

With a week to go before the mid-term election, Republican heavyweights were in town Monday to throw their support behind U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.

Former GOP presidential candidates Bob Dole and Mitt Romney joined Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at a campaign event in Overland Park, Kan.

Roberts, who's locked in a tight race with independent Greg Orman, told supporters he's who Kansas farmers and business owners can trust to safeguard their interests in Washington, D.C.

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council this week approved a 5-year business plan after soliciting generally positive feedback from citizens.

"People do feel we're headed in the right direction," says Ellen Belzer of the city's general services department. "They lauded the leadership of the city."

Though this is the second year the city council has put together a 5-year business plan, it's the first time the city has held citizen work sessions to ask Kansas Citians their feelings about the budgeting process. 

Courtesy photo / KCUR

Thinking about launching your own technology startup in the Kansas City metro?  

Greg Kratofil, a technology attorney with Polsinelli law firm, has some advice.

"Incorporate in Kansas," Kratofil says. "Almost every company that we work with is thinking about accessing capital, some kind of round of financing to help them grow their business. You want to be in a place where you have tools that help your raise that money."

A Maine-based development company that owns several low-income housing units in Kansas City, Mo., filed a federal fair housing complaint against the city Thursday.

The Eagle Point Companies alleges the city and various city officials intentionally discriminated "against African-Americans who reside and/or who seek to reside in Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista Apartments located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri," according to the complaint.

John Spertus / KCUR

It's been 29 years, so we almost forgot what it felt like, but on Wednesday Kansas Citians around the globe had a sweet sip of victory after sweeping the Baltimore Orioles to take the ALCS Championship.

We still have to prove we're the world's best — but for the time being, the sound of success is all you can hear in Kansas City.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis says if elected, he'll surround himself with the most bipartisan cabinet in the state's history.

"I want to try to bring the very best people we can into state government, and that's ultimately going to mean we're going to have roughly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans," said Davis, a Democrat.

His comments came during an appearance on KCUR's Up to Date with host Steve Kraske on Wednesday.

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will pay almost $10 million to settle dozens of sexual abuse claims filed since 2010.

The settlement, reached late Tuesday, includes 30 pending claims against the diocese and ends an ongoing civil trial in a case filed by former alter boy Jon David Couzens. Couzens, who alleges he was abused in the 1970s and '80s at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence, took the diocese to court last month. His case would have entered jury deliberations this week if not for the settlement.

An estimated 17,000 Kansas City kids don't have enough diapers.

Their families just can't afford them.

"Diapers and other hygiene products – including cleaning supplies – are not provided by any state or federal subsidy," says Joanne Goldblum, executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network.

And diapers, especially the disposable kind required by most childcare centers, are a significant expense, up to $100 a week.

If that amount seems high, Goldblum says it's because poor families don't have the same resources as wealthier ones.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Kansas City barbecue — we know you've heard of it.

The president eats it when he visits, and Anthony Bourdain said Kansas City barbecue is the best in the world.

But how did it all get started? And who made Kansas City barbecue famous?

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 4:40 p.m. CST: Merriam, Kan., residents Margo Lauer and Sheila Hafner held a commitment ceremony at Unity Church of Overland Park 11 years ago.

They took the first step toward making their union legal in Kansas Thursday morning, applying for a marriage license at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The two candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat from Kansas spent Wednesday trading partisan barbs at their second debate.

Republican incumbent Pat Roberts tried to paint Greg Orman, who is running as an independent, as a Democrat in a race that doesn’t have one.

“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas and the country to Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” Roberts told the crowd at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Roberts called Orman a liberal more than a dozen times and repeatedly hammered him for his ties to Democrats.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An international aid organization based in Lenexa, Kan., on Tuesday announced plans to operate a medical facility in Liberia to treat Ebola victims.

Heart to Heart International CEO Jim Mitchum says running the 70-bed Ebola treatment unit will be the largest and most challenging humanitarian effort the organization has ever undertaken. It will cost approximately $6 million to operate the facility, which should open in November, for six months.

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council wants to know if current city rules regulating the taxi cab industry are unfair to women- and minority-owned businesses.

At issue is an agreement Yellow Cab has to act as an exclusive operator with most of the major downtown and Crown Center hotels. Councilman Dick Davis says that contract is keeping small taxi cab companies from operating in large swaths of the city.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Two years ago, metro-area entrepreneurs started buying houses in the first Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood to get Google Fiber.

They wanted to take advantage of the ultra-fast Internet as they launched new ventures in what quickly became known as the Kansas City Startup Village.

The plan was to create a community of entrepreneurs on either side of State Line Road. But because the two states have different economic incentives for new businesses, many entrepreneurs gravitated toward the Kansas side of the Startup Village.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green celebrated the district's recent successes in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday.

The district regained provisional accreditation last month after losing its standing with the state in 2012. Green, who took over as superintendent shortly thereafter, says many believed at the time the district couldn't be saved.

But he says that attitude isn't helpful in education.

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