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.

Ways To Connect

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

I had lunch at the Golden Ox just a couple days before the old steakhouse closed in December.

The Golden Ox is set smack dab in the Kansas City Stockyards, now long closed, but which for 120 years churned out billions of pounds of beef.

As the name would suggest, the Golden Ox is not a place of, well, subtleties. There were large aerial black-and-white photos of the stockyards in the entry way, the brass sconces were shaped as cow skulls and the specially-made carpets have a wagon wheel design.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Doug Bonney keeps the envelope close by, tucked on top of the left side of his desk, about an inch thick and marked with his own handwriting: “Marriage Equality Case.”

Bonney, the legal director of the ACLU of Kansas, keeps it handy because he’s been busy filling it up. Over nearly five months, Bonney has represented two gay couples in their case against the state, who have succeeded, little by by little, in overturning the ban on same-sex marriage.

A grand jury on Friday indicted a Kansas City Police officer on a felony assault charge for the shooting of a 37-year-old man last year.

Elle Boatman

Elle Boatman was scrolling through her Facebook news feed Tuesday afternoon during a break from her job at Wichita State.

There she learned that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback had rescinded an earlier executive order by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that offered protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered state workers. Boatman is a transwoman and said she was floored by the news.

“I was really just devastated,” Boatman recalled on Wednesday.

Ranchers Rebel Over Beef Checkoff

Jan 20, 2015
Courtesy Jill Toyoshiba / The Kansas City Star

NEMAHA COUNTY, Kan. – From their small farms set in the rolling hills of northeast Kansas, two ranchers are raising a few cattle, and a lot of Cain.

David Pfrang and Jim Dobbins turned themselves into activists, launched a shadow corporation, got hauled into federal court and had to hire a lawyer.

All over $1.

That buck, though, divides the beef industry. And may influence what you decide to have for dinner.

Wikimedia Commons

Even the lunch ladies got political in 2014.

KCUR's Harvest Public Media was created four years ago to report on agriculture and food production in the geographic area where the majority of that takes place – the Midwest.

This year, my third of counting the top ag stories of the year, I find that the issues taking center stage were set not here, but in the politics, policies and processes of Washington D.C., state legislatures or the ballot box.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Golden Ox, once the center of the Kansas City Stockyards in Missouri and one of the oldest restaurants in the area, is set to close Saturday night.

The steakhouse, a kitschy mix of cowtown and commerce, has been busy for the past couple weeks, in response to word getting out that it was closing.

The West Bottoms restaurant has struggled attracting folks to the area, especially since Kemper Arena stopped holding events, said Mike Holland, the Golden Ox general manager.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Gay marriage in Missouri is moving in fits and starts, allowed in just three areas and refused in others.

Attorney General Chris Koster has yet to appeal the federal court decision striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Koster has said he plans to appeal but has yet to do so. He has until Dec. 10.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Although gay and lesbian couples are getting married in at least 24 Kansas counties, Gov. Sam Brownback won’t allow any state recognition of the unions.

Brownback said Thursday that he won’t offer any of the benefits heterosexual couples get, such as name changes on a driver’s license or employee benefits for gay and lesbian state workers.

“There is still considerable legal ambiguity on the topic of same-sex marriage,” said Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokeswoman. “Once that ambiguity is gone, the governor will direct state agencies to comply with applicable laws.”

Equality Kansas

A limited ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court Tuesday opened the door for more gay marriages, yet left in place a patchwork of counties where some judges are approving licenses and some are not.

The court lifted a stay on issuing licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County, the first county to do so in Kansas back in early October. Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty was "within his jurisdiction" to order clerks to accept applications from and issue licenses to gay and lesbian couples, the high court ruled.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Updated at 2:34 p.m.

At least six of Kansas' 105 counties issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday, a day after  the U.S. Supreme Court let take effect an order overturning  a ban state officials had feverishly hoped to keep in place.

Flickr, Creative Commons

  Updated 2:51 p.m. Nov. 25

The whirlwind of gay marriage decisions in Missouri and Kansas has left same-sex couples, court watchers and even reporters a bit breathless.

In an effort to keep us all up-to-date with these quick-moving issues, KCUR has pieced together this timeline, which highlights significant legal developments in both Missouri and Kansas in the state and federal courts. The list is not exhaustive but represents our best attempt to make sense of the rush of events while offering a look back at some of our coverage.

Equality Kansas

Kansas’ gay marriage ban went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, where it was promptly kept in place just a day before the ban was expected to be lifted.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued the order blocking gay marriage at the behest of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who wants to keep the ban in place. A federal court order calling the ban unconstitutional was set to take effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, allowing same-sex marriages to commence.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Incumbent Pat Roberts held on to his U.S. Senate seat Tuesday after besting Independent Greg Orman.

It was a surprisingly easy win for Roberts after a bruising battle to keep a place in Washington he's had for three decades.

Roberts made his victory speech at the Republican watch party in Topeka.

"We said for months the road to a Republican majority in the United States Senate lead through Kansas and we did it," said Roberts.

With all precincts reporting, Roberts beat Orman 53 percent to 43 percent.

CJ Janovy / KCUR

A federal judge on Friday did not rule on a case filed by two gay couples who want marriage licenses in Kansas. One of the couples blamed the state's delay on election-year politics.

The case, originally filed Oct. 10, was heard in open court by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, who did not say when he would announce a decision.  The couples are seeking marriage licenses, which would, in effect, overturn the Kansas gay marriage ban.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Beth Hiller has been a member of the GOP since back when it really was the Grand Old Party, as her daughter says.

Hiller is 97-years-old, born and raised on a Kansas dairy farm, and a lifelong Republican. Her mother and father were Republican. Her husband, John Hiller, was the Shawnee County GOP chair, as well as the Kansas delegate to the U.S. Electoral College.

“Voting in our family was always a big deal,” said Cheryl Logan, Hiller’s daughter. “It was an event. We all hopped in the car, we got to the polling place and it was kind of a social event, too.”

Johnson County District Court

The Johnson County, Kan., judge who approved the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples is now the subject of a recall.

Bruce Baumgardner, a physiology professor at Johnson County Community College, on Friday announced that he is trying to oust Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty by urging people to vote against him in the November election, according to the Kansas City Star.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Vowing he won’t be a “silent soldier” for either party, Greg Orman, the independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas, called on others Wednesday to declare their own independence from partisan gridlock.

Trying to close out a campaign in a race where he was once ahead in the polls, Orman addressed the many negative ads his opponent, GOP incumbent Pat Roberts, and other groups have launched as “not about me.”

The attacks from Roberts, who Orman called a “47-year resident of Virginia,” and others in Washington are “the fury of the broken system lashing back,” he said.

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

Kansas City welcomed back the World Series Tuesday with a deafening roar after a dream season, only to be disappointed as the San Francisco Giants beat the Royals 7-1.

What had been an electric open quickly fizzled into first-inning fear as the Giants leapt to a 3-0 lead they held onto for the rest of the night. As fans left Kauffman Stadium early, diehards asked them to stay and look at the Big Leagues big picture.

FPAF, via youTube

For a guy not running for election this year, we sure have seen a lot of President Obama in Kansas.

In just one of several ads opposing Independent Greg Orman, black-and-white video of Obama walking down a White House hallway turns to a colorful sunrise above a broad stretch of prairie.

“It’s a simple question,” the ad says. “Do you support President Obama and his liberal agenda? Or do you believe Kansas and America can do better?”

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The ever-tightening race for Secretary of State in Kansas is also becoming a war of words, as Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf accused Republican incumbent Kris Kobach of lying to the Legislature to get his restrictive voter law passed.

Schodorf, now a Democrat who served in the state Senate as a Republican, admitted during a debate on KCUR’s Up To Date, that she had voted for the 2011 law. But, she said, Kobach either lied or couldn’t implement the law, which has become “government at its worst.”

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

Sweeping away 29 years of heartbreak and bringing home an American League pennant to a rejoicing city, the Kansas City Royals clinched a trip Wednesday to the World Series.

Final score after a fast fall game under clear royal blue skies: Kansas City 2, Baltimore 1.

Screaming fans at Kauffman Stadium, on their feet for the ninth inning, counted down the outs until their beloved Royals were in the series.

"Three. More. Outs ... Two ... Strike out! ... One. More. Out ... Sweep! Sweep!"

Eric Blumberg / via Twitter

That astonishing, acrobatic catch Mike “Moose” Moustakas made during the sixth inning during the Kansas City-Baltimore game Tuesday night left him cleats-up in the third base dugout.

But taking such a tumble is nothing new for Moustakas,  who was a two-sport athlete at Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, said Eric Sondheimer, a Los Angeles Times sportswriter.

Putting a rush on a ruling, the ACLU on Monday filed a request in federal court for a temporary halt to Kansas’ enforcement of its ban on gay marriage.

In following up on a complaint filed Friday, the ACLU asked the U.S. District Court to force the state to comply with a decision from Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling, made in June, overturned such bans in Utah and Oklahoma and said a state may not deny a marriage license based “solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”

Equality Kansas

The Kansas Supreme Court late Friday ordered a Johnson County judge to immediately halt issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Acting on a request from Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the court said it was concerned about "statewide consistency" on marriage laws, given the state's constitutional ban on gay unions.

The court said it would take briefs on the subject until Oct. 28 and make a ruling later. However, the order states that clerks may continue to accept marriage license applications from same sex couples in the interim.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Orman for Senate campaign headquarters is in a Shawnee, Kan., strip mall, next door to a Taekwondo studio and a few doors down from a Papa John’s pizza joint.

Among the posters, bumper stickers and general flotsam of a fall campaign, a college yearbook sits on a small table.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Former state Sen. Audrey Langworthy received the fundraising letter from Republican incumbent Pat Roberts last November.

Among other things, Roberts called for the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, then Health and Human Services Secretary, who was under fire for the botched roll-out of the Obamacare website.

Langworthy, a Republican who lives in Prairie Village, was so angry she started writing notes to Roberts, hand-written in black ink directly onto his letter.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

The increasingly hot U.S. Senate race in Kansas has GOP incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts spending millions to align Independent Greg Orman with the Democrats, saying he was “handpicked” by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Orman countered those claims during a visit to KCUR on Monday to talk to Steve Kraske on Up to Date. Among other topics, Kraske asked Orman about Roberts’ campaign to paint him as a Democrat.

ACLU-Missouri

A U.S. Supreme Court decision expected to expand gay marriage laws could be good news for those advocating for same-sex unions in Kansas and Missouri.

In a surprise move, the high court on Monday declined to intercede in five pending cases, a move seen as increasing the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24, along with the District of Columbia.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

A Jackson County judge ruled Friday that the state of Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages made in other states, saying Missouri’s gay marriage ban denies gay couples equal rights.

Missouri’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote in a 20-page decision, because the state “recognizes the marriages of similarly-situated opposite sex couples.

The lawsuit was brought by ten gay couples, represented by the ACLU of Missouri.

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