Peggy Lowe

Harvest Network Analyst

Peggy Lowe joined Harvest Public Media in 2011, returning to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-09. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City. Based at KCUR, Peggy is the analyst for The Harvest Network and often reports for Harvest Public Media.


4:52 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Jackson County Won't Defend Missouri Gay Marriage Ban

A couple who married in New York in 2011.
Credit (flickr)

Jackson County will not fight a challenge to Missouri’s gay marriage ban because it discriminates against same-sex couples, the county’s top executive said Monday.

Last week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two Kansas City, Mo., couples who were denied marriage licenses.

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Beyond Our Borders
5:33 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Program Offers Grief Counseling For Kansas City Teens Affected By Homicide

(From left) Tanee, 14, Makala, 14, Mantez, 17, and Audrey, 17, speak at a forum at a Kansas City public library at 30th and Prospect streets. All have lost siblings to homicide.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

There’s a hush in the community room at the Lucile H. Bluford Public Library at 30th and Prospect streets, something like the quiet in a church just before the service starts.

The two dozen folks gathered here at 6 p.m. on a Monday night in June want to hear from the four sitting as a panel in the front of the room, people that despite their young ages, have years of mourning to share.

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Harvest Public Media
8:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

'Fed Up' Links Obesity Epidemic to Sugar, Industry, Government

Scene from 'Fed Up,' an activist documentary that focuses on childhood obesity.

Just who’s to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic? Over the years, the finger has been pointed at parents, video games and vending machines, to name a few.

To the makers of the new activist documentary, “Fed Up,” the bottom line of blame lies with a simple substance poured into our diets every day: sugar. And the pushers of what this film calls a drug and “the new tobacco” are the food industry and our own government.

“What if our whole approach to this epidemic has been dead wrong?” the film’s narrator, TV journalist Katie Couric, says in the film’s open.

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Digital Life
6:27 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

In Kansas, Professors Must Now Watch What They Tweet

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:17 pm

The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.

The controversial policy was triggered by an equally controversial tweet posted last September by David Guth, an associate journalism professor. Reacting to a lone gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., he wrote:

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4:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Strict Social Media Policy Approved By Kansas Board Of Regents

Critics of the social media policy stand during part of Wednesday's Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka to demonstrate their opposition.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday finalized a controversial social media policy that places broad limits on employees and is being criticized as one of the most restrictive in the country.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan, speaking to a packed meeting in Topeka, defended the policy, claiming it will shore up academic freedom by creating more specific guidelines.

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Harvest Public Media
9:39 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Study: Government Fails To Report Three-Quarters Of Farm Injuries

Migrant workers harvest corn on Uesugi Farms in Gilroy, Calif., last summer
Credit (Courtesy USDA)

Farm work has always been one of the most dangerous jobs in America -- as the government has reported, academics have researched and those doing the work well know.  

But new research from the University of California-Davis suggests for the first time that it’s a much more dramatic problem than the federal government recognizes, making the hazards faced by agriculture workers the most undercounted of any industry in the U.S.

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2:57 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Regents Reject Big Changes To Controversial Social Media Policy

Fred Logan, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, rejects criticism that a new social media policy restricts expression.
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

The Kansas Board of Regents has decided to add a free speech provision to a controversial social media policy, a decision criticized as “window dressing.”

Regent Chairman Fred Logan, who along with the rest of the board has come under fire nationally from professors and First Amendment advocates, said during a board meeting this week that he does not believe the policy restricts staff and faculty from openly expressing their opinions, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

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JCC Shootings
11:20 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Johnson County Shooting Suspect Held On $10 Million Bail

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, left, and Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe meet reporters Tuesday to discuss murder charges against the suspect in the Jewish Community Center shootings.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The 73-year old southwest Missouri man suspected in the killings of three people near the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., made his first court appearance Tuesday, wearing a bullet-proof vest and looking confused as a Johnson County judge set his bail at $10 million.

Frazier Glenn Cross was charged with two felony counts of murder -- one count of capital murder and one count of premeditated first-degree murder -- for the killings of three people in two locations.

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6:28 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

JCC Shooting Suspect Could be Charged Tuesday

Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass, along with state and federal law enforcement authorities, meets reporters Monday to confirm hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., which could be filed by Tuesday.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The southwest Missouri man who allegedly killed two Methodists and a Catholic near the Jewish Community Center on the eve of Passover is expected to be charged with federal and state crimes on Tuesday.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., will be charged with hate crimes, authorities said Monday. Cross was “on the radar” of the FBI for some time, but was not being monitored before he opened fire on Sunday at two locations, said Special Agent Michael Kaste.

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5:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

ERA DOA? The Fight For Equal Rights Lives On In Missouri

One of the people who marched in the Equal Rights Action Day at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

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1:42 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Kansas Congressman Introduces Ban on GMO Labels

Anti-GMO protestors at a Denver, Colo., rally last year
Credit (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

The bill by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, would also bar the Food and Drug Administration from labeling efforts, a move highly popular with consumers, and allow so-called “natural” foods to contain bio-engineered ingredients.  

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6:23 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Judge Denies Attempt to Stop Gay Couples Joint Taxes

Gay couples in Missouri who were married in other states may still file their taxes jointly.

On Friday, a judge denied a conservative group in its attempt to immediately bar same-sex couples from filing their state tax returns together, a right granted by Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order issued last year.

Kyle Piccola of PROMO, a state gay rights group, said he wasn’t surprised by the ruling.

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7:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Missouri Group Says Gay Couple's Tax Filings Unconstitutional

A conservative Missouri group on Wednesday attempted to put a quick stop to same-sex couples’ right to file joint tax returns, saying it violates the state’s ban on gay marriage.

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7:41 am
Mon March 24, 2014

KC Mayor to Focus on Education, Crime in Annual Address

Kansas City Mayor Sly James will deliver his third State of the City address today, focusing on education, plans for a new airport and more gun control.

James will make the annual speech at Park Hill High School, 7701 NW Barry Road, beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by a student town hall meeting moderated by KCPT’s Nick Haines.

“Some of the long-term issues we’re talking about will be crime. We’ll be talking about the airport. We’ll be talking about the street car system and education in the city,” said Joni Wickham, a city spokeswoman.

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4:01 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

School Board VP Says Hickman Mills Has A Plan To Fix District

  The Hickman Mills school district in Kansas City, Mo., is battling back from a critical state audit that found financial and management issues. Now the next step for the district is winning back its full accreditation – which slipped to provisional status last year. Hickman Mills Board Vice President, Dan Osman, says they have a plan.

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12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Report: Gas Company Didn't Follow Safety Regs in JJ's Explosion

Kansas City police and fire investigators stand outside JJ's Restaurant after the explosion on Feb. 19, 2013. (File photo)

Missouri Gas Energy failed to act urgently to protect the lives of people in JJ’s Restaurant last year, the Missouri Public Service Commission ruled Thursday.

The gas company violated its own safety rules that lead to an explosion that killed one woman and injured more than a dozen others and it should be fined, the 125-page report said.

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7:36 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Kansas Faculty Change Curriculum As New Social Media Policy Kicks In

Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, in his home office. Loomis says a new social media policy is "unbelievably broad and vague." (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

When the Kansas Board of Regents announced a new, broad policy on social media for faculty and staff in mid-December, it didn’t take long to hear the reaction.

That is the nature, after all, of Facebook and Twitter.

“Unbelievably broad and vague set of policies,” Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, wrote in a Facebook post. “Perfect example of using a nuclear weapon to destroy a gnat of a pseudo problem.”

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2:56 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Kansas Regents Reject Plea To Suspend Social Media Plan

The Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday denied a faculty group’s request that it suspend a controversial social media policy that has received national criticism as harming free speech.

Emporia State Professor Sheryl Lidzy, representing the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, asked for the suspension, saying the plan could harm the hiring of top quality faculty and continue to generate negative publicity.

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Maryville Rape Case
11:47 am
Thu January 9, 2014

No Sexual Assault Charges In Maryville Rape Case

Daisy Coleman, now 16, in front of her many awards and trophies for cheerleading, dance and beauty pageants. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

A 19-year-0ld Maryville man pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, dodging a rape charge and offering an apology in a case that attracted small-town acrimony and international attention.

Matthew Barnett, who appeared at the Nodaway County Courthouse with his parents, got a four month suspended sentence, two years probation, and was ordered to make $1,800 in restitution to his victim, Daisy Coleman, now 16.

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Maryville Rape Case
5:06 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Going Public in the Maryville Rape Case To Spur Action

Paige Parkhurst, 15, seen here at her Albany, Mo., home, went public as a rape victim because she hoped it would spur authorities to look more seriously at the Maryville case. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

On a quiet Sunday morning last fall, Paige Parkhurst remembers being awakened by her mother, who was crying.

A newspaper story about the night two years ago that Paige was assaulted and her friend Daisy Coleman was allegedly raped was going viral. She and her mother, Robin Bourland, talked about how they had already been through so much. The minor boy who admitted to having sex with Parkhurst had been convicted and sentenced through the juvenile justice system.

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Maryville Rape Case
2:03 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Maryville Rape Decision Set for Thursday

A decision will be announced Thursday at the Nodaway County Courthouse in Maryville, Mo., on a controversial rape case.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

A highly-anticipated decision is expected Thursday on a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday, two years to the day of the alleged assault, that she will announce the findings of her investigation in Maryville at 1:30 p.m.

Baker has not made any indication what her decision might be. She could refile charges against two boys that were dropped earlier, refuse to file any charges, or choose other legal claims.

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Harvest Public Media
8:12 am
Fri December 27, 2013

The Top Agriculture Stories Of 2013

A screen grab from "So God Made A Farmer," an ad for Ram Trucks run by Dodge during the Super Bowl.

Big companies made big news. Muddy fields made for major headaches. And a Farm Bill delay makes the list for the second consecutive year.

If you follow Harvest Public Media, you’ll be familiar with the top stories of 2013. Seems this year brought lots of national and international news – a far cry from our first days when we wrote mostly about issues in agriculture and food production.

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Harvest Public Media
8:05 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Suspended Drug Sales Focuses Attention On Cattle-Feeding Additive

Some 6,500 Holsteins are “finished” at this 2,000-acre Ordway, Colo., feedlot, where the growth promotion drug Zilmax is no longer used because it was pulled from the market by its manufacturer.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical.

They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot.

“We feed it the last 20 days of the feeding period and when you drive by, you can actually see a physical change in the animal,” Karney said. “They’re chest floor’s wider and just, a boxier animal. It’s kinda hard to believe.”

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7:39 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mandela Remembered As Freedom Fighter At Kansas City Service

A member of the Kansas City Girls Choir studies her music before the group sang the South African National Anthem at the Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral on Monday night. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

South African President Nelson Mandela was remembered as a freedom fighter and a forgiving man at a memorial service in Kansas City Monday night.

A local children’s choir sang the South African National Anthem at the event at the Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral as people offered prayers for the world leader who died this month at the age of 95.

Ester Holzendorf of Grandview, Mo., came to the service at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church with her daughter.

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8:55 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Mandela Memorial Service Set For Monday In Kansas City

"The New Yorker" honored Nelson Mandela this week with an image of the South African president as a young man.

South African expatriates' memories and a special version of their country’s national anthem sung by local children’s choirs will be part of a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Kansas City, Mo., Monday night.

The event at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St., is set for 6:30 p.m.

The service will also mark the Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday in South Africa held every Dec. 16 to mark the end of apartheid.

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News Archives
11:35 am
Fri December 13, 2013

JJ's Interview Transcript - Mark Ebbitts

Peggy Lowe: So what I'd like to talk to you about today, Mark, is just what we talked about the other day, which is: You had said you were in JJ's the night this all happened. Please tell me that story. 

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Harvest Public Media
8:37 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Children Of Meatpackers Dream Big, Cultivate Opportunity

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen, both 18, work in the Garden City Community College chemistry lab. The two best friends graduated from high school in three years and after community college, plan to go on to universities.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

The teacher calls the class to order, calling the students “Busters,” short for “Broncbusters,” the college’s mascot and a reminder of this old West town’s history of raising cattle.

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Harvest Public Media
7:44 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Garden City, Kan. Considered Model Of Success For Immigrant Influx

Two students in a “newcomer” class at Florence Wilson Elementary School in Garden City, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.

This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.

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Cops & Crime
1:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

KC Democrat Named To Reinvestigate Maryville Rape Case

Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor, was named Monday to launch another investigation into a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County prosecutor, was named Monday to launch a second investigation into a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Baker, a Democrat and former state legislator from Kansas City, Mo., was chosen for the high-profile job after online outrage focused on the case of Daisy Coleman, a then-14-year-old Maryville girl who says she was raped by a 17-year-old boy in January 2012.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Nearly Two Years Later, A Controversial Rape Case Is Reviewed

Daisy Coleman, now 16, looks at trophies and other awards she's won for beauty pageants, dancing and sports. She has attempted suicide at least twice since waking up in freezing temperatures on her doorstep.
Peggy Lowe KCUR

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:55 pm

Nearly two years after allegations of a sexual assault rocked a small Missouri town, the case may be reopened.

A county prosecutor in Maryville, Mo., has requested that an independent attorney look at accusations of rape and other charges against two former high school athletes — despite his earlier decision to drop the case.

The Internet activist group Anonymous, which crusaded for another high-profile rape case, is taking credit for this turnaround.

The Events

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